HA! Bet you weren't expecting this!

Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own imagination.

Because that last episode gave me just the inspiration I need! I may filch a little bit, but events are still very different and will occur differently, so its still new and AU.

WARNING! This may well get darker/creepier/more psychotic then before, so if the last few chapters rocked you…maybe turn away whilst my sanity holds me in check!

What You Can't Explain: 6 Flying Trouble.

Nathan couldn't quite believe that he had let himself get into this situation, but the mysterious bearded man's words still rang like an insult in his ears. 'Poodle never did quite crack that one.' Nathan ground his teeth just thinking what that was supposed to imply, or what the reasons for this little disability of Peter's was. Especially since flying was how this whole fiasco started.

"NO! Don't just jump Pete, for God's sake!"

"Well I wouldn't be, but you're not telling me what to do!"

Yup, Nathan Petrelli, previous politician, now lawyer, was trying to teach his little brother Peter to fly. Heaven help him.

Nathan stared with despair at the situation, Peter stood with his arms crossed and a slight pout on his face as he and Nathan stood on the second floor balcony.

"Why not just jump, its all I can do to start flying, its what you do isn't it?" Exasperation radiated in every nerve of his being, along with the hint of disappointment that only Nathan would be able to detect. He sighed and Peter tensed further as they both got more worked up.

"Look, I don't 'just jump'!" Nathan sighed again and raked a hand through his hair. "It comes naturally to me! Doesn't it to you? You were always the one ranting on about it. I don't think you'd have the ability to fly if you couldn't use it." Nathan saw the subtle twitch in Peter's facial features that marked the failure he felt in himself. He cringed inwardly at the determined set of Peter's jaw; this would only mean some sort of death-defying stunt that Nathan would have to clean up.

Nathan just thanked whatever benevolent creatures were watching that his wife and kids were still in France and were likely to be for quite a while. He had the impression that Heidi wanted to enjoy her new ability to run where the press couldn't snap it up.

It had been a month since he and Peter had been captured, and about three and a bit weeks since they had escaped. In that time Peter had managed to fully heal, but although he still went to his 'death-bed job' as Nathan called it, each day he returned looking drained and frustrated. Claire had visited twice, and Nathan feared that each time had been without her father's consent. Nathan was even convinced that Peter's strange invisible friend had visited, much to Nathan's distaste, he couldn't prove it however because all he'd seen were doors opening or closing of their own occurred. He hadn't asked Peter about this however, he didn't know why exactly, maybe he just didn't want to admit that it could be something as childish as jealousy that he was feeling towards the strange man who had a connection with his brother.

Nathan scratched his head again as he tried to think of a way to get Peter to fly safely. Just as he was considering the child leash he still had from Monty, the inevitable happened.

One moment both Petrelli's were standing on the balcony, the next, Peter had leapt off the it.

"Peter!" Nathan cried as he ran to the edge, expecting to see a crumpled heap of a brother. Peter however, plummeted about a story before managing to somehow gain some flying talent and soared into the sky. The older Petrelli could only look on in shock and horror as first the younger wheeled around delightedly in the air, and then got struck by a vicious gust of wind.

Nathan leapt into the air, in an attempt to save his now falling brother, but a tree seemed to do his work for him. With a few sickening crunches and snaps the top of the tall fir tree finally stopped reeling from Peter's harsh impact.

With the sort of speed only a fretting Nathan Petrelli could reach he flew to the offending plant. All prepared for blood and a mangled corpse with glazed dark eyes, Nathan felt himself deflate from worry, but swelled in anger as he saw a merely disgruntled Peter wince and try to untangle himself from the encasing branches.

"What did I tell you!? Don't just jump!" Nathan all but bellowed at his prone brother.

"Why not!? That's what you just did!" Peter squawked back indignantly.

"I jumped up...not off the balcony. There's a difference Pete." Nathan didn't understand how this could be such a complex thought to grasp as Peter's deep brown eyes stared up at him in confusion and anger.

"Well then why didn't you just say that then, instead of telling me what not to do, ever heard of 'carrots not sticks' Nathan?" Nathan however, had had enough of this malachy. Peter either would not, or could not fly without there being serious risk to his well being. He had stood out in the boiling and unusual winter sun for god knows how many hours telling Peter the exact same instructions only for him to completely ignore them anyway, and end up causing him unnecessary worry.

"Fine then, you think your such a hot shot, jump off and fly down by yourself, I'm not sticking round to witness the carnage." With that Nathan effortlessly swooped back to the house, leaving his very ruffled little brother behind him.

Nathan had every intention of leaving Peter up there until either he learned his lesson, or learned how to fly. At this moment neither seemed like a potential reality. The invisible, bearded man laughed in his head.

:Y :G :T :H :O

Peter had swiftly realised he was in a sticky situation, more so then he wanted to let on to Nathan certainly. His ankle ringed non-stop with pain from connecting badly with a branch, and as the sun had set and the wind picked up he was getting cold.

It turns out that even Peter Petrelli has his limit in the realm of death-defying acts as he peered nauseously from the top of the humungous tree. He didn't fancy his chances at flying, let alone landing with his ankle. But he couldn't climb down. The last pale streaks of gold haunted the sky against the storm grey clouds that had rolled in.

Peter shivered and looked over to the lighted house with its lights glowing mockingly. He growled at his own inadequacy. He couldn't find his job satisfyingly any more, because whenever his client patient would reach out to thank him or gain his attention, he would have to fight back a flinch and the painful memories of less welcome touches, he wasn't about to tell Nathan this either. Especially not when he was considering turning in his resignation, again. Soon he wouldn't be able to get work. He couldn't fly, not properly, with or without Nathan, not that he'd tell his older brother how he'd been practicing without him. He couldn't heal perfectly anymore, as his more recent escapades from the balcony had taught him.

Oh there never remained any serious problems, a bruise here, a sprain there, nothing he couldn't fix...or hide. But it was getting harder, and more frequent. But he wouldn't tell Nathan this either. Nor would he tell him he couldn't draw the future, read minds, move things with telekinesis, and barely even turn invisible. Something he had managed flawlessly until now. No, he wouldn't tell him how he kept feeling more and more tired, sluggish and kept having moments of weakness so great he could barely stand. He wouldn't say how he suspected that something was going very wrong with him, that he couldn't get out of this tree, couldn't let people touch him, even though he still craved it, couldn't stop getting scared.

Not when Nathan seemed content, if a little strained. Not when Nathan seemed to be actually enjoying his company. Not when Nathan, though he hid it, was starting to enjoy flying.

So Peter would stay up here in this tree, alone and scared, feeling his empathic heart beat faster as he found it hard to hold himself together, despite the cold telling it to slow down. Peter cringed when he felt himself sniff at a twinge of pain, not from his ankle, but from his abdomen.

He whimpered at the thought that he was slowly falling apart, and had no way to stop it. He even found it hard to focus now, when he was stuck in a tree.

"Nathan." The name was barely a whisper, he couldn't bear to ruin whatever peace they had found, even though he was certain it was going to happen sooner rather then later.


Nathan was beginning to get the faint stirrings of guilt. It was now lashing down with rain and there was no sign of Peter. He could barely even see the tree he'd left his younger sibling in.

He gazed out the large window in the lounge, pondering if he should go collect his way-ward, and no doubt soaking brother. But that would mean loosing to that inevitable smirk.

Not that it should matter, but it really just did. Somehow most of their fights ended up coming down to a competition of stubbornness, Peter usually won.

He sighed in frustration; he didn't even want to try flying in this weather.

Just as he thought it, lightning struck the sky, temporarily illuminating the tree and, Nathan's stomach sank in sickness, a dark figure hurtling towards the ground.


Peter must have drifted off, because all at once images flashed before his eyes. Until everything became sickly still, holding a sort of ominous secret.

He could only see a sterile white room, with a large wooden bed in the middle. Cautiously his dream-self shifted closer.

The sight that met him chilled him to the bone. His father lay still as a statue, exactly the same almost as when he'd last seen him. But that, this, was all impossible right? Almost as soon as he thought it, eyes flew open to meet his.

A piercing pain unlike any he'd felt before scorched through his eyes to his head.

Peter cried out at the pain of it and jumped badly, twisting around to try to escape from the imaginary eyes and arms over him. With a terrible cracking and crunching noise, Peter was shockingly aware of the ground, or tree, disappearing around him.

Desperately he grabbed at air, but found himself hurtling to the ground. Wind and rain lashed his strangely red vision as the ground rushed up to meet him.

A fracturing pain hit him, and for a few long seconds he was unaware of anything but pain.

Slowly he registered his red-glazed eyes being open, rain-flattened grass filling his vision. His head rang with pain and his eyes didn't seem to be working properly as they blinked with a shuttered motion, laced with the same piercing feeling.

As they managed to close, he begun to notice the disjointed pain, and searing cracking that he associated with broken bones mending and dislocation re-locating. But it was slow, painfully slow, and everything hurt too much to be working seamlessly. Especially his head and eyes, what was wrong with them?

And then there were hands on his shoulders, and he couldn't help but flinch. A voice, Nathan's, he realized, was calling to him desperately. And he tried to open his eyes to be more useful.

Nathan was petrified. Peter's body had remained twisted and broken for too long. And even as he reached the dark figure, it still looked crumpled.

Urgently he grabbed Peter's shoulders, and he must have done it too hard because the small, damaged frame jerked away from him weakly.

With all the gentleness he could muster whilst his little brother was getting soaked, he eased him onto his back.

"Peter? Come on Pete talk to me here!" He pleaded.

Horror coursed through him as Peter almost blindly turned to him, trying to open his eyes that seemed to be crying blood. Shattered dull brown eyes heavily opened to him, struggling to stay that way as more red liquid washed over them to fall gracelessly over his cheeks.

"Oh God…" Nathan murmured in shock and terror as his little brother winced, coughed and blinked, almost desperately trying to focus on him through the blood and pain.

"Nathan?" Peter chocked out in a scared and confused voice.

"Shh, don't try to talk Pete." Nathan tried, even though he was desperate for Peter to keep talking, to be all right, even though he knew it wouldn't stop Peter.

"It hurts Nathan..." Peter claimed, closing his eyes weakly and shivering.

"Hold on, you're gonna be okay!" Nathan insisted. Because he had to be, because he was Peter, because he was his little brother. Because Nathan wouldn't be able to fly without him.

: Woo! Please tell me what you think!

: Thanks for reading, shadowtheo