2007-10-16: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place


Elena_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: …if it's the last thing we ever do. Cats and dogs living together MASS HYSTERIA. And other related quotes. Nathan and Elena have an insightful conversation.

Date It Happened: October 16th, 2007

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Bat Country Labs

The morning arrives without incident. When Elena wakes up, alone for the first time in a while, she can hear bustling around in the laboratory area, glass being swept away and things being righted up. Peter was probably cleaning up, and she narrows her eyes a little bit. Whatever stern expression could stiffen the usual gentle features of her face is wiped away, however, when she starts…coughing her lungs out again. Shoving the blanket off her in frustration, she pushes off the bed, pulling a warm bathrobe around herself and tiptoeing out the door. She peers around now and then, so she could sneak off to where the fridge and the microwave is without Peter seeing her. She didn't really want to see him at the moment, still irritated the night before.

The tiny, break area set aside for staff is sparsely furnished, but that was okay. She digs out some food her father had brought her, pulling out a few microwaveable breakfast sandwiches (which she cringes at, but will eat because she was ravenous) and a carton of cold orange juice. She proceeds to get to work preparing herself some food. Without food, she'll be even crankier. It's around 7 in the morning… early for her, especially during colder months, but all she did the other day was sleep, eat, and homework. She was done sleeping.

As is Nathan, it seems, who is up early and apparently dressed for the day. Because he figures, if he sleeps in, he'll just keep sleeping in and he'll never get out of bed. But for this, he needs coffee. He appears at the door, barely even noticing Elena at first, dressed in comfortable pants, slippers (well come on, they aren't going anywhere), a white t-shirt with a thicker button-down shirt pulled over the top which is only buttoned enough to keep it closed. In one hand, a pair of reading glasses is held loosely and other the other arm is his laptop. He pauses when he notices another presence, but upon seeing it's only Elena, he just grunts a wordless 'good morning' before moving to set his laptop down and go through the motions of making coffee. A month of having her as his housemate has at least made this somewhat normal.

Thankfully, there's that. Glancing blearily at the microwave activated and spinning around her, Elena looks over her shoulder and mumbles a good morning to Nathan as well. When the oven chimes its readiness, she pulls out the paper plate with the sandwiches wrapped, still, in their special packaging. It smells….not like the breakfast she's used to, but she looks at Nathan. There's two, she can share it with him. Besides, sick people needed protein and the sandwiches had sausages and egg in them. So she wanders over to where he is, still armed with her orange juice and her paper plate. "Food," she tells him, setting the plate on the counter. Yes. Food. Food good. "S'it just me or do we just keep getting worse?"

It doesn't really smell like the breakfast he's used to either, and Nathan glances down at the microwave ready sandwiches. Where's Peter to cook them hash browns and things like that? Oh, yeah. "Food," he agrees, with a tone of 'yeah maybe it's food', as he pours himself a mug of black coffee. "Well we're not getting better," he notes, picking up one of the sandwiches, though not crunching into it just yet, kind of just flipping it over to inspect it. "How're you feeling?" Kind of a stupid question, but it's not uncommon for them to report on their symptoms to Cass, or to each other.

She is wrinkling her nose at her breakfast sandwich too, Elena shaking her head a bit and taking a bite. It has meat, it'll do. "I've been hoping it's just like Cass said," she confesses, frowning a bit at her breakfast. "That this is just some weird Evolved flu that'll go away once our immune systems get used to it. But it's not….I guess wishful thinking, huh?" She pours herself a glass of orange juice. "…and I'm doing okay. I'm just tired," she tells him. "Tired for the last few days or so. A little frustrated I can't go to classes. Peter." The boyfriend is a separate category all on his own and she can't help but wrinkle her nose. "What about you? Sam was grilling you pretty hard last night."

Okay time to bite into it, after waiting for Elena to do so, proving it's not poisonous. The bite from the sandwich is swallowed without much complaint, there are worse things in life, and he's starting to get used to the lack of luxuries he's usually surrounded by. "She was," Nathan agrees, idly. "It's okay, she can't help it, and she makes up for it by being a real doctor." Long sip of coffee, the contrasting heat of the liquid drawing a shiver from him. Should have brought a sweater into the kitchen with, but that's okay. "Otherwise, feeling the usual. Death warmed up, ish. Trying to convince everyone at the HQ that yes, I really am this sick." Sandwich and coffee in hand, Nathan moves to sit down at the smallish table in the room, setting things down next to his computer. "You know entire elections can be lost over colds, right? Let alone the plague."

"I guess anyone in her position can relate," Elena remarks slowly. "She's looking at something she's never seen before, probably…" She stops by coughing hard against her fist. "Wasn't sure that there were more…people like her apparently than she knew about….and no one's talking." She watches Nathan as he moves to the table to sit down in front of his laptop. "Yeah. I could get left back for this." She rubs the back of her neck. "I've missed a few labs already, had to call all my lab partners. I might have to do this semester over, there's only so much one can do remotely." She sounds quite grumpy about this, moving to plunk on the chair near Nathan. "I could lose my scholarship, not like I have to worry about money now, but I worked for those grants. Put in the man hours in community service and all the crap I had to do in high school. Latisha's probably going to kick me out of Dance Corps for missing a few practices, and I think everyone stuck here's getting the case of the cabin fever with Evelyn running out last night, and Peter being a raging jerk to me for no reason."

Okay. Rant over. She downs the rest of her orange juice frustratedly. Exhaling a breath, she looks at the laptop. "So you're still going for it? The seat?"

Nathan snorts at this mention of cabin fever, bringing his coffee up to blow a cooling stream of air across the surface. "If we're stuck in here any longer, I'm going to kill everyone," he informs her, calmly, even rewarding her with a politician smile before taking another sip of coffee. "And I think Peter's feeling the same way, coupled with him getting the idea in his head that everything's his fault. Gettin' a little tired of telling him different. Kick him for me while you're still mad at him, would you?" Yeah, they're all a little on edge these days.

"You're young, you can still make up for it," he points out, picking up his reading glasses and slipping them on as he opens up his laptop. "Which, I know, is frustrating anyway, but it's not the end of the world." He glances at her on the subject of that question. "Technically yes," he says. "I guess. But do I look like I'm running for Senate?"

In Elenaworld, there is a visual. Of Nathan Petrelli emerging from the shadows of a black-and-white lab, his features also monochromatic, save for the brightly colored USA flag tie that he wears in his person. He is armed with a coffee mug, and a mop handle, stalking the other sick constituents in the lab, frothing in the mouth about how he needs a CHOCOLATE SPRINKLE DONUT OR HE WILL KILL SOMEONE.

Cabin Fever scenarios are pretty apparent in this situation. "…..disturbingly I can see that," Elena says from her end of the table as her Sin City-esque daymare fades into the background. But when Nathan says what he does about Peter, she throws her hands up in the air in frustration. "THANK YOU. I told him not to jump to conclusions yet. It's frustrating. We know close to nothing about this thing and then he's suddenly going off on it just because of what he saw in a dream that hasn't happened yet…" Nathan and Evelyn aren't in a hospital bed after all. "And all this…weirdness about two viruses linked together and the double strain suddenly manifesting and the fact that this happens a month after he comes back from the future….how can you even LINK the two when no one knows anything? And he yells at me for trying to tell him otherwise. It's a little…" She sighs. "As much as I love your brother, I want to suckerpunch him sometimes."

At the last, she grumbles. "I know. I guess I'm just going stircrazy here. I miss doing college stuff, it's the only thing that keeps me sane these days." At the last, she manages to grin. "Nah, not really…not right now anyway. You haven't made any public appearances in a while…" There's a pause. "….actually you can, while staying here. Not just you know….communicating with your headquarters, but maybe your public too. Especially young voters who're attached to their toys 24/7. Maybe have a town hall meeting or something, but online."

As Elena gives her little rant, Nathan simply allows it, logging into his computer in the meantime and finishing off his breakfast sandwich, which is something he's promising himself he's never going to eat again. Her suggestion, though, certainly gets his attention, and he glances down at the laptop which he'd presumably use for such a thing. "You think?" he says, after a moment. "Well. It'd be something. Not sure it'd be enough, but…"

He takes off his glasses, leans back into his chair and shrugs over at her. She wants to hurt Peter sometimes? "So do I," Nathan says, giving the Latina a slight half-smile. "I know he wants to do something to help, and considering Cass wants him to play 'patient' for most of the time, there's not much he can do." Shrug. "So he takes it upon himself to be the cause of the problem instead and beat himself up over it. What he doesn't realise is that the most helpful thing he can do right now is to deal with it." A little callous, but they've never had the most conventional of brotherly bonds, as strong as it is. The glasses are slipped back on, hand moving to open up Outlook to check emails. "You know, before he goes and breaks anything else I'll have to pay for."

"It's a start. The more you're gone from the public eye, the more….whassisface is going to take advantage of it. Timothy Crane?" Elena says, leaning forward and propping her chin on both hands. "Visibility is important, even if you're not live. Campaign ads and the like….the problem right now though is being able to interact with the public. Online would be a start, plus you get to tap into the youth vote that way. From what I read from Time Magazine, the last few electoral years have failed to tap into the demographic. Maybe it's about time someone did."

She blinks a little bit at the insight from the older brother, Elena staring at him as a new angle is unveiled in the many faces of Nathan Petrelli. She glances down at the table, mulling over it, frowning a bit. "…you think so?" she asks rhetorically. No, he knows so. He's known Peter all his life. "Never thought it that way before…I just…I thought he was just being the usual. He was always that way you know? Ever since I met him. I just chalked it up to the idea that he hates being powerless. I mean here he is, quite possibly the most powerful man alive, and he can't do anything about this. It's kind of silly though, I think…usually people would lash out when they're frustrated over something. Not lash in."

Hm. Hm. Nathan looks at Elena carefully for a moment, before he's drawing up a new email to compose. Time to nudge the right employees to make it happen - he doesn't know the technical stuff, after all. He'll just pitch the idea and wait for them to tell him what to do from there. He's not exactly an online chatter type, after all, he'd probably stare at you blankly if you ever said 'lol', but desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Yeah, well," Nathan says, even as he types. "That's Peter for you. He's not always like this but when it comes to the things that matter…" It's not like Nathan isn't throwing a few stones in a glass house, here - this kind of behaviour is almost the Petrelli way. But at least he's content in that a virus is something he has no control over. "I still encourage kicking. Sometimes he needs it. It's not like he's not lashing out, right? He drove you to locking him out."

"I don't exactly relish the thought of kicking him or hurting him in any way physically," Elena grumbles. "But it seems like he can certainly use it at times. It's not like we haven't had our screaming matches. We've been having more and more of them lately." She sighs. "Never out of hate or spite though, at least," she says, folding her arms loosely over her torso. "In many ways it was easier when we were just friends. We didn't see each other as often, we did our best not to get the other upset. I've been wondering whether it was smart to take the step we did when all this is going on. I feel a little disconnected to him….but it could just be the stress with us being stuck in a basement with nothing better to do than to annoy each other to keep things interesting." She smirks at that, and looks up as Nathan types away at his computer. "But yeah." She snorts. "Not like locking him out would stop him, he can walk through walls. But I know him." Clearly not as well as Nathan does. "The fact that I did it will drive my displeasure home despite his abilities. It's just…it's so hard to actually stay mad at him. Especially with the way he is."

She tips her head back. "I guess this is what it feels like to love and want to kill said person you love at the same time."

Tappitytaptaptap… tap… Nathan's fingers lift off the keyboard, and he looks at her over his glasses. "He can walk through walls now," he says, and then just… sighs. For a telling moment, there's a flash of true concern, there, something that goes deeper than the idea of a wall-walking-through Peter, and it almost ages him by about five years… before it's shaken off with an eyeroll, resuming his email. "I wouldn't count any of the interaction down here," he says. "It's not exactly a natural situation. We'll all need a break from each other once this is over."

At her last statement, Nathan gives a short laugh. "Sounds like marriage."

The concern is something evident, and something that strikes her as Elena sees firsthand how deep the bond between the two brothers really is. Despite the fact that the knowledge of Peter's new ability ages Nathan, she can't help but quirk a small smile. "Awwwww Goose, you can be a softie!" And she grins. GRINS. Reminding Nathan full well why he calls her Brat, and with good reason. The teasing expression fades a bit though, and she nods, grousing over the remains of her sandwich. "I know….it's kind of like stepping through a minefield sometimes. I think most days I'm pretty perceptive, but…" She just shakes her head. When Nathan laughs and says what he does, she groans. "Oh god. No. I refuse. Don't even joke about that." Didn't Heidi tell her recently not to think about that for a while? A really long while?

Glare. Glaaare. But Elena will know that glare well by now, but all the same, she gets a glare. "Brat," Nathan mutters, eyes returning to his screen. "And yeah, well, if you can hold yourselves back from marriage until at least early November, that would be outstanding," he says, with his own subtle brand of teasing, although the effect is lost when a round of coughing suddenly hits him, the back of his hand up to cover his mouth until it's over. Drawing a breath, he takes another deep sip of coffee, and closes his laptop partially. "This is stupid." Stupid virus plague thing.

"What. No way," Elena says, crossing her arms over her chest. "…..well, not in the…you know what I mean. I'm 19, a college student living in New York City. I'm not exactly a FOB, you know." Fresh Off The Barrio in this case. "But who knows." She lifts her nose at him defiantly. "Maybe I won't get married until you're in your fifties or something. And when I finally have children? You'll be old enough that you can't run away as fast. And if you fly to get away from them? They'll never leave you alone. EVER." But she grins at him, dropping the haughty act. "Seriously I don't think you have to worry about that happening any time soon." However, when Nathan gets a coughing fit, she leaves the table…and returns with a glass of water for him and some kleenex. Awww. "I know. But right now all we can do is grin and bear it and try not to kill each other and turn ourselves into our own reality television special. Big Brother: The Evolved Edition."

With an unhappy 'mph', Nathan picks up the glass of water and downs a good few mouthfuls, and shakes his head. "I'm just tired of it," he says. "And tired of not being home." Then memory dawns on him, and he shrugs. "Although I may get my wish in that regard. With Cass leaving, Peter suggested we all stay at the estate." All being he, she, Evelyn, Peter, obviously.

"At the mansion…? Or the house in Vernon?" Elena asks, retaking her seat and looking at Nathan. "The latter's a little far from the city and…if we stayed at the mansion…what about your sons and Heidi if they tested negative?" she asks, looking a little concerned. "We still don't know how this spreads….which means even if we know it's not airborne, we have to be really careful. Maybe we can tug at Papa to grab us some kind of condo or something so we can all hole up together and not infect people accidentally." She frowns. "But you're right that we desperately need a bigger space than this. Otherwise you'll be black-and-white with your tie and a mop handle beating us all to death while yelling something about a chocolate donut." ……..what? Best he doesn't know.

……..what? Best he not ask. Nathan is getting good at just not asking sometimes. "No, the house in Hyde Park," he confirms. "'What about' my family is a very good question, but Peter is pretty sure that if we're careful, we can avoid it spreading. Use separate things from the kitchen, bathrooms. I don't know - if there's another option, I'd sooner take it. You two— and Cass, you all understand this thing better than I do." And he resumes typing.

"Yeah….I just don't want to risk anything. If Heidi and the boys are safe…" Then they should try and keep it that way, something Elena knows Nathan would agree with. "And no I don't…" she mutters. "Not really. There's so much we don't know about this thing. The only things we know about it is that it's weird and it's driving us all crazy cooping us all up in here. But we'll think of something." She sighs, and stands up. "…..anyway, I should let you work…." Part of her suddenly feels guilty for dumping on Nathan, and part of her is surprised she actually did. There was a time when all they knew about each other was….well. Peter. "Thanks though. For….you know." The talking. The insight. The things big brothers reluctantly do but they do it anyway without really thinking about it. Not like Nathan was her brother, but for a few moments it felt like he was.

….which means they REALLY NEED to get out of here.

He'd tell her that really all he has to do here is emails, but then again, he could use the excuse to just sneak back into bed and sleep. Nathan glances up at her when she thanks him, slightly startled and wondering what he did this time to warrant it, before thinking back until it makes sense again. "Any time," he says. Man. After a long career of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, this is an entire 180 over the past few days. What's happening to him?! He really does need to get out of here soon.

And not just that. Elena actually…places a hand on his head, all gentle like. And ruffles him.

There's a pause.

"…we really need to get out of here," she groans, dropping her hand and trudging for the door. "I'll see you later, Nate."

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