2007-08-02: Alfredo or Marinara?


DFKate_icon.gif DFPeter2_icon.gif

Summary: Peter finally learns the true extent of his wife's troubled mind.

Dark Future Date: August 2, 2009

Alfredo or Marinara?

Peter and Kate's (New) Home

Home is where you hang your hat. Or at least where you hang up your trench coats. Kate's - one of Peter's old ones - hangs on a coat rack she's placed by do the door, along with a silk, leopard printed scarf. A sure sign she's been out and about today. Further evidence of this is the pot boiling on the stove. Grocery shopping - even freedom fighters need to do it. Kate's currently hanging the last of her many, many mirrors on the walls of her new living room. She examines her reflection for a moment, fixing her blonde hair. She frowns and then ruffles it up, trying to give it a sort of messy quality, while not quite appearing as though she just rolled out of bed. She's even done up her makeup and put on her favourite little black dress. He's got to come home sometime, right? It's almost time for another coat of lipstick.

Home he is. As usual, Peter doesn't use the door. Dissolving out of thin air a few feet behind her, he'll become visible in the mirror before anything else. For a change, he hasn't seemed to have too difficult of a day. No streaks of blood on his face, no rips in his clothes, and even his hair is pulled back carefully. Doesn't mean he's smiling anywhere near as much as he might have a year ago, but there's a hint in the corner of his mouth. "You never did tell me why you suddenly became obsessed with mirrors," he says, as he pulls off his trench coat, a sure sign that he's staying in the rest of the night, or planning to anyway.

"I hate feeling confined. And some of our homes have been pretty confining." Kate tilts her head to one side, smiling at Peter's reflection in the mirror. "Mirrors are lovely optical illusions. They can make a room feel bigger. They're also the ultimate contradiction." The smile fades. "They never lie. The mirrors show you the truth of what's in front of them." Her fingers wrap around the jagged shard resting against her chest. Reflecting the reflection infinitely.

"That's true, in a fashion," Peter says, turning away to hang up his coat on a nearby coat rack. There's another mirror right in front of him. Only one of the mirrors in the room happens to be his— the multi-sectioned mirror that used to sit near his bed in his old apartment. The rest are mostly newer additions. "But wearing one around your neck doesn't make the room look bigger." There's been a lot he's noticed but hasn't had much time to pry on. There's ways he could find out, sure, but… Turning away from the mirror he's facing, he looks back at her, tilting his chin upwards a degree.

"You're doing that thing you do when you think I'm holding out on you. When you want me to tell you something." Kate turns away from the mirror. "I love you more than anything in this entire world, Peter Petrelli. I know I frustrate you. I know you worry that I lie to you. That my heart lies to you…" She reaches up and runs her hands over his hair before she looses it from the tie keeping it so neatly pulled back. "You are my everything. I may have my secrets, but I will never lie to you." Her fingers tangle in his dark hair, combing it out lovingly. "I promise."

Untied, the hair falls down around the line of his chin, longer in the front than in the back, threatening to hand in front of his face if she doesn't keep her hands in it. Peter keeps his hair tied back for a reason, after all… the long bangs really obscure vision, but he hasn't seen fit to do more than trim. "I know you love me," he responds to her, hands reaching up towards her own face and neck, forcing her chin to tilt upwards so he can briefly kiss her. It doesn't last too long, though. Even as their noses still touch, and his eyes slide shut, he breaks the kiss, but stays close enough so his breath can be felt against her lips. "But promising not to lie, doesn't mean you're not leaving things out." But… there's a pause, before he pulls back enough to say, "You've been having nightmares again. Is it just about Suresh or is it something else?"

Kate's eyes shut when he kisses her. How many times have they kissed since they married? It's electric every time. No matter how brief. "I didn't want to worry you." She keeps her forehead to his, sighing deeply. "I didn't realise… I've been doing the cry-then-cuddle routine again, haven't I? Damn. You'd think I'd wake up or something."

"You're the one thing that I worry the most about," Peter informs her, staying close enough that he can't look her in the eyes even if he'd want to, but his hand goes up into her hair and rubs around her scalp gently, as if that'll help with whatever stress might be building. "You've been crying at night, yes… it's gotten worse since… since Nathan…" There's a twitch of tension in his forehead, as if he's wanting to shift his eyebrows, but he doesn't move back, even as his jaw tightens under her hands. "Tell me what's going on. What are you dreaming about?"

"I know, darlin', I know. I can't talk about it. If I talk about it, it's as though it's…" Kate jerks back suddenly, away from Peter's touch. Her eyes fly open wide and frantic as she looks around. Something's just gotten her attention. "Do you hear it?" He has to hear it. He, of all people, has to hear that. She scrambles forward again to press her hand over his mouth before he can ask what. "Sssshhhhhhh!" She lets a full fifteen seconds past. The only sound beside her pounding heart and heavy breathing is the pot that's about to boil over on the stove. Perhaps that's what snaps her out of it. Her hand drops to her side and she steps away. "I'm making dinner," she tells him with a smile. As if the whole incident hadn't just happened. "Do you want Alfredo or marinara?"

There's that twitch again. This time worse. And it's not at her eyes flying open and snapping. Peter's eyes are open when hers are, and he's actually glowering a little. It doesn't completely fade even as he tries to ask, only to be silenced, and forced to listen to… well… heavy breathing, pounding heart and a plot about to boil over. Only when she steps away does he reclaim a hair tie from his coat and put his hair back into the short ponytail, jaw set in displeasure. "I'm not really hungry, so whatever you want." If she won't tell him what's going on… "I went to see my brother the other night."

"Why are you looking at me like that? I thought you liked pasta." Kate looks confused at Peter's sudden stony demeanour. Her face falls as she moves toward the stove, shutting it off. "What did you do?" she asks apprehensively. She'd know if he were dead, or seriously injured. "What happened?" She leaves the pasta to sit for now, turning back to her husband.

There would have been some kind of report, unless they got a shapeshifter to take his place so the regime didn't fall apart. Peter wouldn't blame them for such a move. "I didn't kill him. I just told him not to hurt you again." There's still tension in his voice as he moves to follow, hanging in the doorframe, with his hand raising up to rest on it. Still not pleased. "No one's allowed to terrorize you like this."

"You need to know…" Kate's eyes darken. Even though she's looking toward Peter, she's looking over his shoulder. "Death doesn't stop them." It takes a long moment, but she finally forces herself to meet his eyes. She's wearing her brave face. The face she wears among their people. Their soldiers. It's the mask. "I thought by casting of the mantle of Psychometer and declaring myself Clairsentient when I chose to make my status as one of the Evolved known, I would escape who I was. But it's who I am. The past is just as bleak as the future." Another sure sign that she's shaken up is just how much her accent begins to thicken up, heavily British now. "The… The might-have-beens are more frightening than anything I have ever seen before." Her tongue darts between her lips briefly. "And there are so many, many, manymanymany might-have-beens."

"I never asked you to let go of who you were," Peter says softly, continuing to hang in the door frame. There'd been a lot of things that happened in the past. Sure, they've both had to give up dreams they might have had due to what happened in this world they live in, but… There's something quiet in his voice. There might he something harsh in what he says, but the tone is soft, and his eyes are downward cast. For a moment, he looks a lot younger, and softer. It may not last long, but it's there. "If you can't tell me what's going on— what's bothering you— what— anything… Just talk to me. I don't care if it's whatifs and might-have-beens."

"I know you didn't," Kate agrees gently, "I wanted to change. I hoped it would somehow change the visions. But a rose by any other name…" She watches him look toward the floor and it takes her breath away. "Oh, you're beautiful." She crosses the kitchen to take him in her arms. "I love you. So much." She sighs deeply, but it isn't an exasperated sound. "A couple of minutes ago, we were fine. You kissed me and you asked me what was wrong, and I told you I was fine. And then I said I was making dinner…" She pauses, holding tightly to Peter, as though she might fall through the cracks in the floor. "I did something else, didn't I? I got weird on Infinite yesterday while I was painting… Did I do that to you?"

There's a long pause, and Peter can't help but look confused, even frowning a little, even as she says those things. It's what she says after him that has him worried. It's still a softer version than he might normally have had, "You asked if I could hear something— and then covered my mouth." It's said simply at this point, voice quiet. "I didn't hear anything— you don't remember it at all?"

Kate's arms grip a bit tighter. "A little bit. Sometimes I can't tell if it's the remains of a vision - might-have-beens - or if it's happened." She sags a little. "I hear…" She pauses. Hesitates. "I'm so sorry." She steps back. She owes him the courtesy of looking him in the eye when she tells him this. But she keeps her hands on his arms. Has to keep that contact. She closes her eyes for the moment, gathering her courage.

"What is it?" Peter asks, glancing up into her eyes and keeping enough distance so that they can do this. Arms stay down, and don't try to push her away at all, raising up to touch her waist just below the ribcage on either side, to offer additional tactile support. "Even if it's just a vision or— you can tell me."

Kate's confession causes the mask to crack and fall away entirely. She flinches, afraid of what her husband might do. Or, more accurately, what he might be thinking. "It gets worse with each passing day. It's like it's always there. It's in the background. Just… This rhythm. Sometimes it's subtle. I don't notice it right away. White noise. Ambiance. Familiar." She sucks in a deep breath and slowly her head tips - slightly - to the right, to the left, and back to the right again. Like a metronome. Left. Right. "Tick." Left. "Tock. Right.

Tick. Tock. When there's not a clock that makes that sound in any of their safe houses. Peter even removed his analog wrist watches to keep from having a tick near her ear when he raised his hands to touch her face, much as he does now, pushing her hair back gently. "It's not there, Kate," he assures, leaning in to kiss her briefly, before he wraps his arms around her and presses a stubble-heavy cheek against hers. "It's been over a year… and he still haunts you." There's a sound of sadness in his voice, hair falling into a veil on the other side of his face, as he leans his head down. "It'll be okay… it'll be okay…" is whispered softly

"You don't believe that," Kate laughs bitterly. "I know it isn't there. I went over every inch of the Kensei house the other day, trying to find that damned clock. And I realised… it was all in my head." She slumps against Peter heavily, defeated. "Oh!" She sobs. "Oh, God, I am so sorry." She buries her face against his chest, trembling with the tears that flow down her cheeks. "It's not just the ticking. It's the nightmares."

"It is all in your head— that's why it'll be okay," Peter says, keeping his arms around her, supporting her weight as well as he can. The years have made him stronger, physically, and being on the run and fighting against the government has kept him in shape. She doesn't weight that much, in comparison— though he's still slightly built compared to many men, just in terms of his height and actual body weight. "One day it'll stop— I promise you…" He leans his face towards her, pressing his lips against her temple— since she's very nearly the same height as him anyway. "It'll stop… and you won't be afraid anymore." There's that hopeful sound, a sound he loses a lot, but has regained in this case. "I'll make it go away as many times as I have to."

"Don't tell anybody," Kate begs. "I'm sure people already suspect I'm going batty… But better for them to think I'm paranoid than crazy. I can live with being That Paranoid Bitch. But crazy? Crazy permeates." She wipes her tears and pulls back only far enough to press a kiss to Peter's cheek. "I have a couple appointments tomorrow. I may not come home until morning. I have to keep showing my face about town, after all. Denying any knowledge of your terrorist activities. Telling everybody how proud I am of your brother…" She leans back now to flash him a gap-toothed grin. "It's hard work being two faced."

"You're not crazy— you're scared. And anyone who isn't— they're the crazy ones." They're the ones who stopped caring, the ones who gave in. But now there's a topic he almost doesn't want to approach. "Kate… I don't want you to do that anymore," Peter says, looking into her eyes with this sad expression that— well— could only come from him. "It's too dangerous— and— I can't handle it anymore. Putting you there— hearing you say that you support him." Definitely a sound of hurt in his voice. "Even if I know you don't mean it…"

"I have to, Peter. It's what's keeping us both alive." Kate's own expression is pained. "As long as I stay useful to- to him, we don't have Homeland Security rushing our suspected safehouses. You stay alive. I stay alive." She smoothes her palms over his hair. "What are you going to do? Lock me away in your ivory tower, away from all the world because it's so damn scary?" That would do wonders for her sanity, or the lack thereof. "I can't live that way. I have to be out. If it means lying, so be it. You may not like what I do, but I serve my purpose, Peter."

"Fine," Peter suddenly growls, as if there's something worse in what she said, but what she said renders him unable to argue it. He pushes her hands away from him at this point, holding onto her wrists for a few moments before he lets go of those to. "You serve your purpose, I serve mine. I have train routes to study." There it goes. That vulnerable look vanished in an instant, stelled up behind something harder. He doesn't teleport away, though, and instead just turns and tries to leave the kitchen.

"Don't do this to me, Peter. I need you more than anything." Kate abandons any hopes of finishing dinner and follows after her husband. "Don't put up your walls. I can't keep doing this." She begins to cry again, leaning heavily against the doorway. "Am I losing you?"

"I can't keep doing this either, but you won't listen to me," Peter says, not turning around, but he does stop. "I can't argue with you when you go on and on about how you're keeping us alive. When we could— It doesn't have to be like this. If I let you go on a raid, would you even go? It'd be putting us in danger if you got spotted, wouldn't it?" There's a shake of his head. "Honestly, I'd rather have you fighting beside me, than going out there and pretending to support him anymore."

Kate nods solemnly, pressing her lips together. She sniffles audibly before responding, "I'm making arrangements tomorrow. Hopefully all will go well and our next raid will go more smoothly." She rakes her fingers through her hair. "I'll fight beside you, darlin'. I just… thought maybe if I could prove to you that I can be useful without throwing myself into the fight, maybe we could…" The soft thud of her head against the door frame can be heard even from where Peter's standing. Though that doesn't take much.

"You're the one who wanted to go with me on the raids," Peter says, finally looking back, confusion coming through the mask. It'd been one of their biggest arguments over the last year, and now she's— "I'm trying to give you what you wanted so— so we can reach a compromise. You know you're more useful than just fighting— you always have been, I just don't want you anywhere near him anymore. Can you even try to understand that after what he just did to you?"

"I know, darlin'. I know. I fought you so hard for that. But I've been trying really, really hard to be good. And useful. Off of the battlefield. I just… I hoped it would change your mind about…" Kate can't even meet his eyes. Can't finish her thought. They've been over the subject countless times and the answer has always been the same. "But I can't have that, then I would rather risk death at your side than stay here, unfulfilled."

"You won't die out there," Peter says, shaking his head. It's something he seems to refuse as a possibility. Even if so many of the people who fight beside him do die, and never come back. There's a moment, where he pauses. They've had this fight enough, they don't need to finish it. "Putting yourself under their radar… what would you have done? Say it wasn't mine so they wouldn't take it away and use it against me? Would they even have believed you?" He shakes his head. "When we don't have to do this anymore, we can discuss what we both wanted years ago. Right now, it would just get us both killed. And I think you know that."

When will we not have to do this anymore? Kate shakes her head slowly. "I would have worked out something. I would have made it work. It would have been worth it to make it work." She steps into the living area now, headed for their bedroom, but she stops short, glancing about to the mirrors placed in her home, watching her and Peter's reflections critically. Reflections don't lie.

Eyes glance away, Peter flinches a little at what she says, but then shakes his head and turns away, the reflecting showing the continued tension along his forehead, and at the set of his jaw. A little lopsided due to the sag of nerves in the corner of his mouth. "If so much could go wrong in two years, then things can change for the better in the same amount. I'll burn it all down and rebuild it if I have to. But I'm not— Not in a world like this. Not when I have to do… the things that I have to do." There's a deep breath. "What are you doing tomorrow?"

"Making contact with a couple people that should be able to help us out. I'm taking Infinite with me. I don't want to say too much, in case things fall through. I don't want you to get your hopes up." Kate approaches Peter again, stroking his face gently. "Infinite knows where I plan to be and when. He'll be watching out for me. I'll be all right. I'm going to meet people I can trust. Nobody even loosely affiliated with Homeland Security."

"All right, just be careful," Peter says, looking of to the side for a moment. There's tension lines in his forehead again. "I do need to check on the train routes… I don't want you on this one, but whatever comes after… if you want in, I want you beside me." There's a long pause, before he adds, "The alfredo is good— I'll be in the study going over the maps and time schedules… you can come get me when it's ready."

Kate casts her husband a wary glance. Those tension lines give her plenty to worry about. "Go on and start working. I'll be in shortly with some aspirin, too." She squeezes his hands gently. "Come to bed after dinner?" Her expression is hopeful.

"Of course— I don't have anything planned for tonight," Peter says, looking back towards her again. There's a hint of a smile tugging on one corner of his mouth. "And I'll be there if you have those nightmares again— I promise." The hands are squeezed back, before he lets go. "I love you," is said in a softened tone, before he turns around and starts towards that study— or whatever they have that counts as such.

"I love you, too, darlin'." Kate drops a quick kiss on Peter's cheek before releasing him to his work, and so that she can go attempt to salvage their dinner.

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