2010-03-29: Blood Rift



Date: March 29th, 2010


"We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break." — Marquise de Sévigné

When it comes to the Petrellis, the chain is sometimes stretched much farther. The question is: will it strengthen now or snap?

"Blood Rift"

Upper East Side

With everything going on, Nathan has felt himself drawn more to his family (and those as close as family) an unusual amount. Particularly with the new plan being put together. It should come as no shock that the elder of the Petrelli brothers is pulling up on his motorcycle to Angela's apartment. As usual, he's dressed in his black motorcycle gear, helmet, and gloves. He parks the bike before padding up to the door and ringing the bell, anticipating his mother's invitation inside.

But something strange happens; or rather, doesn't happen. Nathan doesn't get an invitation. There's no answer to the bell.

The window above shows no signs of light or life. It's pitch. Perhaps Angela is out, doing whatever it is Angela does when she disappears. Except…

A thin beam flashes past the ornate half-circle window in the door, roving this way and that in the manner of a roving flashlight. With it, the scuffing of boots. Heavy boots. Above, a figure moves past the window, black-clad and shadowy, too tall and too fleet of foot to be the apartment's temporary boarder.

There's a crash.

"Dammit," Nathan murmurs underneath the helmet as he considers the options. Was his mother ever home? If she was, then is she caught? There really is no time to think about the options of what did or didn't happen. What will or won't happen. The impulsivity within him (everything that drew Brayden into gang activity, brawls, smuggling deals and illegal cargo), begs him to essentially break down the door, but something else nags at him. Something cunning and calculating. Something altogether precise and Loganesque in a way. A glance is given down towards his attire as he backs up into the shadow to listen and wait. Just for a moment. He is, dressed in armour, after all, no it won't stop a bullet, but probably would keep a dart out of his skin. But for now? He waits. For just a moment.

Activity in the apartment escalates with the pounding of feet and the harsh slamming of a door. Whatever is happening inside, it isn't over. It's either just begun or it's about to end.

The foyer is much quieter. The flashlight shuts off. In that moment in which Nathan chooses to wait, a man inside flattens against the wall next to the door, weapon at the ready should Angela's guest decide to force their way in.

Cursing under his breath once more. Nathan takes a step towards the door. He eyes the handle, it's a lock he could easily pick, but there's no time for that. Instead, his gaze returns to the window. What are helmets for, right? "And people thought I was crazy before…" he frowns underneath the helmet before kicking off the ground and hovering just under the window. Taking a deep breath, he launches himself as fast as he can fly through it, sending glass shattering everywhere. The Senator himself is but a flash.

Two men. Like Nathan, they're dressed in black, but instead of motorcycle gear, it's the familiar, militaristic attire of the Protocol agents they wear and the government issue (or is that Lane Industries issue?) weapons they carry, except instead of tasers these weapons fire bullets.

The pristine living room is a disaster zone, an end table and a large plant once potted in a blue-and-white porcelain pot knocked over en route to the bedroom that lies to the left.

The flying Senator certainly garners attention, a swirl of commotion amidst the shattered glass. However, even the sudden appearance of the helmeted man isn't in time the heavy boot of one of the two figures in the room from slamming into the bedroom door and forcefully knocking it open to the sight of Angela Petrelli, cornered. Her only exit is a window. Only a few stories, but a long enough drop. In a black coat and gloves, she had only just returned from visiting Fred. Her wide eyed bear a frenetic shine as she stares past the agent.

Quickly Nathan flies around the room, his eyes scanning it for any sign of his mother. Frowning underneath the helmet, he doesn't stop moving. Not once. He can't afford to, for the moment he stops, they'll both be caught; they'll both be taken. And then what would become of all of this. No, he keeps moving, rejecting the notion of stopping.

He flies to the bedroom, barrelling past the agent guarding the door.

The man at the door tries to weave out of the way; he's just nicked by the flying man and even that sends him spinning. The rush of wind rattles the beaten down bedroom door on its unstable hinges and it slams shut again. For what will undoubtedly only be an instant, there are only two people in the dim room: mother and son.

"Nathan!" Angela exclaims in a low, adamant hiss. There is no need to scream his name for the agents to hear even though they'll likely put two and to together anyway. The hair spun upon her head is frazzled and her eyes are bloodshot as she tries to run toward the blur of Nathan. Already, she can hear the door being shoved open and more footsteps joining the two men in the other room.

Nathan says nothing in greeting. Instead, he stops short of his mother and picks her up from the ground. "Close your eyes," he instructs, there isn't much time. There isn't any time. Picking up his mother fireman style (to prevent glass from entering her eyes), Nathan slings her over his shoulder and returns to his flight position, geared towards the window. Like the one previous, he kicks off the ground to barrel through the window, mother in hand (or on shoulder, as the case may be).

It all seems to happen in succession.

The door bursts open. All three agents pour in, the scuffing of their boots overlapping with the clicking of their raising weapons.

The window is smashed to smithereens as Nathan and Angela take flight. Every one of the agents' guns fire. Bullets lodge into walls with puffs of plaster, burst pillows in explosions of feathers. The room is empty.

Angela hangs on tight, clinging to Nathan, her gloved fingers digging ineffectually into his back, leather on leather. What she doesn't do is close her eyes, watching the agents seem to speed away over Nathan's shoulder.

The pair fly up higher and higher and higher until they're well above the skyline, when Nathan slows down considerably and adjusts his mother in his grip, lowering her from his shoulder. "Ma," he takes a deep breath underneath the helmet. "Are you okay?" comes the murmured voice as he tries to figure out where the pair should head now. Staying in flight isn't exactly an option here. Not ultimately.

"How did they find you?" he manages to ask as he glances through the landscape underneath. "I didn't think they would find you… "

"They got to me— as I came back," Angela answers, her voice strained and forced and slightly out of breath. Being chased down and sprung into the air all of a sudden will do that. She locks her hands around Nathan's neck and looks him in the face, except all she can see is her own reflection and that of the clouds and stars. It might as well be an image in a mystic's crystal ball.

"They must've spotted me, followed me one time I was out," she says, chastising of herself. Tired. "I should have known, I should have been more careful, I thought I could hide under the radar by being one step ahead but not. I'm two steps behind just like everyone else."

"Well, at least you're safe now." Kind of. Sort of. Safe enough, anyways. Nathan takes a deep breath as he decides to land outside the safehouse where he lives. "Hold on," he instructs as he lets the distance between them and the ground shrink considerably before softly landing in the alley next to the townhouse.

Staten Island

Upon landing, he releases his mother and removes his helmet before issuing her a real hug. "Things are getting dire, aren't they?" his features themselves are grim. His eyes narrowed and shadowed with fatigue, and his lips quirk into an odd kind of frown.

Angela heaves a sigh of relief when her feet slowly touch solid ground, but the sound is hitched, cut short. She holds tight to her son, much taller than her, once more digging her fingers into his motorcycle getup. "No," she replies, closing her eyes shut now after they're on earth instead of sky. Backwards. When she looks up at Nathan her eyes are even more tired and bloodshot, even damp, but it is not just the residual fear of nearly being caught. It's more than that. It's always more than that. "They already are."

"Ma, you're okay," Nathan manages in a whisper with a small smile. "Don't worry so much. Things are mess. But we'll fix them. We have to. There's no alternative." He reaches out to squeeze her shoulder, his helmet tucked under his shoulder. "I'll fix them." One way or another.

"I know you'll try." Angela reaches up, laying a hand flat against Nathan's face and studying his eyes. Her somber melancholy stretches into an unlikely smile tinged with admiration, but the Petrelli matriarch still seems to possess serious doubts of some kind. Doubts about what Nathan will do. Doubts about his success in doing them. Her hand falls, and her voice becomes faintly sharper. "Tell me Nathan, what are you going to do this time that you'll think you'll fix it? We both thought that once, didn't we, that you could swoop in and fix things and look where we wound up."

"I'm taking what I know to someone who can make a difference," Nathan's eyebrows furrow. It's not conventional, what he plans to do. It was a plan hatched by an advisor. "We went in blind. It was foolish, but we did anyways. I'm finally myself again, and I'm going to appeal to people who can change everything. And hope for the best."

Straightening taller, Angela does nothing but stand in the quiet alley in front of Nathan and stare him down for a moment. A moment that turns into several. "We didn't go in blind," she says all of a sudden, every word intense. Her reddened, dark stare is unblinking. "I could see clearly what you were stepping into. The belly of the beast. A trap. And I thought you had to do it, I thought you would learn something, maybe the key to bringing this all down. Just like wiping your memory, it was a sacrifice I thought had to be made, one of many I have made over the years," she says fiercely, her voice elevating — it would be a shout if she didn't quiet it with a whispery force so as not to wake the neighbours — or any of those hiding away in Peter's safe house. "But I this time I was wrong."

"Y-you knew?!" Nathan's face contorts into a scowl. "You knew!? Do you have any idea the kind of hell they put me through?! That they threatened the kids?! That I turned every corner to avoid telling them about you and Pete, and you knew?! Did you know any of that? Did you?! Because I'd really like to know what you deem a calculated risk, mother! I really would!" He takes a step away from his mother.

"Not all along, but yes. At some point I knew," Angela admits. She stands by her words, but her eyes betray her worry — that Nathan will somehow slip through her fingers because of this. She's wise enough not to take a step after him, but her holds a hand out. A warning. A plea. "Something becomes a calculated risk when the end result— the good— outweighs the bad. Do you know how many times I've made a calculated risk to the benefit of everyone? To you? If I hadn't, the world would be a different place. Am I sorry that it didn't work out, this one time, for you? Yes, Nathan." She sounds pained. Even legitimately, sincerely guilty. "I am so sorry my dreams are confusing, I'm sorry that you went through what you did which is precisely why I won't let it happen again."

"I— I—" Nathan twitches. Just a little. He's so angry. "No," he finally says as he takes another step back. "I can't do this. It's one thing to put me on the line, but the kids? Really?! Hasn't Heidi been through enough? Haven't I?" He takes another step backwards shaking his head all the while. "I don't — I don't get it. You don't get to choose my fate, Ma, I do that…"

Angela's voice takes on a desperately reassuring tone and, perhaps against her better judgment, inches toward Nathan with her gloved hand outstretched. "But they're alright, the rest of your family is— safe, and far away," she says, wide-eyed. "The last dream I had, you were in again, only this time— " she cuts herself off. Her brows turn in and shadow her eyes. "You're going to stand up on a podium and tell the world— what, Nathan?"

Nathan holds up a hand of his own. "Forget it. We're all just tools to you. That's all I've ever been. You know, when I was locked up, I sat around trying to understand why when I no expectations placed on me, when I could be anything or anyone I wanted I joined an Irish gang," he begins to count items on his fingers, "manned an Irish pub, and became a thief." He chuckles mirthlessly. "You know what, Ma, I'm done. I'm finished. I'm not your pawn. I'm not your rook. Hell, I'm not even your son right now. I am a Senator, the Senator for New York." He shakes his head, "Give Pete my regards. I'll stay somewhere else, thanks."

Those words uttered, he takes another step back before returning the helmet to his head.

"Nathan," Angela says breathlessly, her steps picking up to dash after her eldest. "Nathan!" The strong family matriarch is not so strong now, desperate and denounced. She's as desperate as she's ever been. "Wait. Think. Disparage me all you want, but think about what you're doing. What you're going to do."

Forget all thought of quietness; the woman's voice is now raised, outright shouting at Nathan. "It's going to have repercussions! You blame me for taking a risk but you are more like me than you THINK, Nathan, only you're not as smart as I thought. You're taking a risk SO MUCH WORSE if you go on with I know is in that head of yours!" Angela lashes out, trying so frantically to grab her son's elbow, to get his attention if not his affection. "Answer me one question."

Angela manages to grasp Nathan's elbow. "I am done listening to your advice! I'm done! We're done. I want more than anything to clean up this mess. Which is worse, Ma? The world knowing more than you're comfortable with OR the world being terrified of us, stirring an entire war? Which is worse?! Tell me! Do you want to be weaponized?! They already bought Pete. So don't tell me I haven't thought about repercussions! Don't tell me I'm being stupid! Sometimes the way to peace is so much worse. Only those that need to will know exactly what I'm talking about. So tell me, what's your question?"

She flinches once. Otherwise, her gaze remains firm, and she keeps herself more under control than she had in the past few minutes. "If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that doing this would end badly…" Angela knows she may not have bought herself faith in the last few minutes and she'll wear the burden of guilt for it, but she has to make an attempt. "…would you still do it? Press on— no matter the cost?"

"Will it end badly?" Nathan asks before swallowing hard. "Will it?" His jaw tightens as he shakes his head. "And of course you know the answer. If it would hurt more than myself — " Nathan has no delusions. By doing what Tracy has proposed, he's made himself a target. For Lane Industries. For the villains in government. For terrorists. " — then no, of course not. I am still a leader."

"No. You know what, I don't want to discuss this. I don't want to know the supposed future. That would make me responsible for it. And apparently Petrellis aren't good at handling such things." Underneath his helmet, Nathan rolls his eyes.

"I don't know how many people it will hurt," Angela spits out. "All I'm looking out for is my son." … This time. "Do me a favour if you still have it in you, and wait. Think. I know you already think you have, but exhaust every other avenue before you blow into this. Listen whatever Peter has up his sleeve, for God's sake. And if. If that doesn't work…" She is the one who now moves away from Nathan, her grip releasing on his elbow. She walks backward, shaking her head, a sadness in her deep eyes. "Then I am truly sorry Nathan."

Nathan tilts his head at his mother. He already knew the risks. He knew them the instant Tracy proposed the plan. "I. I've waited long enough." Although maybe a little longer wouldn't hurt? No. The helmeted man looks up at the sky and then back to his mother. "I need to go. Tell Pete I…" He cringes just a little. "… tell him thanks for everything. I… I don't know when I'll be back. I'll be fine safety-wise. I have a place to go."

That said, he backs up another step, kicks off the ground, and disappears into the night sky — the darkness absorbing his figure. He's heading to a place where he won't be judged. Not for this decision: Tracy's safehouse.

Angela's head slants back, eyes turned to the stars… or rather the clouds and smog and the disappearing speck of her son. Mouth agape and everything that has come to pass — and will pass — etched on her aging face in lines of tension, what can Angela do now but stare up into the night sky?

There is always something Angela can do.

For now, however, the matriarch is defeated if only for one night, and eventually there's nothing more to see in the sky but the loss of Nathan. Tears filling the creases around her eyes, she lowers her head and disappears from the alley toward the back of Peter's house, wearing her familiar face of strength and bravery — in the face of nightmares.

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