2007-11-24: Barrel Roll


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Summary: Quarantine isn't so much quarantine anymore. Peter's been around enough sick people to chance visiting his brother. They have a chat in the backyard about recent goings ons. Nathan's lamenting his lack of flight— and the younger of the two tries to do something about that.

Date It Happened: November 24th, 2007

Barrel Roll

Petrelli Mansion

The grass is wet underfoot, and leaves of trees bow heavily beneath water. Occasionally, one will tip, and patter less than a quarter teaspoon of rain water down onto the garden bench, sometimes onto Nathan too, who brushes them away with only a twinge of irritation. The mug clasped between his hands is piping hot in comparison, some kind of lemony tea that tastes mostly of water anyway, but it's warm to stave off the cold of the evening. Along with a heavy woolen jacket and a scarf, it's sort of a wonder as to why Nathan is choosing to wait to talk to Peter out in the expansive backyard of the estate, rather than inside where it's warm and less likely for him to let his fever take over.

Look up and you'll see why. The sky is completely clear, for once, of cloud, a moon shining adequate light and the stars more there for ornamentation but doubtless, they serve some purpose in their ends of the universe. Nathan settles back against the bench, blows a cooling stream of air across the surface of his tea and takes a sip. Stretches his legs in front of him, takes in a deeper breath if icier night air and observes the clear sky as he waits.

The front door didn't get him much of a greeting. Peter checks the den and the sitting room, before he makes his way toward the back at the kitchen. No sign of his brother. Or anyone else for that matter. Well, anybody except the dogs. Bending down, he picks up his tiny American Eskimo that's been camping out with her cousin-dogs for way too long. "Maybe I should take you home tonight," he says as he straightens. It's only through a glance of luck that he spots someone sitting on the bench in the garden area.

Putting his dog down and shooing her further inside, he opens the door to the back and he steps outside. Closing the distance to the bench, he avoids walking in any puddles before he says, "You shouldn't be outside. It's not exactly healthy…" But he caught the look, and he glances up to. "You miss it, huh?"

As Peter comes into view, Nathan automatically moves aside several inches, sitting further towards the right of the bench than the center. "Staying inside, last I checked, hasn't cured me," he says, looking down into his mug of tea rather the sky. It, too, won't cure him, but at least it's a good defense against the outside frostiness. "So this isn't so much of a risk if you put into perspective. Siddown." His hand comes up to adjust the scarf around his neck - actually loosening it with a hint of discomfort. "I didn't think I would. I told Heidi that if I had it my way, I'd get it taken away forever. Is it lying if you didn't realize it at the time?"

"No, I don't think it's lying," Peter says, moving to settle down beside him, not even worrying too much if their shoulders bump. He'd told Elena a few days ago that he had to practically carry a man with the virus into an ambulance. If he didn't get it there, he won't get it just sitting beside someone, or touching them. He can't spend the night with his girlfriend, probably, but otherwise… He does look a lot healthier than he did before— that's one thing that's changed. While Nathan looks down, he looks up. "There was a time I wanted to get rid of all my abilities too— let them lock me up for months if they promised to cure me, fix it." His brother knows what time he's talking about. "Now… I'm honestly not sure who I'd be without them. If I could even do… anything."

"You could be a nurse," Nathan suggests, a little flippantly, before glancing at his brother sidelong. "It wouldn't be so bad, if this never existed. As it stands, it does, so I'm thinking I'm missing out on something. I never got to see how far I could go, you know?" There's a lack of earnestness in his voice, a lack of sentiment - just sort of a rueful acknowledgment on the current situation. "I'm glad you got 'em back, we need…" And he trails off, a hand raising to touch his brow in a warmed, restless gesture. "You wanted to talk to me," he prompts, instead.

"Nurse, bookstore clerk… I'm not sure either are what I was meant to be," Peter says, looking back down and even smiling, just a fraction of a smile. "You'll figure it all out— how fast you can fly— how far— you're not going to be sick forever. Think of all the oil you can save by going to all your meetings without needing to use a jet? You'll be the Greenest Senator ever." He lifts a hand, to touch his brother's shoulder, smiling just a little more. "I just wanted you to add on a couple guards to the shift is all. Sure you already added extra with being Senator-Elect now, but might be time to add a few more."

Drawing another sip from his mug, Nathan makes an expression of displeasure, but doesn't complain, just listens, then looks towards Peter in the half-light. "More security?" he asks. "I don't want to ask why but god help me I'll take the bait. Why? Is it to do with Claire's attack?"

"No," Peter says, wincing a bit at the mention of that attack. It's been almost a week now, and he'd told his brother as soon as he could settle down, once he was sure Claire was safe with her other dad, but— "If he showed up here I don't think extra guards would help. These would be normal guys… It's something to do with Jack. This guy pulled me off the street while I was shopping at a fruit stand." There's a grimace as his eyes lower away. There's more to this tale. "They're normal guys, though— just guys with guns— mobsters I guess. Type of guys your body guards are trained for."

Nathan's eyes narrow, studying Peter as he answers, and then remains silent after he's finished, turning his head again to fix his eyes forward then up towards the sky. "I knew he was in over his head with something," he grits out, clearly displeased. "He didn't want our help and now it's coming to bite him on the ass. And us too through association. You told him, right?" he adds, with that tone of voice that implies he almost hopes Peter didn't so he can then go on and lecture Jack about it himself.

"I would've decked him if his girlfriend hadn't walked in," Peter says mildly, not sounding as if he's exaggerating either. It's too serious to be that. Trina kinda defused the situation handily. "I think he realizes he's in it over his head, but he still thinks he needs to take care of it on his own. I told him he shouldn't do it by himself, but the only thing he wants me to do to help right now is make sure that the people he put in danger are safe. You and Elena are the ones I'm worried about most. Hopefully he'll take better care of his own girlfriend."

"I'll talk to him. Hopefully this'll be his last straw," Nathan says, moving to sip his tea again— then hesitating, and promptly extending out his arm away from them to tip the contents onto the lawn. "Please tell me you were coming to tell me more than the fact I now need to look out for mobsters as well as whatever else is being thrown my way. If I never see NyQuil again it will be too soon. Good news, anything."

Good news… "…I wanted to see you?" Peter says in a questioning voice, before he rubs a hand through his hair. "Gene hooked me up with this machine that'll let me recharge car batteries with my electricity ability— he's wanting me to check out how much wattage I can manage at a time, that sort of thing. It's a good idea— training with a useful application." But that's not really a piece of good news. He pauses, looking up, then suddenly has an idea along that same vein. "Maybe you could give me some flying pointers."

Not the good news he was looking for, and Nathan doesn't push it, peering into the empty mug in his hand before setting it aside, a quiet cough shielded by the back of his hand— then he pauses and looks across at Peter, an eyebrow lifting. "You're kidding, right?" he says. "Or did you forget that I'm not exactly cleared for lift-off right now? I'm pretty sure there's still a me-shaped dent in the lawn outside my window if you'd care for a reminder."

The other possible good news— Peter's not gotten a confirmation on. It's kind of difficult to say 'she's close to a cure' every single time they see each other. How close is close? He'd rather show up and go 'Here's the cure, take the pill, call me in the morning.' And that's not today. Moving to stand, he looks up at the sky. "I know you can't fly by yourself, but I could carry you. I carried you once before— you carried me— and I carried a guy whose a lot bigger than you once too." Over his shoulders. Like a fireman. "What's the worse that could happen?"

Nathan is silent for a moment, as if attempting not to rebut Peter's points of argument - such as, he dropped Peter that first time, he was burned to a crisp the second, and how exactly did he carry this other guy, supposedly? But he knows his own ability well, that Peter's right - it's not impossible. He stands up, and finds himself tucking his scarf into his jacket and zipping it closed, even as he says, "Well you could crash and break my neck."

"You'll be lucky if I can lift off," Peter says, reaching to do up his buttons on his coat, so that it's more secure. "And least we're not starting with the Brooklyn Bridge, right?" There's something teasing about his voice, before he offers his back to the slightly taller man. "I won't go far. Just to one of the visible skyline buildings and back." He's just asking to get bossed on his flying ability, he knows it.

It's true - Nathan does his fair share of backseat driving. With a last glance towards the quiet estate, he steps up towards his younger brother an slings an arm about his throat and shoulders, the other hand finding a firmer grip on his jacket, chest against Peter's back. "Fine," he says. "Straight up and forward, none of this swoopy Peter Pan behaviour."

The grip should be good. Peter even brings up an arm so he can grasp at his brother in return. He looks up, eyes rolling a little. "Last time I checked my last name wasn't Pan. And I don't have pointed ears." There's a hint of consentration. Think of his brother's nagging. That should do the trick. He takes off straight up— for a couple feet, and then— gone. He goes crashing down those few feet, stumbling. If his brother's grip loosens any, they'll probably both go falling onto the lawn.

Nathan was expecting to hurtle straight into the sky, such a thing wouldn't come as a shock to him - falling, however, was not what he had in mind, and a barely formed curse word hisses out between his teeth as they plummet back down, arm slipping off the younger man's shoulders as they both drop straight back down. A sharper grunt of pain from Nathan as his ankles and knees take the fall hard, and he staggers back away from Peter, slipping on the wet ground and coming to land, finally, on his behind. "What— the hell was that supposed to be?"

Since Peter couldn't balance with his brother's legs on the ground, he falls to the damp grass too, but he ends up twisting so he falls away, landing on his side. Ow. "That— was my ego getting bashed into the lawn…" he says with a grunt as he pushes himself up and turns around to look at his brother. "You okay? Nothing broken?"

"Hold on," Nathan mutters, as if taking stock, tentatively rolling his feet with a slow sort of fear of the sharp pain that might come from a splintered ankle. To his relief, it doesn't. "I'm okay as long as I'm not planning to go leap frogging over the next few days," he reports as he manages up onto his feet, brushing off his palms. "You, uh… wanted to try that again?" He seems somewhat uncertain.

There's a glance up at the sky again, Peter pushes himself all the way to his feet. Even if he'd twisted an ankle or broken a bone, he's be fine by now— and he doesn't feel anything more than fading bruises— and now dampness through his coat. "One more try?" He looks back at his brother, that hopefully look in his eyes, the tick to his eyebrow. He obviously wants to prove himself, at least a little.

Nathan looks across at Peter a little flatly, then takes a breath. Steeling himself. With a tentative few steps, not quite a limp but clearly sore, he reaches out to grab Peter's shoulder— steering him to face the other way and repeating the position, holding on a little firmer this time. Just in case. "You know that switch you gotta pull to make it— work?" he says. "Put everything into it when you take off, because up there you can let the momentum take care of the rest. We'll discuss the finer points of landing when we get there, I guess."

Oddly enough, the more nagging his brother does, the easier it is to manage to capture the right emotion. Peter looks up again, lifting a hand to hold onto his arm once again. "All right— straight up. Hold onto it." It's a good pointer, really— though the landing is what will worry him the most. He takes in a slow breath, closes his eyes— and focuses on the feeling of being nagged. And also respect and caring and the most important person to him. All at once. This time they take up, rocketing into the sky, straight up. And then, suddenly, over. His hand grips tighter on his brother's arm, making sure he's along for the ride, holding onto him as he aims for one of the buildings on the skyline. He's tempted to land, but taking off from the roof would be more hazardeous… It looks like he's planning to circle it. Poorly.

"Oh god," Nathan mutters as they truly do rocket up this time - fairly clinging to Peter as they take off at an angle impossibly high in the nighttime sky. It's— this is very different. It's a beautiful night for flying but more now than ever Nathan can feel the pull of gravity, the way the wind beats at them and the cold stings them. He shuts his eyes in an attempt to get used to it, knuckles going white as they zoom across New York City, and likely Peter can feel his older brother's heart pounding as they go. Finally, he forces himself to look, watching where they're going. "Easy. Easy," he hisses as they start to curve around the building, paranoid of the momentum plucking him off Peter's back only to hurtle to the ground.

As they settle into flight around the building— way too fast— Peter's other arm goes up until it would look like he's trying to hug him back. The passanger may be gripping tight, but so is he, for other reasons. There's a building. That would not feel pleasant to fly into, and he's definitely too close for comfort— the window pane actually ripples a little in his wake, glass that's cheaper than it probably should be. Easy. Easy. Simple instructions. He seems to take it as slowing down. The speed drops, helping control the turn and not buzz the windows too close or too much. Don't fall. Don't pancake brother. And how is he going to land this thing?

A nervous laugh actually erupts from Nathan as they skim past the building. It's like riding a very fast, very dangerous motorcycle. In mid-air. Or, more accurately, piloting, and with that frame of mind, it's a little easier not to have a heart attack. "We can save barrel rolls for some other time but right now you're doing okay!" he shouts above the noise of rushing wind.

A barrel roll? This is going to be one of those moments where someone would wish they didn't mention something. Unseen, since he's facing the other way, Peter smiles into the wind, lopsided as his hair is temporarily plastered off of his forehead. This is when he does what he thinks is a barrel roll. It's actually a Aileron roll, but only a true pilot would understand the difference. Rolling on the longitudinal axis of their bodies, they go upside down and then right themselves— and he overshoots the mansion showing off.

"Pete— Peter." Too late. Nathan clings tighter, if possible, near strangling Peter as suddenly up is down and down is up for a few moments, then back to normal again. Well. At least that wasn't a real barrel roll. "Gonna— kill you— when we land," Nathan gasps out, but manages to move his arm more around Peter's shoulders than his throat. He can throttle younger brother later, preferably not during flying. "If we land."

"I missed," Peter admits with a wince, turning again— Luckily, he doesn't try anything fancy this time, just a normal turn, and he's reducing his speed quite a bit. There's the lawn— the nice— squishy lawn. Times like this, he wishes they had a pool. Just in case. With his hands gripping his brother's arms, he maneuvers toward the lawn, and tries to figure out how to get his body vertical so that their feet hit the ground first. Without some pointers it may not be the smoothest landing, but they won't kill themselves either.

OH HELLO GROUND. HOW I MISSED YOU SO. Nathan lets go of Peter once they land likely a little harder than the other man intended - but land they do, without stumbling. Although once he no longer has Peter to hold him up, Nathan stagger-lists to the side, hand going to balance himself against a tree as he recovers. "Well now I know what that's like for passengers," he says.

While his brother didn't stumble, as soon as the weight is removed from his back, Peter does. He stumbles a few feet and then starts to shift his shoulders around. Ow. The ow doesn't last long. "It wasn't that bad, was it?" he asks, rubbing at his neck as if he's tempted to pop it. There was a death threat up there, wasn't there? "I managed a barrel roll, though."

"Actually it— " And he pauses, looks at Peter, squints. "Yeah. It was a good barrel roll." Let's just keep him to the basics, shall we. Taking his weight off the tree, Nathan glances back up at the sky they'd just dropped from, then back towards Peter. Apparently the death threat isn't to be followed through tonight. "Thanks. Sort of like driving an out of control motorcycle. I mean that in a nice way."

The squinting isn't noticed. Peter's looking at his brother for some kind of praise— and he gets it. There goes that smile. The one that his brother couldn't see right before he decided to be reckless at a couple moments ago. It's probably one of the few genuine smiles in a while. Good job, brother. He's had a hell of a last two months. "Well, hopefully you won't ever have to be passanger on out of control motorcycle again," he says, still smiling. "Ready to go back inside and get warmed up?"

"Yeah," Nathan says, readily, moving towards Peter and rather matter-of-factly putting his arm across Peter's shoulders. "Help an old man out," he jests, other hand wrapping around himself as they start back towards the estate. Although it's a light gesture, the support isn't totally unappreciated should he get it, legs a little sore from the last landing, and as usual, exhausted and feverish as he has been for the past who knows how long. "It wasn't so bad. Takes a little getting used to." Hard to say who he's talking about - Peter's flying or his own fortitude towards being a passenger.

With the arm across his shoulder, Peter reaches up and grabs onto it, squeezing his lower arm near the wrist and not letting go. "Next time we'll race around the Statue of Liberty, or something," he says, as he "helps" the older man toward the back door and the warmth inside. Race, cause they'll be flying against each other. Cause he won't be sick much longer. Optimism. It's easier when there's a reason to smile.

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