2008-05-23: Make It A Chevrolet


Nathan_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: A game of poker and drinking leads to important decisions for the future.

Date It Happened: May 23, 2008

Make It A Chevrolet

Nathan's "cell"

Once again, it's not Peter that wins this hand. A pair of threes would almost be about the worst hand someone could get without getting nothing, and it doesn't come close to beating three of any kind. The bottle of scotch is tipped to pour them both another glass (though it does little besides taste nice for him), and he looks over the next set of cards quietly. One would think he of a hundred abilities would have something that could help him do better. Cheat the deck. Count cards. Anything— but sometimes things don't always work that way. Or it could be he's avoiding using any abilities at all.

Not as if they're playing for real cash, so much as pride. And in contests of pride, the older of the two usually ended up coming out on top.

"You know we can't keep you here forever, one wrist handcuffed to a bed." Sometimes both of them, but one is actually more than enough around him. It would take a lot more than two hands to escape or hurt him… but it's more to keep him from flying out the window, most likely. Hair slicked back, attire dark, he's looking even more tense in recent days. Ever since he came by to reveal what they feared would eventually happen. Dad found out Niki was a spy. And more than that…

Unlike this place, where nothing changes. Both men are seated on the floor, where it's easier to negotiate cards and glasses of scotch than the soft mattress and bed sheets. As always, the metal hoop of a handcuff connects Nathan's hand to the bed frame, adjusted courtesy of Peter to connect to the leg of the bed this time, making things less awkward.

He's had a lot of time to learn how to do everything with one hand. Nathan currently has his left hand wrapped around a glass of scatch, with a fan of cards pinched between glass and fingers expertly. One leg folded, the other refusing to do so. It never did heal, not properly. Nathan hasn't quite worked out how to ask, or if he even wants to. So his leg juts awkwardly, bare foot braced against carpet, as he drops now useless cards onto the ground to await another hand dealt out.

"Am I wearing out my welcome?" Nathan asks, taking a sip of freshly poured scotch. He should have asked for cigarettes, too.

Never too late to ask. On any account… Occassional glances toward the awkward leg might hint to things going on inside the scarred man's head, but Peter doesn't seem willing to offer it up. Anymore than the brother is willing to ask. The cigarettes might be an easier thing to bring up. It isn't as if he'll have to leave the room to get one if they need it.

Dealing out another hand, no offer is made to trick the deck in his own favor, just straight shuffle and deal, all in the hands of the cards. And luck. And unluck. "It's not that, Nathan. It's just not a good idea to keep you locked up here— it's not making you any better, it's not fixing what's wrong with you— and you have a life outside this room. Outside what Logan had in mind for you." Pinehearst and other such things. "I've covered for you enough in Washington that you still have your Senate seat, and I've stopped some of Logan's requests as well as I can, but it's really up to you what more happens there… I want you to have things to go back to."

Things beyond this apartment. "Dad already knows about Niki. It's just a matter of time before he comes after all of us. If you were… better…"

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas. Nathan doesn't repeat this refrain out loud, just lets cynicism be characterised in a slight head tilt as he sets down his glass and picks up his cards, fanning them out and letting no reaction to them show on his features. The bristle along his throat and jaw could stand to be shaved down, dark and tinged with grey, and he scratches at it a little as he observes the hand he's been dealt.

The alcohol is pleasantly warm in his bloodstream, but he's a far cry from drunk. A little looser, and a little more relaxed, maybe. "I know," he says, gaze cast down at his cards. "I want that." His mouth shuts against whatever it was he was about to say.

About what his wife had talked about. His mother. What Niki had been through. As untalked about in this room right now as his awkward leg.

Unspoken, at least by one of them. Peter looks over his own cards, giving away a lot in his brief twitch on the corner of his mouth as he arranges them in his hands. It would appear he might have gotten more than a pair of threes this time around. But the conversation holds more of his attention that the alcohol, or the cards he holds. "I know you do— I don't think anyone would say they'd like to spend a month handcuffed to someone's bed." And it has practically been a month now. Not the way anyone would like to spend their spring… At least both brothers are in their own form of captivity— and at least neither of them can hurt anyone right now.

"I might be able to do what happened with Niki— without the same kind of side effects," he finally says, looking away from cards into his brother's eyes.

"The serum wasn't a very clean way of taking apart someone's memories— it was even an unintended side effect— But the damage done to her mind, once it was healed, seemed to help fuse what was wrong with her. If I did it on purpose, not like the serum did— the outcome could be controlled much more than it was with Niki."

"Fuse," Nathan repeats, taking that one word, highlighting it, tossing it in between them for debate - something. He, too, is sorting through his cards - with less finesse with Peter, because we can't all have two hands, but sorting all the same. "Ma told me I should— follow whatever path you're laying out for me. That she wouldn't want it that way, but I think… I think that she thinks it's the only option I have. Short of locking me away forever, anyway, with the Company scientists to try their hand at it."

Which he's becoming less and less enamored with in every passing day. If this is even a taste of it— but not as bad. "I trust you, Pete. I don't trust him. How much of Niki is Jessica?" The cards are laid down, faces to the carpet, as he picks up his drink to sip the harsh alcohol, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Considering I knew her quite well four years after this… I'd say it's more Niki than Jessica," Peter says, cautiously thinking back to all the time they'd spent together in the last four years, and in recent months. "Occassionally she'd lose her temper, but she never tried to hurt me, much less kill me." There'd been a time when things had not been well with that alter-ego. It led to painful and quick deaths by eviseration. It wouldn't be recommended.

"I could also be more delicate and make sure that… more of you is left than him," he adds, looking into his brother's eyes again, before setting down his cards. This time he'd gotten a full house. Fives over eights. Not the best full house, but better than many of the alternatives.

"Mostly Niki just remembers everything that Jessica did. It helped her pretend to be Jessica when she was trying to fool Logan, and it also let her know everything that she'd done… that she didn't know she did."

Nathan's eyes gravitate towards Peter's hand, letting out a soft snort before setting his empty glass nearby for the appropriate refill. "Part of me— not a part I'm proud of— doesn't want it. The remembering." He sets down his cards. A pair of fours really doesn't get you very far. But his mind is divorced from the card game. "But I guess that's part of the catch."

Coming to grips with this, slowly. "I'm tired, Peter. Really tired. At this point I'd be happy to sign my name on electroshock therapy if it'd help any, and I trust you." Picking up a fresh glass of scotch, he's knocking back a sip before continuing. "We've talked about it, you know. Him and I. He's about as scared as I am. Maybe more." A hint of a smile. "I didn't think it was possible, for him to— " Feel. You know. Nathan shrugs. "We're just scared of losing ourselves at this point."

"Maybe if you both keep your memories, if you become one person instead of… two seperate people, you won't lose yourselves. You'll know who you were at all times, and be able to choose who you want to be," Peter speaks softly as he refills his own glass, more topping it off than refilling it. The bottle of scotch is set back down, so he can take a generous sized drink. "I know what it's like to be tired. Sometimes I wish I could forget the things that I've done— that I've been forced to do. And other times I wish I could make him know exactly what I went through… because I think if I knew what I could be… I would avoid it better. I would be armed better when the time came to make the choices between doing what's right and what… gets rid of the problem."

In some ways, he's still just 'getting rid of the problem.' By time travel. By messing with memories. But at least this way… "It has to be your choice. Both of you. I know you think that I hate you when you're Logan, that I wish he'd just disappear, but that's not exactly it. Logan hurt me… hurt a lot of people. But I hated him most for what he did to you as a result. What he did to both of you, actually." He shakes his head, pulling all the cards back. "If you've talked to him about it— then maybe you know the answer."

"He and I would prefer to just be alone with it. We're gettin' that it's not gonna work that way," Nathan says, resting his back against the edge of the bed with a twist of a rueful smile Peter's way. He doesn't so much look older as he does a little washed out and worn, the vague grey of his sweater and worn quality of his jeans lending to this. "Being ignorant has its benefits, you know?"

He picks up his glass, swirls it around before he takes a small sip. "Besides. I'm not gonna make up any ground if I don't understand what he's done. To Heidi. To Claire. To you. The you here, anyway." He breathes out a sigh that feels warm and alcoholic in his throat. "When?"

Ignorant isn't really what he wants, but it makes sense. Peter looks about to say something after a long drink, but that changes when his brother finishes. That is the other side of ignorance. Knowledge of the past so that there can be understanding. That changes the offer he'd been about to make, to the point it will never get mentioned. Holding his glass out, as if offering to for a light tap. "I'll need to talk to Niki and Heidi about it, but soon would be best, most likely." Soon.

There's a small pause. "I need to take care of a few things, but we can probably get you fixed up by the end of the week, or the weekend. After I recall my clone from Washington and let you know everything that happened there. So you're not completely confused when you meet certain people for the first time— and it's not the first time for them. Lobbiests mostly, but there was one woman that…" He trails off. Well. "I'll explain her once everything is back how it should be."

"They know." Nathan's hand smooths up the thigh that leads to his injured knee, absently trying to soothe the muscle there that constantly feels pulled, weakened. "Heidi and Niki, that is. They know what has to happen. Heidi even— she came to me about it. Niki made vague noises."

And dancing around the question of politics, a life to get back to. He still has a picture of his sons by the bedside, not something he requested, and he's not asking now, just giving a nod, tapping his glass against Peter's and downing the contents. "I'd like to get on with some semblance of life. Bad time for a mid-life crisis, huh?"

"Is this the part where you buy a red sports car?" Peter asks with a hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth after he takes his glass back close to him. There's a grinning sip from it, before he makes himself be serious then. "Whatever you decide to do with your life after this is yours. I'll proud of you no matter what, Nathan." Well, maybe not NO MATTER. But if he doesn't choose to remain a Senator, or if he chooses to continue there… it's his own decision.

"I know Heidi and Niki got a semblance of the plan, but I'll give them word that we're going ahead with it. They may want to be there when it happens," he adds. Especially since they may have the Nathan they all know… and then some.

Peter's words get a twitch of a smile from Nathan, and a nod at the later ones. It would be good, if they could be there. He owes it to at least one of them. "The other reason I'm signing off on this— it's probably about time the you from here got a shot at fixing things for himself, right?" The handcuff scrapes against the bed's metal leg as he gestures with it, a clatter of chain to punctuate and underscore his words. "It's been a long time for both of us, being like this."

At the words, there's a deep breath, distracted by the clatter of a chain as Peter glances to the handcuffs. There's emotion in his eyes, but he does his best to bite it back, jaw tightening for a second. "Yeah— it's been too long." Far too long. And if anyone can help him get over what happened, it's his own brother. "You always were the most important person in my life, Nathan. Even four years of seperation and an alternate personality doesn't change that." Reaching to touch the cards again, he picks them up. "Feel like a couple games of 21 instead of poker? Maybe if you beat me enough times, I'll buy you that red sports car when you're all better."

"Thanks," comes almost too quietly, head ducking a little before he's pushing his discarded hand of cards towards Peter for reshuffling with a quiet, dry sounding chuckle. "Pretty sure I need a new car anyway." What with having completely totaled his last one. "Make it a Chevrolet and we have a game."

"You're not allowed to hit me with this one," Peter says with that dry smile, not as wide as it could be, but considering the face it's on… he might as well have the widest smile ever. It's even a little lopsided as he makes a joke of the time he got hit by a car. It's not even meant to be cruel, even if it killed him. The first two sets of cards are dealt out… Let the games begin.

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