Five Reasons for Love – Prologue

Synopsis: Why does Nathan love Peter? Here are five reasons...

Disclaimer: I do not own Heroes, because my name is not Tim and my last name is not Kring.

Nathan didn't particularly like his brother when he was born. By age 11, Nathan had already planned the rest of his life as an only child, he was to do what his father did, and make his father proud of him. He was the pride of his parents, the one and only heir to the Petrelli line. He knew his place, as did his Mother and Father. Life was simple, and predictable, and Nathan liked it that way.

This all changed one night during dinner. Nathan had just finished announcing his newly given position as captain of his baseball team when his Mother cleared her throat and the two male Petrellis turned to face her.

"I have an announcement..." she had spoken carefully, eyes intently studying Nathan's father. Seeing his father put down his utensils to listen, Nathan did the same. He had a feeling this was important. In all his 11 years, he had never seen his Mother nervous before, but at that moment, she came close.

"I went to the Doctor today...I'm...I'm pregnant."

Nathan nearly choked on his unfinished mouthful, and was about to confirm what he had just heard from his Mother when the sound of a chair scraping on the hard floor from his Father's end caught his attention. His Father looked solemnly at his Mother, before taking his meal napkin off his lap and placing it on the table, a sign that he was to eat no more.

"We shall talk, after dinner," he announced curtly, before walking out of the room. Nathan stared after his Father and then back at his Mother. His Mother gave him a sighing look before returning to her meal, as if nothing had happened.

Nathan never found out the conversation that took place after dinner, but his Father was angry, and his Mother cried. And Nathan couldn't help but think that this baby his Mother was carrying was nothing but an unwelcome distraction in the Petrelli household.

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That had been in March, and by the end of July, Nathan had turned 12 and was to graduate from Elementary School, as class dux. His Mother, who was now looking quite pregnant even though the baby was due in another three months, and his Father had managed to drop all their business arrangements just to attend his graduation. Nathan knew enough about their business commitments to know how big a deal it was to have both his parents drop work for him, and for that he was very pleased.

"I'm proud of you my son," his Father had told him that morning, giving him an affection squeeze on the shoulder.

"We'll see you soon, we'll be there," his Mother had assured him once more, giving him a small kiss on his cheek as Nathan headed out with their driver.

Now standing with the rest of his class on the podium, Nathan scanned the crowd of parents with apprehension. Where were his? As busy as their schedules were, his parents, especially his Father, had never broken a promise to him before.

The names were called, one by one, and by the time they reached Nathan Petrelli, Nathan's heart already felt like it had been torn into two. He walked up without a smile and received his honour, as well as his trophy for dux. He was only when he decided to scan the crowd once more in hope that he finally spotted their driver standing off to the side, waiting patiently for him. Once off the stage, Nathan quickly made his way over, demanding as soon as he was within earshot,

"Where are Mother and Father? They're meant to come today."

"Master Nathan, your parents are at the hospital right now, I have been told to drive you there as soon as you were done," the driver replied.

"The hospital? Why?" asked Nathan, "Well, I'm done now, so we can go," he added, beginning to head towards the car.

"Your Mother is in labour, your Father is with her," the driver replied once again, before opening the car door for Nathan.

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"There's my son," Nathan's father spoke as soon as Nathan headed into the hospital room. His mother was lying on the bed, her face pale, but she smiled at him.

"How was your graduation? We're sorry we missed it," she apologized.

Nathan shrugged. "It was just a graduation," he dismissed, even though it wasn't. Nathan always hid behind a mask of indifference for his parents. It was his responsibility as a son not to worry them.

"We should have been there," his father spoke up, "I'm sorry that such an inconvenience had to come up." Nathan looked incredulously at his father. Even though he was only 12 years old, and still a child, Nathan understood the very implications of his father's words at that very moment. Turning to see his mother's reaction, Nathan found her lips pursed, intently studying the pattern on her blanket.

"So...where is it?" he asked, trying to change the atmosphere.

"Where's what?" his mother asked him smiling, welcoming the distraction.

"The...baby..."

Nathan noticed his Mother's fleeting look at his Father over the mention of the baby, and he swallowed nervously. Maybe he shouldn't have brought it up...maybe something bad happened to the baby...maybe, there was no baby anymore...

"Peter's in the nursery, he needs to be in an incubator right now, but the doctor says he's going to be fine," his mother finally told him.

"P...Peter?" asked Nathan.

"Yes...that is his name," was her reply.

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Nathan sped up to keep up with the brisk pace of his father. They were on their way to the nursery, after his mother had insisted that at the very least, Nathan deserved to see his little brother. That had been met with some harsh words from his father before he relented and beckoned Nathan to follow with a simple "Come." Now walking down to the nursery, his father had been silent.

"How may I help you?" smiled the nurse at the door when they reached their destination. Nathan looked at his father, before he turned back to the nurse.

"Um...we're here to see Peter...Peter Petrelli," he told her, only now noting the humour in the alliterated name, and smiled accordingly.

"Right this way, and keep your voice down," she instructed them before guiding them into the room. The smell of baby powder hit Nathan's nose as soon as they entered, and his eyes scanned the rows of babies in their small cubicles. Which one was Peter? The nurse continued to guide them inside, before stopping at a cubicle furthest from the door. Nathan looked inside, and saw a baby sleeping peacefully, a mass of dark hair on his head, contrasting heavily with the baby's pale skin. Tiny little fingers were held in fists by his side, and tiny feet with ten perfect toes wriggled slightly the baby stirred.

"He's finished with the incubator now," the nurse whispered to them kindly, "you can touch him if you want," she finished, moving slightly over to the side to allow Nathan and his father to step forward.

"And why would I want to do that?"

Nathan's father spoke coldly, eyes running over the baby in disgust. "You know the way back don't you Nathan? I should be with your mother," he spoke again, patting Nathan's shoulder before walking off. Nathan stared after his father, slightly taken aback by this harshness. His father may not have been the most affectionate man, but there had always been a pat on the shoulder or the head, and that special proud smile reserved for his son. Now seeing his father be so distant and unloving towards Peter, Nathan couldn't help but feel slightly sorry for the baby, even if he had been the reason for his parents missing Nathan's graduation, and even if the baby had caused nothing but trouble since his looming presence had been announced. Nathan stepped up closer to the cubicle, and studied the baby carefully. As if sensing his presence, a small sob escaped the baby's lips, and large brown eyes much like his own opened to stare back up at Nathan. Nathan's hand trembled slightly, as he reached out and let his fingers run along the smooth skin down the baby's arms, resting at his small fingers. To Nathan's surprise, the baby's tiny hand stretched opened, his fingers curling around Nathan's one.

"Peter Petrelli..." Nathan whispered, "My baby brother..."

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To Be Continued

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