Title: Taking Risks (Snapshot Series 2/?)
Rating: PG? PG-13?
Summary: Gabriel Gray hated taking risks.
(Follows Not Too Bad, but each part can stand alone.)
Author's Notes: Thanks to lazydaisy501 for taking the time to beta this. I LOVE you!
Gabriel Gray hated taking risks. Other people his age loved racing down empty roads, mock-fighting with friends, and other perilous activities. They saw excitement in the risks. Gabriel just saw the danger.
"Oh come on! What's so dangerous about an amusement park?"
Gabriel lazily spun around in the swivel chair so he could face Peter properly. "People get sick and throw up all the time, some rides could give you seizures, and have you seen how decrepit some of those rides look?"
"You, my friend, are a worrywart. Nothing is going to happen to you! Those rides have been running smoothly for years!" Peter threw his arms up in exasperation, falling backwards onto his bed.
"Why do you want to go so badly anyway?"
"Because it's fun, and everyone goes to places like that during spring break. It's, like, an unspoken rule of teenager-hood."
Gabriel rolled his eyes, "And how would we get there? Neither of us bothered to get our license, and the buses don't go anywhere near the park."
"Hey, does that mean you're going with me?" Peter shot up into a sitting position, and wide grin spreading across his face.
An adamant 'no' died in Gabriel's throat once he saw the look Peter was giving him. He always had a hard time saying no to his friend. Peter's face would always light up at the prospect of doing something together, and Gabriel never had the heart to deny him.
"I guess. But that still doesn't…"
"Great! We can go Saturday. It'll be the perfect start for our spring break."
Gabriel was suddenly very nervous. "What do you mean by 'a perfect start'?
Peter flushed, "I was thinking we could have an extended sleepover or something over the break. We'll stay over at my house and relax."
"Really?" Gabriel knew that Peter wasn't one to stay in one place for very long, he always had to be around people. It was a complete surprise that he'd be willing to stay home for so long with only Gabriel for company.
An enthusiastic nod answered his question. "I figured you would need something like that after spending the day with Nathan."
Gabriel froze, "Do you mean your brother? That Nathan?"
He had met Nathan only once before, and it had been a disaster. Nathan had immediately disliked him with a passion. Gabriel still worried bout what he did wrong, despite Peter's assurances that Nathan didn't like any of his friends. Apparently Nathan was an 'overprotective and loving brother', though Gabriel just thought he was scary.
"I don't know any other Nathan, Gabriel."
"He hates me!"
"He doesn't hate you, it'll be fine. Besides, we need Nathan to take us to the amusement park! He's only home for a few days before heading off to some bar exam study group thing at grad school."
"Fine, but this isn't going to turn out very good at all."
The silence was deafening.
Gabriel found it slightly disturbing that neither of the two Petrelli brothers had said a word the entire trip. He expected silence from Nathan, but Peter had also been worryingly quiet. Something bad had happened between them.
In fact, Gabriel had noticed that Peter had been acting differently since yesterday afternoon. He was worried about his only friend, despite Peter's continued assurances that everything was fine.
Peter was still acting a little off once they got to the park. He tried to hide it by dragging Gabriel out of the car so Nathan could find a parking place in peace.
"Come on, we're going to go find a park map. I don't want to loose time by getting lost all day." Peter announced, pulling Gabriel in a random direction in search for an elusive map.
Once they had found the maps, hidden in a remote section of the entrance, Gabriel finally gathered enough courage to ask Peter what was wrong with him.
"What do you mean? Nothing's wrong with me." Peter answered, unfolding the map to get a better look.
"Peter, you could have cut the tension in the car with a spoon. Something definitely happened, at least between you and Nathan."
"It's nothing important."
Gabriel frowned, and grabbed Peter's arm to pull him closer. He suddenly stopped, anger dissipating, when a flash of pain passed over his friend's face and the map fell from his hands.
He let go and pushed Peter's sleeve up before the other boy could escape his grip. A set of bruises stained Peter's pale skin, traveling up and under his shirt.
A sudden feeling of dread engulfed Gabriel, "What happened?"
"It doesn't matter anymore, Nathan's going to take care of everything."
Gabriel knew Peter was hiding something bigger than a beating. His eyes were downcast and he kept playing with a lock of his hair, a habit Peter always indulged in when nervous.
"Just tell me the truth Peter. Who did this to you and why?"
Peter nodded, suddenly sullen. "Tony came back to our school on Friday."
"He was there before you came, the number one tough guy in the school. The board of education sent him to a juvenile detention facility two years ago for dangerous behavior on school property. He wasn't very happy with me once everyone warned him not to target you."
"What are you talking about?" Gabriel knew it was weird that he had never been teased at his new school, but he had assumed that it was just a more friendly, tolerant place.
Peter paused, chewing on his bottom lip. "It's a well-known secret about my father's mafia ties, and you already know how I hate it. But everyone at school is weary about messing with me, especially after my father used his influence to get rid of the first student who thought I would be an easy target." He looked Gabriel in the eye for the first time since their conversation begun. "You're my best friend, and my father's protection extends to you too. That's why no one has ever tried to do anything to you. They're too scared."
"And Tony isn't?"
Peter shook his head, "Tony was the one my father got rid of. He's not scared of anything or anyone, even my father. Yesterday, when he came back, Tony sought me out and decided to teach me a lesson. It was partly for getting him transferred in the first place, and partly for protecting you. He loves easy targets, and you fit that category."
Gabriel sighed, his hand reaching out for Peter's shaking ones and gripping them tight. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I…" Peter seemed at a loss for words. "I know how you are Gabriel. You would, without a thought, stop hanging out with me if it meant that I wouldn't be bothered by any trouble makers again. They'll all start up again soon, I know that for sure. Tony gives them the courage to rebel against people like my father. They'll target me as long as I'm friends with you, and I…I don't want to lose you."
"Peter…" Gabriel wanted, badly, to reassure his friend that it wasn't true. That he wouldn't leave him if it meant Peter would stop being bullied. He couldn't lie to him though, and Gabriel knew that Peter's assumption about him was correct.
He would give up the only true friendship he ever had in return for Peter's safety. It was breaking his heart already, because Peter was the one person outside his family that was important to him. Gabriel had almost broken up their friendship once before, it still pains him to think about it, when he realized just how much Peter meant to him. When he had woken up from that kind of dream and discovered, to his horror, how much he enjoyed it.
"No!" Peter yelled, gripping Gabriel's hands hard. "I know you're thinking about it, and don't you dare do that to me!"
He violently shook his head, "Nathan promised me he'd take care of it and get the school to transfer Tony for good. Even if it doesn't work, he'll have won if we give-up. I can't lose you."
It hurt to see Peter like this, but Gabriel couldn't, wouldn't, allow anyone to hurt him. Even if it meant losing his best friend.
"You have other friends Peter. You'll be…"
"You don't understand. I…"
Gabriel could see the anguish in Peter's eyes, and it hurt him more than he thought it would. Suddenly, Peter's expression changed into that of desperate determination, and Gabriel barely had time to wonder why before Peter's lips were pressed against his.
He froze as Peter pressed closer, trapping their clasped hands in between them. This was what Gabriel had wanted for so long, and he couldn't even think fast enough to respond before Peter pulled back.
Peter's eyes had a wild look to them as he pulled away, ripping is hands from Gabriel's. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me." He gasped out so quickly that Gabriel could barely make out what he was saying.
In a snap decision, Gabriel acted impulsively for the first time in his life. He didn't even think before reaching forward, cupping Peter's face, and kissing him back.
Peter responded immediately, pressing back against Gabriel's body. His lips parted, and he tasted better than Gabriel could ever imagine. He never wanted it to end.
They finally parted, Peter's face flush from a lack of oxygen. "Promise me, Gabriel, promise me that you won't leave."
Gabriel opened his mouth to reply, but was suddenly interrupted.
"There you are, what are you two doing over here?"
Gabriel jumped, turning around to see Nathan standing across from them, not looking pleased.
Peter gave his brother a nervous smile. "We were looking for a map of the park." He said, grabbing another map from the stand and waving it around for emphasis.
"It would have been nicer if you had stayed in the open where I could have seen you. As punishment, go and get us our tickets. The lines are short, it shouldn't take you that long." Nathan told Peter, handing him a bunch of neatly folded bills.
"But…" Peter protested, glancing at Gabriel.
"Go." Nathan stated, pointing in the direction of the ticket booth. "We'll be waiting right here."
Peter finally gave in with a sigh, heading off into the distance.
Once Peter was gone, Nathan turned to Gabriel, who was suddenly very nervous. "Do you know what happened to him Friday?"
Gabriel nodded, silent, waiting for Nathan to make his point known.
"Peter's risking a lot for you. That boy," Nathan spat, "made his life a living hell in freshman year before my father and I managed to get him transferred. There's a new principal this year, and I don't know if I can get him to remove Tony for good. Your presence is just going to make everything worse, and no one causes Peter pain as long as I can stop it."
"I know." Gabriel mumbled, refusing to meet Nathan's eyes.
"It won't last, this relationship you have with Peter. He lives in a different world than you, Gabriel. He has his duties to his family, and I know that the longer you stay in his life the more it will hurt him when you leave."
"I know." Gabriel agreed with Nathan, as much as it pained him to admit it. How could someone from a prominent family like the Petrellis remain close to a simple watchmaker's son?
Then, Gabriel remembered that look Peter gave him when he asked for his promise. It was full of such hope, and so much desperation. Wouldn't he be hurting Peter just as badly by leaving him?
Gabriel made his decision.
"I know that I should break our friendship up. I know that I might not be the best thing for him." Gabriel looked up, and met Nathan's gaze with an equal intensity. "I know that you're just trying to protect him. That's not going to change anything though, we're both happy now. I'm not going to ruin that."
Suddenly, Peter was there besides them, tickets clutched in his hands.
Peter had already handed one to Nathan, when something seemed to click in his mind. Gabriel watched his gaze flicker between Nathan and him, realizing that something had happened between them. His gaze locked with Peter's, and Gabriel could see the worry in his friend's eyes.
Gabriel stepped towards Peter, leaning in close as he retrieved his ticket. "I promise." He whispered gently into Peter's ear.
Peter's turned to face Gabriel, eyes wide. A smile slowly spread across his face, and Gabriel could feel his own chest constrict with emotion.
"Thank you." Peter whispered back.
His smile widened, and Gabriel grabbed his hand in a fierce grip. He didn't need to look in a mirror to know that he was smiling just as much as Peter.
Gabriel allowed himself to be dragged into the park and to the nearest ride, a towering roller coaster that looked like it could fall apart at any moment. It looked a little dangerous, but he didn't care.
Maybe, Gabriel thought as he got on line with Peter, maybe this time I'll take a chance and risk it.
A/N: I have decided to make this a series, although they might not come out in chronological order. Sometimes I just want to write one part too much to put it off. ;
I'll make sure to include where each part fits in the timeline as they come out. It shouldn't be a problem, since I'm planning to make each part able to stand on its own (though it may make me crazy during the writing procress).
Also, the next one is definitely taking place during 'Six Months Ago'. For those of you who would like to know, this will only be an AU starting from the beginning of season 2. Everything that happened in season 1 of Heroes happens in the fic. I'm just playing with the notion of deleted scenes for the stuff that happens during the events of season 1.