2007-06-27: Hangman


Molly_icon.gif Max_icon.gif


Molly makes a curious stop over at Max's cell. A cute little girl and a murderer, what could go wrong?

June 27th, 2007:


Max's Cell

The hallways passing by Max's cell show the normal people passing by, going about their day. Nothing would seem out of the ordinary except for the small blonde head that passes by the window, then stops and backtracks. Molly's not sure why she comes back to this particular window, but she does. And then she stands on her tip-toes so she can look through it properly. It's not unlike children looking at animals in the zoo. However, Molly's expression is less gleeful and more contemplative, maybe even sympathetic as she peers through the glass.

Having already devoured the reading material brough to him by Dr. Suresh, Max is now reviewing it a second time. He must be minding his manners, because he's managed to talk someone into bringing him a pencil. He's using it to carefully underline passages in textbooks and reports, and also to take notes of his own on the inside of one book's cover. Immersed in his work, he doesn't notice that he's being viewed through the impact-resistant glass.

There are a gaggle of guards standing outside the door to Max's cell and Molly gives them a sidelong glance before turning her attention back to the man who seems so immersed in studying. Letting her heels fall back onto the ground, she makes a snap decision and turns to the nearest Company Agent. "Hey, lemme in." Having grown accustomed to people listening to what she wants to do while under Mohinder and the Company's attention, she doesn't sound like she has any doubt that they won't agree with her. "Mohinder wanted me to give him something." By now they should know that she's his ward and while /she/ knows he'd never send /her/ to do his work, she doubts these people do. Really, she's much smarter than other kids her age. She'll think up what she's going to give him later. There's a glare at the small presumptuous child and then the door unlocks and opens. Molly slips inside and the guards all turn to watch /very carefully/. They know if anything happens to this eleven year old, lots of bad things will happen to them in turn.

The sound of the latch on the cell door being flipped is one that Max's ears are always keenly attuned to. After all, a visitor means a break in the monotony. The captive sociopath clears his throat and sets his work aside, but even he can't completely feign indifference when he sees that his visitor is… Well… A little girl. After his initial moment of being thoroughly puzzled, he smiles in a friendly fashion. "You're positively adorable. Are you lost, my dear?" Unlike some adults, he doesn't try to talk down to her. Take a moment to savor that. The murderer treating the eleven year old girl as an equal.

Being in the company of murderers is nothing new for Molly. In fact, most of her life recently has been either avoiding or being tracked by one. The one, in many peoples opinions. "I'm never lost," Molly replies with something like a smile. Not /exactly/ true, but for the most part she always knows where she is. "And it's hard to accidentally unlock a door and end up in a cell." She shrugs and looks over her shoulder to where there are still very watchful guards. "You're different from the others." The huge retinue of people outside the door would prove that. "Is he after you, too?"

Max lets out a short, genuinely pleased laugh. He respects intelligence and wit, especially in such a small, defiant package. "I am different," he replies. "But the only people after me are already inside these walls. How about you, my dear? What brings you to such a dreadful place?" The wary guards get a brief wink from Max, but nothing more. By now, he's accustomed to their scrutiny.

"Whenever I leave here, he gets me," Molly replies cryptically, still looking over her shoulder at the guards. When, she turns around again, she's very serious. "I have something he wants very badly. And if he ever gets it, everyone is in trouble." Not that kindness is wasted on her, but he asked her a question. Normally, Molly is a very honest little girl. For some reason she just assumes that everyone on the inside knows about Sylar. Or at least that they should, so she doesn't just explain who that 'he' is. Then, she pauses. "Oh. Wait. Did you mean visiting you? I dunno. I was bored and Mohinder's busy." Looks like her serious moment is over.

Despite his recent cooperation, Max hasn't been offered the suit he requested. He hasn't even been given a new set of white prisoner's garments. No matter how sterile a man's surroundings, it's impossible to remain clean and sweet-smelling when you've been wearing the same clothes for a week. Still, he's managed to remain as genteel and urbane as a man can under the circumstances. "Someone is after you? Then it would appear we have something in common, only my someone has already found me." He pauses to wet his lips with the tip of his tongue. "What is it that he wants?" Yes. Tell the creepy murderer your secrets, kthx.

Somehow used to - or possibly ignoring - the lack of hygiene that has happened in the cell, Molly doesn't approach Max. She stays right by the door where she entered. She's curious, not stupid. This guy is in here for a reason and she's only visiting because there's nothing better for a young girl to do on a Company facility. It's not really set up for kid playtime. "Me," she replies almost dryly, without any hint of irony. "So what's it that you do?" Now comes the curious part. "You've got those marks that Matt has."

"My marks are better that Matt's," Max murmurs with a wry, self-depricating smile. He pulls the collar of his t-shirt down slightly to show first the fresh mark on one side of his neck, then the pink scar on the other where he unsuccessfully attempted to remove his first implant. "I'm so special that I need two. I have the ability to generate and control magnetic fields. In short, I can do fascinating things with metal."

"So you're like Magneto?" In order to impress Micah, Molly's been reading up a lot more on her comic book lore. It's actually pretty interesting. "That…that's that guys name, right? The bad guy in the X-Men? You're not a bad…wait, you're in here." Stupid question. "And I dunno about that. Matt's are pretty great, too." If you can judge slash marks to be good or bad. She just feels the need to defend one of her two dads. "I guess you're a problem patient, huh?"

If there's one thing Max dislikes besides being locked up his mortal enemies, it's being compared to Magneto. Probably because the comparison hits too close to home. But he read comic books as a child, he understands the comparison. He grimaces distastefully, but for the sake of simplicity he nods. "Yes. Like Magneto, without the unflatteringly clingy outfit." The second question gets a little more consideration. "Problem patient? You could say that. I was brought here against my will."

"But, he has that cool helmet thing," Molly replies, not exactly with a pout, but with a little bit of a twinge in her voice. That's something she knows for certain. "And he wears purple!" Which is one of the colors close to her heart. Even if she is smart, she's still a little girl. "Lots of people are. This isn't where I want to be, either. But a lot of times it's for our own good. There are things out there worse than here. Much worse." She knows from experience.

For our own good. Those are the exact same words that Agent Bonham used, but hearing them from the proverbial mouths of babes is another thing altogether. This earns a long pause while he considers the statement. Finally, he opts to answer truthfully. "I am not here for my own protection, but for the protection of others. I am one of those 'worse things.'"

Molly's response is not immediate. She studies Max and while she doesn't know the man, she knows who he's not. "No you're not," she says evenly, looking right at him. "You're nothing like him. Sylar is the worse thing. Like I said. You're different." She may look like just a kid, but she's been though much more.

Now Molly has Max's undivided attention. He only heard the name Sylar recently. Namely when he was bleeding from his face while Mohinder ignored him to talk on the phone with another murderer. How dare he? Max takes in a deep breath, then lets it out slowly. He doesn't like it when people find him second-scariest. Still, he phrases his next question gently. "Can you tell me more about Sylar?"

Molly doesn't even find Max third scariest. But, then, he hasn't given her a reason to. The question about Sylar gets a pointed frown on her face and she takes a noticeable step backward. Just thinking about him lately makes her scared. "He's a murderer, a liar, a kidnapper." The list goes on and on. "I thought he was dead. He was stabbed right in front of me. But…he came back. He always comes back."

"I see." Max crosses his arms over his chest and his thick brows knit together thoughtfully. "Well, it's good that you're here, isn't it? As you say, there are worse things." Wether or not Max believes this is debatable. It's a neutral statement at best.

"I just want to go home," Molly tells Max. It's easier to talk to someone who can't leave his little cell. "But, I know it's not safe." As has been demonstrated every time that she's been given some leeway outside of the facility.

"I understand how you feel," Max agrees. "I also want to go home, but it seems that I'll be here for a while." He smiles, but the expression is tight-lipped and the scar at the corner of his mouth twitches. Someone's not thrilled. "Perhaps we could play a game to pass the time?" It's an honest suggestion. Max was a kid once, too.

"Well. You did bad things and needed to put in the cell," Molly tells Max. She has no problem telling it like she sees it. And this is one of those times. She figures to be locked up, he had to do something to deserve it. "I dunno. Depends on what the game is. Some of games are kind of boring."

Confident that he'll be able to entice her, Max has already flipped over a sheet of paper and begun drawing on it with his pencil. He pauses and glances over at his young visitor. "You're the one who's so bored that she's visiting a bad man in his cell. What's wrong? Afraid you can't beat me at hangman?" Back to drawing. The improvised gibbet quickly takes shape, followed by nine underscores to indicate letters.

"See, now you're just trying to goad me into playing." Molly has a lovely vocabulary and could probably beat Max at hangman if they tried. "I just like to see everyone once so that I can remember their face." Max isn't special to her in that regard. No, this is something she does to expand her finding database. It's what she did for the Company as Walker Systems and what she'll do for Mohinder and Matt if they should ever ask her. "E.
Max grins, flashing white, even teeth in a vaugely animalistic fashion. "Yes, I was trying to goad you. I'm pleased to see that it worked." He fills an 'E' into the slot for the first letter in his chosen word, then holds the paper up so Molly can see it from across the room. "What makes you so interested in faces?"

"I remember faces. They're easier than names." Plus, when she knows a face she can find them wherever they go anywhere in the world. That's just something on the underscore, though. Molly looks at the board and sees that she's only filled in one letter. Hm. E normally gets more than that. "A." Always go with the verbs first. "It was easy to figure out, anyway."

"No A's. Try again." Max draws in a round stick-figure head at the end of the gibbet, then adds an 'A' off to the side of his chosen word. The discard pile, as it were. "You're very self-aware for someone so young. I'm not surprised that you saw right through me." It's a casual observation, but it's something that pleases Max. He values intelligence above all other traits, even what he considers superior genetics.

"O." Go through all the vowels. Makes things easier to guess later. You can sound a lot of things out with just the vowels. Molly hms, and leans against the back wall. They may be playing games, but that doesn't mean that she trusts him. He's locked up. "I've had some practice," is her reply to being self-aware. It wasn't exactly by choice. More like survival. "You're pretty nice for a bad guy."

"Good choice." Max fills in the third and eighth slots in with blocky O's and then holds the paper up once again. "I appreciate the compliment. I feel that a person's profession is no excuse for poor manners."

"Hm." Looking at what's filled in, it's not enough for Molly to just guess. But there is some more room for more vowels. "I." One more and it's on to consonants. "Your profession is playing hangman?" It's a valid question.

This earns a smug, satisfied smile from Max as he writes an 'I' into the seventh slot. "In a manner of speaking," he replies demurely. "For the sake of political correctness we'll say that I'm a scientist."

That should about do it with vowels. She thinks and starts going through other letters until, finally, Molly gives a little laugh. "Evolution." That's her guess. Final answer. No need to buy another letter. "Clever." As for him being a scientist, she eyes him. "You don't really look like a scientist." He has muscles and shaggy hair. All the other scientists in Mohinder's lab are much less toned.

"Clever girl." Max inclines his head, conceding the win to Molly. If anything, he looks more pleased than ever at discovering so much potential in a child. "As for looks, they can be most deceiving," he continues. "You, for example, do not look like you'd score perfectly on an SAT verbal. I believe that the mind and body work in harmony. Neglect one and the other may falter."

"You're saying I don't look smart?" Molly pulls a face at Max. "If you saw me with my hair in braids, you wouldn't say that. That's my smart look." If anything could be called a smart look (other than perhaps glasses). "SATs?" Not even thinking about college or studying for high school tests, the SATs aren't something she's familiar with. "I guess that makes sense."

"I said no such thing." Max can't help but let out a short, rich chuckle in response to the girl's scrappy attitude. "And would it be so bad if I did? A keen mind in an unassuming package can be a most effective weapon. Never underestimate the element of surprise, my dear."

"You still didn't answer my question about SATs," Molly points out from her safe spot by the door. "Well, saying someone doesn't look smart kind of says they look the opposite. And even if it /is/ good to surprise people, I don't think I look stupid." Then again, sometimes she chews on her nails. Is that considered looking stupid? Then, she gets a bit of a mischievous look on her face as she starts to think of all the ways she could surprise Mohinder. Most of them involve a hidden Nico.

"SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test," Max replies. "It's a an admissions exam that you'll probably take sometime in high school." He matches the mischevious look with a grin of his own, then leans back against the wall to shrugs and stretch his broad shoulders. Too many days of sitting in a cell has left him feeling even more cramped and creaky than usual.

Already trying to figure out the best place to stash Nico in Mohinder's lab that he won't be seen right away, Molly thinks that over. "Ah. Well. I'm good at tests." So she doesn't really worry about them. Not to mention the fact that she's got years to go before she even has to worry about that. "Well. I should probably get back."
Max nods agreeably. "That you should, my dear." He nods low, almost an abbreviated bow. "I am Maxwell Swan, and it has been a pleasure. I hope you decide to visit me again."

"Molly Walker," Molly introduces herself. Maybe she should start calling herself Molly Walker Parkman Suresh, but that's just a bit too much of a mouthful. "I'll see what I can do about visiting again. Oh!" Pulling something out of her pocket, she hands it over. It's one of those fortune telling origami paper toys that children make in elementary school. This one was Molly's. "I told them I had to give you something. Here." Darting forward, she holds out the folded square of paper. "Maybe I'll see you around soon."

As a man with few material possesions, Max is inclined to accept any gift with respect, no matter how small. "Thank you, Miss Walker," he murmurs. Reaching forward unassumingly, he takes it from her with the tips of two fingers. "I look forward to our next encounter."

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