Date: April 15th, 2010
Elsewhere, the Protocol has been stopped and the world might be saved from its plans — but here at the United Nations Headquarters, Senator Nathan Petrelli, with the help of Congressman George Dawson, is set to make sure it doesn't happen again. Someone else is set to make sure he doesn't succeed. Good thing Angela put her plan in place.
Previously on Heroes MUSH…
"How — how do I even stop this? If the government is essentially hands-off, the only way to stop it is to take it to the Commander in Chief. If I go — " Nathan's expression has turned grim. "Tracy, you are my advisor. Advise me."
"I'll advise you, Nathan, but you have to be willing," Tracy says firmly, studying Nathan for any signs to the contrary. Signs of weakness. "You're right, the President does need to know. We can only hope he's in the dark about what the Protocols are really about. Problem is, you're not gonna be able to get close to him. Not… without some serious creativity. The world thinks you're sick. You have to show 'em that you're strong. You need to be a Senator again." A powerful gaze is pinned on Nathan, pointed. "Maybe the President can't see you personally… but even the White House watches the news."
* * *
George: "So— I heard something about speech-of-the-year? Please tell me you figured out who we need to blow the whistle on."
"No speech of the year, but we do need your help," Nathan glances down at the table, but only for a moment before he looks at George intently. Dark circles line his eyes, and weariness has long set in, "Things are worse than we thought."
* * *
Angela: "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."
* * *
Angela: "There's always a backup plan when things get too bad."
Peter: "I'm not sure I like the sound of your back up plans."
* * *
Gabriel lets out a deep, slow breath, before finally turning to Angela. "She's gone. Even if she can be fixed.. she shouldn't have had to go through this. It was my fault, if she wasn't with me when they came for me… and if he hadn't…" He trails off, eyes glazing over for a moment as Gabriel looks at some moment in the past, finally pulling himself back to the present to look Angela directly in the eye. "You have one chance to convince me."
One chance to convince him? Angela is up to the challenge. In fact, the words are already rehearsed in her head; she already saw herself speak them, saw Gabriel's answers. "Nathan is going to do something that could lead to disaster for all of us— " Gabriel wasn't quite wrong in guessing her motives, it would seem, and I need you to stop him. Not like that— " She raises a hand, as if to cut Gabriel off pre-emotively. "Trust me, if I wanted him killed I could have arranged it. No, I want him saved. And to do it, I need you, Gabriel. He's going to be at a press conference on April 15th, and someone is going to murder him."
All of that that isn't convincing anyone but Angela, however. The woman presses a hand into the counter's edge, all her bearing focused at the much taller figure. "If you're not happy with who you are," she says, "How would you like to be someone else?" The Petrelli matriarch pulls a paper out of her purse and unfolds it, pulling the creases smooth with her thumb.
774 REAGAN DRIVE
"Convergence: "The Conference"
United Nations Headquarters
It has been a busy day. A conference on anti-terrorism has been keeping the distinctive UN building full of activity. The President of the United States has spoken, and a strange turn of events in the city caused him to turn his attentions to more current matters when a sudden shock struck Ward's Island. Murmurs of an earthquake are passed between officials. Journalists covering the conference whisper about a possible meteor strike; a giant black cloud. People have been checking their smartphones constantly for updates. Reporters are abuzz. Everyone is on edge.
As such, the grand halls have cleared somewhat.
Despite this, through some stroke of luck, Congressman George Dawson seems to have secured this building, and specifically this large, white conference room skirted by marble pillars, as a platform for a press conference. A marble arch, through a feat of architecture, serves as the entryway — no door, but security is everywhere. At the moment, everyone is being ushered in and settling down in a low hum. The crowd seems restless; whatever the Congressman has to announce seems unimportant compared to the current breaking news, and it's hard to follow the President.
Ninety-nine percent of those gathered are journalists, wearing ID. One of the gathered, however, happens to be Angela Petrelli, uninvited but somehow still here; you can't get rid of her, Nathan. She even has ID authorizing her to be here, clipped to the bottom of her jacket; who knows who she had to bribe to get it. Blending into the crowd in her black dress suit and keeping a stern face on, she watches the as-of-yet-empty podium closely.
Backstage - more accurately, behind a nondescript closed door not far from the podium - George paces back and forth, hands clasped behind his back. He's deliberately kept his own plans minimal… both because he only plans to actually talk for at most half the time that the public expects, and because he'd still like to keep his promise to the president and make it down to the UN conference before it winds down for the day. It might still happen - his own staff is keeping tabs on it - but before he gets started, he hands the security staff one last-minute message to relay to their counterparts already at the conference:
« Possible attempt against POTUS's life on or after 16:15. Recommend you change up his planned whereabouts for duration. »
With that settled, he fidgets with a slim stack of index cards, leaning over to plant a kiss just below Hallis's ear. "Wish me luck?"
Dressed relatively conservatively for the conference, Hallis took a page out of the Tracy Rules of Political Dressing book and pretty much cloned one of the outfits she had scene the advisor wearing before, as Linda. Dressed in a cream colored knee length skirt, a pair of heels and camisol to match, she overlaid it with a demure pink cardigan and… a pearl necklace. Lovely touch the woman had to most of her outfits.
As George leans down, she gives him a big smile and nods. "You don't need it but break a leg — not literally — Really. Don't break your leg, just… Good luck." She's as nervous as a mouse in a room full of cats and it shows just by the way she's fidgeting. It's a good thing she's not visible to the cameras, it's the one time she'd likely throw up if she saw them.
Dressed a la Hallis — Nathan appears rather Senatorial today. His well-tailored navy Hugo Boss suit paired with his white collared dress shirt and striking red tie are all-American in appearance. On his jacket lapel he wears his American flag lapel pin — red, white, and blue, just like the rest of his attire. He straightens his tie as he shoots Hallis the biggest smile he can muster. Inhaling a deep breath, he manages to shoot her a diplomatic smile, "Everything will be fine." The reassurance is for himself more than anyone else. Hidden away from the cameras, he has only a few moments left before his former notoriety catches up to him again.
George's attire also offers a nod to the standard patriotic colors, but a much more understated one - a reversible red-and-blue handkerchief with white stitching around the edge, standing out against a suit otherwise dominated by charcoal gray. It's quite deliberate; people are driven by what they see, and so Nathan's surprise appearance should stick in people's minds just a little bit easier.
After walking out and briefly greeting the general public and the press corps, he starts right into the dryest part of his speech: job creation this, homeowner incentive that. The crowd murmurs a bit, but largely stays put; after all, it fits what they expected.
It's a drone.
At the back of the crowd, Angela stands among those who eschew chairs — whether they couldn't get a seat or remain standing to zoom in with photographic lenses. Her face is grim and pulled tight over her bones. Her hands clench, aging fingers curling in only to unclench. Her gaze is on the podium, but she isn't watching George. She's looking to the foreseeable future. Unlike most in the audience, she knows this isn't the main attraction.
Chewing on her lower lip, Hallis sidles next to Nathan and looks up at him with a strained smile. "I hope so… I'm so nervous. What if the earthquake gets us?" She's so scared, she's actually missing one of the larger purses that she generally carries. Today she left it at home in favor of a clutch, unfortunately clutches don't have room for the ever handy barf bags that she used to carry around with her in times of need. Since George, she's rarely needed to cart one around but she certainly could have used one today. George's speech sort of drones on, things she really isn't interested in, so instead of paying attention, she digs around in her purse. With a sigh of relief, she pulls a couple of stray pills from the bottom of the pink clutch. Holding them in the flat of her palm, she picks one up and places it in her mouth before offering the other up to Nathan. "Ativan? It'll take the edge off."
"You'll be fine," Nathan reassures again with a forced smile — so forced, in fact, it doesn't really belong on his face, almost like his lips were never intended to smile. "Earthquakes happen." Swallowing hard, he fidgets with the sleeves of his jacket, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He's not one for suits. The drug is eyed suspiciously before Nathan shakes his head. He regards it, "No." It's a simple enough answer. As a kind of afterthought he adds curtly, "Thank you."
In that back room, Tracy steps up next to Nathan, immediately grasping his arm. It's a gesture that encourages confidence — for both of them — as well as measures it, her hand firm. Like the politicians, her attire is dark, though not as patriotic: a smoky grey sheath dress, both classy and conservative… though minus the pearls her younger counterpart Hallis sports. The advisor looks up at Nathan. By her wide eyes, she's feeling the stress, but she's calm in the storm. She watches the Senator rather closely, seeming to notice his forced smile. "Remember everything we talked about. You'll do great up there, Nathan. Just tell 'em what they need to know."
Out front, George sets the cards aside, having finished rattling off high points. "I'd like to share some more details with you… and I will next month, after we've had a little more time to work them out ourselves. And I promise we'll double up on the free coffee that day." The crowd laughs, the journalists wonder where this is going…
…while a shiftier group, also equipped with notepads and cameras and smartphones, perks up. Like Angela, they also figured that the tax initiative was a distraction— they just have a different idea about what it's a distraction from.
"While I've got your attention, though," George continues, "I'd like to clear up some rumors involving myself and Hallis van Cortlandt." Because they and their friends planted them on purpose. "Hallis, would you come out here for a minute, please? Some of you have noticed she's been sporting a new ring lately, I'd like to thank Tiffany's for being kind enough to let us borrow that for a little while…" As if on cue, the shifty crowd leans forward, going from buzzed to on fire. All their doom-and-gloom predictions are about to turn into a big fat paycheck!
Thank goodness for pharmaceuticals because Hallis, at first, stands there somewhat stunned and then the remaining little pill is dropped to the floor in surprise. "What? What? No.. I…" Then she forces a smile of her own and prepares to meet the cameras. This is it, the moment she's been dreading since the morning after the crazy plan was hatched. She looks first to Nathan, then to Tracy, her eyes wide as she recognizes the woman, "Linda, you look so much better blonde?" She didn't mean to make it a question, it was something of a band camp moment. Something quipped just before she stiffly walks out to stand next to George. Her smile falters, just a little, then she recovers and raises her hand to give the assembled the best Queen Elizabeth wave she can muster.
"Thanks Tracy," Nathan says lowly with a smaller smile. He tugs on the ends of his sleeves again, feeling strangely out of his own skin. The events of the last few weeks would be enough to have that effect. He adjusts his tie again while clearing his throat.
George pauses, letting the murmur settle down some before he draws closer to Hallis, slipping an arm round her waist. And reaching into his pocket with the other hand, producing a blue velvet ring box. Holy crap, he brought her out on camera to ask for the ring back?
"…and I'd also like to thank them for letting me buy this one." The box is opened, revealing a second ring - a bigger one - and the tabloid crews slump back into their seats just as quickly. They can recover from their mistakes, they always do, but it's no less annoying a setback for them.
"Now if you'll excuse us, folks, we've got some plans of our own that have been waiting too long already— but I ran into an old friend earlier today, so I'd like to turn the spotlight over to him at this point. Thank you, all of you." Even the sleazehounds, for being predictable if nothing else.
All of Hallis' poise falls the wayside for a single moment as her jaw and waving hand drop in surprise. "Holy mother of.. pearl…" she gasps as she sees the ring. "Who is that for?" She stops just short of asking George if he had someone he was planning to give it to. The censorship part of her brain turned back on, right then. "I'm.. yes… thank you," she says trying to force her smile again as she finds herself ushered off stage and out of the public eye.
Once backstage, she turns to George and looks at the velvet box, then to George, then to the velvet box again and shakes her head a little, as though trying to clear the fog. "George, what's that for?"
At the last sentence, Nathan takes another deep breath, shoots Tracy a significant look, tugs at the bottom of his coat, smoothing it out entirely, and manages to wear a diplomatic smile as he steps through the door and into the public eye. It's the first time Senator Petrelli has been seen publicly since January when he'd apparently taken ill. He steps up to the podium, a single cue card carried in his left hand, his right buried inside his pocket. After placing the card on the podium he scans the room, poised for action.
On seeing the form of Nathan Petrelli step on the chopping block, so to speak, Angela's eyes narrow and flicker. She tips her head back, her grim visage gradually becoming satisfied. She smiles, ever-so-slightly, becoming sure of her plan. To herself, unheard in the crowd, she gives a confirming whisper: "Sylar." While the journalists start a new frenzy, she slips out amidst the flashbulbs and murmurs, between the pillars into the corridor outside the large main room.
"Backstage", ignoring George and Hallis, Tracy lingers near the door that leads the way Nathan (…?) left: center stage for the press conference. She presses a hand against the doorframe, watching with intense — but composed — anticipation.
Making good on his word, George is already heading toward the back exit of the building - Hallis in tow - though his phone is picking up one of the TV feeds of what he's missing. "Hallie," he explains, "I told you I wanted to marry you— I was never lying about that! I'm sorry for putting you through all that, but I figured whatever you did would throw them into a shitstorm…" Broken camera lenses is good; egg on their faces is better. "Forgive me, please? Complete truth from here on out, I promise."
"I — uhm — Of course, I forgive you. I'm just surprised, that's all." Surprised and feeling really floaty due to the tiny pill that disappeared under her tongue only a few minutes before. She follows him out the back door of the building and just lets out a large whoosh of air. "You're not just doing this so you don't have to tell Grandmother it was all fake, are you? Because I'm not going to say yes if you're afraid of her." Of course Hallis is afraid of Lizette or, rather, what she thinks.
Angela is out. Unlike George and Hallis, she's not leaving; she has someone to check on. Namely, Nathan, while the person standing front of the crowd begins to speak in his place. A decoy who happens to heal from any wound.
The hall outside the press conference is only inhabited by security. All watchful, save for one who watches a video of the apparent earthquake or meteor or whatever the hell it was on his phone. Angela whisks past them.
The Senator clears his throat. "My fellow Americans," Nathan begins as he speaks into the microphone in front of him, his left hand grips the podium with nearly white knuckles. There's a distinct edge to his voice as he speaks, an unusual kind of authority, "I stand here today as a civil servant, imploring you to make a difference to your country." His facial expression itself borders on grim — the smile has been replaced; despite the precedent as to why it was called and the George-Hallis theatrics, this press conference is no laughing matter.
Angela's heels click on the floor, sharp and echoing. One door — an entrance to the area in which some others were waiting behind-the-scenes — is passed by…
Nathan's gaze scans the crowd as he continues to grasp the podium with his left hand. "Over the course of the last year you have been warned time and again by politician after politician that terrorism is alive in our country. This isn't entirely untrue, but it's not your neighbours, friends, or family that are the threat." His lips twitch into a small frown.
Angela comes to a stop; the hand of the matriarch wraps around the handle of the next door in the corridor, starts to pull it open.
The Senator stares into the camera, almost attempting to make eye contact with those that will hear the speech. "A threat to our national security has been created by the very government meant to keep citizens safe. The United States government, in partnership with Lane Industries has been delivering weapons of mass destruction to enemies of the United States — all for dollar signs."
A blinding, bright white light fills his vision as his eyes snap open, and he instinctively raises a hand in front of his eyes to block out the glare. His vision begins to normalize, the room coming into view as he blinks a few times. The white glare proves to be a simple pair of fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling, casting their harsh glare on the supply closet. Buckets, a broom, a mop, and various cleaning agents line the shelves, which Gabriel uses to push himself up. He reaches to the back of his head, where a rather large, bloody bump is beginning to heal itself. Eyes widening, he brings his wrist up, checking the time— and he doesn't like what he sees.
Slamming the door to the supply closet open, Gabriel races out of it and down the hallway, shoes skidding along the linoleum as he rushes to make his way to the press conference. This isn't how this was supposed to happen. He has no idea how he ended up in the supply closet, but he has a growing suspicion, and he's damn sure he's right. Cursing Nathan for his foolishness as he bursts through another door into a hallway, a placard pointing him in the direction of the right conference room.
Angela stands back, eyes wide as Gabriel bursts out into the hall before she can even open the door. Nearly behind door as it opens, she can't even say if he knew he was there. One thing is for certain: her horror. Horror doesn't cover it. Impending doom is certainly written across her features, but even that doesn't describe her sudden fear. If that really is Nathan up there— "No! This isn't the plan!" She takes chase.
Slowing down as he gets closer, but only just barely, Gabriel quietly allows himself into the room to see his suspicions confirmed— the real Nathan Petrelli standing at the podium and delivering his speech.
Nathan's eyebrows knit together tightly. "Furthermore, government officials have been unjustly imprisoning people— without trial— as they've come to uncover the current situation, myself included. My current state of health was grossly exaggerated by the media as a form of propaganda to keep me quiet." He draws his right hand out of his pocket and to his forehead, pushing his hair back — it's a nervous habit of sorts. When he does so, bruising can be seen across his knuckles. "As you can see, I am not sick — "
A sickening noise of something striking a solid body explodes around Nathan. In him. So fast, it's next to impossible to determine where it came from, what it was — but only bullets fly that fast. A very different sort of patriotic red bleeds suddenly across the white of the shirt under his suit, under his tie.
He's been hit.
Hit and going down.
An indiscernible noise indicating pain is emitted from the inside of Nathan's throat as he grasps the podium in a futile attempt to stay vertical. His hands slide down the podium as his body follows suit. Within moments, he's on the floor, gasping for any breath. Not only is the wound oozing blood — it's spurting.
His formerly white shirt is darkly stained by the red liquid, and his face pales all too quickly. His skin is clammy and cold. The Senator is fading fast.
Outside, George is only peripherally paying any attention to Nathan's words. One, he figured that he'd be blowing the whistle on the Protocols, and the rest would just be corroborating details. Two, he's occupied with finding out by experiment how Hallis's body feels different while pressed up against a car door —
— until the noise from the TV feed kicks up, becomes impossible to ignore. One glance at the screen later, the color drains out of his face as well, and he grabs at her wrist again— without any hint of gingerness, this time. "Fuck. Nathan got shot! C'mon, we gotta move!"
If the tabloids weren't having such a field day inside, they'd definitely be outside catching the show of a lifetime. It's not every day that a political figure is caught in a compromising position and it's blown all over the covers. Wait a minute, that happens almost every other week. Hallis is wrapped tightly around George and pinned against the car as they have a little impromptu celebration that's long been put off.
Then George pulls away in a panic and Hallis drops back to the ground. "Wait, what? George, we — Shot?" She's disoriented, very much so. When he grabs her wrist and yanks her forward, she stumbles a little and then does her best to run after him. It's not hard in stiletto heels.
At the press conference, a member of security, previously hanging back behind him, is the first to rush to the Senator's side. A twenty-something man with an average build, a reddish goatee and a sincere face, he looks truly frightened as he falls to his knees, not fast enough to stop Nathan's fall. How could they have missed this? How did someone get in with a weapon?! "S-Senator?!" Hands go to Nathan's chest hesitantly but even a hesitant touch gets them covered in blood. He calls to the panicked crowd. "Paramedics! CALL 911!"
The crowd looks every which way, trying to determine where the shooter went, trying to peg their identity. A few people look sharply over their shoulder as if they saw something, but there's no one. There's no smoking gun.
Angela, at the back of the crowd, screams— but her protest is lost in the noise. "NATHANNN!!" She can't get through. She's rocked by a wall of bodies in panic. Sometimes, despite one's best efforts and planning, you can't stop what's been laid out. Sometimes, it seems, you can't stop the future.
The young security guard leans in closer, trying to figure out just what to do. It's only then that he realizes, between his unsure, bloody hands, there's something protruding from Nathan's chest. What— is that the handle of a knife…?
The pain would be more immense if Nathan's body hadn't gone into shock so quickly. He struggles to find breath and then… he just doesn't. The Senator stops breathing.
One of the onlookers had the good sense to call 9-1-1 — an ambulance is on its way. She turns to the security guard, "We need to like try mouth-to-mouth or something. Do you know CPR?!"
"I can't — the knife!" The security man shouts to the 911 caller. With a knife so close to Nathan's heart and lungs, CPR sounds … dangerous. He leans in even closer, listening for breath sounds.
The man puts his ear close to Nathan's mouth. Checks for every pulse he can find.
He looks up to the 911 caller, the growing number of people encircling the wounded politician, and the crowd at large.
"He's not breathing."
Time: Taking Place RIGHT before the conference
Silence permeates the room. A polished, cherry oak wood table rests perfectly in the center of the squared room, twelve chairs lined around it— one at either end, and five on either side. A large, white screen used for PowerPoint presentations rests at the head of the room, the screen half-pulled down and obscuring a painting behind it.
It's this painting that Gabriel is currently staring at, trying to figure just exactly why it's there. Who would put a painting behind the screen like that? Do they not use the screen that often? Shaking his head, Gabriel rests his arm along the table, one of the five seats on his side askew as he sits in it. If anything, he's focusing on the painting to distract himself from what's coming. Drumming his fingers along the table, he looks at his watch before straightening his tie, something he's been doing for the past half hour, about every half minute.
Just outside the room, in the hallway, another man straightens his tie. With takes a deep breath and stretches his arms. Nerves are the rule of the day. It's been ages since Nathan stood in front of a camera and delivered an important speech; even longer since he'd named names on camera. In fact the last time he did that he was a District Attorney. Nathan frowns before inhaling deeply and opening the door to the room, he just needs space to breathe — a moment before putting it all on the line. His eyes narrow as his gaze lands on Gabriel. He's silent as he stands there for a moment glancing around the room and straightening his tie again.
As the door opens, Gabriel stands from the table slowly, turning his attention in that direction. Stopping short as he sees it's Nathan and not Angela, he keeps a steady gaze on the other man, even as he once again straightens his tie. Breaking his gaze only long enough to glance at his watch, he turns his eyes back up to Nathan, tilting his head slightly in recognition. "So," he says, extending a hand to be shaken, but he doesn't say anything past that.
Oddly Nathan too, fixes his tie. Swallowing, his eyes narrow at Gabriel before he tilts his head, never taking his gaze off the other man. "So," is the Senator's response. He takes a single step forward, and pulls out a chair. It's an innocent move, almost like he wants to sit down and discuss things before Gabriel steals his identity. But instead of sitting down, Nathan grasps the chair and lifts it. With all of the force he can muster, he raises it into the air and barrels it down on Gabriel as hard as he can.
With the step forward, Gabriel raises his hand slightly, expecting the Senator to shake his hand. What he's not expecting, however, is for Nathan to ignore him and move to the chair. But, if he's going to shrug off the handshake, Gabriel can handle that. The last time they met weren't exactly under friendly circumstances, considering Nathan roughed him up pretty good, even if Gabriel did feel he deserved the beating.
What he's really not expecting, however, is for Nathan to suddenly pick up the chair and proceed to slam it down on his head. He tries to bring his hands up to stop the blow, a gut reaction that will cost him, and he isn't nearly quick enough. Nathan has the edge of surprise, and the chair literally breaks in two over the top of Gabriel's head, who instantly falls to the floor with a dull thud on the carpet, eyes closed, body motionless as blood begins to leak from the wound that has formed on the crown of his skull.
After Gabriel is down, Nathan takes a deep breath and shakes his head to regain his calm. But abilities have taught him one thing — not everything turns out as you expect. So to be sure Gabriel is down, Nathan lifts Gabriel by the collar and delivers a very strong right handed punch to the other man's face. He can't help but cringe as he drops Gabriel's' body to the ground and shakes his hand, in an attempt to stop the throbbing — he hasn't hit someone else in awhile; he's getting rusty.
With another heavy sigh, he lowers himself to the ground and drags Gabriel towards a supply closet — with an entrance to the hallway as well as to this conference room itself. He shoves the body in it and glances down at his suit; no trace of blood. Well done, Nathan!
A glance is given to the chair Gabriel had vacated and with a shrug of his shoulders he procures it and waits.
Once again, timing is everything.
The door to the room eases open. Eases being the key word; whoever is opening it is careful, perhaps not entirely sure what they're walking into.
Angela peeks her head inside, dark eyes expectant. When she sees who stands in the room, she steps in fully and smoothes down her black suit with growing poise. Still; some question remains. "Gabriel?" she ventures. A mistake, perhaps. The matriarch's hopefulness overshadows her confidence that her plan will work. Her voice tones down to just above a whisper as she narrows hyper-critical eyes upon the patriotically dressed man in the chair. "…Nathan?"
Straightening his tie and then glancing at his watch. "It's done," Nathan says simply, attempting to keep his tone as Gabriel-esque as humanly possible. He manages not to smile at his mother, but doesn't regard her with the angry coldness he'd displayed to her. Instead, he attempts to maintain some semblance of distance.
"Gabriel. Of course," he arches his eyebrows as if silently asking whether Nathan could get the jump on Gabriel (apparently he can, and he did).
A darkly satisfied smile spreads across the face of Mrs. Petrelli. It lingers, fading into something more heartened: she seems pleased that her plan worked, not only because it worked, but because it means Nathan should be safe. She whisks across the room and past the table toward the apparent shape shifter, studying him all the while.
Angela's hands reach out to cradle the man's face in her hands. If she notices anything amiss, any signs that it's not Gabriel Gray sitting in that chair, her conviction hazes her normally sharp vision. She smiles further. "Good…" One aged hand lifts up; strokes his hair. One part studying a piece of fruit for defects; one part doting. "You're using the new gift I gave you wonderfully." She pauses, briefly, her fingers curling tightly all of a sudden against Nathan's face, darkly manicured nails digging in and her eyes growing cold, full of warning. "Don't screw this up, or I'm afraid I won't be able to help you anymore."
The inspection is met with a smug — borderline arrogant — smile. "I know how things work," he says levelly as the smile fades. It's a matter-of-fact statement. Inside, Nathan wants more than anything to yell at his mother again, but considering the lengths she's gone to, he remains poker-faced and neutral thanks to his former alter, Logan. And then something eats at Nathan for a moment. Did his mother mandate Gabriel kill someone so he could replace Nathan? Now that's unsettling. Yet he still manages to remain neutral.
"Just make sure you hold your end of the bargain," his tone is even as his eyes narrow at Angela.
"Fair is fair," Angela counters flippantly. She looks Nathan straight in the eye, close quarters. With such a penetrating look, she ought to be able to see into his soul. Again, she sees what Nathan wants her to believe — what she wants to believe herself. She steps back, hands-free, and levels her chin, looking down her nose at Nathan. "Get ready. Dawson's on in ten, according to the schedule."
"I'm ready," Nathan replies as he straightens his tie and stands from his chair. "I guess I better get out there." His features are serious — edged, perhaps, but not Loganesque, more stoic. He straightens his suit as he glances at his mother for what could be the last time. "Nathan's in the closet. I suggest you leave him there until after; having him appear would put a serious damper on your plans." That said he walks to the door and steps through it.
Angela follows rapidly behind, stepping into the hallway. Her heels make sharp clicks on the tile, one after the other. "I'll check on him; make sure he's … alright," she declares with a careful eyeing of the man who she assumes is the man who was once known as Sylar. The lives of the Petrellis are nothing if not complicated, but such twists and turns are, by now, second nature to Angela. "When it's already too late."