2010-01-10: Don't Let Any Strangers In



Date: January 10th, 2010


Lena meets Angela. Enough said.

"Don't Let Any Strangers In"

Petrelli Safehouse

Staten Island, New York

FedEx delivers early (unless you know you're waiting for a package!), which means the early rouser of the house is the one who rolled out of bed and stumbled to the door to accept the delivery. Everyone else is still sleeping, naturally or through the benefit of sleep-aids. Lena, looking mussed with her wild chestnut hair and natural (half-lidded) blue eyes, garbed in sweats, Muppets band tee and gloves, is not the picture of either grace or elegance. But she has managed to get a pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen and somehow manhandle open the cardboard envelope.

Its contents are now spilled on the dining table, with the young woman slumped in one of the chairs while she sifts through the pile of new documents. One in particular, a small blue passport, seems to draw most of her attention. She's picked it up and is studying it with bleary eyes, lips pursed in apparent displeasure.

She was right. She's not going to win any beauty contests.

Outside, it's a clear blue morning, cold and snow-draped. The roads have been plowed, at least. The FedEx driver hauls himself up into the truck, the roar of its diesel engine loud, and only growing louder as it rumbles off down the street towards the delivery.

In the wake of the truck's rumble, footsteps approach the front door. Angela Petrelli stands outside the house in the bright light of day, in the drive. Quaint, the house doesn't look much like a safe house… but that's what makes it safe.

Decked out regally in a coat borrowed from an old friend, the visitor to Peter's new residence strikes a regal and perhaps an imposing figure: fur from voluptuous collar to a hem at the knee in the form of a coat that would make animal rights activists scream. A purse is tucked under one arm, soft leather gloves warm her hands, a silk scarf is wrapped neatly about her head and hair which is pinned tight and high; dark sunglasses hide most of the woman's face, but nothing can quite hide her imperial expression.

Prestigious, for a fugitive, but she could be any New York socialite.

She makes her way to the back door instead of lingering in the front and urgently, she knocks. Rap rap rap.

There is silence in the house, three people sleeping and one suffering a quiet heart attack. Visitors were not expected! Lena drops the passport and stares in the direction of the back door. Her choices are to pretend no one's home or to answer. And if she answers, and lets in a black-ops team…

Wait. Black ops team don't typically knock first, do they?

Probably not. Still, the young woman pauses to slide a large knife out of the knife block before creeping to the entryway. The knife is held against her forearm, slipped behind her back as she teases aside the white curtain to peep through the door's window at their visitor.

Oh my.

Lena's eyes widen, recognizing Angela as being very much not her Sort of People, but she doesn't immediately leap to unlock the door and open it either. "Who is it?"

Physically, only a crinkling around the visitor's lips belie what she's thinking. By doing nothing else but simply standing there and bearing down on the door's windows — the curtains — staring at her through the wholly solid black shields that are her sunglasses, however, Angela seems to exude an air of disapproval. It's concern that is kept quite hidden. That's not Peter, nor is it a voice she recognizes. "I could ask the same of you." Angela's head tips up, back. "I'm looking for the man who lives here," she adds, a sharp tone of question and expectancy making its way to her voice.

Unfortunately for Angela, she is dealing with someone who has more than a few issues with authority figures. And Angela is nothing if not the ultimate maternal authority figure. Lena might suffer a cringe but she holds her ground, and tightens her grip on the knife.

"Yeah? Sounds like you don't even know his name, lady. Sorry. He wasn't expecting anyone and he's not up for chattin'." Obviously not, if he has this fresh-faced paranoid tending the door for him. "Maybe you could come back later."

Now would be the time that Lena lets the curtain fall closed again but it's twitched back just a little more. More of her own face is exposed, but it also means that she has a better view of the woman on the other side of the glass. Her eyes narrow in a squint. "…I could maybe take a message. I'm…Niki."

Angela's eyes narrow, but the expression is invisible until she slides off the large, dark glasses to properly eye the girl behind the curtain. "Sure you are," she says flippantly before tucking her sunglasses along her coat's fur collar, atop the first button. She has no plans to leave, not being dissuaded so easily. She does have one thing in common with the paranoid young woman, however, and that is the art of being careful. She doesn't give away too much. Unfortunately, that makes both of their positions more difficult. "I'd rather speak with him myself if it's all the same to you." Even though it's obvious that it is not. "It's important. I came all this way. I had to take a ferry."

Oh no, not a ferry! Lena's eyebrows draw down over her eyes, shaping a look of incredulity. Angela isn't serious, is she? "What, don't I look like a Niki?" she challenges, matching tone for tone. Flippant is something Lena's quite comfortable with. "But I'm serious. He…uh. Might not wake up for a little while. So maybe you…could…uh…"

Fending off of the visitor is put on hold as something occurs to the young woman. It's easier to see a resemblance with the glasses off but still Lena hesitates. It's so important, in this day and age, to be certain of whom one is speaking with.

"Are…are you…how do you know him? You don't know me but he's like…I'm not letting you near him if you aren't who I think you are, got it?"

Might not wake up for a little while? If that's not suspicious, what is? Angela does not hide her suspicion in the slightest, giving the wisp of Lena that she can see through the window an entirely judgmental gaze, as if to say: what did you do to him? She reaches for the door handle. It's locked, but evidently, she's confident that it won't be for long. "I'm his mother. Let me in."

Well, that's one suspicion confirmed. Of course, having it confirmed and then having Angela reward her with That Look does not necessarily incline Lena to unbar the door. Her own eyes narrow right back. "He's fucking exhausted, okay? He asked me to help him," she says rather defensively. Having established her right to live for a little while longer, she then reaches out to (slowly) remove the locks.

Then she steps back, the knife still tucked neatly behind her back.

In swings the door. "Thank you." There have been changes made to the house since she was here last — furniture — and as such, it's given a cursory examination as Angela steps in out of the cold. The woman's watchful gaze doesn't stray far from Lena for long, however. "Yes, I imagine he was. Help him how?" In the dimmer interior, away from the bright outdoors, and closer, the more worn aspects of Peter's mother can be better glimpsed: her eyes are no less sharp, but they're tired, and she looks slightly gaunt in contrast to her heavy coat.

They have that in common, at least. Lena is in no fit state to serve as house guardian, but she only gives a little ground as Angela enters. She's balanced on the balls of her feet and tense to the point of shivering. "How do you think?" The question comes with a defiant toss of her chin, the challenge still writ plain on her face. Lena's learned her lesson about too easily admitting to her abilities.

The hand not holding the knife lifts to point to the door. "You maybe want to close that and lock it, you know? If…if you know anything about how bad it is out there." It's a clumsy sort of test, a probe of just what the older woman might know.

"I don't know, dear." Too many possibilities. From the powerful to the mundane. Even she doesn't know everything, and she certainly doesn't know this scrap of a girl. The door is, indeed, then locked behind her. She pauses a brief moment to glance out the curtains, as Lena did moments ago, before turning back. "Stop being so flighty, I'm not going to hurt you, I just want to see my son. I take it you're here for protection." Cue pause. Angela looks Lena up and down skeptically and pointedly, gloves, Muppet shirt, sweats and all. "Unless…"

"Unless what?" Lena does not like the implication behind that gaze, not at all. It causes her to set her jaw and look very grumpy indeed. "Look, I just got up, okay? I haven't even brushed my teeth yet so don't look at me like that. Cmon. There's coffee if you want. Pete's probably gonna be out awhile, like I said. He…took something to help him sleep." She slides back a step, clearing the path that leads into the kitchen and gesturing just in case Angela is too busy with horrific maternal suspicions to notice that she's supposed to go that way.

As a gesture of good faith, the knife is produced from behind her back and slowly, carefully, placed on the hall table. Lena gives a shrug as if to say 'can you blame me?'

No, she can't. Angela's critical suspicions even fade for a moment to be replaced by a tight quirk of a smirk — amused, if only fleetingly. Quite unfazed; unsurprised, at the very least. "You can never be too careful." She moves toward the kitchen, glancing back at Lena (and the knife) on her way, but walks past the kitchen to hang up her coat at the front door. Once she looks much smaller, shrugged out of the furs, she makes herself at home in the kitchen. At home, as if she has every right to be here … but she is far from relaxed. "How is he?" she forces the casual question tightly as she helps herself to coffee.

The elder lady need not fear being stabbed in the back. Lena pads along quietly behind her with nary a sign of aggression; that smile went a long way towards easing the twitchiness. It was a human expression, something above and beyond Stranger or Mother. Once in the kitchen, a moment is spent gathering up the spilled documents to shove them untidily back into their envelope. "Pretty wrecked." There's a pause while she debates what else to say. Angela had mentioned being here for protection… "Um. You know much about what Pete's been up to? 'Cause, like, he never mentioned you, I'm pretty sure. And…and if he gets pissed at me for letting you in…" Not that she can imagine a pissed off Peter. But it could happen. Probably.

"I'm aware," Angela assures somewhat blandly, midway to the fridge to find the milk; it doubles as investigating what Peter is keeping in there. "I expect there's a lot he doesn't say. The more you know, the more likely you are to get in trouble for it one day." She whisks back to the counter to fix her coffee, stirring in the milk she discovered. Cup in hand, she turns to Lena. "Which room is Peter's?"

Lena stops, envelope in hand, and directs a rather foul look at Angela. Now would be a good time to display some diplomacy, accept that remark for what it is, rather than the sort of talking down to that she should expect from elders. Or those in the know. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not one of her cultivated abilities. "Yeah, well, he tells me a hell of a lot, and I know a helluva lot more on my own, okay? I've already been in that trouble." Her eyes drift to the coffee cup. "Um. That's not gonna wake him up. It's…a special drug."

"Angela only regards the young woman coolly. She even smiles. "No, this is for me. I'll wait until he wakes up." Special drug, hmm? That's filed away into the memory banks. "I'm sure he didn't mean anything by not telling you every detail of his life." The woman's eyebrows lift; she raises her coffee cup, pausing its trek just below her chin. "So where's his room?"

Lena just gave something away, didn't she? Damnit. The young woman's face twists in a scowl that seems timed to coincide with the smile being given to her. "Yeah, well…he's…" Preoccupied. Busy. Certainly not the BFF that Lena perceives him to be. And she doesn't appreciate having this fact pointed out to her. "Upstairs," she continues curtly. "First door on the left. The left, not the right." If Angela enters the right-hand room, where Jade slumbers, Lena is not responsible for what may happen.

Pleased, Angela gives Lena a look that says as much and sips her coffee. "There, that wasn't so hard." Having gleaned the simple information she needed, so as not to barge in on any other wayward souls Peter has collected, she begins to wind her way to the stairs. "Don't let any strangers in," she warns in a half-joking, half-serious singsong as she ascends.

In the kitchen, Lena waits until Angela can be heard passing down the hallway above her head. Head tilted, eyes lifted to the ceiling, she waits. And then, very, very quietly, she mutters, "Bitch."

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