changehistory: ([Angela] [Peter] Hallelujah)
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[ooc note: Based on RP in [livejournal.com profile] hearts_andminds. Peter referred to is [livejournal.com profile] dreamtof_flying. Angela is [livejournal.com profile] seemynightmares and mine to use.]

When he came in, she was standing in the kitchen, leaning against the counter with an open jar of peanut butter, licking delicately at the spoonful she’d scooped out. A half full glass of whiskey sat next to her, the bottle on the counter, open, with an empty glass next to it. She paused for a moment, then pulled the spoon out of her mouth and held it there, swinging up and down in the air as she watched him across the space between.

The twist of near pure panic in his gut was ridiculous. With her hair twisted up on her head, held in place with a pencil, and a nightshirt on that he thought might have kittens on it, she looked about twelve, no matter if she was right and date of birthday in the village or no, she’d reached her legal majority a couple of months before. It was the look in her eyes, he decided. Kittens and pencil bun aside, that was all Angela, and it had never quite failed to send chills down his spine.

That, of course, was also ridiculous. He could heal from anything, and all she did was dream the future. She didn’t even have an aggressive power. And yet...

She smiled. It didn’t help. It never did when she was in this mood. Dangerous. Somehow, across the hall, when they weren’t watching, she’d grown up a bit more than anyone noticed.

“Found your whiskey. Have a drink?”

Adam let his bag slide off his shoulder. Running wasn’t a good idea. So he told himself to show no weakness, and moved across the room, closing that distance that had felt safe, and reached for the bottle, filling the empty glass.

“You’re still too young for this.”

“So ground me.” The look in her eyes practically dared him to say anything more as she deliberately reached for her glass, taking a sip, and he had to wonder what whiskey and peanut butter tasted like.

“Where’s Peter?”

“At the clinic. He had to work the late shift.” Another lick of peanut butter, another sip of whiskey, her eyes never leaving his face.

He was going to die. She was going to murder him in his sleep.

“Angela...”

“What, no ‘Angie-bird?” Her voice was almost mocking, cool, calm, collected.

“You hate being called that,” he pointed out.

One dark eyebrow lifted, and he was the one who looked away first.

After a long silence, she spoke again. “Here’s the thing I can’t figure out: Fantasy or nightmare?”

He frowned. “Which part?”

“Me moving in, of course.”

Oh, that was so a trick question, and she was good, but he was better, and so not falling into that trap. “Neither. You need to not be alone, and we’re here, and we both care for you. He’s your nearest family. It makes sense.”

The glass hit the counter so hard he actually jumped, but her voice remained calm. “He’s my son.

Adam held her gaze, saw the confusion behind the anger, everything swirling in that dark gaze, and part of him wanted nothing more than to reach out and pull her close, but that would just complicate things even more. “Yes.”

“How...how could you?” Indignation, yes, but bewilderment, too. Gods, but she was still so young.

“I love him.”

“And you don’t love me?” Of course, the damn cat picked that exact moment to come into the kitchen, looking for a treat, and Angela took the opportunity presented. That’s one thing he’d always loved about her--she had instincts that aligned perfectly with his. Spoon set down, cat scooped, and purring, she turned to face him again, gaze a challenge as she snuggled the proof that he hadn’t left her as far behind as he’d have people believe.

The fact that the cat stared back at him as implacably as she did reinforced how well he’d named her. Fucking cat.

“It’s complicated, Angie.”

“I married someone else. Peter’s father.” Her voice was soft. “Why?”

Adam sighed and drained his whiskey, then poured another glass, running a hand through his hair as he did. “He could give you something approximating a normal life. Someone to grow old with. I couldn’t.”

“But I loved you?” It wasn’t as much of a question as she made it sound. There was a certainty in her eyes, and he looked back into them for a long time before nodding.

“Yes.”

“Did I stop?”

“No. Not then. I don’t know...I have no idea how you feel now--I mean, not now-now.” God, he didn’t want to get into that tangle, at all. “Now, as in, 2007, where Peter and I are from. I haven’t seen you in 30 years.”

She frowned a little at that, arms tightening around the cat who bore her name, though not enough to make her squirm. “Because we locked you away? I never...came to visit?”

“I don’t think Arthur allowed it. You...were on my side. You didn’t approve the incarceration. Arthur wanted me out of the way.”

Her tongue darted out, licked her lower lip, her frown deepening. “Because of me?”

Adam shrugged, took another sip of his whiskey. “Maybe. I don’t know for sure.”

“That doesn’t explain Peter,” she said softly, after a long time. “If we...If you loved me that long, if we loved each other...are going to love each other for so long, even beyond...how can you be with the son I had with the man who kept us apart? Is it some sort of revenge? Does he remind you of me? God...no...that’s so twisted and egotistical of me, isn’t it?”

Adam quirked a wry smile at her. “A bit. Egotistical, I mean. And...a bit, yes. He reminds me of you. The two of you are more alike than either of you realize, I think. But...it isn’t because he reminds me of you. Just...what I loved in you, I love in him. But...he is his own person, just as you are, and I love him for his own reasons, too.” He watched her for a moment, then added softly, “I don’t look at him and see you.”

She winced and let the cat go, just so she could turn back to the counter, grabbing for her whiskey and downing the glass, not looking at him now. Adam watched her silently, then moved to rest a hand on her shoulder before sliding it up to tug the pencil out and send her hair tumbling back down. She stiffened, but she didn’t look at him.

“If it helps...I tried very, very hard not to love him. I needed him for revenge on the Company, and the world, and I was...very angry, and very bitter, and I didn’t want to love anyone, least of all him with his notions of saving the world and good in everyone and we should all just get along. And I thought...I thought you’d betrayed me, so I most certainly didn’t want anything to do with anyone from your family like that again. He was...a weapon I could use. But...” He frowned a bit, reaching to twist a strand of her hair around his finger, lost in his own recollection, admitting things he hadn’t even really to Peter. “The more I pretended to be his friend, the more I found the caring wasn’t a pretense. And I knew that it was...potentially so messed up, given how entangled I’d been with you, but...it didn’t make it stop. The longer I knew him, the more I cared about him until I knew...it was love, and I couldn’t deny it anymore, even if I’d fought it every step of the way. He’s...so very special, Angela. I’ve never known anyone like him in all my life. He makes me want to be better, to make him proud. To actually...maybe...be the hero he thought I could be. And...that’s part of you, because you raised him, but it’s not because of my love for you. And yet...in him, you’ll always be there, too. Part of you will never die, and I will always know that the person who gave me the greatest gift of my life was someone I loved more than I think I ever found words to say.”

She’d stayed perfectly still while he was talking, but he could feel the faint tremble running through her. Sliding his hand out of her hair, he reached to turn her around, make her look at him and found her cheeks wet with tears.

“I know this is a lot, but I want you to know this.” There was that bravery, that stubborn pride of his girl. There in the lift of her chin, the setting of her lips, the bracing of her shoulders under his hand.

“What?”

“In all these years, I have truly loved four people in my life. Four people I will never forget. Four people who will always carry a piece of my heart, no matter where I go, or what I do. You are one of those people. And I know...that Peter being another is...awkward, especially now that you’re living here. But you have so many brilliant years to look forward to when you get home, sweetheart. The next few months after are going to be hard, but there’s joy, too. So much joy, and love and laughter. You have two amazing boys to raise, and a beautiful granddaughter to love, and from what I’ve heard two adorable grandsons, as well. You have lives to manage, and schemes to hatch, and the world to save, and you are going to be amazing and formidable and there will never be anyone quite like you in the world. Some people might not understand everything you’ll do, but you will know, always, that I do. That I would. That I will. That I have your back. And that your memory and your legacy is going to live on forever, because there is no way I’ll let it die.”

She was crying again, still silently, and he reached to wipe her tears away as gently as he could. “Besides, we had our deal--I’m not grousing over the juggler, so...”

Her lips quirked in a smile through the tears. “Even if he stays the night...?”

A flicker of horror and more than a little bit of jealousy did run through him at that, but he managed to keep it off his face. “Possibly that might be a bad idea, for all our sakes...”

“Hey, if I have to sleep in the next room....” She arched her eyebrows.

“Fine, if not for my sake, I’m still thinking we don’t need to give Peter a heart attack.” He gave her a wry smile as he poured her another whiskey.

“Fine. Any sleepovers will be held downstairs.” Angela reached for the whiskey. Her hand was still trembling a little bit, and her voice wavered, but Adam thought the storm had passed.

As, hopefully, had the extreme likelihood of her killing him in his sleep.

“Shall we watch a movie and get terribly drunk until Peter gets home?” Adam suggested.

“You can’t get drunk.”

“Point. But you can. And I’m very good at giving it a try.”

“You are such a bad influence. Peter will be appalled.”

“That’s hardly new, but who’s to say you’re not the bad influence?”

“Please. I’m just a kid.” She gave her best innocent look, twisting her hair back up and shoving the pencil in it.

Adam snorted. “Even Peter’s not naive enough to believe that.”

Angela snagged the peanut butter. “Bring the whiskey.”

He did so, as well as a spoon, and followed her to the sofa, plopping down next to her and snagging the jar away. “All right, you’ve got me curious now...”

Angela actually laughed, and for the first time since he’d gotten Peter’s message, Adam felt himself relax and think maybe they’d all get through this in one piece, after all.
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Adam Monroe

February 2014

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