2007-04-21: The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship

Starring:

Nathan_icon.gif Rianna_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan and Rianna meet. Bad things start with good intentions.

Date It Happened: 21st of April

The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship


Midtown, NYC - Rianna's Office - Foundation Building, and then The Street

It's quiet in the Johannsen Foundation building. All of the normal employees went home hours and ago, but when Nathan shows up, a security guard would escort him to the Fifth Floor where most of the offices were unlit except for the center office where Arianna Rockford-Johannsen waited patiently for her visitor to arrive. No secretary here, the security guard knocks on the glass double doors outside and peeked in. "Ma'am, Nathan Petrelli.", he says, holding the door open for Nathan.

Rianna turns around to take a look at Nathan Petrelli before offering him a smile and gesturing towards a comfortable leather chair. "Please, Mr. Petrelli.", she says, taking a seat behind her desk and leaning back. She's still dressed in her business attire, but she has made herself comfortable.

Dressed in an immaculate suit and tie, Nathan looks very much like the congressman he was, if briefly, just last year. The smile he's given is mirrored politely, nodding once to the guard who showed him in before heading towards the offered seat. "Mrs. Rockford-Johannsen," he greets, sitting down. "Thanks for meeting me, I'm aware it's short notice."

"Please, call me Rianna.", she says, smiling at him. "It is somewhat short notice, I agree, but I can always put an evening aside for one of my political colleagues," she says, taking off her reading glasses and setting them down on the desk. "I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised to hear from you, Nathan. What is it that I can do for you?"

"What you can do for me is up to you," Nathan says, possibly more cryptic than he'd like. He leans back into his chair as well, seemingly relaxed despite this being a first meeting between the two. "You'll know that I've recently been hospitalised somewhere after the time I was elected as congressman. I was forced to step down, but my recovery was quicker than anyone anticipated. Unfortunately, however, I would have to wait another two years for the next election to roll around." He pauses there, perhaps to let her get a word in edgewise, always studying her.

Rianna nods as she regards Nathan. "That was quite a shame. Especially since it wasn't sure until the very end. Quite a spot of bad luck, wouldn't you say?", she asks genially, her lips slightly curved upward. "But there's always next year. Try again, all that.", she says. She reaches over for a glass of water and takes a brief sip.

Nathan raises an eyebrow at the woman across from him, although the congenial smile doesn't go away. "I'll be honest with you, Rianna, I'm not known for being a patient man," he says, almost casually. "With all due respect to the rules of the game, and all, but I think I can do better than waiting another year." It's not like his campaign was ever particularly honest - why start now? "You're a public figure in a good position, with your Foundation, your place in the city council. Maybe we could work something out."

Rianna's expression grows more amused as Nathan speaks. "Spoken like the consummate politician, Nathan Petrelli," she says, unable to contain a small laugh. "You certainly go for it, don't you? I can appreciate that very much," she continues on, her eyes riveting in Nathan's direction. "Unforturnately, the same cannot be said of everyone. The only way for you to satisfy your desire for your public office would be if an early election was called by the public. Not very easy to get done."

"If it was easily done, I wouldn't be here," Nathan says, smile growing genuine for a moment. "But it can be done, with help. I'm not going to lie to you, you're sitting much prettier than I am right now. You have access to the people I currently don't." He hesitates, as if choosing which direction to take, feeling more salesman than politician all of a sudden, but hey, what can you do? "I think we share the same aspirations, following the same path. Rumour says you wouldn't say no to being State Senator yourself." A small gesture, almost a shrug. "Perhaps we can do better if we work together."

Rianna remains quiet for a few moments, her chin visibly working as Rianna thinks about what Nathan has to say. "So basically, Nathan, you want to know if I know anything that can get you back into your Senator's seat," she says. "Of course, I would be foolish if I didn't acknowledge that it would be nice to have someone who owes me a favor on the floor of Congress.", she goes on. "However, don't you feel that you learned your lesson the first time with Daniel Linderman?", she asks, having taken a moment while forming her answer to search a bit through Nathan's mind. Rianna then comes across something in Nathan's mind that makes her eyes widen a little bit.

Okay, that gets Nathan's attention. Not that he can really hope that all connections to Linderman could be fully dead and buried, but it still comes from left field. His smile flickers, eyes narrowing with uncertainty. In his mind - a painting of the oval office, a gun held and then lowered, and he shakes his head. "Owing favours to a member of the city council is a far cry from owing favours to a known criminal," he says, not quite as smoothly as he'd like. "And whatever we do will be on my own terms. Linderman had other plans." And these next words go unspoken: Like the destruction of New York City. I'm not going to be a puppet, not this time.

"I know so much more than you could possibly imagine, Nathan," Rianna says. "And, if I put my mind to it, I could very likely get done what you're looking to get done. I understand that you're not looking to be anyone's lackey, and I can appreciate that. Your mother and Linderman… but the price I would ask of you for my assistance is monumental, Nathan Petrelli," she says, standing up from her chair. "Care to take a small stroll with me, Flying Man?"

Hear that? That's the sound of a trap snapping shut. Or at least, that's what it feels like for Nathan. But only for a moment, expression of wariness converting back into his usual stoic mask. He rises from his seat. "I suppose 'I don't know what you're talking about' would sound a little empty at this point," he says, with a tense smile. In response to the stroll, he gives a minute shrug. "Shall we?"

"Nathan Petrelli, let me assure you that in return for what you want, I am willing to be upfront with you.", Rianna says, gesturing towards the door to her office. As they walk, Rianna turns towards the taller man. "Like your ability to fly, I realized that I could read the thoughts of other people. Obviously, you can imagine how invaluable that has been in the political arena.", she says as they get into the elevator. "Nathan, more and more evolved children will be born every single generation, and the day will come when we are no longer able to hide. I personally believe this day is close at hand.", she says, pressing a button to go to the first floor.

Oh joy. A telepath. No wonder. But Nathan is listening, very carefully, because if the word 'Company' comes out of her mouth, he may have to find the nearest unlocked window. "I'm not sure I agree," he says, cautiously, once he's followed her into the elevator, hands coming to rest in the pockets of his jacket. "I'm unsure how long a /known/ telepath would survive in said political arena. No one has any reason to trust people like us." A beat. "I know I don't."

"Your distrust is extremely why we should build the foundation of our relationship right here.", she says, the elevator going down to the street level. She gestures towards the front doors. "So you can feel comfortable enough to take off whenever you feel you may have made a mistake contacting me. But I assure you, Nathan. I have been preparing for ten years, opposing Primatech Research whenever I could.", she says, going out through the double doors and out onto the sidewalk. It's a beautiful evening, somewhat breezy. "I do not plan on becoming known as a telepath to the general public. I would want you to retain your position.", she says with a smile. "Tell me what you're thinking, Nathan."

Well, it's a nice night for it. At this end of town, the streets aren't littered with people at this hour, so Nathan feels safe enough to say: "Like you need me to?" But he continues, anyway. "I'm thinking I either approached the worst person I could have picked, or it's my lucky day. What I want will be easier to get if you're on board, which I'm sure you've realised. Now I just want to know what monumental price you're asking."

"Nathan Petrelli, I have money. I couldn't want for more money, and I spend the majority of my day meting out the Foundation's fortune to those who need it.", she says, walking casually. "I want to make a world where a girl does not have to worry about whether she is hearing someone's actual spoken words or thoughts. A world where a man can fly without being performed on like a lab animal. I want to slowly integrate the Evolved human being into normal society now, because we will not be able to hide the next step in the evolutionary chain for long. It will be easier now, when there are fewer of us, when we can be considered less of a threat."

What Nathan thinks about this is unclear, to those that can't read minds. His expression is stoic as he weighs the options and hears her out, as they walk side by side. "You're looking to change the world," he points out mildly, once she finishes. "It won't be a matter of passing one bill through Congress, it's… waking America up."

"Yes, Nathan.", she says. "The future of our race is in your hands, in mine. There are those who want to HIDE the fact that we have changed, that would study our power, test us, enslave us, and we must fight that, Nathan. We are not the Jewish of older, the Native Americans of older," Rianna continues. It is obvious from the tone of her voice that she is very sincere about what she believes in.

It's easier to have ideals when you're on a certain side of the fence. Though this kind of talk usually makes Nathan wary, the value behind it is is overwhelming, and this is the price being asked of him. To get what he wants. If evolution is undeniable… he wants to be on the right side of it. Still. It's more than he bargained for. All the same, he offers her a smile. "Then let's start here, Rianna," he says. "I'd be willing to share a similar sentiment if you're willing to share my ambitions."

"Then the spotlight is yours, Nathan Petrelli," Rianna says with a smile. "Remember, though. The greater good can only be accomplished by making sacrifices, by paying prices that we're not always ready to pay. Sometimes, we are never ready to pay the price required. Sometimes, the greater good will ask for everything you have, everyone you love. Even your life," she goes on.

"I will do what I can to make those choices simple for you, and as long you keep the big picture in mind, we can build a better world for the children of the Future. It is in you to be the public face. The ones that you know that are Evolved, they can come to me. They will have protection in the Johannsen Foundation.", she says.

"I appreciate that," Nathan says with a slow nod. "Most seem to think the Company is the only way to get help." They approach a corner, and it's here Nathan stops walking to look at Rianna properly. "I stepped into politics for the greater good, and I've given up my life for it before." An explosion in the skies of New York springs to mind, as Nathan extends a hand to shake. "I think you're making the right friend, today."

"You are doing the right thing, Nathan. It may seem like a large hurdle now, but as we work, you will have been in power during one of the most influential times in human history," Rianna says. Footsteps continue to echo off of the pavement as they walk in silence back towards the Foundation Building.

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