2007-10-27: Can Hurt To Try


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Summary: Brotherly guilt doesn't necessarily save the world.

Date It Happened: October 27th, 2007

Can Hurt To Try

Hyde Park - Nathan's Den - Petrelli Mansion

There was breakfast. It was delicious. Waffles and fruit and syrup. Those who didn't want orange juice could have flavored jasmine tea with a dash of honey. After the breakfast was cleaned up, and people started to move aside, Peter approached his brother with an aside, face pale and flushed with fever all at once, and looking a little quieter than normal. "I need to talk to you," is what he'd said, nodding in the direction of the den, before he heads that way, walking in. In a gesture somewhat uncharacteristic, he goes for the scotch bottle and the glasses, pouring them both a portion, but leaving the one for his brother on the table next to the scotch bottle itself, moving to take a seat near the magnificent rearing horse statue.

Since a certain conversation with Jack, Nathan almost seems to appear slightly healthier than he had back in the labs. At the very least, he's looking after himself, waking up at reasonable times even when he doesn't want to, getting dressed into respectable clothes as if he did in fact intend to set foot out the door, clean shaven and everything. So when he does move into the dimly lit den, he looks nearly fine, save for the unhealthy paleness in his tone, the constant sheen of sweat on his brow that indicates the virus is still running rampant in his body.

Moving towards the scotch poured out for him, he mutters a thanks, picking up the glass and then taking a seat as well. "You're not about to tell me good news, are you?" Nathan asks, reclining back a little.

"Is there such a thing?" Peter has to ask, sipping a bit from his glass of scotch before he lets it settle down against his leg. He takes slow breaths for a moment, then looks toward the doors. With a nod of his head, they close themselves, just giving them a semblance of privacy— even if the den is one of the more private rooms in the house. "We had a visitor today. Elle stopped by. She… had to explain to me where she'd been for the past six months." There's a pause, he takes another longer drink of the scotch, making a bit of a face when he does, before he looks back at his brother. "Apparently the Company decided to do a bait and switch— cause there was a prophecy— a painting maybe, I don't know— that showed Sylar killing Elle. Her father didn't trust anyone to stop him, didn't want to take the chances… and switched her with a decoy of some kind. I have no idea how it worked— I read her mind plenty of times, and that…" he trails off.

The Company must have covered their tracks well. "The woman I was with for three months, from April to June… she wasn't really Elle— and she's dead now."

No powers in the house! Nathan almost protests this little show of telekinesis, jaw clenching for a moment, but seems to let that one slide - choosing his battles, and obviously, there's something slightly more important on Peter's mind.

…important, and confusing. Nathan stares across at Peter as he explains, hands clasped around his glass of scotch. "So you— were dating a woman who wasn't actually— okay. I met not-Elle?" He has to clarify. The woman who had looked after his kids for an approximate evening, who had also threatened to zap him for sassing her at one stage if not for the fact he was her boyfriend's brother.

If there's a no power rule, then he's breaking it all the time. Peter's been testing his powers as often as he can, just to make sure he still has them. It's still the only thing he has to offer anyone, his abilities. And he wants to know when and if the symptom developes. "Yeah. I know it sounds stupid," he explains, running a hand over his hair and sighing. "I didn't know. She didn't even know they were doing that. She thought she was going on an assignment— a couple weeks. That she'd be back— not that a stand in would be placed with me, to take her place when Sylar eventually came for her." Six months late. "I don't even know who I was with those months, Nathan. I don't even know what her name was. What she really looked like…" He should just be glad he got confirmation that it was a her.

Stupid? Hardly. Slap on a few more layers of foundation onto everyone involved, play some sappy electric keyboard and stick it in his TV and it sounds like an excellent twist to his favourite genre of television. Not that Nathan can really cast stones in this regard, so he doesn't, just takes a sip of alcohol and sets it aside (on to a coaster, naturally). "Hate to be the one to remind you but originally, she— as far as you were aware, got her mind cleaned of any memory of you halfway through," he says. "If anything real was lost, Pete, it was then. After that it's not as if you enjoyed the time you spent with this woman, right?"

"Yeah— she changed then— did some things that…" Peter trails off, looking down at the liquid in his glass for a long time. "The mind wipe could have been part of the cover story— to excuse any differences I noticed— to keep me from outright asking her to leave them." The scotch is set back down on his knee and he looks across. "It doesn't really matter. I broke up with her months ago, and now I know it wasn't even her." The way his eyes tighten, though, it doesn't change that he tried desperately to care for her as he originally had, tried to love her. "And now she's dead. The one that I was with the longest. The other Elle— she still has the memories of how we first met, how she helped me escape, all of it." What made him fall for her originally. "That doesn't change that I moved on, but it is nice to know that that woman who helped me isn't gone."

Considering the expanse of time we're talking about here, it's hard for Nathan to split between the true Elle, whom he'd only briefly met, and the one who apparently was not Elle, whom he'd actually clashed with— but had somewhat gotten along with, even if he thought her to be mildly psychotic and not at all right for Peter. Better to just leave it at the idea of her being two women he never knew. Not something that comes so easy for Peter, naturally. "Considerate of her to at least tell you," he says. "Can't say I'm sad she didn't stick around, though. You okay?"

"I'm fine," Peter answers a little too fast, and seems to realize it a moment later when he adds on, "No, I'm not." It's a weird change of position. "I'm confused. I was with someone I didn't even know for three months. I don't know if any of it was real at all. I'm trying to figure out what I did with which one and… I didn't trust the Company before. But they— played with people's lives. Without care or worry. You know I would have done anything— anything at all in my power to protect her if I knew Sylar was going to be after her. And he killed her in the Company, when he broke in and accidently helped free those prisoners. Wouldn't it have been safer if she had stayed with me? She wouldn't have been there and…" he trails off. Whats and hows are always difficult. They went through this when they thought the painting showed Mara dead, after all. And he'd lost a hand preventing it from happening. "And the person who killed her is free again. That's another thing she came to tell me. Sylar's loose. She wouldn't give details— I don't know how long he's been out."

Sylar's loose. Out. Not trapped and buried. Nathan clears his throat a little, gaze trailing away from Peter for a moment as he takes this in, because it'd be too easy to go 'WHAT?!' so he skips over this part and focuses on picking up his scotch glass once more and sliding the liquid back in one continuous sip. Once he's set this aside, he reaches out to place a hand on Peter's arm, squeezing a little. "The Company do what they can to protect themselves or people of interest to them," he says. "This won't be the first time they've done it at the expense of people we both care about. It was out of your hands, Pete. They wrote her off before you even knew she wasn't the girl you— " 'Loved' is such a strong word, and Nathan falters for a moment, finishing instead with, "You were with." Pause, eyes shutting for a moment. "Now, run this by me one more time - Sylar's no longer detained?"

Does it matter? Peter'd been with someone for three months and that someone is dead and he doesn't know if it was real. But he does look up, listening to his brother's words, and nodding quietly, even if he doesn't agree from the look in his eyes. "Sylar's out. She wanted to warn me so I'd be prepared in case he decided to come after me— since he specifically targetted me in the cafe." There's a pause. "I'm planning to call Bennet, and a few other people from the Company. Just see what's going on. I know there's really nothing I can do to help sick like I am, but— I can't just do nothing."

Nathan watches Peter as he talks, then finally withdraws that hand to sit back in his chair. He has a few calls to make too, probably ones far less noble and effective than the ones Peter has to make, but all the same. The value of the 'I told you so' is not to be understated. He flashes Peter a look at the names he brings up, tensing somewhat. "The Company," he repeats. "The ones who chose to keep Sylar alive only to have the whole thing backfire because he's too power for them to keep down? Who should have put him down when they had the chance? Peter, you can do nothing. Just like it wasn't up to you to save Elle— or not-Elle— it's not up to you to clean up their mess. You're sick." Yes, he was only talking about phonecalls - but Nathan knows the kinds of conclusions Peter can leap to. Witnessed it for himself.

"People in the Company. They're not all bad. And a couple of them owe me favors," Peter says, standing up and finishing off his scotch. The glass is held onto, probably so he can wash it out and return it later, because he doesn't step over for a refill. "It may not be up to me, but it doesn't hurt to try." And this is a man who killed him and his brother in one future, a girl that he was with here— nearly killed his current girlfriend in the future… There's a hint of determination beginning to form in his eyes, not something he should probably have. Which is good that the fever and fatigue make it fade into tired a moment later. "I'll make the calls later. If I can't do anything, might as well give them a chance to do something first." With the glass in hand, he starts to move to the doors, to leave the den.

"It can hurt to try, Peter, you died twice the last time," Nathan protests, even as Peter is walking away. He stands up as well, although likely he won't leave the room. He'd be more argumentative, but much like Peter's determination, it fades out easily, like a dying spark, especially as his body reminds him of his illness by drawing up a shiver that makes his teeth rattle for a moment. So he doesn't stop Peter from leaving, just makes one last pitch, voice quieting. "Just— do what you gotta do to feel like you're doing something but don't— I don't want to see you like that again."

There's a pause at the door, hand holding the doorknob for a long moment. Peter doesn't step outside, even as his brother's argument fades into shivers. There's also a hint of a chill in the way he holds himself, a shudder. Maybe the talk of dying. "I won't be running off to find him, but I'll do what I can to help stop him." Which at least includes calling people right now, which may not amount to much. After a pause, he opens the door and adds, "And I'll do what I need to, too." To protect those he cares about. But likely not at the risk of recklessly spreading a virus through the city. Not after the dream he had.

"At the expense of yourself," Nathan replies, a little bitterly, and moves to sit down at the seat of more authority behind his desk, pulling an official looking diary closer - the kinds that have phone numbers. "Just be careful, okay?" But Peter is otherwise dismissed as Nathan picks up his phone.

There's a pause, a rather long one at the door, even with it wide open as it is. Peter seems to be thinking it over carefully, hesitating, worrying. "I'll be careful, Nathan," he says, looking back at his brother and seeing the phone being picked up. Then he nods, stepping out and closing the door behind him. He'll leave him alone to make his call.

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