2007-04-12: Youngest Goes First

Starring:

Peter_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan pays Peter a visit. The two brothers share some truths that they'd been withholding.

Date It Happened: April 12, 2007

Youngest Goes First


Peter's Apartment

Why yes, it is raining. Nathan makes a quick dash from taxi to apartment complex to avoid it, but once inside, his pace slows right down to a meander. This feels almost like defeat. When he gets to the door, he sighs, and knocks out of courtesy. "Pete, it's me," is his announcement, before opening up and peering inside. The last time he saw his brother was a wordless few moments in the ER, and he looked like death-warmed-up still. Hopefully he will be greeted with improvement, and Nathan shuts the door behind him.

Given the time of day, the apartment probably isn't empty. The deadbolt and the doorknob both need to be unlocked, but the older Petrelli has the key anyway. Just slows him down a bit. From the sounds of things, Peter's in the bedroom area, if not actually in the bathroom. The double glass doors are open, revealing some new items laid out on the bed, as he's sorting his wardrobe and closet to make room for his girlfriend's clothes, should she choose to move in. At the sound, the younger brother steps out of the bathroom, wearing only a towel around his shoulders and a pair of shorts, with signs of shaving cream on his face and neck, showing he's been caught cleaning up. Shortened hair is also damp, slicked back as much as it can be. "Nathan, hey."

Nathan nods to Peter, not looking particularly apologetic about invading while his brother is sort of occupied. "They keep you there all night, too?" he asks, figuring he doesn't need to elaborate as to what the 'there' is. He leans a hip against the sofa arm, arms folding casually. "I would have caught you the next day but I kinda hightailed it home. Heidi was worried."

Raising the corner of the towel up to rub off the shaving cream, Peter nods, "Yeah, they kept me until morning. I tried to find you after they cleared us, but— I ended up going out to breakfast, than came back here and made a few phonecalls. Then got some sleep in an actual bed." At least the pale look on his face has faded, as well as the red tinges around his eyes. Almost looks completely normal. Whatever happened, he's spent a couple days sleeping off. Better than spending those days in a coma, at least. "Is Mara okay? Sylar hasn't come after her again already, has he?"

"Heidi was asking about you, too," Nathan puts in. "Give her a call some time." After Peter asks about Mara, and Sylar, a pause settles in the room, and Nathan switches his gaze from Peter to the window. As is usual for him these days, he looks unrested, dark circles under his eyes. "I haven't seen Mara since I left her to find you that night," he says, matter-of-factly. "But if Gray got to her, we'd know. It'd be in the papers." Right? He hopes so.

"Yeah, sorry… I would have talked to Heidi sooner, but— didn't want to be put in a position where I'd have to lie," Peter says with a shrug, pulling the towel off his shoulders and tossing it back into the bathroom. It's not the cleanest way to toss aside something, but hey, it works. That he hasn't seen Mara, though… that really worries him. "I'll go looking for her today. I don't— why didn't you bring her along? I know she's got a bum leg, but— that's no reason not to bring her… Why would you leave her alone?"

"I thought leaving her in the apartment for a few minutes would be better than leaving her in the street," Nathan explains. There's a curious lack of defense in his voice, not rising to the argument it could be, outside of explanation. "Wasn't sure if you'd be in such a state that I'd have to fly you to the hospital or something and I can't carry that much." He shakes his head, as if to ward off irritation. "You try looking for her, I've checked every place and number I know."

"Sorry," Peter says, sighing softly as he steps over to the bed and works to round up his clothes to put them away. If anything, he looks rather guilty. "Shouldn't have told you to come get me…" Shaking his head, he stuffs his clothes back into the dresser, being moderately neat about it, and then picks out a polo shirt to pull over his head. Once that's settled into place, he lets out a sigh. "I'll see what I can come up with. I didn't even hurt him enough to think he'd not be recovered by now."

Nathan's response to the apology almost sharp. "Don't, Pete," he says. "I couldn't /not/ come get you." It's not a total alleviation of guilt from Peter, but Nathan tries to make the decision he made clear. He moves as though to find himself somewhere to sit, but then thinks better of it, just pacing towards the window to check if the rain has lessened. "What happened?" he asks, glancing back at Peter. Obviously a question that's been on his mind. "You and Gray."

Pushing his left hand through his hair in a fidgeting gesture, Peter shrugs a bit. "He won. Managed to keep him from going after the two of you, but… he won. I had to escape after he— broke off my hand." That's a rather weird way to say something. Maybe he meant just 'broke' and not 'broke off'. Or not, because he turns away a bit, glancing down towards his left hand. "Can add ice to his list of powers. Froze my hand solid. Was reaching for my neck, and it was the only way I could think to stop him."

Nathan's gaze also moves down to Peter's hands, as if trying to see the former injury. For Nathan, he looks mildly spooked by the story, although it's hard to tell. What to say? 'Sorry I left you behind'? Peter had told him to run. They both knew there was no option. "I couldn't tell," he says, referring to the night he'd found him. "Jesus." A studying squint at his younger brother. "Are you okay?"

"I was hiding it," Peter explains, letting his hand drop, before he settles down onto the end of his bed, looking towards his brother. "Didn't want you to know. A hospital couldn't handle it. And— didn't want Elle to know either. She might have tried to take me to her dad and the Company. Until I know what the deal is going to be… don't want anything else added to their plate when it comes time to bargain. Didn't even know for sure it'd grow back until the next day." Yes, he's in a vicious cycle of keeping something important from the people he cares about. But he had good reason. "I'm fine now. Bit rough for a few days, but… I'm okay."

So while he's busy trying to find a missing Mara, his brother is coping with healing more than just from a power overload. Nathan brings a hand up to rub his face wearily. Taking care of those he loves is like trying to keep the leaks in a breaking dam from spilling. Harder work still when you're not aware of them all. "You should have told me," Nathan says, then, frowning. "Doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't handle it on your own, but I— that's the kind of thing I like to know."

"What would you have done, Nathan?" Peter asks, looking up towards his brother quietly, voice serious, but also subdued. He's definitely not angry, but there's a deep emotion there anyway. "The press might be able to handle your miracle, even Heidi's, but your brother spontaneously regenerating his hand..? And that's only if it even regenerated. Didn't know if it would. I— didn't want Mara to know what happened to me, okay? Only thing she needs to worry about now is staying safe. Didn't know that she wouldn't be there when you got back." Doesn't change that he kept a secret, but in some ways it'd been from his …brother's notgirlfriend… more than his brother. "I burnt down her loft when I was sure I'd lose."

"You mentioned that," Nathan says. He moves, then, to sit on the edge of the bed next to Peter. "You're right, there's nothing I could've done, here. But I would've known." And that's really all he's asking, it seems. "And now what I want to know is whether I gotta worry about Gray trying to come after you."

With his brother sitting next to him, Peter glances over, but otherwise keeps his hands to himself, thus adding to some distance, "You know now." In some ways… that has to be enough. "Couldn't handle you going through it with me." In some ways it's unfair, but he didn't try to keep it secret after the fact. "I'd rather he come after me than Claire or Mara. I'll just lose again, but… I know a bit more about what he's capable of. He's got much better control than me… but I have more abilities. Think I picked up at least two more at the hospital. Maybe three." He's not so sure on the third. He just had a… feeling.

Nathan lets it go. No point in feeling annoyed that he was left out of that loop for a few days. So he doesn't further pursue it, just listens to what is next said, frowning a little deeper. "More?" he asks, raising an eyebrow. "There were some at the hospital?" The devil everywhere you turn, it seems. "Wanna gimme an update of what you can do so I don't have to be surprised later on down the line?"

"Starting to think there's hundreds of us, right here in New York," Peter says, shaking his head and giving a hint of a smile. A raised eyebrow gets pointed towards his brother, before he shrugs a bit. "Well, you already know some. Isaac's, Hiro's, Claire's, Elle's, Mara's, yours, obviously. Ted's. Sylar's ability to move things with his mind… mind reading— though I can send thoughts now too, from the cop, the Detective, Parkman. I'm stronger, thanks to Niki." That might be one his brother didn't know about, but— there it is. "Invisibility. Claire's boyfriend, Drake, kinda does something similar to Hiro, and I've managed to do that once or twice. Got— well…" With a pause, he holds up his hand and concentrates for a few moments and… a well recognized gin bottle appears in his hand. It's Mara's. He still hadn't had a chance to return it. "Can… teleport small objects to me. Pretty sure I picked up some kind of healing from a doctor, too."

"Soon you're gonna have to start writing these down," Nathan says, wryly, eyes on the gin bottle. "That's what Jack does, isn't it." He doesn't wait for confirmation, just simply linking two things together in his mind. "And healing from a doctor. Beats med school, I guess." By the looks of things, it seems like Nathan didn't quite expect the list to be that extensive, but he's covering his surprise reasonably well.

With only a nod of confirmation that the ability he just displayed is Jack's, Peter keeps looking down at the bottle, as if the bottle could somehow answer the question they both want to ask. Where's the woman this bottle belongs to? Maybe there is… but he's not so sure he wants to chance trying it. There's some things that may have happened around this bottle he definitely does not wish to see… "Getting confusing, yeah. Kinda… jumbled, I guess. That's not even all of them. There's also Jane's… and Elena's. Then there's others I've met that I haven't really shown their ability yet. Molly, for one. I could find Mara right now if I had her ability."

Nathan is quiet for a few moments, pondering that. Molly hadn't /not/ crossed his mind in the last few days, but hearing Peter have the same thought jogs the notion back to life. "We got any way to talk to Molly?" he asks, looking up from the liquor bottle to Peter.

"I don't know," Peter says, being perfectly honest. "Found out that Suresh— Mohinder— is working with the Company. Seems so obvious now, but… it's likely they moved her somewhere safe after they got her back from Sylar. Tried to stop by his apartment a few times, before— what happened at the Loft, but no one was there when I did."

Nathan's eyes narrow at the news that Suresh is a part of the Company, obviously late to receive that memo. Son of a bitch. He just rolls his eyes a little and shrugs. "Well, she's still an option, in any case, even if we can't get a hold of them immediately. Unless they've vanished off the face of the earth, I don't see why not. It'll be enough to know just if Mara's alive." A pause, before he almost laughs - a small, bitter, annoyed chuckle. "Then I can kill her myself for taking off."

"Doubt they've vanished, but— yeah, I'll see if I can get ahold of Mohinder. Or even Parkman. He seemed to know them well enough," Peter says, shrugging his shoulders. He's hoping they won't need to go to the Company over this sort of thing, but… At his brother's annoyed threat, he elbows him lightly, "Come on. You can't really blame her for trying to take care of herself, can you? I'm sure she has an idea. And… she probably figured being around you would just cause problems. Before she was attacked, you two'd had a falling out, right?"

"You could say that," Nathan agrees, although it's a guarded agreement. Peter's words don't put him at any more ease, it seems. "Well if she doesn't want my help, she wants to handle it on her own, more power to her and she can /tell/ me. Not… do this." He takes a breath, and lets it out in a short sigh. "Maybe she's got the right idea anyway." He moves to stand up. "Let me know if you get into contact with Suresh or Parkman."

"What happened, Nathan?" Peter asks, looking up towards his brother as he stands, but does not move to physically stop or delay the older man. He can leave if he chooses, but his brother has to ask that simple question. "What exactly did the two of you fight about?"

Wow, what a question. Nathan just shakes his head, moving towards the door but stopping there to turn and answer. "It was a fight - just know it didn't end well," he says, flatly. "But otherwise I'm keeping that one between me and her." Almost as if he's throwing it in there like a decoy, he adds, "I told Heidi about Claire. So you don't have to lie about that, anyway."

"Fine," Peter says, looking marginally disappointed that his brother's not speaking to him about it. Though if he knew the truth, that expression might not be marginal at all. Might be for the best. "I'm glad you mentioned Claire… Man, I still need to go see Claire and take her to go get her ice skates fitted. But if Heidi knows about her… maybe I can bring the boys along when I teach her how to ice skate." Yes, the distraction worked well enough, as he stands up and walks over to his umbrella rack in the living room. Reaching down he pulls one out and holds it towards his brother, "Here. You can bring it back later." This would be why he happens to have so many.

"Do that," Nathan agrees, taking the umbrella that's offered and semi-saluting with it in thanks, opening the front door. "Maybe Heidi'll go too." And because, in a way, he feels the need to hint at what the heck has been going through his mind in regards to Heidi to /someone/, he adds, almost light-heartedly: "Then you can help me work on my lines for the next part, if you've improved since 'I think I can fly'."

"…I can do a lot more than fly, Nathan," Peter says with a hint of a smile, before giving his brother a light touch on the arm with his left hand, pointedly using that hand instead of the normal one. He's been doing that a lot the last few days. "Be careful. I should have a cellphone back soon. If I find anything out, on Mara or Molly, I'll give you a call."

"Well, not talking about you," Nathan says, mirroring that vague smile. "Not all of us are so handy." Accidental pun? Let's hope not. He nods at confirmation of calls, backing out into the hallway. "Take care of yourself," he says as he heads to the elevator, because god knows people aren't doing that. Or they're doing it too well.

A young girl, maybe fifteen or sixteen, trots into the hallway, looking out of breath. She looks up through a tangle of red curls before tossing her head back to flip them out of the way, as her hands are full. "Are you…" She looks down at a large package in her arms, squinting at the name on the label, "Nathan Petrelli?"

"Yeah, I'm a swiss army knife," Peter responds, taking the joke in stride as he reaches over and sets the gin bottle down on the nearby kitchen counter. "I'll be careful," he adds on. He's just about to watch for the door to close behind his brother when this young teen comes trotting up. Looking for his brother? At his apartment? An eyebrow raises, and he waits to see what this is about, moving forward to stop the door from closing.

"Uh." Nathan pauses as he's approached, narrowing his eyes at the girl. There's getting deliveries, then there's getting deliveries in a hallway in a building in which you don't live. The latter is a little odd. He glances back at the door to see Peter lingering there. He shrugs at him before nodding to the girl. "Yeah, that's me."

"Careful," the redhead warns, "it's heavy." She holds the package out to Nathan and then glances at a second package, carefully tucked under her arm. She peers at the name on the envelope. "Peter?" She raises her brows hopefully. Either way, she's handing him the brown paper parcel. "She said…" The girl stops and tries to recall what she was told, apparently. The fact that she's dry suggests she didn't have to go very far to make her delivery, though the packages have obviously been outside longer than the girl was. She glances back and forth between Nathan and Peter before settling on the younger Petrelli. "She said you just needed to concentrate."

This girl is delivering packages? For the both of them. To… his apartment. Sure, Peter's actually /listed/… which is something he might need to change with how many people know his name, but… Running a hand over his mouth, he steps through the door to take the brown paper parcel, and waits for the instructions. Which just make him inhale sharply. "…thank you." An unsteady breath later, he steps back inside, opening up a drawer and pulling out a few dollars, which he holds out to the girl a few moments later. A tip, of sorts. Other than having the mental capacity to remember to tip her, he looks rather stunned, and heads back inside to drop into one of his chairs in the front room.

Nathan is staring at the package he's holding, only looking up when Peter goes to hand the girl some money. Good, got that covered. He nods, silently, to the girl, before turning to follow Peter back inside the apartment. Setting the umbrella down somewhere, Nathan stands there awkwardly for a few moments before drawing attention to say, "You go first." Youngest is meant to, right?

The redhead goes dashing away as soon as the money's in her hands. "Thanks, mister!" From the look on her face, she wasn't expecting a tip.

Petrelli the Younger's package is a simple one, just an envelope with 'PETER' written across the front in large, easy-to-read lettering. Up in the right corner, there's a heart drawn next to the name K. Lee. Nathan's is a decent-sized box that perhaps is not as heavy as the girl let on. His full name is printed across the top in the same handwriting. Beneath it, in far smaller writing, almost in the corner, is the sender's name. '-Kay' it says.

"If I go first, you have to promise not to open yours while I'm unconscious," Peter says from where he's settled into the seat. It's comfortable enough, and he can slump over onto his side if he needs to. Even if his brother doesn't promise, he glances over the parcel, pausing briefly at the heart, but smiling faintly at the name. K. Lee? "K. Lee?" he even says out loud. He figures he knows who it's from, 'cause the coincidence is too much, and the instructions, but… He opens up the parcel anyway, and looks inside, wanting to see what he's getting before he reaches in to touch it. Concentrate, huh?

At the mention of 'K. Lee', Nathan frowns. For a moment, he's disappointed. The 'Lee' is confusing. Still, he takes his own seat, and briefly studies the box. When he gets to the 'Kay', he says nothing, just stares for a moment in case he misread, before looking over at Peter. "Promise," he says, absently, having not entirely heard him, focusing now on whatever it is Peter got. It's like Christmas!

The envelope contains a well-worn, purple notebook. There's a post-it on the front. Purple ink informs, 'Peter - She didn't seem the most reliable of sorts, so this is your reminder to sit down. Turn three pages in and examine the photograph.'

"A notebook," Peter says as he lets it drop into his hand. As he's not exactly falling over at the mere touch, he reads a post-it note on the cover and then nods. "So— do you know where K. Lee came from?" he asks, as he opens the cover to the first page, skimming over it for anything interesting. If he's going to be unconscious, he'd like to at least get some reading done. In case his brother picks it up while he's out.

"Mara's real name is Kaydence," Nathan says, bluntly. "Says 'Kay' on mine." Because really, this is the only option making sense to him right now. "Couldn't tell you what 'Lee' is. Kaydence Lee?" He'll have to laugh at her later. After he kills her. It's taking all his willpower not to tear open his box, so instead he asks, "What's it say?"

The Diary of Kaydence Lee Damaris - Twenty-Seventh of March, Two-Thousand-and-Seven

The last time I spoke to Matt Parkman, I had been so sure I was going to die. Then yesterday, the Brooks girl came to me and delivered hope. And I thought, maybe I can beat this. Peter says I can avoid it. That the future - my future - isn't set in stone. I sat, and I thought about it. Maybe… I can do it on my own terms. If that monster gets what he wants from Mohinder… God forbid if he takes Molly's power… I won't let him have me. I will beat the clock.

Thirty-First of March, Two-Thousand-and-Seven

Peter came to see me today. He brought a photograph. It was Nathan in the picture. I didn't understand it at first. I thought… maybe it was some kind of sick joke. I was so full of guilt. I wanted to die. He was reading my thoughts earlier. He doesn't need to know about how I feel about his brother. No. That isn't fair. I don't feel anything for Nathan. I feel more for Peter. My heart aches just to look at him. It isn't pity. I don't know what it is, but it isn't pity.
The photograph. Of Nathan. He handed it to me and then I understood. It's hope. There is hope. For him. For me. For all of us. I almost told him. About Nathan. About the plan. But in the end, I cared too much to break his heart.

Three pages in, just as the note promised, there's a photograph. Mara has clearly been surprised by the photographer, as there's a bottle of beer nearly to her lips, but she managed to smile her wide, gap-toothed smile for the camera. She looks younger, and genuinely happy. The back of the photo, not that he'll see it before he comes to, says in black ink, 'Mara on her 25th birthday.' Below that, in Mara's signature purple reads: To Peter, with love.

There's a few moments when Peter actually reads, word for word, what's in the notebook, letting his brother in on exactly what he's seeing. But once he gets to the second page, he suddenly stops reading out loud, voice trailing off around the time he gets to where she wanted to die. A frown creases his forehead, eyebrows lowering and closing closer together, and then he gets to the picture on the third page. A slow inhale, and he reaches down and touches it, no longer even thinking about why he stopped reading it out loud, but glad he did. Some of this doesn't make sense, but… Closing his eyes, he concentrates on the picture, trying to find the memory, or the feeling, that she would send to him with love.

When Peter's fingers brush the photograph, there's nothing at first. Just a shiver. A tremor. Like the energy sits just below the surface. Concentrating on that is what causes him to plunge into darkness.

Mara clutches the photograph to her chest, sitting somewhere dark, apparently by herself. She's crying. "I don't even know if this is going to work," she whispers. "How do you talk to someone in a vision you aren't sure they're going to have? Peter. Shit. God, I hope this worked. Peter, I'm safe." There's an overwhelming sadness in this vision, but it's nothing compared to the nauseating pain. "I'm sorry if you're… feeling this. I had to make sure it was strong enough. It won't last long after you wake up, I promise. Just… Don't try to find me. He can't know I'm alive. No one can. I'm hiding. We'll meet again. I promise." Mara slowly tugs up the hem of her skirt to examine her right knee. It's swollen, violent and ugly shades of purple, yellow and green bruising. "Oh Jesus."

And then everything goes black.

Nathan watches as Peter slumps into unconsciousness. Time to wait. And the temptation to take the journal from Peter and flick through it while he waits is so tempting it's almost physically painful. What he /does/ do is take the photograph and study it, because he's allowed to be pathetic when no one's awake to see it.

For a good thirty minutes, Peter doesn't move all that much. Nor does he snore or drool, or spasm. But about twenty-five minutes in… he starts to cry. Tears slide down his cheeks, soft hitches in his breathing give it away. Minutes later, a sob breaks through, and his emptied hand reaches to touch /the knee/. Eyes open, he continues to cry, one hand clasped over the knee, while the other presses against his chest, as if trying to hold his heart in. And he continues to just lay there and cry for a lot longer than he probably wants to. He's not quite back in reality yet- stuck in the emotion, the pain, the feeling of the vision, but he's technically awake. Just make take a while before he can answer any questions.

The sound of crying is what gets Nathan's attention, setting the photograph aside. "Peter?" he asks, uncertain, but he does this when Peter isn't quite awake yet. Uncomfortable, Nathan waits, before finally he reaches out, not wishing to watch his younger brother in such pain, wrapping a hand around the wrist of the hand clutching Peter's knee. "Hey, it's over now," he says, firmly.

Blinking, more tears find trails down his cheeks, but Peter does look towards his brother, seeing him finally as he clutches around, wanting to find the photograph that he'd been holding. Where did it go? He doesn't actually try to take it back, beyond an odd groping around. Finally he sits up, the hand drawing away from his chest to rub over his eyes. "She— she doesn't want us— she doesn't want us to look for her. That he can't know she's alive— that no one can." Taking a slow breath, he tries to regain himself, but the tears can't quite stop, and his hand doesn't move away from the same exact knee that she got shot in. "She's hiding. But she said… she promised… promised that we'd meet again." A sobbed inhale later, and he asks perhaps the most childish question ever, "Why couldn't she say this in person?" He knows why. He knows he knows why. But that's what makes it childish.

"Yeah… but that doesn't mean she couldn't have said goodbye in person, or at least left a way for us to reply once," Peter says softly, holding onto the returned picture. "I'd like to hold onto this," he murmurs softly. It was given to him. It even has his name written on it, right? It's his. And he's the one with all the pictures laying around. Hundreds of them. "…she made her leg hurt more so the emotion would be more powerful," he answers the unasked question. "Your turn to open your box," he adds on.

Nathan winces at that answer. God. It's so Mara to do that, too. "Keep it," he says of the photo, then sighs, with a wary glance at the box. He's not good with surprises. "Guess so." He works at the tape holding the box together with some impatience.

Inside the package addressed to Nathan are copies of the newspapers from April tenth and eleventh. Also tucked inside is an opened, and clearly well-loved box set of a series called Eastenders. The post-it note stuck to the box reads, 'Nathan - Try watching a good soap for once.' Peter will notice that the third and fourth DVDs don't sit together quite as well as the others do.

Moving over to glance into the box, Peter raises his eyebrows at the revelation of a soap opera DVD collection, and then makes an idle comment, "I think there's something between the third and fourth DVD set." Just in case his brother didn't notice.

Nathan totally didn't notice. He's just that unperceptive. And also preoccupied with unpacking the box, the newspapers getting a quizzical squint and the DVDs, well. A smile threatens to tug at the corners of his mouth. "No such thing as a good soap," he mutters, then glances at Peter, and back to the DVDs. He slides the covers out to see if he's right.

A folded piece of paper is wedged between the two cases. Written in black pen and circled in red marker is one simple word: Personals.


Simon and Monty think their dad being unemployed is /wonderful/. They can hijack him and play such games as Let's Both Stand On Dad's Feet While He Walks Us To And Fro Across the Room for a few minutes, or take turns playing Aeroplane (which, for some reason, dad doesn't get /too/ impatient with), or show him the robots they made out of Lego this morning before Simon decides to throw one at Monty (don't tell mom).

So all in all, it's nearly an hour after coming home that Nathan can finally shut himself in the den, spilling the two newspaper copies onto his desk, the box set of Eastenders secured on a shelf. And go back to remembering how upside down his life has gotten. "Damnit, Mara," he mutters, before looking at that hidden note again. Personals. Okay. He takes the earliest newspaper, flicking through to that section.

Flipping the papers open to the personals has got to be mildly disappointing for Nathan. Mara didn't make his work easy for him by circling the appropriate ads. He perhaps isn't the most perceptive person in the world, but if there's one thing that lawyers can do, it's find information of importance in passages of seemingly endless drivel. Finally, April tenth's personals yield what he was looking for. It must be. It's so inconspicuous. So innocuous. But it must be what she wanted him to see.

To KLD from S.
No matter where you run. No matter where you hide. I'll find you.

The point isn't lost on Nathan. He removes this page from the rest of the newspaper, reading this one sentence as if to do so again and again would make him more certain, or yield more information. But there's little else to it: Gray would always hunt for her. Maybe she, after all, was right to say nothing to either Nathan or Peter. Damn. Finally, he sets it aside, and goes rifling through the personals of the next newspaper, at least knowing now what to look for.

Finding the ad in the eleventh's paper is a bit easier, now that he knows what he's looking for.

To GG from MD.
Keep dreaming, luv. I beat the clock.

That actually incites some laughter, a small chuckle of regretful amusement. Nathan sits there for a while, trying to summon some sort of victorious feeling on Mara's behalf, but it doesn't quite get there. Instead, he finds himself moving to pour a measure of gin into a glass - no ice, no mixers - and downing that. It'd do. Then, Nathan gets out a pen, a notepad, and for the first time in his life, writes an entry for the personals section of the weekday paper.

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