Playing The Game


melissa_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing the Game
Synopsis Melissa questions Peter about Messiah, the past, and the present, then leaves him speechless.
Date June 15, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

Before leaving the room Melissa has to steal one last look at the snow globe, then she's following Peter out into the construction site, the scarf still tied around her waist, standing out as sharply as the streaks in her hair. Especially to those who know her. Her hands slide in her pocket and she spends a minute weighing where to begin, what to say first.

"What changed your mind, Peter? About fighting? I thought all you wanted was a normal life, free of fighting," is asked finally, voice soft. "Then suddenly here you are, leader of a group like this, that is all about fighting. What happened?"

The noise of the construction crews and heavy machinery don't quite drown out the conversation Melissa is trying to have with Peter, one-sided as it is. He's either considering her question seriously or trying to ignore her. It's only once they're past the chain-link fence and out onto the cracked sidewalk beyond the old Howland Hook grounds that Peter pauses and looks back to Melissa as she moves through the split int he fence behind him.

"Suddenly?" It's an oddly worded echo of one of Melissa's words, and as he asks it Peter moves to cross the street, hoping that the word itself gives Melissa some time to think and consider his answer and how she phrased her question. Frustratingly he isn't giving her any other semblance of answer on his way to the opposite sidewalk.

"Well either it was sudden, or you lied to me. I'd rather believe it was sudden," Melissa says with a shrug. "You told me, the last time we spoke before last week, that you were going to avoid me because you didn't want to fight anymore. Because you wanted normal. The Ferry was even too much fighting for you," she reminds him. "So what changed your mind? Why do you want to fight?"

There's a long pause, then she asks the question that's been bothering her throughout most of the prior conversation with Ash. "And why bring me in, but not…Kaylee? Is it your way of putting me out of the equation, Peter? Get me to sign up to watch your back, so you can give me another excuse why you can't see me, even though you keep the snow globe on your desk?"

"I lied to you." Is Peter's answer once she's made it to the same curb he's standing on. There's a look up to Melissa that brings Peter's head slowly shaking. "I met Rupert not long after I got back from Operation Apollo…" with that, Peter's turning and starting to walk down the street, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks. "We hit it off right away, and Rupert started talking to me about a group of former PARIAH members getting back together, things they'd been planning and just… a lot of ideas. It all sounded like it made sense to me," he says a bit quietly.

"I don't remember the exact conversations we had, but after a couple weeks Rupert brought me around to his side. We talked, I met Knox and Rickham and a couple of the other early founding members, and when I agreed to sign on they said they'd been looking for someone to lead them, and that they knew about the work I did with PARIAH and Phoenix before. So… I agreed to help, and Rupert and I started setting out to put together our plan. Working in secret, keeping our plans between members only…"

There's a rueful shake of his head, and Peter's brows crease together. "I can't let anyone know what I'm really doing. I can't let anyone— I have to keep up appearances that I'm living a normal life. That meant actually keeping up appearances. Kaylee's Ferrymen she… I threw her out," and that comes sharply said, brows furrowed.

"Look, Melissa…" dark eyes track to the woman walking at Peter's side. "I knew when I met you that you were different, that you'd probably wind up here with me. I knew it from the moment I saw the injection scar under your chin. That's why you scared me, why I…" breathing out a heavy sigh, Peter's head shakes slowly. "Kaylee was a cover, a…" he can't finish the words, isn't sure he even believes them, "there's a lot of lies."

Melissa frowns as she listens, shoulders tensing up a little. But the more he talks, the more she listens, the less tense she seems to be. She's not exactly pleased, but she's not as unhappy either. "And what I am then, Peter? Why'd you keep the snow globe? Do you really feel something for me, like you said at the rink? Was the kiss at the club real?"

Her hands tuck into her pockets as well and she considers. "Why'd you throw her out? If she was a cover…I could give you that cover, even with being in Messiah with you. Probably more of one. She's too young for you anyway," she says with the faintest of smiles. A bare hint of humor injected into an otherwise serious discussion.

"I meant it," is Peter's quiet answer before he cuts off the sidewalk and into someone's front lawn. Shoes squelch in the muddy grass as he walks, treading between a pair of abandoned houses situated close to one another. "The kiss… about you? I don't know… it felt right, but I just— I didn't want to get you involved in this at first, not while you were with the Ferry. There's… there's a security leak in them, I'm sure of it, and if I was with you and I told you something, Melissa I could've gotten us all killed. Someone from the Institute infiltrated the Ferry and until I find out who there's not going to be any real working with them."

By the time he's reached the back yard, Peter's turning to glance over his shoulder to Melissa, then moves through the yard onto the next street over. "I don't know if I'm in the right frame of mind to be with anyone right now, though. I… I'm conflicted, on a lot of things, and I think I just need to figure out what's going on inside my head."

"You're not wrong about the leak. They found a safehouse. No idea what else they've found since," Melissa says, nodding, quickening her steps to carry her up beside him. "And maybe you're not in the right frame of mind, but…I'm not asking for a marriage proposal, Peter. And I don't want you to get so caught up in fighting and pretending to be normal that you forget why you're fighting and who you are."

A hand is lifted, to rest lightly on his shoulder. "I understand being conflicted. Believe me. I've got plenty of that myself, and have since the day I set foot in this city. But we all need someone, in some way. So keeping that in mind…why don't you come over one night? We'll sit on the couch, just you and me, and watch a movie and eat popcorn. No pressure. Just two friends enjoying a movie." Her lips curve and her head tilts to look at his face. "Maybe we can watch the Fly and try to figure out how Abby would look if she had turned into a human/fly hybrid."

There's a ghost of a smile across Peter's lips at what Melissa says, hidden as he turns away from her to jog across the street, headed towards the dirt lot beneath the nearby north-south overpass. They're less than a block from Melissa's house at this very moment, and it's a prescient point for her to raise. As Peter starts making the approach towards the lot, he pauses and heaves a sigh, turning around to face Melissa and look her up and down.

"I'd like to, but I have a long late shift coming up with Abby. I'm… sort've living with her right now," and at that Peter grimaces, "it's entirely platonic, before you say anything." Brows furrowed together, the paramedic shifts his weight onto his right heel and takes a half step away, looking out over the partially flooded dirt lot and then up to the abandoned overpass.

"I'll think about it…" is about as good of an answer as Melissa can hope to get. "You should head home, I'm going in to the Rookery to catch a ferry out to Manhattan. I'll… give you a call?"

His reassurance that nothing is going on with Abby has Melissa laughing and nodding. "I know you are, and I know it is. I went by there last week when I saw Lucy's burned down. She was afraid you'd come home while I was there and all hell would break loose. But she took pity on me and fed me dinner, since I can't cook worth a damn."

Stepping closer, Mel lifts a hand, brushing fingers against his cheek, her thumb lightly across his lips. "But I'll keep the Fly on hand, just in case. You be safe hon. No racing ambulances down the freeway." She gives him a playful grin, then steps backwards a few paces. "Don't wait too long to call me. Your roommate likes me. Just think about that," she teases, before turning to start off towards home, her mood greatly improved.

Helena had been pretty good at the game how to make a Petrelli speechless in her day, that Melissa just managed to is credit to her. Peter stares blankly ahead as she backs up and head down the sidewalk towards home, lifts one hand to his head and scrubs at the back of his neck sheepishly.


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