2007-03-27: What've You Got in Mind?

Starring:

Mara_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan comes to retrieve Mara from the hospital, to remove her from Sitting Duck status.

Date It Happened: March 27, 2007

What've You Got in Mind?


Mount Sinai Hospital

Nathan doesn't have a plan. Not exactly. He has an /idea/, and a /requirement/, but no real plan. Still, one might assume he does, because he can fake knowing what's going on very well. This is the case when he opens the door to Mara's hospital room, holding a few things under his arm. Some kind of leg brace. A sturdy looking pair of crutches. He checks the time before he greets with, "Evening."

"What the hell is all of that?" Mara gives Nathan a strange look as he rouses her from her uneasy slumber. She rubs at her eyes and peers again. Yeah, that's all exactly what she thought it was when she looked at him the first time.

"The best I could do on short notice," Nathan says, setting down the two items on the bed, within her reach. "There's a wheelchair, too, if you need it as far as the parking lot." He glances around the room. He looks restless, but not fidgety or even nervous. "What did you have brought here? Clothes?"

"I… I haven't tried standing since…" Mara eyes the brace nervously, and then looks back up at the man. "Are you kidding? What are we- Where are we going?" All the same, she trusts him and starts to move the blankets away from her body. "I've got some clothes in that dresser there. Why?"

Moving towards the dresser, Nathan starts pulling out her things - not frantically, everything that is folded remains folded. "Well we've established there aren't any actual safe places for you to be," he says, placing some clothing on her bed. "I figure the best idea is for you to keep moving." He tilts his head towards the crutches. "You'll want to learn quick."

Mara looks down at the awkward lump of her leg under her nightgown and then back to Nate. "I think I might /break it again/ if I put any weight on it right now."

"Brace will help with the not breaking it again, crutches take the weight off it," Nathan says. He's not entirely unconcerned, just determined that what he wants to happen will happen. "Not saying it's going to be easy, and besides, if you're very good, you get pain medication. When we get to the apartment, you can put it back up again."

"You make it sound like I'm a child, Nathan." Mara reluctantly pulls the tube to her IV and attempts to scoot to the edge of her bed. She fixes a serious gaze on the man. "I can't get dressed on my own." And she /certainly/ isn't going out in her nightgown. "And… whose apartment?"

"One that's not yours," Nathan says, raising an eyebrow. "That wouldn't be the smartest move, exactly." At the point she makes about clothes, he glances towards the door. "I can get a nurse." God knows he's not one.

"I was hoping you wouldn't be thinking we'd go to mine. I was afraid I was going to have to have your head examined." Mara frowns and glances at the door. "Do they know you're taking me?"

An impatient nod. "They do, and they weren't happy about it. Had to promise you'd go in for check ups in the next couple of days, along with physio," Nathan says, with a shrug. He makes a step for the door. "I'll get a nurse, they'll probably be of more help than me."

"Are your hands cold?" Mara glances away. She /might/ be smirking.

"You're real funny," is Nathan's reply, tossed over his shoulder as he moves out the door to go and wrangle some hapless medical person.

"I was seriouuuus!" Mara pouts. "They've always got cold hands." It's true. It's like a requirement of the medical profession.

Cold hands or no, /Nathan's/ degree didn't cover the dressing of women, and so someone else is directed to go do it for him. He waits the duration of a phone call, which he makes just outside the room, pacing, before slipping his cell back into his pocket. Then, with only the slightest of hesitations, he moves to grab the handles of the wheelchair they had offered and steer it back inside the room.

Redressed in a tee shirt made up to look like a Union Jack and a plain, ankle-length blue skirt, Mara still sits on the bed, waiting. "This has got to be the worst idea you have ever come up with, Petrelli." She eyes the chair with a look of contempt. It isn't his fault. The plan is good, really. She shouldn't linger. But she knows she doesn't dare try to walk on her own, but climbing into that chair means admitting defeat.

Nathan parks the chair somewhere near the door, as if trying to emphasise that it's a temporary solution to a walk through the hospital. He's not thrilled with it either, by the looks of things. "I'll let you know if I get a better one soon, Damaris," he replies, picking up the crutches and handing them to her, as well as a helping hand.

Mara closes her eyes tightly. Come on, Damaris. You can do this. She reaches out and takes one of the crutches - and a deep breath - before grasping Nathan's hand, opening her eyes, and hoisting herself to her feet. She immediately gives a startled cry, clutching at the politician's hand tightly. Her grip around the hand-hold of the crutch in her right hand turns her knuckles white.

Bringing his other hand around to grip her arm and steady her, Nathan simply waits for the pain to pass. He watches her carefully, and says, "This is throwing you in the deep end. But you and I both know you have to keep moving." When it looks, to him, like the worst is over for now, he takes away the hand at her arm, stepping back towards the chair, urging her to follow. He could drag the thing over to her, make it easier, but he doesn't.

Mara releases Nathan's hand and lifts the second crutch from the bed, resting more of her weight on it and off of her knee. "Remind me to beat you later." She makes her way slowly toward the door. The nurse is clearly not happy with the situation. But then again, neither is Mara. I can't do this. I /have/ to do this. "All right. I'm- I'm okay." Not really. Tears prick at the corners of her eyes and her breathing comes in quick and shallow.

Nathan watches Mara hobble towards the door, and when he's convinced she's not going to collapse, he moves to pick up her things. "Deal," he says, stepping ahead of her to hold the door wide open. If she meets his eyes, he's almost smiling at her, in a sort of strained way, but its an attempt to be encouraging.

Mara actually laughs anxiously when she catches Nathan's gaze. "Stop that. I'm trying to be mad at you. But you- You give me that ridiculous smile." Before she can say something cruel, she shuts her mouth and sets her gaze ahead of her, moving out into the hallway. "Don't forget you promised me painkillers."

"It's not ridiculous." But at least it warded off a crutch to the face, though now it's thoroughly gone. "Just go easy, there's no rush here." Yet, anyway. "You get painkillers when you're not upright and standing on hard floor, I promise."

Mara's good knee starts to buckle. "Chair! Now!" Sometimes… Maybe it's okay to admit that you aren't up to something? "Oh God, it hurts. I can't do this!"

If Nathan isn't quick enough, the nurse certainly is. The wheelchair is moved as Nathan grabs a hold of Mara. Perhaps it was too much to hope for. He, however, doesn't ease her back into the chair - just helps her stand upright. He speaks in quiet tones. "Come on. It's just pain. You can sit down when we get to the car. It's a nice car." Isn't it always.

Mara fixes a glare on Nathan. "It's /just/-" She clenches her teeth and takes another defiant step forward. And another. Think of… Think of beating Gray. Transfer all this pain onto him. That's a good girl. One step at a time, Damaris. "I really hate you sometimes, Petrelli."

"That's okay," Nathan allows. He keeps a hand on Mara, just so she knows that if she does buckle, she at least won't collapse. He walks at her slow pace, letting her set the speed of it in a demonstration of patience.

"Why are you doing this?" Mara asks under her breath. She doesn't specify exactly what he's doing, or what she thinks he's doing. That's part of the fun, seeing if he knows what she thinks it is, really.

"Getting you out of here? Well I don't see anyone else doing it," Nathan says, rolling his eyes a little. It seems obvious to him, anyway.

"That isn't what I meant." Mara rolls her eyes. "You're goading me into doing this. Into walking." Come on, elevator. Come closer. Without making me move? Please? "Why?"

Yeah, thought so. Nathan gives a sigh, but turns it back to her. "You really want to rely on something like that to get around? You don't. You don't need it, anyway." He moves ahead so as to press the button to the elevator, eliminating some time that Mara will have to wait for it.

"I don't… need it." Mara repeats. "Are you kidding me?" This time, she bites her lip - hard - to keep from saying more.

Nathan folds his arms, looking at her for a few moments as if trying to gauge out exactly what she was about to say. "If you want it, then ask the nice nurses for it," he says, finally, before going back to looking at the floor numbers above the elevator doors.

Mara makes it up alongside the politician just as the doors to the elevator open. Good timing. "And let you give me that look that says you're oh-so-disappointed in me?" She shakes her head, "I don't think so." Once through the doors, she leans up against the wall in the back, taking all weight off her right leg entirely. "You don't really have a car waiting, do you?"

Nathan hits the button for the ground floor, and casts her a glance. "'Course I have a car waiting," he says. "There a reason I shouldn't? You can go hail yourself a cab if you want, but…" He always has a motherfucking car waiting, because he's Nathan goddamn Petrelli.

"You're being difficult. Must you?" Mara shoots Nathan a look. "I'm in enough pain as it is without you adding to it with that attitude. If it's difficult for you to see me this way, and I rather suspect it is, just remember that it's even more difficult for me to /be/ this way."

"I'd rather have your pity than have you behave like an asshole." Mara carefully moves to exit the elevator, and then toward the front door, unless he directs her otherwise.

"Excuse me?" Nathan says, more bewildered than annoyed, as he goes to walk with her to the exit. He has his phone out, quickly sending a text - because presumably, limos, even the non-stretch kind, aren't allowed to hang around the hospital entrance for ages - even as he talks. "I'm doing you a favour, here."

Mara stops just outside the doors and snaps her head to the side to glare furiously at her supposed saviour. "My knee hurts so bad I want to throw up. The drug keeping me from blacking out has run its course. That psychopath has my /friend/ and a /defenseless little girl/. And guess what? That /monster/ is coming after me next. Yeah, you're doing me a favour. But I'm having a little bit of a hard time focusing enough to thank you for it right now, okay? For-fucking-give me!"

"I never /asked/ for thanks," Nathan says, equally snappish. However, he is conscious of the looks they're getting, so he reins in his own frustration. "I'm trying to get this thing done so that said monster doesn't find you. So forgive /me/ if I'm not putting the time and effort into holding your hand the whole way. Next time, I'll send Peter."

Mara's jaw trembles with the effort it takes not to scream at the man. When she retaliates, it's without thinking. She shifts her weight to her left side and swings her right arm, crutch and all, to smack Nathan across the back of the calves. The change in her balance, without the use of her right leg to even her out, causes her to topple backward.

"/Ow/! Jesus /Chr—/" Despite himself, Nathan reacts, grabbing a hold of the detective to make up for the lack of balance, an arm around her shoulders. "Yeah, don't do that," he mutters. "You alright?"

The unbalanced woman first cries out in surprise and then in pain when she tries rather unsuccessfully to catch herself. Thankfully for Mara, Nathan does a good job of making up for her lack of dexterity. The crutch in her right hand goes clattering to the ground, so she throws her arm around Nathan's shoulders as well. "M'fine," she chokes out in a sob. No'm not, but let's just play pretend for a second, okay?

So much easier to deal with an angry Mara than a sad Mara. Nathan sort of just holds her there for a few moments, as the limo pulls up just in front of them. He makes a 'one moment' gesture at the driver, and slowly detangles himself from her, hands firmly on her shoulder to make sure she doesn't go toppling. "You're fine," he agrees, gently. He goes to pick up the fallen crutch.

"You really did call a limo," Mara huffs out in a surprised breath. "And here I had been hoping you were just kidding." She accepts the crutch when he returns it to her and takes a careful step toward the car, pressing the side of her face against her shoulder to wipe away some tears.

So the conversation did go 'I need a car at this place at this time, arrange it' 'the limo, Mr. Petrelli?' 'uh, yeah, sure', but you know. "Well we all have our creature comforts," Nathan mutters, moving to open the door for her. "I don't lie about nice cars."

"I should say not," Mara squeaks. "I don't think I can get in there by myself. I could… I don't know. Uhm…" She's at a loss for words for a moment. "There isn't any easy way to do this that isn't going to make me scream cuss words, is there?"

"Probably not," Nathan agrees, watching her warily. "If you kind of… go in backwards…" Maybe he really /should/ send Peter for these sorts of things.

"You get in first, then," Mara reasons. "You climb in, I lean back, you catch me and just kind of… pull me in?" She shrugs. "Best I can cook up."

"That'll work." Maybe. Better then any plan he's got, anyway. Nathan pulls himself into the spacious car, giving Mara enough room to fall back, and he puts out his hands in an indication of readiness. "Watch your head," is his advice.

"Plannin' on it." Mara turns her back to the car and glances behind her once, judging the distance.

Okay, rather, /misjudging/ the distance. She smacks the back of her head against the frame of the car as she falls back rather gracelessly into Nathan's waiting arms. All the same, she doesn't bump her leg. "/Bollocks/!"

Nathan huffs a sigh at the sound of the smack, then the curse, and caaarefully, he pulls her further into the car. Luckily, the driver is already moving to shut the door for them, so at least they don't have to worry about that. "I said /watch/ your head," he says, and before he can risk another assault on his person, he produces a nice white container, with pharmaceutical jargon on the label. "Merry Christmas."

Mara was about to snap a few not-so-kind remarks to Senator Flyboy when he presents her with her prize. She holds her hands out in front of her, waiting for him to reward her.

Nathan tosses the rattling container of painkillers into said hands. "Take two. Then no more for about half a day. Otherwise, they'll get confiscated." By someone. He hands her a bottle of water, as well, then leans back into his seat as the limo goes to pull out of the hospital lot, rubbing the bridge of his nose as if he's got a headache.

Mara shakes two - no, make that three - pills out of the bottle, closing her fingers around them quickly, and then takes the water. She eyes Nathan for a moment, just to see how closely he's watching her.

Nathan isn't watching. Perhaps deliberately not. His gaze is fixed firmly out the tinted windows.

Right, then! Three pills, down the hatch. After Mara swallows down the blessed painkillers, she leans heavily against Nathan's shoulder. "Thanks," she finally says.

Nathan makes a vague 'mm' sound at the thanks, but then he does go and put his arm around Mara's shoulders. An effort to comfort that doesn't come in the form of an awkward smile. As if to detract from this action, he goes on to say, "You have my number, still? You should use it if you hear or see anything remotely suspicious. I can let Peter know where you are and you can contact him too."

"You aren't staying with me, then?" Mara hmms softly at this. "I've got you on speed dial. Peter, too." She glances forward, toward the driver. "Are we safe?"

The question on whether he's staying goes unanswered save for a sort of shrug. As for safe, Nathan glances at her, one eyebrow lifting. "Working on it," he says. "The apartment should have everything you need for a couple of days, then I'll find someplace else."

After a long moment, Mara makes a decision. "I can't live like that." She moves just a little closer to Nathan, perhaps unconsciously. "If he… If he has Molly Walker, he'll find me whether I keep moving or not."

Molly was used to find Peter, but Nathan wasn't there. Honestly, he doesn't have much of an idea as to how her powers work. "Then tell me what you want to do," he says. He allows the leaning against him - almost encourages it, with the arm over her shoulders. "I'll arrange it, whatever it is."

"You don't want to know." Mara swallows nervously. "I can't ask you to… I can't ask for your help." But who else could she ask? Who else would be willing to…? "I promised Parkman I would visit Suresh's lab… To try and tell him where Gray is. He'll need Mohinder's research to get his cure, with or without-" She pauses as the entirely too familiar shiver runs through her. "Claire."

Cure? Nathan glances at Mara. "Gray needs a cure, for… what, exactly?" he asks. Usually, he would not ask - he kind of wants to know as little about all this as possible. But this sounds important.

"His abilities. He needs a cure to get them back." Mara's hand laces with Nathan's, clutching tightly as she waits for the painkillers to kick in. "I think… No, I /know/ Mohinder can restore them. But… I think he needs Claire's blood to do it."

Well. Suddenly more than a few things click into place. Nathan is silent for a few moments, looking down at where their hands are tangled. "You shouldn't go anywhere Gray might go," he says. "Suresh's lab included. You can barely walk and you're the target, here. Somehow I'm not thinking you're the best candidate to carry out this investigation anymore."

"He kills me at home," Mara tells Nathan. Same as she told Parkman. "He kills me at home, in my own bedroom. The lab is safe." She doesn't lift her head, but only peers up at Nathan out of the corner of her eye. "And I should leave a bunch of hapless men and women in blue who have absolutely /no/ idea what they're dealing with to try and discern the things that only I can know?" There might be a hint of arrogance there, possibly. "I haven't got much time left. I have to try and do /something/. And maybe I can change my future by saving them."

"The lab isn't safe just because you don't die there," Nathan says. He almost sounds irritated, but he lets it go, shaking his head. "I'm not gonna tell you what to do. I've been wrong about all this too many times. You want to help hunt him down? Then I guess that can only be a good thing. But I'm trying to see to it that you never meet him again."

"I'm not going to let him have me. If… If he gets back his abilities…" Mara turns her head into Nathan's shoulder and falls silent.

Nathan goes quiet again, thoughtful. Then, he reacts, shifting away enough to look at Mara properly. "If he gets back his abilities, I get the impression he's unstoppable," he says, quietly. "What've you got in mind?"

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