2008-08-18: DF: The Twelfth of Never


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Summary: The Bitch has met her match.

Dark Future Date: August 18, 2009

The Twelfth of Never

Marquis Marriott

It's quiet in this room. Out of all the rooms in the wing of the Marquis Marriott that have been turned into the de facto nerve center of the government after the attack on the Oval Office, this one alone is quiet. It might be because Cyprus Donovan is the only one in it. And he's busy reading. The exhaustion is clear on his face, but he is flipping through stacks of reports. The occasional one gets initialed, signed, and replaced. But most are just read and set aside. Whatever they contain, they seem important enough for him to bring his entire attention to. There is a clock on the desk, however. And it seems to be counting down. By the look of it, there's less than twelve hours left.

Kate Petrelli has seen better days. The night the president was kidnapped, she was detained - however briefly it was so that Cyprus could determine she had nothing to do with the attack - and then went to the alley with her husband to search from clues…

She woke up four days later. Looking as though she's lost a few pounds (even on her own lean frame) and as though she's in desperate need of sleep - or in an overabundance of it - she pushes her way through the doors of Cyprus' office. With a sense of entitlement she has no business carrying in her current state of disarray, no less. "Tell me you have good news, Donovan."

The door opens, and Cyprus lifts his head from his folders, but nothing on his face says anything about good news. There's a flicker of rage there, amidst all the exhaustion. It's a testament to it, really. He'd never show it were he not so tired. He rises fast to his feet before he can push the anger down, and he closes the folder. "Where the hell have you been?" he demands in response. "I've been trying to contact you for days, for God's sake." And then he stops, closes his eyes, and takes a breath. After a long moment, he continues, eyes once more opening. "Sorry… it's been… a trying few days. The only good news I have is that the only body part I've received in the mail has been a finger." He points towards what seems to be a mason jar filled with milk on the desk. There might be a finger in there… somewhere. "And no one's publicly displayed the President's dead body. Which means they're keeping to their promised schedule."

Kate doesn't seem bothered by the anger in the least. She instead appears cool, perhaps even a little dubious. Until the mention of a finger. Her expression falls and she goes paler than she was even a moment before. "Oh God." She approaches the jar with a look of horror on her face. Hazel-green eyes flicker wildly back and forth between the jar and Cyprus, begging him to tell her it's some sort of sick joke on his part. "What's happened? I've been in a coma. I just woke up a few hours ago."

For all the credulous looks Cyprus gives people, one would think he'd just accept that people don't try lying to him that often. Apparently, a reputation might just go a long way. But he still stares at Kate, trying to disbelieve the story about the coma, but finding nothing to disprove it. He reaches up to press his thumb and forefinger into the bridge of his nose, massaging it. "Jack Derex has kidnapped the President," he says simply. "At the gala. They've made a public demand of ten billion dollars to be wired to various accounts, in reparations for all the soldiers slain by Homeland Security forces. There's also some faux patriotic, anarchist claptrap, but the real demand is the money. To prove their seriousness, they chopped off President Petrelli's finger, and mailed it to me. Then blew up the Oval Office." He taps the clock. "And that's how long we have until they execute him."

"Get him the bloody money!" Panic sets in and Kate's eyes widen with desperation. Now, they can't be torn away from the jar. "I know Derex. I really know Derex. He'll do it. Oh my God. Oh my God." Breathing comes in short, frantic gasps now. "Just give him the bloody money. Do we have a liaison with him? Somebody? Anybody who can contact him? Any way?"

"We don't have it!" replies Cyprus, slamming a hand hard onto one of the stacks of folders. "If it was just the money, don't you think we would? But what do you think we have as a source of income, as a country? We have no industry, barely any commercial sector, and most of what we do have aren't paying taxes. And if we just paid it out? We'd crash the world's economy by devaluing a standing currency in a way that our grandchildren will still be recovering from." It's another outburst from the usually unshakable man, and it has its cost. He grits his teeth, and shakes his head. "The President was actually working some deals behind the scenes to try to get us something, but that's fallen through. As a government, we're operating on the promise of preferential treatment, and strict control over resources. No matter what we do, I…" He takes a deep breath, and looks back up at Kate. "Besides. It's not about the money."

"Just do it!" Kate screams, before nearly crumpling from the shock upon layers of fatigue. She grabs hold of the desk just before her legs give out on her and manages to keep upright. "Oh God. No." Fat tears slide down the cheeks of the president's sister-in-law. "You have to do something. If I can just get in contact with Derex, I can negotiate. You can't let him- He can't- I can't- Oh God." A loud sob punctuates the final collapse of the woman, who leans against the desk and just gives in to the hysterics.

Cyprus takes the scream in the face, and watches as Kate collapses against the desk. He takes a deep breath, and lowers his head. "Even if we give him the money, Jack'll still kill him," he says quietly. "And I… I'm doing everything I can. But I'm just a…" Lawyer? Aide? "I'm just one person. And so is he." With that, he moves around the desk to Kate. There is sympathy in his eyes. He moves to take her by the shoulder, to guide her towards one of the chairs. He's trying to be kind, at least. "We have no idea where he is… We don't even know if he's still alive, other than the word of his captors. We… I have to be prepared for the worst case scenario." Because that is what he's doing. Preparing the worst case scenario. It just gets worse every hour.

"I can get him back. You just have to get me in touch with Derex. Get me a press conference if you have to. I can't let him do this. He might listen to me." Kate wipes her eyes and sniffles as quietly as she can. "Oh God. I can't- He can't die. He can't. No." The sobs begin anew and the blonde buries her face in her hands. "He doesn't even understand what he's doing. What he's done! He doesn't even know! I have to explain- I have to-" Desperately, she drops her hands to her lap with a slap and cries, "Do something!"

"Then tell us where we can find him!" replies Cyprus sharply. He turns away from Kate, and strides across the room. He reaches the desk again, and opens a drawer. He pulls a glass, then a bottle filled with amber liquid. He pours a healthy amount in the the glass, and takes a glance at the jar of milk. A visible shudder passes through him, and he takes the hit hard. He pours a second after a moment, and glances back over to Kate. "You're the seer." He gestures towards the jar. "Tell me where we can find him, and we will /save/ him. But until we know where he is? We're lost in the dark."

Kate stares at Cyprus in disbelief. The shock seems to stop the sobbing for now. She blinks heavily and then she nods. Rather than approach the desk, she moves to the middle of the room and sits down on the floor. "Bring it to me. Just… roll me on my side after I go under. If I see what I think I'm going to see, I'm not going to do you any good if I choke on my own vomit." With shaking hands, she reaches out, waiting. Since the president took office, she hasn't been one to show off her ability, lest she need to in order to impress a powerful ally. Cyprus Donovan is about to get a rare treat. "Don't… put it entirely in my hand. One brush of my fingers is all I'll need, and then I'll be out. Don't want it to fall."

"You won't vomit," says Cyprus simply. "And I'll do everything in my power to keep you conscious." Somehow, that just doesn't sound kind. "If you pass out before you can tell me where the President is, then it'd all be for nothing." Cyprus takes the second shot, and moves to pick up the jar of very cold milk. He pauses as he brings it over to Kate. "Do you need me to… fish it out?" he asks simply. He works hard to not make it nearly as horribly revolting as it seems to be to him.

"Only if it didn't come in that jar," Kate responds, hand still outstretched. "The jar won't do me any good if it didn't come in contact with Derex, or one of his." She looks ill already. Whether it's at the prospect of seeing what's in the jar, or the cold promise that Cyprus won't let her vomit. Or pass out. Kate always passes out, or at the very least experiences a blindness of sorts wherein she may as well be unconscious. It's just what she's done since her supply of medication produced by Mohinder Suresh was cut off. There's an odd sort of comfort in knowing what a vision will do to her. She's fairly certain she doesn't like his implications.

Taking a deep breath, Cyprus nods. He visibly steels himself, and sets the jar down. He unscrews the cap, and sets it aside. He reaches into the cold, opaque fluid, and fishes around for a moment. The shudder reveals that he's found it, and he pulls out… what's left of Nathan's finger. Dripping with cold milk. Great. Cyprus turns his attention entirely on Kate, and there's suddenly a faint pressure everywhere inside. It's almost like being under water. Cyprus seems to be keeping his attention on her instead of himself, and crosses the room in a few strides. He looks into Kate's eyes once he's there, and nods once. And then, he brushes the severed finger's tip across her hand, leaving a faint trail of milk.

For a moment, Kate feels the familiar sensation of being pulled under with her vision. But it doesn't come. She finds herself staring back into Cyprus' eyes and wondering just what the hell he's doing to her, and if it's terribly difficult at all. Her eyes go unfocused then and she shrieks. "Oh God! Oh God! Make it stop! Make him stop!" She gropes about blindly and begs, "Cyprus! Make it stop!" The fact that she's calling for him by his first name should give a fair indication of the rising panic. Then, the real screaming begins. She drops to the floor, writhing in pain. "Cyprus!"

Cyprus isn't exactly a cruel man. But he wasn't expecting it to be pleasant. When she calls him out by name, however, it takes him aback and he blinks once. And then, he's releasing control quickly, letting Kate's body do as it sees fit. Maybe she'll pass out. Maybe she'll just lie there and cry. Whatever the outcome, Cyprus releases control, and takes Kate's hand. It might be a gesture of kindness… or it might be that he's not about to give up without at least trying to get information. But he's taking her hand, and looking into her unseeing eyes. "Kate," he states firmly, as if trying to call her to the moment. This is probably not going to end well. He makes sure the hand holding the President's finger is not the one touching her, however.

The vision - and the screaming - continues on for a stretch of time that seems like forever, but is probably only two or three minutes. Finally, the eyes come back into focus and Kate breathes heavily as reality comes crashing back down around her. New York. The Marriott. Cyprus Donovan's office. Right. She holds up her right hand and stares at it, flexing her fingers experimentally. "Oh God. It hurts. It fucking hurts." She brings her hand around with the intent of slapping him in the face. "You fucking dick!"

And Cyprus takes it. But not without wincing afterwards. He's not that tough. Still, he regards Kate evenly. "Did you see it?" he asks. "Do you know where he is?" Talk about a one track mind. Cyprus moves to replace the finger into the milk once it's certain she isn't about to hit him again, and he shakes his head. "I can't stop pain, just the reaction to it," he admits quietly. "And would you have honestly preferred being half conscious on the ground, throwing up violently, and going into shock?"

"Yeah! Yeah, I kind of would have! At least eventually my body just shuts down out of self-preservation!" Kate rubs at her hand gingerly with a small whimper. After a deep breath, she seems to calm down. "I don't know. A warehouse?" She holds her hands up above her head, demonstrating what she saw. "He was hanging from a hook… Weighed down." With a shudder she drops her arms and rubs at her right shoulder with a groan. "There was just all this pain. It was blinding. Oh God." She buries her face in her hands and begins to cry softly.

Cyprus pours a tall glass of the amber liquid, and carries it over to Kate. "So, do you think he's still alive?" he asks simply. "And what kind of warehouse? What kind of machines did it have inside, Kate?" He pauses once he's near her, and he's taking a knee to gently hold the glass out for her to take. "I know you're hurting, but you have to try to think through it. You were a cop, once." Just like he was a lawyer, once. "Fight through the pain, and find details. An insignia. A serial number. Anything." His voice is sympathetic, but stern. He leaves the subject of self-preservation unanswered. The ends, apparently, are all that matters.

Like so many victims Kate tried to coax in her years as a homicide detective, she finds herself finally understanding why it's so hard to come up with an accurate account of what happened. Why details are suddenly so hard to remember. "I don't know," she gasps, taking the glass in her shaking hands. She brings it to her lips and drinks a good half of it before coming up for air. "It was like… he was strung up like a piece of meat." Another choking cry racks through her, "Oh, Nathan!" Think, dammit! "There was… There was something. There had to be. Shit!"

"If you can't find him, Kate," says Cyprus, his voice quiet. "Then we may be left with no way at all of doing so before the clock is up. And they will kill him. You know that. They cannot be reasoned with… reasonable people don't do what they have done. Find something. Anything." The former lawyer begins getting the gears turning in his head, and he seems to try to build upon it. "You said it was like he was a piece of meat. What was he hung from? Was it a loading hook? Or a meat hook? What else was in the room besides the President?"

"A record player," Kate responds breathlessly. "I can hear the needle scratching against the vinyl. Beethoven. Moonlight Sonata." She shakes her head furiously. "I'll never be able to listen to it again as long as I live." She makes a sort of forward lunging movement and it's quite apparent that she just threw up, even though only a little. She washes it down with the remainder of the liquor and quietly demands, "Another."

Cyprus walks over to the bottle, and carries that over to Kate. He pours another glass, and asks "So, it either has a generator, or is on the power grid. That rules out a lot. Is there a smell, other than blood? Fish? Oil? Sawdust?"

"It smells like rot and death." Kate takes the refilled glass and downs the contents in one smooth gulp before holding it out again. Another. "There's… Something else." Quietly, she begins to hum along with Moonlight Sonata. A few bars along and she abruptly stops, slipping into a low, dull hum. After a long, long moment, she falls silent. "…Machinery, perhaps? I can hear it. It's more constant than insistent."

Beginning to pace, Cyprus presses his thumb and forefinger into the bridge of his nose in a sign of obvious thought and concentration. Step step step step. Turn. Step step step. And then Kate says something about machinery. Cyprus turns towards her, and repeats "Machinery? How? Hum, rattle, or is it a cycle?"

"It's just a hum. It's just there. I don't know how else to describe it. All I can hear now is his screaming." Kate's eyes close tightly and she wraps the fingers of the opposite hand around the finger corresponding to the one she had the vision from. It's still there, Kate. It's still there. "There's blood. Just… Everywhere. It's like the worst crime scene I ever came across times ten."

"It's doubtful they'd leave the music on, but at least we have something to go on," says Cyprus quietly. "Machinery. Low hum. Still on the grid. Might be a generator, though. Warehouse, in Manhattan." And for a second, Cyprus has a moment of actual rage. His fist slams down hard on the desk, causing the jar to rattle and the files to shift. "DAMMIT!" he curses. He braces himself there, breathing deeply. It seems he hoped that the vision would lead to something that would bring them closer. The only thing that he had hope for, apparently. And now, it's dashed.

Eyes snap open again and Kate actually flinches when Cyprus' hands slam against the desk. "Clairsentience is not the same as clairvoyance." If only things were so simple. "I just can't remember anything else. It was so dark. And… cold."

Cyprus lifts his head suddenly. Cold. Cold, in August. Dark and cold in August. He glances over to the jar of milk, and then at Kate. "Dark," he repeats. "And cold. With a low level hum. A refrigerator. Could it have been in a refrigerator, Kate? With the smell of meat, and blood."

"Cold could be blood loss. And it didn't smell like meat," Kate corrects. "It just smelled like death. Maybe he practiced before he got to Nathan." She refills her glass and takes another long drink before freeing up one hand to rake her fingers through her hair. "And who's to say it's Manhattan anyway? Derex isn't stupid. Even if he only had half a brain, he'd be halfway to Canada."

"We locked down the roads out of the city after the kidnapping, and that severely limits options of mobility," says Cyprus quietly. He lowers his head once again. That's it. He's spent. He has tried thinking of solutions, grasping at straws. But nothing has done it. It is obvious that he has reached a conclusion. He glances over at the clock, then back at the paperwork. Finally, he says "Thank you for your time, Mrs. Petrelli. And I am sorry about any undue suffering you may have endured. But it seems… we just don't have what we need."

"Just like that, you're cutting me loose?" On shaky limbs, Kate stands again. She brings the bottle and the glass back to the table, finishing it off first. "You really are a ruthless son of a bitch, aren't you Donovan? No wonder Lo- he chose you." The slip-up is brief, but enough to be over-corrected with a bit more emphasis than should have been required. She wipes away the lingering tears and then holds one hand out. "I want his ring."

"He chose me because I'm loyal, and because I can see the bigger picture," says Cyprus simply. He glances towards Kate, narrowing his gaze. "I can't help him. I've been trying to get us in contact with someone who can find him, so that way we can move to save him. But look at the clock, Mrs. Petrelli. We have less than twelve hours to find him when he could be, literally, anywhere. By limiting it to Manhattan, I was trying to preserve some hope. But you're right. He could be anywhere. One teleporter, and all our careful calculations of movement and the like goes out the window." He walks over to another drawer, and opens it up. He pulls out something in a small cloth bag, and tosses it to Kate. "Take his ring," Cyprus replies, then pauses. He regards Kate coldly for a long moment, then speaks. "I don't care if you call me ruthless, Mrs. Petrelli. I suppose, these days, it's a fair rap. But unless you have a suggestion how I can help the President, I have the issue of how to keep a country of millions from tearing itself apart at the seams to deal with. Because without him, there is no one else in charge."

Kate first checks the contents of the bag and then carefully tucks it away in her pocket. "Arrange a press conference for me. I'm going to call for negotiations. The arrangements from there on out will be my own and if you want to see Nathan back here alive even a fraction of the amount that I do, you'll not interfere. You won't have me tailed. You will trust me to get him back safely. Derex won't kill me. I've nothing to fear from him. He has too much to fear from Peter." Hand on one hip now, she waits expectantly.

Cyprus brings a hand to his head, and then shakes it. "I must be exhausted," he says quietly. "It seems you actually have something of a plan, there. Which means either I'm going crazy, or…" Or there's merit there. He pulls down a single folder, and shrugs. "Done. You'll have your press conference. At t minus 6 hours." He glances over to the clock, then back to Kate. "If you do get… Nathan back safely, Mrs. Petrelli… all the better. You're a private individual, after all. The government cannot negotiate with terrorists… but you can." He watched Kate's reaction fairly openly when he said the name, with intent. Names are such funny things. "Good luck, Kate," he adds after a moment. "You'll need it."

Getting Nathan back is the only thing Kate's concerned about at this point. With confirmation of her conference, she only nods. "Thank you, Mister Donovan." Names are funny things, indeed.

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