2007-10-02: Showoff


Mariska_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Two people that can go anywhere find themselves in the same place again.

Date It Happened: October 2nd, 2007


The Empire State Building

Believe it or not, despite the cliches, the world really does look different from a distance. Simpler. Smaller. Better, maybe. Sure, the view afforded those from the top of the Empire State building isn't quite the same as the one gained from the stratosphere but the perspective shift is significant enough for one pair of pale green eyes to take it all in. Of course, the mooring ring was serving more as an obstruction than anything, and so tonight Mariska's bravely (or foolishly) ventured out onto the edge of the ledge that lines the observation deck so that she might be able to literally stare straight down at all of the little lights as they hurry to and fro far down below on their gleaming, electric grid lives.

A precarious position even for those that fly and teleport. Nathan sees her in the strange half-light of nighttime as he comes in for a landing, and no, he's not about to attempt to touch down anywhere close to Mariska, not from this speed. There's a metallic clang when his body meets the structure of the skyscraper, and a whispered curse. Not the smoothest of landings, and he'll wind up with a nice bruise to take care of over next few days, but at least she didn't see it. Then, with a far more graceful, hovering maneuver, Nathan moves from the mooring ring, down to where Mariska is standing, his booted feet touching the cement of the ledge, his back to the city below them, hands gripping the bars there to keep people safe. From the other side. "Feeling daring?"

Is that a trick question? The slow turn and subsequent tilt applied to Mariska's chin as she readjusts her green-eyed gaze to settle on the only-slightly-nancing Nathan seems to suggest that, yes, it probably is. Windswept silence transpires between then for a heavy moment or two before the paler of the pair decides that the time is right to take the really fast, really fatal way down — one foot in front of the other, Mariska steps off of the ledge.

"— no!" Time doesn't move quick enough when you want it to. Nathan's hands come off the cold metal bars, reaching for where Mariska was rather than where she is going - which is apparently, down. So, he moves - his body twists away from the ledge and with the confidence only someone with a death wish or a flying ability can achieve, Nathan falls, arms outstretched so that his hands can find purchase on clothing, on limbs.

Naturally. For Nathan, this is probably getting to be a little old hat; people apparently just can't help but to throw themselves off of buildings in his presence. Mariska is rather easily snared, only a second or so ahead (or is that below?), but once claimed she isn't so much thankful or consigned to sorrow as she is smirking somewhat and drawling a single word in her Soviet tone: "Showoff." Still, there's a little bit of genuine sadness in her eyes once you get past all of the wind-induced tears.

"Shut up," is Nathan's response, inappropriate as it might be as their descent towards the ground slows and then halts. Precarious, Nathan's grip on Mariska's arm is bruisingly tight, and with a sudden jerk, they're both rising back up the way they came, as if someone hit the big Rewind button in the sky. Not so gently, Mariska will find herself almost swung back onto the ledge - that hand still on her arm as Nathan finds footing just beside her, gripping a bar once more. "What the hell was that?" he asks, accusing. Apparently, someone doesn't like playing hero.

Oof. Ow. Hey now. Maybe seemingly suicidal people shouldn't be handled so roughly. What if it leaves a mark? Mariska makes sure that their mutual grip is still intact before she opts to do a little showing off herself — cue the KRAK! as they disappear from the ledge and then the camera pan reveal that shows the audience they've only been relocated to the mooring ring. Maybe that was more of a reminder to Nathan that she might not have so much been in the need of saving. Still, she hangs on tight until the vertigo that comes with everyone's first ride on the Russian Relocator subsides… because the last thing she wants is for him to go reeling off the edge and splattering down on the observation deck. That would just be… embarrassing. And really, really gross.

LT&KSASG*KS. Nathan has never been teleported before, and the hand that was gripping Mariska's arm turns into one that steadies himself, knees weakening in a completely masculine way for a moment before he settles. Okay, point taken, and he backs up from her, straightening his jacket. "Bungee jumping without the rope?" he asks, tone a little less sharp now.

"Something like that." Mariska fakes a little smile. It's easier to lie. The truth is… uh, well, the truth is the truth is much harder to explain. There's lots of technical teleporter mentality involved. And charts. With graphs and Venn diagrams and schematics and stuff and really, just giving Nathan a little bit of 'something like that' spares everyone an eight hour seminar on how to appreciate and understand your teleporting acquaintances. (I hear the class is held in Vegas, though. Bonus.) "Don't feel bad. Everyone get sick."

"I'm fine," Nathan corrects her, even if only now the dizziness is fading. He's distanced himself from her, standing a few feet away and casting a look out towards the spectacular view he'd come out here to sit and appreciate, but now he barely sees it, heart still racing from his arguable heroics, even if she is one of the few people in the world who would survive a fall from the Empire State Building. "Either you're a showoff too, or you weren't planning on coming back from that leap." It's a prompt for her to divvy up an explanation, sure, but non-committal as well. It's not his business even if he did attempt a rescue.

Mariska takes two or three steps toward Nathan while still allowing him the opportunity and enough distance to recover his pride without infringing on intimate space. "I was looking for direction," she explains, embarking on some sort of attempt to explain herself via vague philosophies. "Don't you ever wonder if you're in the right place?"

It makes a sort of sense. It's not as though either of them know anything about each other - how to ground such a topic in reality when they're anything but grounded, as it were? "Only if I think I'm in the wrong place, sure," Nathan says, not backing up when she approaches, stance casual. "Empire State gotten old?"

"Well, the view's nice, but…" Try though she might to stifle it, a small smirk manages to creep its way onto Mariska's tired lips. It doesn't last long, however. There's an earnesty that pervades her half-shadowed expression as she struggles to be heard over the bluster of the wind without shouting, "Sometimes, when I get lost… I like to let my heart tell me where to go."

Nathan pauses, then tilts his head a little towards the side - an indication to follow, and he moves to awkwardly sit down just at the edge, allowing his feet to dangle down towards where there's more outcropping of structure and building. Perhaps at a more conversational level, they won't need to shout over the sound of high-altitude wind. "Don't you think that's the fastest way to get even more lost?" he asks, once she's back within hearing range. "Unless meeting strangers on buildings is your idea of the place to be."

Mariska follows Nathan's lead, carefully situating herself on the edge, legs hanging free, shoulder to shoulder. "No," she says assuredly, turning her head to address him instead of impressive view or the observation deck beneath their feet. "I think that is fastest way to find yourself." It's only after she's asserted this particular point of view that she allows herself to sweep a look out across the electric cityscape. "Is it yours?"

Nathan flickers a glance up towards the sky, which is increasingly getting to the point where his trip home will be less than fun. But that's the risk you take. "Up there," he says, with a slight nod of indication that her gaze should raise up from the points of light beneath them, towards the more abstract skyscape. He continues talking, quieter. "You can kind of forget everything but yourself when you're up there. That you got a job, even a family. The slightest angle will make everything below you just tip out of control so what can it matter." A glance towards her. "Not a healthy attitude."

Green eyes to the grey sky, Mariska obliges Nathan's observation and gives the nighttime atmosphere overhead her attention while he speaks. She muses quietly and considers each word for what it is, translating backwards and then cycling forward again to reply, "I think you and I have opposite problem. Perhaps we trade places for a while?" Metaphorically-speaking, of course, because there's just no way Nathan's going to fit in to Mariska's size 6 jeans.

"Sure," Nathan says, flippantly, leaning back on his hands and casting her a small smirk. "Must be nice to be able to wind up where you want to be, when you want to be." A blast of cold air for a moment, Nathan wincing as it seems to just grate through even his heavy jacket, and he lets it go by before asking, "How far can you go?" He's not about to ask how teleportation works, but as of now, it just seems so limitless. Not that he's ever tested his own limits, but all the same.

"Anywhere." With one word, Mariska likely does little to close to gape of awe. However, it's either exhaustion or generosity that causes her to confess to Nathan a mild caveat. "Anywhere I've ever been before… or anywhere I can see." So, you know, it's still anywhere… with an almost. As if sensing the lack of limitation extension, she turns her head to rest her gaze back on the flyboy by her side and asks, "How fast you go? How high?"

It's still an impressive lack of limits. Maybe even daunting. Nathan glances at her when she offers the questions back at him, and he gives a shrug. "About as high as I can stand it," he says, truthfully. "Before it starts getting… cold." You know, the icily dangerous kind of cold that means you're starting to tempt fate. How fast? Nathan considers this for a moment - has he ever gone as fast as he can? Just once, and at that moment in time, he was weighted down by another body… So he answers, simply, "I can break the sound barrier. Neat, huh?"

Mariska's eyebrows both swoop upwards with the man's various replies. That seems to suggest at least some level of impressed appreciation for the man's aerobatic abilities. But, then she passes a sort of conspiratorial look up to the sky before bouncing her gaze back down to Nathan and announcing with something of a shoulder bump, "Show me." Hahawhat?

Hahawhat is right. Nathan raises an eyebrow at her, looking as if he's trying to gauge out whether the woman is being serious, before he responds, "Well that depends. Do I get a free return trip to Moscow out of this?" Beat, then, "That's— that was a joke." Because traveling to a different country on the whim of a stranger might not be the smartest idea ever.

Let's not forget about ethnic stereotyping! However, fortune must favor the eldest Petrelli son tonight because, instead of possibly punching the man in his big, ol' square jaw, Mariska rolls her neck and then her shoulders as if preparing for some sort of serious exertion. She settles her spine back into alignment and offers her fellow freak a small, sideways smile. "If you want." A beat. "I would have pick somewhere warmer." And then, there she is, climbing to her feet and casting an expectant look down at her anonymous companion. Oh, hey. She's so not kidding. Let's go, flyboy.

A moment of hesitation, before Nathan is standing as well. It's clear he was bluffing, and she was not, and so now he has to do something before she can call him on it. "I've never gone fast with a passenger," he says. Well, a lie, but that was out of necessity. "I don't make a habit out of playing cargo jet."

Tease. That's alright. Little does Nathan realize that Mariska was more calling her own bluff than his; the thought of being whisked away by some flying stranger suddenly bore an unreckoned degree of danger. After everything that had happened during the day, it was a risk she was unwilling to take. But, she was more than content to let him think that he'd been the more cowardly of the pair. Yeah. That's right. Straight up poultry! Feigning disappointment, she takes a step back and says, "Some other time then."

There should be a third party around that can call them both on their cowardice. But maybe it just takes too much trust to be whisked away to somewhere warm or otherwise, or thousands of feet upwards, when they haven't even traded names. "Some other time," Nathan agrees, not about to really buy her disappointment, but not calling her on her bluff either. He should probably go - it's ridiculously late and he has no idea how to explain this to Heidi already, but a part of him is wary about leaving. Something about watching a woman pitching herself off the Empire State Building has that affect. Which is why he steps closer, taking her arm to guide her around the mooring ring enough so she can see the outline of a different building which he points out. "That one, next time."

There's a moment in which Mariska actually inclines her head in toward Nathan, more to be certain of the building he's indicating rather than to initiate any sort of intimacy, but there's something in the gesture that seems to tug at her mask of anonymity. "For next time," she repeats with a punctuating nod. She lets him hold on to the arm of her jacket for just another second or two before delicately withdrawing and delivering her goodbye in her native tongue while wearing a pointed and schooled look. «Take care.» Strange guy who can fly whose name she doesn't even know. Obviously, somebody's either not real hip to American politics or making a point not to mention any real recognition if it actually exists.

Nathan backs up when she does. Honestly, he's sort of pinning her outsider-ness to the fact that she hasn't really shown or acknowledged any recognition towards him. And it's not like Senator wannabes typically dress in dark clothes and fly to famous building rooftops to contemplate life - he's just special that way. The goodbye in Russian is understood as far as it can be, and he inclines his head to her. Then, an almost youthful smile tugs at his mouth when he says, "You first. I want to see it again." Real disappearing acts are so hard to come by.

Aw. Someone wants a show, huh? Alright. But, uh, only because she's probably not really going to run into him again any time soon… right? Not literally, at least. Or… is she? Mariska takes a few more steps back, heels hugging the edge of the platform, and then she takes a few fast steps forward - not much of a run at that distance - and just when it seems like what she's actually gunning for is a full-body collision, she's nearly nose to nose before she tosses out a wink (or maybe that's a squint) and then…


That's loud up close. Nathan manages not to stagger back - sort of like playing chicken - but he does flinch away when she disappears with that bullwhip sound. And then, he's alone on the top of the Empire State Building. "Showoff," he accuses thin air.

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