Your Prerogative


angela_icon.gif corbin_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Prerogative
Synopsis Angela has one, and so does Helena; although Corbin attempts to mediate, both ladies fail to meet halfway though an alliance at some point in the near future has yet to be ruled out.
Date December 11, 2009

Orchid Lounge

"She still hasn't woken up. I moved her to a medical facility so they can keep her hydrated, but…" Corbin trails off in his conversation with the young woman next to him. Allowed to wear whatever disguise she might desire, he's well aware of who she is, still, and he keeps his voice down when they speak, even as they work to get into the club. She's the only one who can really hear the nervousness in his voice, but people can see him fidgeting as he moves, wringing his hands and tugging on sleeves. "I know this probably isn't the ideal meeting place, but— at least it's an excuse to dress up."

Of course he had to wear one of his nicer suits too. Even if his constant shifting and moving of his hands make the sight a little off balance. "Never did say how you might have met her before." Might as well carry on conversation while they wait for someone to show them back. He hopes this meeting goes well. For the sake of someone stuck asleep, at the least.

"We've never met." Helena is wearing her dark wig she uses for her Evelyn Wozniak person, and one of the nicer sets of clothes - a nice navy blue designer suit, in fact - that Cat had arranged to include in her wardrobe. She absolutely refuses to stand in front of Angela Petrelli like she's some ragamuffin. There are people to thank in the next few moments, if only in her mind: Hana and Claude foremost, having given her the knowledge to scope the room, determine her potential escape routes. "But I know members of her family." She smiles faintly, and confesses to Corbin, "I don't have the opportunity often to dress up." Not and look like herself, anyway.

Though he seems preoccupied, Corbin notices the shifting of her eyes, "Don't worry. This isn't an ambush. I wouldn't do that to Hokuto— she wants you to help, and it'll be easier for you to help if we're actually on the same side. Even ground, and all that." Fingers begin to toy at his collar now, s if it's too tight. Perhaps to him it is. Dressing up is something he has the opportunity to do often, and chooses not to. Unless he's trying to actually make an impression. Or at least not make a bad one. "It'd be nice if things were like they had been before. You'd probably be grateful just to wake up with a little mark and noa harm done." Cause at least then she'd be free, rarely even checked in on. Instead of hunted. Constantly looking for exits. "I did call ahead. I hope that I didn't get the wrong time." He looks at his watch, digital. It's nerves, more than anything. Angela Petrelli had been Hokuto's idol for many years. It's like having a meeting with the Queen.

"It's not you or Hokuto that I'm worried about." Helena says softly. "And I'd be most grateful if no one ever felt compelled to mark me in the first place." It's kept a quiet murmur between the pair. "I've heard stories about Angela Petrelli." she says, and refrains from mentioning that she also broke into the woman's home, once. That might not go over well. She also looks around, quelling the momentary internal urge to bolt from the gaze of Peter's Mother, when she needs to deal with this woman as Angela Petrelli.

"There's reasons for everything," Corbin says, but seems to drop the conversation for the moment. Likely put aside for later interviewing. Omitting little things like secret organizations that don't publically exist to the majority of the people, at least. "I've heard stories too, though I doubt our stories are the same. But I'm glad you're not worried about me, at least. That's reassuring." Last thing he wants is an angry raincloud following him around for a few days in revenge.

The resemblance between Angela Petrelli and her youngest son is striking. Nathan had the good fortune of inheriting his father's steel jaw and somewhat boxy build, but Peter is his mother's little boy in almost every way — long, dexterous fingers hook around the stem of a wine glass her willowy shape approaches Helena and Corbin, dressed in a black suit jacket, dark gray blouse and a knee-length skirt with tinted stockings that end in a pair of smartly polished heels, the family matriarch offers the pair a smile that does not quite reach her eyes or warm the frosty expression she wears on her face.

"Agent Ayers, Miss Wozniak," she greets, her voice taking on a wry tone at the name of Helena's assumed persona that's as sardonic as it is painfully thin. "I'm told there's something I might be able to do for the both of you. Shall we take a seat?"

Angry rainclouds are bad, mmmkay? Helena focuses on Angela with a peculiar sort of fixation for a moment, but keeps her thoughts to herself. Steeling her nerve, she reminds herself that this was someone Claire dealt with all the time. And the widow of the man who tried to kill her a few times in a few different ways. It puts things in perspective. "Thank you, Mrs. Petrelli." She keeps her tone carefully modulated, and does her best to get a seat that doesn't trap her too readily in place and doesn't force her to leave her back to the door. It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

"Sorry for the sudden meeting. I wouldn't have called you if it wasn't urgent," Corbin says as he moves closer to the toward the seat, not seeing to mind where he sits as much as Helena. He might be given repremands for this, but he doesn't expect to get shot at the very least. "It's about Hokuto. I didn't really want to talk about it on the phone. Apparently she had befriended Miss… Wozniak— you couldn't have an easier to say name, could you?" He's quirky, this one. He looks back at Angela, still fidgetting, even more now, really.

He does keep his voice down, as he speaks, but loud enough that those at the table can hear him. "I got a phone call that something had happened to her, and when I got there she was only able to speak for a while. She said… that something that happened about three years ago is happening again. Something you and her knew a great deal about— The woman next to me was one of those attacked by this… person. Hokuto tried to help her, and… now Hokuto's asleep and won't wake up. Hasn't since the evening of the ninth."

If Angela is playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Helena, then she must be very confident in her ability to deliver the killing bite with perfect swiftness and precision when the time comes because she allows the younger woman to choose a table rather than attempt to steer her in a pre-determined direction. "You should order something to eat if you haven't had dinner already," she says as she takes a seat opposite Helena and Corbin at their table, and in true Petrelli fashion she makes it sound like a command rather than a suggestion or even a request. "The spinach salad with the miso-cilantro vinaigrette is nice and light, but I'm partial to the rock shrimp dumplings myself. Have you ever tried oysters, Miss Wozniak?"

Rhetorical question, perhaps — Angela doesn't give Helena an opportunity to answer before she's setting her wine glass aside and folding her hands in her lap, fingers interlaced, wedding band flashing gold in the warmth of the lounge's lights. "I'm already well-aware of Hokuto's situation," she tells Corbin, "and I appreciate that you thought to come to me about it, but if there was anything I thought I could do— rest assured, it would have already been done."

It's…a little hard not to let herself openly acknowledge feeling cowed in front of this woman. But Helena does her best to keep her poker face, self-actualizes enough to realize she is nowhere near Angela's league, and forges forward. "All the same," she says, "You stopped him once. And if you could tell us anything about how you did it that first time, it might help us figure out how to do it again. Please."

"I'll try the salad," Corbin responds to the first part, rather absently. His mind happens to be elsewhere, so it's difficult to think of food right now, even a light snack. "I don't know what Hokuto is doing, but she's not helpless when she's asleep. She tried to help her, so I can imagine she's doing that even now— but that doesn't mean we can't help her out here. Before more people sleepwalk to their deaths. I've already met one other person, completely at random while manning her store for a day— who is also having nightmares. Who knows how many people in the city are experiencing the same."

Angela reaches up with one hand and touches the tips of her fingers to the pearl necklace she wears around the column of her throat. In a younger woman, it could be mistaken for a nervous gesture, but there is nothing nervous or even mildly unsettled about the woman sitting across from Helena and Corbin at the table, and although she appears relaxed there's something distinctly hard about the shape her mouth takes when the pair pleads their case. "It will get worse before it gets better," she says, finally. "Until then, you wait. Monitor those you know who have fallen under its influence and bide your time. I'm sorry that this isn't what you want to hear, but it's the truth, and sometimes the truth is difficult to reconcile with. We didn't stop anything."

"But bide our time to do what?" Helena asks. "He's already been in my dreams. I nearly went over a ledge, and Hokuto was able to pull him back enough for me to take control of things. "I'm not afraid of the truth. But if we're going to stop him, we have to have some idea of what to do. Of where, or how to begin." She sees the parts of Peter that come from this woman. It's disturbing.

"Well, I didn't think you had. Usually if you stop something it doesn't come back," Corbin says, with some hint of his usual carefree tone. He's still too worried to really let it shine as he might usually. "But he hadn't come back in three years, so unless you think he was just sitting there on his hands waiting until the right time to go 'oh hey, I can look into people's dreams and make them jump off buildings or drown themselves', then you obviously did something right back then." Whether it ended up being total or not.

"You mistakenly assume that I have all the answers," says Angela as one of the waiters brings three plates of spinach salad to the table, along with a tray of sake cocktails from which the trio has to choose. Even though she's already nursing a glass of wine, she selects one of the taller cocktails, tinged radioactive blue by the cacao in the drink, and takes a sip before removing her napkin from the table and spreading it across her lap. "As I said, we didn't stop it. It simply disappeared. This is a storm we have to weather out, and with any luck it won't take a nuclear detonation to make it lose interest this time."

Helena accepts one of the drinks, though sips at it once in a rather conservative fashion - she needs to keep her head. Angela's mannerisms with the napkin aren't so much copied as noted as a reminder of a time when her own mother would have cued her to do similar, which she does. "I don't think you have all the answers, Mrs. Petrelli." she says, solemnly. "But I'm aware you know a good deal about dreams, and if nothing else, information, if there's any to be had, can help us. Even if there's not much to be offered about the Nightmare Man, anything you could tell us about the nature of dreams, or what you learned when trying to deal with him, might help us."

"Hokuto seemed to have thought you'd stopped him, or did more than that," Corbin says softly, leaning back into his chair, but not taking anything of the cocktail drinks. Instead he just pulls his salad closer and samples a but from it, to let the weather witch say her part. Now him, he did think she'd have all the answers. Or many of them, at least. "If you didn't actually stop him, then that gets rid of Hokuto's worry that he'll get revenge on you. Or so I assume. Sounds like you already knew, too."

"The Nightmare Man," Angela repeats, curving her lips disdainfully around the name as the waiter departs with the tray, two cocktails less. In the background, a concert pianist practices his scales on the lounge's grand piano to warm up, accompanied by the dulcet plucking of a Japanese lute. The food, the music, the drinks — everything about the Orchid is inspired by the concept of fusion, including the conversation taking place at the table. It is not often that Phoenix and the Company work together toward a common goal. "Acknowledge its existence and you give it strength. Better you call it nothing at all than humour it by using the title it's bestowed on itself."

Helena nods in acknowledgment, but seems for the moment to have nothing to say. She too samples her salad, considering her own thoughts and covertly watching the reporter and the Petrelli matriarch. Nerves swell, and are firmly quashed. Then, "If he doesn't get a firm hold, you can fight back." It's offered as an observation, nothing more, though Helena doubts she's sharing anything Angela doesn't already know. She looks sidelong to Corbin briefly - he's probably enjoying the meal more, at least.

"Okay. Creepy Dream Guy it is," Corbin says, with a smirk of his own, as he downs a few more bites of his salad. "Well, it seems there's really nothing you think we can do other than be forwarned. I can do a few things, but there's going to be a lot of people in the city who aren't warned, and it's probably going to be too late for a lot of them, if our only choice is to let it go. Luckily I do have access to a newspaper. I can probably slip in an ad of some kind of 'Got Nightmares, Come To This Meeting' thing." Not like they haven't done something similar before to get people in for things. "I could even let Miss. … W. Let her handle that bit."

At this, Angela arches one dark but fine brow at Corbin, fingers slivering over the silver fork that balances on the edge of her salad plate. She picks it up and uses it to toss the spinach and further disperse the vinaigrette over the dark-coloured leaves. "And allow her the opportunity to brainwash more young men and women into slandering my son and his administration?" she inquires, tone taking a derisive edge for the first time. "No, I don't think that will be happening, Agent Ayers. If there's to be any meeting at all, it will be held at the Suresh Center and overseen by the Department of Evolved Affairs."

Helena's brows lift a little bit. "Not everyone who's been having nightmares trusts the government." she says. "You think they'd come forward at all, knowing that?" Her tone is kept mild and conversational, though her eyes begin to scan the club again.

"I'm still hoping to get to the point where this young woman will stop looking around like the black suits are about to descend. She did trust enough to come this far, but she doesn't trust enough not to expect to get slapped for the effort," Corbin puts his fork down and sits up from his slouch, even pushing his chair back a bit. "If we're gonna work together on this we're going to need common ground. We can either both go different directions each try to deal with it on our own, or we meet halfway." Despite his jesting tones of before, he does seem to have gone serious now.

"Evelyn." They're on a first name basis now, are they? "You must think I'm going senile if you truly believe I'd allow you to have any authority over anyone in my purview, government, Company, civilian or otherwise. Don't forget who you are, what you are. The only reason you're sitting here now is because your organization agreed to help us locate Munin and wipe out what remains of the Vanguard." Angela's eyes flick across to Corbin, fixing him with a steely stare shadowed by eyelashes too dark, too long and too thick to be natural. "She has every right to be nervous," she tells him. "I am perfectly willing to work together, provided that she agrees to stay away from my sons. Both of them."

"Your son is doing a perfectly adequate job of staying away from me." Helena's tone becomes stiff as she stares down at her plate. "And I'm not interested in authority over any of your people." Her eyes lift to Angela's, an odd calm settling over as she looks the woman in the eye. "You don't want to work with me, that's your prerogative, Mrs. Petrelli."

"Well, what's an acceptable halfway point, then. Cause setting up meetings overseen by Evolved Affairs obviously isn't going to be it, nor is letting her handle the meetings," Corbin says, though he leaves out the fact that he's the one who suggested it in the first place. Perhaps he did it for a reason. Or maybe he just doesn't think at all. Who knows with this guy. "I kept thinking Miss Double-U would give me an interview, but I'm thinking I'd like one from you, too. Doubt it'll happen, but— take that as a compliment." And the fact she's just mentioned a couple things he probably wants to know more about. Alas.

"I will consider what joint-measures I'm comfortable taking with someone who has so much disregard for human life that she named her civil rights movement after a domestic terrorist responsible for the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of innocent people," Angela concedes before popping a forkful of leafy greens into her mouth. She takes her time chewing, the corner of her napkin raised to her mouth to wipe a bead of dressing from the space where her lips meet, and does not swallow until she's arrived at what she intends to be the conversation's conclusion if the way she has not wavered from Helena's stare is any indication. "You don't have to worry about contacting me again, little firebird. My people and yours will be in touch."

"I'm sure it won't be too hard for someone so willing to take the civil rights away and worse of millions more." Helena replies, calmly unrepentant as, after a swallow of booze and a smile bite of salad. "Mrs. Petrelli, thank you for your time…and the meal."

Well at least she's a polite terrorist.

"Well, that could have gone better," Corbin says, moving to stand up. "Thank you for your time, Mrs. Petrelli. Go and see Hokuto sometime. She'd be glad to know that you visited her bedside— or however you end up visiting her. She would appreciate it." After all, idolizing someone does that to a young lady. "Salad wasn't bad, but I think I would have rather had something with meat in it, though, honestly. I'll take a hamburger next time." Not that this is the place for a hamburger. "Ready to go, Miss Double-U." Have a difficult name to say, get a nickname to go along with it.

Helena rises with quiet dignity, offering a nod to Angela that is certainly not friendly, but also isn't discorteous. Her first few steps back are an evident hesitance to turn her back on Mama Petrelli, though eventually, she has to. As she walks out with Corbin, Helena speaks, loud enough for him to hear, low enough for it not to carry, "I'll start letting the safehouses know about the dreaming issues. I don't know how many of them will want to trust the Surresh Center, but we'll see. If you're still willing to help me," her eyes go up to Corbin, and she starts to say something else, but stops. "Nevermind." She gives him a faint, tense smile. There's work to do.

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