Discussions Over Dinner


f_doyle_icon.gif nathan_icon.gif

Scene Title Discussions Over Dinner
Synopsis Doyle checks in on the President, and has a few topics of conversation to discuss.
Date May 24, 2009

Textile Factory 17

Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in the Red Hook neighborhood, Textile Factory 17 was once a part of a greater industrial complex in New York in the late 1800's. The building itself has that distinctive architectural look of an industrial revolution factory; constructed primarily from aged red brick, Textile Factory 17 however has one defining trait that sets it apart from the other factories in the area, an outer wall that surrounds the factory that closely resembles the bailey of a castle more so than an industrial complex.

The Factory complex is made up of seven distinct buildings, all having been abandoned since the company that owned the mill went bankrupt thirty-six years ago. The factory, warehouse, commons and shipping buildings all sit in derelict condition, having been cut off from the majority of New York's homeless due to the heavy gate that cordons off the facility from the nearby roads.

While it rests clearly in public view and is considered a historic landmark to the Red Hook neighborhood, time and circumstance has not allowed the factory to be refurbished for other purposes.

It probably is not terribly comforting that, in his copious free time, one of the large looms has been converted into a makeshift puppet theatre - complete with stage and curtain. It's a dark room, the lighting mostly shattered or dead from age, a simple battery-powered lamp off to one side leaving most of the room swathed in shadows. The President of the United States has had to sit through numerous practices of a new puppet show, including Noah, Bob, Elle, and Odessa puppets, amongst others. It's a work in progress.

Nathan's lovely place in the room would be the chair in front of the stage. It's sturdy metal, he's tied to it, and it's bolted to the floor. After all, Doyle can't keep him under control twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!

The door to the building creaks open slowly, aged hinges creaking, the evening's blue light spilling in. "Dinner's up, Mister President," drawls the voice of Eric Doyle from behind him, a few footfalls stepping into the room. The pale blue light fades, as the door's closed once more with a low click.

It is impressively impossible to sleep like this, and Nathan wasn't trying by the time the door creaks open. The drawling words sound more like a taunt, because surely, Presidents aren't captured for this long without anyone knowing. Meaning the other guy's doing a good job, or something, Jesus Christ. He turns his head to look across at Doyle, the man's large frame silhouetted by the door becoming a familiar sight.

Stockholm's syndrome hasn't kicked in yet, apparently, when a small unfurling of disgust coils in Nathan's stomach. He almost prefers ropes and chains in comparison to this man's equally familiar ability. "Not hungry." It's a lie, and his tone of voices makes the words sound like, Go away. Which he only partially means - the darkness of the makeshift theater, the loneliness, is its own intolerable circumstance, but if it's between two evils—

Nathan has always been better at suffering alone. He needs a shave, a shower, and to go home.

"It's all the same to me, honestly." The silhouette is soon better defined, the lamp's light spilling over Doyle's broad form as he steps into it, illuminating the profile of his face with a beshadowed smirk upon his lips as he steps around the man. A tray's set down atop the table, laden with a plate of KFC - chicken leg, chicken breast, potatos, mac'n cheese, and a coke in a styrofoam cup with a straw impaling it.

Once it's set down, the puppeteer steps about the back of the chair, crouching down to unlock the padlock of the chairs about his wrists… while at the same time his ability weaves into the president's limbs, his muscles, drawing them taut against the bone to keep him from moving. A heavy, tired sigh spills from Eric's lips as he releases his unmoving hands, slowly walking along to the chair next to Nathan. He drops heavily down into it, its wheels squeaking a bit as it rolls, his head falling back to stare with large eyes at the ceiling as the rolling seat slowly rotates about in a circle.

"Anyone tried asking you any questions? Beating information out of you?" Absent queries, cast into the air of the building.

Nathan draws in a breath as he feels that paralysis sink back into his limbs, and he bites back words that could too easily come, like don't and worse still, please. Instead, he forces himself to relax into it. It's only really bad when he tries to move. His chin tips up a little as he takes a second to adjust, and beat back the tension evident in his voice. For all his prior military training - name, rank and serial number — this doesn't seem to fit into the world of reality, really. He's staring at a puppet theater. "Nope," he says, voice clipped, choosing to look forward at dusty curtains and a currently clear stage rather than at the the terrorist. "Looks like you people have everything you need from me."

"I suppose that's true. Everything that you know…"

A foot drops to the floor to halt the chair, and Doyle lifts one arm - the motion mirrored by Nathan's own, reaching out, fingers curling about the leg of the chicken and lifting it up. It's mimed to the puppeteer's mouth, echoed in the President's movements, brought to his lips which are forced to open, teeth to bite, to chew. Mechanical, robotic, like someone else's movements yet horribly his own.

"…you know." A faint smile is given the ceiling, "So I wonder, Mister Petrelli - and I'm sure you've wondered…" He tilts his head, looking over with one eye and lips curved into a lazy grin, "Why are you still alive?"

He could choke on it. One quick movement of his own Nathan hopes is too internal for Doyle to get to, one last act of defiance, as temporary as it might be. Unfortunately, he also knows a futile effort when he sees it. It's what never made him a good activist. So he's forced to eat with only a quiet grunt of protest, and he supposes that's what he gets, eyes squinching shut until that first mouthful of cooling chicken is swallowed.

Breathing a little shallower than when he started, he answers, "I figure— if the guy you've got in the White House fails, and he will, you might need something to fall back on." There's an uncertain waver in his voice all his long career of being a lawyer and politician can't get rid of. It's a guess. A flimsy one.

Because in truth, Nathan doesn't know why he's alive either.

"It's a good guess," admits Doyle, his voice somewhere between amused and resigned, "But, really, I think it's just that you're so full of yourself that the idea of killing yourself is out of the question. You're not a man to do your own dirty work, are you, Mister President?"

A kick from the floor, and the chair goes a'rolling along before he halts it in front of Nathan, his body sunk back against the chair and his head fallen and turned to look at him sideways. A faint smile curves to broad lips. "What would you do, if you managed to escape, anyway?"

His eyes narrow on Doyle as the man stops in front of him, trying to sort through words that— overall are reasonably confusing. But he's been told. Told enough for it to make some sense, and he, again, attempts to think of exactly what is going through the mind of a future counterpart— and snatches back as if burned. It's frightening. Because Nathan has some sense on what he'd do in his position.

"You think I'm going to tell you that?" Hatefulness leaks into his voice, the words dragging harsh out his throat. "Because believe me, you don't want to know."

"Now, now…" A hand lifts, and Eric's finger tilts to one side, then the other in a 'now, now' gesture, "…drink your sippie cup, Mister President."

That hand sweeps over, fingers curling in the air as - in echo - Nathan reaches over for the cup of soda, drawing it along over and poking the straw to his lips.

"I expect that someone'll be around to kill you soon enough," he admits, his tone dry, "So wasting it on empty threats is not going to be useful. You know. I was working for you. In Moab. They had me controlling the security…"

The chair's rolled forward, and his hands drop down sharply to the table with a smack, his intense gaze locking on Nathan's own as the straw's pulled away. A hint of anger roils in his voice as he nearly snarls, "Of course, once you were thrown in yourself, all of a sudden all your administration's deals went out the window."

Nathan's eyes shut against the sound of Doyle's hand coming down on the table, almost in a flinch, the cup coming down clumsy with the movement. He'd barely taken a sip of the soda, despite the insistence of the movement, and so his voice is still dry when he speaks. No snarl in his voice, however, trying to hold that much back. "I was never imprisoned," he says, through near clenched teeth, eyes opening again in a narrow glower. "So I'm not sorry."

There's a pause, swallowing, before he adds, softer, "But I can tell you now that he probably doesn't give a shit. Whatever you people want him to do, he'll only do it for so long. Once he knows he's in the clear you'll all be right back where you started, or worse."

"Oh, you were." Doyle's smile doesn't come close to touching his eyes, graven deep upon his rounded face, "You see, Mister President…" He leans forward, as if confiding a secret, "…you can't keep a secret forever. It always comes out. Trust me." The puppeteer leans back just a bit, fingers drumming over the table's surface as he murmurs, "And you have so many secrets."

A snort, then, and he flings a hand up carelessly, "You don't think I know that? Of course he will. The sun will shine, the moon will rise, and Nathan Petrelli will be a self-serving ass that can't be trusted."

That almost makes Nathan laugh. Perhaps that slight exhalation of a breath, a chuckle faintly tinging it, could count as laughter down here. The twitch that hints at a smile doesn't go near his eyes either. "Then why are you doing this?" There's the faintest of shudders that courses through the President's body, a singular convulsion against Doyle's puppeteering hold over his limbs, mostly characterised by a hitch in breathing than true movement.

"Because this… is… my only chance. Half my life's been behind bars. The Company, then your administration. You even took Odessa from me." A serious look, a tired look, and Eric shakes his head after a moment with a tight motion, "You of all people should understand desperation. I mean," he chuckles humorlessly, smiling half-way, "Look at you now. So, Mister President, I have a question for you."

Look at you now. Nathan's head tilts a little to regard the ceiling because looking at Doyle for much longer might boil up anger, resentment and loathing too strong for him to deal with without being able to move. Breathe in, breathe out. His eyes slide shut in something like defeat, head settling back on his neck. Another shudder through his body, overcome with the need to test his boundaries, as much as it makes them all the more intolerable. "Then ask."

The reactions are watched, observed with those dark, tired, amused eyes as he shudders in the grasp of Doyle's power, waiting for him to get over it. It takes him a moment. Then he says, very simply and smiling, "Can you make me a better offer?"

The smile is mirrored, shark-white in the dim lamp light and certainly as desperate as Doyle claims Nathan to be. We don't negotiate with terrorists. The thing about that phrase is the we. No one knows he's here. It's been too long. He doesn't even know where here is. "If it gets me out of here," Nathan says, voice wavering, "then you're damn right I can make you a better offer. He has far more secrets than I could ever hope for. My offer is that you don't get hunted down like a dog." Like you deserve, is a sentiment that goes unvoiced but simmers in his tone.

"Liar," Doyle replies, though it's with a low chuckle under his breath, "I don't trust you that much, Mister President, I'm not an idiot you know." He pauses, his eyes narrowing a look, "You'll come after me whether or not you make any sort of deals. No. I don't want protection for me. At least not this me."

A look of resentment is carefully cast in some other direction, before Nathan's brow tenses at what Doyle has next to say, looking back at him, trying to see past the ever-present smirk. But he has trouble reading people on good days, let alone in these situations. "This you," he repeats, flatly. Time travel, who needs it. "What would you have me do for the— " His eyes close in frustration, open again. "The you here?"

"I want to be left alone," Eric states, fiercely, leaning back as that smirk fades into a frown, fingertips drumming over the arm of his chair, "I want the dogs off his trail. I'd say the witness protection program, but— " His brows lift, as he notes in tones as dry as ash, "— somehow I suspect your friends in the Company have a hold of those records, too, hmm?"

To Nathan it sounds ludicrous, that this is what's on the table, and he's silent for a short while as he takes it in. But then again— he's not dead. Because the greying, tired version of himself hasn't been able to do it yet. Maybe it matters, beyond superstition, maybe—

"You want to change your fate," he says, voice coming out far less aggressive than it has been. The corner of his mouth his touched with the tip of his tongue, mouth dry, before he talks, all gravel over volume. "Company has what records we're willing to share and vice versa. I can protect you." The brimming anger is taken over with defeat, words coming reluctant from his throat.

"Isn't that what we all want?" It's said a bit wistfully, a bit sadly, as Eric turns his head to look to the stage, "To be the masters of our own fate. I made people laugh, once…" His voice trails off, and he's silent for long moments, regarding the curtain. Then finally he turns his head to look back to Nathan, one shoulder rolling in a shrug.

"I'll see what I can do. For now, Mister President…" A hand lifts, eyes opening wider, "You have to keep your strength up."

Again, Nathan's fingers curl about the bone of the chicken leg. Dinnertime.

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