Like A Bird


f_doyle_icon.gif nathan_icon.gif

Scene Title Like A Bird
Synopsis During hunting season. Doyle is true to his word, and it won't matter if Nathan is true to his.
Date May 29, 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.

The hour is the early afternoon, although it would be impossible for the sole inhabitant of this side building of the factory to realize it. There hangs no clock upon the walls of the makeshift puppet theatre, and if there was once a watch wrapped about the President's wrist… it was long since taken as better cover for the man who's taken his place. All that he knows is that it's daytime, the cracks in the old building's roof and walls slices of light into the darkness, dividing the space into compartments of shadow walled by drifting motes of glittering dust.

The door creaks open, then, adding a flash of brilliant daylight into the building. The heavy steps that pass through it could belong to Nathan's captor, or they could be someone else's as they approach from behind, wooden floorboards creaking softly with every slow step up behind the chair that he's bound to.

The hour hardly matters, to be honest, other than a vague check for how long it's been since he was brought down here. How long it will continue to be, and Nathan has a feeling that time is dwindling. Something has to give. Because he can't stay down here forever.

Can he?

Nathan's body gives a violent, panicked jerk when he realises he's not aloe, apparently having heard no door open, or any indication beyond those creaking steps, ambiguous and certain at the same time. Chains rattle and the chair shudders with it, a preternatural jerk upwards, but clipped wings can't fly very far. Everything holds true, as it's always done. A breath of pain emits from the President, head tipping back a little as the instinctive flight response makes older bruises of the same thing flare up.

Those steps come to a halt immediately behind the chair, and there's a few heartbeats of silence before a heavy sigh rasps through the air. One hand drops down to rest heavily on Nathan's shoulder, and Eric Doyle leans in around the other side, lips pursing a moment before he says in quiet, resigned tones, "Mister Petrelli… we need to have a talk."

His heart is racing just like a bird's, irrational in some ways, understandable in other's. Calming down, slowly, as equilibrium, in the most liberal of interpretations, is restored. This is normal. A shaky sigh is expelled as shaky laughter, Nathan's shoulder twitching downwards, away from the heavy clasp of Doyle's hand. "Great," he croaks out, eyes forward and head slightly bowed, as if attempting to ignore the other man's physical presence entirely.

The hand upon his shoulder lifts upwards as that shoulder twitches, fingers dangling down as if drawing a puppet up by its strings. Those unseen strings claim ownership of the mere mortal shell of the man beneath them, forcing his shoulders up, his back straight, though nerves may scream against the bruising that's remains from older struggles.

Down, then, Eric bending knee in a bit of a crouch, the hollow clack-clatter of chain tugging at his wrists. The lock comes undone with a leaden sound, tumbling to the ground in a thump of impact that stirs up dust. He steps back, straightening with a grimace as old bones weighed down with bulk protest the motion, and then sweeps one hand upwards in a scooping gesture to bring Nathan to his feet.

It's mechanical, almost. Hands to chair, press upwards, knees unbend, body tilt forward, then straighten to a proper stance. Muscles unused for some time now forced to stretch, bruising uncared for, every movement felt though it may be in defiance of his will.

"I've terminated my employment with Doctor Ray."

Pain isn't meant to be easily masked, and it isn't. Nathan's breath goes hissing through clenched teeth, brow tensing, but his body is forced along with it even as it feels like his legs could just as easily give out from under him. It's brief, fleeting. It's good to be on his feet. Less could to be held as if with strings. He relaxes into the bondage of it, a technique he's had to learn, to make things more bearable.

"You have?" he asks, voice like sandpaper. A beat, and then, "Why are you still here?" There's a hopeful waver in his voice. The politician's been drained out of him.

"Oh, he's still… hanging around here somewhere," Doyle chuckles under his breath, in the jovial tones of someone making a private joke between friends, a grin curving to his lips as he steps along in front of the President of the United States and looks him over. A hand lifts, brushing a bit of dust from one shoulder where it'd fallen from the rooftop. "There we go. You do need to look the part."

The puppeteer meets Nathan's gaze steadily, his own wide and bright with the particular sort of madness that long since coiled into Doyle's mind… and in this iteration, had a decade of isolation to worm deeper. He smiles. "Do you remember the deal we discussed?"

Nathan manages to meet his gaze, perhaps simply because he has a choice to. Or he doesn't want to find out if Doyle can decide where he looks. So obediently, he makes eye contact, even if he'd prefer to be anywhere but here, and would nod if he could. "I remember," he says. "Nothing's changed. I— " Don't beg. Some amount of sense filters in and forces himself to stop, and wait for what Doyle has to say. You do need to look the part, he'd said.

"Good boy." Doyle reaches out to lightly tap Nathan's cheek with his hand twice, like one's sainted grandmother would reward a child that spoke well, a broad smile curving his lips. "I trust that you'll remember it well. If you forget, well…" He pauses, the smile turning brittle and fading as he says more quietly, "…well, best that you remember."

Then he's pushing past, his hand sweeping through the air in a movement that brings Nathan around and then after him, a stiff-legged walk more reminiscent of a robot's than a man's. "I'd suggest you not go anywhere expected… Washington… home… but, well, it's really your choice, Mister President, isn't it?"

Out into the day they walk. The sun a brilliant beacon in the sky, after so long kept in dim illumination and darkness.

Out here, Nathan shuts his eyes for the first few steps, not that he needs to see where he's going, his limbs stiff and jerky beneath sweat-stained, dust-ruined clothes, and he looks like hell. Which fit in a little better with the musty prison he had been kept in. Pale and sickly, with the demeanor of a kicked dog, but it could be worse.

Could be much worse. He manages to open his eyes against daylight, gaze swiveling up towards open sky. "I'll lay low for a while," he confirms. "Then take back what's mine." He swallows. "Make sure the you from this time is kept safe."

"There'll be people coming here soon, they'll kill you if you're still here," Doyle notes offhandedly, "So I'd get moving, if I were you."

A few heartbeats pass.

"Oh." He chuckles, rolling his eyes as he turns back to Nathan with a broad grin, "Right. Silly me, forgetting something like that…" A dismissive sweep of his hand, the strings cut. The man's body his, once more, muscles responding to his will - however beaten it might be from the ordeal. "Now." Serious, the look in the puppeteer's eyes. "Run, Petrelli."

It's unexpected, despite his words, Nathan's knees promptly giving in a way far too fey for his liking, freedom feeling like palms grazing on the ground when he topples forward under the release of strings. He's crumpled, for a moment, almost as if lost without chains to hold him in place or Doyle's influence creating steel rods through his body, a wary look snatched up towards the puppeteer—

Run. Nathan pulls himself in a desperate, wearied movement of limbs, leaving a track in gravel and earth with one kick of a foot before he's launching himself up into the sky with the sound of cutting air, the breeze left in his wake making dead leaves swirl.

No thank you, no goodbye, not expected. A sonic boom sounds in the sky.

Eric Doyle's head lifts to watch the contrail torn through the nearest cloud as Nathan Petrelli departs from the scene, the faintest of smiles curving his lips. Then he calmly reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of the phones that they all acquired, back when they first arrived, to keep in touch.

He scrolls down through the contact numbers, thumb pausing above the one that belonged to the version of Nathan that came back with them. Chances are, he still has it somewhere, though probably not on him. Maybe he'll eventually check the voice mail. The number's dialed.

"Hi, Nathan," he speaks into the voice mail as it beeps over, his voice cheerful, "This is Eric. The other you is on the loose out there somewhere. You might want to use all those government contacts of yours to find him."

Click. The phone's slid back into a pocket, and the puppeteer smiles up to the sky.

"Run, Petrelli," he tells the uncaring heavens, "It's your turn to know what it feels like to be hunted."

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