2007-07-12: If The Sun Explodes


Heidi_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Two people who have dealt with things the last few weeks finally talk after Transformers. What if, what if? The world is an uncertain place.

Date It Happened: July 12th, 2007

If The Sun Explodes

Petrelli House

That movie, Transformers? It wasn't a short movie. And they didn't go to the earliest showing, either. After weeks of worry and days of disaster and trouble, the two adults took the two boys out. Whether they'd already been taken to it earlier, this had definitely been Peter's first introduction to the new Transformers live action movie. The humans were brave and oddly useful, the robots were sinister or heroic. Just as the movie should have been. Still, at times the explosions seemed to bother him, and at one point he actually has to cover his mouth. There's just moments

Certain things look different after a split second of seeing and feeling a building explode and knowing that people he cares about might be inside. That's one aspect of the "mission" to take out John Carter that he didn't talk about. How the man died and what he did before that. All he'd say is that he died. Mr. Gomez killed him, and lost an eye doing it.

Once they're home, the boys are shooed upstairs to brush their teeth and go to bed (though they both know they'll probably stay up a few hours talking about the movie, and which Transformer is their favorite — and how Starscream is going to come back and Optimus Prime will have to save the Earth again!). Still, he leads the way into the kitchen to fetch something to drink for himself, before he asks, "You want anything?"


To be honest, it wasn't the easiest movie for Heidi to watch, Either, considering the fact that there were /cars/ in it. And accidents, and explosions, and a whole bunch of other stuff that made her feel cold through the whole thing. She hasn't spoken about what happened at the Den in detail, and certainly hasn't gone into what she saw after Elena was taken. It's taken time to catch up to her… The one thing the whole thing did do was trigger a long-buried memory of running into a highway barrier at a very high rate of speed.

She's sore. She's been sore since it happened. Her back, arms, legs, head, neck… It's like /she/ was in the accident, rather than the girl who's now fighting for her life in the hospital. She's done her best to hide it, but Heidi has to admit, the fact that it's catching up to her is really starting to take its toll. After giving the boys a hug, and giving the now cast-free Monty a kiss - Simon doesn't WANT a kiss - they run upstairs and leave her alone with her brother-in-law. "Water's fine." Smile. Everything's okay!


If it wasn't for the fact that he'd been sitting there beside her the entire movie, and has known her since he was just a little older than Simon… Peter can recognize certain things in Heidi's mannerisms that he might not have recognized in another person. Most people he takes at face value, but that doesn't mean he's entirely ignorant when they hide behind a forced smile. Pouring some water into a glass with ice, he brings it over to her, with his own orange juice in tow. "Orange juice is actually better for you," he says, though it's not his glass that he lays in front of her. It's the water.

Sitting down on the table near the kitchen, he gestures for her to join him and then suddenly says, "We haven't really talked much since… the Den and— what happened in Syracruse." First of all, the boys had been around a lot during the day, and there's just some things you don't mention to the boys. Everything must seem moderately okay. And even when they could talk… he'd stuck to topics such as Carter being dead, but the contined possible danger to those boys who are not anywhere near sleeping upstairs. They can be heard moving around, and he can't help but glance up towards the ceiling as if to listen to them.

When he looks back down in the general direction of her blue eyes, he takes a drink of his juice before asking, "Do you want to talk?"


Her first reaction is to ask, 'what's there to talk about?' but she doesn't, instead silently sitting at the table near Peter. Heidi does, indeed, look a little troubled. "I'm worried about the girl who was in the accident," she says to start. Trina didn't look so good, after all. "I'm worried about Elena," is her next concern, because she's not so sure how well the young woman is going to take what happened, and Heidi hasn't spoken to her about it yet.

There's definitely something she's not saying. Instead, her conversation moves back to the incident at the den, and she says, almost light-heartedly, "I never thought I'd be asking for you to read my mind." It was important, though, or so she felt at the time. She hadn't realised there weren't any other people in the bar or she just would have said it out loud. "To be honest, Peter, I'm angry. If I could have— " She pauses, wrapping her hands around the glass of water. "Elena's a very good friend. What happened to her is unexcusable."


"I'm sure Jack would call me if there's any change," Peter says, though he does sound quite… bothered by the topic as well. There's a grimace as he looks down into the orange juice in the glass he holds between both of his hands. "I tried to heal her, but…" there's a trailing off of his voice. She'd been there when he made the attempts, and if they worked at all, they hadn't worked enough. There's so much that he can do, and he felt so… powerless to do anything in that case.

"It was— and Mr. Gomez certainly didn't excuse it." The man who caused it died. In a rather messy fashion. Whether he described it or not. "And once they track down the clinic— and whoever was in charge of it… I'm sure they'll figure something out about the person in charge. And then… we'll make sure it never happens again."

There's a pause, before he looks back across at her, "What Mr. Gomez did didn't fail— the suggestion to avoid tampering. She— think it might have been what caused her headaches. He got to her before that, I think. Before Mr. Gomez did what he did…"


She breathes softly as she stares down into the glass, blue eyes half-lidded since it's so late. Heidi's tired, though it feels like she's been tired for days. Her sleep is full of bad dreams, she's waking up sweating, and she hurts. All over. Some of the dreams are particularly unpleasant, with Nathan running away on a stack of legal newspapers and her family ignoring her while she sat in a wheelchair. She can't question how her mind works, but sometimes she doesn't like it.

"How's Elena?" she asks next, finally looking up from the glass. There's no smile, and she's certainly looking her age tonight. Whatever youthful appearance she usually holds has vanished, thanks to dark circles that are taking residence under her eyes. Elena's good health, though, isn't all she's worried about, of course…

"I was a lab rat. The boys… There must be something I'm not getting. I don't know what to do, or what to think. It doesn't matter if the man responsible is gone, not entirely. He couldn't have done it by himself, we'll never know how many people he was working with." A brief chuckle follows. There's a long pause, then very quietly, she says…

"Peter I remember the accident."


"She'll— she'll be okay. Her father and brother are both needing medical attention, and she was being treated like… a thing… but— she's one of the strongest people I know. I think she'll be okay," Peter says softly, though he's not quite as secure in this believe as he'd like to be. From the sound of things he wants to believe she'll be okay— and he wants to be able to do something to make it easier on her, but he's not completely sure how.

"We'll find out who was behind it. Desiree and Elena both saw clues to who he worked for— and I know they were looking for… tax records and stuff. If you could even remember the location of the building that might help find it. Might take some time, but— the others will be found. And if they send anyone else after you or the boys— or the Gomez kids… We'll protect you."

Somehow. He's not completely sure how they'll manage it, but he has to believe they can… just like he has to believe they'll stop whatever is going to happen to make the future where… certain people do things… not happen.

When she brings up the accident, though, he can't help but blink and then… look into her eyes again. "Because of the car accident?" It'd happened differently than what happened to Heidi, but at the same time it had similarities, and…


Heidi'll have to go visit her. There will be yelling involved, she's sure, but not at Elena. Heidi hasn't felt quite this angry in a very long time… Even when she found out about Nathan's affair, she was more sad than anything else. Her own kidnapping was frightening. This just makes her want to make someone pay. You don't mess with friends. Still, there's not a whole lot Heidi would be able to do on her own, except hope that the people who are better equipped to handle things actually come through. Like Peter.

"She should know that she means a lot more to people than that," Heidi says, finally lifting her glass so she can take a drink of her water. "You should have seen that look in her eyes, Pete… It wasn't her. I… guess you did see it." After all, he was there. Elena's eyes were yellow, whatever programming had been stuck into her brain completely changed her. And she'd been so close to— All because of the fact that some man viewed her as a product.

"I shut it out for all these months. I remembered the sound, but that was it. Now I just… Hurt. I can't even sleep, because I'm replaying the whole thing in my head. I had this thought as it was happening — I had so much I still wanted to do. I thought I was going to die."


"I saw it," Peter says, glancing down towards his glass again. He hasn't sipped from it for a while. The remainder of the now half empty glass has gotten slightly warm, since he didn't ice it. That doesn't make him drink it yet, but he'll probably down a sip or two in a while. "She… he was gassing her. Locked her in a room and gassed her. I— I'm not sure if it would have killed her, or— it just— smelled terrible. She was delerious. Fought against me, tried to— she didn't recognize us. She wanted her father." And he can't really blame her for this. But… it suddenly made her seem younger, far closer to her actual age than she normally acts…

There's a slow breath. Now he takes a drink from his glass. "I'm thinking I might… go ahead and tell her how I feel. Didn't want to do it this soon… thought that there might be… I don't know. Thought it was too soon. But after this, I…" He shakes his head. That'd be one way to tell her how important she is, but at the same time… what if he was right? What if it is too soon to say anything?

And her accident worries him too, even though it happened so long ago. It brings up something that makes him hesitate. And then… "I've only really— I never wanted to mention it, because I knew it sounded crazy, but… now that you already know about me and… I saw the accident. Not completely, but I saw enough of it that… I saw the other car— and I saw the car hit. I woke up before the phone call and… I knew what'd happened." He was dreaming about his brother, but the accident hadn't just hurt him. "What happened was horrible, Heidi… and I'm sorry you have to relive it like that… But you didn't die. You're here…"


"How'd you find her?" Maybe she was told already, but with everything that happened, she can't recall some of the details. However they found her, Heidi can't relate how relieved she is that it turned out how it did, with everyone as safe as can be expected with such a horrible thing happening. The look in the girl's eyes haunts Heidi, though, because… the boys. Even if Carter is dead, what if he's already gotten to them? Why would he want them? What if there's a gun waiting somewhere in some random restroom for them, too, and— What if, one day…

Heidi shakes her head to clear it. "She loves you," Heidi says, pauses, thinks about how to say this. In the end, she just decides on stating the facts that she knows, because there literally might not ever be a chances to do it again. There are too many 'should haves' now… Heidi should have told Elena about her undiscovered ability. She should have told Peter about the conversation with Elena. There are so many more. "She told me awhile ago— I could see it, though. I saw a video from when you and her went to get Snowy, and I just… know.

"Even if it's too soon, what if something happens? Just because you're trying to change the future — actually /because/ you're trying to change the future, that kind of makes life like one big game of roulette. It's totally random. A… car accident could take away your ability to walk. You could watch one of your best friends completely lose it because some /asshole/— " Yes, she swore, "Thinks of her as an object. You can paint whatever you want, but you're never going to be able to see everything."

Reaching for Peter's hand, she takes it, holds it, meets his eyes scowling. "What do you have to lose? Telling someone how much you care, whether it ends up hurting or not, is never going to hurt as much as losing them forever."

And she looks back down at the table.

"I can't get it out of my head. When I close my eyes, I see these… barrels. I can hear a crack, Peter, and when I wake up, I know what it is. It'll go away. I'll deal with it eventually, but right now, some of the dreams I have— "

There's a long road. Nathan stands on the side of it as she speeds down toward a single obstacle in her path, and he can't do anything but call her name as she collides with it. "I wish you could have done something. I hated…" Her voice cuts out abruptly, choked as she sobs and attempts not to cry. It's not working. "All of this is happening now, and all I can think about is how much it hurt."


"She had a tracking device on her," he explains, pointing at his wrist watch as an example. "In her watch. This— computer guy— the boys would love him, he could probably make a real Transformer— he tracked her down for us." From certain people, this young man sucks at keeping a secret. But he does recall that… it's supposed to be one. "It's not something that Elena wants a lot of people to know about, but when this happened… we had to use it. She'd told me. I'm not sure anyone else knew about it except her dad."

But when Heidi says that Elena loves him, there's a sudden inhale, and he stares in shock for quite some time, grip loosening from the glass. Especially as his sister-in-law describes her reasons for drawing this conclusion. She told her. And she saw it. In the video that's so precious to him he's locked it away under a password… Sure, he'd put it there to hide it from Elle and the Company, but at the same time it became one of his most important videos. In case anything happens to his computer, he even has two backups in his stash that he can summon with Jack's ability. One's even on a video iPod.

"I've been in love with her since I got Snowy— a little before, actually," he says, eyes sliding down almost in shame. But that doesn't make things any easier. "It still might… what if telling her makes me lose her? What if she's not… she's told you, but not me and…" He shakes his head. There has to be a way to figure out if this will work, before he actually tells her…

But, with his hand in hers, his other hand joins and he holds on as well, and he looks back up at her as she describes her dreams. "Pretty sure I know how much it hurt…" he says softly, thinking of all the many times he has died… and lived to talk about it. How has he managed to keep functioning after so many deaths? Because better him than someone else… that's the way he's always looked at it. Not healthy, but that's who he is. "It doesn't have to be okay now… or even soon. It— you were angry for so long after it happened— you're angry again— angry and hurt and— you'll make you peace again. And you won't have to make it alone."


"Aaah," Heidi says quietly. That would make it easier for the others to find her. Thank god Carter didn't destroy it. Too many ifs, too many things that could have turned out to work against them all, and to think that they came so close to losing her— if one thing would have gone differently, even a little…

What if things don't work out for the boys?

"You might not realise it, but I see stuff like that," Heidi says. It hasn't been a secret to her for a long time. Even if she's only a decade older than Peter - with a couple extra years added in - she does notice some things, even if she couldn't draw the conclusion that her family had strange abilities, or that Nathan was seeing someone else. This? She saw. Heidi isn't going to tell Peter what to do, though, beyond what she already said. At the moment, she's thinking fatalistically, given that she's just now remembered the accident that easily could have killed her.

"No, Pete, you don't." He heals. He heals in minutes. The emotional wear and tear that came after she woke up paralyzed is what really hurt. There's psychological pain left over, even phantom aches that she can pinpoint on her body, but he's never gone through that. "Learning to use a wheelchair, coming to terms with the fact that I'd never be able to— Even simple things, like the realisation that I'd need help just… taking a bath." Bright eyes continue looking down at the table, but she gives his hand a squeeze. Heidi can feel herself going down that road again. It's a place she doesn't want to be— blaming other people for something beyond anyone's control. "If… He could have stayed in the car." Her voice breaks again. "Things could have been okay."


The what ifs are something they'll never be able to shake. But at the same time what if the sun explodes and they all end up walking in the cosmic rays. It's the same kind of what if— something outside their control and as crazy as people flying.

"No— I know you see stuff like that," Peter says, shaking his head. It isn't that he doubted she would see it, anymore than he doubts anyone else sees it. There's just other things going on that makes acting on it difficult. His now ex-girlfriend, for a prime example. What if she starts to get over the persuasion and comes after him? Or what if her father decides to lock him back up, or what if— the sun explodes. Right. Same damn thing, different scenerio. All outside of their control and with a painting they can't quite make out.

But when she says he doesn't know, he has to look away again, flinching a little. Trying to relate only to get told it's not the same. It keeps his eyes away until her voice breaks and she actually makes a statement that causes him to look up sharply, "It's not Nathan's fault. That was Linderman's doing. It wasn't an accident, it was an example. At my party— while you were dancing— Nathan told me about the DA's plan to go after Linderman. He wanted him to do it, and Nathan wanted my help— testimony against dad and Linderman both." Something that he could have done because… it's no secret that him and his father had a break over the men he defended. "The car that ran him off the road was working for him— this was his fault, and our father's fault for keeping him out of jail all those years." Same thing he told Nathan when he tried to take the blame.


Heidi knows it's not Nathan's fault, but if things could have happened differently… There's another sob, and the normally strong woman lowers her forehead to the table and cries.

Peter's told her this before. Nathan's mentioned it before. She knows whose fault it was, but she made her peace before she remembered the accident itself - which doctors told her she might never recall. After so many months, Heidi was sure she'd remember nothing more than the fleeting bits she already had. It wasn't just her back, after all; the force itself made sure of that. Perhaps the minor brain damage that prevented her from remembering was also healed when Linderman took her hand. Maybe that's why it all came flooding back into her memory when Jack's car was smashed.

And all she can think of to say is, "Why?"

Loud, the volume only dampened by her own willpower so as not to alert the boys that something is wrong. It shouldn't hurt. She's been over it since she accepted the fact that she'd be stuck in a wheelchair and depending on other people for the rest of her life. Broken nerves just didn't heal. The people who do this to other people — where are the morals that keep most of the world tied to sanity? What's to stop everyone from crossing that narrow gap and becoming a font of terror themselves? Linderman, Carter. Surely they didn't believe what they were doing was for the greater good! Did profit mean more to them than the lives of two people who had families, who were loved?

Did profit mean more than the life of a young woman who's now going to have to live with the memory of her own car accident? Will Trina ever recover?

Will Ramon's faith break?

Will Elena still be able to smile?

Are her boys still safe?

How much can Peter take before he loses it?


It's the only word she says, but it holds so much weight that she doesn't feel that she needs to say anymore. Whoever is at fault, it doesn't change the fact that lives are always going to be permanently altered.

Will Jack spend extra time checking his place just to make sure it's secure?

Will Manny always be looking over his shoulder?

For every person who loses the fight, there's another to take their place. That's true for both sides; so where there is no John Carter, where there's no Linderman, there will always be someone else who'll appear to hurt and hinder, because the world is full of imperfection, and here's Heidi and Peter, Nathan, Simon, Monty… Even Angela - in their little corner, just trying to stay one step ahead.

Chances are, the blue-eyed woman won't feel this way forever. It'll pass, just like it did last time, but she's scared, she's worried, sad, horrified, and uncertain. And just like any uncertainty, there's no way to be sure that what occured earlier in the week won't ever happen again. History repeats itself.


Many things can trigger memories, and it's really not a surprise to Peter that she's remembered the event under such circumstances. Similar sounds, similar smells, similar visuals. Whether or not it was her life in danger doesn't matter, because the connections remained, making her remember something she'd forgotten.

As she lowers her head to cry, he needs to extract his hands enough so that he can stand and move around the table, getting to her side. "I don't know why," he says, putting an arm over her shoulder and resting his forehead against the top of her head. That's all the comfort he can really give her, and he can't answer the questions she doesn't say outloud. They don't filter into his mind this time, because he's just not feeling the right way. He might not give away a telepathic encounter with her anyway— not after she broke his jaw the first time.

Even if he can't hear what she's thinking, he knows some of it from their conversation before she broke down into sobs, so he can say one thing he has to believe in… because it's the one thing that keeps everything going, "Whatever happens, Heidi… we're not in this alone. None of us are."


Open eyes stare at the woodgrain on the table as her forehead remains pressed against it. Heidi was never in trouble. Sure, she could be in the future, but on the scene, all she could really do was watch. It wasn't enough, but there wasn't anything else she could have done. At least someone being here now, telling her that it's done now— That's a comfort, and awkwardly, she reaches up to find his hand again.

It takes quite awhile for the sobbing to subside, though it feels better now that she's actually done it. It's something she's been keeping to herself since she saw Jack and Trina's accident. The visuals will stick in her head for a while, though… Completely brand new since she hadn't recalled them before this point. One one hand, it's good that she can recall it. It might hurt now, but at least it won't hit her during a time when she /can't/ handle it. Without sitting up, she tilts her head a litle, so she's not longer looking at the table. "I know, Pete. I don't want to say I should get used to this, but…" Maybe she should. Maybe Heidi needs to start expecting Things to Go Wrong, and she'll have an easier time of things. "I should go see Elena soon."


It is over. And whatever happens next, they have each other, and small armies who will show up and stop things like this. To be there for each other when bad things happen. Peter allows her to find his hand, and continues to lean against her and hold her, but gives her move to move so she can sit up if she wants to. "Don't think anyone should get used to it. Understand it, sure— accept it— but never get used to it." Getting used to it implies certain things that make understanding and accepting seem… marginalized. Jack and Lachlan almost seemed to flippantly get away with the murder that they all commited together. Ramon pulled the trigger (or cut the heart), but all four of them helped.

Peter's not even sure he can forgive himself for his part in it. There had to have been another way. If he could have used the man's own ability against him… or he could have… there had to be another way besides killing. Will this change who he is? Does taking part in this make him different than he was before? It's weird. He'd been willing to tell others to kill him when it would save the world. Now that he's taken part in another killing… he's not sure he could ask it of people again if there were other options.

"You should talk to her, yeah." And speaking of Elena… "I thought she was dead for a minute," he says, giving a clue to something he'd left out since he got back. "Thought she was in the warehouse— and he blew it up… At first I was angry— so angry— and then I just… collapsed. Then we heard them calling and we found them— and they were okay… and… think I'm going to see if she wants to do something together next week… just the two of us. Movies at my apartment maybe. If it goes okay— then I'll tell her."


The hurt is fading for now, the sobs have ceased, and now dull eyes just stare ahead at a spot on the kitchen cupboards. Heidi eventually raises her head from the table, spent, at least for now.

Heidi can't imagine ever having to kill someone. She's a religious woman to a great extent, and believes that, while taking a life may sometimes be necessary, it's never /ever/ okay. Even with that in mind, the feelings she felt toward Carter came incredibly close to wanting to see him dead - for what he could do, for what he'd already done… And she's glad he's gone.

Standing up, she heads over to the sink to turn the water on - cold - so she can splash her face. It gets a little of the sting out of her eyes, but they're still red. "Saw her as a product. I've been thinking about /why./ If you're selling some— " She can't say /thing/ in response to Elena - refuses to - so she continues without finishing the word. "It has to be more special than other… The boys. The boys, what if they're… like Nathan?" What if that's the reason Heidi was in that file? There had to be a reason for it, because … Putting all the information she has together, she can come up with some conclusions.

In combination with her own worries.

"I don't have an ability, Peter. Not as far as I know. Tell me I'm thinking along the wrong lines here."


Wince. Peter's been doing that a lot lately. There's a good amount of worry in his eyes as he lets her go over to the sink, listening to what she has to say about this, but not seeing to be able to give her exactly what she's asking for. Simply because… "You don't have to have an ability to be smart… Cause I don't think you're wrong, Heidi— When I heard what they were doing with Elena… sending her off— when I heard what he thought of her… it was… I think you're on the right track. It wasn't just women he was after, it was mothers— who went to the same fertility clinic. Whatever they… whatever help they gave you… I don't think it was ever you they were after. I think it was them."

Which doesn't make things at all better. "Elena has three siblings. The second oldest was also hurt the same day as Jack and Trina's car accident. When— when I had the vision from the paperwork… he'd mentioned two of the— two of the… crop…" Wince again. "And one that was trouble. I think they meant Manny. His ability— it's dangerous." But he's not sure he can tell what it is exactly, because… he's not totally sure other than it kills things. He doesn't want her to look at the boy funny if she ever meets him.

"Maybe we can get a tracking device put on the boys too… maybe— actually I know a way I could track them if anything happens, without needing a device. I'll just have to…" Find Molly.


It's a sobering moment, even if Heidi doesn't know for sure. Her eyes close as she leans, running fingers through now-damp hair— There was a reason she was in that file, the pictures of the boys. She'd hoped that they wouldn't have to go through that. Now it could be a matter of /when/ they'll show their abilities, and not /if./

There's still /if./

If anyone takes her boys, though… /Tries,/ Heidi will stop at nothing to get them back, because there's no greater love. She and Ramon are alike in that regard - if it costs her everything, she'll keep Simon and Monroe safe as long as she's still able. The anger is written in her face. After everything that's happened, /no one/ and /nothing/ is separating her from her children. That's worth killing for.

At least this puts her mind to rest about one thing. She'd been half thinking about it - before she gets too old. There could be a year, two, three left, but any thoughts of her bringing another child into this world are pretty much gone. Even if there was no serious thought put into it, well… Now they answer is definitely no. "I'm sorry to dump on you, Peter," she says quietly, referring to her breakdown a few minutes earlier. "Everything's going to be okay. I just don't know how."

Putting a tracking device on the boys… Seems like a good idea, actually. But it's not necessary if they never develop a power. "I'll have to tell them that they can talk to me if— If they're like Nathan. They have to know they can. Then I might… take you up on that."


"If the boys discover their abilities anytime soon… I can imagine we'll be two of the first to know, with Nathan right behind," Peter says with a hint of a smile. At least that's one thing that they don't have to worry about. "I didn't develop my abilities til I was twenty-six, though… and Elena only discovered hers a year ago, I think." But… "I do know a eleven year old and a fourteen year old that have their abilities, so it's not something that's… a promise." Writen in stone, or otherwise. They could develope their ability at anytime, assuming they have one.

And it could be something they don't even notice, too. But… at least he can have some assurances that they'd probably be the type to talk to someone about it. "Still, it's a good idea to sit down with them and let them know they can tell you. I'll do the same." And Nathan… well… He's not sure what Nathan thinks about that, yet. He still needs to have the talk. So much happened.

"And you can talk to me any time, Heidi— that's what little brothers are for, right?" He reaches up and touches her cheek with his hand, trailing fingers under her eye. "I'll probably stay here a little while longer— except for the whole… movie night part." If it's going to be a date, the less interuptions the better, right?


Peter will need to talk to Nathan about that. Even if it's not telling the boys that he can fly, their sons need to know that they can talk to either of them. Heidi can't get through to her husband in that regard - he's still closed off in a lot of ways, but Peter can get through to him. Little brothers /are/ good for that, at least. It's the same way Monty keeps Simon from becoming too much of a stick in the mud - and how Simon keeps Monty grounded. "Who knows. They already know people like you exist. Maybe just knowing — I don't know. I wish I could keep them in a bubble their whole lives." All mothers do.

Heidi reaches up to catch his hand, give it a squeeze, then… Push it away. "You are /so weird,/" she says endearingly, holding his wrist for a second longer before wrapping him in a hug. Her head leans against his chest. "Thank you. That means a lot."


"But then you'd never be able to be proud of how grown up they'll become," Peter says, letting her push his hand away and call him weird, and then wrapping his arms around her to partake in the hugging. It's just as warm as it'd been with the young woman he wants to ask out on a date (without telling her it's a date), though it's not quite as desperately tight. "You're welcome," is all he can really say on this, and he just continues to hold on to her. Soon he'll have to let go, but right now… He can hold on as tightly as he wishes for as long as they both need. Hugs never hurt anyone.

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