2007-09-06: Picture Perfect, Picture Fabulous


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Summary: Elena gives Nathan a very special gift. Because retaliation is the only correct response to anything.

Date It Happened: September 6th, 2007

Picture Perfect, Picture Fabulous

Midtown, NYC - Campaign HQ - Nathan's Office

After the courier leaves, Nathan is left standing in front of his desk, which now is supporting a rather large, flat, square FedEx box. He certainly wasn't expecting the delivery, if by the fact that he simply stares at it for a few moments is of any indication. Held loosely in one hand is his reading glasses, which he slips on when he goes to hunt for a pair of scissors in his desk drawer. Still, Nathan is a little hesitant to open it - for no real reason.

He just has one of those feelings.

Said feeling, however, is brushed off, and he opens the scissors to work the blade around the edges, cutting through duct tape. Effective, but slow going, and he impatiently keeps sawing. Where's a box cutter when you need one? Outside, the sound of phonecalls and conversation drifts from the open floor into his office, his door partially open, though the horizontal blinds obscure his windows as per usual.

"Jesus. Scissors? You're a real manly man, aren't you?" Smiling crookedly, Jack hops down from his windowsill perch and crosses over to the desk. With a flick of his wrist, he produces a narrow, triangular blade with a short handle. It resembles a surgeon's tool more than anything else, formed from a single piece of stainless steel and wickedly sharp. He reverses it and passes it handle-first over to his boss. "Try that. And remind me to keep you away from the turkey when Thanksgiving comes 'round."

A wary glance is directed towards the door and windows, but the office largely carries on and the little gesture goes unnoticed. The much sharper tool is taken carefully from Jack though Nathan narrows a mostly mock-glare at him. "Not all of us are magicians, and this is an office building." Still, he sets the scissors aside and applies the blade to the box, smoothly slicing around the edges. "I'm not getting an early onset of Alzheimer's and forget I ordered a painting or something, right?"

Curious as to the package's contents, Jack takes a new perch, this time on the edge of Nathan's desk. "Don't think so," he replies. "I mean you're old, but you're not that old. Maybe it's a gift?" He cocks a shaggy brow inquisitively, then shrugs. "Anyway, get the bitch open. The suspense is killing me."

"I'm getting it open. In the meantime, get your ass off my desk," Nathan says, without looking up, before finally, he pulls back the cardboard and hands the cutter back to Jack. There's some tissue paper obscuring the contents, but by now it's clear that there's a framed portrait inside - and a note. He picks it up, angling it so Jack and see. Quite simply, it reads:

~ Elena

"The hell does she mean by 'less than three'?" Nathan wonders out loud, somehow this question surfacing before 'why is Elena sending me a portrait?' can catch up. The paper is pulled back so he can observe what seems to be a presidential looking portrait of Nathan. From his angle. "…okay."

Jack tucks the odd blade back into his sleeve sheath without comment. Nor does he immediately shift from the desk, as his curiosity has been piqued as to the package's contents. "L-less than… what?" His face has gone pale and he licks absently at lips that suddenly feel dry and chapped. "What the shit is this?" Jack gestures, indicating the painting, which is now unwrapped and visible. From his angle, the view is much, much different. "Wow. Well. At least it's pretty?"

The first exclamation doesn't gain Nathan's attention. It is a pretty weird gift, as nice as it is, from his brother's not-girlfriend. (Or just girlfriend now, who the hell knows.) It's that second part that makes Nathan look up and squint at Jack. "…thanks," he says, with much uncertainty, before looking back down at the portrait of himself. Suit and tie, all rich colours - he vaguely recognises it from a photoshoot for campaign advertisements. "Well it's not the picture I would have chosen but it might go nicely somewhere in the office." However, there is a slightly shiny quality to it not seen in portraits, and he squints to try and see why.

Now Jack does slide down from the desk. His brows push together into a confused, concerned expression. "You feeling okay, boy-o? Because that's… Well. I don't know what the hell it is, but I certainly wouldn't hang it up here." He coughs delicately into his fist. "Not that I'm ashamed, of course. I'm not. It's. It's. Very nice. Just. Y'know." Right now he's finding reasons to look everywhere but the painting. From his angle it captures a moment that is probably best left in the past, at least as far as the public is concerned.

Nathan's study of the portrait is neglected in favour of simply staring at his friend, with his own expression of confusion. Then, his shoulders slump, confusion replaced with an 'oh please' look as he takes off his glasses and sets them aside. "Ha ha. Funny," he says, sarcastically. "But don't give up your day job, Derex." He observes the image again, assuming they're back to seriousness, all joking aside - Jack is such a kidder! "I'll have to ask where she got the picture from. Seeing it like this I think it's actually better than the ones they used for that first run of fliers. Remind me to get someone to ring the printing office, will you?"

"Ahh. Ahh. Ahh?" Stricken and distraught, he takes a step away and leans heavily against the wall until his forehead is contacting the plaster. Thump. Thump. He's not really banging his face against the wall, just suppressing the urge to groan with rythmic thunks. "Oh!" Suddenly understanding, he whirls around and points a long, spidery finger at Nathan. "You're the one doing the joking. HA! I get it, fuckface. I'm laughing on the inside, I promise." With his eyes narrowed to irritable slits, he fixes Nathan with an only partly serious glare. "Printing office. Psh. I should slap the white right off your face."

"Jack. What the hell are you talking about?" Nathan asks with open confusion, now. "It's just a photo, I'm not seeing the big deal, here. Look, let's just get a second opinion." He moves to pick up his phone and summon an employee inside, one who is way more capable of making artistic campaign flier choices, but something out the corner of his eye makes him stop. He stares at the photo in confusion, then slowly, he steps again to the left. And promptly drops the phone headset with a clatter.

As his angle of the portrait tilts, it becomes clear that it's a hologram. Imbedded into the image is a second image, and this time, it's not a presidential portrait. Far from it. It in in fact a wider-angled shot of himself and Jack, dressed in their Poison garb from months ago, all wild wigs, eyeliner and glitter. Lots of glitter.

"Holy— " Nathan grabs the edge of the framed image, tilting it further. "…Elena, goddamnit."

When the painting is tilted and the image shifts, Jack is treated to the proper, politically-friendly view of Nathan in suit and tie. Suddenly, comprehension dawns on him and he squints his eyes the rest of the way closed. "Goddamnit Elena," he agrees, slumping against the wall again, this time back-first. "Just. Just. Can I take a security detail and go kill the hell out of her?" Hopefully, he perks and reaches up to toy with his earpiece mic.

Nathan lets the picture fall back into the box as he lifts a hand to wearily rub his face. He's not sure if he should cuss a blue streak or start laughing. "No," he says, pointing at Jack. "I want a shot at the brat first." He glances at the note, and something dawns on him. "…the stupid chicken suit," he mutters to himself, and shakes his head in disbelief. She may have won the battle, but she has not won the—

"Sir?" comes an uncertain voice from the still opened door, a young female intern peering inside. "Is there something wrong with your phone because I tried to ring to let you know that the printing company will be delayed with the postcards." Then she pauses, and cranes her neck to peer at the wide open box on the desk with curiousity.

And Nathan does nothing other than look mortified and hope that she's viewing it from an acceptable or at least from a confusing blurry angle. JACK, THINK FAST. SHOOT HER OR SOMETHING.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO— " Cut to a slow-motion shot of Jack propelling himself away from the wall and through the air. For all his nimble tumbler's skill, the best he can manage is a graceful belly flop across the surface of the painting, and consequently the desk. He hugs it to his chest protectively and stands back up. Since he's holding it facing outward, he spins around so that both the backside of his body and of the painting are facing the intern, and the frontsides are facing Nathan. His eyes are wide and horrified and his paleness has increased dramatically.

'THINK FAST.' Jack mouths the words soundlessly to his best friend, boss, and fellow glitterette. 'SHOOT HER OR SOMETHING.'

Little Miss Employee watches the shenanigans like this —> O_O and yes, those are her eyes. She glances from the turned away Jack to Nathan with much concern and alarm. Not knowing that she might be shot dead if only the circumstances allowed. Nathan, meanwhile, just looks at Jack. He'd mouth back 'I DON'T FUCKING HAVE A GUN, CRISS ANGEL' but considering that would be seen by both his friend and the woman, he suppresses the urge. "Oh. Okay," he says, hollowly, of her announcement. "Did they give you an ETA?"

"This Friday," the employee says, eyes still wide from seeing a lanky Irishman dive across the office. She glances to Jack, back to Nathan. "Is everythi— "

"Great. That'll be all, thanks Susan."


"Whatever. Shut the door on your way out."

The girl quickly retreats, clicking the door shut behind her, and Nathan half-collapses into his office chair, gripping the desk edge. "…should I fire her just in case?"

"FUCK. Yes. Immediately." As if it has suddenly grown very hot, Jack crouches and sets the painting down on the floor, leaning up against the wall. Unfortunately, from that angle all anyone can see is glitter. "Fuck," he repeats, this time quietly, almost mournfully. Quickly, he flips it around to spare them both the sight. He snaps the blinds closed on the window that faces the rest of the campaign office, which probably won't help with whatever speculartion that Susephine is about to spark.

With a snap of his fingers, Jack relocates a bottle of bourbon from his private stock at the Den. He draws the cork out with his teeth, spits it out, and has the bottle raised for a drink before the cork can hit the floor. Several seconds pass before he lowers it. Gasping, he offers the liquor over to Nathan. "So. Did your penis crawl inside like a scared turtle, too?"

Nathan glances up from where he's holding his hands in his head, towards the image just before Jack flips it over again. God, so much glitter. FLARE UP. He then takes the bottle of bourbon… and freezes for a moment, before sipping a good mouthful of the liquor, and points at Jack with a spare finger. "I think it would do us both miles of good if you never talk about my penis again," Nathan says, somberly, then sips once more before passing the bottle back. Standing, he hesitantly picks up the portrait, attempting to keep the Bad Side out of sight from them both as he moves to find a good hiding spot, which is behind a file cabinet, facing the wall. "I can't believe she sent it to my office," he mutters as he wedges the picture in place.

Being stout of constitution and completely flabbergasted, Jack is quick to accept the bottle and take another long drink. When he's finished, he tucks it inside his blazer and readjusts his body until it makes a barely noticeable bulge. "That's. Yeah. That's just mean of her," he agrees, still stuttering slightly. He claps both hands to the top of his head and scrubs his fingers through hair that's been cut almost military-short. Deep breath in. Back out again. Repeat this procedure several times. "Are you sure we can't kill her? We could do it together."

Mostly out of sight, now, save for a fraction of frame - only really noticeable if someone were to be searching for it. Hopefully, no one will be. Nathan is content with this, however, and moves to sit back down, leaning into his chair. He gives Jack a thoughtful glance. "No killing, it'd be too merciful. You can help me come up with revenge," he says, plainly. What is he, 12? But that's just how it goes. He sent her a chicken suit to the EvoSoft offices, now he has a glamtastic portrait hidden in his HQ. All there is left is retaliation, or she wins.

"Yes!" Jack immediately replies. He clenches one hand into a fierce, defiant fist and glances over, meeting Nathan's eyes. "We will avenge this insult," he promises, nodding solemnly and thudding his fist against the wall for emphasis. With an insightful flash of his eyes and a wicked grin, he contines. "Preferrably by ruining her lezbeen sex life with your little brother."

Nathan squints at Jack, then considers this. Would he be willing to sacrifice his brother's happiness and pride in order to exact petty revenge on his girlfriend? Would he sink that low?

…you're goddamn right he would.

"Done," he says, swiping up his reading glasses for gesturing purposes. "What did you have in mind."

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