The Eightfold Path, Part VI



Scene Title The Eightfold Path, Part VI
Synopsis What do you owe the world?
Date June 17, 1987

"Sea birds and crashing waves are nature's symphony."

Tall, limestone cliffs abut the gently crashing surf. Gulls wheel overhead, some perched on a natural outcropping of rock eroded to resemble the arch of an ancient doorway. Footprints mar the otherwise pristine sands leading down from stairs cut into the limestone rock, toward the lapping shoreline, where a white-haired man dressed all in black stands in contemplation of the glittering ocean spread out before him. Tired eyes divert from the horizon to the side, considering the sound of approaching footsteps.

"Don't you agree?"

Durdle Door, Dorset


June 17th


As a warm breeze comes in off the water, the white-haired man turns to regard a young man in a crisp, white buttondown shirt carrying his blazer over one shoulder, the collar hooked in two fingers. He's not quite ten, but dressed like a little man. "Hi Mr. Renautas," the young man says, shoes clicking on the limestone steps as he makes a quick approach. "Dad's been looking everywhere for you." That sentiment earns the young man a smile from Mr. Renautas, who smooths down the front of his vest and plucks a watch out of the front pocket, chain dangling in the breeze. The cover of the pocketwatch has a compass rose engraved on it, and when it opens with a soft click, Mr. Renautas exhales the most faint of sighs.

"I suppose I'm late, aren't I?" he says with a hesitant smile, slowly closing the pocket watch and tucking it back where it belongs in his vest. "Before we go," comes with a gesture to hook an arm around the young man's shoulders, "I wanted to ask you something. Now seems as good a time as any." Blue eyes drift over to the young man walking nervously beside him now. "What do we owe the world?"

The question is so large and abstract that the young man gapes for a moment, then stares up at Mr. Renautas in silent uncertainty. Renautas smiles, squeezing the young man's shoulder before taking a step away from him. "If you ask the great philosophers of the world, they can't agree. The existentialists like Kierkegaard and Sartre would say we only owe the world what our personal experiences tell us. If we do not feel that we owe anything, then we do not." Renautas turn shis blue eyes back on the young man. "Immanuel Kant might say it is a moral imperitive to do our best for the world, to give all that we can because we, by extension of being human, have a responsibility to leave the world in a better state than what we found it in."

The young man still looks on with vacant eyes, unknowing of his own answer. He has an inkling, but Mr. Renautas' presence is such that it feels as though no answer could be right. That anything said to him would be picked apart like the gulls would pick apart his lunch had he brought it down to the beach.

"I consider myself a consequentialist," Renautas goes on to say. "Demosthenes once said, every advantage in the past is judged in the light of the final issue." He raises one brow. "That is to say, we must judge our actions by their consequences. Is an action right or wrong? That depends on who the action harms, and who it benefits." Renautas walks back to the young man after wandering away a few paces, and his hand finds the boy's shoulder again. "In that case, the question of what do we owe the world becomes an imperative based on what we can offer to the world."

It's in this moment the young man realizes the question wasn't meant to be answered. This was, in Mr. Renautas' mind, a teaching moment.

"Those of us who have more to offer, owe more in return to the world.. because we are the ones who can carry that weight." A smile slowly spreads across Renautas' face, and he looks from the boy to another, older figure standing at the top of the limestone stairs with the sun at his back. Mr. Renautas gently taps the boy on the shoulder, exhaling a deep sigh through his nose.

"Why don't you go look for some sea glass on the beach," Renautas says to the boy at his side, releasing his hand from his shoulder and gently tapping his back. "Run along, Peter." His tired blue eyes focus on the man at the top of the stairs.

"Your father and I need to talk."

Some Time Later…

"I'm sorry, Arthur, but you have my answer."


Walking along the cliffs of Dorsett, Mr. Renautas offers a weary, blue-eyed look up to an equally tired Arthur Petrelli. The two men are born worn down by time, but neither seems willing to concede the point and admit that it might be time to rest. Arthur, especially.

"Walter," Arthur says with a furrow of his brows, "we need you right now. The Company needs you right now. Whether it's here in the UK, or back home in the US. You're a voice of reason and— "

"I thought Charles was the voice of reason." Walter Renautas interjects, offering a pointed look to Arthur that draws out an exasperated sigh.

Arthur waves one hand in the air. "Charles is stubborn and he's been listening to Kaito too much. Did you know that they've been contemplating plans about coming forward?" Both of Arthur's dark brows rise slowly. "About revealing us to the world. You know how dangerous that is. And you know how easily they could convince the others if it came down to a vote."

Walter's lips press together in a thin line, head slowly shaking. "Arthur, when I told you I was retiring last year, I meant it. I didn't meant that I wanted to be dragged in to every squabble between you all, or that I wanted you interrupting my time with my husband and family. I don't have many years left… I don't want to spend them fighting your battles."

"Is that what you did?" Arthur snaps back and Walter closes his eyes and gently rubs one hand at his brow. "Because I distinctly remember you not fighting my battles when the others cut back my research on the Formula. That's the only leverage we're going to have if Charles and Kaito have their way and the world learns about us."

Arthur's plea falls flat on Walter. "Is it?" The old man's biting rejoinder silences Arthur entirely. Walter knows it's a lie. Arthur knows it's a lie. Neither outright says as much to the other, for politeness' sake. "I remember a day in 1967, two days before Nathan was born, when we stood on the roof of Charles' penthouse and you told me, kings are only as noble as the people they govern, and if we are kings to humanity how noble is our reign if its legacy is nothing but bloodshed?" Both of Walter's thin brows raise, creasing his already wrinkled brow further.

Arthur shakes his head and looks away. "I was a boy," he dismisses.

"You still are," Walter gently insists. Arthur glowers at the notion. "Here you are, twenty years later, and still coming to a tired old man for advice. But you're not listening to the advice I'm trying to give you." The pair stop their walk, and Arthur turns to Walter expectantly. "You need to fight your own battles," he says with a hand coming up to Arthur's shoulder, "and you need to own the consequences of them."

Arthur swats the hand away and takes a step back from Walter. "I'll remember this," he says to Walter, brows furrowed. "When the time comes, and you need my help. I'll remember that you said no."

The threat pulls a frown down across Walter's mouth. He looks away from Arthur to the grass and softly says, "I hope you do remember this day…" has a weight and sadness to it. "I'm sorry." He looks back up, then over to the horizon where cliffs meet the ocean.

"I suppose we'll see about that," is the last thing Walter Renautas ever heard from Arthur Petrelli. For when he turns back to look at his old friend…

…he was gone.

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