The Prodigal Son Returns


kendall_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title The Prodigal Son Returns
Synopsis Kendall finally returns home, and he and Melissa talk serious business.
Date August 2, 2010

Little Green House

Monday. Eww. Everyone hates Mondays. Even Melissa today, since it means it's been a week since Kendall ran off into the night and disappeared. Stupid illusionists and their stupid invisibility. So she's doing what she always does when stressed or nervous or worried. She's cleaning. But she's doing it in a place she's never done it before.

Kendall's room.

That's right, this is what you get when you disappear for a week. You get your 'mom' cleaning your room, from picking up dirty clothes to scrubbing floors and washing windows. When she's done, this room will be cleaner than it's ever been before. Sorry Kendall.

Kendall has indeed been gone for a week, but he hasn't been far. Part of it, he's spent in the backyard, suffering in the heat wave of summer. When that got too much to handle, he's been off in air conditioned public places, namely malls, video game stores, and of course his favorite, the comic book shop. He's been making full use of his powers by appearing to be someone else, which made it…. really hard to look for him, even someone with Daphne's super speedy skillz. Now, however, since it seems that no one's tried to silence him, he figures it's probably safe to return home, so he approaches the house.

Melissa, sadly, is ignorant of his approach. She's just busy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, her brow furrowed in concern. Jerry, however, is downstairs, laying down and hiding from Mel's cleaning whirlwind, and the moment that he spots Kendall, he leaps to all fours and starts barking like crazy, tail wagging madly. His friend is home!

"Shhhhh!" Kendall hisses as the dog goes insane with the barking. Don't let the world know! He's trying to be inobtrusive! Especially if Melissa was home. Maybe she's not? Kendall goes to unlock the door, failing at stealth due to DOG.

Unfortunately, even though Jerry stops barking and switches to whining once Kendall gets in the door, Melissa still heard it. She frowns and puts down the brush she'd been using to scrub the floor, and starts making her way downstairs.

Kendall sighs and gives Jerry the belly rub he's no doubt begging for, glancing around. No Melissa on the downstairs, it seems. Huh… maybe she's out. That would make things not as awkward!

Sorry Kendall, it's not going to be that easy. Mel comes down the stairs, then stops when she sees Kendall sending Jerry into puppy ecstasy with the belly rubs. That freeze only lasts a few seconds before she's moving towards him quickly. "Kendall!" is said, right before she reaches for him. Luckily though, she's trying to pull him into a hug rather than trying to do him harm.

Kendall starts when Melissa calls out his name, and flinches away when she grabs him for a hug. Yup, still traumatized. "H-hi." he stammers, probably feeling as rigid as a board when he's being hugged. Tense much?

It doesn't seem as though Melissa notices that tenseness, instead hugging the stuffing out of him before she puts hands on his shoulders and leans back. Gleeful relief is over, and now the worried mother is taking over. "Where the hell have you been? I've been looking everywhere for you! I've had friends looking everywhere for you! Don't you ever disappear like that again or I swear I'll kick your ass!" At least the threat is ass kicking rather than torture or shooting?

Kendall flinches yet again when she yells at him. "S-sorry, I won't do it again." aww, he's back to stammering everything just like when he first met Melissa. It's a nervous habit of his. Gee, wonder what he could be nervous about?

Melissa sighs and hugs him again, more gently this time. "Sorry Kendall, I was just worried about you." She releases him and takes a step back, hands shoving into her pockets. "Look…what you saw that night…" She trails off, not entirely certain of how to proceed. "How about we grab a couple of beers, sit down, and talk?" She suggests. "You know you're safe here, right? No one will hurt you."

"….are you sure?" Kendall asks Melissa with a faint frown. "I thought things were okay, but…. they're obviously not."

"Things are…complicated. But I'm positive that no one will hurt you," Melissa says, and she sounds convinced of that fact. "If anything, I was the one in the doghouse for letting you see that. But no one's mad at you, no one's going to try to hurt you because of what you saw. I swear it."

"Not even Ling?" Kendall asks. Oh, so that's the main thing he's worried about. "She was pretty eager to follow me out…" that might be why he stayed out so long. "She doesn't like me very much." and Kendall doesn't know her very well, or at all really.

"Ling was following you out for me, to make sure that you got home safe," Melissa explains, moving to the fridge and grabbing a couple of beers, then offering one to him. "And she doesn't dislike you, Kendall. She's just…She's not a woman who makes friends easily. But no, she won't hurt you either. Besides, if she wanted to, do you really think I'd allow it? You're family, Kendall. The only one I have that I'll actually claim."

Kendall shifts his feet. "Well if we're family, why didn't you tell me? You were coming home injured all the time, did you think I wouldn't care, or want to know what you were doing that was so dangerous? I had the right to know since what if you never came home at all?"

Melissa actually looks embarrassed. "I didn't tell you because it was safer for you not to know. And…I guess I figured you wouldn't want to know. I mean, look at how you reacted just seeing guns that I wanted you to learn to use, just for self-defense. And…well…never had a family I gave a damn about before. Guess I just don't know all the rules for how to deal with family in these sorta situations," she admits, sitting down at the kitchen table and opening her beer.

"So…. are you some sort of terrorist then?" Kendall asks, not following her into the kitchen. "If something happened to you, I wouldn't have anywhere to stay… again. Same goes for Jerry. I assume the other people who live here could fend for themselves, but… I'm just 17."

Melissa shakes her head. "No, you'd have a place to stay, Kendall. I've already thought about that. I wouldn't leave you, or Jerry, in that position. I wouldn't be doing this if it'd leave you totally alone again. But I am doing this for you. I won't see you in another Moab, or in the hands of the Institute being a lab rat for some insane scientist. Or locked in an evolved concentration camp. I want you to have a good life, Kendall. A free life, where you can be what you wanna be, and do what you wanna do. That's why all of us are doing this. For people like you."

"You mentioned that before, what is this Moab you keep talking about?" Kendall asks, his brow furrowing as he crosses his arms across his chest. "And they'd need to be able to find me first, I can be anyone apparently."

That gets him a sad smile from Melissa. "Come sit down, Kendall, and I'll explain everything. Moab. How they could find you. How they could hold you. Why they're such a danger to anyone who's evolved, right down to newborn babies."

Kendall comes closer, but he doesn't actually sit down, instead kind of hovering nearby like he's expecting to use an escape route. When all is said and done, he did witness Melissa torture someone. And… he heard a gunshot, so likely killed him too, though he didn't actually see that part.

Melissa sighs, correctly judging his reluctance to sit. "Moab is…was…a prison, for the evolved, Kendall. Ran by the government. Some of the people in there did deserve to be there. Evolved are just like everyone else, after all. Some of us are good, some of us are bad. But not everyone in there did something to earn them a stay in a box. Some where like me. Just judged to be too dangerous to live out among the rest of the country, regardless of how we were living."

She takes a deep drink of beer. "I guess you heard us talking about tiers the other night? Well, that's the way the government rates us. How dangerous we could potentially be. Someone with an ability that could never be used to harm is tier zero, and they're usually not in any database that the public should be able to access." Should, not can. "Tier one could do some minor harm, tier two, a moderate amount…Then you have people like me, tier three. We're considered the most dangerous of the evolved. We're people who, without morals to stop us, could hurt or kill a lot of people. Like pyrokinetics or people who are essentially living bombs."

Her head tilts. "It wasn't just a prison though. Or rather, it wasn't like a regular prison. They kept us drugged, so we couldn't use our powers. See this?" She tilts her head back, finger brushing over the injection scar under her chin. "This is where they injected me, to negate me. Even though I hadn't heard a single fucking person, they locked me up and fed me god only knows what to keep me safe. Then they gave me this." And here her head leans forward and she brushes her hair away, so he can see the mark from the tracking gun. "This is so they can find me, no matter where I go. And yet, I hadn't used my power to do anything wrong."

Melissa straightens, taking another deep drink, then looking directly at him. "Does that seem fair to you? Does it seem right to you? Because I can guarantee, that they'd see your ability as dangerous. You could be anyone you wanted. A cop. A general. The president. You could immitate them and wreck all sorts of havoc. It wouldn't matter that you're not the sort of person who would, just that you could."

"Do you see what I'm saying, Kendall?"

Kendall drops his gaze. "Well…. yeah." he admits. "But like you said, I wouldn't. And it can't be that dangerous to look like someone else. How could that be dangerous?"

The smile Melissa gives him clearly says that he's still naive. But it's a charming trait, on him. "You could imitate a general, Kendall. Someone with, say, nuclear launch codes. You could order those nukes be launched and start world war three. Or you could imitate the president, and ruin diplomatic relationships with a dozen countries. The possibilities aren't endless, honey."

Kendall shakes his head. "I'd never do any of that, ever. I mean, I did break the law that one time but that was only because we were in Vegas and I'll probably never go ever again."

Melissa shakes her head. "It doesn't matter, Kendall. They wouldn't believe you. And even if they did, they wouldn't care. You have the capabilities of being dangerous. That is all that they care about. I mean, look at me. If they hadn't locked me up in Moab, I probably wouldn't be doing half the things I'm doing now. They made me the way I am now, by treating me like I was a common criminal just because I have an ability they consider dangerous."

There's a faint, sad smile. "As for hiding?" She shakes her head. "They have something called negation gas, honey. It makes it impossible for anyone exposed to use their abilities. You'd be as powerless as a non-evolved until it wore off. And they'd catch you long before it wore off."

She leans back, pulling her shirt up to show him her newest wound. A healing gunshot wound on her stomach. "See this? I got it because I was trying to rescue someone from the government. Maybe you heard about him. Kozlow? The government faked his death, said he killed himself, then was carting him off to one of their labs to turn him into a guinea pig. But he's alive and well. And was locked in what looks like a coffin in the back of a truck in the government ran section of this very island. Does that sound like a government that is fair and will listen when you tell them that you'd never do anything illegal?"

"But…" Kendall sighs. "The world sucks." gross understatement, there. "So if I was given a tier, which one would I be?" he asks after a moment. So wait, that means Melissa's one of the bad guys?

That requires a bit of thought. "If I had to guess? Tier three. Because your ability is so versitile. You can't destroy directly with your ability, but given that you can be anyone, and can make people see or hear whatever you want…you're dangerous. Potentially." Another drink, and the beer bottle is empty. "Unfortunately, it's not just the government and their Institute that you have to worry about either. Humanis First is a problem as well. They don't just fear us, they hate us."

"You weren't here the day that I came home with a few broken ribs and a concussion, beat all to shit. That was Humanis First. And you wanna know why a group of guys ganged up on lil' ole me? Because I tried to get them to stop wrecking a store owned by an evolved. They were wrecking it just because the guy had an ability, and kicked me while I was on the ground just because I was a, and I quote, evo-loving freak. That…The guy you saw the other night, he was Humanis First. And they were planning to slaughter as many of us as they could. Can you blame me for doing what I did in order to get information to prevent that from happening? You could've been one of the ones they killed. Or Abby. Or Liette. Or one of those kids at the Lighthouse. Isn't it better that I hurt one person in order to save the lives of just one of those little kids who are completely innocent?"

"Couldn't you, I dunno, turn him in to the police? I mean, the government doesn't want them to murder people, right?" hopefully. Kendall isn't so sure anymore. "Murder's murder, no matter who you kill."

"I wish it were that simple, Kendall, I really do. But while Humanis First hates us, the government fears us. And don't forget, they have labs where we're tested on, against our will. You remember Gillian? Went to Vegas with us? She's been taken by one of those labs called the Institute. Remember doctor Francois, from the Den? His boyfriend has been taken by them as well. But the government isn't trying to stop that. They're operating in the government zone," Melissa murmurs gently.

"Boyfriend?" blinkblink. "The doctor was gay?" Kendall says this like it's relevant at all.

And there it is, folks, the first genuine smile from Melissa today. "Yes, Francois is gay. But he's still an awesome guy and a great friend. He's patched me up a few times." The smile fades. "But do you see why I have to do what I'm doing, Kendall? I don't like it. It's not easy for me, but…it's necessary. And if me losing my innocence means that others can keep theirs and their freedom, then I think it's worth the cost."

"Pity there's no Evolved who could create world peace." Kendall remarks. "Make it so that no one hates anyone else, that'd do everyone a favor. But I suppose if there is such a person they're probably locked away in a lab, huh."

"Believe me, I'm with you there," Melissa says, nodding. "I guess a really good empath could, but…yeah, they'd probably be locked away in a lab." She stands, moving over towards him. "Kendall…I just want you to understand that I'm not a bad guy. And I don't want you afraid of me," she says quietly.

"Well that's kinda hard, knowing that you're capable of doing stuff for that, even for… a good cause." Kendall sighs, taking a step back. "Just… give me time, okay? I mean, I can't just get over it or anything." well of course not, it's TRAUMA.

Melissa sighs and nods. "Just try to remember…I'd never do anything like that to you, Kendall. There is no force, no reason on this earth for me to hurt you like that."

"I know, but… just knowing someone is capable of something like that is…. really scary. Especially if you live with that person." Kendall does have a good point. "I've had nightmares every night." well naturally.

Melissa winces. "I know the feeling, believe me. I've had nightmares too," she admits softly. "Just…don't run off again? Please? I really was worried."

"Well, I was in the backyard, mostly." Kendall admits. "When it got too hot I went to stores and stuff with air conditioning."

Melissa gapes at him for a long moment, before she laughs softly and shakes her head. "I didn't even think to look in the backyard. Sneaky, Kendall. Very sneaky."

"Well I figured it'd be the last place you looked." Kendall smiles a little at that. "Jerry didn't know either because I made myself invisible again, and he couldn't even smell me."

"Very sneaky," Melissa says again, before she smiles. "That's okay, I got so worried I cleaned your room."

"What?!" Kendall yelps. "You went in my room and cleaned?!" his perfectly ordered room, just the way he liked it, with everything where he could find it, cleaned by someone else?! Without another word, he bolts up the stairs.

His reaction has Melissa sitting back down and just laughing. He may not fully trust her yet…again…but at least it feels a little bit more normal than just an hour ago. All things considered, she'll take it.

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