2008-04-25: Four Years Overdue


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Summary: Even if they wait a while, some things eventually have to happen. Including a heart-to-heart between brothers.

Date It Happened: April 25th, 2008

Four Years Overdue

"Jessica's" Apartment

Apr 24, 2008, 11:07:21 PM

Niki: Don't freak out when you see the apartment. Everything is fine.

Never a good message to recieve. Rarely does it mean everything is actually fine. The message had been sent after the woman left the apartment, and wasn't recieved for a time as Peter doesn't always check his text messages right away. The moment he did read it, though, is nearly the same exact moment that he appears in the apartment. No more than an hour after a proverbal trainwreck crashed through the apartment, once again messing it up. For once, he's not invisible when he enters, he doesn't fade into sight, he just is, still holding the phone in hand as he casts his eyes around for any sign of what might have happened. Don't freak out? Everything's fine? Everything doesn't look fine… The apartment, once again, looks like a fight has occured. Sure, there's not near as much blood or sick on the floors, but that doesn't change the level of worry that appears in his eyes, or the anxiety in his movements as he stalks around the apartment.

"Niki?" he calls out. It isn't just her he's concerned for, though, because right on the end of that breath, he adds on another name, "Nathan?"

All in all it could have been worse. He wonders, vaguely, where Niki stashed the bloodied knife when he first hears Peter's voice, sitting up in bed when footsteps come stalking his way, and Nathan rubs his face as if to wake himself up. Not that he was sleeping, not really, but there is only so much you can do when you're chained to a bed. Belatedly, he responds to his name with, "She's not here." Left in a hurry, and considering how freely she bled, he doesn't blame her.

By the time Peter's frame is moving through the doorway's, Nathan is sitting up expectantly, wrist predictably caught in metal cuff and length of chain, fingers unconsciously curling around it. Outwardly, he appears pretty much unharmed, his face somehow managing to escape the worst of the bruising. Niki had been gentle. "Everything's fine," he says, unknowingly repeating her text message. It's not even too much of a lie.

For someone who'd been avoiding the person in question, Peter doesn't look relieved to hear she's not here anymore. Glancing at the various damage, he can imagine some of what might have occured. A struggle obviously, most likely his brother tried to escape when his alter ego took over. "She sent me a text message saying the same thing," he says, while still glancing around as if the key to what happened will just pop out of the corner. Not so much right now, so his eyes settle on the man. The one whose left behind to answer questions.

"Is— are you okay?" He'd been about to ask about someone else entirely. That's plain as day on his face, even the scarred version of himself. Startle him enough and the mask cracks, it would seem. And it doesn't help things that an earlier conversation with someone else picked away at the rock already.

"I'm fine," Nathan says, folding his good leg beneath his bad one, which remains stretched out before him. Still dressed as Niki had left him, in sweatpants and a sweater, feet bare, he looks as if he's on perpetual sick leave, if not actually sick. In the physical sense. His posture is stiff, which might speak of twinges and pangs here and there. And it doesn't take an expert to leap to what Peter was going to say, which gets a touch of unusual silence from Nathan, studious, before he adds, "And Niki's okay too. We— " No, not him. Not exactly. "They just had an altercation in the living room, nothing she couldn't handle."

"Yeah, she's… pretty tough when she wants to be," Peter responds softly, but doesn't look entirely relieved at the same time. That worry remains for a moment, before he moves further into the bedroom, letting some of the tension settle, as he gets a bit closer to his brother. "As long as you're both okay, and you're still… here." It's not enough to give all the relief that no altercation at all would give, but there is that. After glancing down at his phone once, he hesitates before dropping it into a coat pocket and putting his eyes on his sweatpants wearing brother. "You are Nathan, right?" There's no abrasive scan of the man's mind, but without much warning, he does do a glance-over to make sure the internal answer matches whatever the man says. His brother had told him to never trust Logan once upon a time.

As long as you're both okay. Even this version of Peter practically reeks of caring. "I'm Nathan," the Senator confirms. Truthfully, too, thoughts echoing the same thing, Logan lurking somewhere quieter and colder than consciousness. Oddly quiet, actually, even the mirror is abandoned, but Nathan knows better than to chalk this up to any good news. It's only ever a matter of time. "She let me get up and walk around, and Logan decided it was time to make a break for it. Didn't get very far, and I'm not sure he's going to be trying that one again any time soon." His thoughts reflect more, in an effort not to think them. The guessed brutality of the clash, of the fact he got off lightly in contrast… to what.

"It could've been a lot worse," Peter realizes quietly, voice whispered. With that stated, he moves closer, perhaps taking comfort from his brief scan enough to tell him that this man is not the one who will gladly attempt to strangle him. Enough comfort that he settles on the end of the bed. A bed that's actually far more familiar to him than it probably should be. The tone of his voice maintains a tense seriousness, but he's starting to replaster the cracks on his mask. Even if the biggest ones are still readily apparent to those who know him best. Even if they really only knew him years ago. Not everything has changed. Except what has. "Do you remember what happens when you're him or is it just… gone?"

Nathan shifts a little as Peter joins him, seeking out a comfortable position for sitting and chatting, sidled up enough to where the handcuffs are attached so that he can rest his arm in a natural way. "Depends," he responds, shortly, tempting to leave it at that but he continues all the same. "Usually he'll take over and it's like a black out. I blink, and I'm suddenly somewhere else, minutes or hours or days later. I can't fight it, when that happens, I'm not even there."

A glance towards— well, there is no mirror. Niki had opened the closet door, hiding the mirror nailed to the front of it. But still, an instinctive look, having grown accustomed to the shape of this place. "Sometimes I can watch, like I'm in a dream and I can't control it. But I have a shot at taking things back, when that happens. Right now… I don't know if he's watching, or if he's like me, blacked out. I don't think he's ever gone, but…"

He sounds like a crazy person. Talking about his imaginary 'friend' to his little brother, and Nathan's words trail into nothing. Start again. "In your future, I'm— him? Just him?"

It's possible that he never really showed much interest in the workings of his brother's alternate personality. The tense expression stays firm on the scarred face, eyes narrowed at the explaination, but a kind of interest lurking under the hardening mask at the same time. Not something Peter probably wants to be interested in. The question makes his back straighten, sitting up a bit as the room fills with silence for a few moments. So many people ask what happened within their own future. And sometimes he can't help but wonder if one thing said will push someone in a direction they shouldn't go, expediate bad things happening. Like the appearance of Logan at all.

"This never happened to you in the timeline I came from. I was locked up in Level Five and I don't think Niki and Heidi could have captured you on their own. By the time I got out… things were…" He glances away, looking toward the wall, eyes narrowing. "I wasn't able to help myself anymore, much less you. Things are already different."

Doesn't quite answer the question, but maybe doesn't have to.

There's enough left to infer. Nathan doesn't pry. Not so long ago he would have tried to shake proper answers out of Peter, but… what's the use, any more, of knowing what the future holds? It's either a gift you have to deal with being unable to accept, or it's too terrible to know. So he holds his tongue for a few seconds. At least, this is all true when it comes to your own future. Promises of Presidency, omens of a split personality, both mixing into this.

No, he doesn't need to know anymore, not about himself. Lights at the end of the tunnel are so often trains. Nathan studies Peter in silence for a moment. "What happened to you? Are you— you're not from the same future— this Peter saw, are you? This is different."

"The future we saw before was different," Peter responds quietly, looking back up. He could continue to be vague, in order to avoid the train of temporal blacklash, but there are things to be said for the drastic changes they already made once. And the similarities. "I think I'd consider both bad, but the other one… I wasn't alive in it, for one." That's already been known. People thought he was alive, when he'd actually been Sylar the whole time. This time, he's still walking on two feet. Still in control of his own body and appearance, as control as he can be with everything that happened.

"What happened to me… it's already started." Those cracks start to split further once again, like water's been ran over them and left to freeze. "The day I found you in Pinehearst finally… it'd even started then. I didn't know I had found Logan instead, I was so caught up in a search for other answers that I didn't even question that I was talking to you. I don't even know if you remember any of this." That makes him frown a little. "When I went to the hospital to check on Heidi after her accident… I tried to confess what happened the night that I found you. What I'd done. I killed someone." The emotion may not be as heavy as it would be if said in present day, but it's still there under the surface.

Heavier silence falls, Nathan— Nathan's killed. Forget what dirty deeds Logan has done and will do, Nathan's killed exactly once. Not out of cold blood, and somehow, he can guess the circumstances— vary wildly. There are so many different types of murder.

"I don't remember," he intones. Although there's uncertainty in his voice, it doesn't— sound totally unfamiliar. He shakes his head. "Even if I can see things happen, it— it's so easy to confuse them with dreams. You confessed to him." The apology is in his voice, if not his words. I'm sorry I wasn't there. But neither of them were. There. "You should know that what you do doesn't— it's not who you are. This— is about four years overdue." The realisation comes with a twist of a regretful smile.

Four years overdue. Practically a lifetime in the mind of someone who has needed a kind of absolution for the beginning of unconfessed sins. The first.

The regretful words draw eyes over, eyes that suddenly darken, a reddish tinge brightening the edge of his eyelids, the tip of his scar as skin flushes. Peter's no longer that accustomed to tearing up, but it seems to be happening right now. A hand raises up to touch his eyes, turning away a little as if to mask it better. Sometimes he's prepared, other times he isn't. That mask breaks into a dozen pieces and falls to the floor.

"I needed you," he finally says softly, though the spite that might have been in that sentance isn't even starting to come up. Instead it's something closer to regret on his part as well. "I know we needed each other, and we just… fell apart at the same time. I tried to help you— I tried to throw everything into that— but it still happened. I still lost control around certain people. I almost killed you. I attacked people. I hurt them. I ruined their lives… And they locked me up with the most dangerous psychopaths in the Company. I was so bad that they put me in there."

Taking in a slow breath, he scrubs rough hands over his face before releasing it. "That's why I had to save you. So that maybe… you could save me. Before it gets worse."

That's the thing about a lot of time passing by. A lot of stuff happens within it. Out of his reach, while his entire world was eclipsed by this illness, and suddenly Nathan understands why he's handcuffed to a bed in a Manhattan apartment instead of secured behind bars and padded walls. Sure, Nathan can blame himself for what Heidi's become due to Logan's actions, but Peter— it was something external that Nathan's neglect, unwilling as it might be, had failed to save.

The chains scrape against the metal bed frame. Edging closer without intent. His arm only just brushes Peter's as he shifts to sit beside him, keeping a flinch off his face as his leg is jostled.

"You're not talking about yourself, are you?" A sidelong glance, as studious as it is brief, before its turned down towards the carpeting, whatever can be read in his eyes mostly veiled by heavy eyelids, thick eyelashes. "You're talking about the you from— here. That's who I'm supposed to be looking after."

The touch, which ammounts to little more than a brush, gains a sidelong glance. The sudden proximity causes Peter to shift again as well, reaching out with his own hand until the touch lingers longer. Not forceful, he's got a mind to not lean anywhere near the injured knee. "He's the only one that'll be left soon," he explains softly, "I'm not here long. I'm already setting things up to correct the course when I try to go back. If I can go back."

That's the big question. Time travel makes for quite a few headaches. "Persumably things should already be different and I have nothing else to go back to." And then he should just vanish, which in some ways would be a relief. It'd all be over when he does, in more ways than any death could bring. Over and most of it never happened at all.

"But yes… I mean him. He's me too, after all. Just… the me who used to be." Time travel makes things so complicated.

And Nathan used to think flying was complicated. And it was. Is. Still is. Just in entirely different ways. For example, he doesn't have to worry about accidentally the whole spacetime continuum. More like low flying airplanes and unexpected birds. Of course, he doesn't even have to worry about those anymore, not in here.

He breathes out a sigh. "I want to get better," Nathan finally states, heavily. "I— " A pause, reconsidering what he was about to say, and seems to just drop it entirely. Before they can completely choke on melancholy. "Strange to think that if anything goes really bad that maybe some time traveler will go and make it all go away. There's really nothing for you, where you come from, huh?"

Unexpected birds are about as dangerous as unexpected bumbs in space and time. Except only one person and the bird are usually destroyed in the process, right? Right. Peter nods at the statement, looking over at his brother. It's clear he knows his brother wants to get better. He never really doubted that. Sure, someone crawling around deep inside him doesn't want him to get better, but at the same time another part of him does. Always has. And he knows it.

Nothing. At all. He doesn't get to speak on his belief cause the question, nonchalant as it might be, makes him glance away. Not choking on melancholy, but… "There is— something. A couple somethings. But I…" He shakes his head. "I lost mom. I lost you. And then I lost Elena," he explains softly.

"I saw everything I cared most about slipping away from me and I couldn't do anything to stop it. I didn't have anything to hold me back. No anchors. That's when I found Niki again. She was still… her. She'd lost a lot too, but I was doing things that… I couldn't come back from that. I couldn't go back to being who I had been. Not until her."

There's always a girl. Nathan glances towards Peter without true surprise, because that's the kind of tragedy you might expect from someone with a suicidal attitude towards saving the world, but. But. "I'm sorry," he says, gravely. Doesn't ask how she died. Will die. Nathan was never one to get his hands too dirty when it comes to this kind of thing. Details murky things up. He doesn't clap a comradely hand on Peter's shoulder, either, so hopefully those two quiet words will do for now.

"Niki," Nathan repeats. There's always a girl. How to negotiate his way around this topic? "She'd know a thing or two about regret, I'm sure."

Sometimes those two words are all that can really be said. Peter had been in hospice care, and he still doesn't know what more to say in some cases. The response is a mild squeeze, as he glances over and notices certain things. Lack of surprise about… just about all of it. "She did— does. There was… more. But if I could go back to anything— she's what I would go back to." Even if he knows he can't. A quiet pause, as if he's trying to figure out how much more he can say.

"You know I didn't even say goodbye. I just left. I think we both knew when I finally did what I've been talking about doing for two years… I wouldn't. If I tried to say goodbye, I don't think I would be here." It's always a girl. And while they may not stop him from making rash decisions, they have a tendancy to delay things a bit. Probably part of the reason why it'd taken two years to jump back in the first place. Though he'd insist it was cause he needed to do research.

Out of all of the women in the world. Such petty sentiments Nathan is wise enough to keep to himself. It's also a really good thing he didn't tell Peter about her arm wound, in retrospect. There's some silence, attempted ponderings as to spacetime and alternate realities. "I remember when you— the here-you, but I guess… you too— "

Nathan simply just stops for a moment to look at Peter as if to say 'gosh this is complicated, before continuing.

"When you came back from going forward. You mourned Elena, and I reminded you that you're saving the woman you love. You're— you're still doing that. This time it's just the other way around. She's here, and she'll be here for you when the time comes. If it comes. Just like you're saving me for the same reason."

"I know she would be," Peter says quietly, before he's starting to realize just how awkward this conversation must be for his older brother. One woman. Two men. There's suddenly a hint of a laugh, almost a snort of air, before he releases his brother's arm, only releasing so that he can pat the area as if to accent the laugh that isn't. "But it won't come to that. Part of fixing this world is fixing myself, making it so the circumstances that brought us together will never happen."

Not just to him, but also whatever it is she lost as well. "And I'll— he'll have you too, Nathan." Seems he's going to be hopeful in this matter. Hope is better than what he usually has, at least.

Pat, pat. Good thing the mirror is turned away, because the twist of a smile that accompanies Peter's chuckle is a little bitter, and mirrors tell no lies. Except when they do. "Yeah," Nathan agrees, eventually, a glance towards his trapped wrist. "Some day. Niki said that— she said Logan's starting to realise he might not win this. I think she's right."

The fresh cut is still a red line on his wrist, long since noticed by now, and Nathan can put two and two together. Logan is a lot like him in some ways. Flirting with such weaknesses, it has to bleed over eventually. They can't be so different. This entire situation is its own slow suicide, anyway.

"She also said it was my choice, if I wanted to be committed. It might be safer on you all, that way. I hurt her." He won't say stabbed her in the arm, but he can at least be somewhat honest. "I'm tired of doing that. Hurting people."

Hurt her. There's a brief flicker of something not amused in Peter's eyes. Any of that laughter might as well have never been. Instead of lashing out, though, he breaths in slowly and says, "I hope she went somewhere where she can get medical attention, then." That anger is still there, even if supressed. For a moment, he is angry she didn't choose him. But he's the one who has been avoiding her for a week now. So why would she choose to go to him to get fixed up?

The trapped wrist is glanced to for a moment, frowning faintly. Logan's realizing he won't win, and might be willing to do… much the same thing he's here to do. He's not here to make a better future for himself to experience. He's here to make his disappear, as well as make a better one for another him to live. Maybe it runs in the family.

"It is your choice, Nathan. I do know what it's like— to want to stop hurting people." There's a comparison, one he's willing to draw. "But if you make that choice, you might want to talk to mom. She's back with the Company again."

"Well I'll go stroll right in and make an appointment, shall I?" Nathan says, fixing a wry look on his brother. Sarcasm due to his predicament, due to the Company, due to Angela. Pick one. The look lessens in the next moment, and he studies the carpet between his feet. "I don't know. Part of me thinks that if I go away, I'll go away forever. They didn't help Niki. Call it a last resort. Do we have a plan?"

"Not really. Maybe I can help you somehow— without them. Get inside your head, or something," Peter explains with a small nod, though he looks a little more tense at the sarcasm. Though he can't blame it too much. His younger self is currently locked up in the Company recieving little in the way of help besides a cold cell and an injection in the arm to surpess his abilities. "But not tonight. You've been through enough already…" Both of him have?

"Do you want anything to eat? I can clean up the front room and cook you something? And you could probably use a shower tonight too. Might make you feel more like yourself."

"I could eat. And shower," Nathan agrees, managing not to berate Peter on the whole. Not really having a plan thing. He can't blame them. Won't let himself blame them. But there's only so much self-hate one man can accumulate before he has to start grappling with petty things like boredom. Which is relatively easily solvable, as he adds, "And a few books, or something. Paperbacks if you're that worried."

That's a joke. Maybe.

Well, they had plans. None of them worked. Suresh's serum was a wash, so what happened to Niki can't happen. The only thing he can think of that would be similar… involves a lot of risk. For his brother. "I can bring you some books." Peter may not even have to leave the apartment to do it, either. All he'll have to do is remember where the paperbacks are at his old apartment and he can bring them to him. It's the rest that will take more time. "Food first, then shower." And with that said, he walks toward the living room again, no longer quite as anxious about the state of disarray. Not as.

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