2007-08-17: DF: Lifeline

Starring:

DFCass_icon.gif DFLogan_icon.gif DFNathanReal_icon.gif

Summary:

In a role reversal, Cass comes to visit Nathan/Logan in his cage. She comes prepared.

BECAUSE DARK FUTURE IS DARK THERE ARE STRONG THEMES IN THIS LOG BEWARE

August 17th, 2009:

Lifeline


WCH - Packing Room

After she heard that they had the President in holding and that Jack has been watching him like a hawk, well, Cass had to steel herself to go and see him. To say that she isn't nervous or scared would be a terrible lie. But, he's trapped and secured. It's a role reversal and there's no way he can hurt her in such a position. It's only having that knowledge that keeps her hands steady when she opens the door to the place where Logan/Nathan is being held. She's changed clothes again so that she's wearing jeans and a black tank top, a short coat over that, if only to cover up the mark that Cyprus gave her while she was still in her cell. The door shuts with a very audible metal grating sound and Cass stands right in front of it, watching with an emotionless expression on her face.

What greets her is almost an artful sight. Shadows in the corners of the expansive room, but fluorescents throw harsh light where it counts. The cage is big enough to be an appropriate cell for a decently long time, as is occupied by a man lying down in the center of it, as if wary of the sides. Stripped down to tuxedo pants, he's nearly unreconisable. A shadow of stubble lines his jaw, along with bruises and cuts. One eye, in particular, seems to have been hit, and both are shut when Cass gets there. His right shoulder is scarred from previous injury and bruised and of course, that right hand is missing a finger, the hand stretched out in front of him as if he were trying not to associate that part of his body with himself. At the sound of the doors opening and closing, his eyes snap open, and Logan takes in Cass's presence almost dreamily. Then, with more caution, he pushes himself up, then away from her until his back hits the opposite barred wall.

From what Elena told her, Cass was expecting a bit of a sight. Especially knowing how Jack felt about the President and the deep seeded betrayal he harbored. She takes in his state with something like cool observance. As if she /were/ watching an art exhibit. A caged animal. Something out of a zoo. In one hand she has a bag and she carries it with her as she slowly and deliberately takes a few steps forward. "Funny. Never thought our roles would be reversed, did you? That /you'd/ be the one behind the bars with no hope of escape. I can see where it's a bit of a power trip." Dropping her bag, she opens it and starts to root through it's contents. "I'm sure it's really easy to think that you /own/ that person and that you can do whatever you want with them." Finally, she finds what she wants and pulls it out - a gun. "But, whatever you are, you are not Nathan Petrelli." She aims it right for Logan, taking another step forward so she has a better shot. "Who the hell are you."

Are they insane? They let her in here? Logan glances around as if expecting to see Jack, or hell, Trina, Elena, someone familiar coming to curb her, but there is no one. Just a gun pointed directly at him. But it's her words, really, that make him tense. She was never meant to escape, is the problem. His good hand reaches back, gripping onto a bar, as if this is somehow of a comfort to him. "The only name that matters," he says, voice coming out surprisingly even, albeit graveled and rough from a lack of sleep and water, "is Nathan Petrelli."

Of course they're a little insane, they're the Saints. Then again, Cass didn't let anyone know why she shouldn't be left alone in a room with Logan out of what they already knew. It's a good thing she has friends in crazy places otherwise, he may have gotten his wish. She may never have escaped and they would never have found themselves in this position. "I don't /care/ what name matters or not. /You/ are not /Nathan/." No matter how even he is, she's a little wild with emotion. Maybe it's his calmness that is spurring her forward. "What did you do to him? You sound like him, you look like him, you even have his memories. But you are /nothing/. I bet it really pisses you off, doesn't it? That you have to pretend to be someone else. That someone else gets all the credit for your work?"

The temptation to cower is great. There are only so many days of regular beatings one can take before the fear starts to own you. Logan licks his dry lips, watching her unbreakingly, and manages to remain where he is. He doesn't, however, stand up. "He doesn't want the credit," he rasps, a little emphasis colouring his words. "He doesn't want the responsibility for…" His head tilts, regards her coldly. "For all the terrible things he's done." It seems that his little vacation into captivity has not learned him remorse as he meets Cass's eyes squarely. Then, abruptly, he break that gaze almost casually, looking away. "You can call me Logan."

That's all that Cass needed to hear. The safety had already been flipped off, but now she squeezes the trigger of the gun she's held steadily at Logan. It doesn't make the loud bang that a normal gun usually makes, instead it's more of a 'ppht' that would indicate a tranquilizer gun. Portable! For every day use! However, it's not a tranquilizer that Cass has just shot Logan with. It's another potent cocktail of drugs that she learned from her clinic, one that helps quell multiple personalities. "Of course he wouldn't. He isn't a monster," she hisses at him. Dropping the gun almost as an afterthought, she stalks up to the cage. At first there's a hesitance. She doesn't want to touch him, to have to feel any skin on skin contact, but she also wants him to be in some pain. It's the casual look away that finally causes Cass to spring into action. Reaching forward through the space between bars, she attempts to grab him and then slam him against his cage. "Don't you /dare/ look at me like that, you son of a bitch. All those things you did as if you were him." She loosens her grip only to pull him forward again.

Alarmed, the tiny needle is pulled out, tossed away, and that area grabbed. What— what was that. But Logan's attention is veered with force back to the woman when suddenly he's dragged forward, grunting with pain when his head knocks against a metal bar— then again. And it's the least of his worries because the world is going fuzzy around the edges, and it has nothing to do with a concussion. "What did…" He tries to struggle out of her grip. "What did you do."

Oh, sweet revenge. Or something. Despite Logan trying to get out of her grip, she does her best to make sure that nothing of the like happens. She's the one who's in control now. And that certainly matters. Another yank forward, just to test him for trying to get away. "You're nothing but an inhuman psychopath. I want to talk to the person who actually matters. Never underestimate a doctor, you stupid asshat."

"He gave up— " OW. Logan take a breath, and relaxes, in the hopes that she will stop yanking him against the bars. A lack of sleep, water, food in the past few days is enough to kick the fight out of him, let alone match against Cass - but he goes to grab her anyway, fingers raking her shirt, before suddenly, as if burned, pulling that hand away. It's a very sudden process, the world tips, and Nathan gasps in a breath, wide eyed gaze meeting Cass's. "…you can stop doing th-that now."

There is no chance that Cass is going to give up on beating the Logan out of Nathan. When he tries to grab against her shirt, she recoils, but keeps a very firm grip kept on him. Even after he pulls his hand away. There's a long pause as she looks Nathan right in the eye, watching him gasp, before she pulls him /hard/ against the bars one last time and then lets go. She takes a measured step backwards then, and holds her hands against her chest. Beating people up isn't really a natural thing for her. And even if it's Nathan and /not/ Logan, the thought him touching her is kind of repulsive. "How could you."

THUNK. Nathan collapses back as soon as he's released, looking a little panicked. He'd left this, he'd lost, how— ? His gaze snaps back to Cass when she speaks, and yes he remembers. He was there. "Cass," he whispers, visible remorse almost aging him. "No. I couldn't— I couldn't do anything." Of all the things Logan has done in his name, with his body, Nathan can't stand the idea of this remaining associated. "I would never do that to you."

Cass. He called her Cass. Not even with that vaguely superior smirk as he said it, but with familiarity. Maybe Nathan had tried to leave it all behind, given up, but Cass isn't about to let him. Maybe it wasn't /Nathan/ that did it, but he still used his body. There are differences between them. The way they hold themselves and talk…but they look /so similar/. "But you didn't stop it. You /saw/ what he was doing to me and you did /nothing/." Maybe she should realize that it doesn't work like that. That there really /wasn't/ anything that he could do, but that's not how she sees it right now.

But what if Cass is correct? Gradually, Nathan has stolen back moments of control. The circumstances had allowed it, they'd been different, Logan's spirit slowly breaking - but all the same. It had been possible and right now, that realisation is catching up with him. With a groan, he pushes himself up to stand, staggering back a few steps, then forward again with more definition. His uninjured hand grips a bar to steady himself, and he forces himself to meet Cass's eyes. No. Can't do it. His gaze drops to the floor. "He wanted to show us who was in control," he murmurs. "Wasn't strong enough to stop him."

It's not exactly something that they can tell any more. It's in the past. It's done. What could have been, well, it could have, but didn't. That doesn't mean that she accepts it, really. She can't really look at him, either, and when his gaze drops to the floor, hers moves off to the side. "He said he wanted to scar me. Change me in a way the war didn't." It's easier to talk about this with Nathan. He was there. "It worked." Still not looking at Nathan, she moves to her bag. She came with other things other than just the tranquilizer gun. Pulling out a bottle of water and bandages, she moves back to the cage. "But he didn't win." That seems to be the important part. That he doesn't win. "I don't know why this happened to you, Nathan, but you're being a sorry, self-serving jackass."

Considering his situation, one might figure that Nathan is now used to blows and insults hurled his way, whether he deserves them or not. And he is. But at least throughout, he could rest assured that all that anger is really directed at Logan, and no one knows any better. Well, Cass knows better, and that comment draws a blink from Nathan. He approaches the bars a little closer when he spies the bandages and water - the flimsy scrap of material Trina had given Logan for his hand has long since been cast aside. "How do you figure?" he has to ask, though his voice is that same subdued tone as before.

As Cass approaches, she tosses Nathan the bottle of water /and/ the bandages. While she's a doctor and could probably do a better job of patching him up, that brings up the whole idea of touching him again. She's willing to do it to clang some sense into his brain, but this is different. "While you wallow in whatever self-pity you've built for yourself. That…monster is doing all sorts of horrible things in your name. Pretending that it /is/ you. And you could either stop him, and own up for your sins, or you could be the sorry ostrich that you are and bury your head in the sand." Crossing her arms, she finally looks at Nathan, what he's become. "You have done /terrible/ things, Nathan. /You/ have. Because you have done nothing to stop him."

Nathan fumbles with what is thrown, catching the bandages, but the bottle of water slips from his left hand, bounces on the cement. He doesn't go to pick it up, however, looking at Cass in shock. "It's not— it's not easy— " he stammers, then just shakes his head in denial. He takes a breath, then finally meets her gaze. He's angry, and hurt. "Do you know how long it's been? Since the war. Since my son died. My life was taken from me and— and I wasn't sure if I was just crazy or…" He trails off, the tremor in his voice taking over - so he stops in an effort not to break in front of her, pacing away.

"Do you think it has been /easy/ for /any/ of us?" Cass snaps at Nathan. Swooping down she snatches up the bottle of water to hand it back. "You act as if you were the /only/ person to lose someone in the war. As if you should get a prize because you developed some sort of strange dissociative sociopathic alterego. /Everyone's/ life was taken from them." Not just his. They've seen so much of each other, been through a lot together, that him breaking down in front of her isn't going to change her opinion. "When /you/ let him take over, /you/ became responsible for everything that Logan did." Would she have said this to Niki all those years ago? Maybe, maybe not. "/Everything/. /Including/ what you did to me."

The bottle is ignored for a brief second, then taken, and Nathan can't help but wrench off the cap and take a long, long drink, even as she flings those damning words at him. "Their choices weren't taken from them," he mutters. "Body, mind, everything." But it's hard to argue when deep down, you agree to the point of physical pain, and he almost feels nauseous. "Cass… please." He moves towards her, now, dropping the bandages to grip the bars with both hands. "I'm not a murderer, I never killed anyone. I'm not a rapist. You know me." He rests his forehead against a bar, taking a shuddering breath. "I want to fight him, I want him gone. Believe me."

"Don't try and tell me about choices taken from them," Cass tells Nathan coldly. Maybe not mind, body, everything, but something. When he takes a step forward closer to the bars, she takes a small step backwards without even thinking. This may be Nathan, but, there's still that fear there. Even if he is behind bars and this isn't the same /person/ he still looks the same. However, this /is/ a totally different person. "You weren't," she agrees, softly, but she can't quite look at him yet. "The Nathan I knew could never." There's a pause. "I knew it wasn't you. Even before the—-" she can't say it "Before that. By the end of that first meeting, I knew something was wrong. I didn't know what you were, but…I knew it wasn't…you…" Finally, though, she drags her eyes up to meet his. This is important /this/ she needs to get through. "You're /not/. But if you don't stop him, you might as well be."

That's hard to take. Nathan holds her gaze for a few moments before looking away. Not last night, he was prepared to sink under and never come back. That will cost him some points - in a battle of wills, quite literally, decisions like those are important. "Then I'll stop him," he finally grinds out, voice thick, but even now, he holds himself in check. A beat, another breath taken to fortify himself. "Cass. I'm sorry."

This whole conversation is more than a little difficult for both of them. She doesn't know anything about his decision the night before or even what makes it so that he can be himself again without drugs. This is really what she needed to get through. To show. That /Nathan/ is the better person. That Logan doesn't win. She doesn't really say anything at first. There's a lot that needs to be processed. "I know," she says. She may not be able to forgive him - maybe ever - but she can acknowledge it. "He's just a face in a mirror, Nathan. You're the actual person."

Nathan nods minutely, a little shattered, but he finally takes his weight off the bars, and picks up the bandages. He's not left-handed, so rather clumsily, he starts to wrap the material around, to cover where the missing finger has left flesh exposed. He makes a mess of it, but it'll do for now. "Don't tell Jack," he then says, watching his work rather than her. "Not yet."

Cass takes the few steps back to her bag and pulls out two more vials. They've got needles on them and look like they're ammo for her tranq gun. Walking back to the cell, she holds them out to Nathan. It's too precious to throw and while she doesn't want to be that close to him, she'd rather those two things not break. "This is what I shot Logan with," she tells him. "They're the only ones I've got left." She doesn't offer to fix his bandage for him, but she does nod. "Don't sit on them or something." As for telling Jack, she just shrugs. "I can't make promises."

"Then just hold off, if you can," he says, tying off the bandage awkwardly. "He's right to hate me, to hate Logan. Doesn't need the confusion yet." After all, he's had the insider's glimpse of how messed up Jack Derex has become. Nathan inspects his bandaging. He's… no Peter, but it'll do. He looks up in time to see the tranq gun offered towards him, but he doesn't take it. In fact, he steps back. "That's all there is?"

"That's all I have." Cass gives Nathan a confused look when he steps back from it. "I'm sure there's more out there, it's not a totally unheard of mixture of drugs." Just more difficult to get nowadays. "I'm not going to be coming back here," she tells him. "And if you don't want me to tell Jack about what happened, then there's no one else I can give these to. You don't have many allies right now." She's not even sure she can count herself among them.

When she informs him that she's not intending to keep up visitation hours, there's a flicker of… something in his eyes. Not protest. In fact, Nathan nods once, but he doesn't look happy about it. Too much time has gone by to call someone a friend, however, and too much has happened… He still doesn't take the gun. "When he does find out, give it to him," Nathan says, then shakes his head. "I've been fighting Logan." Let's not mention last night's failure. "Being in here, it's breaking him. The drugs should be a failsafe, not a lifeline."

The flash passing past his eyes isn't missed. Cass takes the two vials back and just rolls them around in her hand. They make a clinking sound as the glasses tap against each other. "Okay." A failsafe and not a lifeline. It makes sense. She's not sure just how long the drug should last in his system, but she doesn't want to make too many estimates. She steps back and goes to pack everything else up. "It just hurts too much," she tells him softly, a kind of explanation as why she won't be back to see him. Something she'll allow Nathan to know because he's Nathan, nothing she would ever let Logan know. "But I had to know."

Understood. A flash of guilt, but Nathan knows there's really no repairing this. So he nods his understanding to her. "Thank you," he says, simply, and then? He moves away, as far as the cage will let him, back to her. He places his hands against the bars of the cage and leans, head bowed.

Once everything is packed up, Cass straightens, taking her bag with her. There is no chance of fixing the friendship that had been there two years ago. Especially not now. "You're welcome." Without looking back, she turns and heads for the door, back to her fiancee and her child and where the room doesn't stink of old blood.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License