Fourteen Days – Chapter 10
Standard Disclaimer applies – between now and the last chapter, I have not suddenly acquired the Petrelli brothers nor the show, Heroes.
A/N – so, here it is, at long last, the final chapter. I'm sorry it waffles quite a bit but there wasn't an awful lot of action left to happen in the story. But as I mentioned earlier, I have more stories planned in the same AU-verse so I've set up a few things for the future.
Thanks to everyone who has nagged and inspired me to keep writing and especially to those who have me through from chapter one. I hope enjoys this last part and I'd LOVE to hear what you all think!
After over twenty-four hours of beeping monitors, of being attached by wires and needles to machines and of cheery, yet no-nonsense nurses bustling about him, Peter was ready to leave. Hell, he was ready to get up and jump through the nearest window. Yet, he remained as patiently as he could, laying on clean, starched white hospital sheets answering the frequent rounds of questions he was subjected to during his stay.
The questions were standard and obvious. Peter knew them by heart and the implications of every answer he could give but there was no point trying to wheedle his way out. Neither his brother nor his doctors were intent on releasing him until he had satisfied their requirements. With little else to do, Peter slept and was always surprised with how much his body seemed to crave it.
Though their exchanges had been few and brief, Nathan had been a near-constant presence. His older brother could usually be found sitting in one of the more comfortable chairs the nurses had brought in to his brother's room, either reading a magazine from the shop downstairs or on his phone arranging matters to do with work and home.
Nathan had been impressed with the nurses and the calm, quiet confidence they both exuded and installed in others. A lovely lady in her late thirties, with a rounded, gentle face was responsible for Peter's medication and obs during the day. She was very good with him and sported a wicked sense of humour: kind, ever so patient yet firm in matters of health that she was immovable on. He couldn't get much past her though his charming, schoolboy grin was not entirely without purpose. It at least got him an extra half an hour of lights at the end of the day.
The night nurse, however, Nathan was not so impressed with. Bill was a greying man in his late fifties and broadly built. The politician didn't appreciate his brusque manner in getting things done nor his curt treatment of the other patients around the hospital and their worrying relatives, hovering by their loved ones' bedsides.
Watching this man bully his way around those under his care, Nathan was suddenly struck with the realisation of what a good nurse Peter must be. He could see his brother's gentle caring, insistent nature and amiable personality helping to put at ease not just his patients but their nervous families, as well. Not only, however, would his younger brother's soothing presence be like a balm to those in need, but Peter knew how to get things done.
People often assumed that because of his quietly spoken nature, Peter was weak and pliable but the truth of it was if there was anyone more likely to get their own way, it was his little brother. His speciality was in ensuring that the person who gave him his way, rarely realised they had lost. It was, in a way, the most cunning trick of all.
Though Nathan sometimes lost sight of it and though he wore his team colours in a different pattern, Peter was a Petrelli through and through. It didn't pay to go forgetting that and you'd learn your lesson well if you were foolish enough to.
Their mother had called several times to check on their progress. Though she was concerned for her son's welfare Nathan had persuaded her against coming out to see him. Peter would, he had argued, spend more energy convincing her that he was well then he would on getting his strength back. Besides which, in all likelihood, they would both be heading home by the time she was flying out.
Neither brother had exchanged more than a few words with each other and then only on general subjects. When Peter had slept, however, Nathan remained by his side, watching the rise and fall of his chest and constantly tracking the patterns of his heartbeat on the monitors. Finally, nearly forty-eight hours after being admitted, the doctors agreed that, under careful supervision and with strict orders not to over stimulate himself Peter would be allowed to fly home. Nathan wasted no time in booking the flights while Peter set about packing his travel bag, accidentally disconnecting the monitors he was attached to in the process and setting off several alarms.
Now dressed and ready to go, sitting quietly on the bed while they waited to be told their car was outside, Peter kept silent company with his brother. Nathan stood in the doorway, ostensibly to await the nurse who would tell him his driver was downstairs but also, Peter suspected, to prevent him leaving his room any earlier than necessary. The young man had surprised even himself with how desperately he wanted to get out, to go home. His brother had never quite ruled out an escape attempt, particularly knowing just how devious his young sibling could be.
With the loud, insistent ticking of the clock on the wall, the only sounds of life in the room, the brothers were keenly aware of each other's presence and the silence within. Every subtle movement seemed amplified in the stillness: the squeak of the mattress springs when Peter shifted his weight, the creak of the wooden door as Nathan leant against it. When the tingling in the air had become palpable Peter looked up and broke the tension.
"I was angry."
Feigning ignorance, Nathan merely turned sideways towards him and raised a querulous eyebrow. "What's that?"
Peter took a deep breath and forced himself to meet his brother's eyes. "I was angry," he repeated. "And I was more tired and in a lot more pain than I was willing to admit – to anyone. And I'm sorry I went off the way I did."
Nathan nodded his head, secretly impressed with his brother's reserved admission. But Peter wasn't finished.
"I don't know what came over me. I'm not proud of it and I can't promise it won't happen again. But I'm not that little kid you used to carry on your shoulders, Nathan." He fixed his older brother with an unwavering gaze. "This is my life, Nathan, my body, my heart."
Nathan merely stood and contemplated, without saying a word.
"I know you think you know what you're doing and I know you think you know what's best for me. But I've been doing this on my own for a long time now. And I know what everyone else believes, but I think I've been doing a pretty good job."
He saw Nathan open his mouth to interrupt so he cut in quickly. "Yeah, I know – you disagree more strongly than anyone else. But it's not easy, Nathan. You're asking me to give up, willingly, everything I've earned so far in life. I'm not the kid you used to swing round like Superman and I'm not the kid that you could clip round the ear when I didn't do what you told me to."
Nathan's eye contact left his for a moment and Peter thought, or at least hoped, he could tell what his brother was thinking.
"You can't just bully me around any more, Nathan. It doesn't work that way. I know I was out of order, but so were you." The young man had finished. He sat back and waited for his response, proud of himself that he hadn't given in to shouting, taunting his brother into an argument. He'd said his piece, now it was Nathan's turn to say his.
And Nathan didn't rush in delivering it. After a few moments he took a calm, measured breath. Peter had given him his speech in a reasonable, collected tone and he deserved the same courtesy in return. "Thank you, Pete. For what it's worth, I've seen you cranky before, I'm not phased by it and I'm sure I'll see it again." Peter chuckled to himself, quietly.
"And," Nathan continued, "I will do whatever I can to ensure that your life now is as close to what you're used to as I can make it. I don't want to stop you living – I just want to stop you from dying. Sometimes, that's going to mean I'm going to have to do things, make decisions that you don't agree with. I don't mean to patronise you but that's just the way it is." His tone was firm – it didn't broach an argument.
For a moment, Peter's face clouded in anger even though, deep within, he had been expecting it. With a concerted effort he reigned in his anger and relaxed his expression from its darkened contort into something more tolerant. He almost laughed to himself: he was going to be staying with Nathan for the foreseeable future, or at the very least, the next year – they would have plenty of time to rehash this argument again and again.
Nothing was realistically going to get resolved, sitting in a hospital room in Colorado. Neither one of them would be able to change the other overnight. They had each said their part and that would have to be enough.
Having reached this conclusion, a weight seemed to immediately lift from his heart.
Peter had slept for most of the flight. He had slept for most of the journey to the airport as well, head alternately leaned up against his brother's shoulder and the window of the car. Nathan had woken him only when they had to traverse the terminal. Peter had even slept stretched out across three chairs in the flight lounge, his head resting comfortably on Nathan's lap with his brother's jacket draped over his shoulders.
Nathan had been glad for the peace and quiet, particularly during the flight itself. His brother was with him: whole and more or less sound. He could use the sleep at any rate. As for himself, Nathan vowed only to sleep again when Peter was safely at home in his bed once more. The politician was keenly aware of how many mistakes he had made over the past few days and how many more were likely to lay ahead.
But he also knew that Peter would now give him the time he needed to figure things out – to become the perfect big brother and the best guardian the young man could have. Because that's what he deserved, this loving, gentle soul: he deserved the very best. Nathan had previously assumed there would be no other person on Earth - his mother included – who would be better suited to the job of protecting Peter than himself. The events of the past few days had installed a little perspective in his life. Nathan only hoped that in time, that person, that guardian and protector – the best of the best - would prove to be him.
Heidi had been sorting through bills and other paperwork when she heard the car pull up outside. It never failed to amaze her how many volumes of papers could accumulate in just one week in her husband's campaign. She never let it overwhelm her, though. Her husband was not the immovable rock he liked to present to the world and he needed her behind him. He needed her strength, her steadfast support. But these last few days had been draining, even for her. She could never admit it – not to her husband and certainly not to her mother-in-law who, she suspected, was forever looking for cracks in her seemingly flawless shell.
So when she heard the sound of the engine dying outside the front windows where she sat, leafing through files and papers, her heart seemed instantly lighter and her shoulders immediately lost the tension that had been stretched across her back.
Nathan had been a treasure recently, keeping her abreast of the developments, though she suspected it benefited him as much as it eased her mind. As the front doors opened, she turned in her seat to better view the new arrivals. It was with a great sense of restraint that she did not rush to greet them. The last thing they would want after a tiring journey was to be set upon the moment of their arrival. Instead, she let herself be the warm, welcoming figure on their return, her smile lighting up the room.
Peter had been insistent that he walked, more or less on his own, into the house - perhaps with a bit of a limp. It had taken a good few minutes for Nathan to wake him properly but Peter didn't want to appear drowsy and tired. He knew he had put his family through enough in the last couple of days, no matter how he felt he could justify his actions and now the young man wanted to give them back a little peace of mind.
Nathan had both bags slung over his shoulder as they walked inside. He immediately sought out his wife.
"Look who's back," she remarked, kindly. From where he stood next to Nathan (who hadn't been content to let him move about entirely on his own) Peter glanced down at his feet for a moment before smiling shyly at her. From underneath his bangs, his expression was at once tired, relieved and contrite. Heidi knew the look all too well and now took it as her invitation to invade his personal space. She moved aside from the couch and held out one hand to it, indicating he should sit himself down.
Without needing to be told, Nathan carefully steered them both to the couch by the window then allowed Peter to seat himself. No sooner was he sitting down then Heidi wrapped her arms about his shoulders and drew him to her. He returned the hug, leaning his head against her neck.
"Hey," she murmured into his hair. "Welcome back. So I hear you've had quite the adventure."
"I'm sorry I worried you," he mumbled, "It's just that I…"
"Shh," she whispered, interrupting gently. "That doesn't matter now. I'm just glad you're home and safe."
Nathan settled himself on the other side of his brother and leaned back against the couch, resting his head on the cushions. His eyes drifted shut for only a moment but his sharp wife picked up on it. She could see her husband was as exhausted as her brother-in-law, the traces of worry and sleepless nights etched across his features. After smoothing the hair out of the younger man's eyes, she released her hold on him, keeping a warm hand around the back of his neck.
Easing out the kinks in his back, Peter sat back against the cushions, leaning his weight ever so slightly against Heidi. Her presence was comforting. Her face lit up with fondness for the young man who had always been like a younger brother to her from the moment Nathan had eagerly introduced the two of them, back when Peter was still in High School. She could instantly see they were going to get along – Peter was inquisitive, caring and sported a rather devilish sense of humour that made her laugh and got under her future husband's skin like nothing else could. But with Nathan's role in Peter's life now changed, Heidi couldn't help but wonder if hers was due to change as well.
One thing was for sure, though: Peter still needed her in his corner. She would be hard pressed to think of two other brothers in this world who cared about each other more than her husband and brother-in-law did but that didn't mean the two of them wouldn't be routinely at each other's throats.
"So," she began, "I'll get chef to fix us a bite to eat and something to drink and then I want to hear all about your week." She squeezed the back of his neck, affectionately and he grinned back at her.
"Nathan?" she asked, glancing across Peter to where her husband was still resting against the back of the couch. He raised an eyebrow to indicate he was listening. "Why don't you take the bags upstairs?" she suggested, quietly. "You look like you could do with an hour to yourself."
For a moment, a look of guilt crossed his face as though needing time for himself was simply not something he allowed – a luxury that a person could be hardened against. But as he looked, worriedly, towards Peter and opened his mouth to object, Heidi cut in.
"Peter and I will be just fine here," she insisted, her eyes seeking his out and imploring him to understand, to let her help him. She was his wife, damn it and there were still some things she could do to make his life easier besides pick out publicity shots. Finally, he seemed to accept the logic behind the words and nodded his head.
Hefting the bags onto his shoulder, he kissed his wife on the cheek and then faced his brother. Peter made to stand with him but Nathan firmly pressed on his shoulder until the young man sank back onto the couch.
"I got it, Peter," he said. "You sit back and fill Heidi in on mountain lions and hikers and God knows what else you've been up to in the last few days." He jabbed a warning finger at him. "But don't over-do it," he emphasised.
A guileless grin came over the young man's face. "Sitting on a couch?"
"You know what I mean…smart-ass," his brother muttered but the affection was clear in his voice.
"I'll see you in an hour, Nathan," Heidi said, firmly, humour lacing her words. He shot her a charming, grateful grin before shooting Peter one last cautionary look and heading upstairs for a well-earned rest. When her husband was safely upstairs, she turned back to Peter.
"So, tell me all about these mountain lions."
With slight chuckle, Peter settled himself down, to do just that.
Within thirty minutes, he too was laid out on the couch, sound asleep.
Three days had passed since the brothers had returned and events had finally seemed to settle down into something resembling normal, with only some minor differences.
Nathan had returned to work and often worked late hours to try and compensate for all the time he had recently missed. But when he came home, he would try to find the time to sit and talk with his family and both Peter and Heidi enjoyed spending time as a family that wasn't meant for a cover story or connected with the campaign.
Peter's meals - on his regular doctor's insistence - were more carefully monitored and regulated and he was to frequently check the progress of his weight gain. True to his word, he didn't go anywhere without his pills – most of the time. Nathan was checking, all the same.
It was on the third day, when things seemed to be settling down then, that both Peter and Nathan decided it was safe enough to try and stir things up a little.
Over dinner that evening, Peter brought up the subject of Mohinder.
"I want to call him," he announced suddenly, whilst passing Heidi the mashed potatoes. Nathan paused in the process of pouring the wine and looked curiously at his brother.
"Mohinder Suresh," Peter explained. Nathan closed his eyes for a moment. "I told him I'd be in touch when we were back in New York," he continued.
"Actually, I think he said that," Nathan pointed out before he could stop himself.
"Either way," Peter pressed on, "I'm back and he's back ergo, I need to call him."
From beside them, Heidi cleared her throat softly. "Uh, so Mohinder is the gentleman who…" she trailed off, suggestively, waving her hand in Peter's general direction.
"Started this whole mess?" Nathan filled in with a certain air of triumph. "Yes." Immediately, Peter seemed to bristle.
"Nathan," Heidi intoned in a low, warning voice. For a moment, the politician looked as though he wanted to argue the matter further but one look at his wife and her steely resolve and he reigned himself back in to check.
"Well kind of," he amended, awkwardly. "You need more meat than that," he suddenly snapped looking pointedly at Peter's plate and shifting his embarrassment into annoyance. Peter rolled his eyes at the obvious cover-up but complied with the instruction and piled another slice onto his plate.
Aware that what he could say was limited in front of Heidi, Peter chose his words carefully. "I need to talk to him. He's helping me figure things out." Nathan met his eyes with a steely expression.
"I think I'm done having him in this house for the time being."
"Nathan, you can't…"
"I didn't say forever!" he pointed out, sharply. "Just…just not right now. That's not too much to ask." It wasn't that Nathan was still angry with the man – well, it sort of was, actually – but it was more to do with the fact that Nathan couldn't face starting this whole thing up again quite so soon. He needed a little bit more time – time with just him and Peter figuring things out for themselves first, before they brought in the rest of Peter's crazy world.
"Fine, he doesn't have to come here," Peter pressed on, clearly uninterested in his meal. "But I can call him – talk to him."
"I'll talk to him," Nathan cut in. "I'll go round and talk to him, tomorrow. I won't do anything rash," he assured him, "just explain that we need a little more space. And eat your meal." Peter's eyes were untrusting as he regarded his brother, closely. Would Nathan be as civil as he was proclaiming? Peter had a suspicion his brother and Mohinder had not parted on the best of terms that day in the cabin though he could get nothing out of Nathan.
Peter shovelled a little food onto his fork, pausing before bringing it to his lips. "I'll go with you," he offered evenly, his voice hard and low.
Nathan stilled the wine glass at his lips for a second before taking a measured sip and replacing it on the table. In doing so, he said, calmly, "You're busy tomorrow – you start at the clinic. Eat your food."
Peter put down the fork. "You never told me that."
"I'm telling you now," his replied, smoothly, "and I won't tell you again about that food on your plate!" With a frustrated sigh, Peter picked up his fork and began to eat though the food tasted bland to him and was hard to swallow. After taking a few appeasing mouthfuls, Peter addressed his brother again.
"Wait till after work and I'll come down with you after the clinic. I presume it can't last all day."
Nathan took a deep, slow breath and blew it out between his teeth. "After the clinic," he said, his voice like iron, "you come straight home. We've covered this: you don't leave this house unless I say so."
Anger immediately coursed through him and Peter's temper flared. "You can't keep me in here, forever!" he snapped.
Nathan pushed his chair back and leaned back. "Forever?" he repeated, voice just starting to rise, "It's been three days, Peter but if you keep pushing me…"
They both stopped still deeply displeased and turned to look at Heidi who had put down her knife and fork and folded her arms across her chest, having spent the last few minutes following their exchanges like a tennis match.
"Enough," she commanded, fixing each of them with a look that dared them to continue. "Nathan," she said, more gently. "Remember what we talked about – about your temper?" Reluctantly, Nathan sighed and nodded. He pulled his chair back into place and Heidi was relieved to see the tension leave his face and body once more. Heidi leaned over and placed her slender hand on Peter's squeezing it gently.
"Hey," she said, catching his eye and giving him an encouraging smile. "Please try to be patient and let Nathan handle this. If he says he'll act reasonably then I'm sure he will. It's not forever." He didn't feel a whole lot better but the anger was gone. He smiled at her in what he hoped was a reassuring manner and squeezed her hand gently, in return.
The Trinity Clinic was an outwardly ordinary-looking building, set back from a quiet road and encased with a low-rising pale, stone wall. The front-facing aspect, visible from the road looked to be a mixture of modern glass and metal fronting in an L-shaped block yet somehow achieved an air stately antiquity and a feeling of being rooted in tradition. Whatever Peter had been expecting, this was not it. It did not seem imposing nor…clinical. Large, black iron gates were the only feature that mildly concerned him.
Nathan had arranged for a driver every morning, despite Peter's protests that he could either drive himself or take the subway. It wasn't his ability to get himself there that Nathan was worried about but rather his inclination to do so.
On this particular occasion, Nathan had accompanied him as they waited in the reception area to be shown around. Presently, the door to the office opened and a tall, thin, wiry man with slightly unkempt grey hair and a contrastingly well-pressed suit strode out, his hand outstretched towards Peter. Rising to meet him, Peter shook the proffered hand, politely. If he had to be there, there was no sense taking it out on the staff - at least for the time being.
"Peter, so glad to finally get to meet you. We had you down for coming in last week." Nathan cleared his throat.
"We had a little family drama but it's all taken care of now. I spoke to your secretary about it." he explained.
"That's good to know," the man smiled, shaking Nathan's hand in turn. "I'm Doctor Philips and this, Peter," he remarked, handing a sheet of paper to the young man, "is for you." Peter unfolded the paper and gave it a quick glance.
"It's your timetable," Philips filled in, helpfully. Peter's expression was at once wary. He shot Nathan a suspicious look.
"Why do I need a timetable?" he asked the doctor.
Nathan forced a little laugh and cut in. "To know where you're going and when, Peter – why else?" There had been a definite challenge at the end.
Naturally, Peter took him up on it. "But I thought I was just going to my therapy session," he pointed out alternating his gaze between the two men. "Seems to me I could remember something that simple by myself."
Nathan's fixed smile barely hid his muttered response: "You would think so, wouldn't you?"
If Doctor Philips had heard Nathan's under-his-breath remark, he gave no indication of it. Instead, he smiled kindly at Peter. "Let's walk this way," he suggested, holding one hand out in front of him along the corridor, "and I can explain it to you." Obligingly, shooting his brother a dirty look, Peter followed, Nathan following in his wake.
As they walked past rows of doors off to the sides then through sets of swinging double doors, Peter realised that there were several wings leading off the main building through connecting corridors. He had, over the past few days, perfected a kind of hobbling gait and only occasionally needed to rest a supporting hand on someone's arm.
Around them some people, presumably patients, were milling about while others moved off to different rooms. They all seemed young – his age, maybe a few a little younger, a few a little older.
Peter suddenly found he had to pull himself away from his thoughts though, because Doctor Philips had obviously said something that he was supposed to respond to. When he looked back to his brother and guide, they were waiting for him, expectantly.
"Um? I'm sorry," he admitted. "Can you repeat that?"
Philips nodded, understandingly. "Which part?" he asked, kindly.
Peter hesitated. "All of it?" Nathan turned and muttered something just out of earshot.
"It's alright, Mr. Petrelli," Philips assured the older man. "I'm sure this is a lot to take in at first." He turned to face the younger of the brothers. "I was just explaining, Peter, how here at the Trinity Clinic we have much more than therapy sessions. You're here Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and on each day there'll be a mixture of private therapy and different group sessions." He indicated for them to keep walking as he explained further, pausing outside different doors where activities could be viewed through windows.
"As you can see, each room is designed for a different function. This is the communal lounge for when you're between sessions." The room in question was large and airy. A large TV dominated one wall and there were various vending machines in the corner. A range of couches and chairs lined the floor space. No one was in it. As if following his train of thought, Philips cut in.
"All early morning slots are filled. We've found it tends to be when people are at their most productive and receptive." Nathan gave a short laugh:
"You've not met Peter." Peter gave him a rather sour look.
"So how do you group us?" Peter wondered as they continued their tour of the building. "By shoe size, age or social inadequacies?"
"Peter," Nathan started, in a warning tone. Again, his concerns were brushed off by the doctor.
"It's a fair question, Peter. I'll explain as we walk. This way."
The three of them carried up a little way along the corridor before rounding a corner and heading up a small staircase. On this level there seemed to be several very large rooms with tables and chairs set out in small groups. Around each table sat groups of young people with doctors and aides wandering the room. Peter almost recoiled in horror, stumbling backwards until he bumped in to Nathan's broad chest.
"What are they doing?" he stammered. Nathan almost felt a twinge of pity as he looked at his brother's dumbstruck face. Oblivious to his patient's discomfort, Philips enthusiastically explained.
"There are different activities on each table. Many people enjoy practical work with their hands. There's painting, modelling, even woodwork and pottery - are you creative?"
"Is this arts and crafts?" the young man demanded, shooting Nathan a desperate, silent plea. They couldn't make him do arts and crafts! Images of sitting at a table in a dressing gown, sticking on sequins to Mother's Day cards and threading beads came to mind. "Nathan!" he implored, almost clutching at his brother's shirt. "I swear," he whispered, "I'll do anything you say!" Suddenly, he was five years old again at kindergarten and begging his brother not to leave him on his first day.
For his part, Nathan was fighting with every ounce of his being to keep the smile off his face. He only partially succeeded. Let the kid sweat for a while, he decided: it wouldn't hurt – much.
It had just gone two when Nathan left a message with his secretary to say he was popping out for half an hour or so. The pile of papers on his desk was steadily and encouragingly declining. He had his cell phone on, he stressed, in case …anyone should try to reach him. So far, the call he had been dreading from the clinic demanding that he come and take his delinquent little brother home, had not emerged. The chances were looking good that both doctor and patient might survive the day.
When he knocked firmly on the door of the small apartment he started to run through what he was going to say. He was taking a chance that the professor would be in. Thankfully, he was. The door opened to reveal the young doctor in his usual jeans and shirt, looking far more rested and a darned site warmer than he had the last time Nathan had seen him. The discolouration of the bruise on his cheek had almost faded to nothing more than a yellowy hue. He blinked in surprise when he saw the politician and then merely stepped aside indicating his guest should come in.
Nathan stepped in and took a moment to review his surroundings. The apartment was busy, cluttered even but there seemed to be a logical order to everything. A large map dominated the wall behind Mohinder. Pins, pictures and strings were attached to it, linking images and places together like a giant spider web. Nathan instinctively knew that Peter, maybe even he would be entangled in that web somewhere and it didn't sit well with him. In fact, it made him very nervous and he had to keep reminding himself that Suresh was not the spider.
Suddenly, Nathan realised that no one had spoken and it was in fact quite rude to come in to someone's home without speaking to them. "So," he began. "you got back ok."
"Yes, thank you. You were right about the airports – it was getting chaotic." Something occurred to Nathan.
"I'll arrange to have any camping gear he left with you, brought back to the house."
Mohinder liked how he referred to it as a house, rather than a mansion. Made it seem more homely. "That's fine. How is he? Is Peter alright?"
He moved some files off a chair, indicating the man should sit down. Nathan did so as Mohinder took a seat opposite.
"He's fine. He had to stay a couple of days in the hospital until they could sort his heart out but he's doing much better now." Mohinder was nodding his head, gratefully.
"That's good," he was saying. "I'm so relieved." And, Nathan considered, he did genuinely sound it. The politician cleared his throat leaning forwards slightly, hands resting on his knees.
"Peter's started his sessions at the clinic today." He paused and Mohinder waited patiently, aware there was a further point to follow.
"It's going to be taking up a lot of his time," Nathan explained. "I doubt he'll have time for anything else." Mohinder took a careful, steady breath.
"Ever?" he questioned, evenly.
Abruptly, Nathan stood. "I'm sorry – I know I'm a politician but I can't talk round the issue like this. For right now, I don't want you talking to Peter. It's not personal – really. I just need some time with my brother to sort things out within our own family – to help him my way. If you need to get in touch with him, then call me first and we'll work something out." He handed the professor a card, which Mohinder rose to accept. "It has my cell number," he explained.
The young man pocketed the card. "I'll respect your wishes, Mr. Petrelli though I urge you to keep in mind the changes Peter is going through. Please, if you notice anything out of the ordinary call me straight away. It could be more important than you realise." The urgency in his voice and in his eyes was apparent and when Nathan agreed, he meant it. "You have my word."
The men said their goodbyes, this time far more civil than the time before and when Nathan emerged onto the sidewalk he allowed himself to feel a sense of closure – of relief that there was at least one part of his hectic life that was dealt with.
As he waited to flag down a cab to take him back to the office, Nathan's thoughts turned to that hectic life of his and how the addition of his little brother was bound to mess things around even more. But, he decided, he wouldn't have it any other way.
Whatever Peter needed, he would provide, whether it be a comforting shoulder, a guiding hand or a clip round the ear.
And, he thought with a smile, as the cab pulled up alongside him, he would even step in if they made him take arts and crafts.
THE END – wow, it feels good to be able to write that!
Thank you all SO much for sticking with me to this point and please let me know what you think.
Also, any suggestions you may have for things you'd like to see happen in future stories then please let me know. I can't make any promises but if I can make it work, then I will do. I should probably say that I don't really intend to bring Claire in and the stories will kind of take a slice out of time from the cannon time-line. The events of the series won't necessarily NOT happen, it's just they may happen a bit LATER than in the series.
AlenaRivendell – thanks for reviewing this fic – I've really enjoyed reading them. I'm glad you thought both brothers had a reasonable viewpoint – I was trying to make it balanced!
TheDirtySouth – Wow – that's a lovely review, thanks. Hopefully you should feel much more warm and toasty with this chapter. I'll try to think of some good follow-ups for you!
Marinawings – Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter – though I'm not sure poor Mohinder thought getting decked was 'sweet' but I know what you mean - lol
Sarahofearth – Rest assured, if Peter and Nathan were under my bed, I wouldn't be squandering my time with them, asking them about the story! But let's not go in to that here… lol. Thank you SO much for reviewing throughout the story. Your reviews have always put a huge, sappy grin on my face and I'd love to hear any ideas/thoughts you have.
ShaolinQueen – Thanks for the compliments and for taking the time to review. I hope the Heidi/Peter interaction was up to spec!
Celinha – I'm really glad you're enjoying the story. Thank you for the review.
Five in One – Yup – Bratty Peter never goes far: he's just too fun to play with, sometimes.
Shadowtheo – Thanks! I hope the ending was happy enough for ya! I'll try to think of something good for next time.
Swordy – I've really enjoyed reading your reviews over the story – you put a lot of thought into them and I really appreciate that. Yeah – I see Nathan as the quietly dangerous type, as well – glad you agree. Thank you for your compliments. I'll start planning out the custody one for the future.
Teoryn – Aw – my little review-trooper from beginning to end – lol! Thanks for the review. Yes, I'm afraid it's one step forward and two steps back as far as Peter's understanding seems to go. I'll knock him upside the head in the next story for you, how's that?
Allegra – why thank you! I'm afraid I didn't give poor Peter much of a bedside scene this time around – perhaps in a future story and if I have the patience to write. For now, I shall just enjoy reading yours in your SN story!