2007-03-29: Chance Meetings Amongst Crazies

Starring:

Viola_icon.gif Ethan_icon.gif Jessica_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: These five people have a random encounter. Awkwardness abounds. Then, Jack and Nathan talk. Nathan is less than impressed with what he's told.

Date It Happened: March 29, 2007

Chance Meetings Amongst Crazies


Central Park

Afternoon in the park is normally filled with people playing football, basketball. And a few stragglers take advantage of the last few weeks of ice skating before the rink is closed down for the summer. Today is no different and if finds Viola in the park trying to take her mind off of the fact that there still have been absolutely no leads in the kidnapping of Molly or Suresh. She's not very good company today.

Ethan knows his wife isn't good company today. He's not his usual cheery self either. Molly's known as Parkman's girl, that makes her a part of the NYPD 'family', so he's taking this just as personal as the next cop. The man's more or less silent, and not his usual self. It's hard to joke when you've got a frustrating case and no leads. A hand reaches out to take one of Vi's as the pair walk.

Football? Basketball? No thanks. Look up "illicit dealings" instead. Under the shade of some trees - as much as they can give, as their buds are still fighting to burst through in the early months of spring - a decidedly seedy looking man is speaking to a blonde woman who looks suspiciously like Niki Sanders. …If anyone cared what Niki Sanders looked like. The current habitant assumes that no one does. "You have his number?" the blonde says in hushed tones, eyeing her companion like— well, quite frankly, inferior scum. He is, but don't shoot the messenger, right? "I'm sure he'll call you when things fall into place. Don't call me. I'll be busy letting Niki play house."

Only adding to the thoughtful, broody environment of the park, Nathan wanders through, not really looking at where he's going, completely. Only when he almost gets run over by someone on a bicycle does he snap out of it a fraction, and speed up his meandering pace. He's taking a break from drama, or at least attempting to, and Central Park seems like it's the place to be.

Though normally the couple is very chatty, Viola can't help but continue the silence. It's /Holly/ that's supposed to take her back from her dark side, after all. She's no good at the comforting thing. Even as they're walking, she's watching to see if any of the children are Molly. Or any of the passersby are Mohinder or Gray. So, she's attentive when she sees Nathan almost get run over by the bike. "You okay, sir?" she calls out, slowing down just a bit.

Ethan gives Viola's hand a squeeze. "Hon, they aren't going to just materialize in the park," he says softly, as if reading his wife's mind. About to suggest something to keep their minds active, he doesn't get it out. Slowing down when Vi does, he looks inquiringly at Nathan, then the biker. "People keep it up, and we're gonna have to put in traffic signals for the bikes."

"Good." And that's that. As Jessica finishes up with the person she's meeting with, her sights settle upon the politician, instantly, naturally predatory dismissing him with little more than a glare that says 'go away, you're finished'. Too bad, Nathan - you're a drama beacon. Left alone, the woman crosses her arms, leaning lightly against a tree as she tracks Nathan with her eyes, chewing slowly on some gum while a smirk semi-permanently twists her mouth. She doesn't move yet, though, or make any effort to show herself more than she already is. No, she just watches.

Smooth, Petrelli. Nathan just shakes his head at himself once he's jumped out of the way, and turns to cast an irritated look towards whoever called out to him. Oh, wait. A nice, actually concerned person. The smile goes on, shaking his head again. "I'm fine, thanks," he says. "Just… wasn't watching where I was going." As if to make up for this, he glances around, perhaps to make sure no other goddamn bicycles are planning to try and run him down. His gaze passes over someone who appears to be watching him, and a slight squint is given.

Viola squeezes Ethan's hand back. "Yeah. I know. I wish I could, though," she responds to her husband. After Nathan's response, she gives a slow nod. "Right. Well, be careful. They're getting crazier every year." Both NYC and the bikers. Unaware of Jessica watching Nathan, she shrugs and decides to keep walking. No one's hurt and she's not here to be a babysitter.

Ethan lets go of Viola's hand in favor of draping an arm around her waist. "I know you do, I think we all do." Seeing that Nathan's okay, and getting confirmation that no harm's done, he smiles some and nods. "Hey hon, why don't we go hit up your family in a bit? It's overdue and we both need the distraction. I could charm your mother, make your dad wonder why he let me marry you.. the usual."

The blonde woman's expression? Does not change. Not whatsoever. It stays in that same half-smirk that it's already set in; the only alteration is how intently she watches Nathan. Her tracking is much more obvious now. There's no question that Jessica knows he's spotted her; even from a distance, she stares - but doesn't move an inch. Yet.

Basically, Nathan let's the two go on their way. If they don't think he's drunk or impaired somehow, then it's a plus and he's gonna quit while he's ahead. He could, also, turn his back on the woman watching him, and for a moment he seems like he's about to, before he instead acknowledges her, hand raising in a still wave before heading over. Why? He's not sure either. Perhaps the crazies have to stick together.

Nathan's little run in with the bike all but forgotten to Viola, as she figures he can look after himself. "Oh, that will be the best dinner in the world. My father will threaten you to a benchpressing contest and my mother will try to force more food on you." She rolls her eyes, but there's a bit of a smile starting to form there. No, she must not give in to the cheering up. She should be broody. "Maybe we should go see /your/ family. And your mom can try and make me feel bad that she doesn't have a grandkid yet."

Ethan laughs and squeezes his wife lightly around the waist. "Nope. I vote your family. Your dad scares me, but he's awesome at the same time. My folks? Too normal, it's too quiet and we need a good kind of insa.. Dammit. Hold that thought." His steps slow to a halt as he pulls out his cellphone which has gone off and answers it. "Holcombe here, what'cha got.. oh crap. Lovely. Just what I wanted to come back in for. Alright. On my way." He hangs up the phone and eyes Viola. "Yay. I gotta hit the lab hon. Try not to arrest anyone while you're off duty." He leans in to give Vi a kiss before parting.

Crazies. If only Nathan knew which one he was getting, right? With a little thrust, Jessica pushes away from the tree and begins to saunter, slowly but very steadily, toward Nathan as he heads toward her. Her path is a bullet's path, straight and true. No changing your mind now, flyboy. "Nathan," she greets - purrs, really, if you want to get technical - when she's in hearing distance. There's none of the modesty or awkwardness Niki demonstrated when she was at the Petrelli Mansion. This is an entirely different, entirely confident demeanor.

Jack's had a busy week, and he's having even more trouble sleeping than usual. Tonight finds him wandering, much as it did last night. However, tonight he's without the dubious benefit of Yael's company. Hands shoved into the pockets of his overcoat, head hunched and brow furrowed in contemplation, he scuffs at the ground with his boots idly and puffs at the unfiltered cigarette that's hanging at his lip.

Nathan seems to pick up a little on this change - but then, she's also not half-frozen and fully dressed, so, that must help. "Niki," he greets back, with a slight, almost-smile. He's a little more relaxed as well since she saw him last. Circumstances, setting, and such like. No split personalities on his end of things. "Fancy seeing you, again. How's New York working for you."

"What a backhanded compliment, honey," Viola replies with a smirk. Then, she frowns when her husband takes off for work. It's not really like she can complain as she's done it to him a million times, but it's still disappointing. "I'll see what I can do." Kissing him goodbye, she stays right where she is and tries to decide what to do next. Being stationary kind of makes her stand out and get in peoples way, so she takes a few quick steps to the side.

"Hmmmmm," So-called 'Niki' mms lowly with a languid grin. "Niki. Right. That's quaint." The blonde, coming to a halt in front of Nathan once their paths intersect, tips her head back and looks at him with faintly raised brows. "New York's the capitol of opportunity, or have you forgotten? Thought you were gonna run the other way," Jessica says accusingly to Nathan, but not without the heavy hint of amusement. A sidelong glance takes in the presence of one wayward bartender named Jack, but she doesn't do anything about it. Again, key word: /yet/. Her gaze is a more watchful than it looks, taking in the position of everyone she can spot in the park, Viola included.

After a final drag, Jack spits away the butt of his cigarette and takes a deep whiff of the arguably-fresh New York air. He's so intent on enjoying his walk and trying to unwind, he near-collides with Viola just as she sidesteps. Luckily for them both, there's no damage to speak of. Blinking owlishly, Jack finally has the decency to look up. "Err. Sorry, Officer. Don't want no trouble with the fuzz." Smiling disarmingly, he pulls his hands from his pockets.

"Yeah, well. I was thinking about it," Nathan admits easily, following her glance. Random guy in the park running into that woman. Back to Niki. "You know, I don't think I caught exactly /why/ you're in New York, but maybe—" Wait a second. He recognises said random guy. Nathan's talking is temporarily derailed for just a moment. "Maybe it's better not knowing."

Though good with faces, Jack's escape Viola. Automatically, she looks down to see if her badge is hanging from her neck, but it isn't. No, it's just her plainclothes. So she looks back up at Jack with a raised eyebrow. "Right. No fuzz. How do I know you? Should I give you a head start?"

It probably /is/ better not knowing, but Jessica humours Nathan for a moment anyway. She adopts an innocuous, pained voice, meek. "I came here to get /help/," she admits mournfully. She… sounds pretty convincingly like Niki might, as a matter of fact, but drops it as soon as the words fall from her mouth. She shrugs a shoulder. "They say I'm completely crazy. Out of my mind, can you believe it?" she adds, utterly blas. The reason for Nathan's derailment garners her attention for a second too as her eyes narrow on Jack - and darken, but it's momentary. She smirks at the former Congressman, eyeing him solidly. "They'd be wrong."

Jack shakes his head. "Sadly, I won't be adding to you collar count tonight. You came by my pub to ask about Mohinder Suresh and his little girl. How's the investigation going?" Jack's query and concern are both sincere. However, it's about this time he notices that SOMEBODY'S BEEN STARING AT HIM. Not only that, 'someone' is chatting with none other than Nathan Petrelli.

The studious look that Nikica gets from Nathan here is only a /little/ bit cynical. He can't help it. "Well like they say. Crazy's in the eye of the beholder," he says simply. This is not a good topic to linger on, really. The last time he saw Niki - before, that is, the time in the kitchen - hadn't been particularly convincing in terms of her claim of the crazy assessment being wrong. Instead, he raises an eyebrow, and this time doesn't glance at Jack. He just says, "Someone you know?"

The tensing that was happening automatically when someone recognized her before she recognized them slowly drains away. Viola's smirk doesn't fade, however. "Right. Sorry, talked to a lot of people about that case the past couple days." That's when it goes away. "Nothing so far. We're trying, though." Though she has no one to search for or realize is watching, she turns her head to see where Jack is. When she faces Jack again, she tilts her head back toward the politician and the split personality. "Friends of yours?"

That look from Nathan is met with a cool one from Jessica, touched with a bit of cynicism of her own - given the circumstances of their last meeting, that is. Other than keeping an eye on where he is, she's pretty much going to ignore Jack until she deems it necessary to do something about him. Apparently, that time has not yet arrived, because her answer is, "No." Instead, she cocks her head a touch to the side and continues to eye Nathan. It's sort of like she's going to… steal his soul, really. Or devour him. Kill him? Tear his clothes off? She sends mixed messages, none of which are particularly characteristic of Niki in any way whatsoever.

Jack lets out a short, low chuckle. "I wouldn't go that far, but we've met," he replies. "They're… interesting." He produces another unfiltered cigarette and a match with a flick of the wrist, then twists one end between his lips and lights it. After puffing out a smoke ring, he grins crookedly. "What the hell. I think I'll go say hello. You coming?" Without waiting for an answer, he turns and strides toward the pair.

"Really," Nathan replies. Seems like they're about to be interrupted, as he sees Jack turn their way and head on over. Probably a good thing, because the look Nikica is giving him is starting to make him feel uncomfortable. It reminds him of something - not Niki, exactly, but then, it doesn't seem utterly uncharacteristic of her, from what little he knows. Awkwardly, he adds, "You caught me at a pretty bad time the other night, hopefully I wasn't overly rude." It seems like the correct thing to say, right? Right.

Viola stays where she's standing for a few moments as she watches Jack make his way over to Jessica and Nathan. "Interesting, huh?" Well, who can pass up interesting. Not like she has much else to do. Following after the bartender after a couple moments of deliberation, she nods a greeting to the two. "Good place to get away from the bicycles," she says dryly. "Afternoon," she nods to Jessica.

Correct thing to say? Jessica knows not of these standards. "Your wife has boring clothes." Well. Someone is perceptive. Meanwhile, there's danger in the air, ladies and gentleman - it's radiating off of the blonde in waves, growing ever stronger the closer Jack gets. But the response to his approach, and that of his apparent friend Viola, is a wickedly amused smile. "Miss me?"

Jack is amused and he doesn't bother trying to hide it. "I had a feelin' that I'd be seein' you again, lady-o. Nathan, always a pleasure." The Irishman lifts two fingers to touch his forehead in a brief, crooked salute. "Though your choice in friends hasn't improved since the last time we met."

Nathan totally has a retort for that. His eyes narrow and he's even about to say it, but, they're joined by others, so Nathan settles for a half-hearted, puzzled glare Nikica's way before he shrugs at Viola. "For now." His attention is turned to Jack, and he heh's, almost to himself. "Hi, Jack. No, trust me, this is a huge step up," he says. So little he knows. He shoots a glance to Nikica. "So you do know each other. New York's just getting smaller and smaller."

Viola knows none of these people. Other than Nathan, as his picture was every just a few months ago. So, she just decides to fade into the background as much as possible as they have their inside joke sort of conversation where they know what they're talking about but she does not. "Good good. I hate scrapping people up off the concrete. It's depressing." Jessica's wicked smile is met with a single eyebrow raise. What is this all about anyway?

Jessica slants a look between the two men upon realizing they're familiar with one another, but is otherwise unfazed; a curiosity, no more, no less. "Yeah." Too small, maybe. Viola's statement happens to make the woman chuckle, of all things, husky and… entertained?… by the thought. She folds her arms and looks at Jack. "You still owe me an explanation, bartender." Now that there are no weapons.

Arching an eyebrow, Jack peers over at the woman disdainfully. "The only thing that's owed between us is a hefty bar tab. I'll give you one thing, lady-o, you can drink like a lumberjack." For the moment, he appears to have forgotten Nathan. How terribly impolite of him, please forgive him while he argues with the scary lady.

Lady-o. Okay. Nathan glances between Jack and Nikica and sort of… lets them argue. That strange 'I'm going to eat you and not in a good way (except maybe)' gaze is turned from him to his former rescue team member, and that's fine by Nathan. He glances at Viola, to perhaps gauge out if she knows what's going on at all. Okay, damnit, he needs to check. He extends a hand to her. "Nathan. Do or should we know each other too?" It's only half a joke.

The exchange between Jessica and Jack is watched warily by Viola. This doesn't sound like something she's really in the mood for. So she's glad to have the distraction of Nathan's introduction. "I'm not sure…should we know each other? If so, then I'm out of the loop. Viola Holcombe." She leaves out the Lieutenant of that statement for now. No need to go flashing around her position if it's not needed. "I liked your commercials."

On Jack's comment, Jessica slides a hand into the back pocket of her jeans; when it snakes out, it's holding two crisp twenty dollar bills. She reaches out and pins them against the off-duty bartender's chest with her middle and pointer finger. She glances at Nathan; he hasn't entirely escaped that look, it seems (with a passing eye to Viola in-between), but soon her gaze is pinning Jack as similarly as her fingers are with the forty bucks between. "I seem to remember asking you a question once."

Smirking, Jack tucks the twenties into a coat pocket. "I don't suppose you'd let the matter lie if I told you it was none o' your nevermind, would you?" He crosses his arms over his chest and shoots a glance at Nathan. "You know, I never told you this, but I voted for you," he adds, almost as an aside. "I don't keep up with politics, but the way you always put your hand on your brother's shoulder when the reporters are takin' pictures is bloody heartwarmin'."

You know what's really inconvenient? Having a highly publicised election campaign just months before the whole world falls to pieces. "Viola," Nathan repeats, with a nod, then a mild smirk. "Well someone out there had to like 'em." Jack gets a raised eyebrow, and he slides his hands into the pockets of his jacket, shrugging. "Well you know me. Gotta put family first." Jack gets a curious look - Nathan really doesn't know his half of the story of what went down, exactly. Other than some dog dying. Trust Peter to bring that up.

"Right. Mr. Petrelli." Viola turns her attention to Jack for a moment, since he's addressing the man she's talking to, but then it's right back on Nathan. "Or do you still prefer Congressman?" Better to ask than to just go and realize it's rubbing salt in the wound. "Well, that and your stricter policy on gun control sold me," she tells the him. She looks at those assembled and then down at her watch. "I should probably get walking again. Nice to meet you." Despite the fact that the only person she 'met' was Nathan. "Later."

Jack's reaction garners a flicker of animosity from the blonde woman, a quick narrowing of her eyes around that intense stare. Whether she'll let the issue lie is another matter, Jessica doesn't say - which means she doesn't try to grab for his neck this time, at least. Her hand comes to rest on her hip. Talk of Peter brings a secretive sort of smirk to her lips, not quite as obvious as her wicked expression moments ago. Jessica barely glances at Viola, but choses a similar fate. "Bye … Congressman." Jack does not get a goodbye, nor the lingering look Nathan does, before she starts to saunter off down a path.

"Goody gumdrops. Well that wasn't bloody awkward or anything." Jack pulls a handkerchief from his sleeve and dabs at his brow delicately. He might be The Irishman, but NikiJess is the Super Femme Fatale. "Jesus, that broad is terrifying."

Congressman. Nathan doesn't correct either woman, just sort of shrugs it away and nods in a parting gesture when they make their leave. He, too, breathes a little easier when Nikica's gone, and he watches her walk away before focusing on Jack. "Can't say I disagree," he says, lightly. "You guys must go way back, huh?"

"Goody gumdrops. Well that wasn't bloody akward or anything." Jack pulls a handkerchief from his sleeve and dabs at his brow delicately. He might be The Irishman, but NikiJess is the Super Femme Fatale. "Jesus, that broad is terrifying."

Congressman. Nathan doesn't correct either woman, just sort of shrugs it away and nods in a parting gesture when they make their leave. He, too, breathes a little easier when Nikica's gone, and he watches her walk away before focusing on Jack. "Can't say I disagree," he says, lightly. "You guys must go way back, huh?"

"Ahh. Not so much. She stopped by my pub once and threatened me." Jack's explanation is much simplified, but still accurate enough. "For such a trim-lookin' package, she's a strong one. Make no mistake, there's steel under that silk," he warns. Blissfully unaware of Nathan's marital status, he makes the assumption that comes most naturally.

"I'll. Not be making that mistake if I can help it," Nathan awkwardly assures the other man, although he does smile in amusement. A quick glance around tells him that no one is close enough to conveniently listen in, and even so, he pitches his voice down a volume, half-instinctive. "This might come as a late question, but did everyone on your end make it out that night?" Concern or curiousity, or both.

"We did," Jack answers gravely. "I was sorry to hear that things didn't go so neatly on your end. My friends and I tried to reorganize so's we could help you, but we heard that you sprung yourself in good time." Cheering a bit, he raps his knuckles against his chest. "Thanks again for the vest, by the way."

"No problem," Nathan says easily. This is where he should probably maybe ask for all that equipment back, but, he'd have to care more. "Hopefully it'll come in useful for ya." He shakes his head once. "Doubtful it woulda been a good idea for your crew to turn back back for us anyway, so." Maybe. He shrugs, once. "Basically, none of us should have tried to go up against them. We'll know that next time, at least."

Jack lets out a long sigh. "We debated goin' back in for you guys, but I couldn't justify puttin' an entire team at risk." Ok, that might not've been /exactly/ how it happened, but Jack still would've preferred to go back in swinging for the fences. "In the end, all that matters is that you all made it out safe. I met your little brother, by the way. He's a good kid. Ambitious, too. He's tryin' to put together another group o' folks to find a missing girl and her daddy. From the sound o' things, he's got his work cut out for 'im."

"He's." That sentence is cut off quickly as Nathan tries to comprehend what his brother is doing now. He lets out a sigh, a hand raising to pinch the bridge of his nose briefly. Oncoming headache. "A group, huh?" Hands back in his pockets, Nathan shrugs. "Well he was talking about… that. Getting people like us together for the greater good." A touch of sarcasm colours those words. "You part of this one too?"

Grinning, Jack reaches out to cuff Nathan on the shoulder in a friendly fashion. "'Course I am. Somebody's gotta keep an eye on you bloody crazy Petrellis. All bollocks and no brains, you boys." His tone is light and jovial, taking the sting from his words. Then, quickly, he sobers again. "Look, Pete might be in over his head with this one. Hold on.." Frowning, he makes a vague grasping motion with one hand. An instant later he's holding a manilia envelope, which he passes over. "Have a look."

Nathan? Really can't disagree with Jack. As far as the man knows, he's completely accurate, so Nathan just snorts lightly and rolls his eyes skywards. At the folder, Nathan stares at it, and very cautiously takes it. "You didn't have this a moment ago, right?" He has to check. He flips open the file, and stares at the contents, cautiously shutting it again. He looks even more serious than before. "Who put this together and why did they put my brother's full name in it."

Nice. Anyone could tell that Nathan's not exactly thrilled. Then again, Jack wouldn't be either. "Uh. No, I wasn't holding that a moment ago. We can talk about that later, maybe over a pint." He takes a moment to swear under his breath, then shrugs. In the end, there are bigger things on the table here than one man's secret. "Anyway, I think it was this woman Jane that put the packets together. I know she's the one what handed them out. She sings at my pub, if you want to talk with her. I've got no bloody idea why she'd put anyone's name in it, though." From his frown, it would appear that Jack doesn't approve either.

Nathan is pissed off. It's true. He's having trouble hiding that fact, as he opens the folder once more and goes through it slower. He shakes his head, once, then gestures with the item. "Can I keep this? Thanks." A strained smile is given to Jack. "Jane, of course it was Jane. Listen. I need you to not be handing these out, at least until the content is fixed. Who are these for, anyway?"

"Calm down, boy-o. None o' this was my idea, and I've not shown that to anyone but you. If you've got a bone to pick, it's with Jane." Jack scratches at his stubbled jaw, then shrugs his broad, sloping shoulders. "I dunno who else might've got one." Conveniently unmentioned is the fact that Eliana received an envelope from the singer as well.

Nathan sighs, pauses, and then nods once. "I'm not shooting the messenger, I just don't want this spreading," he explains. "So, just… don't. Until further notice. I'll speak to Jane. And Peter." If his tone is any indication, that won't be a happy conversation. "And if you're smart, you'll steer clear of Gray."

"Christ, who took the jam outta your donut?" Jack shakes his head. Still, by now he's grown accustomed to being snubbed for trying to help. It's hard out here for an Irishman. "Nevermind, I don't wanna know. I think your brother's right, though. There are things ahead that we can't wish away. You'd do well t'keep that in mind."

"There's wishing away, and then there's covering our own asses," Nathan answers, almost flippant. "People should probably know what this guy looks like, but that's my last name circulating now, in case you hadn't noticed. /Some/ of us are still trying to keep all of this a secret." His shoulders slump a little, full well knowing he's getting irritated with the wrong person. He attempts to take the edge off with: "Thanks, anyway. For showing me the file."

Jack pats Nathan on the shoulder again, this time sympathetically. Though he's a bit on the volatile side, he's just as quick to forgive as he is to take offense. "No problem, mate. I know this can't be easy for you. All I can do is give you my word I'll keep an eye on Peter if I can, and that I'll call you if I find out he's about to do something recklessly altruistic. Sound good to you?"

The file is slipped under his jacket, and Nathan shrugs a shoulder. "Well someone obviously needs to be keeping tabs," he agrees, shaking his head minutely before he nods to Jack. "Fine, yeah. Sounds good. What bar is this, that you work at, anyway?" Hopefully not the one wherein he kicked the crap out of a random Scotsman.

"Den on Iniquity. Brooklyn. You can find me there most anytime. If you come lookin' for Jane, she plays and sings at night." Jack stretches languidly, then stretches the kinks from his neck and back.

A nod. Nathan doesn't look like he's heard of it, but he can probably find it. "Then we'll talk later, I'm sure," he says. A business card is handed over - just a plain ol' business card, with an email and phone number but nothing very personal, like home address or landline. "Thanks again."

"No problem. Take care of yourself, Petrelli." Jack pockets the card, waves lazily, then turns to leave.

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