2009-12-29: No More Loyalists



Date: December 29th, 2009


A meeting in the cold.

No More Loyalists"

Coney Island, New York

A light, ashy snow has just begun its descent on what appears to be a remnants of an amusement park; specifically, atop one of the famous restaurants. Closed, of course. It's upon a bench underneath the colourful banners that a figure sits. It's cold, dark — dismal, all in all, helped little by the colourful signage. It's Mrs. Petrelli who sits, calm, grim, and in wait, wrapped severely in a long, black and heavy coat, gloved hands with brown fur cuffs folded on one knee.

Through the falling flakes of frozen water, a lone man walks across aged wood and cracked pavement as he moves toward the woman in question. Like the woman, black is the color of choice. Black leather gloves, black trenchcoat and black dress hat with a thin black band. The man with the Horn-Rimmed Glasses moves silently through the night until he reaches the bench in question. He stands for a few moments, watching the woman for a few moments. Silence is given free reign for a few moments before he states the obvious.

"It's been awhile."

The woman barely seems to look at the man who approaches, although he should block her view, but of course she has; regardless, there is little physical indication that she's registered his presence at all. Instead, her head tilts up steadily, eyes upon the sky and the light flecks of white that drift downward from it, as if considering the weather. "Not that long," she tells the Man in the Horn-Rimmed Glasses. Angela's voice has a casual lilt that ought to be at odds with their surroundings. It sounds like her all the same. "Feels like yesterday." A smirk. It's thin. Pushed quickly off her face, which seems paler than usual. It could be the light — or the lack of it.

"It's always easier to cling to the past when you're fearing the future, the man states with a faint smile, removing his hat to reveal the familiar face of Noah Bennet. Ht takes a seat next to the woman, placing the hat between himself and Angela. He doesn't make eye contact with Angela, his eyes scanning for… something in the distance. If he finds what he is looking for, he doesn't say anything of it.

Silence stretches after that dose of philosophy. Angela stares forward as well, her expression one of grim reflection — as seen by ghosts in the empty walkways, if anything, as seems, at the very least, to be empty all around. She looks once to the former Company Man, then ahead. "Have you run into any problems in your cause?"

As Angela looks to ahead once more, Noah looks to Angela, a slight but stoney frown replacing the remains of his poor attempt at humor and fortune cookie wisdom. "Someone shot Sandra… From what I can gather, it was due to my involvement with the government." There is an awkward pause before Noah continues on the facts that will matter more to Angela, unknowing that she is more aware of the matter than he is. "From what information I can gather, it must have been someone from the Company. I have my theories on who it was, but obviously acting on them in this environment is… troublesome. I'll be able to handle it, given some time."

A single brow starts to raise on the face of Angela Petrelli, though it doesn't make it all the way. By the time she looks beside her, to Noah, all he receives is a sharp-eyed, questioning gaze. Questioning, but not nave. Not surprised. "Some people were left out in the cold when the Company came under fire, I can't say as I blame them for wondering what an ex-Company man like yourself is doing working for the government." With a low, barely existent sigh, she leans back against the slatted wood of the bench. Flatly, she continues. "I don't suppose it was a certain illusionist."

"It's possible. I would presume you've had some contact with her already or you would have asked me to handle her. She did seem to go after your son as well, though admitted she had the brains not to bring firearms into it," the Family Man replies, reaching a hand to wipe a couple of melted flakes from the back of his neck. "After this is done, I want assurances that you keep a better leash on your dogs or else I'll muzzle them myself. For everything they are doing wrong, at least the government is trying to do something right." Noah gives a slight snort, the hot breath misting swiftly in the cold waterside air. "Not that effort matters much in our line of work."

"Of course it does." Angela's tone is not one of argument. Simply statement. She regards HRG. "Mm, it did suit her MO up until recently. You know the type. She's either with you or against you but she gets the done. Candice had questions, she must've figured you had answers. Nathan too. You're going to have to put down your hackles, you'll be seeing her again. Subdue her if you have to, but I don't have to tell you how useful she is."

The Company Man gives Angela a look as he gives the same sort of tone. To outsiders, you were think they were arguing the timeline of history rather than the importance of hard work and noble dreams. "No, it doesn't. Well wishes without result is pointless, Angela. It is why the weaker members of the Company were used and abused by the stronger. It's how the government can excuse its actions. Idealism without strength is pointless. It is why you prefer your firstborn, after all." The voice is colder than usual, even for Noah. A couple moments pass before he leans slightly over to offer the following. "And useful, perhaps… But not irreplaceable." It would seem that 'putting down the hackles' is not in Noah's To Do List.

The gaze of the matriarch turns sharper on Noah by an increment. "Not irreplaceable. But once upon a time there was a thing called loyalty. Particularly after you left." Briefly, Angela stretches her arms out; fusses, idly, with the furred cuff of one glove. "Believe me, I gave up wishful thinking a long time ago. All she needs is a shove in the right direction, and I've given her that." Pause. "As for my firstborn… you'll be hearing from him soon."

While most that know the woman would shrink from Angela's rage, Noah only faces it with his usual icy calm. He even goes the opposite, getting an almost conversational tone to his voice. Maybe he finds some mirth out of the Company leader speaking to him of loyalty. "Odd how quick you are to forgive when it isn't the people you care about getting hurt. I wonder if you'll be giving the man that dropped the helicopter on Peter the same mercy," Noah states with a clear frown as he watches the woman carefully. While Angela fidgets, Noah barely budges, only the arching of his neck and the breaths escaping his lips showing that he is alive at all. When he speaks again, he turns away, looking to the place that used to be filled with joy… Now only filled with ghosts of yesteryear and the gloom that comes from a place condemned to be leveled. "As for Nathan, I am sure that is the case."

"Max is a different breed of sociopath," Angela states calmly as she lowers her hands to her lap. There she stays unmoving as well, save for cold breath and the faint squint of dark eyes against the flurries. "Nathan is hopeful. Not idealistic. But hopeful, as much as he can be given his considerable ghosts. He's determined, at any rate. According to plan."

While sideline glance in to Angela's words suggests that he has something to say on the differences on Max and Candice, for whatever reason, he decides to drop the matter for the time being. Pulling out his Blackberry, Noah glances at the time and the e-mails that always keep pouring in. They have to have manual encryption now, due to the influence of a young boy… So he can't even read them here if he wanted to. Sighing, he states the obvious once more. "You didn't come here to talk about my bleeding wife and I didn't come here to talk about the dreams for your son."

Angela looks ahead at the quiet desolation only to watch her companion on the bench out of the corner of her eye. A thin smile appears. "Well, go on then, Noah. The floor is yours." Isn't that kind of her to offer Noah to go first on the matter. Given the calculating look in her eye, it's not kindness at all, but strategy. Beyond that, however, the woman has a tiredness about her. Her smile, scarce as it is, turns bittersweet at some inner thought that goes unnanounced. "Or we could sit here in the snow all night."

"This is going to be ugly soon… Danko is dangerous and Wynn, despite his failings and unknown abuses of his ability, was likely the best shot we had of peacefully controlling him. The Evolved are getting scared and acting out of desperation. They rattle the cage enough, the teams are going to start getting purposefully hostile. Once they start killing the Evolved, there will be no going back. Not without a miracle."

Noah frowns as he considers this. "I can work alright with Danko for the time being, but he is going to see that we have different goals sooner or later… And as it stands now, without Nathan or some other political powerhouse to help, I have exactly zilch I can use to keep him in check."

"He won't see your goals, not if you play your role well enough. Even if you have to make some tough choices to prove your loyalty. It's going to take a lot more effort to get Nathan into a position where he can be of help in the belly of that beast, so you'll have to think of something else to keep this Danko in check. But he's not in charge."

A soft sigh escape Noah's slightly chapped lips. He looks down slightly as he tells the situation as it is. "I don't have the president's ear… And Danko will do all he can to ensure that it stays that way. If I work to gain Danko's trust, I'll warn you that it will mean that I won't be able to shield any of you any more, only attempt to redirect Danko only when it is critical. The children will be pursued. Lethal force may start being ordered for the more dangerous Evolved. Those in the Company, including your 'loyalists', will be my targets. While you can afford to play favorites, I won't have the luxury unless it seems to serve Danko. I'll do what I can, but know that the likelihood of me getting Danko out of power is low. Do not count on it."

With that, Noah rises slowly. Clearly the conversation has reached its end. "But this is the way you want it."

"A necessary sacrifice, we've been there before." Angela watches Noah, making no move to get to her own feet save for one leg unfolding from atop the other, slacks as dark as the rest of their attire — as both their attires — protecting her from the winter weather. "Things will start to change, Noah." For the better? Perhaps. However, coming from Angela Petrelli, it is not wise to confuse idealism with knowledge. The latter is her forte. The future is rarely — in fact, never — ideal, nor is the journey to get there. "In most cases, it's the only future you get, so you have to make the most of it.

Something Angela states doesn't sit well with Noah from the grimace he gives, but again, he doesn't comment on it. "Speaking of sacrifice and making the most of it… I've already assumed how this conversation will end." Noah reaches down for his hat, whispering toward Angela's ear. There is no ill will in his words… Only the facts.

"I've alerted my men that you are in the area. You have five minutes before they lock down the area. Do not take a cab… Hide in public areas whenever possible. Stay safe, Angela… They won't be content to just watch anymore. I suggest the next time we meet, you have more promising news." That said, Noah puts the hat on his head and just begins to walk away.

Up in the sky and roughly a mile or so away, a faint light attempts to illuminate the snowy buildings from above. The faint thump of blades chopping the air can be heard, faint as a whisper from this distance.

It is unsurprising that Noah is walking toward disturbances of sight and sound. He doesn't look back to Angela… Not even once.

No, surprise isn't a reaction Angela experiences. Alarm is one. Fear for her own life. Aside from a widening of her eyes, a tightening of features that suddenly appear more gaunt, the face of the woman who is suddenly considerably more hunted than she once was … is neutral. Accepting, even: she knew this was coming. Perhaps not at this very moment, but she saw it from afar. She did just speak on making sacrifices. She doesn't have to like it, but it is reality. The helicopters thrum and she remains where she is, at least until Noah is further away — then she rises, regal despite her fugitive status, and takes her brisk steps far away.

Cruel choice of location, what with being on an island.

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