Did You Come Here To Eat Lasagna?


matt_icon.gif russo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Did You Come Here to Eat Lasagna?
Synopsis Trust and lasagna… the two go together… sometimes.
Date May 2, 2011

Dorchester Towers — Matt's apartment

It's evening at Dorchester Towers.

Most people are already home from work and those that aren't probably don't commute far from work. Curfew sees to that.

Bradley Russo had gone home early to cook. And cook. AND cook. Because that's what neighbours do when they randomly show up at each other's doors, right? The lasagna is still hot—steaming underneath the large puffy oven mitts that he carries it in.

He's not suited today. Just dressed in jeans and a t-shirt as he knocks on the door. When the door opens, the declaration is loud, toothy, grinning and an odd attempt at persuasion, "I made a lasagna." Who would turn that away?

Clearing his throat, his eyes track downward before they widen as he remembers one very very important detail, "It's kosher~"

Shock is soon replaced by a grin undoubtedly as hearty as the lasagna when Matt opens the door. He's not yet out of his suit, but he's loosened the tie and the jacket is presumably hung up in a closet, or else careless tossed somewhere. "I hope that means it still tastes good," Matt jokes as he waves his relative neighbor into the apartment, passing through the smallish kitchen to open the fridge. "Can I get you a drink? Sam Adams, Yuengling? Molly's at yoga, but I have a feeling there won't be much left. I was going to order in, so thanks."

"Hey! It's my pleasure," Russo holds out his hands in a it was nothing motion. His smile broadens as he follows Matt into the apartment. Clearing his throat he considers, "Sam Adams would be great, thanks! It's been a crazy few weeks at work" Always one for pleasantries, even when he's about the business. Running a hand through his hair, he considers, "I realize it's probably a weird thing to receive a random lasagna, but I wanted to talk to you about something"

His blue eyes squint some as he watches Matt carefully, discernment is needed here. "Are you at all familiar or acquainted with Elisabeth Harrison? That FRONTLINE woman from the news….?"

"Hey, I did say that you could come see me whenever, didn't I?" Matt says as he pulls out two longnecks and opens them. "You didn't have to bring lasagna, but I won't turn it down."

Russo's question about Harrison gives him pause as he pulls out plates and silverware, his brows knitting together as he gathers his thoughts. He turns slowly to look over his shoulder, one dark brow arched. "Off the record, or did you hide a microphone in the lasagna?" Matt then eyes the oven mitts. "Or elsewhere?" The brow arches higher, and he narrows his eyes a little as if to say, //I'll know if you're lying, you know. So don't."
"I hate to show up at a neighbours' empty handed," Brad quips with an easier grin. He steps a little lighter into the room, his eyes taking in the space carefully while his hands tuck away into his pockets.

"There's no microphone," Russo states honestly as he manages another smile, this one easier than the last. "There's no record, anywhere. But… you can already read my thoughts on that matter. In fact…" he sighs heavily. "She contacted me through D.Crypt. And she sent me… information." His lips press together tightly. "I don't know you well, but I've watched your career." There's a pause. "What do you make of the DoEA?"

"One thing at a time, Brad," Matt says with a slightly uneasy chuckle as he transfers plates and flatware to the small table in the dining nook. The apartment isn't anything special - decorated by a combination of stock condo furniture and the delicate yet somewhat Spartan touch of Kaydence Damaris, it's dominated with sleek chrome and ivory, with splashes of green in the couldn't-kill-it-if-you-tried potted plants. Muted talking heads flap their jaws on the large television that the dining room opens into, and magazines and newspapers are spread on the glass coffee table.

"Honestly, I'm surprised it took us this long to nail down Harrison. She was walking a damned tight line." Matt ducks back into the kitchen and grabs the meal, spooning out a healthy portion onto each plate. Dinner time is dinner time, after all. "And the DoEA… too little too late, some would say. They're about control, not cohesion. But that's understandable, when you follow the money."

Matt pauses again, spatula in hand and eyes narrowed inquisitively. "Did you come here to ask me about politics, or did you come to eat lasagna?"

"Right," Brad mutters quietly under his breath as his blue eyes turn downwards. He releases a very small sigh followed by a faint shake of his head. "I'm not.." he swallows hard. "I don't want to just discuss politics. I want to know what you make of the crew of the DoEA." He frowns lightly, "It's come to my attention that some of them might not be…" his hand rocks in the air in an off motion, not wholly convinced. "Have you ever met Mayes?" He pauses. "She's pleasant to me. Always pleasant…"

It's hard not to just jump in on this one. Even with the situation being what it is. And so he does while sliding back into the kitchen. "Harrison told me things." It's probably not wise, but then Matt could've known everything if he wanted, right? He would know if Brad had lied. "Not good things."

He sucks on the inside of his cheek. "How was Harrison walking a line?"

Matt pulls out Russo's chair, then his own before slipping into it with a sigh. "The same way we all do," he says with a shrug, tipping back the brew to take a swig. "Trying to do what's right. Only she can't - couldn't - see in as many shades of gray." But as he sits there, thoughts of another conversation held in the apartment in the presence of a meal seep back into his consciousness, though the details are fuzzy with time and inattention. People. People in places that couldn't be trusted. For those few moments, Matt looks distant, snared in his thoughts.

But he brushes them away with a shake of his head a moment later. "Brad, people bring me bad news day in and day out. All sorts of people with all sorts of bad news. You learn to separate out the bad from the good. Someone once told me that the president wasn't the real president, and that the real Nathan Petrelli was… hell, I can't even remember. See? You deal with what you need to deal with, and you throw the rest in File 13. People - the public are crazy sometimes."

Brad releases a slow breath that puffs out his cheeks as he sits down at the table. He nods firmly at the notion of Harrison's status. "If she's right, things are less grey than I once believed them to be." He sighs again while his hands drift to the table top, palms laying flat against it. "Look, she did more than say things. There was…" His brain is still fried from the readings. "There was evidence. Lots of evidence. I can't even begin to tell you about all of these documents—"

Idly he chews on his bottom lip. "It's not just bad news, it's catastrophic. What could be one of the worst conflicts of interest an employee of the DoEA could have?"

"Being a member of Humanis First?" Matt offers the possibility as if it were nothing, plugging his mouth with a fork-full of lasagna as soon as the words leave it. He doesn't look at all phased by his own words, and after a brief moment, he furrows his eyebrows.

"I don't know what you used for the meat, Brad, but damn - it's the best not-cow I've had in a long time."

"Exactly!" A finger actually rises to point at Matt as Brad's eyebrows arch upwards. "Think about it… it's brilliant." His lips press together. "Harrison says it contains members with exactly that conflict of interest. She has evidence— SENT me evidence." WIthout knowing it, his lips have curled down into a frown while his hands have fingers work at the cutlery.

And then as an aside— being the foodie he is, Brad can't just leave well enough alone— "It's vegetables. And thanks. I like cooking; there's few things in life that give me that much pleasure."

There's a distinct pause as his thoughts trail back to the task at hand; to what's important. "I've come to you for a few reasons…" his eyes narrow. "I.. I can dig. I can search. But I need to know who in the government I can trust." Again his teeth toy at his lip, "If DoEA is full of Humanis First members, I can't just expose it. I mean… I could try, but without some serious work…" His eyes track down. "I could air part of the interview with Harrison. But I need more. I need to know that it can and will at least stir debate…"

"It's your job, right?" Matt asks as he continues to eat dinner al a Russo. "Investigative Journalism with the spicy twist of controversy? That Renyolds will eat it up. Besides, if nobody knows it right now, and you inform them, then yes, there will be debate. If anything, all the PR offices will be running circles to discredit you. So if you do do it, you have to make sure your case is air-fucking-tight."

Again, the older man looks entirely untouched by the matter, as if he's heard it before, or else he's too exhausted to exert any effort on this particular packet of world-changing information.

Russo's lips part wordlessly as he watches Matt's face. And words don't come. Not yet. Nor does Brad's appetite. Instead, Matt only receives the stare, and the quiet curiosity whether the younger of the two will end up dead in his bed over this. Trust no one. Cardinal rule broken.

His throat clears finally as he tries to catch Matt's gaze, "Whatwhat?" It's not intelligible and it hardly requires a real explanation but he tries for it anyways, particularly with his usual pokerface failing so hard. "H-" Shaking his head firmly, he manages, "Look. I need… I need help. I need to know before we go public. I need to know where else to look. We have documents. There are files connected the government to fucking Messiah for Pete's sake," number one rule in poker is to never give away your hand. "But if things extend as far as I've been told, I'll end up in a hole in the middle of nowhere. Probably Coyote Sands"

"Not if you've got the public on your side," Matt says with a slight smile once he's swallowed another healthy bite of pasta. "The government can have fleets of black helicopters, but they won't turn a single ignition switch if they didn't think the public would back them up. The truth of the matter is, there are enough people out there who would like people like us to be put on our own little island someplace. We're a problem. Bottom-line. That's how it all got started."

Matt leans forward, putting his fork back down with a clatter and crossing his arms on the table. "You're in the position to pull back the curtain and show just who is operating all the smoke and projections. Believe me - I wish I could help you." As if Russo were far from the first person to come to Matt with such concerns, seeking help in exposing it all.

"If you really want, I can see who I can find in the FBI that wouldn't mind doing a little behind-the-scenes digging, but - well, it'd be off the record."

There's a small smirk at Matt's pallor. "I need help. The proof is obvious, but if it were that easy Harrison and company would've been able to go public before she found herself on the run. I need to plan. It needs to be a shock… live television. Like my manifestation, right?" His eyebrows tick upwards. "And it needs to be solid," he agrees.

There's a small nod as the offer is made, "I don't have a problem having things 'off the record'. Honest. In fact, as long as I know where to look and where to break in to…" His grin grows, "I have people that might be able to help too, but we need to do this together. Under the radar, but with more people so we're not easily silenced…"

"Out with it, Russo," Matt says without looking at the other man, intent instead on retrieving his beer for another drink. It's never just information. All of it always comes with a catch - a favor, an act, a contrived coincidental appearance. "What do you need from me?"

'I need to know who I can and can't trust." Brad's jaw tightens. "I don't want your help in the public sense," he swallows hard as his gaze turns away, "but I want your help fishing out and rooting out the people that shouldn't be in office. If people know… if people know something has to change." His gaze turns down to his plate.

"I'm not asking for anything public, I have that under control…" His gaze ticks towards the interior of the kitchen. "Not…openly public. I want…" he swallows. It's a risk. "I need help finding the trustworthy members of office. I don't think… I don't think the President is in on it. But then, who knows? Harrison seemed skeptical about the Petrellis." He shrugs lightly. "But we don't want to be imprisoned, right?" His thoughts barely make sense to himself. "I want your help finding allies."

"I thought you had evidence," Matt says, slowly bringing his eyes back to Brad. "You have evidence, and the ability to get more. All you need is the public on your side." But then again, a few friends of similar sympathies within the system wouldn't hurt. So Matt shrugs, lifting his bottle. "I'll see what I can do, but I'll tell you - my area isn't really where you want to look for friends. But the next time I rub elbows with the other stooges, I'll pay attention and see who I can point your way."

"I do have evidence," Brad confirms quietly, "And I think we have enough public attention that we have credibility. We just… need to root out who can and can't be trusted. I'll do my thing. I'm not… I'm not giving up on this." His blue eyes stare across at Matt with determination as his eyebrows knit together tightly. "I just… I need to smart. You know? I need to clear my history so I'm credible as a source." Which is problematic when you're an alcoholic. "And yeah, Thanks. That's all I want. I just want to find who we can trust."

There's that word again. We. "The fact that you test SLC-positive makes you less than credible, Russo. Credibility is in the eye of the beholder. But yes - pay all your parking tickets and be as model a citizen as you can. Kiss babies. Build schools. All that jazz. And I'll tell you one thing - the fact that you want to move on it makes you ten times more credible than a load of other people." Inaction when you hold all the cards is cowardice.

Matt leans back in his chair, abandoning the remainder of his dinner and drink on the table. "When are you thinking of breaking it?" In short - how much time do they have?

Like before, Brad's gaze turns downwards, "I haven't talked to anyone about it besides you. And I cleared the studio before Harrison revealed… everything." He sighs heavily. "I get the distinct feeling that waiting too long— " his eyes track back towards Matt, "— bad idea. If people are already being suppressed, if democracy is failing, I have an ethical obligation to move quickly." However, "I like my head safely attached to my neck."

He pauses while he finally takes a bite of his lasagna. Finally. "Months, I guess." His eyebrows tick upwards, "Weeks would be better, but… exposing government conspiracies involves time, I think?" He's never done this before.

Matt chuckles - light and airy with that sick tinge of cynical wisdom. "Brad, before you get too deep in this, let me make one thing perfectly clear.

"Time is something we never have enough of."

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