To the Benefit of Everyone


angela2_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif

Scene Title To the Benefit of Everyone
Synopsis Melissa seeks a favour from Angela.
Date April 21, 2010

Petrelli Manor

There's ten feet of snow outside and Angela Petrelli isn't going anywhere. Fortunately, the drawing room of the house she and her late husband purchased when their eldest son was still small makes an ideal place to meet. For one thing, there's a fireplace. For another, the windows overlooking Central Park in the distance let in plenty of light even with the sky as overcast as it is, which makes the space feel larger and more expansive — a real boon in homes as old as this one.

Melissa has plenty of furniture to choose from when Angela's live-in physician sees her in. Chaise lounge, two armchairs upholstered in leather and suede, custom cushions on the drawing room's window seat. The lady of the house is already seated at the bench by an upright piano that appears to be a more recent purchase and glitters obsidian black in the firelight.

Melissa looks infinitely better when she walks in the drawing room than she did the last time she left this house. The wound on her head is nearly healed, and she has only a healing cut on her hand now, one she hasn't bothered to bandage. Gloves are infinitely more important when traveling outside than bandages.

Mel chooses the window seat, though she doesn't sit immediately. "Thanks for seeing me, Miz Petrelli. I'm sure I'm the last person that you really want to be talking to, if our last conversation is any indication," she says in a friendly enough voice, before she looks out the window and onto the snow.

Angela's initial response is to arch one slender brow at the younger woman's assumption but says nothing to refute it. Even though she has no intention of leaving the house and hasn't for several days, her make-up is as close to perfect as her wrinkles will allow and her hair has a rich, glossy texture comparable to the surface of the piano that gives her a more youthful appearance than she probably deserves. Melissa has caught her on one of her good days, and the fact that she requires a live-in physician is a good indication that she has fewer of these than she'd like.

"Not quite the last," Angela says.

Melissa glances back at Angela, and this time it's her brow that arches. But rather than comment on the older woman's words, she smiles. "I know I've no right, really, but I've come to ask a favor of you. One that, while being distinctly in my favor, could benefit us both. At least to the point where it would allow me to be more useful to you."

She falls quiet for a moment, glancing back out the window. "You strike me as a very practical woman…" She glances back, asking, "May I call you Angela? I'll understand if you don't want me to."

A tight smile forms on Angela's lips. It is not particularly friendly. "Call me what you will, Miss Pierce. It makes no difference to me." There's a shift in her demeanor, a subtle change in posture and the position of the manicured hands in her lap that makes it clear to Melissa that she has her attention.

Melissa gives another smile at that, and it seems more real, softening her features. "Well honestly, in my head I've been thinking of you as Mama Petrelli. But I don't think we're close enough yet for me to use that particular name. But please, call me Melissa."

She turns fully so she can sit down, tugging off her knit cap, sliding fingers through her hair to get rid of the hat hair. "As I'm sure you know, I was in Moab, with your son and a number of other people here in New York. Unlike some of them, I did nothing to get put in there but be what I am. I hurt no one, committed no crimes, and plotted nothing that would lead to either of those. I was just…considered too dangerous to remain on the outside, because of what my ability is," she explains in a brisk, business-like tone.

"Last time I was here, it sounded like…well, it doesn't matter what it sounded like. You clearly have some pull with the Company, to keep me out of the reports from when that man attacked us here. So the favor I have to ask of you…is a pardon. I don't want to be hunted anymore, Angela. Not for just being evolved. Not for somehow ending up somewhere not Moab. I don't have any plans to take down the government, or to commit any crimes, I just want to be free to live my life how I choose. I want to do my work out in the open, rather than hiding in shadows, afraid that I'll be found and get carted back off to some box somewhere."

Angela is silent for a long time after Melissa has finished speaking. The only sounds in the room are the crackle of wood in the fireplace and the wind curling against the window a few inches from Melissa's face. If she listens carefully, she may also be able to detect footsteps moving elsewhere in the house, but the traffic noises on the street outside are noticeably absent and have been for the better part of the last month.

"The Company is in no position to offer pardons to anyone," she says finally, "and being the president's mother gives me less political power than you might think." She lifts her chin, looking down her nose at Melissa in the window box. "Peter is able to live an ordinary life because of extraordinary circumstances. Did he tell you why it is he's walking free?"

Melissa smiles faintly, sadly. "He told me a great many things, but that wasn't one of them, no. But the Company…they're the ones who put me in the box. So why can't they just…leave me alone? No one else cares who I am, because in the grand scheme, I'm no one important. I'm no one dangerous. I'm not…" A living bomb. "I didn't come here to see the president's mother, though, Angela. I came to see you, because you seem to be a great deal more than just a president's mother."

The expression on Angela's face has grown strangely rueful. "I used to be," she concedes. "If I was capable of issuing pardons, Peter would have received his the moment he set foot out of Moab. Such is, unfortunately, not the case. But—" Because there's always a but. "Let's say I do manage to procure you a clean slate. How does this benefit me? You say that you'd use a fresh start to do your work out in the open, but your work is also highly illegal as far as the government is concerned."

Melissa shakes her head. "Not anymore it isn't. Right now? My only job is as a manager at a club that hasn't yet opened because of the weather. Far from illegal. And what I'd like to do if I didn't have to hide, is open a center of sorts, for evolved. Something open, possibly with the help of the DoEA. Sort of like a women's shelter, but for the evolved. Someplace they can escape from abusive families or spouses. Some place where they can learn how to control their powers. Which, if you think about it, benefits everyone. Would you rather a pyrokinetic learn how to control their fire on their own, and possibly burn down a few buildings or kill a few people, or would you rather have them learning in a safe, controlled environment, where no one can get hurt?"

Melissa shrugs a little, crossing one leg over the other. "It'd be a win-win for the evolved and the DoEA, and anyone else who wanted some good publicity by publically supporting an entire race of people." Lips curve, just a little. "As to how it benefits you? You could be one of those good publicity people. And more to the point…I owe you a favor. I haven't forgotten about that. But there is little that I couldn't do easier if I didn't have to hide from the authorities. Beyond that…I don't often ask for help like this. It wouldn't be a thing that I'd forget anytime soon. I owe you for keeping my name out of the reports, yeah, but I'd owe you huge for this."

Looking back out the window, Melissa sighs softly. "There are so many things I want…and being wanted makes almost all of them near impossible," she murmurs.

"You're describing the Suresh Center," Angela tells Melissa, "which already exists and has programs in place designed to do exactly what it is you're advocating. If I can get you a pardon," and judging by the solemn tone of her voice, it's an incredibly big one, "the favour you owe me will be to take a job there and keep your head down until I tell you otherwise. There will come a time in the not-so-distant future where you'll be required to call on your connections with Noah Bennet's organization whether you're a part of it or not.

"I've seen what comes to pass, Miss Pierce. Believe me when I tell you that by the end of the year, pardons won't mean anything to anyone."

Melissa's brow furrows. "You've seen? What, are you a precog, Angela?" she asks, sounding surprised. And perhaps a little worried. "If pardons won't mean anything, then…" She shakes her head. "And does the Suresh Center let people go once they've shown up? I don't want to advocate a Hotel California to anyone."

"The Suresh Center is our best hope for a brighter future," Angela says, and it's the closest thing to answer regarding her ability that Melissa is going to get. "If you're concerned about possible abuses, it's also the perfect place for you. Take a look for yourself, investigate from the inside. I'll see what I can do. Pardons aren't the only option."

Melissa considers for a moment, then she nods slowly. "I'll go check it out. But what other options are you talking about?" she asks, brow furrowing once more as she thinks rapidly. This isn't going quite how she intended, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Angela makes a dismissive gesture with her hand. "I wouldn't want to get your hopes up. You'll hear from someone within the next week or two."

Angela gets a long look from Melissa, before she nods, and rises to her feet. "Well, however it goes…thank you, Angela. I really do appreciate you taking the time to talk to me."

"I've recently found myself with all the time in the world," Angela says, spreading her hands to show Melissa her palms, well-cared for but not as soft or nubile as they were in her youth. "Don't do anything to attract attention to yourself, meanwhile. I trust that you can show yourself out?"

Melissa smiles. "Sounds like you need more interesting company then. You want mine, I'm sure you'll have no problem getting my number? And yes, I can show myself out. Thanks." She nods to Angela, then heads for the door, tugging her hat on as she goes.

If Angela knows about Melissa's relationship with Noah Bennet, however tumultuous, then acquiring her number should pose no obstacle. Whether or not she'll take her up on her offer, however, isn't something that can be read in her dark eyes or the slant of her thin mouth. She watches Melissa go, saying nothing, and as the ex-Ferryman closes the door behind her, she leaves her hostess alone with the warmth of the fire and the small comfort it provides in the absence of her family.

Melissa, at least, has someone to go home to.

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