Odd Men Out


hector_icon.gif nathan_icon.gif

Scene Title Odd Men Out
Synopsis One man speaks to a prisoner, over tequila.
Date December 4, 2009

Argentina: Cerro de Hierro Negro

Clang. Clang is approximately the sound the metal door makes when Hector shuts it behind himself. Not for the first time this month, or even this week. Not the first time he has brought along what appears to be a bottle of tequila either. It sloshes with a distinct kind of alcoholic tranquility in its tall and narrow bottle, an understated glug playing itself out after the more sinister collection of whirrrrs and moist mandible clicks retreating away from the aforementioned door into the bleak blend of shadow that currently defines (and has always defined) the span of hollowed out rock beyond President Petrelli's iron barred cage.

Hector is in a black suit today. Very practical if not for the dress shirt open beneath it, which is a particularly flagrant and bloody shade of sangria. His hair looks to have been recently frosted (I think, is the word) with highlights and looks nice, although the odds are pretty good that it would look a lot nicer under sunlight rather than under the single receded white bulb that denotes the interior of Nathan's oval office from other, emptier dead ends within Svartalfheim. Of which there are undoubtebly many.

"Wake up," he says, in a tone that by itself would not be all that obnoxious save for the fact that he then says it three more times: "Wake up, wake up, wake up," with the only readily apparent motivation to comply being that, "I've brought tequila."

Every now and then, a man needs to go on a vacation, sit back, and take stock of his life. This is kind of like that, in that Nathan has a lot of time to think. Or not think. His back turned to the barred half of his cell, head rested on folded arm, he rests dreamlessly to conserve energy for goodness knows what. At around the third wake up, his back tenses and his head lifts to slice a glance behind him. Something in that man's tone indicates that Iago isn't looming up behind him, and the uneven pace of the man's gait never reached his ears.

Pulling himself around to sit up, Nathan works on getting to his feet. For all the good it did him, the BDU camo clothes are current dust ridden, stained, and unpresidential, as is the five o'clock a couple of weeks from before shadow. "Tequila?" is asks, in a tone that says, is that all?

Personal offense. That's first and foremost when Hector draws himself up near the cell's opposite wall to round himself and look Nathan over somewhat unappreciatively in the face of a lack of appreciation. Yes, says the hardened knit to his brow, that is all you entitled prick. Still. Necessary pause for irritable dramatics aside, he clinks a pair of shotglasses out of his trouser pocket and seats himself deliberately (punctually) down upon the hard wooden slat of a lone bench. It's bolted into the wall, utterly immobile, and just wide enough for three to sit on, including the tequila.

"Yes, well. We're fresh out of jelly donuts and Iago keeps count of the ice cream cakes to ensure that I'm not taking more than my fair share." A dry sniff later, he's unscrewed the metal bottle cap and set to pouring — very carefully, so as not to drip on his trousers, which were expensive. "You're looking rougeish."

Rubbing his face, Nathan eyes the tequila with a dubious squint, but he's approaching. There would be worse things to try and coax him with - genuine South American tequila is up there with a decent whiskey. "Great," is the half-hearted response to Hector's assessment, now eyeing the man in all his prim and proper glory with something like great distaste before— well. Before Nathan has a choice between hovering (not literally) several feet away, or sitting down. He takes the latter.

Brings with him the smell of unkempt hostage. One rough hand goes out, fingernails still caked a little from jungle grime from when he was exposed to it, instead of here, and picks up a slender shot glass. "What's the occasion?" Then a guess; "Worked out what to do with me?"

"No occasion," drawls Hector, with a note of distraction when he lifts the bottleneck between shot glasses. Beyond the cage door, something has set to pacing. A few steps here, a tap or scrape of talons against rock there. Then he's finished and the bottle is set down and so is Nathan. The stout Englishman takes up his own glass in turn, offering it out with carefully raised pinkie and index fingers for a close-range toast. If the smell offends him, and it probably does, he is well-bred enough not to show it in his face.

"I suppose there is a thing with the United States Government sending teams in to spy on us or neutralize the site or something of that nature but we knocked off most of them." Cheers! "So far as a conclusive answer about what to do with you goes, I recommend you enjoy the downtime while you still can."

Nathan isn't offering up a toast to that. His dark brown gaze fixes on the other man with all the focus of someone who would direly like to plant a fist in the face he's eyeing. Instead, he glances at the ceiling, and then ssslllides back his shot of tequila with practiced ease, and his back comes to rest in a curve against the wall the bench is bolt to. Fluorescent lights are more or less the norm and buzz in his eyes.

"Do you think this can maintain?" he asks the ceiling, or presumably Hector, for the simple fact he's the only other living thing here. Flies don't usually make it this far. The clicking, tapping sounds of something keeping guard is, as ever, ignored. "This set up. You're gonna run out of mountain if you think you can just keep burying yourselves alive, hiding."

"Who can say? The Nazis did very well for themselves in Argentina," and on that note, Hector knocks his own shot back, no less gracefully for all that he may be overshadowed here in terms of overall physical fortitude. "The government was even aware of their presence and monitored them without intervention. Mengele used his real name in banking. In correspondence. There are boxes and boxes," he's distracted by the act of pouring a refill for Nathan and then himself, "of shrink-wrapped papers in Brazil held behind locked doors."

"Of course, he wasn't doing much of anything sinister by the time he made it down here. Sulking about the state of things and doing a lot've swimming, mainly." There's a hot ringing in his ears all the way up from his gut and he blinks against it, blue eyes very nearly warm in their companionable check for similarly delayed reactions in his new compadre.

Nathan likes the tequila more than Hector, and there's perhaps a nihilist ease with which he downs the second shot. Either he's getting drunk or poisoned, but the latter seems unlikely due to there being no reason a gun can't be put to the back of his head— or even the front of it— and the trigger squeezed. Like a rat on a wheel, he's gone over every possible possibility there is in regards to being President, and being here—

And tequila just isn't a bad idea. The glass comes down with a clink. "Sending teams to spy or neutralise sounds like intervention to me. You gonna sit here and wait, fend off the wolf on the door, or should you consider doing something about it on your own?"

"The Argentenian Government did not take steps to intervene. I should have clarified — very sorry. The Mossad was here, of course, in one form or another, but they since seem to have lost some of their…bite." Whuff, tequila is powerful stuff, and with two shots down the pipe, Hector draws the bottle into a sit on his knee, apparently requiring a moment to recover before he sets up another round.

"Anyway, if King of Argentina did know the United States was here I have a feeling he'd be shitting out've his tits so I must confess I feel the 'wolf' at our door is more of a boston terrier…sized problem." There he sighs, shoulders sagged into the start of a slump while he peers drearily at the cage's barred front. "We killed all've the ones in uniforms but there's a band of as of yet unidentified riff raff parading around the valley with local troublemakers."

Air funnels cynical through a flare of nostrils, mouth tight shut in a line. It's the unidentified riff raff that you have to worry about, Steel, but if Nathan has true faith in that sentiment, he'd also have the heart to put it to voice. They feed and water him, but not enough for the impact of tequila to be without an edge. His head settles back against the wall, until such a time as when Hector feels good to go for another shot.

"Kids these days. Always on your lawn."

"Some of them are kids. Were kids." Untimely death does generally require the use of past tense, doesn't it? Uncomfortable in the midst of such lines of thought, Hector is still for several beats longer before he tips the bottle aside once more. One for him, one for el presidente.

"Iago wants me to arm the sentries with projectiles. And I think Rosco's been using the television satellite for target practice again; reception last night was very poor. I could probably have a black and white set brought in here, you know."

Nathan isn't quick to down the next one, but he does pick it up before anyone can change their minds. Drink sharing could be merrier than it is. For now, it's a task undertaken as grimly as Nathan accepts the news of dead soldiers with the knowledge that he knew a guy who could have seen it coming. He swallows around a dry throat, studies the slender shot glass with a bleary gaze, which switches, red eyed, to Hector.

Dislike is narrow in both his eyes and his voice, despite his words. "I'd rather a key. An open sky. I'm the President of the United States, you could— " A hitch in his words, more thanks to drink than uncertainty. "You could do well for yourself."

"Mr. President," says Hector, more after the fashion of twenty-one year old secretaries in short skirts than forty year old British retired Department of Defense engineers and — you know. He smiles sidelong to himself as he pours round numero four, foxily more than he is strictly sly: "Are you trying to bribe me?"

He asks the pouring process, really, rather than Nathan, attention focused down, down between them so that he doesn't spill. And he doesn't! Spill. Not even when he exchanges bottle for shot glass a little carelessly, if not so carelessly that he takes his hand off said bottle where Petrelli could sweep it up and clout him over the head with it. "I have done well for myself. Am doing well. Maybe living under a rock suits me."

"Suits insects just fine too," Nathan agrees, almost cheerily, if not for the weight of his own situation dragging his tone down to sarcasm and bitterness. Tequila, back down the hatch, mouth wiped with the back of his hand as he breathes out alcoholic fumes. "Money. Protection. If you think Iago Ram— Ramirez is going to provide you with anything in the long run, I mean, you're sort of the odd one out, don't you think?"

One bristly eyebrow raises up at this query, before Nathan directs his gaze towards the ceiling once more. "Do you really wanna die in Argentina, Steel?"

"I'd rather die free in Argentina than in federal prison having trusted an American politician to keep his word on something. I am a genius, you know. You'll have to lie better than that." Black humor buffed out low in his voice at Nathan's expense, he too settles enough to rest his head against the cool stone of the wall, stark suit and red shirt positively dashing against slate grey veined with darker metal at his back. He might have even color coordinated.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility.

This time when he pours he does spill — just a couple've drops — but enough to make him frown all the same. "I'm not half as odd out as you are on account've I'm not an elected official who s…who has sort've. Jet engines in his legs. You know what they say about pointed fingers."

"So we're both odd men out. I fly," Nathan concedes, drowsily watching the ritual of shot glass pouring. In mirror, he frowns along with the sight of spilled tequila, but there's no crying over it. "And an elected official. No news comin' out of the States about a missing President, so you gotta figure— " He lifts up his shot glass, contemplatively weaves it around. "There's more to it than that. You're the genius — you'd be able to figure out how this is an advantage to you, regardless of any promises I can possibly make."

"I suppose you weren't really elected," Hector goes on to drag out as if he hasn't really heard, and there is a conspirital slant to the way he leans his shoulder over far enough to bump Nathan's once he's taken the shot. Either he managed to miss that blatant dislike earlier or he doesn't care or the president is still better company than what he's grown accustomed to here however many meters underground.

Unfortunately, once the shoulder is there, it doesn't seem likely to budge, Nathan upright and Hector at something like a seventy degree angle sloped over into him. "How did you know?"

Bump. Nathan's other hand goes out to tolerantly brace himself against bench when Hector leeeans and comes to rest against him. Which means his other arm is trapped a little, folded to his side with a stout Englishman resting on his shoulder. Tequila goes over the lip of the glass a little, drops unfelt on jungle-dirt stained pants. It remains gripped between fingers, full, hovering awkwardly.

"It didn't take three whole guesses," is a wry, weary response. "Takes one to know one. Not just Evolved, I mean— "

And now, Nathan unkindly shoulders out of the way of Hector, getting to his swaying feet and taking a few steps from the bench and the man upon it. "Assholes who think they can hide what they are to save themselves. Except where I'm from, they won't brand my face or shoot me in the back of the head. You, though… you're screwed."

Rather than tip completely over at the evacuation of established support, Hector leans back to right himself again, legs crossed and arms crossed and head tipped back. He has at this point most definitely abandoned his grip on the bottle, but assuming Nathan is really interested in slithering his way into some kind of unlikely union here, he would do well not to slap him in the face with it.

"I dunno about that, Ssssenator. Sounds like there are quite a few people in America who'd do you in the back of the head if they had the knowledge I do. And the chance." But there hasn't been anything in the news about him missing, has there? And it's been weeks. If not months. Steel's nose rankles as if he's only just now begun to wonder at why, but he can't be buggered to ask when it seems precisely like the sort of thing he should alread know.

He rubs at his eye and checks his watch instead, lax enough to look as though he belongs better inside the cell than he does out. "You just don't want to die down here."

"Yeah. That's right." Acid in the President's voice, now, veering a look back at Hector before he's tipping back that next shot of tequila, pressing the back of his hand to his mouth as the world sways not a moment later. It's tempting, to send the shot glass hurdling towards the wall, but how many more impotent gestures of rage can a long term prisoner make before they satsify nothing?

Nathan goes to lean, instead, against the closed, barred door. "Why'd you come down here?"

"I'm supposed to be keeping tabs on you," as a reply is glumly insubstantial, as if it's miserable for him that Nathan even knows to wonder when here he thought he'd been doing such a wonderful job of being an evil oppressor.

Hector is, of course, intelligent enough to rethink his own resentment when his eyes happen to drift past the neck of his tequila bottle, but he'd rather be glum than reasonable and so logic is quick to pass. In the end, he tips himself off approximately one half an extra shot and then screws the cap back on (his third try) so that he can begin to think about standing up.

He nods, once, and then takes his weight back off the door enough to pace forward. With the glass pinched between fingers at the rim, he offers it back out for the man to take on his way. "Then get out," Nathan says, quietly, with only a little sway to his stance. No need to say that company in the monotonous loneliness is, actually, somewhat welcome, but disappointment winds as warm as alcohol through his blood stream. "I'll be here. Same Bat time, same Bat channel." He has sons - one is nine.

"Pfffhh," says Hector. Which is really just him trying to breathe out all the air shored up in his lungs without it sounding like a sigh once he is up on his feet to where he can readily accept Nathan's empty glass. He does accept it too, mainly because it's there and held in such a way that his hand reaches up automatically to grasp after it once its twin has been tucked away and the bottle's slung low against the side of his leg. Slosh. "Always, then?" confirmed in droll neglect of any deeper conclusions that might be drawn from Batman references out've a kidnapped president, Dr. Steel does as he is told. Fffor the cell door he travels in a mostly straight line, bare fingers curled 'round to grace a pad invisible upon the locking mechanism's opposite side. It beeps; the lock rolls over. Long beams draw themselves out of floor and ceiling alike to allow door to roll aside enough for this Vanguard operative to weave through.

It closes again at his heels, and he's off with a slurry mutter, leaving Nathan to his lonesome and the loathesome insectoid clicking of a presence that is only very occasionally visible as a pair of perfectly round yellow eyes in the dark.

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