2009-12-13: A Dysfunctional Family Dinner



Date: December 13th, 2009


The Petrellis have a reunion that's almost a normal dinner until it's not.

A Dysfunctional Family Dinner"

"Ethan's" House

Staten Island, NY

With the mysterious stashes of cash that he found in both his apartments, Peter put a downpayment on a small house in Staten Island, which he called his forgetful brother and gave the address to, along with instructions to bring Mom, but to be especially careful about it. It's one of the lighter populated areas, but there's still rows upon rows of houses. Trees sprout up, there's a yard that will need mowing, and a wooden fence for privacy. There's some snow on the ground, but not much. A few of the houses have Christmas Lights up, but not the newly bought home. Not yet.

The inside of the house is sparsely furnished, still, with just the kitchen stocked, a table and chairs, but he apparently went back to his old apartment and made a trip or two to get things out. Probably at a risk to himself, but the owl cookie jar needed to be saved. As well as the ship in a bottle, and many other things from his bookshelves. The smell of freshly cooked dinner fills the house. He can't risk taking his family out in public, but he can still treat them to dinner.

Where Angela goes, these days, the Haitian isn't far behind. Quite possibly, where Nathan goes, the Haitian may not be far behind either. This evening, however, he's … out of sight.

Angela looks up at Nathan as they stand outside the Staten Island home. What is set up like a dinner between family is less casual than it appears, and if Peter is having issues remembering the past few years, it's bound to get… interesting. She eyes her eldest son as if she knows there's something he hasn't told her. Angela's mother sense is beyond honed.

The black winter wardrobe of the family matriarch is made less dour by a white scarf wrapped about her throat, its warm wool strings dangling against the heavier wool of her black coat. She says nothing on the doorstep but she does make the first move to ring the doorbell with a gloved hand, straightening her posture afterward, her stern features moving toward the first hint of a smile in preparation to see another of her temporarily lost sons.

There are many things Brayden hasn't told his mother and the trip to the house has been oddly silent. He's said very little at all, seemingly wrestling with his own thoughts. He's in all-out Nathan attire, despite his current struggle: a black suit, red shirt, and black tie with hideous red and green plaid printed on it, of course, overtop he wears his heavy black coat. With a strained smile, he walks with his mother up to the door, still silent. Unsure how to broach the issue at hand or even to deal with it until the time comes.

He straightens his coat as his mother rings the bell and finally says, "Chilly, hey Ma?" He offers her a forced dimpled grin.

It doesn't take very long for Peter to appear at the door, pulling it open and motioning them inside before they let all the warm air out. "Hey, welcome. Sorry this place is still pretty drab. I do have a coat hanger, though, let me take your coat, mom," he says, despite a hint of awkwardness in his sight, he does immediately reach to help her get out of her coat, so he can put it up on the hanger next to the door. He's wearing black as well. Black seems to be a Petrelli color, even when not in mourning. Though perhaps they are.

He'd known this would happen, but he can't help but wince a little at the first sign of pain in his head. It seems to get worse around his brother— and his mom as well, now that he notices. "I— I'm almost finished. I take it neither of you had trouble getting here?"

"It is December," Angela may be heard replying as the door opens; unenthusiastic small talk about the weather is forgotten the moment she spies Peter. "Peter!" She's all smiles, even warmth. She steps across the threshold ahead of Nathan, turning to let Peter take her coat. "No trouble, it was fine." Angela's gloves have barely been peeled off before she moves to enwrap Peter's face. The removed gloves, soft brown leather with fur-trimmed cuffs, press against Peter's face as his mother examines him with a mix of maternal concern and sharp clinical study. "You look good." She eyes him further. "Under the circumstances. Does your head hurt? You used to make that face when you were little when you were sick, it would even get you out of school. C'mon, give your mother a hug."

"Hi Pete," Brayden offers a strained smile while nodding at his mother's observation. He side-glances both of them quietly as he removes his own coat, exposing his hideous plaid tie. He'd give his brother a hug, but apparently he has to stand in line so he lingers behind, still smiling very tightly.

The hug is given, though Peter keeps his eyes open as he holds on for a few moments. "I've had a headache pretty much as long as I remember since waking up. Sometimes it's worse than others— right now it's… difficult to ignore. But it should pass." It'd been worse when talking about his family. Who knows how bad it will be tonight? The hug, though, and the talk of him as a kid, makes him feel a little better. If only cause he remembers this. "Unfortunately I can't get out of finishing dinner, not unless you want to eat something burned." He looks to his brother and laughs, spotting the tie before he wraps his arms around him. "I see your taste in ties is returning."

"Hm." Headaches. Interesting. Interesting and important. Suffice to say, that information is stored. Angela squeezes Peter on the arm while he heads for Nathan; she moves to unwrap her scarf, hanging atop her coat neatly. Her jacket beneath her winter coat is black as well — or perhaps an especially dark navy blue, depending on the light — but is trimmed in thick, white piping. "What's for supper?" You'd think they were almost a normal family. "It smells wonderful. And Nathan, your tie is going to give me a headache, I'd hoped you'd forget about that part of yourself at least until you're healed…"

"You like the tie? Some of my staff think it's too over-the-top but I think it adds some flavour to the boring suit thing, and if I'm not allowed to wear my old wardrobe, I may as well add some flair to the new one," Brayden smirks as he returns the hug. "You sure you're up to having us over. If you need to nurse that headache thing…" he frowns a little. Just a little. He's lost his memory, but his head rarely hurts. He gets feelings of dejavu, but never anything akin to pain. "C'mon Ma! It's a great tie! I got a bunch of Christmas ties the other day all with different animals or characters in Santa hats. It'll keep the office guessing, I think."

"I've always liked the ties, it gives me a present to give you for Christmas and Birthdays," Peter says, grinning as he pulls away from the embraces so he can make his way back to the kitchen. "Spaghetti," he answers to the question on what's for dinner. "And some garlic bread and steamed vegetables." It's not the most extravagant dinner, but… he missed Thanksgiving. He missed it for the last three years, too, but that's not in his memory. It's something to make up for that, at least. From the kitchen he adds, "I do have one bottle of wine, too." Merlot. He found it in his apartment, though he has no idea where it came from.

"Guessing at your sanity," Angela murmurs offhandedly to Nathan as she fusses with her coat despite it being perfectly arranged on the hanger. She offers her eldest a quick grin, however, before she takes to strolling through the house on a gradual track toward the kitchen, eyeing the new surroundings as she goes. "Wine would be lovely," she calls out as she touches a lamp. "And spaghetti. I'm in the mood for Italian. You must be psychic." He is psychic, thanks to her, but he may not recall such a detail. "What'm I talking about, of course you are." By the time the woman and her critical gaze reaches the kitchen entryway, she sighs. "What's the last thing you can remember?"

"I like spaghetti!" Brayden announces as his lips quirk into a broad grin. "And garlic bread." No mention is made of the vegetables, however, as he'd lived on (without butter or salt or anything!) them while in the monastery. He hmmms a little as he considers the wine. He doesn't think he likes wine, he's more of a scotch, beer, or brandy guy. Maybe Nathan liked it? He'll have to try it. Hopefully he's right on this one. "I'll have a glass… thanks Pete."

"I know you're less into the wine. I am too, that's probably why it was never even opened in my apartment. I'm not even sure where it came from, cause I wouldn't have bought it for myself," Peter says, as he pulls the bottle over. He'd already opened it since he knew his mom would at least drink it. Psychic. Or more likely he just knows his mother— or thinks he did, at least. Some hints to his past show he may not have known her very well at all.

The table, small as it may be, has already been set. The chairs sadly don't match. No table cloth. But there's placemats and napkins and silverware, as well as a side dish for the bread and a second bigger dish for the vegetables. While he checks on the sauce, he glances back and hesitates, "I remember up to election night. The— what happened at Kirby Plaza, and… Sylar…" There's something odd about the way he says Sylar, but he trails off and continues in another area. "And the… the explosion. Then it all just kind of went blank. Though I get… some flashes every so often. They don't make sense most the time…"

"…A lot has changed since then." Angela frowns, the lines etched by age deepening on her face. "That's all in the past." She trails toward the table, but continues to speak, voice faintly raised as she lifts the bottle of wine and pours herself a glass. "I don't think your memory was erased. Not like Nathan's." As the name leaves her mouth, she looks up to Brayden-Nathan and his plaid tie, tipping the wine bottle toward him with a casual lift of her brows to double check if he wants any after all. "It can cause headaches if it happens to you over a long period of time, repeatedly, but that's obviously not the case here. Besides which, you should be able to heal. Something is preventing you from going back to normal. That's why I want you to see Matt Parkman."

"I can't remember if I used to like it, but all things considered…" He puts up a hand and shakes his head towards his mother no wine for him! "…I'm good," Brayden agrees with Pete as he glances at the bottle. Well at least it wasn't Nathan's favorite either. That makes them have yet another thing in common. He feels so detached from his former self most of the time.

"Who's Sylar? Another family friend?" Yup, his brain is completely erased. "Yes. Matt Parkman. I called Cass and left a voicemail, but haven't heard anything back. Although, I was pretty non-committal in the message. I should maybe call her again, even if she hates me and won't accept my apology. Heidi did that much, even let me see the kids…." he murmurs the last sentence as he sits in his chair.

"Nathan mentioned that— People keep bringing up that woman named… Cass as well," Peter says, voice quiet as he looks down at the sauce he's sturing, then moves to check on the noodles in boiling water. Everything should be ready shortly. He has to wonder what exactly happened with Heidi that made her so unforgiving, but neither of them remember it, so that's going to be one of the many things that… will make it difficult. "If possible, I'd like to try calling her. I wouldn't mind hearing from the boys."

Sylar is a difficult topic. "I wouldn't call him a friend, no…" Though he's not sure what he is anymore. Lost time and seeing him again later made the simple black and white a little too… well… gray. As he adds that last bit, he finishes the last of the preperations and begins to move things to the table. Where they sit on top of towels, instead of proper pot holders.

Angela obliges and sets the bottle down. She takes her seat, taking a moment to get neatly situated before reaching for the glass of merlot she's poured for herself. Sylar? No comment. Heidi, on the other hand— "I wasn't sure she'd see you at all," she says, very vaguely surprised, as she watches Peter bring in dinner. It looks as if she may get up and help several times, but she stays put. "It's good that you got to see the boys, but that poor woman's been through enough. No doubt, so has Cass, but she'll just have to get over it." Angela takes a calm sip of her wine. "You've gained a lot of interesting abilities in the last couple of years, Peter, I'm hoping one of them can help Nathan."

There's a beat after Peter mentions calling Heidi that Brayden's face transforms into sheer defeat, but he doesn't address Peter, it has little to do with him. Instead he turns to his mother, "You should've told me Logan tried to kill her, Ma. Twice. Well once himself and the other time hiring someone else to do it… I don't want him back in my head. I can't risk my family like that. I have kids — two beautiful boys who are the spitting image of their mother who I apparently tried to murder. And if I'd succeeded? Then they'd be virtually orphans with a murderer for a father and a dead mom! I'm glad he's gone — there are some things a person shouldn't remember." And there it is. The cause of the silence and awkwardness verbalized. "I'm not going to be him again. I promise it."

"I should go," Brayden sighs as he pushes out his chair from the table again. He'd just got here, but now? "I'm sorry, Pete. I'll call you and leave Heidi's contact information." He pads towards the closet to get his coat.

"He tried to…" There's a long pause as Peter draws in this surprising revelation that his brother, this Logan person, had tried to kill Heidi. That explains a lot, actually. Fills in a big blank he hadn't know of. Still, as his brother heads toward the door, Peter puts down the pots on the table and moves to follow, "Wait, I— you didn't even try the food. I…" He looks rather helpless for a moment, as if he's not sure exactly what to say to fix this sudden awkwardness. He doesn't remember Logan, besides one flash that didn't make sense. "Will— will you stop by sometime again? If I can figure out what I can do, maybe I really can heal you."

"Nathan!" Angela pushes to her feet, absolutely unwilling to simply let the man leave. She may not be fast enough nor convincing enough when he sounds so determined — much to her chagrin — but it does not stop the woman from trying. Her wine glass is swiftly set down and she whisks around the table. "Nathan, you're not him. You won't be him, it's why we did this! You wanted this. You. You understood how hard it would be in the end and you accepted it. He was a part of you, a part that will have been put to rest once you can remember. You need to remember!" Angela's determination is so intense that it verges on desperate, her dark eyes wide; that need to have her family together and whole is a strong one. "You can't abandon your past, have a family you don't remember! We need Nathan." Not Brayden, in other words.

Pulling on his coat, Brayden sighs and apologizes quickly, "I'm sorry, Pete. I really am sorry. Thanks for the invite, I just can't right now." He frowns as he buttons it quickly before giving his brother a quick hug, and says gently "I don't want to be healed; I'm happy the way I am, and I'm not a danger to anyone right now… but I'll be back and then we'll have a real visit. I'm sorry. I am." He offers Peter a very weak smile before shaking his head at his mother, "There's no guarantee he'll be gone. Pete doesn't remember how to fix me… and Heidi doesn't think it's worth the risk." Beat. "And neither do I." He shakes his head as he opens the door and quips back, "Enjoy your dinner." And once outside? He takes off. Quite literally.

"But Nathan…" Peter says, chasing after his brother for a few steps, but left looking up at the sky instead of being able to catch up. For a moment, he considers taking off after him. He doesn't, but he really considers it. When he turns around and closes the door again, he looks at his mother with a serious frown on his face. "I didn't realize that… that Logan was so dangerous. How am I… if he doesn't want to be fixed how am I supposed to…" Do it against his will. It doesn't sit right with him, from the looks. His family had often had depressing meals, but this one seems to hit rather hard.

The breeze from outside as the door closes, and perhaps from Nathan's hasty takeoff, whip at the dark hair above Angela's brows. Once he's gone, the Petrelli mother instantly becomes sullen. She sighs a sigh that speaks more of a deep-set forlornness than frustration. As she turns back toward the table, the hollows under her eyes seem deeper, her gaze darker, her lips thin. "He's just confused," she says … forced, a touch, as if she's making herself believe that to be the truth, rather than Brayden deserving any opinion of his own. After all, he's just a shell in the end, right? He needs to be filled in with Nathan. "He doesn't understand that he needs to take the … the bad with the good." Slowly, she retakes her seat and looks to her remaining son. "Peter, he has to remember," she says almost flippantly. Don't you go turn on her too.

"Of course he's confused," Peter says, moving toward the table and dropping into the seat. Despite his better sense, he pours himself a big glass of wine, though he knows he'd be better off not drinking at all in the sudden mood drop he's in. Especially with the headache he already has. "His memory got erased and he was left to live on his own for a year and now he's being expected to be someone he doesn't even remember." Someone who he's willing to take up the political life of, if not… the rest. "I want him to remember because… because he's my brother." There's so much good that goes with what bad he keeps hearing about. But one thing he knows for sure, is he needs his brother. He doesn't start eating, perhaps needing to get an appetite back, now. "Do you know what all I can do? How I would help him."

"For one, you picked up healing," Angela looks to Peter for any indication that he's figured this out yet. "Of others, that is. One of your favourites, I'd say." The nurse/paramedic who can heal — it would make sense. "When memories are erased, it creates … a scar, a… wound, hiding what's really there with nothingness. Wounds heal." She lifts her glass, sips her wine distractedly. She's determined to carry on with supper, serving herself a heap of pasta. "Eat your supper before it gets cold. It smells delicious."

"Healing?" Peter says quietly, looking at his food, but still not eating any of it yet. There's a long pause before he says, "I think I might have done that once— not intentionally, and not very well. But… someone with a broken arm— their arm looked better and didn't seem as… broken. But it wasn't all better, and…" He trails off. That's actually not a good topic, so he seems to opt to leave it there. "Do you know about any of the other things I picked up since Kirby Plaza? I've been having… visions sometimes. I think they're memories but… they don't always quite feel right. Not like… me. Not completely. And I've had some vivid dreams, too.

"Mm, the ability to see the past — and maybe parts of the future — by touching it. Some people call it psychometry." However delicious Peter's spaghetti is, Angela glowers at it while expertly twirling her fork in the noodles, focused on the considerable issues weighing down her family despite being insistent on enjoying the dinner. Who knows if they'll be able to have a Christmas dinner, it might be all they can get, even without Nathan. Nathan, who she is clearly still thinking about as she answers Peter. At least he has most of his memories. "Speed. Electricity. Some sort of … teleportation of objects, I'm not sure where that came from. Dream-walking. Strength. And more. Time travel." Rather, he simply became better at it. In a manner of speaking. She gives him a long-suffering look on that note before taking a bite of her spaghetti.

"Speed?" Peter says, genuinely surprised at that mention. Some of the others he's seen clues toward before, but that one isn't one he's done at all. Not yet, at least. Maybe now he will, if he tries hard enough. If nothing else, speed would be very helpful. Finally he starts to eat, taking a few bites while he thinks of all of these abilities. He knows of a few more not mentioned, too. One time he looked in a mirror and saw another's face. But it wasn't an hallucination. It'd actually changed. Once he's downed a few bites, he finally asks a question he may not have wanted to ask his mother, but… he does want to know. "Do you— do you know if I was… involved with anyone?"

Angela is in no hurry to answer that one, sipping her wine before she does so; it's with a small shrug and casual, unconcerned lift of her brows that she replies. "Hm? Not that I know of. Not since Elena, but that was some time ago now. Better off. You'd hardly had time for a social life, what with working so many hours between your paramedic job and the Company." How times change indeed. Oh, Angela fully expects this to be something of a bombshell, and as such, turns a knowing, much gentler-than-usual smile on her son.

Elena? For a moment that seems to be the most important thing on his mind, but then his mother keeps talking, dropping more pieces of information. Peter's not eating anymore, and it's a good thing, because he might actually choke on something. Paramedic? He became a paramedic? But that's not quite as surprising as… "The Company?"

The small smile continues on to prepare Peter for the explanation. "Yes, with me. Taking in the more… dangerous people with special abilities, but mostly helping them adjust. Arguably, you're our most valuable agent, Peter." Of course, Angela is biased, but it's hard to refute Peter's usefulness at the Company. "Well, you used to be, before the government scattered us and you lost the last few years," she adds on a more cynical note. "Your partner was a … very … unusual agent by the name of Meryl Winters. She's probably worried about you right about now."

"Is that why I was… attacking that train? When… when I got hit by a helicopter?" Peter asks, leaning forward a little and wondering what this Meryl was like. There's little knowledge of what Agents are like, except for memories of Bennet. He could be scary, but he was very interesting and strong seeming. Trying to picture a female Noah Bennet, though… "I'd like to see her. Let he know I'm alright… if you think that'd be safe. Maybe the more I…" Elena isn't Niki, though. The memories exist, but there's something wrong with them. And as for Elena… he has a small idea who she might be…

"Your little jaunt to the trains wasn't exactly sanctioned," Angela replies with a tone of chastisement, even though it's over something Peter can't exactly recall doing. Evidently, it doesn't excuse him from blame in this moment. "Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure where Meryl and her husband — another agent — are right now. The last I heard they were in Wisconsin. A lot of agents went into hiding after the headquarters were raided by the government." It's strange telling Peter this all over again, but she takes it in stride. She's been doing the same for Nathan.

"I see," Peter says softly, though it honestly barely sounds as if he actually does see. There's confusion in his tone, it makes him understand his brother a lot right now. But unlike his brother, he has no desire to stay the way he is now. Not anymore. "I want answers— I can't keep going on like this, with no idea who I was now, or what I'm supposed to be doing. But you shouldn't have to tell me everything…" There's a moment where he decides to eat some of the garlic bread, before he asks, "Why do you think Matt Parkman will be able to fix me? Do you think there's no other way?"

"Honestly, I don't think he can fix you. He might be able to see into your head enough to know what's wrong with you." Even that sounds tenuous for someone who always has the answers like Angela. She lifts her fork, twined with pasta, but sets it back down with a gentle clang and sits back straighter in her seat, hands disappearing onto her lap. "There is another way. You're not going to like it."

"Well I don't exactly know what it even is to like it or not," Peter says, reaching up to touch his head and rub the skull a bit. There's that tension again, the tell of a headache and possible illness that's coming over him. "But if you really don't think I'll like it and don't want to tell me, you don't have to." At least he should go back to eating the dinner he'd cooked for his family… Even if Nathan disappeared before even taking a bite of it.

"Well, I'd like to avoid it if we can." Look, she's trying to spare him trauma. It's a step up encouraging his nuclear detonation. "We'll see if Parkman can be of any use." The elder Petrelli looks to Peter, dark eyes dimmed with a longing and tired melancholy. "I just want my boys to be my boys again." Angela does smile, however thinly. "At least you still remember who you are, minus a few bumps along the road. Well. Let's try to enjoy supper, shall we."

Bumps. Why does he have a feeling the whole 'she wanted me to blow up the city' had just been the tip of the iceberg? Even then, Peter knows one thing— he doesn't feel like he should just walk off. Nor does he think the fact he was working with the Company was a lie. It explains some of the things he saw. But— He starts to go back to his dinner, before he lets his fork settle again and looks up. "Did I have a scar across my face for a while?"

"You've had the scar that's on your face now for awhile," Angela says with a matter-of-fact evasiveness. "For reasons you'd probably like to remain in the dark about." Oh, there is most certainly more to the story, more to the scar beyond the faint mar of Peter's present day features, given the way his mother eyes her meal, her glass, hard-faced. "You're just going to remember again anyway, when we clean up this mess." However, she looks up suddenly, frowning in consideration at her son, and decides to let this cat out of the bag. For one reason and one reason alone. "Your future self travelled back some time ago to try to fix things while Nathan wasn't himself," she confesses with sharp-edged annoyance. "He erased Logan. And Nathan. And he was going to heal him, too, only it went wrong somehow, because obviously Nathan went missing and this is how he came back, without a clue of his past life, and that's why it's all the more important that you give him Nathan memories back, you have to finish what he— " Peter from the future. " —started."

"From the Future," Peter repeats quietly, frowning a bit at his food. It's not the answer he really expected, but it explains why things didn't quite feel like him. Not always. Sometimes it had, but then it didn't again. "All right," is what he finally says, even as he slumps in his chair, eating his food. Now he doesn't know if he'd even been in love with Niki at all. Only way to know is to get his memory back, and figure out where to go from there. "I'll do whatever I have to to get my memory back," he finally says, after a few bites of food.

On that note, Angela only nods in acceptance, pleased that Peter, unlike Nathan, wants to make things normal again. "And you will." Whatever it takes, she will make sure it happens. After a few moments of silence over food, she raises her glass — mostly emptied of the dark red slosh of merlot by this time — in a toast. "To remembering what's important."

"And hopefully it won't take too long to do that," Peter says quietly, reaching to raise the glass up. The one he forgot about, despite having filled it. After he takes a drink, more than a sip, he adds on, "Christmas is coming up. It'd be nice to know who I need to buy presents for."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License