2007-04-08: Higher, Faster


Nathan_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan grabs Mara and the two make their getaway from Sylar, leaving Peter to his fight.

Date It Happened: April 8, 2007

Higher, Faster

Mara's Flat, The Sky, Posh Probably Not-So-Secret Apartment Hideout

Seconds Earlier...

"Peter's a big boy and can take care of himself," Nathan mutters. This is said with the bitterest twist in his voice as he leaves his little brother behind, but still, he slams the bedroom door behind them. Releasing her, Nathan moves across the room, opening a window, and holds a hand out to Mara. "We gotta go." His voice holds a tremor of the panic he /should/ be feeling, but otherwise, he's stoic, only helped by the businessman suit ensemble he's wearing.

Mara collapses on the floor when Nathan lets go of her. For five seconds, she allows herself to succumb to the pain, sobbing and rolling onto her side with an agonised howl. After the count of five, she takes in a deep, gasping breath and forces herself to her feet again. She doesn't immediately go to Nathan, however. She drags herself over to the bed and retrieves a gun from under her pillow. Sylar may have taken the pea shooter she left on the sink, but she counted on needing the police issue in the bedroom. Stuffing it into the front waistband of her shorts and tucking her shirt over it, she finally stumbles to Nathan, grabbing his hand.

Nathan waits, with patience maintained only out of practicality, for her to pull herself together, collect the weapon, come back to him. As soon as her hand grips his, Nathan draws her closer. A glance is cast to the closed bedroom door, a curse muttered under his breath, and he moves to pick Mara up off the floor. What occurs next is nowhere near graceful, and for all intents and purposes, it appears as though they simply fall backwards together out of the window. A moment later, they rise past it, as always heading up.

Usually, the falling part bothers Mara. But it seems as though she's suddenly developed an odd sort of appreciation for it. Or maybe she's just so shaken up and detached, she can't even consider being freaked out by a little fall. When they start their ascent, she tucks her head in against her saviour's shoulder. "Higher. Faster." Away.

He knows he should aim for somewhere secure, somewhere to regroup, perhaps the hospital. However, at the moment, the only place that feels safe is the sky. The wind rushes by them, chilling and harsh, as Nathan flies them up until rooftops are abstract squares down below, holding her close not just out of the necessity to keep her still. "You hurt?" he asks in clipped, tense tones, once the speed of travel finally slows to a hover.

"I don't… think so." Mara leans back enough to peer at Nathan with a serious, yet still terrified expression. "No moreso than usual." She absently disengages one hand from around his shoulders to feel at her forehead. "I was so sure that…" That it was all over.

"Yeah." The expression on Nathan's face is harder to read than usual as he studies her, matching her seriousness. "That was meant to be it, wasn't it." He shakes his head, briskly. "The hell were you doing there?" His tone is a far cry from the disbelieving anger in his voice from before - he sounds, now, almost betrayed.

"I was trying to change the future." Or commit suicide. Even she's not sure which end result she was really hoping for. Only the moment she laid eyes on the killer, Mara realised how badly she wanted to live. "I thought that by knowing, I could change it." She falls silent, eyes anywhere but on Nathan's face. "I'm sorry."

More silence between them as Nathan tries to take that in, tries to accept that, but he can't help but refuse the logic, it seems. Still. He shuts his eyes for a moment, breathes out a sigh, as if he's been holding his breath. "Well looks like the future's changed," he says, without optimism. Why does it always end in the sky? Another glance around, as if hoping Peter was smart enough to join them, but no such luck yet. They begin to fly again, a little slower, but definitely away from where, no doubt, interesting times are occurring between the villain and his brother. "Got there as soon as we could," he says, awkwardly. Sort of an apology, as well as defense. He was meant to be protecting her.

"I wasn't sure you…" Wasn't sure you would come at all. But Mara never finishes that thought. That would be the greatest disservice. She told Sylar that Nathan would come for her, and she meant it. She always knew he would. "I'm still alive. He never… He barely touched me." She tries to say that as though it's something to be proud of or like it means he's not so tough or scary. But she can't quite put enough feeling into that. She looks over her shoulder as they move, as though she could see her apartment from here still. Intuitively know where it's at. Peter…

Nathan glances at Mara, not entirely buying that either, before he focuses on where he's going. His instinct is to head to safety, but it's hard to gauge out exactly where that is. A few moments later, they dip down again, landing on to an accessible rooftop. To the very perceptive, one might recognise it as the building he'd been trying to hide her in, and he sets her down, on/against the ledge, a hand holding her arm. "Close call."

Mara settles down carefully, hissing at the pain in her knee. "I think I fucked it up good." Whether she's talking about the injury or her plan is anybody's guess. She looks up slowly tears pricking at her eyes. "Thank you." She means it. "I was so-" She presses the back of her hand to her mouth and looks away again.

Nathan doesn't move away, leaning against the ledge just next to her, a hand moving to rest on her back. "Breathe," is his advice. "You're good now, we're safe." The words come out awkward, almost formal-sounding, but she knows well his bedside manner has never been up to scratch. Still, there's only two things to do here: comfort or back off, and he's unwilling to do the latter. "Just glad you called."

"It… It was the first thing I thought of." Mara's honest about that at least. "I… I knew you would- That you would make it." She could have called anybody. She could have called Hiro Nakamura to teleport in. But she called Nathan. She stares out at the city, eyes still just a little too wide. "I screamed." It's obvious that it bothers her more than the fact that she was nearly murdered.

"I heard." And isn't that just the thing. It's still a mess. Even with Mara alive, here and now… it was never meant to get that far, not on anyone's watch. Nathan brings a hand up, smoothing her hair back, before the touch falls away again, almost completely shifting away again. "You need to go someplace safer. Unless Peter—" Nathan stops, gritting his teeth, because he /knows/ his brother wouldn't have fled like he should have. "Unless Peter's managed to kill the bastard."

Mara actually pulls away from Nathan's touch before he can do it first. Never again. "From your mouth to God's ears." Please, Peter. Be safe. "We did change the future, though." It's her turn to be the stoic one. "I went back to the apartment with Nakamura when I found out that Gray had gotten his abilities back. I watched myself die." It was bloody. It was messy. It was terrifying. And she did far more than just scream. "I'm sorry I never told you."

Nathan just leans against the ledge, hands coming up to rest against it as he listens to her. "Yeah, me too," he replies, casting her an irritated look before just shaking his head in dismissal. "Doesn't matter, it didn't end up happening." The irritation isn't gone, though. In fact, it seems to just come surging right back up, now that he isn't comforting her anymore, and he pushes away from the ledge to pace. "You do realise there's more at stake than just you, now," he says, sinking into a lecture mode. "What if he got your power? What if he got control of it better then you ever did? The man doesn't need anymore tricks. And I'm /trying/ to help you, but it's like a losing battle with you."

"It was never about my ability, Nathan." Mara would give the world to be able to stand and pace right now. God damn. "It was about him. And it was about me." The blood drains from Mara's face. "It was never about the ability," she realises almost numbly. And now, she isn't talking about Sylar's motivations. "It was about the challenge." For both of them, she reckons. It was about the challenge they represented to each other.

This seems to be outside of Nathan's understanding. In fact, it does nothing to help. "Challenge," he repeats, flatly. "You. Okay. It was a challenge, and I just left my brother back there with this guy. Good, okay." He turns away from her, running a hand through his hair, doing nothing for how wind-blown mussed it already is. "Mara, this may be /because/ of just you and just him, but it's certainly no longer /about/ just you and just him."

"Did I say that?" Mara snaps. Sit down, damn you. You make it so much harder to argue when you're standing up. "I realise it's bigger than /just/ him and /just/ I." She balls her hands at her sides. Is it my fault that Peter wouldn't run? Is it Nathan's fault I went back? Her head dips low, dark hair obscuring her face as she starts to cry. The emotion floods her and she can't stem the flow of tears anymore.

"Do you?" Nathan snaps back, and yes, she's crying, and that's why he's not looking at her. "You went back there. You averted fate, but /fuck/, you weren't meant to go back there." He's pissed, it's true, but there's sort of a plea in his voice, for her to understand, or to stop crying, or to take back this past day— hell, this past week. As impossible as it is.

"I didn't know what else to do!" Mara admits. "I couldn't stay hiding." Couldn't stay with you. "And I couldn't just run away." If she had something to throw at him through the flow of tears, she would. But she's not about to throw her gun at him. Or shoot him, but that should go without saying.

"Hiding would have been the selfless thing to do," Nathan says, quietly. "You don't have to believe me in that, but… that's all I wanted to have happen." What is it with people? Heidi coming home, Mara straying from the hide-out… if people just did /what he told them to do/, life would be so much simpler. "What's the plan now?"

"I don't have a plan." The plan was to die or something. She doesn't even know. "My plans all fall apart. My whole /life/ has fallen apart." And it's true. At least, in Mara's mind. A shiver runs through her and she absently rubs her hands over her bare legs, careful to avoid her knee. It's still too cold for this.

"Well you're kind of not alone in that," Nathan says, bitterly. That's not entirely true. For now. He lets out another long breath before restlessly pulling his tie undone and stuffing it into his jacket pocket. "Fine, then what's the plan in the immediate future." Only now he notices the cold and how little she has to defend against it, at her visible shivering. "Maybe getting inside."

"It's okay. I- I like it out here." Which is actually kind of true. Mara stares up at the sky, hoping to see some sign of Peter. "It… I feel alive." Fingers come up to touch her forehead again. He hesitated. He indulged in his arrogance and it saved her life.

Nathan shrugs. Fine by him. He was never good at motherhenning. Moving back to the ledge, he rests his arms on it, looking out. The view is limited - the building is tall but it's no skyscraper. It's no flying. He is duly unimpressed, and instead glances back towards where they came. "Should I go back?" he asks. He sounds as though he's asking for an opinion, to a question of which he already has an answer.

"No." Mara shakes her head quickly. If he leaves, who'll watch over her? "Let's… You're right. Let's get inside." Suddenly, Mara realises it isn't about her safety. It's about his. If he goes back, he could die.

Nathan looks towards Mara, then just nods once. "Okay." No resistance from him. He knows that if he was playing this role right, he should argue with her, but in the end, they share the same thoughts on the matter. "Need help?" he says, glancing down at her ruined knee and back up to her face.

The obvious answer remains unspoken as Mara simply reaches out to Nathan, waiting for his help. "I'm not walking." No way. No how. Not /even/ with your assistance.

Smoothly picking her up again, Nathan makes sure her leg won't dangle, arms braced beneath her legs and back, before moving towards the door way that'll take them inside. He's carefully not looking at her as they go, even when he asks her, "Open the door for me," once they near it. It had better not be goddamn locked.

Mara reaches out and tugs the door open, careful not to shift her weight too much. "Stop that. Stop it this instant." She doesn't exactly clarify what it is he should stop doing, but he can probably guess.

"Stop what?" Nathan asks, a little blandly, perhaps not in the mood for guessing. Because whatever it is, he doesn't stop it, continuing inside, down the stairs, keeping focused on what's ahead of him.

"Not looking at me." Mara buries her face against Nathan's neck and drops a kiss there. Am I that easy to ignore?

The answer is 'no', as Nathan nearly skips a step, looking at her in disbelief. Well, she's got his attention. Because boy does she have timing. "Cute. Very cute."

Mara pulls her head back. "That's better." One thing she will not be is ignored. She's a little dismayed as they reach the apartment where she was hiding until their recent argument. "I don't have the key." It's not like she really had the time to go get it.

You know what? It's been a long night. The fact that Mara doesn't have a key is really very obvious. The woman doesn't even have shoes. He leans against the opposite wall, head thunking lightly against it once as he considered his options. There's probably a phone number he can call and arrange for a spare key to be brought up unless there's no one at the desk at this time of night, or call another hotel and see if he can't— "Fuck it." The sound of his foot connecting against the door is very loud, and just as loud is the sound of the door suddenly swinging open and smacking against the wall. "Better." And in they go.

Mara lets out an appreciative whistle when Nathan kicks the door in. Suddenly it's assumed that Peter's the one that can't kick in a door. She was a little pre-occupied at the time, so she doesn't really know who made the initial failed attempt. "Never thought I'd be glad to see this place."

"Well, I kind of broke your door, so don't get used to it." Nathan sets her down on the couch, and moves to push the door shut again, heading back towards the kitchen. There has to be coffee still, or. Hard liquor. He pauses, torn between the two, before rather defeatedly moving to set up the coffee machine. "I'm making this for me, not you. You should get some rest."

"Gin. Top shelf. Fuck the ice." Mara lays back heavily on the couch. She stares up at the ceiling. "I don't have any pills here. I need /something/."

"Fine." She gets hard liquor. He gets coffee. Splashing the gin into a glass, a decent amount because he doubts she's kidding around, Nathan walks back over, handing it over and checking his phone. Not that he's expecting a text saying 'defeatd sylar- is all gud now <3', but any word of anything would be nice. "Drink, /then/ get some rest." The 'stubborn bitch' is silent, if still affectionate.

Mara takes the glass with a grunt that may have been thanks. She sits up and downs the contents smoothly. And he thought she could drink before. Straight Gordon's without so much as a cough. The glass is set down on the coffee table perhaps a little harder than intended as Mara drops back down to her sprawled position. "Wake me if the building catches fire. But only then."

"And only if it's an uncontained fire," Nathan promises, watching as she flops down. Not too long later, he has his coffee, cellphone in the other hand, and he moves towards the couch. It's been pretty much taken over by Mara, so he moves to sit on the floor, back against it. The urge to take her hand is great, if only for his own comfort's sake. Instead, he switches on the TV, switching it to mute. Ah. Informercials. Perfect. He lets the TV silently try and sell him three-in-one make-up as he eventually does tangle his hand with Mara's. And waits.

Back at the flat...

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