2007-05-24: Fratelli In Armi


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Summary: Nathan avoids going home at Jack's bar. They discover something in common and choose to bond over it.

Date It Happened: 24th of May, 2007

Fratelli In Armi

Brooklyn - Den Of Iniquity

Though it's a Friday, drink specials at a competing bar have left Jack and the Den with a relatively lack of business. This suits the Irishman just fine, as he'd much rather not have to limp around at top speed, mixing cosmos and long islands for snotty college bitches. He's presently tucked behind the bar, enjoying a glass of bourbon and a cigarette. There's a tea towel thrown over one shoulder of his worn grey t-shirt, partially obscuring the 'FREE BOXING LESSONS' printed across the front in red. With jeans and scuffed boots on, he's obviously not looking to impress anyone today.

Also not looking to impress anyone right now is Nathan, who hesitantly opens the door to the bar and takes a gander before walking in. The last time he had come here, it was a little too rowdy… and that was before Elle had started to try killing people. But the sparse crowd tonight is to his liking, so he moves towards the bar. While not dressed down for the occasion, Nathan's abandoned his tie somewhere and opened the collar of his shirt, though his suit is likely still a little too expensive for the venue. Likely he hasn't gone home to get changed. Coming to stand at the bar and dig through for his wallet, he glances up and down for an employee, and upon spotting Jack, he offers the now somewhat familiar Irishman a slight smile that doesn't really reach his eyes. He's not being unfriendly, he's just tired of goddamn smiling - but so is the curse of running for senate, or something.

"Well, if it isn't the redoubtable Nathan Petrelli. C'mon man, have a seat." The bartender gestures to the stool across from himself, then limps over to grab a bottle of Jack Daniels and a highball glass. He pours the politician a generous two fingers, then shoves the glass over to him. After lifting his own drink for a sip, he waves expansively at his empty bar. "If you want anything else, you'd better order it fast."

The welcome is received readily - as is the Jack Daniels, Nathan sitting down before possessively drawing the drink closer with a brisk but genuine 'thanks'. At Jack's comment, Nathan glances over his shoulder, then smirks back at the bartender. "Don't worry about me, I'll fight them back," he says of the non-existent hordes, before taking a deep sip of the whisky, and finally gesturing with his glass towards Jack. "What happened to you?" he asks of the limping.

Cup halfway raised for another drink of rich, succulent bourbon, Jack pauses to grimace and consider. Lying is bad, but in this case, telling the truth could be worse. On the other hand, he doesn't really have anything to gain by lying, and being exposed later would just make him look like more of a prick. "Screw it," he finally says. "My niece shot me."
Eyebrow raise. Nathan sort of waits for the punchline for a couple of moments. Crickets might clamour to chirp, should they have been there. "Ah," he says, when it doesn't come. Nathan glances down at his drink, then back at Jack. "What, intentionally?"

"Oh!" Suddenly realizing that he left the other man hanging, Jack shakes his head ruefully. "Nah. Firing range accident. Turns out my 'Lena's not suited for gunplay," he replies with a crooked smile. Reaching down, he points to the outside of his thigh, about two hands down from his left hip. "Right there. Went right through, though. And all it hit was meat. Could've been a lot worse. Eight inches to the right, and…" He coughs and gulps down the rest of his drinks, not eager to imagine getting shot in the crotch.

Nathan grimaces, and finds himself finishing his own drink, setting the glass down, then taking out his wallet and a few bank notes as appropriate - enough for a refill as well. The name 'Lena goes by without event - it'd be way too coincidental for Nathan to know someone by the same name, right? /Right/. "Definitely could've been worse," he has to agree, then gives a flicker of an amused smile. "Eight inches to the right, then I figure you might have to start wondering how intentional it actually was," he says, rather dryly. It's a good thing Heidi doesn't own a shotgun.

Another cough. Jack does spend a lot of time teasing Elena. Could it be… ? Nah. Shaking his head, he seperates a couple of small bills from Nathan's stack, then pushes the rest back over to him. "Yeah. Being shot in the leg isn't exactly a picnic, but at least my plumbing still plumbs, y'know? The thought of getting blasted in my Will To Live makes me and my girlfriend both wince." As he speaks, he pours them both a second drink, this one more generous than the first.

The money is taken back with a nod, although pocketed rather than put back properly into his wallet. If Nathan keeps going, he may have to amend Jack's discount, but as it stands, he's happy to accept the gesture, picking up the glass although not to sip from yet, just turning it between his hands. "And think of it this way, you get a new battle scar," he says, with a loose shrug. "Apparently this is an asset, like cars. You'll have to ask your girlfriend."

Jack nods agreeably. "She doesn't seem to mind the ones I already have. What's one more, right?" Rather than pick up his drink, he paws a cigarette free from a pack that's sitting on the bar next to his elbow. After twisting the filter between his lips, he pulls a stick match from his pocket and strikes it. "Let's just hope she doesn't find out about my indiscretions with the NYPD, or she's liable to give me a few more." With his hands cupped around the flame, he raises it to light his smoke.

"Silver lining," Nathan agrees finally on this whole 'chicks dig scars' thing. His brow furrows, thoughtful for a moment, and distantly gives a hint of a chuckle at Jack's last comment, glancing towards him. It snaps him out of whatever reverie he had wandered into, briefly. "The police, huh?" he says, sipping his drink, pondering whether or not to pry. Though, he's curious, especially as something occurs to him. "That wouldn't have anything to do with that talent you kind of gave my brother?"

"Eh? Nah." Jack shakes his head, sending shocks of dark, tousled hair bouncing about. He picks up his glass, takes a healthy slug, and savors the burn as the whiskey travels down to his belly. Then he leans forward, and his voice lowers to a conspirital, guy-talk rumble. "I found myself bumpin' uglies with this detective, Damaris. Unfortunately, my girlfriend's name is Trina."

Oh, /that/ kind of indiscretion. Nathan has perhaps 2.3 seconds to feel like perhaps he's not the only cheating bastard in the entire State of New York, until that name simply makes him stare at the other man. Perhaps it might seem as though he's scandalised by Jack's admission to sleeping with a woman that's not his girlfriend, but then he repeats, flatly, "Mara Damaris?" Because he needs confirmation on this, no matter how obvious he's being.

Jack arches an eyebrow curiously at Nathan's sudden change in attitude. Slowly, he leans back until he's resumed his previous position. If he'd about to admit to dorking a politician's cousin or best friend, he's going to feel better doing it from a few feet away. "Yeah. Mara Damaris," he admits. "You know her?"

Nathan doesn't really notice Jack go on the defense, or he'd apologise. Incidentally, he's distracted by rolling his eyes heavenwards before downing a good half of his drink. Oh lovely alcoholic burn, you are so soothing. "Yeah. I know her," he says, before looking at Jack… and then just smiling. Because hell. It's /kind of funny/, in a really /not funny/ sort of way. "Christ. Small fucking world." Few things in the world drive him to swear - one of those is Mara. "You two go way back?" he asks, a little sarcastically.

"Sort of," Jack replies evasively. "I mean, the same thing happened once before, a few months back. That's how we met." Now that he knows he's not going to be dodging punches, he reaches for the Daniel's bottle and pours then both a bit more. It looks like it's going to be needed. He takes a deep draw from his cigarette, and partway through exhaling it dawns on him. That look in Nathan's eye. That odd, tight smile. "How do /you/ two know each other?"

He knows he should keep this airtight until the whole affair fizzles out into nothing. Nathan's gaze lowers down to where Jack is refilling his glass, then back up at the man. But… fuckit. He's already guessed. And if he hasn't already, that lingering pause must be telling. "Well, politicians having indiscretions with the police isn't so new," he says, in a low mutter. He places a hand on the bar. "Which doesn't leave here. You're a bartender, there has to be a confidentiality agreement." There just /has to be/, it's a rule. "Mara and I… We were friends. Now that's costing me."

Whoosh. Jack lets out a puff of air and a small, mirthless laugh. "Man. Small fucking world," he says, echoing Nathan's words from moments ago. Before he does anything else, he picks up his glass and drains off its contents in long, practiced swallows. When you're a career alcoholic, you can make it look easy. After he's thunked the glass back down, he wipes his mouth on the back of his hand. "I've got no interest in spilling your beans." His voice is a bit hoarse from the speed of his consumption. "The way I see it, you and me can let this turn us into enemies, or we can laugh and use it as a reason to be friends. I'd prefer the latter."

Another smile, this one coming a little easier, less tense, although still a little mirthless. Nathan looks down again at his drink. He studies it for half a second before polishing it off, letting the liquid linger before swallowing it decisively. There's a minute shudder that follows, but otherwise, he's almost as practiced as Jack. "And I've got no interest in getting into a fight over it," he says. "So, the latter it is." A bank note is set down on the bartop, his emptied glass nudged forward. "So, cheers?"

There is an approving nod when Nathan vanishes his liquor like a man's man. This time when slides money over, Jack sweeps it off the bar and tucks it next to the register with a crooked smile of his own. Though he normally sticks to one brand of bourbon when he drinks in quantity, now seems an excellent time to make an exception. When both glasses are refilled, he raises his in an abbreviated salute. "Fratelli in armi.' Brothers in arms. That's right, Jack knows a little Italian.

Nathan's own glass is lifted in a return salute, a flicker of a smirk at that choice of phrase, then the liquor is sipped from. Unless the conversation takes another unexpected turn, he's probably going to go a little slower on his third glass. He has a family to eventually return to, and drinking to excess can only land him in the dog house even further. "You gonna tell her? Trina, I mean," he asks once the glass is set back down. He knows it's a rather prying question, and Jack gets an apologetic one-shouldered shrug, but he has to know.

Jack takes a sip as well, then shakes his head briskly. "I want to, but nothing good would come of it. I figure it's better to just let it go." From the wry twist of his lips and the lines that crease his brow, he seems aware that this isn't the manliest of decisions. "I get the impression she's been hurt by a lot of people. I don't want to add to the list." Another drag from his cigarette in blatant defiance of local non-smoking ordinances, then he butts it out in an ashtray.

Perhaps this is Nathan's cue to let himself be an example as to why this is a bad idea. But he knows circumstances are different, that what Jack had with Mara /had/ to be different - or so he's assuming, and kind of hoping - and so he simply nods. "I figure you either cut yourself loose and keep it buried or front up," Nathan says, agreeably. He doesn't add that he did neither until it was too late, just makes good use of his drink. "Good luck with that. The not adding to the list." Not the most articulate, but two and a half drinks are starting to build that wall between what he means and what he actually says.

"Thanks, Nate Dogg." Jack lifts two fingers to touch his brow in a brief salute. "She's a good girl. Young, pretty, sweet. Not sure what she sees in a beat up ol' drunk like m'self, but I'm not complaining." He smiles, but there's a self-depricating cast to the expression.

/There's that name again it didn't just come to him in a dream!/ Strangely pleasing. Nathan shrugs at this comment. "Guess women secretly find something they like and latch on to it," he says. He swirls his liquor, watching the motion of it within his glass. "Then you just kind of have to," head tilt, here, he's being thoughtful, "pray you don't lose that. Whatever it was." Screw drinking slowly. Another decent sip until the whisky is down to dregs in his glass is taken. He unconsciously keeps a hand over it, though, not up for refills.

Bobbing an aggreeable nod, Jack toys with his glass, but he's not drinking from it. Nathan's pensive tone elicits a "Huh?" and he lifts his gaze from the bar. Shrugging out of his own musing, he shoots a curious glance as his new drinking buddy. "Am I sensing a hint of personal experience?" There's no sarcasm to the inquiry, only the friendly offer of an ear.

He does consider unloading, for a moment, because none of this ever gets any easier, but when he looks up at Jack again, Nathan just smiles wryly and shakes his head, even as he confirms this with a, "Perhaps. But." He clears those last few drops of alcohol, setting the glass down. "It's nothing I got a right to complain about, you know?" Likely not, as that was as clear as mud - but deliberately so. "I should probably get going."

Jack just nods again. He knows what it's like to be at the root of one's own problems, and to want to handle them alone. "Well, it was nice buying each other drinks. Come back again, we'll shoot some stick or play cards." Slipping back into professional mode, he tidies up the glasses and returns the bottle to its proper place.

"And compare notes?" Nathan quips, getting to his feet, and sending a smile in Jack's direction - about as bright as it's gotten today. "Take care, Jack." And in an admirably straight line, Nathan heads out.

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