Return Policy


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Scene Title Return Policy
Synopsis Peter comes to discuss something with Melissa and makes an offer for her to follow him into the most dangerous rabbit hole ever, or return to her ordinary life. Messiah's return policy is somewhat unusual.
Date June 10, 2010

Port Ivory

Were the skies not dark and filled with heavy clouds threatening rain, it might be possible to see the moon slowly rising behind them in the western horizon behind the jagged outline of crumbling brick buildings and tall, shattered windows. The cloudy night sky is reflected like a mirror by the large pools of free-standing water in the low spots of ground where pavement has sunken down into the ground, meltwater from the snow that once threatened to bury Port Ivory into a desert of white.

This neighborhood is a terrible one, even as far as Staten Island is concerned. It was once an industrial park, filled with factories and the homes of factory workers, between the exodus following the bomb and the great storm it looks more like a decade old warzone. Many buildings lie demolished, crumbled down and in waterlogged ruin. Against this backdrop then, a single house with peeling green paint on its old wooden siding stands out amongst the other more abandoned-looking residences.

It's this sight that greets Melissa Pierce every day when she comes and goes from her home, the industrial desolation of Port Ivory and the haunting silence of miles of broken concrete, redbrick and shattered glass. All of the houses on her street have boarded up windows except for her own, most of them have roofs collapsed down in from the weight of twenty feet of snow crushing down.

Only one has Peter Petrelli sitting on the porch.

From the sidewalk Melissa can see him, sitting on the top step leading up to her porch, dressed in an unzipped black leather motorcycle jacket and matching pants, the loose wrap of a red scarf hanging around his throat, hands folded between his knees and head bowed. Peter looks much changed from the last time she saw him, with a beard having grown in, hair shaggy and unruly. That he's holding a pair of headphones and an mp3 player in his hand is a private message to Melissa.

One she gets loud and clear; I got it.

It's not been a bad day for Melissa. A stop at the club, an hour at the Suresh Center, and now home. She's even humming some song as she makes her way down the sidewalk, dressed in her usual black on black on black. And it's clear that it takes a while for her to realize that everything is not as it should be. She opens the small gate outside, makes her way up the walkway, and she's nearly to the steps leading up to the porch when she stops dead in her tracks.

At first she does nothing more than stare at his face in surprise, but then her gaze slides lower, taking in all the changes. Not to mention the pants. It doesn't take a telepath to tell that she's very clearly thinking Yummy. Eventually though her eyes lift again to his face, and her lips curve, her steps resume more slowly, bringing her to stand in front of him.

"Oh goody. My turn to find a present on my doorstep."

Brown eyes come up from the headphones to offer a squint at Melissa, then settl eback down on the headphones in his hands. Peter puts them aside on the steps, "That song is terrible…" he offers in explanation, "I was returning this one." Which is to say that he's done something else with the other little odds and ends that Melissa has been sending him. With the headphones and mp3 player set on the stairs, Peter stands up straight and comes down the steps, boots clunking on the wood before he comes down to Melissa's level, then offers an askance look at her.

"We're going for a walk," implies that Melissa has no say in the matter, and Peter just steps around her and starts walking up the street, hands tucked into the pockets of his pants and pace slow as if to imply you'll have to keep up.

"Yeah, it is," Melissa agrees about the song. She turns as he moves past, brows furrowing a moment. Things always seem to get confusing when he's already, and it shows. But then she sighs and steps off the porch steps, steps quick until she's walking along beside him.

She says nothing at first. It seems that she's simply unsure of what to say or do, which is unusual for her. "Wasn't sure I was gonna see you again," she says finally, glancing over at him.

"I wasn't either," Peter agrees as Melissa catches up and comes to his side. He offers her an askance look, as if just to make sure that she's really there, then dips his head into a nod and begins that slow pace of a walk from her house. "I didn't really come here to talk to you about that though, Melissa. I don't really know what you're doing living in this neighborhood you are, but…" there's a furrow of his brows as he looks back up and over to her. "Are you still working with the Ferry?"

The question is almost rhetorical, but it is more of a test of her capacity for honesty to him, exactly how she answers is more important than the content of the answer itself. It's a very Petrelli thing to do, especially in respect of his mother, asking a question that he already knows the answer to in order to see how someone else frames it on their own.

The question has Melissa sighing. "I told you that I wasn't, Peter. I'm many things, but a liar isn't one of them. And I'm sure as hell not gonna lie to you." There's a pause, and another glance. "I don't lie to the people I love. So no. I'm not working for the Ferry. I won't be working for the Ferry. For a variety of reasons." But at least she's not spiteful enough to start harping on how Kaylee is working for them.

Mel's hands slide into her pockets as well and she watching the sidewalk in front of them. "If you didn't come to talk about that though, why did you? I'm happy to see you and all, but if you have an agenda…"

Don't all Petrellis?

"I'm going to ask you something," Peter admits quietly, his shoulders rising into a shrug with a creak of the leather of his jacket, "and I need you to be that honest with me, because depending on how you answer, you either get to see where I'm headed, or you don't." Which is so say that this isn't just a meandering walk. When Peter says that, he pauses in his pace, turnins his back to the boarded up Store-24 at their right and offers Melissa an intent look.

"What would you do, Melissa, if I told you that the H5N10 virus was manufactured in a lab?" There's a furrow of Peter's brows, his head tilting down and an intent look crossing it. "What if I told you that the virus that's killed thousands of people was put together by the government to control people like us, and that we don't know what they're going to do next now that the snow's cleared?" There's a tilt of Peter's chin upward at that, his head quirked to the side and one brow raised.

"How does that makes you feel?" is the important question, and ultimately "What does that makes you want to do?" is the one he needs the answer to most.

When he stops, Melissa does too, turning to face him, her head tilting. She looks disgusted at his words and shakes her head. "I really fucking hate people like that. Those who treat us like things. Yet the same damn people condemn Hitler without seeing the similarities." Well it's pretty clear how she feels.

"As for what it makes me wanna do? It makes me wanna hurt each and every one of those people. I wanna use my ability to do it, just because they'd hate it more. People died because of that virus. I was watching over a set of twins, little girls, just three years old, and one of them died because of it. Not because of anything she'd done, just because she was like us. And there is nothing I wouldn't do to prevent something like that from happening again. Nothing."

There's a subtle nod of Peter's head at that explanation, and without so much as a response — or perhaps it is his response — he turns and keeps moving, walking down the sidewalk past the boarded up and half collapsed convenience store. There's a slowness to his pace, letting Melissa catch up to his pace again. Only after a moment of silence and a bob of his head does Peter looks up and over to Melissa again. "You're not the only one who feels like that…" is his quiet admittance to her answer, and when they arrive at a four way stop just past the Store-24, Peter turns right instead of crossing the street, heading inland.

"You were in Moab," Peter offers quietly, his eyes casting to the side as he walks, "you know what the government's capable of just as much as the rest of us who were there. There's…" when he trails off, Peter's pace falters and he almost comes to a stop, then pick up the pace again. "The Ferrymen are concerned with protecting their own, keeping people out of harm's way however they see fit. That's fine, that's their thing, but after coming back from Argentina and seeing how things are across the world, after sharing the mind of the man I did…" and the name Kazimir Volken goes unsaid, "I just— that's not who I am anymore."

This is probably the most Peter and Melissa have ever talked, or at least the most Peter's ever had to say about any one thing. "When I got back from Argentina and Antarctica, from that hell, I just wanted to cut all of the fighting out of my life, I just— I was sick and tired of trying to fight what I saw was a losing battle, you know?" There's a look over to Melissa, then back down to the cracked sidewalk beneath his feet. "Then I met someone at a charity event in February, someone who knew exactly who I was and what I'd been through, knew about Apollo and…" Peter's bruws furrow and his head shakes slowly.

"Have you ever heard of PARIAH?" Peter asks quietly, looking askance to Melissa.

Walking resumes, and Melissa's brow furrows as she absorbs all that he's saying. And maybe some of what he's not saying. "Yes, I know what they're capable of," she murmurs with a nod. "And the Ferry does its part. It won't change anything, but maybe it'll make a few lives easier." It's what led Kendall to her, after all, and she likes to think she's made his life better.

Part of her wants to press, and ask who it was he met at the charity event who affected him so much, but she refrains, with effort. But there's no doubt that she does want to ask, even without telepathy. "I've heard it mentioned, but not in detail. Viewed as a terrorist group, right?" she asks, voice soft. "Have you joined them? Is that where you're taking me?"

Shaking his head slowly, Peter stops and looks across the street, then makes a beckoning gesture before he starts walking across the two-lane street towards a dilapidated garage on the other side. Once they hit the slightly flooded sidewalk, Peter steps between the garage and a red-brick building with its roof caved in, moving through an alleyway where a precarious jumble of loose bricks, roofing tiles and a mangled fire escape keep several hundred pounds of debris from blocking off the alley.

"PARIAH doesn't exist anymore," Peter admits quietly as he follows the alley, Melissa behind him out of necessity due to how narrow the alleyway is. "The idea, you can't kill something like that. You can't cut down a movement." Emerging in a dirt lot behind the garage, Peter turns and waits for Melissa to come out, where old construction equipment lays rusting on the other side of a chain-link fence with a visible split in it behind Peter. "Times change, names change, but the desire for freedom never does. We're called Messiah," Peter emphasizes, turning from Melissa and walking over to the chain-link fence that borders off this expansive construction site with half finished buildings and derelict railroad cars. He doesn't pass through the chink in the fence, but instead pulls back a side of the fence and looks over his shoulder to Melissa.

"We want to do what the Ferrymen won't, stop being reactive and start being aggressive. The government wants to win this war between us and them quietly, with media and propoganda and viruses. We're going to drag them out into the street, kicking and screaming."

Glancing to the fence, Peter furrows his brows, then looks back to Melissa. "I want you to work with us, but you have to decide now. Come with me, find out who we are and what we're doing, or turn around and head home. The choice is yours."

Melissa follows in silence, watching her surroundings as much as much as she watches Peter. It may be a serious subject, but c'mon. Leather pants. And she's walking behind him. She's only human! When they stop though, her gaze goes to the break in the fence, studying it more intently than might seem necessary. It's just a fence after all.

Slowly Melissa looks back up to Peter, and she studies him just as intently. More so, even. A full minute she watches him, saying nothing, but when she finally does reply, it's not vocally. Instead she steps forward, pausing in front of him for a moment, nearly touching…then she ducks down to slip through the split in the fence. She may not have said it, but the decision is made, and it's clear.

She's not going home.

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