Author: Selena PM
Peter has more than one reason for letting himself fall.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Family - Peter P. & Nathan P. - Words: 2,845 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 4 - Published: 08-31-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3758524
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Characters and situations owned by NBC.
Spoilers: For the pilot and Six Months Ago.
Thanks to: Wychwood, for beta-reading.
Dedicated to: 121212, for inspiration and picspams!
It's ridiculously easy to get on top of a building, whether or not you have any right to be there. It has occurred to Peter that he could have just returned to Charles; the view of the Deveaux building is as spectacular as they come, and Charles is his patient, he has every reason in the world to be there, day or night. But it's not what he wants.
What he wants: that's the question. He's up here, it's cold, early October in New York is way too late in the year to expect anything else, and there's no reason to wait, not really. He has seen Isaac Mendez' painting, it was the last thing he needed to make up his mind: he'll do it. He'll trust his dreams. He'll jump, he'll fly. No reason to wait, is there?
Of course there is.
"Well, it is," Nathan said when Peter mentioned their parents' reaction to him. Nathan was helping him move into his dorm; Peter was starting college at NYU that fall.
"But that's not why you're doing it," Peter said, utterly convinced, and watched Nathan carry the box with Peter's favourite books. "Well, not the main reason anyway. You do it because that way, you won't defend people with a worse reputation than John Gotti. You'll prosecute murderers and rapists and drug dealers and people who employ murderers and rapists and drug dealers. Not keep them out of jail. You'll be doing the right thing."
"This isn't about Dad, Peter," Nathan said. "Or about being a hero. You know I want to run for public office one day."
"Which means you want to make things better for the public," Peter said, undeterred, and Nathan put the box down to ruffle Peter's hair.
"Can I have that in writing for the first time you call me a tool for fascism once the D.A. has me prosecute a murderer belonging to an ethnic minority?"
Peter ducked and joked back, and the afternoon passed with banter and making Peter's dorm room look mostly like he wanted it to, even if he could tell Nathan thought he was way too old for the Buffy poster. Their parents weren't mentioned again. All jokes aside, Peter was still convinced he was right about Nathan, even if Nathan himself didn't know it.
Mom and Dad being wrong about Nathan was just a side benefit.
Yet Peter is up on a roof, waiting for the rising sun, and for other things, and not with his patient, or with his patient's daughter, or her overdosed lover, all of whom could use both a nurse and a friend. He is aware that there is a certain contradiction here, but not really. It can't go on the way it has. He can't. He's been trying to figure it out for months, what to make of the dreams, of that sense of being just half alive, how to get back that sense of purpose and joy he had only six months ago, when he graduated, because this way, he really can't be of help to anyone, can he? He needs to come alive again. And there's really just one way.
"Darling, that's very sweet and very impractical," his mother said. His father just said no, and told him he shouldn't pester Nathan with those ideas once Nathan arrived home. Which showed you what his father knew. Peter didn't say anything about Kosovo refugees when Nathan got home. He was too happy to have him back. What he did was to ask Nathan to go to the summer house at Cape Cod despite it being too late in the year for that, because he knew Nathan liked it there but wouldn't suggest it on his own; Nathan didn't want to be thought of as someone needing to recover from doing his duty. Nathan needed excuses sometimes, and Peter provided them. Just as predictably, their mother was too bound up in her charities to leave New York, and their father, after one very uncomfortable day, left for business in Atlantic City. Which made for a week with just the two of them, and it was perfect.
Peter waited until the fourth day before he asked Nathan about the refugees.
Peter watches people die all the time, and he watches their grieving families. It makes him feel increasingly empty, because he can't help but compare. He doesn't miss his father. He should at least grieve for lost opportunities, but it's not really that, either; what he misses are things the way they used to be before Dad died.
"You don't mean to tell me," his father said, "that the boy actually can pay for an apartment that size with hospital wages."
"He thinks he can," Nathan said, sounding carefully neutral. "And he is working, Pa. He clocks more hours than I do."
His father sighed. "Nathan," he said, "if you keep indulging your brother by paying for his expenses, and he doesn't even notice because he's still so damn unrealistic about everything, Peter will never learn to be self-sufficient."
"He's young," Nathan said.
"He's twenty-five," his father replied, and changed the subject to an impending decision by the Supreme Court. After a while, Peter managed to get away, unseen. He wondered whether he was ashamed or embarrassed to discover that what he had assumed was his rent, paid by his own work, was actually just a small percentage, and that Nathan was providing the rest, and decided he wasn't. He would have been mortified if it had been Dad or Mom, true. But not Nathan. Because Nathan doing it meant Nathan did it for him, not because a Petrelli shouldn't live sub-par.
And then he talks to Nathan again, and Nathan is there and isn't, Nathan puts an arm around him like he used to but keeps up the Candidate Petrelli façade, and there is an invisible wall of glass between them. It has taken Peter until this night to figure out what to do about it.
"Sometimes," Nathan said. They were in his apartment – which might have been small if one was used to mansions but was luxurious if one compared it to other New York apartments, and that was one reason why Peter hadn't figured out the actual price/size relationship until it was pointed out to him -, and Nathan was going through legal paperwork while Peter was supposed to be studying as well. He had dropped out of college once he figured out that he really didn't want to be a lawyer, travelled around the world and then started to study again after deciding on nursing. It didn't leave for much spare time, but he didn't want to go through weeks without seeing Nathan, so he did some of his textbook preparation at Nathan's.
"Do you wish you'd stayed?"
"I don't think that has anything to do with," Nathan glanced at the book Peter was holding, "appendectomy."
"Yes, Mom," Peter said, and Nathan rolled his eyes. Peter grinned, but went back to studying. After a while, he noticed Nathan had stopped turning pages and was staring out of the window, with a somewhat wistful look at his face.
"You could still stop being a lawyer, you know," Peter said impulsively. "I mean, I'm sure you're good at it. You're good at everything. But, you know. If there are things you like better. You could still do those."
Nathan shook his head, and started reading again, making notes every now and then. But he never denied what Peter had said, and Peter never forgot the expression on Nathan's face.
The sun has risen, and down there is Nathan, cell phone still in hand, sounding impatient, but he's there. Which means that this is the time. Peter is going to fall, he's going to fly, and by doing so, he's going to shatter that invisible wall between them, because he's going to shatter all of Nathan's certainties, all those rules inherited from their parents which Nathan uses to fence himself in. Nathan won't be able to go back to being someone else afterwards. He'll become himself again, just as Peter will be. They'll live again.
Nathan yells something at him, and Peter steps forward into empty air, eyes fixed on his brother, far below. The earth rushes towards him, and no matter what he tells his body, it doesn't slow down or do anything remotely like flying. There isn't much time to be scared, though, because there is Nathan, up there, with him, with him again, Nathan holds him, they're both caught up in air and flight and Peter knows that no matter what happens next, this was worth it.