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Combien Coute (Victoria Pratt/ Angela Petrelli)

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Nov. 30th, 2007 | 11:57 pm
posted by: iamspecial in heroes_fic

Title: Combien Coute
Characters/Pairings: Victoria Pratt/ Angela Petrelli
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Wordcount: 2500
Spoiler alert: 2.10, sort of
Summary: We're going to stick together, you and I.
Notes: This is the first bit of fanfiction I've finished in about a year, and of course I had to write it about a character who had maybe six minutes total screentime. Mysterious ways, children.

Miss Pratt is what they said when they first came to see me, two white guys and this Japanese guy. Dr. Pratt, I corrected them almost immediately. Yeah, I know what I looked like back then-- I was young and skinny and I had nice tits and I still bothered to straighten my hair every morning-- but shit, I had a medical degree, too, I already had like 12 people working under me doing R&D at Pfizer. So I don't really think I was being rude or anything.

Mr. Monroe-- Adam-- that was the one who introduced himself first. I never liked him from the start. There was always something off about him-- something about the way he looked or talked or something. He always sounded really calm, really suave, trying to be James Bond with that accent, and it never failed to put me on edge. The other two weren't so bad, though. Arthur Petrelli, prematurely balding and looking like he stepped straight out of the fifties actually seemed sorta friendly in a quiet way. And then Mr. Nakamura, who didn't bother telling me his first name, was all business. Really, I liked that, though. I like direct people; I am one.

They didn't tell me a whole lot that first time, which was probably smart, because it was pretty fuckin out there. You have to break people in to that sort of thing, a little bit at a time, or else it's like, “I'm sorry, are you off your meds?” That's what I would have thought, if they told me all at once; or maybe that I'd gone crazy, if they showed me what Adam could really do. Instead they talked a little about accelerated healing and other possible mutations, but mostly about the research opportunities Primatech could offer me, stuff like that. Appealing to my scientific curiosity. Arthur Petrelli gave me his card and I said I'd think about it, even though what I was really thinking was that it was pretty fuckin weird that these three guys were coming in trying to poach me from my job.

This was the fall of '73, unless my memory's going to shit. And I wasn't gonna call them at all, but then about a month later there was this bullshit thing with my supervisor, and of course I complained but no one really cared about sexual harassment back then, especially since he'd been working there for twenty years and I think he was related to someone. All of a sudden they were talking about transferring me to the La Jolla branch-- no way, no fuckin way. So I did call. Which of course turned out to be a huge goddamn mistake but how could I know that at the time?

When I talked to Arthur again he seemed genuinely pleased to hear from me. He said that they were having a get-together that Saturday for interested parties, and that I should come by. His house. I was still sort of unsure about the whole thing, but what the hell, right? I was living in Connecticut at the time, so getting down to New York was only like forty, forty-five minutes. Worst case scenario, they were all insane cult members, I waste a few hours of my life and never have to see them again. Plus, free food.

Up until this point, my life had been pretty straight forward. I'm not saying things had always been easy for me, or that I never struggled with anything, but at least I had some idea of what I was doing. The world sure as hell wasn't perfect, but it made sense, and I thought that what I was doing was... helping. I wasn't some hippie idealist-- that had already gotten sorta unfashionable, anyway-- but I wasn't above singing a few verses of “Give Peace a Chance,” either. Middle of the road kind of girl, putting her faith in science and progress. The Company-- Primatech-- whatever they were-- they believed in science, and they believed in progress, but they sure as hell didn't believe in middle-of-the-road anything. It was Linderman who told me all about it. He had this brilliant speech he used on everyone, talking about what he'd seen in Vietnam, what a shithole the world had become (he didn't say it like that, of course, he had a real way with words). He said that most people never had a chance to make a real difference, but we were different. We could fix it, he said, and he had such conviction, and Angela Petrelli had her fingers on my back and she smiled at me. Tag-team convincing, God help me. She was so beautiful back then.

Arthur Petrelli's wife, and I barely believed it at first, she was so young. I thought he had to be close to fifty. “Oh, you can't tell him that,” she said softly into my ear, laughing a bit, because we'd only just met but we were already best friends, at least for the party, for the night. “He's only thirty-six.”

Angela, Angela fucking Petrelli. She met me at the door to their enormous house, everything looking very stylish, almost intimidatingly so. Pearl earrings, black cocktail dress-- Christian Dior, not that I could tell. People used to tell me I was pretty easy on the eyes myself, but I never really paid attention to fashion, not like Angela. She worshiped Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, and she was genuinely appalled when I told her that on more than one occasion I'd bought a blouse at Kmart. She sent me an Hermes scarf when she spent the Christmas in Paris in '75, which was a huge waste of money. “I can afford to waste my money,” she said, “but you cannot afford to dress the way that you do.”

It was her husband's money, really. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Petrelli, there was a marriage I never fucking understood. She was so obviously the strong one, so why did he keep her behind the scenes? Hell, how did he keep her behind the scenes? I could see it killed her, bored her out of her mind-- especially since she didn't cook, or do housework, anything like that. I think that's why she would drink too much and do the stupid, reckless shit that she did, like running off to Europe for weeks without telling him. They had a kid, too-- already almost eight years old by the time I met him, which just blew me away. Angela wasn't even as old as I was. I never really thought much about getting married, or not getting married, but I'd see Nathan Petrelli practicing his multiplication tables with his dad and I felt exactly like what some of my friends had warned me I'd become: lonely unloved career woman old maid. “I think it's good that you're not married yet,” Angela said, but she was always careful about it, always sort of tiptoeing around the subject. “Look at what you've been able to do. It's better, really, for women, that way. I was... too young. I'm not sure that I would make the same decisions, now.”

Because I had always been Victoria Pratt, but once upon a time Angela Petrelli was someone else, and that made all the difference.

But Christ I'm getting so far ahead of myself. This is what happens when I try to talk about those years, everything's a goddamn muddle. So I first met her at that party in '73, when she was playing hostess, which was something she did better than just about anyone else I've ever met. I introduced myself to her and she seemed a bit surprised. “You're Dr. Pratt?”
“Yes,” I told her. “Victoria Pratt.”

She looked at me and grinned. “You know, I'm not really sure exactly what I was expecting. But you're so young and pretty! Most women doctors I've met are... well, I don't think I should finish that sentence; it was a bit horrible of me to even begin it! But it's been said now, and it can't be taken back, so you're just going to have to accept that I'm a bit old-fashioned and pretend it was a compliment. Will you do that for me, Victoria?”

There was something so goddamn charming about her that I couldn't get too annoyed. She clasped my hand in hers and her skin was warm and soft, like she'd never done a day of work in her life. I wasn't cold, but I still felt something like a chill, a shiver, run through me. “Really, I'm so happy to see another young woman here. We're going to stick together, you and I,” she said to me.

They set me up in their New York facility-- they only had two back then, New York and Texas, and if I wasn't going to California there was no way I was going to middle-of-fucking-nowhere Texas. I got sick of the commute after a few weeks, and Angela's father-in-law had this place he was looking to rent up around 125th St., kind of a shit area but he gave me the first six months rent-free so I took it.

I didn't know too many people in New York and Angela, for whatever reason, had alienated a lot of her old friends, so we got real close real fast. She used to tell people we were sisters, that she was my big sister, which was weird because I was older than her. She'd always wanted a sister. That was something she would tell me when she got started talking about her childhood, in this weird somber tone. One of her three ways of speaking: that, and the clipped, impassive voice she used on most people, and the peppy hostess-talk I got from her when we first met. They all struck me as equally good for lying.

She would invite me out to dinner pretty regularly. We mostly went to these trendy places I couldn't afford where they served food I didn't recognize. Nouvelle cuisine. She'd drink a whole bottle of wine by herself-- Cotes du Rhone, usually -- and then order another one. She was tough to keep up with, but I tried my hardest. I didn't really mind if she got drunk-- not that she ever admitted she was drunk, rich people didn't get drunk or something. I didn't mind because it meant she'd touch me even more: brush my hair away, stroke my cheek, nuzzle her face into my shoulder and neck on the taxi ride back. Sometimes if her husband was away she'd tell me it was late and I should stay. Most of the time it wasn't even late. But that was how she was. She couldn't say “Fuck me,” she had to be coy about it, and I hated that about her. Not like I needed to hear her dirty talk to get off, but the way she was so guarded, so quiet even when I was twisting my fingers inside of her and I knew that she could feel it. All I would hear was her changes in breathing. It made me want to hurt her just to get a reaction.

She was too much and not enough all at once, and it was good but it was fucking frustrating.

I let that be my life for four years. That, and work. Always work. I'd talk about it with Angela; not the specifics, she wouldn't understand them. But we'd talk about the same things Linderman had talked about, what Adam talked about-- although I never bought it coming from him, it always sounded weird and flat and empty. Those big, vague ideas. Helping, healing. Saving the world, whether the world wanted it or not. It was so presumptuous, we were so fucking presumptuous, but it fed our egos, so we fed it back to each other and believed in it. Our little golden calf, our fetish, our shared delusion.

I believed in it until I absolutely couldn't believe in it anymore.

It's interesting. There were reasons that sleeping with Angela made me feel like shit sometimes, but until then none of them had to do with her marriage. I mean, if I was breaking up a family, sure, but they weren't getting divorced. She had affairs, they kept separate rooms, and in a weird way I think they did care about each other a lot. But when everything went down in'77, all of a sudden my whole life seemed wrong. I looked at my apartment and it pissed me off. The window in the bathroom didn't let in enough light. I tried to eat an apple and I could taste the grit on it. And when I thought about Angela I almost cried.

I went to see her that night, to tell her I was leaving. “You can't,” she said calmly.

“Well, I'm doing it,” I said. “I can't be a part of this company anymore-- what they're doing is wrong. You need to get out of it too.”

She stared at me intently. “No, listen to me. If you try to leave, there are people who will stop you.”

“Are you threatening me?” I asked, incredulous.

“I'm not talking about myself, Victoria.”

“Then who?”

She stayed silent. Linderman, maybe, or someone who worked for him. He was fanatical about the whole thing. Not Nakamura, not Deveaux. Could be her husband. I never got too good a read on him.

I looked at her face and she was still so beautiful but all the features seemed wrong. I wanted to break her nose to make it right again, but I knew that wouldn't make it right again. I took a deep breath. “Okay. You don't have to tell me. But I have to leave.”

“Why aren't you listening? You can't leave. I'm trying to protect you.”

“You can stop them.”

Angela scoffed. “Don't be ridiculous. You think I'm running Primatech?”

“I think you can stop them. And I think you know what I mean. Angela, I... I never want to see any of them, ever again.”

She looked up at me and blinked back a few tears and sighed. I did my best not to think about how pathetic I must have sounded. “Please, Angela.”

“Fine,” she said, and she was looking away from me, staring hard at the wall, but in profile her features suddenly looked right again. “Go. I'll take care of it.” Clipped, impassive. Just like that, and I was a member of the public again, another minor annoyance, a problem for Angela Petrelli to solve and dismiss.

I left, then, and I wrote on a scrap of paper “I'll miss my big sister,” and slid it under the door.

x-posted a few places

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Comments {5}


(no subject)

from: kattahj
date: Dec. 1st, 2007 11:53 am (UTC)

I'm really happy you wrote this pairing, and it was so interesting to see the two of them as young women. Thanks for this!

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Ben Lady-Hitler Licorice Fatty

(no subject)

from: iamspecial
date: Dec. 3rd, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback. I think this was the internet's first Victoria/ Angela fic, but perhaps other people will be inspired to write it as well. =)

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(no subject)

from: heidi8
date: Dec. 1st, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)

The voice you've written this in is stunning and your use of details and the way you've written it with all the times happening at once are amazing. Terrific fic.

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Ben Lady-Hitler Licorice Fatty

(no subject)

from: iamspecial
date: Dec. 3rd, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)

Wow, thank you! I'm actually a bit star-struck, because you're Heidi and I know of you from the Harry Potter fandom and you're commenting on my fic. Um. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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(no subject)

from: heidi8
date: Dec. 3rd, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)

I... I don't really know what to say to that! :D
Don't be star-struck - I'm just a perpetual fangirl of well-written fanfic (and wow, this definitely is!) and I try to be a good fandomer and review when I read something I like.

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