Doing the math

Rated: T for swearing, incest, I guess, if you decide to see it that way. But you have to tilt your head and squint real hard.

There's a lot to be said about fathers, adopted and especially biological, and their ability to only see only what they want to see.

Take Nathan Petrelli, for instance. He was a man who, even in childhood, liked to have everything organized in his favour- if this meant peachykeen sugarcoating his life for the public eye, so be it.

But when something particularly vexing came into focus, he did his best to pretend it never happened- it wasn't that he didn't care, oh no. Nathan cared just oodles, rest assured- it was that, what with his brother being a power absorbing superwhatsist, him being able to fly, and his illegitimate love child being able to regenerate life and limb- well, keeping up the facade of normalcy was becoming more and more of a daily chore.

So, Nathan turned a blind eye to what was not waved in front of his face, put up on a neon billboard or done in interpretative dance form. Nuances? Who had time for nuances? He was Superman, for Chrissake! Or, at least he had one of Superman's powers (and his devilish good looks) and as he soon figured out, casting shadow to any annoyances that invaded his life was quite easy. Too easy, in fact, to the point where he lost sight of some things that would be quite in his favour to know.

i.e the buddy-buddy relationship between his brother and his daughter. It had been a rare few months of peace in the Petrelli household, which should have been a happy time between the two- but for some unfathomable reason it just wasn't. Whenever they were around each other, whether it be in the kitchen or the foyer or at the dinner table, there was this...tension. One time they stood beside each other for a family portrait in front of the chimney- two straight hours of standing and smiling juxtaposed like a good uncle and niece should.

He never thought it possible for an uncomfortable feeling to be so dense that it hung over a particular place like invisible fog. However, the maids are still afraid to enter the room alone. They come to him babbling about omens and spirits and Stephan King novels, two of them quit- it was chaos.

Now, Nathan Petrelli can put up with a lot of things- insults to his family, tabloid exploits. But you if you curse his goddamn chimney the shit is going to hit the fan.

After having a stern talking with the both of them, the politician was in the firm belief that he had fixed things once and for all- of course, it never dawned in the slightest that he may have fixed them too much. Really, you don't intend to put a band -aid over the paper cut and accidentally splint the freaking arm fracture. That us, unless you're trying really hard to think the arm in question has been severed and therefore cannot sustain injury in the first place.

So when they didn't come to dinner that evening, Nathan assumed they were just working whatever squick had been going on between them (well, this wasn't entirely wrong. It was just the squick they were working out and the squick he thought they were working out were two completely different brands of squick altogether.) And was able to eat through his meal quietly and quite contently.

That was weeks ago, and now he wished they were still avoiding each other like the plague (ha ha, but no pun intended) because now they were just sickening. Sitting close to one another during quite family powows, Peter chasing Claire about the house screaming something about his favourite pair of socks. Sometimes he would even walk in on them sitting quietly in the family room, listening to his ipod- one earbud pressed to the side of her head, the other too his. Something radiated off of them, something intense and...vaguely nauseating.

A name was not put to this feeling until later in the month, having tea with Heidi and his mother.

"It's delightful to see Peter and Claire getting along so famously." Commented Angela airily, taking a sip from her cup. Something about the way she handled herself suggested she knew more about this than he did. "I bumped into them behind the staircase. Scared them into an inch of their little lives, I'm afraid."

"Oh yes, Pete and Claire have been quite a bit more...friendly in the past few weeks." Replied his wife, looking a bit red in the cheeks. The two exchanged a meaningful glance. "Honey. You've noticed something...odd about them lately, haven't you?"

Nathan sipped his tea offhandedly "Nope." He sniffed. "Not a thing."

"Darling," Said Angela gently "Think back to when you and Heidi were dating. Compare and contrast, lovely, compare and contrast."

He sat back and thought back to the highlights of their courtship. Chasing her through Montague Park when she stole something of his, something trivial like a sock, winters spent snuggling together by the fire- he was about to show a content smile when reality did an interpretive dance in front of a flashing neon billboard spelling out exactly what was going on.

He elequiently gagged on his tea, blinking rapidly as every moment he had seen between them snapped together into one big, incestuous jigsaw puzzle.

"Oh." Nathan said simply, "Well. That's perplexing, isn't it? Would you ladies excuse me?" He left the room without waiting for a reply, fuming. Time to tear off the splint and rebreak that fracture, he thought. Hell, he was going to amputate the entire fucking limb. The entire fucking thing.

But as he stomped up the stairs, caustic anger coursing through his veins, he was reminded of his previous oath. Just ignore it. Just ignore it.

Two plus two equals five.

Yes, do the math but come out with a wrong answer. Take deep breaths if need be. He saw nothing. He heard nothing. He was abreast of nothing.

There's a lot to be said about fathers, adopted and especially biological, and their ability to only see only what they want to see. Nathan Peterelli is no exception.