Author: Cadence PM
Peter spends more time "connecting" with Noah and asks a little advice...Rated: Fiction K - English - Peter P. & Noah B./HRG - Words: 1,536 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 6 - Published: 10-18-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5452555
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Characters/Pairings: Peter, Noah; implied, one-sided Peter/Emma
Warnings: mild, oblique baseball nerdiness (remember, S4 is in fall 2007; all references are to that season of baseball)
Spoiler alert: mild spoilers through "Hysterical Blindness"
Summary: Peter spends more time "connecting" and asks a little advice...
Noah very kindly, in his own estimation, did not question Peter when he appeared at his door, windblown and mildly distressed. He instead took the cartons of Chinese food from him, depositing them on his unstable Ikea table with only a lifted eyebrow.
Peter returned the look sheepishly, going to wash his hands and search out plates Noah did not have.
"I wouldn't bother," Noah recommended. Peter just nodded, thankfully without any sort of judgment. Noah wouldn't enjoy pointing out that kind of hypocrisy, anyway.
"So," Peter began, sidling up to the table and opening cartons. Delicious, not quite familiar scents wafted out. Noah peered into the containers suspiciously. "We have guo bao rou, jia cheng liang cai, lao cu bo cai , and gan bian you yu."
"Tell me you didn't run all the way to China and back."
Peter took a moment from shaving the splinters off his chops sticks to look up at Noah, bangs hanging ridiculously in his face.
"What? No. They don't even do the little boxes in China. This is from an authentic little dongbei place I know in Chinatown."
"Of course," Noah said, splitting his own chop sticks and picking up a carton full of what looked startling like sweet and sour pork. He plucked a crispy, stickily coated piece out and chewed thoughtfully. Yes, it was sweet and sour pork. How odd that it was one of the more authentic dishes America had reverse engineered.
They ate for a moment in silence, handing containers back and forth to eat other as they stood. Noah felt a certain existential displacement in the action, but he managed to forebear.
"Football?" he eventually asked, weight of the empty, quiet apartment getting to him. Peter looked up at him, blinking and Noah jerked his head toward the apartment-standard TV.
"Oh," Peter said, "Then I guess..."
They resettled on Noah's couch, settling the boxes warily between them. A coffee table would help, Noah considered, but that suggested a second visit. Perhaps future visits from others. Guests, coffee and a place to put each.
"So, today's... Sunday?" Peter ventured as Noah clicked through snow to find the right channel.
"Right, right. Sometimes." Peter exhaled. It sounded very like a sigh and, despite himself, Noah felt a twinge of concern. "Sometimes the shifts blur together. Tomorrow is a double and yesterday was a double, and the days of the week don't mean much anymore."
"You work too much," Noah said blandly, squinting through the glare on his glasses at the TV. He still hadn't found ESPN. He wasn't even sure he got ESPN. Paying for cable had seemed like a flagrant waste of money when he moved into the apartment, if one he could afford, and now he couldn't for the life of him remember if he'd decided it was worth it or not.
"That's what my mother said."
"She's right." Noah pressed harder on the remote, irritation working its way to the surface. Where was the damnable channel? "You should listen to her."
"I may not have a choice in it," Peter said, interrupting himself to say, "Go back one!"
Noah did. It was not, however, football. Baseball. He glanced sidelong at Peter, amused to see how his face lit up. Shrugging, he sat back again on the couch and reached for a box of spinach and peanuts.
"Never did care that much for football," Noah said.
Peter nodded vaguely, entirely focused on the three-two pitch heading toward Todd Helton. Fouled off.
The pitcher set up again, batter knocking dirt from his cleats outside of the box. Peter took the opportunity to frown over at Noah.
"I thought football was a religion in Texas."
"I'm lapsed," Noah commented dryly. "So you root for the...?"
"Mets," Peter supplied.
"Yeah, well, maybe next year," Peter said, trailing off in the wistful tone of a perennially disappointed fan. He pointed his chop sticks to their screen. "Looks like this might be their year. An expansion team."
Noah nodded and watched in boredom for several more minutes, feeling his calculated composure slipping by the second.
"Look, Peter, it's not that I don't appreciate the food or the company, but why are you here?" Again, he added mentally.
Peter turned fully on the couch, setting down his box of... whatever. Noah wished the Company had spent a little less time considering the feelings of the Chinese government and a little more time sending in agents. He was bothered by feeling unfooted by a mere food choice.
"I need some advice."
Noah raised an eyebrow. "And you came... to me."
"I did what you said. I talked to my mother."
"Good for you," Noah said slowly. It sounded very much like his work was already done.
"And she ignored me. I tried to reach out to a woman at work..."
Noah groaned out loud, covering his eyes with his hand.
"Romantic advice? Peter, I'm getting a divorce. I drove my wife away from me through years of bad priorities, secrecy, and abuse of abilities. I am not the man to ask.
"And," he added, feeling the rebuke was more than warranted, "I already have a son."
Peter, while ostensibly listening to the outburst, had folded his legs up beneath him and laid his arm along the back of the couch, cheek propped up by a fist.
"Are you done?" he asked, eyes wide and sarcastic and doing very little to undermine Noah's point about not needing another teenager in his life. The fact that his son was in California and had never been the most prominent feature in Noah's life was wholly irrelevant.
"The woman, Emma, it turned out she had an ability."
Internally, Noah perked up.
"And you took it accidentally?"
Peter glared. "Why do you assume it was accidental?"
"We documented your ability control rating at twenty-seven percent, Peter. Can you honestly tell me it's improved?"
"Do you even want to hear what the ability is?" Peter asked irritably, deflecting the question. Noah nodded. "She has some kind of synaethesia, seeing sound as colors and...." All of Peter's defensiveness vanished from his voice, his face. His eyes were distant. Romantic advice, indeed, Noah thought wryly.
"It was the most amazing thing I've seen. But," Peter paused to wet his lips, hitch in his breath sounding painful, "when I got her power I lost the speed."
Noah furrowed his brow in puzzlement. That explained why the Chinese was from New York, but...
"Then how did you get here?"
"I teleported," Peter said, blithely rushing on to say, "But the point is, I connected with Emma. Or tried to, and it cost me a power that I used to save lives."
"And you want to see her again," Noah concluded with a sigh. He, admittedly, did not know Peter terribly well. The Companies files had been notably incomplete when it came to the Petrelli family, and Noah had heard enough from other agents to know better than to pry. However, he knew enough to realize the uniqueness of this situation. Only Peter would get himself in this kind of bind and only Peter would still manage to feel guilty over it.
"You realize this is insane, don't you?"
Peter bristled at the word, and Noah tried another tack.
"Peter, I know you're doing good work, and that you are saving lives, but you can't make this entirely about you. It is not up to you to make sure everyone gets a happy ending, and especially not to make sure everyone gets a happy ending but you."
"I just don't want anyone to die."
"No one does," Noah said quietly. "But it still happens. You can only do so much. Maybe taking super powers off the table would be better in the long run. You'll just be another paramedic. A normal paramedic.
"My advice? Eat your vegetables, watch the game, and call the girl when you get home."
Peter nodded stiffly, eyes shuttered and downcast as he processed. For the moment, perhaps, Noah thought he'd had an impact. And wasn't that what the new Noah was about? He reflected on that idea, cautiously allowing the warm satisfaction of seeing Peter slowly turn his life around build in his heart.
Of course, satisfaction or no, Noah certainly wouldn't be betting against Peter turning his double tomorrow into a triple in another fit of guilt. Small steps.
Much later – World Series speculated and expounded upon, faults of the Red Sox and Yankees both tired and put to bed – Peter looked up from where he was stacking empty containers to ask:
"Hey, Noah. Do you know anything about sign language?"