2007-08-24: DF: The Blue Screen Glow


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Summary: Two brothers meet and talk in an illusionary landscape. There's change on the horizon.

Dark Future Date: August 24th, 2007

The Blue Screen Glow

"Kirby Plaza"

One would think their hotel room would always remain steady and stable. No major changes except what the current resident might make. Not the case today. Without so much as a verbal warning, the room disappears. Entirely. Filled with night sky and flickering lights. There's a lamppost nearby, a tall, red, twisted fountain statue. Large buildings in the vicinity. Kirby Plaza at night. A dream? No, an illusion. With no one in sight at all.

Walking towards the window, to draw curtains closed, there's suddenly no window to cover, no curtains to pull, and Nathan's hands abruptly drop down, startled. Nathan's barely had time to shed his jacket and shoes for the day before… has he been teleported? No, there's something off about the setting, something not entirely accurate. But either way, he's standing in some form of Kirby Plaza - this place has too much relevance to forget. Turning once in a slightly panicked circle, Nathan looks this way and that for an explanation, but the place is empty. "Jesus, what now?" he growls under his breath.

What now? "Why don't you tell me?" asks a familiar voice, though thicker, deeper and raspier than it'd been the last time he heard it. From the direction the voice came, Peter literally steps out of nothingness, shimmering into visibility. Illusion and invisibility are so similar in that capacity. They have the same effect. "My wife said you wanted to talk to me. She wanted to set up a meeting, but I told her to stay out of it. Appropriate location, wouldn't you say?"

Nathan, at first, is a deer in the headlights when Peter appears. Not the one from the present - that one doesn't even cross his mind, because this is his brother. He steels himself, stepping forward, unlike Logan whose first instinct was to retreat. He measured power in ability, Nathan measures it a different way. "Most people use coffeeshops," he says, a hand nervously fixing the button on his sleeve cuff. "I— I did want to talk to you. I haven't gotten to in a long time."

"A wanted terrorist and the President in a coffee shop… I somehow don't think that would work in our favor," Peter responds, but he does move closer as well, hands spreading out a little. Gestures of any kind could be dangerous coming from him. "I'm here. Talk." The only major sound in the background is the fountain's water spilling over and the buzzing from the lamps that illuminate the area. There's no traffic, no sounds of air conditioners or various other machines. The air is surprisingly cool, even. Though not quite so much that it's uncomfortable.

That's likely what's off. His home city is completely silent around him, and it reminds him of when he's flying, except without that rush of atmosphere. Nathan is studying Peter, now, as if trying to find his brother beneath the changes of the past two years. "Kate said that she told you what went wrong," he says, a little hollowly, as if not really expecting that he'd be the one to bring up the subject. "About Logan."

"She told me you'd developed a Sanders complex, yes," Peter says, a hint of a narrowing in his eyes, as if he's skeptical or angry. The expression in his eyes might be the only thing similar about the two, considering how rough the years have made him. But at the same time… even that carries flashes that would never have crossed his face even a year ago. Not since he started killing people. Not since the war got bad enough that he had to become a killer. That might be what changed him. "So I suppose the one I tossed into a wall was Logan and not you?"

And he moves even closer, broaching a conversational distance, arm-length. It's not that Nathan isn't afraid, it's that he feels he has a right not to be. "That's right," he confirms. He could also confirm that when Logan passed out from the concussion, Nathan resurfaced for the briefest of moments, but he doesn't see the point. "Listen, I don't expect everything to fix itself just because of Logan, but I'm hoping you realise that I'm not the one who made you into a wanted criminal. Who forced you to…" Brown eyes dart a little, taking in Peter's appearance once more. "…change."

"No— it's not your fault. It's not his fault either," Peter continues in the same rasped voice. He glances up towards the sky, a hit of bitterness and anger flashing in his eyes. "It's my fault. I was so obsessed with saving the world even before this whole thing happened… that I didn't even notice what happened to you. Tried to save the world at the expense of those who are supposed to matter the most." Now, there's that hint that's far more him. Self blame. But somehow detatched from it at the same time. Hatred for what he'd used to be. "I should have noticed what happened to you, long before anyone else did."

Nathan glances away, because in some respects, he agrees. It would have been nice if someone had noticed. More than. However, as far as he can understand, Logan avoided this at all costs, severed ties and hid behind a wall of politics. "No one did," he says, finally glancing his way once more. "No one except Sanders herself and a telepath arrived at that conclusion on their own." He shakes his head, somewhat helplessly, caught between not wanting to make excuses for Peter, but not wanting an apology either. "I just wanted to see what happened to you. The man Kate describes being married to is not my brother."

Whether it'd been avoided or not, there's a lot of ways Peter could have noticed. After all, he too is a telepath. And he worked with Sanders in the past. This line isn't followed much more. He shifts his hands to place them in the pockets of his trenchcoat, allowing the proximity, but apparently denying any physical contact initiated by him. He could easily back away, but he doesn't. "How Kate describes me… tell me. Exactly what does she tell you about me?" Now, he's looking at him again, and there's a flicker of anger, jealousy— and something far more dangerous. The world remains tranquil in general, except the lights against the fountain make the area just a little redder all of a sudden.

Nathan's expression is plainly read: I don't want to get into this kind of argument. But he's not going to spare Peter the details. He had told Kate that he didn't wish to fix a marriage he didn't believe in, but if this is her choice… her existence… "She shouldn't fear for her life when she's around you," he states, plainly. "But that's what she's doing. That you get so mad that it scares her." He pauses, as if waiting for the explanation that will make that make sense, because it doesn't.

"So that's what she told you," Peter says, shaking his head a little. Now— the world shimmers and falls apart, the illusion dropping. They're both standing in the man's hotel room again. "She wants to leave. All of this. Find somewhere else to live, together." There's a pause, a tightening of his jaw. "I think I may take her up on that. The last month I've done more damage than good. Maybe I should just disappear." There's a hint of anger still in his eyes, something else all together. But maybe leaving really would be best, right?

Nathan glances around at the hotel room as it shimmers back into focus, a little relieved to be out of the uncanny imitation of Kirby Plaza. Both wrong as well as slightly too appropriate. "The last year, I've let someone use my name to fuck the world sideways," he says, casually, fixing Peter with a hard look. "We both have something to prove and maybe disappearing off the map is the best solution, but I don't want you to disappear, Pete." His hands move to touch Peter's upper arms, as if to draw him into a hug, but for now, they simply rest there.

When the hands finally touches him, Peter glances down at it for a moment, visibly seeming to hesitate. Maybe he's not used to physical gestures from people anymore. Or maybe the missing finger throws him off, since that's the hand he looks towards. Then he takes in a slow breath and steps closer, moving in to hold the slightly taller, graying man. The hug doesn't need to be forced, it would seem, though it's certainly tense. "Then I'll stick around a little bit longer… but we can't exactly spend much time together. I'm one of the most wanted men in the country."

Nathan is tense as well, but it's masked with enthusiasm as he returns the embrace with some fierceness, hand gripping the back of Peter's trenchcoat. It's been a while, and it might be a while until the next time they can talk civilly. He simply doesn't trust who Peter's become enough to think such moments won't be rare. "I think you'll be one of the most needed men in the country," he corrects with a murmur. "Very soon. Things are changing. It'd be nice to know that you'd be willing to be in the thick of it when it counts."

"You're right, Nathan. Things have to change," Peter responds, starting to retract from the hug. One of the most needed men in the country. Part of him seems to still want out. It's a good assumption that these moments won't happen often. "I'll keep an ear open, and when it starts, I'll be there." There's no inquiry about what's going to occur. Maybe he understands that it's better if he doesn't know.

Nathan lets him go, backing up and hands sliding into his pockets as he regards his brother. There's regret, there. So much time gone, and they couldn't look after each other when it really mattered. "It's appreciated," he says. "Take care of Kate, will you?" Doesn't really sound like a request.

Stepping away a full step, Peter regards his brother quietly. Instead of the jealousy of before, there's something resigned in his eyes now. It's a change. The anger even fades for a moment. A lopsided hint of a smile tugs on the corner of his mouth. "I will." And then he disappears. Probably much the same as he entered, even if it'd been covered up by the illusion.

For a short while afterwards, Nathan simply watches the space where Peter vanishes. Almost as if waiting for him to come back, even if he knows, intellectually, that that won't happen. Finally, Nathan sighs, even if the corner of his own mouth is touched with his own small, rueful smile. "Thanks for coming by," he tells the empty room.

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