2010-04-08: Genetic Lottery



Date: April 8, 2010


It was rigged.

"Genetic Lottery"

Tracy's Safehouse

There's an odd silence over the room. For a safehouse with children, things are strangely quiet, but then it's still dark out. Eerie shadows reflect through the windows, particularly as Nathan chooses to sit in the dark. He sits at the table with Tracy's laptop open, reviewing the speech he's set to deliver soon. How soon? He doesn't even know. Hopefully soon enough.

A tumbler half full of scotch rests within arm's reach as he closes his eyes only to open them and stare at the ceiling. The night has been relatively sleepless, particularly as he rehashes the last few years over and over in his own mind. Nature never intended him to have an ability; but his parents 'fixed' it like being human was some crippling debilitation. He can't help but wonder if he'd lived his life without if they'd have pressured him as much. Would his life have naturally turned more like Brayden's — footloose and fancy-free — without responsibility.

Lacing his fingers together, he rests his hands on the table and yawns lazily. At least his affairs are in order, on that he can be grateful.

Tracy has been busy making sure everything is in order — if they wind up having to leave, they have to be prepared. Given all the people here, it's something of a logistical nightmare and more of a hide or fight situation. She doesnt like it. Even in the silence and solitude of the late — or very early — hour, now, upstairs, she's reconsidering.

Sleeplessly sitting on the edge of the bed in the dark bedroom she claimed as her own temporary refuge in the safe house, Tracy wraps her white robe more tightly around her and decides to stroll downstairs.
Moments later, she finds the man she's looking for. Standing in the entryway (again), she folds her arms (again). This time, in shadow. "Couldn't sleep?"

"Could you?" his head turns downward towards the sound of the voice. Nathan's face is alight from the laptop, every angle enunciated by shadow. He slides away from the table and switches on a light in the kitchen. There's no reason to sit in the dark when not alone, although there's little reason to sit in the dark alone either.

He returns to the chair and motions towards one for Tracy. Slowly closing the laptop, he manages a weak smile. Their lives are exhausting. "Too much thinking," a finger is pointed towards his head while it shakes just a little.

It's obvious enough that Tracy can't sleep, so she doesn't verify, only continues to regard Nathan between a few quick blinks of her eyes through the new light of the kitchen. "Mmn, tell me about it," she says bitterly, if blandly. No elaboration follows on her part — at least for the time being. She heads for the indicated chair, and as soon as she sits down, her head leans into her hand, half-hidden by blonde, turned toward Nathan.

His dark eyes pensively follow her movements before they narrow some while Nathan weighs everything in his mind. "At least everyone else is sleeping." Or, they appear to be, anyways, including Nathan's ten year old friend. Quietly he drums his fingers on the table, his jaw set. "They shouldn't have to live like this," he nearly whispers as he glances towards the staircase. "We shouldn't have to live like this."

"No kidding." Thanks for the reminder. Seeming to hold in a sigh, Tracy runs her hand through her hair before flattening it on the table and sitting up straighter. "If there's a chance this place is compromised — 'n' already, it's a good chance — these people will have to go another safehouse." No mention of her, though, or of them. "At least the kids."

"At least there's more safehouses to go to," Nathan replies softly. He too straightens, but unlike Tracy, it's just to bring the half-drunk scotch to his lips. Nothing like drinking well before noon — or is it well after since he's been up so long? "And the kids do need to be safe. If KeLyssa is caught… considering her mental state… I'm not entirely sure she'd keep any of this a secret."

"None of this should matter soon," Tracy decisively reminds him. Or, their plan, and that of others, could have the opposite effect. It's confidence (and just maybe desperation) that drives her decisiveness, not to be confused with optimism. Her eyes fall from Nathan's face to the laptop, which has become one of the few sources of news in the entire house; there isn't much in the way of technological luxuries here. "What're you doin'?"

"Reviewing my speech. I hadn't written one in ages…" He stares at her thoughtfully. "…and thinking about my life. Maybe rethinking it." Nathan swallows hard, his jaw tightening a little, "You weren't the only one given an ability." He smiles ironically before drawing the liquor to his lips again, it's an old friend in a troubled time. "I found out on Monday. Apparently they — the Company that both of my parents helped establish — felt it necessary to experiment on babies…" The smile fades.

Listening intently and wary of what she's about to hear, Tracy studies Nathan, poised to speak. Her brows begin to furrow as she interprets him; her expression turns decidedly dark. "You?" she ventures with another lift of her brows before glancing away. "God, how many of us…"

"I don't know," the admission is quiet. "One is too many. No one should be altered against their choosing. Not one way or the other." It's a lesson Nathan carries with him thanks to Logan. Would any of that have even happened if his parents hadn't made that choice? But then who would he be? He stares blankly at the wall, speaking to it rather than Tracy, "When I was in Ireland, I wondered about my family. Who my parents were; what they were like. If someone out there cared." He smirks, "And then I remembered and I thought my questions were answered. I remembered." Dark eyes return to Tracy, "Turns out I never knew them. They were both utter strangers who dealt in secrets, and felt the need to fix me because they deemed me… insufficient." The smirk is gone again.

To say Tracy understands would be an understatement. The light blue of her eyes seems darker as her head shifts down, looking up harshly at Nathan beneath those stiffening brows — but the angry expression isn't meant for him. "It's no different than what's happening with the Protocols. People are being turned into weapons when they have no choice," she says. "As if some've us aren't weapons enough already," she adds with a more cynical whisper to her voice. "For awhile, I thought that's all I was. At least your ability doesn't hurt people."

"But I've hurt people because of it," Nathan counters bitterly while raising the glass to his lips. "I was fierce and ambitious, and determined to take power any way possible." He nods a little as yet another mirthless smile invades his expression. "And I did have one accidental casualty because of my ability. The first time it happened, I was driving… Heidi was next to me… I accidentally flew out of the car. It lost control. She couldn't walk." He finishes the scotch.

Tracy frowns with some sympathy. "Some— of that doesn't sound like your fault. I know … that doesn't make it much better…" But it does, she thinks. In some ways, accidents are easier to comes to terms with than things she's done herself, with a clear head and full control. She looks down at the table. "If I didn't have my ability, everything would just be normal. I'd be working for the Governor and my part in all've this— " she gives the kitchen a sweeping glance. " — would have never happened. At the same time— " Gradually, an out-of-place smile twists her lips. "I kind of got used to having it." And the smile fades again. "But looking around? Right now it hardly seems worth it."

"I can't even imagine what my life would be like without this. If Ma and Dad thought I was insufficient, would they have even pressured me to go into politics?" So little of what Nathan's done in the past was an accident. Logan shot Claire, tried to kill Heidi, went after Peter, all in a bid for power. "Besides, how could a parent experiment on their own child let alone someone else's?" Nathan asks. "Honestly, the synthetic ability bothers me less than the lies and my presumed inadequacy." He sighs, shaking his head once again. "And maybe there's been good that's come out of it, but …" he too glances around, "… a lot of trouble as well."

"How much does being able to fly really help you be a Senator?" Tracy asks bluntly — and skeptically (if not being especially sensitive), assuming Nathan's parents couldn't choose what ability he got, and he was still pushed in certain directions. "My parents were dead, I had no one to look out for me." A gaze that had returned to Nathan shifts away again. "Regardless, there's no going back."

"It doesn't," Nathan answers bluntly. "But I'm not sure they'd see it that way. But then I guess I don't know them. Not really." He frowns. "And I'm sorry…" his eyebrows furrow, "…about your parents. I always had mine and Pete. In fact, I always felt like I had won a genetic lottery with my family. It seemed like a dream." And maybe that's why the lies are so unsettling. "And the more I learn…" he shrugs.

"You did win the genetic lottery," Tracy points out quietly. "It was just rigged. For both've us." A small, sarcastic smile pulls her mouth to one side for a moment. Her eyes are softer, not so quick to revert to sarcasm. Pushing off the table with one hand, she gets to her feet, bare against the floor. It's not cold in the house since spring has decided to be more like summer; not that she's unaccustomed to cold.

Now Nathan is the one to smile as he slides away from the table and steps towards her. "At least we're in good company," the smile extends to his eyes in a mirrored softness. The wrinkles in his pyjama pants and white shirt persist, and he doesn't bother smoothing them, not now.

Tracy seems to consider, to think loftier thoughts than Nathan's words might suggest — rare is the time that she isn't deliberating on something. She seems to be considering Nathan himself this time when he steps forward. Reaching out, to his face and jaw, the advisor-turned-more-than decides to kiss him. Good company … or similar company. For now they're one in the same.

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