Treason and Trust


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Scene Title Treason and Trust
Synopsis And everything in between. When Tracy and the sidelined President of the United States meet to trade information and get themselves closer to righting the wrong of the future Nathan in the White House, things don't go as intended.
Date July 3, 2009

Rooftop on the Fringes of the Ruins of Midtown

On the fringes of midtown, borderline between unwanted territory and inhabited space, although no inhabitants anyone pays attention to. On this street, most stores are boarded closed, and traffic is next to nothing, even at this hour when the city is at its peak, flooded with people headed home from work and people going out for the evening. Tracy might have come out here during political appearances to show exactly how much Nathan Petrelli, Mayor Bianco, and other such faces care for the ruined city, but it might still come as a surprise that this was the chosen destination.

Nathan, too, is looking forward to a world of privilige, returning to tailored suits, power, paranoia that only people you employ have to worry about. For now, he'll make do, standing on the designated rooftop of the moment underneath a dusky sky. Vainly, he's cleaned up some for the occasion - the coat is a nice one over casual clothing, he's shaved, his hair is somewhat comb if windswept, despite the stillness of the air.

He followed her here to make sure she got in safely, from heights she doesn't know about, which is mostly why he got there first.

The steel door creaks as it's pushed open, graoning under it's own weight after a short lifetime of rain, wind, and other natural abuses. It slams shut, bouncing, the busted lock on it no longer serving any purpose. Tracy emerges, her hair done up in a very professional manner, still wearing dresses and pearls. So much has changed since she last saw Nathan Petrelli, even longer since she saw him on a rooftop very unlike this one, so soon after she joined his staff.

So very much.

"Nathan," she says his name with familiarity, but still with the respect afforded to a man who is President of the United States. She carries with her some files, tucked under her arm. Even in a place like this, her high heels seem to ring out her expensive presence as they carry her toward the Petrelli.

The presence of someone else is a welcome difference, made more so by that out of place click of her feels on the dirty concrete. Nathan turns at the sound of the door opening, and takes a few steps of approach to meet her halfway. There's something weighing down the right side of his coat, but the fabric is heavy in itself enough for this to be subtle.

"Tracy," Nathan says, responding to the salutation, a small smile spared her before his gaze is tracking downwards towards the files in his hands. His voice is immediately business-like, although not authoritarian. Curiousity present and the knowledge that there's only so much time. "What've you got?"

Tracy removes the files easily from under her arm, offering it over. "Copies of all of the files that Primatech paper had before the explosion, at least, that they had on other evolved. I thought you might be able to find some friends or enemies in there, or maybe someone with the desire and ability to take over your body." Tracy gives him a soft, sad little smile. "It's a start."

Her eyes trail over the man, not noticing the weight of his coat, but just noticing him. His hair, if he's shaved, if he's thinner. "How are you?" She asks, waiting for him to take the file and look over it, if he so desires. "Do you need anything?"

Nathan takes the files as offered, flicking them open even as she identifies what they are. Surprise shows a little in the crease of his brow, his eyes, as he scans some of the immediate papers that fall into view. "It is a start," he agrees, letting the papers whisper closed again. "Thank you." Derailed, a little, by her studiousness, but mostly her question, thinking over the response.

He's cleaned up some since she last saw him, and while he certainly seems younger than the man in the White House, he's also not eating and sleeping as easily. "I had a couple of accounts I could hit up for cash before he thought to move everything out of my reach," Nathan admits. "If you feel like donating to the cause, I wouldn't say no. Outside of…"

A glance down to the files in his hands, and he gestures a little with them. "Where'd you get these?"

"You're probably better off not knowing that, Mr. President." She says, using his old title to try and buck him up a bit. She turns, reaching into her purse, removing a wallet. From it, she pulls several hundred dollar bills and rolls them up. Then? She pulls out something else - a small bottle of good Scotch, if the label is any indication. "A little something to keep you comapny with all your new reading material," she explains, offering the bottle and the bills.

She does it all very nonchallantly, as if she were handing over a sticky note. Once he takes the items she'll lower her hand. "Also, I have an executive decision I need you to make. As far as I'm concerned, you're still the President, so I need to know which side of this new FRONTLINE development I need to be arguing for." Yes, Nathan, you're still the president. It's as close to a pep-talk as Tracy will ever get, but the worst part is that she wouldn't say it if she didn't mean it. Not like this.

The fainter lines at his eyes deepen some in a smile when the alcohol is produced, along with the money - all of which he takes, of course, and squirrels away into the deep pocket at his left side, the money tucked somewhere more secure, an inner pocket at his chest. It's the manner of which Tracy passed over such items - dutifully and without ceremony, as if passing him a pen at his request - that doesn't have him thanking her, especially as she moves on with—

That. There's a certain look of incredulity in Nathan's expression, some brand of suspicious and self-consciousness tied with a bow of doubt, although he keeps words to himself for a few seconds. It's not like he doesn't know what's going on - all he has time for is reading the news, lately.

As far as she's concerned. "Mitchell's been pushing for this thing from the start. I wanted to wait, but then, I don't know what's got them so impatient." Besides the rampant terrorism and crime. "For now— feel free to push with them. Whatever happens when I step in again, I want it to be seamless and ordinary. Fix whatever he's trying to do without attracting attention."

Tracy shakes her head. "I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than that now, Nathan. More complicated than you or Mitchell know." Somehow, she knows. No one else but she. Isn't it funny how that works. "I'm assuming you know about our work with Pinehearst and the forumla they're going to develop in order to give our soldiers abilities, as opposed to finding soldiers with abilities?" She pauses, just a moment.

"Nathan, they're offering us Gabriel Gray in exchange for unrestricted access to the registry in order to help them with the formula." That's got to be news to him. Hell it would be news to everybody. It's still news to Tracy - some part of her still can't believe that she saw him. "This wasn't a choice I was going to leave up to a fake man in the White House."

oh. Nathan's eyes bat once, twice in surprise, as the bargaining chip of the Midtown Man is put into play. For a moment, he almost forgets he's the sad orphan looking inwards with his hands up against the glass. They may as well be in the Oval Office for it matters, taking into account the administration as if, for now, Tracy were perfectly correct.

He's still the President of the United States. Even one meeting in secret in the rundown fringes of the city, booze in a pocket and a pistol in the other. "Okay," he finally says, almost an indication that yes, he's caught up. A hand raises in a sort of gesture, fingers splayed, palm open. "Sylar's head on a platter is exactly what we want, what we need. People will ask how we got it— it would do well for us to spin this as our personal achievement, not some back alley deal. We need to negotiate, and—

"I need to be back in Washington," he cuts off, mutters. "Everything's moving too fast. Look, you need to set up a meeting with— him. The President. It needs to be private and I need to know where it is ahead of time. Do you think you can do that, and stall this deal with Pinehearst until that happens?"

Tracy nods as she listens. "I can do that," she says, without hesitation. She doesn't explain how, but she just says yes. She'll duke that out with her 'Jimminy Cricket' later.

"I think I know just the place, too. It'll be arranged." Tracy knows she's good at her job, but in moments like this, she just likes to prove it. Thankfully, moments like this - she hopes - are once in a career.

"I know it will be," Nathan says, tucking the files she'd given him under his coat as if to protect against rain that isn't there. Not down here, certainly. He finally breaks his gaze from the one familiar face he's been able to talk to, lately "Thank you, Tracy. I don't think…" And that's about when his scan around lands on something, stilling his movement and his words.

It's silent, out here, but that really doesn't mean much.

"I have a question, before you go," Nathan hears himself saying, dragging his gaze back to Tracy. She might be able to sense that something about the situation has drastically changed. "How much do you trust me?"

Tracy doesn't notice whatever it is that seems to have changed Nathan's position so. But she does notice the change, tilting her head and eyeing him a bit curiously. "Enough to have met you on a roof after curfew, and enough to stand out here and plot something against the man everyone knows to be President." Technically it could be considered treason. The regular reasons, like I'm sleeping with you behind your wife's back aren't really brought up here.

"Why are you asking me that?"

"Because it's going to be very important," Nathan says, moving in closer, "for the next few seconds." There's the sound of metal against fabric, barely audible, but much more apparent is the sudden jab of cold metal beneath Tracy's jaw. The touch of the barrel of a pistol withdrawn from his pocket isn't even close to making bruises high up her throat, but firmly there, a hand out to grip onto her sleeve, though not her arm. He keeps his eyes locked on her's, as if silently willing her to stay whatever this course is.

The gun pressed against her throat seems to be making it harder for Tracy to swallow the words of trust she just murmered, but she'll get them down soon enough. "What do you think you're doing, Nathan?" She asks, streaching out her hand. Getting ready to do something that definatly is treason unless some sort of explination is forthcoming. Trust only goes so far, of course. And trust is the only reason she hasn't frozen him yet. That's certainly a great amount of trust coming from Tracy Strauss.

"It's all smoke and mirrors," Nathan assures. "And everything's a test. I'm going to assume you didn't lead them here. Because I trust you about as much as you're going to have to keep trusting me. Hear that?" And inevitably— it's not quite the sound of thunder. Beneath the ambience of distant traffic and city life, of wind above them, of their own heartbeats, there are foot steps. Nathan simply nods once, slowly. "I'm not going to hurt you. But you're gonna act like I might in about three seconds."

His hand closes tight around her arm. "But stay with me."

Tracy tilts her eyes away just listening. And after a few moments, she hears them. Her eyes dart back up toward Nathan. "You're going to owe me a very expensive dinner." She threatens, lifting her hand and tightening it on his jacket, grabbing hold of him in a rough manner - or at least, for it to appear that way. She'd rather not reveal herself to Nathan, but it's an option right now. An option that she doesn't have time to consider, because in her mind, the clock has reached zero.

Three, two, one. The countdown to three finished, she grabs his coat tighter, twisting to try and get away - but twisting on the side that he's not holding her on anyway. Flashy, but not really doing anything. She's really, really going out on a limb here.

No time to promise that she will get that expensive dinner, with all the trimmings, and he does mean that— she will have to assume it, from the flash of a smirk, because all at once, the steel door is slamming open around the time she's twisting like a cat from his grip, which stays as strong as it can. Tracy might be very familiar with the sight of Homeland Security suddenly bursting onto the scene, all black garb and shining black weaponry. Just maybe not from this side of things.

Somehow, there's no time. No time for the would-be President and the White House staffer to fall to the ground, riddled with bullets or twitching from tasers. Perhaps there's hesitation when Tracy is very much yanked in front of him. A bullet goes flying, an impossibly loud clap of sound just next to the woman's head around the time Nathan's arm is wrapping around her.

And then vertigo. A wind storm has flurried down upon their shoulders and Tracy's stomach could well be left— somewhere, oh I don't know where, try—

A few hundred feet downwards, as the two go soaring up into the sky.

Tracy's never considered herself to be a very clingy woman, but something about Nathan Petrelli makes her hold on for dear life. It might be that the man just yanked her off a roof, or that he's got a very fine ass - but most likely it's the fact that they're flying. Flying. And letting go of him means letting go of life - quite literally, this time.

The initial few seconds of vertigo fade into the initial few seconds of shock, which fade into the initial few seconds of a Communication Director's worst nightmare. Only that last part isn't going away. As if this administration didn't have enough of it's fake people, it's dead-but-not-really people, and now? People who weren't evolved last month actually are. The Evolved community would probably complain a lot less if they knew that evolved were actually running this administration…on almost every level.

The wind makes it impossible to convey any of this to Nathan, but when Tracy finally figures out which end is up? She looks down at the DHS guys, then up at Nathan, her jaw still dropped.

He'll apologise later - after they landed and before they have dinner together. For now, it's all about the flying, effortless and impossible, his arms secure and the wind cold. There's a moment of hovering, straight up from the old abandoned building, white silence that Nathan manages to add— "Hang on," as his only warning before vertical becomes horizontal, and they go zooming across the city. Second star to the right and straight on 'til— at least evening.

Down below, one of the men peels off his mask, staring up at the sky with a look of disbelief, before his mouth thins into a line. The two agents flanking him are just as mute as he pulls the radio off his arm, clicking the button and reporting down the line:

"Were we aware he could fly?"

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