2007-10-13: The Small Hours


Nathan_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif


Nathan and Cass find themselves awake at a God Awful hour. They talk about the virus, surprise daughters and what if.

October 13th, 2007:

The Small Hours

Bat Country Labs

It's a ridiculous time to be awake. Usually, Nathan is happily asleep in the backrooms at this hour, but right now, something has him restless. Maybe too much coffee, maybe his headache, maybe just thinking too much. The lab is actually empty for once, which— is annoying, because he actually came out here to talk to Cass (read: distract her from her work), for wont of something to do. Still, maybe she will come back, so. Nathan sits at one of the tables, wrapped up in his now familiar woolen jacket, the sleeves of which extend almost right to his fingertips, and he's— stacking beakers. Into a castle. At 4 AM, there is nothing he can do about his campaign, and he doesn't feel like reading, having tapped out a lot of the material available. So, the bigger beakers create a base for the castle, turned downwards, and he's now working on the second layer.

At such a ridiculous time to be awake, Cass should actually be asleep. Especially when she's sort of made a sort of agreement with Peter that she'd sleep more. However, she's had her three hour or so nap and too many things are going through her head to let her stay laying down too long, anyway. It's like her internal alarm clock just knows that she should be running more tests, searching for more answers to that cure. Or maybe it's just that she has an alarm system for when there is someone inside of her lab doing things they certainly should not be doing. Whatever the case, Cass is rubbing sleep out of her eyes and shoving her hair into some form of ponytail so that it's out of the way. As she starts to pull on her lab coat, she freezes in the doorway when she sees what Nathan has been up to. One arm in and the other still out, she looks a little like a fish out of water - mouth gaping open. "N-nathan! What do you think you're doing?"

Hjfgjkdf. A beaker almost slips from Nathan's grasp, and he has to steady the structure before it all comes tumbling down. Which would be very loud and likely rather dramatic and dangerous. "Christ, Cass, you startled me." And caaarefully, he puts that last piece back onto his creation, which— doesn't look like much at all, mostly just beakers stacked on top of each other, but hey. He wraps his arms back around himself and turns to her with a 'what?' expression, before glancing back towards the "castle" in question. "I was uh." Don't say bored. Come up with a better reason! You're a 40-year-old man! "Organising them."

There's a look of horror that crosses Cass' face when she sees that Nathan almost toppled and broke all her beakers. In fact, she makes a quick step forward to try and catch any ones that she can in case such an event does come to pass. Luckily, it doesn't. It's not that she really needs them at the moment, but that's a lot of glass to clean up. Not to mention everyone in Bat Country could probably have heard the crash and would have come running. "You startled me? You're the one making a house of cards out of my beakers in my lab." Finally, she pulls the other arm into her coat and shrugs her shoulders to settle it into place. As for his explanation, that only gets a raised eyebrow. "Right." Organizing them. "You should be asleep." It seems most of her days lately is trying to get the Petrelli boys to rest.

Obligingly, before she has to ask, Nathan starts deconstructing the "castle", which is what he was gonna do anyway. Eventually. "I know," he says, simply, as he replaces the glass objects back to where he got them. "Trust me, I'd love to be asleep right now, but having some trouble doing that." Unlike some people, he doesn't have a girlfriend in here to curl around and pretend like there's no fever, no headache, no anxiety for the outside world.

Hey, Nathan isn't the only one whose significant other isn't staying at Bat Country. There's just not enough space for non-essential quarantined people to be sleeping here. "I could find you some medicine that'd help you sleep," she offers. They are, after all, in the basement of a hospital. Cass watches Nathan take apart his work of art in a sort o nervous fashion, as if sure he'll drop one as he goes. "How are you feeling? Any worse? Better?"

Cass has a right to be nervous, because as soon as he goes to take the last one off the third tier, it knocks another, which goes bouncing off the table and onto the floor with a tinkering crash. It's not very loud, almost delicate, but— yeah. Nathan kind of just stares down at the sudden mess of glass shards at their feet and just puts down the one he was about to put away. "Drugs would be awesome," he quips, before ducking down to pick up a few of the bigger pieces.

Jerking forward to try and catch the falling beakers, Cass only manages to watch in dismay as they go tumbling to the ground. Straightening, she sighs and joins Nathan in just staring at the mess that he's made. "I'll get the broom, too." Not that she's going to be cleaning this up. That task will fall to the one who made the mess in the first place. She's not gone for very long, but when she comes back, she has a broom and pan in one hand and in the other a pair of pills. She hands both out to the politician. Nothing like very early morning cleaning up, is there?

The broom is eyed warily, and while Nathan isn't exactly sheltered in that he's been in the military, he's done many a days work, he's gotten his hands dirty in all sorts of ways… does he look like Cinderella do you? This is what his expression reads, but he does go to take the pair of pills. "I'll buy you new beakers?" he attempts.

"You bet you will." Though the words themselves sound snippy, her tone has an edge of amusement to it. Just because he took the drugs doesn't mean that she's going to give up on handing over the broom. He made the mess, he will clean it up. "Right after you finish cleaning up the ones you just broke." As if he would get off so easily. "Hopefully you'll be able to sleep in your own bed soon," she tells him, since she knows it's on his mind. "Ramon not being infected was a good indication that the virus is most likely not airborne. However, if that's not how it's contracted, I don't know how it is passed on."

It's with reluctance that the broom is finally taken from Cass, because— well. Yeah. The pills are set aside for now so that they can go down with a glass of water once he's done, a little awkwardly sweeping up the glass shards. It doesn't take too long, it's not like too many of them fell, and when he's done, he rests his hands on the top of it, leaning his weight on the broom as he listens to Cass. "Huh," Nathan says, before setting the broom aside, balancing it carefully. "What does that mean, does that mean we can get out of here?" He can dream.

"It's the first bit of good news that I've heard about this virus in awhile, is what it means," Cass tells Nathan. She was bracing for the worst. Full out New York City-wide panic. As Nathan goes about cleaning up his mess, she walks over to flip on the coffee maker and then check on the machines she left to run while she slept. Most of them are still chugging away the same as they did when she wasn't here. There's many more blood samples to check, care of Ramon and his very large family as well as the tests she's trying to run with mixtures of Mohinder and Claire's blood. "Soon, I think. I'm going to run a few more tests to make sure that he's still clean. I want to let you guys go about your lives - or at least go home - but I don't want to make a mistake and suddenly everyone's sick and it's my fault for not forcing you all to stay here longer."

"If I didn't think there was a very good reason for my being here, Cass, I wouldn't be," Nathan says, though mildly. He doesn't have to remind her as to what he's so desperate to get back to. "So I'll stay until you give the word." He doesn't move to get a cup of coffee, last thing he needs, but he does get himself a glass of water, downing the medication along with it. Once done, he moves to sit by Cass's usual work station, intent to keep her company (read: keep himself company) for as long as he's still restlessly awake. "What about Claire's blood?" he asks, with a glance to her.

"If I didn't think there was a very good reason, I wouldn't keep you here," Cass replies in kind. Letting the pot heat up, the storeowner turned scientist moves to pick up a few folders and settles onto a stool at her counter by Nathan. And it's the fact that they're all counting on her word that makes her nervous. What if she tells them they're free to go because she's anxious to let them go out and rest at home and it turns out she was wrong? How would she cope with that guilt? "Nothing conclusive yet." It hasn't been long enough to tell anything. "I'm just glad that she agreed. I felt so guilty for even asking."

"Tell me about it," Nathan mutters, glancing about the quiet laboratory, which— is lit just the same as it would be if it were daylight, thanks to it being a basement, but there is certainly a sense of late-night-ness about the place, steeped into the stillness. "It's a lot of responsibility for her. Pretty much deciding who lives, who does, who gets fixed." Moralistic choices, which he'd scoffed at the first time this topic had come up, that he understands far better now.

Used to the unchanging light of the lab, if it weren't for those coming and going, it's possible that Cass would lose track of the hours and even days. There's just no way to tell any more. However, the silence outside in the main room hints at how late it is. "Yeah. I can't imagine it's easy." To make the decisions, to live with it, any of it. "If too many people learned about it, they'd try to turn her into a cure-all." Which is why she takes her promise to not let anyone know very seriously. She pauses for a few moments to circle a few things on her print-out, write a short conclusion down. When she finishes, she has another question. "You'd met her before, then?"

That gains a chuckle from Nathan, though it shouldn't. He's just, perhaps, surprised that Peter never mentioned exactly who Claire was to either of them. Considering Peter tells everyone everything ever. "Yeah, I've— I know her," he says, shifting a little uncomfortably on the seat. He's not really inclined to keep this sort of thing from Cass, although in all other ways, it's one of his better kept secrets, next to his ability to fly. And she knows well he can fly. "She's my daughter." Surprise! "Technically."

She knows very well that Nathan can fly and tries to forget it. Since the very idea makes her nauseous. While Peter can be a blabber mouth, there are certain secrets he is very good about keeping. That, it would seem, is one of them. There's a long moment surprise that is quite easy to read on her face because if she wasn't properly braced against the counter and her seat, it's possible she would have fallen off of it. "Your—" daughter. "How…how can someone technically be your daughter?" They either are or they are not! A shake of her head. "But…she doesn't look anything like you!"

"That's true," Nathan says, with a slight shrug. "But she looks a lot like her mother." Who— obviously isn't Heidi. Pale skin and straight black hair doesn't equal tan skin and blonde curls. Meredith was all tanned skin and blonde curls. A little awkwardly, Nathan picks up a— a— a pencil, yes, a pencil that he fidgets with a little. "I say technically because— well she has her own family, that's not mine. She has a dad." That's not him.

"Ah." Well. Even Cass can tell that Claire can't be Heidi's daughter. If not because of genetics - two people with black hair do not make one with blonde - than because of Nathan's attitude. And because, well, she's never heard of Claire being Nathan's daughter before now, though she has heard of Simon and Monty from Heidi. So, she can get the picture. "I see." Oh Nathan. "She's beautiful." It's still awkward, but she's not sure what else she can say about her.

Well what man doesn't have an illegitimate child stashed away somewhere whom they originally thought died in a fire then turned up years and years later when you were running for congress only to have magical blood that heals you after you save the wor— "Yeah, she is," Nathan agrees. It could have been so different. "I didn't even know she existed until last year. It's not exactly an easy or ideal situation for anyone. But— Peter somehow met her," LONG fucking story, "and here we are."

It all certainly seems to be a long story that Cass will perhaps pry out of Nathan when they're both drinking next. "I think Peter meets everyone. I wouldn't be surprised if he knew the Pope." If it turns out that Lachlan has one of those, she's going to lock herself in the lab and never come out again. "She seems pretty well adjusted, considering." Considering, well, everything. "And if this works, she'll have cured you all." Nothing to shake a stick at.

Because she's not already locking herself in the lab and not coming out again? Well, no complaints from Nathan, he's stuck here too. "She's done it before," he says, kind of just scanning all the work Cass has laid out in front of her, arms folded. "And I get father of the year award for only calling on her when it's needed." Hard to say exactly how cut up about this he is - his tone is dismissive with a sense of 'that's how it is', but then again, would he say it if he didn't care?

"You and Peter have both had a degenerative virus that could possibly only be cured by some sort of transfusion of two people's blood?" It's early (or is it still late) and Cass can't help but be a little smart about her answers. She smirks a little even as she's asking the question, as it's obviously not a serious question. "Well. You already said that she has another family, another life." There's a pause and the woman looks at Nathan and not all the work spread out in front of her. "It may be easier for her to not have to worry about trying to bond with two fathers. That said, maybe you should take her out for ice cream or something so she doesn't think you only want to see her when you're in a life-threatening situation."

"Smartass," Nathan says, slanting a glance her way. And just for that, he's not going to elaborate! Oh no! But he looks at her properly as she imparts her own brand of wisdom. "I've thought it over," he supplies, almost shrugging her words away. "So's she. It's like trying to fix something that isn't even there. I just don't want to be…" An asshole? Basically. He shrugs, and tilts his head towards Cass's work. "Tell me something new. What if it's not cured?" New topic.

"Better than a dumb one." For the moment, Cass is quick with her retorts. Maybe Peter was right, the little snatches of sleeps she's been keeping are keeping her sharper. Though it's hard to try and lie down when you have a million things running through your head. "I can imagine." Suddenly finding out you have a teenage daughter can't have been an expected part of Nathan's life. "I guess the only thing you can do is try." Because what else has he got to lose? "Something new?" That may be a little hard at the moment. "With this? Then…back to the drawing board. I'll find something else that will cure it."

"With all of it," Nathan corrects, with a twist of a rueful smile. "If this doesn't work, if none of it works. Do we just stay sick? Does it get worse?" The sleep meds are starting to kick in, maybe, gaze having lost its sharpness, but his voice is still even.

The question that Cass has been dreading. "Something will work." She's going to be sure about that. She has to be. "But, judging by Peter's state, yes it gets worse." And judging by that dream that they all had, it gets much worse. However the last symptom - the really worrying one - is something that was related to the first virus. Maybe this strand only makes people sick. It doesn't end in something so finite. Even if Nathan's sleep medication is starting to kick in, she doesn't want the last thing he hears before passing out to be that he may die. "I'll find something. Or if I don't, Mohinder will. Or my father. They're smarter than me."

He seems prepared to accept whatever her answer is, despite what might be omitted, for whatever reason. Nathan simply nods, either way, lapsing into silence for a moment. When he speaks up, it's yet another topic, although along the same vein. "I know it might put my wife's mind at ease if the kids are checked out," he says, in a way that suggests that this is a difficult request to make. "We don't know what they might grow up to be." Human or not quite so. "But she hasn't mentioned them being sick so I don't think it'd be anything more than a precaution."

So far, Cass doesn't want to let anyone know what the ultimate end of the virus may be. Not yet, at least. Peter is already almost out of his head with worry and adding this little addendum to that may just make him explode. Again. So, for now she'll keep it as close to the vest as possible. "Of course. Ramon already sent me his entire family's blood work. Two more people's shouldn't add too much." There's a sigh an a shake of her head. "Catholics, man." They have so many kids. "I'm all for anyone and everyone getting tested that can be. Heidi should also give me a sample if she's not too opposed. The whole Petrelli family should be tested just in case, I guess. Especially since you all have been in such close contact. It may be able to tell me more about it's contagiousness."

Nathan nods, and gestures a little. "I'll give her a call and perhaps you can find the time to go over there." He may have asked Heidi to come here, but that was out of selfishness. When it comes to his family, he'd rather keep them distanced from this place. "My kids are weird, they'll probably think getting their blood tested is cool." Who knows where they get it from! Honestly.

"Sure." It may be good to get out of the lab for the hour or two it would take her to go draw Heidi and the boys' blood. Cass can't say she blames Nathan for wanting to keep his family away from the quarantined basement clinic. "I don't know. For most kids getting poked with needles doesn't equal a good time. However, they are your kids. Of course they wouldn't be able to escape without a little kookiness." She smiles.

Nathan raises an eyebrow at her. "They get that from Heidi," he says, pointing briefly, before he's pushing himself up to stand. "And yeah, well. I'd be there for 'em, but that'd defeat the point." A hint of regret that he's sending off a scary scientist lady to poke his children with sharp objects, but. It's for the good of the world. For now, time to test out the sleep medication, it seems, as he starts for the hallway that leads off into the makeshift bedrooms. "I'm telling Peter you were up at 4 am for work, you know."

"That's okay. I'm telling him that you broke all my beakers." Two can play at this game, Nathan. Cass flips open a few more charts as Nathan pushes himself up from his stool and moves to go sleep. And she's not scary! She's the opposite of scary. "Sleep well, Nathan."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License