2007-09-15: Best Man For The Job


Nathan_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Except maybe not. Peter and Nathan discuss.

Date It Happened: September 15th, 2007

Best Man For The Job

Midtown, NYC - Campaign HQ - Nathan's Office

The only light turned on within the ground floor is Nathan's office. The campaign worker bees are done for the day, night time fallen, so only city lights outside provide illumination through the glass windows and doors into the wider office space, desks and chairs empty. Towards the right, horizontal blinds against an interior window show streaks of light, evidence of occupation..

Nathan sits behind his desk, not doing the work he'd been intending to do, although his laptop is opened, important information he's not reading drawn onto the screen. A steaming mug of bitter coffee is picked up, sipped from, and he resists the urge to spin even once in his chair. Instead, Nathan picks up a photo of Heidi, not quite a recent photo but one of the rare ones where she's alone, not accompanied by family members like sons and husbands and brother-in-laws. In the current silence, he observes it, thoughtful.

Silence is a luxury in New York City— and apparently that luxury is about to be taken away. The front door opens. Either one of the worker bees left it unlocked, or someone has a key— or could use telekinesis to open the door locks. The alarm system isn't activated just yet, so the luxury of silence isn't completely ripped apart— but footsteps may be heard approaching the blind covered office with lights (after the door has been locked and closed again). The real sign that someone's there comes from a polite knock on the door, before it opens a moment later. No wait for a response. Just the knock, and then it opens. Little time to put things away unless the footsteps or the door opening were heard.

"I'm glad you're here, Nathan. I needed to talk to you."

The knocking and subsequent opening of the office door is the only cue Nathan notices, looking up with a little alarm, not expecting to be disturbed at this hour. The framed photo is set aside, angled away from Peter in a sort of self-conscious instinct, and Nathan closes his laptop partially, reading glasses pulled away and put down also. "Did phones become old fashioned when I wasn't looking?" he asks rhetorically, but all the same, he gestures with his coffee mug (upon picking it up again) towards the chairs opposite him. Family members just seem intent on showing up at random in the past couple of days, but admittedly, Nathan's glad for the distraction. "What's up?"

"Sorry… I've had bad luck with phones the last few days," Peter says with a grimace, moving to settle down into the offered seat. How's he supposed to explain that he might have gotten someone into a car accident while talking to them on the phone? Because he just happened to tell them that their husband who they thought was dead wasn't really dead. At a really bad time. Nathan'd know what it's like to cause car accidents, though, so… maybe he'd be the one to talk about it with, but… "I talked to Mr. Gomez not too long ago and he said he'd gone to see you and… he… mentioned something that… Is it true? Are you already… seeing him?"

A pause, then Nathan clicks his laptop fully closed and pushes it aside. He's going to get no work done tonight, it seems, if Peter isn't stopping by for a simple chat. "He stopped by here," he explains, tilting his head to indicate the rest of the office. "He wanted to talk to me about what you'd found out about on your…" Gesture. Trip to the future. It just sounds too ridiculous to put into words, really, so gesture. Nathan raises an eyebrow, adding, "I don't know about seeing him, he's not my therapist."

There's a small nod, as Peter actually is pretty okay with Mr. Gomez's decision in this case— his brother needed to talk to someone— needed to prepare for the possibilities, but… "I wasn't meaning— I believed that Mr. Gomez went to see you, but… I mean are you already seeing him." There's a pause. The younger brother looks down and quietly broods for a moment, and then… "Logan." That's the him he meant. "He said that you'd already seen some flashes in the mirror— that you'd already seen him. When did this… when did it start?"

The idea of a separate persona hadn't— still hasn't, really, sunk in. The idea of giving it a 'him' identity is foreign for Nathan, but now he clicks on to it. Agitated, and trying to mask it, he leans back into his chair, and narrows his eyes across at Peter. Flashes in the mirror, what he'd told Ramon. What he'd hoped to have told him in confidence, even in regards to his brother. Not so, it seems. Peter's questions go ignored for now, and he asks, "You the only one he's mentioned this to?"

"Elena knows too," Peter says, though that shouldn't be a surprise, really, but… he gets the agitation, and decides to explain. "He told us after I asked him if he'd spoken to someone about the source of the tornado. It'd been a secret I'd meant to keep— I hadn't even told you about that— and Elena'd told him and he took matters into his own hands with the information and it… got to the wrong ears. I think he was trying to verify that he hadn't messed up by talking to you too." Have to defend the possible future father-in-law, right? And… "I needed to know this, Nathan. I can't help you if I don't know about it."

Understandable, sure - but it doesn't make Nathan anymore impressed. For now, he'll have to trust that both Peter and Elena are smart enough not to go talking about this to anyone before it can reach, say, Heidi, before he can truly sit down and talk to her about it. Information flows so easily, however, and it makes him nervous that one person told has turned into three people. Especially when one of those three people is Peter. "Well I don't even know what 'it' is," Nathan states. Besides weakness, that is. But he addresses, if reluctantly, the questions he'd been posed. "It started sometime early this year." And they both know what early this year was like, which is why Nathan carefully isn't looking at Peter.

So far neither of them have even told Heidi that her son died and she got shipped off to breeding camps and he husband became a dictator President— so it's doubtful they'll break this one to her either. Peter looks back up and watches him quietly, even if he's looking away. Earlier this year. In some ways that answer was what he'd feared. Earlier in the year. Now he looks away as well, slouching a little into his chair. He can blame himself for all of this, he's sure. He'd find a way to blame himself for the Lincoln Assassination if he could get away with it. But what he says, is a soft and rather stubborn. "I'm right here, Nathan. I'm not going anywhere— and I'm not going to let him win."

It's like an exchange. Peter looks away and Nathan focuses on him once more. "Did you meet it? Him?" he asks, which just feels like an odd question. Something from a nightmare, a flash in the mirror in Nathan's darker hours, does not an identity make, but here they are, talking like this mirage is a person.

"Yeah— twice," Peter says, still looking away. There's a hint of a flinch as he focuses on a point on his brother's desk. A spot in the wood texture. "Once before I knew about him— when I thought it was you. And again after— after Mr. Gomez and Jack helped get you in control again. I spoke to him then— briefly." Told him a few things, but— the one that has him worried… "He said that I couldn't stop him…" He looks back up now, tension visible on his eyebrows, in his eyes. "But I don't think he knew me very well. I'm not going to give up." Not until he's dead, at least.

He wants to ask what Logan is like, but in a way? Nathan is sort of worried that even knowing, envisioning him, will only make it worse. So he bites back the temptation, and weighs, instead, Peter's words, shaking his head slightly. "I think the person most responsible for stopping him is probably me, Pete," he says with a slight, if strained smile. "You know it's not your fault, right?" As soon as he says that, Nathan can figure that Peter would see it that way. Probably why he was so reluctant to tell him about Logan's semi-presence, about its origin. "I'm the one who apparently can't hold it together. I should— it was a rough few months but I didn't make it any better for myself by sending Heidi away." An example of one mistake.

Considering both of his meetings with Logan are NOT ones he ever wants his brother to know about? It's a very good thing he bites back the urge to ask. Peter would have to dance around the topic a little too much, and he's just not good enough at that. However— when his brother takes the blame upon himself, he shakes his head. "Time's were tough for you because of me." He wants his part of the blame. "And I have to believe that I can do something to help you— you're my brother and I…" There's a pause, he glances down. "I don't know who I am without you." Once it's said, he looks back up. He's repeating something that he was told, in a different office, on a different day— almost a year ago now.

Game set match. Nathan sighs, but otherwise, he doesn't argue. Because it'd be hypocritical to do so, and Peter is allowed his slice of guilt. There's really only traffic outside there to fill in some of the silence, Nathan tilting his head back to observe the ceiling for a moment, considering the advice Ramon had given him, before looking across at Peter. "You can help," he confirms. More of a pause, then, "You remember that night as well as I do?" There's really only one night he can mean, in this context.

"How could I forget?" Peter says softly, looking down towards his hands briefly. It's a gesture he often does when he feels guilty over that night. Guilty and glad at the same time, oddly enough. It's a mixed feeling, an awkward sensation. Sometimes he honestly leans towards hating that whole night— other times it validated all the love and trust he put into his brother. "Yeah— I remember."

This is interesting. They've never really discussed it. Nathan knows he's flat out avoided it and after all, what needs to be said? Both were there. But he's brought it up anyway, so here it goes. "I didn't expect to live through it," he states, which Peter might have guessed from the way Nathan had refused, at first, to let him go, but he's never really admitted this to anyone. Suicidal acts of heroism doesn't exactly fit within the idea of Nathan Petrelli, after all. "For a while I wish I hadn't." Hadn't lived through it, hadn't done it at all, take your pick. It's the latter that he chooses to run with, however, adding, "What kind of a hero regrets what they did to save the world?"

"You did it to save everyone," Peter says softly, finally looking up for a moment. It's been avoided, and while part of him has wanted to bring it up— it's never been easy to. Because of the avoidance, because it's such a sensetive topic— and because of the guilt for what he put his brother through. "To save the city— and me too." Save him from what he would become being responsible for the deaths of all of those people. Even when he didn't have it as a burden, the knowledge that he'd been the bomb the whole time still weights pretty heavy on him. It could happen again, if not with nuclear ability, then with something else. And what if his brother can't stop him next time? But… "The kind of hero that expected to sacrifice everything… I'm not sorry that I pushed you away from me— that I made you let go of me. Not now that you're healed… Though I wish you wouldn't have had to go through all of that…"

"So do I," Nathan states. He's not about to lie and pretend like he suffered with gratitude. No, he became someone else for a while, someone he didn't like, both physically and mentally. But someone he healed from. Or thought he'd healed from. "It's in the past, Pete. I just want to keep it there. I'm not particularly proud of how I handled the aftermath. But I guess that's how this started - the face I saw in the mirror is— well, me. Before Claire healed me." So now what? Try to avoid all tragedy so it doesn't go downhill completely? Unsure of what to say, Nathan lapses in helpless silence, casting a resentful glance away from Peter.

In the past— just like the future he witnessed. Peter doesn't smile, though, just nods. The face in the mirror was his own… That actually explains a lot. But still makes it his fault. It might have been easier on him if he'd been there— if he hadn't let the Company lock him up all those months. But… "I'm here now. You're not going through this alone. You're my brother and I love you— and if that's not enough… I'll find some way to help." And make it up as he goes. Because that's all he's been doing the past months— making it up as he goes. Sometimes with less than stellar results.

"Yeah, well." It's not that Nathan doesn't appreciate the sentiment - he does more than he can put into words - it's just that he recognises that Peter's even seen this in action and still doesn't know how to prevent it. Nathan tilts his coffee mug towards him, checking the contents - nice, lukewarm coffee. No thanks. He picks up a pen to fidget with instead. "Ramon seems to think he can help me out, with the whole… telepathy thing. For now, let's just make sure no one I love dies." A glance to Peter, hesitation, then he asks, "Do you think I should stop trying for Senate?" Because possibly becoming an evil President really does make that a relevant question.

"I understand that," Peter says quietly, knowing that having a telepath poking around in your head might be disconcerting and bothersome, an invasion of privacy for someone who likes his secrets. Still— there's a hint that he might think differently on that in the way his jaw is set. But he doesn't bring it up. Doesn't want to, honestly. It's his question that draws his eyes back again. "I'm not sure. I don't think you make a bad Senator or President or… any of that— I just think that… There's a lot that could go wrong there. And… I'm rather selfish when I say that I kind of need you here. Too bad you can't run for Mayor."

"Mmhm. I'd like to think I'd make a good Senator or President," Nathan says, wryly. An understatement, for him - of course he thinks he'd make a great Senator or President. But… "This whole thing is making me wonder if I'm the best man for the job. I want to be." Simple truth, there. It's hard to grapple with the idea of throwing this all away, especially from his position.

"Maybe the job isn't the best for you," Peter says, sitting up a bit to reach over and touch his brother's hand. They've had a desk between them this whole time. Didn't lend to touching as much as they might want. "You're a good leader— a strong person— and I know you'll do the best thing that you can in whatever situations you're given." Him, not Logan specifically. "But I'm not sure that right now is going to be that situation… But again— I'm being a little selfish." He smiles faintly, lopsidedly. He needs his brother. And he's not sure he can do all of this without him. And Senators kind of have to spend a little bit of time in Washington. Short distance, only a train away— but it seems days for some reason.

Shorter distance if you can maintain airline speeds, too. Unfortunately, Nathan doesn't have the luxury of using his power that often. "I'd still be here for you, no matter what," he tells his brother, though Peter makes a valid point. After a moment, he moves his hand away from Peter's, as if in an attempt to hide what he's thinking, feeling, by avoiding the gesture of empathy. "Quitting might wind up being harder than flying up into the sky with a nuclear warhead," he says, tone light, as if he's making a joke, but the parallel is made. Why can't saving the world be cool, instead of sacrificial? "It's late in the race. It'd close a lot of doors for me." Alternate positions of power might be hard to obtain, after stepping down from his title of Congressman for mysterious health reasons after a day, then flaking out midway through a campaign for Senator.

"Guess it would," Peter says, squeezing his brother's hand for a moment, before he stands up. "As long as you stick around— as much as you can. I'll support you." He always has, even when he doesn't agree. Or at least supported in a way that sometimes involved crossing his arms and letting his brother know he's disappointed in him. Right now isn't one of those moments. "Guess I should let you wrap up whatever you were working on so late here…

Nathan is the kind of man who seems to have it all figured out, and for 99.9% of the time, he does. You can't go into politics without knowing it was what you wanted to do, without having some kind of plan for the future. Hell, you can't even be a very good father and a husband without these qualities, without having figured it all out to a degree. This is the 0.01% where he just wants someone to tell him what to do next, because he has absolutely no clue as to what move to make. He expected all kinds of wrenches thrown into the workings of this campaign - but not one like this. And so the prospect of staying even later to finish work he's not even sure will be necessary in the long run makes him sneer, and reach a hand to switch off his laptop. Not tonight. "I don't know about you but I'm going home," he says, pushing himself up to stand, moving to pack his things away.

"Home sounds like a good plan," Peter admits, willing to follow at least to the door. Only his home is in another direction, so that's where they'll probably split up. "I have to admit— sometimes it's nice having someone to come home to. Starting to like it…" Though before he gets his hopes up, he should call ahead and make sure she's at his home and not his brother's home still. She hasn't moved into her own yet.

The laptop is abandoned there, Nathan apparently unwilling to bring his work home with him tonight, but a briefcase is opened, a few tihngs slid inside, and shut once more. His jacket is pulled on, then, they move for the door, Nathan shutting down the office light once they're walking. In the relative dimness, he glances sidelong at his brother. "Oh, so the date went well," he says, the line delivered simply - innocently, perhaps.

"…With no help from you," Peter says, giving his brother one of those ever-suffering stares. "I still can't believe you gave me her last name. I'm still the man in the relationship, you know." And he's going to insist upon it. Even if he's a nurse and all that other stuff. The Nun outfit at Jack's wedding had been a one time thing, not a lifestyle statement. "The cake was pretty good, though. She said your taste in cakes is better than your taste in ties."

A keycard is taken out, a door unlocked, and Nathan just gives Peter a look over his shoulder. "You know, Pete," he says, holding the door open for his brother. "Most guys never have to argue that point. And Elena rides a scooter to school, her taste in anything is automatically called into question."

Grr. "Most guys don't have you for a big brother, either," Peter says, shoving his hands into the pocket of the coat that he is very grateful to have once he steps outside into the chilled night. Thank you, incoming fall. "And scooters are surprisingly fuel efficient and she can park it almost anywhere. Only thing I'd be worried about is someone picking it up and stealing it while she's in class one day." It's probably happened— but at least she wears a helmet when she rides her— or he's pretty sure she does.

"Fuel efficient doesn't equal not-stupid-looking. She can lay off my ties." Yes, they've been living together for a month or so, why do you ask. Outside, this likely where they will split up, what with the whole living in completely different areas thing, and Nathan takes out his phone to call in a car ride, even as he tugs his jacket further around him - freakin' chilly weather sneaking up on you. Among other things. He pauses, glancing at Peter, then shrugs. "You know I'd do it again, right?" he says, quietly. The flight. The explosion. The subsequent injuries.

"I think your ties are fine, for the record," Peter adds, just so he knows. His taste in ties has always been a source of vague amusement. It's almost an art how he picks them and wears them. And they always make for good birthday and Christmas presents when no other ideas fit. He could swear he gave him a tie with glitter on it once… Anyway… he's about ready to pull out his own phone, to call for a cab instead of a car— when.. he looks back and… "I know." It's not easy for him, but he does know, and he is proud of that fact, but… "And I hope you know that I'll do everything I can to make sure you don't have to."

At least the one he's wearing now is pretty tame, in a blue and red tartan kind of way. Nathan gives a soft chuckle, shrugging a little. "Well that'd be a start," he agrees, then claps Peter on the shoulder before they can walk away. "Thanks." Take that word for what it's worth.

The clap on the shoulder is returned, with a grip towards the arm. One that doesn't pull away very quick at all. Peter's almost hesitating in the whole parting thing. But he does let go, and he adds, "Be safe on the way home." Even if the drivers tend to be better than his brother. "I'll try to come over for dinner a time or two this week." So, warning.

"Sure, why not," Nathan says. "You can even bring your girlfriend." Peter, you may never know how hard it was for Nathan just now not to say 'boyfriend'. Seriously. That took a lot of restraint and he should be commended. "Heidi's also thinking about having the party she wants to have sometime soon, so between stopping the apocalyptic future and— whatever the hell else you're doing, make sure you get a weekend free."

"Yeah, I know— late birthday party. I think all three of us missed ours this last year," Peter says with a laugh, thinking back on the Petrelli bad luck with birthdays for the last year. He was locked up. Nathan was burned up. And for Heidi's Peter'd been in the future, kind of ruining any plans they might have made. "But yes, I'll bring my girlfriend."

Nathan nods once, smirking only slightly. Call it big brotherly instinct to take amusement out of the concept of the younger brother dating anyone, for whatever reason he chooses. "Great, I'll bring my wife," he says, stepping backwards, with the intent to head home, now, but he, too, seems reluctant to do so. Really, it's not that late in the evening, is it? "C'mon, I'll buy you a beer," he offers, instead.

There's women waiting at home for them! …Maybe. Peter can't help but smile at the mention of the wife, tempted to point out it's a good thing he still has one, but decides it's better not to. That's not something he wants to tease his brother about. Anyway! "I guess— I can give Elena a call— if she's waiting for me maybe she can go over and spend some time with Heidi instead. It wouldn't hurt to stay the night in the guest bedroom." And he puts away his phone. "And it'll save me money on a cab, too. That cruise nearly broke my bank account." That, on top of music box presents, jewelry— girlfriends are expensive.

Women shmomen. "I'd bring Heidi and say Elena could come along too but I don't think she's legally allowed to drink yet," Nathan points out, because while Peter doesn't feel like it's kosher to mock him about Heidi, mocking Peter about Elena is fair game in Nathan's book. All the same, he steers them both down the street towards, likely, a bar he knows. Because he would know what's closest to work.

No, the age difference isn't as much a source of angst as… say… his last girlfriend's 'family connections' had been. This is a lot smaller of a complication by comparison. With bar in sight, Peter opens the door for him, and adds on, "You're kind of a brat too, sometimes." And then there will be drinking and chatting about less dramatic topics, like sports. And all of it will be on Nathan's paycheck.

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