2008-04-14: Rest


Angela_icon.gif Church_icon.gif

Summary: John is a petty bastard, and Lawrence owes Angela something that she wasn't quite expecting.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2008


NYC - Angela's Office - Company Headquarters

That someone is inhabiting Angela Petrelli's office in the days since her "return" to the Company is, in fact, unusual. Why? Because the woman who holds the loftiest title in the Company has been keeping her head down more than usual — directing it from the shadows, as it were. She's elusive, giving her orders to be delivered from the lips of others. A whispered-about ghost. A mythological woman.

Now, however, she happens to be in her office.

Angela sits down at her desk after re-arranging the items on it, fixing this and that, putting things in their proper place. She spreads her hands far apart on its surface, sitting carefully but with bold posture, as if testing the seat, the grain of the wood, and how it feels to be sitting again in this chair.

Three, two, one- It is only a matter of time before someone realizes that Angela Prtrelli is up here, and as the heavy knock on the door chips at the woman's moment of silence, it seems that someone already has. On the other side is Agent Church; well, as much as he is Church while he is John Smith. Only looks peg them as the same. He has been out of the ward today, given some painkillers as pills to take, and with at least one crutch on his person for the afternoon. His left leg is still cast, and sense would make him take a chair, but then again… maybe John is just as lacking there as Lawrence is sometimes. As for clothes, John dressed them this morning. Denim jeans, one boot, and a red flannel shirt over the peeking edge of a white undershirt, the bottom tucked into the pants behind a belt. His hair is combed, and his face clean-shaven. Ever the cowboy, right?

Angela is in the midst of adjusting another item on her desk when the knock comes. She's focused on the ornamentation, rather than the impending visitor: it's a photograph in silver frame that her hand touches, a picture of her boys about a decade or so ago. Only when she's finished her reverie does she give the heavy (but unlocked; she didn't intend to spend a lot of time behind these walls today) doors a skeptical look and say, "Who is it?"

John even tests the lock, and opens the door a crack to stick his head inside. Some things are the same, after all. Church got it somewhere. "John, Angela. May I talk t'you? It's not urgent, but I think I need t'do it while yer not somewhere else…" This is different, however. Demanding to be seen.

Angela's brows fall, making her look, as it lands on the man, quite darker than it was before the door opened. Is she not pleased to see him? More like she's not pleased that he exists at all at this point in time. "You may," she grants in a clipped voice. Sliding aside a folder and pen from the center of her desk to make room for her hands to fold in front of her, she regards John expectantly. "Have a seat." A demand, not a kind offer. "Before you fall in that clumsy cast and break Lawrence's leg for a second time."

When John walks in, crutch and all, even the way that he walks is totally new. He walks with his shoulders back and almost in a straight line(thanks, Gimpy), while Lawrence notably walks in a swagger, instead of shoulders- leading himself around with his hips at the center of gravity. "It's not my fault'e walks like some sorta-" The foot in the cast catches on the edge of the rug, picking it up as John tries his best to fidget away from it.

Eventually, he is able to put himself down in the seat opposite the desk, eyebrows knitted and face in a small frown. Where was I? John fixes Angela with Lawrence's eyes. "I felt th'need to express my …disappointment."

A brow is lifted all the while John makes his way to the chair, Angela leaning slightly over her desk above interlaced hands. It's naturally dim in the office with its lack of windows and pieces of dark furniture and many things everywhere, and the desk lamp's light is prominent against her cheek. So, essentially, John has come to complain. Angela sizes up unChurch with a look. "I'm listening."

"I gave you-" The unChurch pauses, taking a breath to scan himself over. It is somewhat strange now, for such a familiar face to be so different. "-this. Back then, I was gonna just toss myself to traffic. But I remember like it were yesterday: I told you… that wasting the ability I had 'cause a'what happened- I thought it was selfish t'throw it away. At the time, you needed powerful, trustworthy people fer this Company. Pillars t'build on, right? You said that." John's drawl does not struggle through his words, but at times it seems out of place. A smart man with an unfortunate twang, and a touch of pain in his voice.

"In case you fergot, I figgered: Hey, they need guys. I don't have a place here no more, maybe it'll be better fer everyone if I just hand the body over. So I did. Fer a while there, it was fine. Then some years ago y'all started goin'downhill. Gettin'away from what ya planned and doin' whatever the hell that all was. Fer years I couldn't say nothin'. But while'm here, thought I would." Complaining, yes, however not so angrily.

"I gave y'all this body in good faith. I find m'faith bein'disturbed o'er the last few years or more."

Angela says nothing at first, although it's not due to surprise or even a lack of words; she calmly, and with a heavy air that's almost dismal, sits back straight and looks beyond John's shoulder. She doesn't even look offended by the sudden cowboy's words. And for a moment, she doesn't look like anything but a rigid statue — until she speaks again. "Somewhere along the way we lost perspective." Dark eyes settle on the out-of-place man. "I would have justified myself once. In some things, I still would."

John closes his eyes for a moment, leaning onto the lower rung of the crutch propped on the rug. "Perspective is easy t'lose. Y'all watched me for years. Y'know that I know that. But unlike me, the Company can't blame crank fer it." It almost sounds like he would laugh were it any other moment.

"It's time for y'all to recalibrate. Somehow. Get some real new blood pumpin'." He even has suggestions, but may not be making them. "Go t'Secret Agency rehab. Things that need doin'ain't the same things that needed doin'."

Now something sets off a spark in the woman behind the desk. Angela leans forward, hands clutching the edge of the writing space to shoot a warning glare at John. "Things will change and I'm going to work out exactly how they need to, but I do not need you to tell me how it is to be done. I understand that you have a certain perspective— " There's that word again. " —being as we got to you so long ago…"

John shifts up enough in his seat to be able to lean closer, putting his own white-knuckled hand on the edge of the desk and staring down Angela Petrelli word for word, level with her and halfway from the chair.

"And it's a fresh one. Not like that Bennet character or Lawrence has. They can't see alla these holes in the quilt fer what they are. As long as I'm in this mess, ya gotta deal with me, Angela. Whether or not you like what I have to say. If things're gonna change, don't be lolly-gaggin'round sayin'it's comin'. Jus'do it. Rip off the old bandaid quick, or it's gonna hurt."

"You're wrong; your perspective isn't new, it's just bird's eye and that makes you insightful, it doesn't make you an expert," Angela lashes back, her voice measured but heated. "Go back to the psychiatric wing, John. Wait it out. It's… my hope— " She becomes quieter. " —that it will come sooner than you might think."

The man's face wrinkles slightly around the edges, and he stays leaning forward. "I'm more of an expert than some of y'all are." John scowls and sits back down in the chair instead of getting up. "Hopin' ain't doin'." The tone suggests that he might start making a ruckus again if it doesn't start sooner than he thinks. "They treat m'like a weirdo in the psyche wing. I don't think I'll be goin' back." Huff.

Angela has oh-so-many more words brewing under the surface to snap back at John, but this back-and-forth will lead nowhere productive if she decides to justify herself outloud. She can see that easily. And so, the matriarch sits back and folds her arms. "You will, that's an order."

John settles for the best response to something he does not want to do, frowning over at Angela and generally being ornery. "No. I'm not yer agent. You can't make me."

Angela gives John a look one might give an unimpressed child. She sighs once and, without removing her unimpressed gaze from him, picks up the receiver of her telephone. One finger hovers above a call button. "I can, John, because I'm sending you there for Lawrence's benefit, not yours, and you have the unfortunate fate of sharing the same space. Don't make me call to have someone assist you."

The man grumbles audibly at the hand hovering at the phone, looking away from her and towards the wall, hands on the arms of the chair in preparation to stand. He never does push himself up. Insert long pause here, plus a few blinks at the wall, and the man turning his head just enough to catch sight of Angela sitting there looking menacing.

Lawrence's voice is breathy, and a frown is quickly forming as he stares uneasily towards the woman nearby. "How did I- why- damnit. Not again." It seems as if this is not the first time today he has 'blacked out'.

Despite the man making motions to get up, Angela makes motions of her own, lifting her eyebrows and threatening to press the button. She never does that, either. She regards the shift unsurprised, a flicker of a smile appearing. Her arms uncross. "Be thankful your other self isn't an psychopathic egomaniac," she tells Church in an altogether different tone from that which she was speaking to John with a moment ago. It's nicer, although it holds chastisement. "Still not remembering, I see. Hello, Lawrence."

Church stares back, his face embarrassed, confused, and dire all at the same time. This is going to be unsettling for a long time, isn't it? I hate you, head!Me. "Thankful. I- I suppose. He might be Sweeney Todd, though. This morning I woke up with shaving cream on my face and leering in the bathroom mirror. I almost cut myself… I don't know where I got a straight razor. I know they don't keep those in the-"

"…..What am I wearing?" He is now looking down at himself, arms tensing and hands on the chair. He looks from the red shirt and jeans up to Angela, potentially gauging her for some sort of reaction.

"Horse-wrangler clothes," Angela states matter-of-factly and without any more explanation than simply that — she leaves no room for it, going on to say, "Your situation is not like the others, but it's one we've seen before. Until our medical team decides whether or not they can rehabilitate you without…" She trails off, further words replaces tight frown and change of subject for the third time. "…thankfully you're out of commission for other reasons in the meantime."

Horse. Wrangler. Clothes. That is probably the brand on the back of the jeans, too. And the shirt. Lawrence frowns just a little more, peering at the crutch and then down to his leg. "…Rehabilitate me without… what?" He sounds like he does not want to ask, shifting in his seat. Either from the cast, or from the jeans. They look half a size too small, first of all. "I hate desk jobs."

"There are plenty of people who can do paperwork. What you need is rest," Mrs. Petrelli says. "And time to clear your head." Or have the Company clear your head for you. She pointedly does not answer the question of rehabilitation, but it's there, between the lines, if one has a magnifying glass for such things.

Church nods quietly. He knows that he does need rest. Maybe a shrink. Or Spooky, for that matter. He doesn't care what his other half wants to do, he is already tired of blacking out. Slowly but surely, he manages to hoist himself from the chair. However, instead of turning on his crutch and expertly hobbling his way towards the office door- Lawrence maneuvers into the other direction and moves to walk behind the desk. There is no sign that says he can't, right?

"You should go, and I need to…" Angela's words fade away. Church never seems to leave her office easily nor in the expected manner, and so — again — she isn't surprised. She does, however, watch the man closely, her head turning to follow him as far as it can, all the while giving him a contrary look that clearly translates into 'what do you think you're doing?'.

Getting Church to leave you alone is much like trying to get the dog to leave the kitchen while the cooking is going on. While it is not as simple an act, it is relatively the same effect. Despite the look that he gets, however, he doesn't stop until the other side of the desk, but still at least a stride away. Enough to be closer, but not close enough to be inside of that personal space. Truthfully, there could have been a better time for this. "Why are you looking at me like that? I'm not going to bite you." Stop being creepy, Lawrence.

Yes, Lawrence, stop being creepy. Angela's expression remains exactly how it is. "What are you doing? Stop hobbling around on those crutches of yours in here, you're only going to break something." An antique, a bone… Shaking her head, Angela pushes her chair back a few inches, swipes a folder off the desk and stands up, ready to leave, if Church isn't.

She has tried this technique before, with him. Getting ready to leave, leaving him back in her office. Usually Church does just follow her out again. He hasn't used hoping she uses that feint in an attempt to trick her into standing up. "Crutch. Just one." When he says it, he's stepping the rest of the way over towards Angela; there is a sudden spring in his step, and he moves like he might when not a bit crippled. Quicker, far more certain of himself. For a few moments his leg does not hurt at all, for the sake of someone else. The boss-lady probably won't be able to get away in time- at least, that's what he's hoping. Pray to God this doesn't turn awkward, yes. Or she knees him. Ow.

What is it, after all this nonsense? He's taking himself up on that newest 'give Angela a hug' goal. She needs one, you know. He would have done it first thing, had he gone to the Right Building to get her.

A hug.

Midway through turning away from her desk, Angela is caught by her well-meaning, longtime colleague. This time, she is caught off-guard. She holds very still. The embrace isn't returned, but she does close her eyes after a spell, some rigid wall cracking only to let the weight of everything in on a wave of tiredness. She looks older, suddenly, and worn. Angela gives a sigh — just tired, not frustrated or impatient. Just tired.

As if that wasn't quite enough, he keeps her there, somehow balancing mostly on his good leg, the crutch leaning up under his side. "You keep telling me to rest." And you are the one that needs it, dreams or not. His voice is low and practically hovering by her ears, and the one hand stays at the top of her back. Church doesn't move his head to look at her; because he can feel the tiredness- that worn quality. He is certainly one of the few human elements still left in Primatech.

"I'm sorry that I wasn't there. I'm sorry that I wasn't the one to get you out. I'm sorry that your life is in shambles, and I'm sorry that everything to do with…anything- has spiraled so far from what it was supposed to be." Angela told him the other day to not bother saying these things, but as he never actually spoke the words- Lawrence counted them as unsaid. He has to do it, or they'll just sit there, day after day. "I can't snap my fingers and make it better, even if I wish I could- but I'll be here until that does happen, finger-snapping or not." Here as in here, or here for the people he cares about? Both, of course.

Angela is silent, unmoving. There's a tiny window wherein it appears as if Angela could actually fall asleep standing up. She doesn't, of course, but for a second…

"Thank you, Lawrence." Quiet as a mouse. She's clearing her throat just as soon as the words hit the air, moving away only to wrap her hands around the agent's upper arms and look up at him. She's smiling, a smile of a weary and strained woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders. "You're a good agent and a good friend." The matriarch pauses, mouth thinning as her lips press together in a second wave of a restrained smile. She smoothes over some fuzz on his ucharacteristic red flannel, a bittersweet glint in her dark Petrelli eyes. "Now— get out of my office."

If she had fallen asleep, Church would have the magic touch. He'd never let Angela live it down. As she pulls away far enough to put her palms over his arms, she'll get a good look at his face too. It is an expression intermingling with just about a million different things; concern possibly being the biggest and most obvious. At least she's smiling now, and not wallowing in her angry frowns. Maybe that is all he could have asked for. Angela's a tough nut.

As soon as she wraps the moment with that usual Petrelli way- Lawrence smiles back, though considerably more gently than what is common. If this guy had a tail, it would probably be bashing sidelong off of the desk. Thump, thump, thump. He drops his arms, but not before letting them linger over on her upper arms to mimic the ones on his own. Church speaks again with a decisive dose of playfulness on his tongue. "…You're the boss."

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