2008-01-14: Rightful Place

WARNING: contains Season 3 Material.

Starring:

Nathan_icon.gif Arthur_icon.gif …and Logan_icon.gif

Summary: The apple doesn't fall so far from the tree.

Date It Happened: January 14th, 2008

Rightful Place


Fort Lee, NJ - Pinehearst Research

Pinehearst Research. Medical Observation Room. The doors slide open, revealing an older British man standing on the other side, he walks through and offers Nathan a smile. "Ah, Nathan," he says, directing his steps towards the man's bed. He comes to rest at the foot of it, placing his hands on the railing as he watches Nathan. "I trust your recovery is coming along nicely. If you're up to it, we have someone here that we would like you to meet."

The man gets a jerk of a glance from the mostly bedridden man, almost wary. In and out of consciousness over the past few days, it's more than a little disorienting, but for some reason, the latest haze of painkiller has roused him a little more - or at least, Nathan isn't asleep, as he seems to be a lot lately. And now dead people are talking to him, and a rasping, not entirely mirthful chuckle is given in response.

Morphine is a hell of a drug.

"What are you doing here," he says. It's not even a question, just a reluctant acknowledgment of his presence. Even so… he pulls his bedsheets back and lets barefeet lower onto the cold floor, and into slippers. A robe is drawn off his bed, put on with careful movements.

"That's neither here nor there," Linderman offers in response to Nathan, the small smile still on his face. He patiently waits for the other man to dress himself in his robes and slippers, and when he's certain Nathan is ready, he leads the way. Through the sliding doors and into the hallway, it isn't very long before they arrive at another set of double doors, where the man waiting to see Nathan awaits. "This is as far as I go," he explains to Nathan, motioning with his arm towards the door to indicate Nathan may enter. "Whenever you're ready." With that, he takes a step back, offers Nathan a nod of the head, and disappears around a corner further down the hallway.

Nathan follows in silence, mostly just staring at the image of the, for all intents and purposes, dead man leading him through the facility before he manages to actually take in his surroundings. It's looking less and less like a hospital as he goes, although no one really gives him a second glance, despite the fact he's obviously a patient of some kind. When lead to the double doors, he really can only stare at Linderman mutely, and very belatedly, after the man is well and gone, he says, "Wait." Closing his eyes for a moment, he really hopes he didn't just allow himself to be lead through an unknown building by a hallucination, looking and acting like a psych patient. But no. Hallucinations aren't meant to seem real, and that did. He'll come to a logical explanation later. After he figures out where he is. After he speaks to his family.

Hoping the answers are on the other side, Nathan walks through the doors.

The sound of several machines whirring and clicking fill the room, all of which surround the lone figure lying on the four poster bed directly in the middle of them. Nathan will recognize the man as none other than Arthur Petrelli himself, his father who he thought has been dead for nearly two years now. Blue eyes pierce into Nathan's, and Arthur speaks to his son the only way he can. "Hello, Nathan, Arthur projects directly into Nathan's mind once he's through the doors. If the man were able to get up and hug his eldest son, he would; unfortunately, the workings of his wife so many months ago prevent him from doing so. "It's good to see you again, son.

Nathan stays stock still for a moment as he stares across at the man in the bed, honestly trying to get the image of Arthur Petrelli out of his mind so he can actually comprehend who this is, but then that voice sounds through his head, turning his blood to ice for a moment. Slowly does it, in muffled foot steps, he approaches the set up slowly, gaze darting from his father towards the cacophany of medical equipment surrounding him.

He doesn't come much closer, not yet, than a couple of feet from the end of the bed, silent until finally, he says, "Dad?" His tone is tentative, as if not trusting himself to be correct in such a matter. Then, a smile breaks out, one of near delirium, and he shakes his head. "No, you're dead. Linderman is dead. This can't— " And another look towards the adjacent walls of beeping, whirring hospital equipment, the presence of such speaking something of reality. "My god."

Fortunately, I am not dead, is the response from Arthur. "I am, however, paralyzed. You can thank your mother for that. Everything she told you about me was a lie, Nathan. The machines surrounding Arthur click and whir, click and whir, but Arthur ignores them. He glosses over the fact Linderman is dead— that's another explanation for another time. For now, Arthur is simply glad to be talking with his son again. "I've spent every day thinking about my sons, and how they thought I was dead… but I couldn't reveal the truth to you. Not yet. There are people in the world, your mother being one of them, that do not wish for me to live.

Nathan's hand drifts up to briefly touch his own forehead, an instinctive reaction to the continual plague of telepathic voice - not an entirely welcome sensation - but the hand lowers again and slowly, he makes his way closer, stopping at the foot of the bed and circle around to the side. A hand twitches, as if wanting to maybe take Arthur's or something equally appropriate for someone bedridden. How many family members, friends have been in this position? It's almost a habit. But Nathan keeps his hands back, keeps himself guarded.

"What are you talking about?" he murmurs, voice harsh, roughened from both sleep and something else. Something that very much has to do with witnessing his own personal hero lying paralysed in front of him. If only it could be that easy, because there's anger there too, simmering and indirect. "Ma did this to you?" He shakes his head. There are things Angela is capable of, Nathan knows this, and he pushes on with, "It's been almost two years. I don't understand how— " He pauses, voice hitching as a ripple of pain through his abdomen manages to break through the numb of painkillers, fists clenching. How do women do this every month? Seriously. But it gives him a chance to clear his head, ask a better question: "Why now?"

Yes, it was your mother. She broke my heart. We had dreams, Nathan, all of us, dreams for a new world. Unfortunately, what happened to me derailed those dreams. The Company has become a stain on this world. They, and your mother, have lost sight of what their goal is supposed to be. Here, at Pinehearst, we remain true to that goal. There is a pause for Arthur, his eyes slipping close for a moment as he allows this all to sink in. When he opens his eyes again, meeting Nathan's he continues. "Why now? Because I have been waiting for you to finally become the man I knew you could be, Nathan. My son. Strong. Smart. Someone with leadership. A U.S. Senator. Someone to stand by me as Pinehearst leads everyone into the new world."

The first part does sink it, and despite himself, it doesn't even hit a nerve. It just seems so fatalistic, almost untouchable, uncertain. Nathan's gaze also drops when Arthur shuts his eyes, but eye contact is made again as his question is answered. And that

"Senator," Nathan repeats, a little heavily, and shakes his head, stepping away from the bed. "You let me believe you were dead, for two years, until I was, what, powerful enough? Good enough?" His voice raises a little in conviction and volume, that simmering anger rising. "There was a funeral, Ma— " Ma put him here. His argument falters, but the conviction doesn't. "You waited too long. Whatever this is, I'm not gonna be a part of it."

Son, Arthur says, his tone, even if it is in Nathan's head, pleasant and unfaltering. He expected Nathan to react this way. After all, letting your son believe you were dead for two years, then suddenly show up asking for a favor isn't exactly the nicest thing to do. I'm sorry that it had to be so long. I did *not* wish for things to turn out this way. Certain.. leads have not turned out the way I expected them to. I never intended for you to see me this way. But now I'm asking you, my favorite son, as your *father* to join me. I'm asking for your help, Nathan."

Arthur's even voice is continuous pressure, Nathan's gaze dropping in something like guilt as the word 'favourite' comes up, shaking his head. The ache in his gut seems to heighten all the more, and a hit of morphine would probably be appreciated, but the ebbing painkiller does worse than stop masking the pain. In the hints of metal and glass within the room, something shifts, reflection, barely catching Nathan's eye, before the world clouds over for Nathan to wake up to another day.

His hand goes out, now, to touch Arthur's, strong fingers wrapping securely around his father's hand in a show of support. "I'm just glad you're alive," Logan says, other hand coming to rest against the metallic fixtures of the hospital bed, shifting closer. There is nothing but sympathy, it seems, for his father. "You're absolutely right. I've become more - a leader. Because of you. Let me help you."

That's my son," Arthur replies, completely unaware of the shift in the person before him. He simply sees Nathan as his son, coming to his senses, and joining his father at his rightful place by his side. "I've missed you, Nathan. It's been a long two years. As soon as you are back in good health, we'll begin our work. First thing is first: I am eager to get out of this bed. I have an idea for that, and it will require your help." There's another pause in his speech as he watches Nathan, the pride for him evident in his eyes. "*That,* however, is all in due time. For now, tell me how things are. How are my grandchildren?"

His free hand reaches out to drag a bedside chair closer, sitting down by his father as an attentive son should. Perhaps unusual, considering the unknown man in the room with Arthur right now, there is a kindness in his features now, as if he truly does feel sympathetic for the paralysed patriach.

And hell, maybe Logan does. Maybe if there is one person in this world he could feel a shred of kindness and pity towards, it's the man he and Nathan both followed all their lives. The reason he forged ahead with such ambition.

Logan should probably be thanking him.

"The boys are fine. They miss their grandfather," Logan says, coolly. The subject is glossed over, irrelevant. "I'll do whatever you need to get you well again." Hesitation. "Ma isn't going to be a problem, is she? She believes you're gone too, is that right?"

"Your mother will be taken care of," Arthur replies to who is really Logan, the darker side of his son. "I've learned from my mistakes. As far as she knows, I am dead. You're the only one to know I'm alive now, aside from those who work with me here. I won't hurt her, but I'll make sure she isn't in our way."

Logan nods in agreement, apparently accepting the idea of the lie without regret. "Then Peter will need to stay in the dark as well," he says. "Until he can be made to understand." A flicker of a smile, an acknowledgment of the family divisions between the youngest son and the father of the family. "They all will." He pauses, thoughtful, as if making a mental checklist of everything he has agreed to. There is one outstanding question.

"So what can you tell me about Pinehearst?"

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