2010-03-15: Daddy Issues



Date: March 15, 2010


Angela is devious. Angst ensues.

"Daddy Issues"

An Apartment — The Upper East Side

"So what is it that was so important you actually came to visit your grandmother for of your own free will?" Angela Petrelli holds out a cup of tea and gives its recipient a smile warmer than her ever-calculating eyes. The tea is hot to battle the remnants of winter outside. The window she stands in front of looks out over part of the Upper East Side, twinkling with the lights of a New York City evening. If you're going to be a fugitive, do it in style. The apartment is even decorated, though not by Angela's own hand. It's small — for its luxury location, anyay. Rented. Unfamiliar. "Not that I'm not thrilled…"

"Thanks," Claire murmurs, taking the tea and reaching for the sugar and cream. Somewhere along the way she decided she liked her tea in the British style. She stirs a couple of spoonfuls into the cup, then a dollop of cream, and takes her time stirring, watching the swirl of cream and tea until the two hues become one. It gives her time to think on her words. "Well, to let you know I was alive, for one," she says with a little bit of a smirk, then she looks up. "And I wanted to know if you had Adam Monroe's number, actually. I thought… he might be able to help me with something… with a project I'm working on."

The loud motorcycle treads up the street noisily getting closer to Claire and Angela's location — an otherwise quiet street where the apartment is located. Should the pair look outside, they will see something unusual for the Upper East Side — a motorcyclist dressed entirely in black leather and a black helmet. The large machine is parked against the curb in front of the house before the figure dismounts underneath the veil of the night sky.

The dark figure walks up to the front door of the apartment before a gloved finger rings the bell.

Something about Angela's unconcerned smirk suggests that she was well-aware that Claire was alive. She holds her own cup of tea, aging fingers wrapped around it with no attentiveness to what's inside; it's a prop, for the time being. Her focus is on Claire, to whom she lifts her eyebrows. "A project," she repeats skeptically. The motorcycle down below is given a glance through the window, vaguely distasteful. "I can give you a way to contact him, but I have to warn you, he's not the man he seems."

Upon the ringing of the bell, Angela tips her head up, putting on a mildly surprised and oh-so-ponderous expression. "I wonder who that could be," she muses in a murmur, striding to the door. "You'll have to tell me all about your trip," she calls back, voice elevating more the further she drifts away. "I hope you learned something from it. Excuse me a moment, Claire— "

Angela disappears out the door and down a set of stairs that leads to the apartment building's entrance. She opens it, smiles like the cat who ate the canary — but with a dubious glint in her eye. "I do hope that's my son in there. Midlife crisis?"

The roar of the motorcycle below gets nothing more than a glance at first from the petite blonde, who assumes it's a neighbor until the doorbell rings. Well, maybe it's a delivery man — an upscale courier who can afford something more than a bicycle, perhaps. "I really don't think you want to hear about my trip. It wasn't particularly pleasant," she tells the retreating back of her grandmother. Left to her own devices, she shakes her head, picking up her cup of tea to blow upon it and then sip. A burnt tongue would heal in a matter of seconds, but old habits die hard. She wrinkles her nose. Tea is one of those those acquired taste, and even with cream and sugar, it just tastes like perfumed water. She tilts her head, straining to hear the voices below, curious as to why a biker would be stopping by to visit her grandmother.

The helmet is removed to reveal Nathan's smirk. He tucks the helmet under one of his arms before leaning forward to kiss his mother on the cheek. "Nah. If I was having a midlife crisis, I'd buy a plane." He arches both of his eyebrows in good humour. "Good to see you in such high spirits, Ma." He offers her his dimpled grin — there's no diplomacy in this smile. No, Nathan has managed to find some measure of joy amongst the ashes.

"It's good to see you. I worried —" He stiffens. His worries extended during his incarceration.

Angela places a hand on the leather-clad shoulder of her son, the … biker, and leans in (and up) to peck Nathan's cheek in turn. "You worried, you were the one incarcerated. Trust me, my high spirits are achieved only by cosmetics and the promise of a family reunion. It's good to see you too Nathan. You didn't deserve what you must've gone through." She eyes him as if expecting him to refute what he may or may not deserve before leading the way up the stairs. "Come, come. Make yourself at home, I'm going to make more tea." She opens the door to the apartment itself and whisks rather hastily inside.

In fact, she disappears into what must be the kitchen and leaves Nathan … not quite alone.

As voices come closer, though muffled by the doors, Claire looks up, curious — and sees Nathan standing in the doorway. All in black, which doesn't do a whole lot for the fact that he played the role of the villain in her life, in not-so-distant memory. Her mouth drops, as if to say something, before her brows knit together and her mouth closes again. Was this planned by the two of them, without telling her? Logic would say otherwise, when Claire was the one who called the meeting, but too many months of distrust color her thinking.

"Hi," she finally manages. Eloquent.

And Nathan does object, "I deserved worse, and there are those that definitely didn't get what they deserved." He purses his lips as he follows her up the stairs to the apartment. Conveniently, his mother disappears, leaving Nathan to stare at his daughter. He hasn't seen her in ages, and he certainly doesn't know what to say. Or how to phrase anything. Like Caire, he gapes at her. His eyebrows knit together as his gaze turns to the floor.

"C-Claire?" He swallows around the lump in his throat. "Wh-what ar-h-how-ar-" he takes a deep breath before running his free hand (the one not holding the helmet under his arm) through his hair. "Hi," he manages with a very weak, very sheepish smile.

There's so much speeding through her brain that Claire can't decide what thought to grasp at. The first is probably not the best choice. "Did she tell you to come here?" she demands, a little angrily, though right now that anger is aimed at her grandmother rather than her father. Unfortunately, he may not be able to tell that from the demanding tone.

"And what's with the motorcycle get-up? You joining the Hell's Angels or something?" She doesn't get up from her perch on the sofa — she may not be rushing at him for a father-daughter hug, but she's not fleeing from the room, either.

"I…" Nathan stares at the floor now. "I… can come back later." He sighs. "I.. I'm sorry." What he's apologizing for is unclear and he doesn't make the clarification or distinction. He takes a step back, and manages to slide into the door. His lips are pressed together into a solid line as he continues to stare at the floor.

"I… I lived another life for awhile…" his lips quirk into a smile for a few moments at his small time in a carefree life. He backs up again and manages to walk into the now-closed door. This causes yet another sheepish grin as he fumbles for the handle, still without turning away.

"Another life?" she says with a frown, shaking her head to indicate she doesn't understand. "When you were missing? Before… before this last time you were missing?" She reaches for her discarded tea, and nods to the armchair nearby. He doesn't have to leave, that gesture says, though it's not an invitation to sit right next to her either. "Peter told me what happened to you. I'm sorry to hear it." The words are sincere enough. "Are you okay?" Has he ever been okay, since she's known him? Who knows.

Just out of sight, Angela stands beside a pot of already brewed tea in the unfamiliar kitchen, holding her own cup. She is, unabashedly, doing nothing but eavesdropping on the awkward reunion. Thus, when she hears Nathan making moves to escape, the meddling matriarch jets into action. Action in the form of tea and intervention.

Cups are rattled, hot tea is poured, fixed and Angela appears in the doorway between the kitchen and living room on the heels of Claire's question. "He will be," she answers for Nathan. "And don't be ridiculous, Nathan," she says, flippant in comparison to them Her voice takes on a familiar tone of command. "You're not going anywhere. This is far overdue and you're both going to sit here, drink tea," she strides briskly to Nathan and hands him a cup, then eyes Claire firmly, "and work out your daddy issues until you can stand to be in the same room together. I'll be in the kitchen." Eavesdropping.

Somewhat reluctantly, Nathan takes a seat — the furthest one from Claire. Why? Because he's a horrible person who got what he deserved. "I… had my memory erased," he can remember what happened now. "And I wound up in Ireland. Working in a pub." And part of a gang; he even has the tattoo to prove it, but he doesn't say that much — no one has seen the tattoo here, so what's the point in saying so?

He glances at his mother and shakes his head, "Ma, I don't really drink tea any —" but it's too late. He has tea now. With a sigh he eyes Claire. "I'm fine. I'm… more concerned about you. Believe it or not."

If Angela's plan is to get them to unite against a common enemy, it might work, at least in Claire's case. She scowls when she is told to sit like a dog and work out her daddy issues like someone on a Jerry Springer show. She sets down the cup she just picked up, not having taken a sip of it. She might be made to sit here, but she can't be made to drink the damn Earl Gray.

Claire's green eyes turn from her grandmother to her father when he says he was more worried about her. "I'm all right," she says quietly. "I don't like what happened to you or what it means for people like us. But I'll be okay." There's a forced smile. "I always am, right?"

Pleased enough at her efforts, Angela gives the pair a proud smirk that softens and hedges on something fonder, warmer for an instant. She also has a bold eyeing for both of them, however. "That's not so hard, now is it," she comments before vanishing as she said she would. Into the kitchen she goes, and beyond into a small elegant dining room where she sits down upon an equally elegant chair and begins to write a note. Adam Monroe — 555…

"Apparently," Nathan half-smirks before shaking his head. "We were working to stop them… it was naive in a way, we were operating blind. All of us." He suppresses a sardonic chuckle — it lacks mirth or soul. In fact, it's as empty as the emotion it represents. "I talked to…" Nate makes no claims here "… your father before I was taken. He's looking out for you — they're doing more than just taking people." He frowns, this is all knowledge he learned from Tracy and Baker. "And… I am sorry, Claire. For everything. All of it. I can't… I can't make sense of it, but there's no excuses."

Her father is working on this? Claire's expression shows this is news to her. "I haven't seen him since before I left," she says quietly, looking a bit worried. If he hasn't seen her since before he was taken, it's still a long time with no Noah sighting. As for the rest, she glances down, away, out the window. "It's in the past. Don't worry about it." The words are said quickly, all in one breath.

"Where did you go?" Nathan asks as his eyebrows furrow again. He places the cup of tea on a nearby table before finally lowering his helmet to the ground — no reason to hold onto it at this moment. "It's a terrible project and likely — " he shrugs a little before shaking his head, some things just aren't worth talking about. "What have you been doing lately? I'm out of the loop, I'm afraid. Living in Ireland, going around Europe, and living as a Buddhist monk have that effect on a person."

"I was supposed to help in Haiti," Claire says a little darkly. "I got there, eventually. After a plane crash somewhere in the Caribbean. I was the only survivor, of course. Fun times." She doesn't give the details, but she also is a bit more blunt about it than she had been with her adopted mother. "I just got back last week. Apparently we're not in hiding anymore, so I can get a job and be a useful and upstanding citizen of this great nation." She pushes a lock of blond hair behind one ear. "That's about it, really. Not much of a life yet. I'm also grounded." She makes a face at that. It sounds preposterous. She'll be 20 in a month!

"Huh," is all Nathan can manage. "What did Peter tell you, exactly?" He narrows his eyes at Claire before tightening his jaw. "It's not good and… the end…" No. He shakes his head again. "Look, just stay safe. I don't really know what will happen with all of this or how it will play out, but your Dad is looking out for you. Just trust him to keep doing that." He moistens his lips again. He smirks at little at the notion of Claire being grounded, but the smirk only lasts an instant. "I'm glad you got back alright."

"About his vision… and the collars… and the war," Claire manages, a quick glance to where Angela disappeared to, wondering if she knows all of this. "You shouldn't have had to go through that. I'm sorry. If I'd have known…" She shrugs. What could she have done? "I want to learn to fight. To help protect myself. Peter said he'd show me but he also seems to think he doesn't know how, unless I have a plethora of abilities to choose from like some inventory of spells on a video game." She shrugs. "He said you might be able to help but I think I have another idea."

"I… could maybe teach you to throw a punch," Nathan says with a slight shrug. "Or something. I… got into a scrap or two in Ireland. Goes with the territory." Of being a smuggler / thief type. With another heavy sigh, Nathan shakes his head. "Well go with your instinct on that one." He smirks again. All things considered he hasn't explained much at all — if anything about himself.

Was that a sigh of disappointment to hear she had other plans in the works? Claire's brows furrow and she nods slowly. "Well. I don't know if it will work or not, my plan. It's actually why I'm here," she says quietly, unsure of all the politics between the person whose help she is seeking and her family. "I came to ask Angela for Adam Monroe's contact information. I figured… he might know, since…" Since they have the same power. "But any pointers can help. I know at least not to put my thumb on the inside, if that counts. What did you do in Ireland?"

"I…" Nathan starts. "… I worked in a pub in Cork…" And did other things. With an idle smirk, Nathan shakes his head, he's lied and hurt her too much already. This, he can admit to with little issue, all things considered. "…and smuggled things with a crew," he finally admits. "And that sounds like a logical plan…" He offers another weak smile.

"You were a … bartender and a smuggler?" Claire says, clearly surprised at that, and she actually laughs. "Well, I guess if bar brawling is in order, I'll come to you. Sound like a plan?" This time the smile actually makes it to her eyes, though there is still a wary tension that holds her at a distance, both emotional and spatial. "I can take all the help I can get, really, as far as fighting goes. Peter's supposed to help too. Maybe you can come, too." It's a very tentative offering of the olive branch.

"Yeah. I was that. Annnnnd a thief." Nathan's lips twitch into something unfamiliar to most in his life here — a very easy, very-Brayden-esque smile. It's reminiscent of a simpler time for him. "It was… less complicated than all of this. Honestly, politics isn't all it's…" he shakes his head again. "You don't need to hear my troubles," he shoots her a Brayden-like wink before picking up his helmet and rises to his feet. "I should go deal with them or something. The sooner I do, the sooner I'll be done. Dealing with them, I mean." His smile broadens, though like Claire's it's somewhat tentative.

Claire glances down, a little shyly. Family shouldn't be this hard. "Good luck. They never seem to really go away. The more you deal with them, the more show up," she says with a slight smile. "It was … I'm glad I saw you. I'm sorry it took so long." She can't quite apologize for feeling the way she had for so long, but she can at least apologize for being too slow to try to make amends. There's a half-rise of her body before she sinks down again on the sofa, as if she changed her mind of rising to see him out.

"Yeah. It was… overdue. That's my fault, not yours," Nathan says gently as he turns this time for the door. "Take care of yourself, okay? I — " he presses his lips together before running a hand through his hair. " — I don't want someone else abusing your ability — " His face flushes as he turns the knob of the door " — like I did." He shakes his head as the doorknob turns and steps through the doorway where he lingers a moment. "I'm sorry for what I did. And I am… I will… find a way to make up for it." He closes the door behind him before whispering, "Somehow."

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