2007-02-28: Some Things Thicker Than Blood

Starring:

Nathan_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif Angela_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan, Angela and a surprise guest with a surprise gift. Blood's a pretty powerful thing, but we all have our gravitations.

Date It Happened: February 28th, 2007

Log Title Some Things Thicker Than Blood


Nathan's Room - The Petrelli Mansion

The hour is late, the mansion is dark, not a creature was stirring, not even never mind that. The sound of a door being opened and a guest ushered in drifts up the stairs to Nathan's room, just barely encompassing the distinct character of Angela's voice and another, muffled female one. The matriarch's greetings may be stifled from all the way down in the foyer, but one thing is unmistakable: surprise, at least as much as this Petrelli ever expresses it. Maybe that's not saying much.

Several minutes later, Angela is leading a guest up the staircase. "You'll want to be prepared," she's telling the visitor. "His little act of heroism earned him quite a cross to bear." Angela looks over her squared shoulder and gives a barely masked smirk, trailing her hand on the banister. "For the time being." A few more steps… "Nathaaan… you have a visitor." Knuckles rap on the door before it starts to open.

Nathan isn't asleep. He's had way too much to think about. So in the dark of his room, he watches the open window, as if trying to will it shut without having to make that painful, godawful trek across the room to do it himself. Then, a knock on the door and the sound of his mother's voice steals away his attention, and he turns to look. "It's late," he says, voice slightly slurred due to pain meds, and rougher than usual due to a lack of sleep.

"Thanks," the girl says quietly, hesitating outside the door for a few seconds as she looks to Angela. When she envisioned coming back to this mansion, this was not quite what she had in mind. With a final faint smile to Angela, the little brunette slips through the door, wincing at the remark from Nathan. Once inside, she seems reluctant to say anything, at first. She hovers by the door, her hands clasped behind her. "I know it's late," she says, her voice apologetic. "I didn't have a choice."

"Oh, I don't think you'll mind," Angela makes up Nathan's mind for him. She turns the knob and swings the door open to admit the petite visitor, holding it open for her. "It's been a while Nathan, have some manners for your own daughter." The woman stands in the doorway, arms folded. "Well. I'll let you two catch up." With that - and a rather pleased, self-satisfied smile - Angela leaves. Her footsteps can be heard descending the stairs.

The shadows seem to lift as both ladies step into the room, and confused, Nathan flicks his gaze between his mother and the young woman who… Recognition floods his face, and he struggles to sit up in bed. He reaches to turn on a low-lit lamp, spilling dim light into the room just as Angela makes her exit. It takes him a moment to come up with a theory. "Claire," he says, a question, statement and guess all rolled into one.

As if it needed confirming, she ducks her head, looking to Nathan with the corner of her mouth tugged upwards by a smile. "Yeah. It's… a long story." She takes a few steps towards the bed, the lamp allowing her to appraise Nathan's rather extensive injuries. It's enough to make her grimace and turn her head away slightly, her pained look lingering. "Your mom told me to be prepared, but—" Words failing her, Claire turns her attention back to Nathan. "-you look…" There is absolutely no good way to say what next comes to mind.

"I know," Nathan says, before her trailed off sentence can trail any further. "You don't have to tell me." He's beyond self-consciousness, months after he's been rendered like this, but still, he turns to look forward rather than take in Claire's reactions. "Didn't think I'd be seeing you again."

"I'm so sorry," Claire exhales, her voice fraught with remorse. Her seemingly aimless steps eventually bring her to the foot of the bed, where she taps her hands against the footboard somewhat awkwardly for a few seconds. "I didn't think so, either. We went to California, pretend to be normal." That last word is said with something akin to bitterness, but it's quick to disappear. "The Company found us. They found me. That's why I'm here, in New York."

Nathan nods his head, slowly. "Your… your dad, he's worried about you," he says, tone light, but his gaze on her is studious, hawk-like. "Noah Bennet. He's looking for you, even came here, but I guess he's a day late." Concern makes it's way into his voice as he then asks: "Do you need help, Claire?"

That seems to take her by surprise, and Claire seems torn between excitement and concern. "My father's here?!" Okay, excitement is winning, though only slightly, as her voice takes on a kind of relieved tone. "Do you know where he is?" She casts a sudden look to the door; if wishes were horses, he'd be bursting into the room right now. …he doesn't. "I didn't come here for your help," she says, glancing back to Nathan out of the corner of her eye. "I came here to help you."

Nathan's mouth, slightly twisted during due to his injuries, twists even more into a half-smile. "He's gone now. Breaking-and-entering only works when you don't stick around," he says, tone wry. "But he'll find you if you want to be found." He pushes against the bed again, sitting up more against the headboard. "How are you going to help me?"

"I don't know if I can stay," Claire replies, rubbing one hand over the opposite arm with a faint frown. "They're going to notice I'm gone, soon." Making her way back across the room, she retrieves a heavy bag from the floor near to the door, dragging it towards the bed. "I'm going to make you better," comes her explanation, though it's still somewhat vague. "I think. I'm not a hundred percent on how this works." Pause. "…maybe we should get your mom to do this."

"Of course you can stay." Angela? Didn't she go downstairs? My, isn't she sneaky and underhanded - and remarkably soft-footed on the stairs, it would seem, because here she is in the doorway. "And you /will/ stay, Claire. It's no life, the one you've been living." She sounds awfully sure of that. In other words, it's a straight order. Mrs. Petrelli marches through the bedroom and promptly takes the bag from her granddaughter, sits it in the bed, and rifles through it. What emerges is a syringe, empty - and it's not the only one, if the clinking about in the bag is any indication. She checks it over mechanically. "Well, this is unfortunate. Are you ready, Claire? It might be a lengthy process."

Nathan just gives Angela a look as she comes marching back on it. He's /so/ not surprised to see her reappear, and besides, his focus is on his daughter, and the needle in his mother's hand. "Ma?" he says, in a very patient tone. If he's dared to guess what they're trying to do, it doesn't show. "What are you trying to do?" He looks at Claire, squinting at her a little. "/Who's/ gonna notice you're missing?"

"What? No, I can't-" Claire whirls around to face Angela with a questioning look. There's lingering resentment there, something akin to her sentiments when last Angela Petrelli tried to order her around. "I can't stay here. If the Company knows I'm gone, they'll—" What? Kill her family? She already knows her father is here, in the city. It never really occurs to her to question why it's so easy for her to get out of the Company in the first place. "If I have to jump out another window to get away from you people again, I will. Can we get this over with?" Angela has an uncanny ability to raise this girl's guard, it would seem. She rolls up the sleeve of her shirt, leaving her arm and elbow exposed to Angela.

"I'm trying to help Claire make you better again, Nathan," Angela explains in slow, matter-of-fact, patronizing tones. "If only Peter were here," she murmurs under her breath as she prepares the syringe; somehow, it sounds more like a complaint than a mournful wish as it really ought to be. It's pained, though, we'll give her that much. She tsks as she presses the needle into Claire's arm. The blood is drawn without a fuss. Her face is a neutral mask. "You can't be their caged guinea pig forever. We can keep you safe."

Nathan watches Claire and her simmering resentment, and nods once, almost to himself. His mother is listened to, but it's clear Nathan has something on his mind, enough even to distract him from this talk of supposedly making him better, which only gets blank doubt anyway, and his gaze goes back to Claire when Peter is brought up. "Before you go jumping outta windows, I need to ask you something," he says, his voice very quiet. "I need to know…" He casts a glance towards Angela, almost anticipating her reaction too. "The Company, it holds people like us." That /word/ again, damn. "If Peter survived," another guarded glance towards Angela, "that's where he'd be."

"Nowhere is safe," Claire says for the second time in as many days, wincing as the needle pierces her skin. "I have to stay. I have to protect my family." She watches the syringe fill with blood with a distant stare; she sees it, but she isn't quite watching it. Her mind is elsewhere. "I don't know if he's there," is her eventual remark to Nathan, though the glance she casts his way is fleeting, at best. "We don't even know if he's alive."

"You were never the altruistic one, Nathan. It doesn't become you." Blood gradually fills the syringe as Angela frowns ever-so-slightly. When full, she sets it on the bedside table and takes an identical one from Claire's bag. There's other medical equipment in there, sundry things, but she takes none of them. Just the syringe. The same as before, it's prepared and inserted into her flesh-and-blood's flesh-and-blood. When it's also full, she holds it up to the lamplight and examines it before strolling around to the other side of Nathan's bed. She's very matter-of-fact about this ordeal, not doubting it a bit. The syringe is fed into the IV; the blood forms a cloudy crimson swirl after it's injected. Might as well get started. "And where do 'they' think you are /now/, hm, Claire? Surely not coming to the aid of your ailing biological father."

The look on Nathan's face is obscured both by scars and his own reservations, so it's difficult to make out. He just nods stiffly at what Claire has to say, but when he speaks again, disappointment gives his tone an edge. "Bennet's taking care of himself," he says, ignoring his mother in favour of telling this to Claire before she really /does/ jump out the window. "And he said your family's hidden and safe. Maybe you should be considering your options, if you're trying to protect people who are taken care of." He watches, now, the red cloud of blood in his IV, and as it streams into his body… he doesn't feel anything. Just mild tingling as the liquid courses into his bloodstream, and he takes a breath, only just now daring to maybe consider that this would work.

There's a childish, indignant slant to the way Claire looks to Angela now, very nearly giving in to the urge to roll her eyes. "They're going to come after me," she argues, though she doesn't sound nearly as frightened as she perhaps ought to. She must know that they won't kill her, given how useful she can be to them. The new syringe warrants another wince as it punctures her skin, but she's quick to recover from the pain. "We were hidden and safe once before and they still got to me, so excuse me if I don't put a lot of faith in that excuse."

"Nathan is right, Claire. Besides…" Push, push - and the syringe empties into the IV. Walking calmly around the bed, Angela moves on to the other syringe and does the same thing. By now, the whole bag is a watery red, gradually becoming slightly viscous. Good thing the IV wasn't full to start with. "If your father—" Speaking of Noah, this time, "Your adoptive father that is, if he has a plan for you… we can shelter you until that time comes. You'd be better off. Change is in the air." She purses her lips as she deposits the empty syringes, looking over at the teen. "How are you feeling?" she asks in a moment of revealing human concern, presumably trying to clarify in fewer words if he girl is fine to continue, if necessary. Then she eyes Nathan critically.

Nathan has his eyes on the little needle taped to his arm, attention turned inwards, apparently trying to gauge out what's going on in his own body. An ebbing of pain, is what, and he lets out a shaky breath he didn't realise he was holding on to. "You could meet him here," Nathan says, still having the mind to add to the argument even as he freaks out just a little, very quietly. He stretches the fingers of the more injured hand, mobility so much better.

"Fine," is Claire's response, spoken through her teeth to Angela, with respect to how she's feeling. Her disposition makes it unclear which part she was replying to, but she doesn't seem inclined to elaborate, either. The sleeve of her shirt is rolled back down, and the girl folds her arms over her midriff, slumping down in the seat now that her job is finished. "I can't do this again," she says finally, quietly. "Run from them. Run from Sylar. You can't protect me from everything."

And thus, no more of Claire's blood is taken. Yet. (She doesn't need it anyway.) Angela gives her a smile and adopts her unusual motherly job of watching the IV from injecting her illegitimate grandchild's blood into her son. It's an interesting night here at the Petrelli residence, folks. "No, you're right. You can't run forever. We can't protect you from everything," she says, her last words turning soft, reflective. She touches Claire's dyed brunette locks. "But we can try." Her thin smile turns into a concerned frown. "You're looking slightly better, Nathan. Your daughter, miracle-worker."

And indeed, it is kind of miracle, as the healing simmers to the surface, raw skin slowly becoming whole again, seams of scars smoothing out… slowly, Nathan is becoming who he was again. His hand is under his observation, and he looks at his mother disbelieving, wide eyes that also slowly going back to normal. And therefore, his vision is as well. "Jesus," he mutters, and looks to Claire, gratitude written on slowly changing features.

It's only when Nathan's more obvious wounds begin to heal that Claire looks up from the floor. There's still a frown marking her features, but something akin to hope flashes through her face for a split second. "Yeah," she agrees, the word spoken in an exhaled breath; she's watched herself heal at least a hundred times, but seeing what her blood can do for another person is still new. "I don't want to stay here. I want to be with my father."

Angela moves to the side of the bed (blocking Claire) to lay her hand on Nathan's head. Stroking his hair. Really, she's petting him. Let's just say it. The matriarch smiles distantly, thoughtful. "Your father is going to have a hard time getting to you if you're out masquerading as someone you're not, or trapped behind doors that are closed to him," she points out oh-so-knowledgeably. "Like Nathan said. You can meet him here. Oh, I'm sure he won't waste any more time, you'll get your reunion." There's a brief pause. "Hm. I think we could do with some more blood, don't you?"

Nathan has his fists clenched, now, to not give away the trembles that are taking control of them. He's floored, guard down, all that, and he shuts his eyes to get his guard /back/, already, just letting his mother stroke his hair and talk in that usual tone of hers to his biological daughter. "It's working," he mutters, as if that isn't already clear.

The entire display seems a bit off, to Claire, and she rises from her seat with an uncertain expression descending upon her features. With her arms still crossed, her shoulders slightly raised, the teenager crosses the length of the room, her steps slow and deliberate. The woman has a point, though Claire is loathe to admit it. Rather than having to admit defeat, she opts for silence. A glance over her shoulder is cast to the bed, and she finds her way back to the bed slowly, pulling up the sleeve of her shirt again, exposing the elbow. "Take it."

"Yes. Well. I think you need more." On that note, Mrs. Petrelli looks at Claire pointedly, but thankfully the girl has already conceded. Yet another syringe is prepared. Good thing Claire brought extras. "Ohh," she fusses over the teenager a bit as she takes more blood from the exact same spot as before - not that there's any marring to mark the spot. Same old, same old: taken, injected into Nathan's IV. This time, however, she lingers at the foot of the bed, watching her son heal. She almost looks proud as she looks between the two relatives. "Perhaps you will be safer with them," she concedes out of the blue to Claire, though her tone of voice hardly lends itself to giving in to any point, since she adds quickly: "But you have less of a chance of meeting your father on neutral ground there. So you know where to find us. You can stay, tonight, as long as you need. We're still /here/ for you." With that, she walks out, pausing only to say, "Rest well." to Nathan. She's gone, as if leaving the decision entirely in Claire's hands. Manipulative? Angela? Preposterous.

Nathan only really registers his mother has left when the door clicks closed. The blood has drained fast and is working its magic, quicker and quicker, it seems, as if he'd never been hit by the hot end of a nuclear blast. Almost ignoring Claire's presence, Nathan pulls what he's hooked up to off his body and drags himself out of bed, luckily clothed in pajama pants and a loose T-shirt, but he's going for the mirror which has been long since turned from his bed. His reflection gets a stare, even a shudder, before looking over his shoulder at the teenager. "Claire," he says. "I don't know how I'm supposed to thank you for this. It's… it's a lot."

Claire watches Nathan with interest as he appraises himself in the mirror, her expression an odd mix of concern and apprehension. "If Hiro's right," she says, her attention drifting to the side, brow furrowing deeply again, "if Sylar's alive, then… maybe you can return the favour." A girl with infinite regenerative ability may not seem like she needs the help, but sooner or later, she's going to need a piece of glass pulled out of her skull. Very briefly, she manages a smile, though it's anxious. She doesn't say anything, nor does she gather the bag of syringes to take with her as she crosses back to the door. With one hand on the knob, however, she looks back to Nathan. Just before she leaves the room, she says quietly, "You're welcome."

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