2008-05-03: The Road to Recovery


Angela_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: The road to recovery… is paved in faith. (And cryptic messages.)

Date It Happened: May 3rd, 2008

The Road to Recovery

259 West Broadway


When he'd asked Peter to bring him reading material, he didn't quite count on adventure science stories about dinosaurs. Sure, Nathan had seen the movies, or one of them anyway, who hasn't? And at least it wasn't the only book brought in, a small stack of paperbacks tucked away under the bed on the side with the handcuff attached.

Still, beggars can't be chooses. Nathan rests a shoulder against the bars of the bed frame so that he may use both hands, reading the print through frameless reading glasses and a thick veil of cynicism. But reading all the same.

"You're not my son. Not yet."

The words don't come clearly, but he can hear the voice behind them, anyway, Nathan's head snapping towards the door and freezing much like a teenager who's about to get caught doing something he shouldn't. He doesn't hear her foot steps, Angela Petrelli has a remarkable way of moving through homes on cat-feet, but her voice is louder, even as its tossed back to someone, presumably, behind her.

"If we all succeed, you never will be."

And quieter still, a masculine voice. Peter's.

"No, I'm not."

Not quite heard, Nathan busy slipping the worn-down copy of Jurassic Park beneath his pillow and taking off his glasses. Not looking at the phantom of the mirror, where he more or less always resides, now. Sometimes out of the handcuff, sometimes dressed as if running for President, sometimes in a hospital gown and hooked to IV drips. Nathan doubts it's for his entertainment. He's also not optimistic enough to interpret such inconsistency as fragility. Right now, an unscarred Logan simply sits at the edge of the bed, through the looking glass, apathetically watchful.

The voices are the only warning Nathan — and Logan — receive. They precede a gentle but abrupt knock on the bedroom door. There's no delay to speak of, simply the knock and the door opening, a sliver, at first, to allow the visitor a glimpse into the inner sanctum, as it were.

Angela Petrelli is bold a figure as ever as she looks in on… her son, presumably. Or some part of him? To say her gaze is critical is a given; it's barely any more calculating than usual. When she speaks, on the other hand… "Nathan?" His mother is almost hopeful in tone — higher than it was behind the closed door telling harsh words to the man from 2012, it bears concern. Stepping in, the door is shut behind her.

There's probably no way she can know that when he goes, "Yeah," in confirmation, voice somewhat quiet and stunned, that it's not Logan lying. Except perhaps maternal instinct, or something. Still, that's his answer, managing not to cast a glance towards the mirror as he sits up a little straight, handcuff gritting against the metal bedframe.

He doesn't look unhealthy. This is in no way the situation of a different future gone arwy, where his cage had been less gilded and the only abuse he'd been given was the drama of his initial capture. He's dressed comfortably but otherwise well, not quite clean shaven and hair grown long enough to curl against the nape of his neck. Angela gets a critical gaze in return as he sets the glasses aside.

"Ma, what're you— " The door is shut, but still, in vain, Nathan tries to glance towards it. She's alone. Did anyone tell her to not approach the glass? Hello, Clarice. Incidentally, Silence of the Lambs rests beneath his bed too. "What're you doing here?"

"Can't a mother visit her son without twenty questions?" Oh, sure, that was only one question, but she's coming off the heels of suspicion from the time travelling Peter. After her initial snap of a response, Angela presses her mouth into a smile under stress, clutching an aging hand to the front of her black jacket, beneath the lapels, beneath the strands of pearls. She gravitates toward the bed. "I just wanted to see you. To see how you were."

Hooking his ankle against the side of the bed, Nathan shifts so he can come closer, drawing his caught arm out a little but not enough to be uncomfortable. It's about half a foot of nearness, really, but it will do, and allows him to let his feet brace against the floor in a more dignified posture, even if he is wearing argyle socks.

"I don't get a lot of visitors," is his reply, a little snippy in reaction to her snippinness. Or maybe, that's just the way they talk. In a milder tone, he adds, "I could be better. It's good to see you."

"Well, the circumstances are less than ideal." Angela stays where she is, close but distanced, although her overbearing presence and the need to shuffle closer and fuss it palpable. "I hate seeing you like this." Dark eyes narrow, crinkling about the corners. "Are they treating you well? I'd rather have you in a facility…"

Christ, if there was anyone he could appeal to get him out of here, it could well be Angela. Hence why he's only seen three faces these past couple of weeks, Nathan's sure. But that's the point. Despite the ever present handcuff, he likes to imagine this is a self-imposed exile. "Sure. I get fed, watered, taken for walks, the whole deal." His tone could with wither plants it's that dry, but certainly not sarcastic. His eyebrows raise and after a moment, he asks, without venom, "One of your facilities, Ma?"

Angela gives the room a skeptical look before replying, completely with the arching of one brow in disapproval for this particular place of exile. "Yes. We're fully prepared to deal situations like yours." The woman moves away after a moment, parallel the bed, her back to Nathan. It's as if there's an unspoken "but…" on the end of her statement — she doesn't explain, not yet.

As she moves away, Nathan lets his gaze wander, notably towards the metal loop around his wrist. There's bruising, still, here and there, faded blossoms of greyish yellow that aren't so much severe as constant. "There's reasons I'm here," he says. "It's not ideal, but it's not meant to be. They can't keep my handcuffed to a bed forever. But a facility could keep me for as long as they want. I'm scared that if I walk in, I won't be leaving again." These fears and concerns are dropped carelessly. He's had enough soul baring lately for pride not to factor in so highly.

"Lucky for you," Angela begins on a note more cynical than talk of luck requires, "you might not need to go to a facility at all." She turns about once more, stern countenance fixed down on Nathan. "Let your so-called brother put you on a new path." The proposal is acidic; it's not her idea, but it's not inferior, and that makes her words a tiny bit on the bitter side. "It's not without its risks either."

An eyebrow raise at so-called, as if to say: harsh, mom. But fair, perhaps, and that's how it's always been. Nathan braces his other hand against the edge of the bed, gaze drifting down to the carpet, thoughtful. "Few things are without risks. Including letting the Company try and help me. Like they tried to help Peter a year ago." And he angles eye contact back up at her, weariness drawn into the lines of his face and the slight hood of eyelids. Healthy, yes. Older, in some ways, might be a difference. It's been a rough year. "What path?"

What path indeed. Angela doesn't disagree — at least, she doesn't voice her difference of opinion. She regards Nathan for several long moments before she eyes a far corner of the room, far more thoughtful than avoidant. "There's a chance you can come out of this a stronger man. Perhaps not down the path we thought for you…" …maybe a bit avoidant.

A bit? Nathan's head cants a little when his question isn't completely answered, eyes hooding, before he blows out a sigh, hooking his fingers absently around the chain that keeps him quite literally grounded. "Well I do tend to go down the road less traveled, don't I?" he says, looking back at her again. Wonders if she even realises that what put him in this position was the fact he'd rebelled against her plans.

Considering she hasn't uttered the words 'I told you so' yet, perhaps he's in the clear. "After a long career of not. Talk to me, Ma. I'd— " His words cut out in favour of a smile, a deprecating chuckle, head bowing for a moment. His knuckles are white around the chain. "It'd be great to know what the hell to do."

Against better judgment — then again, perhaps she knows exactly what she's doing — Angela moves to take a seat at the far end of the bed, the opposite corner from her handcuffed son. "I'd like nothing more than to give you guidance," she says in a tired voice. She turns her head along her shoulder to look on at Nathan. "All I can tell you is to have faith."

Having looked at the carpet, it's not the ceiling's turn for analysis. Anything but his mother's eyes, even if he might find something like answer there. Pity, guilt, anything. The unfortunate thing is that in turn, she might see answers he doesn't particularly want to share. Eye contact is a mutual thing. His voice, however, doesn't do much to mask it. Helplessness, fear, all the things one might expect. "Well he got me this far, why not."

A sudden rattle of metal as Nathan yanks, abruptly, at the handcuff, a rare show of anger he's been managing to keep contained from the three that have kept him here. There's nothing tentative about it, and may explain the otherwise inexplicable if mild bruising. It's uncharacteristic, or at least, not a side of him he shows very freely.

"It's been a long time since I've gotten to have a say in my own path, Ma. While I trust Peter a hell of a lot more than I trust him— "

Angela slides closer, just an increment, and reaches out —from her corner, all she can touch is Nathan's shoulder. That will do. "Sometimes we can't make our own paths," she interjects, fingers curling tightly in some measure of reassurance. "Sometimes we have to walk the path laid out for us and make the most of it." One moment serious, reflective, encouraging, the next moment nears flippant. "This is just one challenge. A bump in the road."

What not to do with sociopath would-be murderers, if people stayed dead. Touch them. But there's no lashing out from Nathan, jaw tense but shoulder relaxing minutely beneath her hand, forcing himself to pull it together. He has enough hours alone to not be together, anyway. "Some challenge," he mutters out, more gravel than voice, still not looking at her, but the anger's gone slack. "Then I don't have a choice anyway, do I. You both think this is going to work out."

Reassurances can only be stretched so far. "If it doesn't— " After one last squeeze, Angela's hand draws away, returning to her lap. "There's always option two." The Company, although she doesn't go so far as to clarify. A thin smile stretches her lips as she looks over her shoulder at Nathan. "I'll get my son back one way or another." On that, she sounds confident enough to be quite matter-of-fact indeed. "And then this family can come together again."

At least that's something they can come together on. A bigger picture, at least in terms of this little unit. Nothing to do with saving the future or other such things that weigh on Nathan's shoulders and really don't help. Some people thrive with guilt, like the man waiting out in the hallway with a scar worn proudly on his face.

Others kind of have a hard time. "I'd like that," he finally states, carefully. "How's Claire?"

"She's doing well," Angela is quick to answer. Concise. "She's resilient, our Claire. I'll be seeing her soon, I'd pass on a message, but it's best she hear it from you once this is behind us." The woman rises, stalking quietly around the bed to stand in front of Nathan once more.

Because it's polite, Nathan finds himself standing too. No sign of an injury, close enough towards the end of the bed to make the movement less awkward. "If she wants to talk— " Which, in tone, sounds a lot like, if she ever wants to see me again, Nathan's mouth twisting into an attempt of a smile. "I'll be there. When I know it's okay to be." At the end of some clandestine path he's meant to be walking, or limping. That might just well end with the Company if all goes awry. There's not a lot he has to lose anymore anyway. His hand goes out as if to welcome an embrace of some kind.

Angela just smiles. There's a hint of warmth, of fondness, of the legitimate concern that brought her here — but it has a dark lining of uglier things, like pity and regret. The mother's smile broadens, saddens as she acknowledges Nathan reaching out. She takes a step back and clasps her hands safely in front of her. "I'll be seeing you, dear." With that, the woman turns around, exit-bound.

All things considered, the rueful smile that writes itself on Nathan's features doesn't even seem sardonic as she steps back, and heads for the door. His hand curls inwards, arm drops to his side, and she doesn't get another word of goodbye, just a faint nod as she turns her shoulder, and the creak of a mattress as he sits back down. Left with more questions than answers, but maybe something to look forward to. Relatively speaking.

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