Hello. You've reached Angela Petrelli. Please leave a message and I'll be in touch with you when I have a moment. Thank you.
Hello. You've reached Angela Petrelli. Please leave a message and I'll be in touch with you when I have a moment. Thank you.
I used to love a lot of things. Music. Dancing. School. Roller skating. Shopping. All the myriad joys that bring light to a young girl's life. Then the dreams came and darkened everything. I couldn't enjoy sleep anymore, at first, afraid of what I would see. I grew to understand them, more, to long for some insight of what was to come, but back then I just wanted them gone, just wanted to go back to a world of boys and flirting and movies and soda shops and something more innocent than the blood soaked ground that seeped into my consciousness each night, burning or freezing, devastation around every corner.
There were people I loved, as well, but one by one they've fallen, stripped away as surely as my innocence was until all I have left is Peter and he...well. If he ever forgives me that will be a miracle nearly akin to the day he finally listens to me. Love is a luxury, now, and a precursor to loss, it seems. Loss of dreams, of lovers, of family, of hope...I used to be the girl with her heart on her sleeve.
I grew up.
[OOC: Based on RP situation in tomorrow_starts. Adult!Angela is actually played by mapetrelli there, and I play BB!Angela (seemynightmares), but the prompt was too good to pass up not to use them *actually* talking as they can in that game, so I co-opted the situation solely for purposes of the prompt. Not at all binding on the game or any muses in it.]
They've been left alone in a room that isn't familiar to either of them by the once and future lover who seems to be the only thing that links them, staring at each other across a gap of air that holds an ornate table, nearly fifty years, a hundred lies, and far more blood a betrayal than one can dream or the other bear to remember. A trick of time and space and dimension beyond anyone's understanding has brought them together, but the impossibility of the situation seems only to highlight the reality that much more sharply. The woman hardly dares to breathe, while the girl feels close to hyperventilating, skin flushing then paling under the gimlet gaze of the woman they tell her she'll become.
"You'll come back with me to New York, of course," the woman says after a long moment.
"What?" The girl stares at her, shock flitting across her expression.
"Adam says there isn't any way to get you back where you belong, so. We'll come up with an appropriate story--a long lost niece, granddaughter, something. I'll make some calls, get you in to a good school for next year. I'm sure we can figure out records and papers..."
( The girl frowns, the shock fading as her mouth settles into a stubborn line that the woman should recognize, but fails to notice at first.Collapse )
Everyone had gone, condolences falling from their lips and settling around her like more dust in a wilderness. She'd smiled as necessary, said all the right words, played her part to perfection as always, carrying out the necessary deception, because that was what they did in this family. What they did...only there was very little "they" left, was there? She and Peter, who would barely look at her, had gone off somewhere with Claire, and why not?
If she closed her eyes, she could see the blood on the chair, the gash in Nathan's neck, the sightlessness in his eyes as they gazed at nothing. For weeks she'd lived in denial, clinging to the semblance of what could never be again, letting her own invention fool her. Lunches, meetings, family dinners, phone calls. If she pretended hard enough that everything was all right, that nothing was wrong, that her eldest son still moved beside her, she could believe it and hold the grief at bay.
There was nothing left to keep it back now. No crowd to entertain, no family to hold together, no one looking to her to comfort. The echoes of the house settling were a testimony to the emptiness she was left with, an indictment of her own crafting, a sentence she'd brought on herself.
Nathan was gone. Not just dead, but gone. Everyone knew it now, and she couldn't lie anymore. Her fingers ran over the smooth folds of the flag they had given her as a testament to the man he'd been. She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. There was no one left to hear, no one left to fool, no one left to reach for and lean on. For a long moment, she couldn't breathe, listening to her heart pounding in her chest in panic. She tried to force a breath, but it wouldn't come, no matter how hard she struggled to draw it in.
Her fingers fumbled for the phone, but there was no one to call. Peter wouldn't come back. Noah hadn't come at all. She swallowed back the scream that wanted to break out in echo of the one that had sounded so many weeks ago, but it seemed there was nothing to draw it from, and she sank onto the couch, clutching the flag and trembling. The tears still wouldn't come. She'd used them all up, and now that she needed them, there was nothing left but emptiness.
Altered neural pathways snap themselves back into line, reshaping themselves into form they should have always held. Memories and thoughts reassert themselves, scrambling along each road in greedy hunger, clamoring to be heard after long denial. Daniel thought he was healing one wrong, reminding her of a pain she'd known, a fury suppressed in a fog of forgetfulness, but there are so many more secret cuts beneath that he touches, heals only to have them start to bleed again in fresh bursts of heated pain. She can see the pattern of the scalpel's blade stretching back across forty years, cutting away bits and pieces of her. Never enough the others would notice, but enough to change...
Daniel thinks the tears that course down her cheeks are for Nathan, and in so many ways they are, for what Arthur has done to him, for the vengeance he's exacted, for the way he could throw away her son--their son--but where her bafflement sat upon her before her husband--she nearly chokes on the thought of the word now--took the knowledge away before, now it his reasoning is crystalized in her restored memory.
Nathan would bow no more than his father had, and Arthur could tolerate the sight of it no more now than then. His perfect revenge, exacted without knowledge, made it all the more cruel in some ways. He could hold it close, still having her love, planted and twisted into her, and think he'd won.
Not anymore. Never again.
Thanking Daniel, she sends him away, and stares around the kitchen for a few blank moments, before sending the staff home with some excuse about wanting to do something for her husband herself. They smile knowingly and she lets them think what they would. She calls Rene.
She hasn't made soup in ages, but she knew how to cook well once, and it turns out it is not something you forget. She prepares it with care, spooning servings into bowls when she hears him arrive. To his, she adds a final ingredient without a moment's hesitation, a smile curving her lips.
For Nathan. For him. For her. Arthur deserves whatever he gets.
She serves the soup with another smile, as compliant as he's ever wanted her, eating her own soup calmly. His compliments are just something to take as her due. When he pauses, discomfort flitting over his face, she doesn't even look up, still eating calmly for a moment, before finally casting him a cool glance.
"I lied. It's not your mother's recipe."
He looks in her eyes, he sees her smile, he knows, and then he falls. Angela takes a moment, a breath, and then she prepares herself to play another role as grieving widow. It will be her most challenging yet, as all she wants to do is exult, but she's already paid dearly, she can maintain it for a little while longer.
She is free, and she is herself, and soon the world will be as it is meant to be again.
Once upon a time, there was an idea that turned into a dream that became a vision. That's always how it starts isn't it? I'd like to say it came from something noble and true, but it was born in fear and heartbreak and anger. Still, sometimes the truest things come out of our darkest moments.
All we wanted in the beginning was to be safe. I suppose that's all they wanted, too. All anyone wants, in the end--to be safe, loved, wanted. We just had better means to assure our survival and safety when threatened. And the others were right--we were just children at the beginning. Four frightened children who'd lost everything. But then he came, and from our idea born in fear, the vision grew into something so much more. Not just safety and protection and hiding, but a revolution, a way to change the world, to save it from those who were destroying it, to heal it from the wounds it had sustained, and begin again, unafraid, unfettered, free.
We were frightened children, and the vision was compelling, and we believed in it, and so we came together and with his guidance we four became twelve--twelve disciples for the new messiah. I know that's how he saw it, at least. Even after the first salvo failed and we 12 divided into our separate factions among ourselves, we still were united against them. There was some comfort in that, even amidst blood and death and betrayal in the ranks, in between disagreements and plots and secrets and cells--we had other people who knew us, knew our deepest, darkest selves, and our dreams and hopes, and our greatest fears. We had a place we built, a place meant to keep us safe from them, by whatever means necessary.
Maybe it went wrong, maybe no one else can understand, maybe my sons think we were all mad, or evil or megalomaniacs just looking to aggrandize ourselves. But we kept other children from being put in camps the way we were. We patrolled ourselves and kept the most dangerous among us off the streets, locked away from harming innocents and exposing the rest of us. We kept our children safe and gave them as normal of childhoods as we could, sheltering them from the world we'd known and the horror we'd been thrust in too early.
And now...it's all bones and ashes. I'm the only one left standing, and even the remnants of the building we built have blown away on the wind. We can talk about starting again, about building a newer, kinder Company, but that only shows me how little they understand, even now. Who we were together, what we built physically and metaphorically--it's gone. My friends are gone. My life's work is gone. Everyone who understood, who knew...is gone.
I started it. I suppose it's only fitting I am the one left to grieve its demise, but somehow...this wasn't something I saw coming.
Sometimes I look in Peter's eyes, and I cannot conceive how anything so pure came out of a union as hellish as what Arthur and I made of ours.
They're both gone.
Enough losses have piled up, enough tragedy, enough battles, to force forward movement. There isn't time to stop, really. Too many things need doing, as always. First Arthur to stop, then Nathan's foolishness to try and control, then Sylar to monitor in his new role, ensuring that what she has left doesn't leave her completely. Things start to fall apart, and there's Bennet to call, and Parkman to make demands of, and Peter to try and monitor, and a Company to think about putting back together. She keeps herself busy so as not to think, because the moment she stops...
When "Nathan" won't answer his cell phone something inside of her freezes. The longer the silence grows, the colder she gets. The night is dark, shadows stretching across the floor with decades of memories, and as she lets her fingers curl tight around a wine glass, staring out through glass windows at an empty stretch of lawn, the past is as real as the dreams that haunt her.
They're both gone.
Hiro failed, and Arthur...Arthur was already healed when Peter got there. She knows what that means. It doesn't seem right, doesn't seem possible, and some part of her refuses to accept it, even now. He can't be gone, not really, not after everything, not by something so simple, something so little, so inconsequential. Not just like that, a touch, a gust of wind, and the shaping force of her life is blown out of it. Friend, enemy, lover, beloved, betrayer, betrayed. No one so alive could simply go, could they? But she doesn't dream about him anymore, and there's an empty hollow inside of her that answers the question she's never managed to put into words. Even now, she can't say the word, just let the memories slip through her, and ache for the loss of what was and what could have been and what never was and what never will be. Every regret piles up, threatening to smother her, and she is not a woman who regrets anything. Her hand trembles as she raises the glass, takes a sip of the wine. The silence of the house is deafening, and when she yanks her thoughts with deliberation away from golden hair and calculating blue eyes that could soften in a way few got to say, her treacherous mind slips to something even more horrifying.
They're both gone.
There was so much blood. Gore is something she should have accustomed herself to, part and parcel of the business in which they chose to indulge to hide themselves from the world, but not that blood, not his, never his. A parent, a mother, should never lose a child, and not like that. Was it her fault, somehow? Her hubris, her pushing him, his need to prove himself, to live up to her expectations? He was never a match for Sylar. Her gambit to control the killer had backfired--had he taken his revenge that way? He hadn't even bothered with Nathan's power just...slaughtered him as if he were nothing. A shudder runs over her, and she closes her eyes to block out the images, but they only imprint themselves on the back of her eyelids. Even if they find him, even if he calls back, he isn't hers, not truly. Her son, her firstborn, the one she groomed to take his father's place in this world and their plans is gone, and only a shadow of a semblance remains, etched on the consciousness of his murderer and tenuously held there by bonds too easily severed.
For weeks, months, she's told herself she's accepted her losses, gone on with the game, because what else can she do? The trembling in her fingers, the tears she can't seem to fight back, and the sobs that threaten to break free tell her now how deep her denial has set in. There's nothing to be done, of course. They all have to go on. That's what he'd say, even.
Tomorrow she'll go back to the fight, head held high, smile in place, the woman he'd expect her to be. Tonight, finally, she lets the tears come, sinking onto the carpet, one hand pressed against the patio door as she rests her forehead against it and sobs.
They're both gone.
And even if she wins it all, nothing will ever bring them back.
"The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as when you came in."- James Baldwin
How can I begin to describe how we got from where we were to where we are? I've tried, and the words that come do not begin to describe it. They certainly don't make an impact on my children or granddaughter. That we were once like them, that we saw things, went through things, more terrible even than what they've seen and been through so far they do not seem to grasp. The things I've seen in my dreams, the nightmares that came far too young and too true...
I suppose it is always the way. I'd say we didn't listen to our parents' wisdom either, but, then, we didn't have it to listen to, because they were dead. All we had was each other, and what had happened, and a vow to never let it happen again, no matter what.
And we had him.
We took control of our destinies. We took control of our world. We made it safe for us and for them. We kept our secrets, we did what was necessary. Were the choices always easy? Were they ones I wanted to make at that age...at any age? Did I dream of blood on my hands, and graves under my feet, and children who despise me? Of course not.
Do I regret what we did?
Oh, perhaps a thing here or there, yes. There were things we could have handled better, words we should have heeded, prisoners we shouldn't have taken.
But for 45 years, we lived in safety and peace. We raised our children in peace, gave them lives where they were not hunted, kept the most dangerous of us off the streets to save both those they might hurt and ourselves from discovery. They look at me with such judgment in their eyes, but how many apocalypses did we avert? How many times have we saved the world? They haven't thought to ask.
What do I dream? What do I see? Why did we follow him? Why did we split? Why did I allow them to take him away...? Though perhaps that is just the question I ask myself.
They look at me and see something evil, something they think they'd never become. Somehow, someway they would have done it differently.
Some days I think maybe I should let them try.
Then I remember. I remember what it was like, and I remember why we came together, what we were fighting for, and I look at them and know...they aren't ready, and I'm not done yet.
Pushed to the furthest corner on the highest shelf--so high she has to use a footstool herself to reach it should the mood strike, though she rarely indulges these days--in the back of her closet, there is a wooden box. Should anyone dare to brave the depths of the closet and climb and twist and push aside hat boxes and neatly stacked scarves in a basket to find the box and take it down without her permission, it's contents are further hoarded under a tight lock. The key rests in another box, tucked into a drawer in her dresser, with other keys, some of them unique looking, others ordinary, none of them marked. She knows each one of any importance--the others have long since ceased to matter--but an intruder would have to search through dozens to find the one that fit the lock, or descend lower from closet rummaging to lock picking.
After so much caution, so much secrecy, the box, once open, would likely disappoint some, and surprise others.
No jewels, no money, no bonds or stocks, or anything of any monetary value rest inside. It's a chest of papers and pictures and odds and ends. A girl laughs out from this one, nestled snugly against a man with old eyes in a young face whose lips are curved in a pleased smile. The two of them lounge at a table, the Eiffel tower rising behind them, a large young black man seated beside them, smiling just as brightly, teeth flashing white at the camera. A dried rose tied to a scrap of elasticized lace still seems to hold a whisper of perfume and dreams of a night of what might have beens. There are letters tied together with a ribbon of sentiment those most likely to find them would not dream either of the authors capable of penning, but the words stand stark against the paper that's soft from the time her fingers ran over it, holding it close as if the sender were encompassed inside of it, instead of gone, proving the doubters wrong.
She wants the doubters to doubt, most days. Better they see the shell she's built, better they don't guess, better to be strong. Sentiment gets you nowhere, after all, and nothing but hurt, and if her own scarred heart weren't proof enough of that, all she needs to do is look at her youngest son to be reminded of it. So the box stays tucked in the furthest corner on the highest shelf--so high she has to use a footstool herself to reach it should the mood strike--and inside the box, locked away from the prying eyes of those that might question the choices she's made and those that were made for her, are her memories, her heart, and her soul.
There's no place for them out in the world.