2007-07-01: Lion's Den

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi asks Peter to help her with something, and then Peter suggests that he heal Monty's broken arm.

Date It Happened: 1 JULY 2008

Lion's Den


Petrelli Mansion, Hyde Park, New York

Hanging up the phone comes with a sigh from Heidi, who's only trying to figure out if she can bring Monty in for a check up on his arm. It's been awhile now, and really isn't too much longer before that cast can come off, but he's been complaining more and more about how itchy it's been, and Heidi can't help being a worried mom about these things. Maybe he got water under it. Maybe it's not healing properly. If there's one thing Heidi can't claim, it's a knowledge of medicine. She's terrible with it, even despite the fact that she spent the better part of several months in the hospital with a broken back.

Leaning against the counter in the kitchen, she looks down at her bare feet, wiggles her toes. That never used to be amazing to her, but now she finds the simple act fascinating, that she can do it at all is a miracle, even if she knows why know. Well… more like /especially/ because she knows why now, because that's more of a miracle than if she'd managed to heal it on her own.

And so, anyone who walks into the kitchen on this late afternoon will find the woman staring down at her feet. There's a sound from the sitting room - the TV is on, playing some news show - the six o'clock's just come on - and her sons are moving around upstairs. Snowy is hanging around with Heidi, while 'the boys' as she likes to call Julius and Caesar, are in Nathan's office, sprawled across his couch. He probably doesn't know.

—-

It's been a tough day for Peter— correction, it's been a tough week. He worked today, though, and the day before had some interesting things come up that he hasn't been able to keep his mind off of. When he thinks to much, things don't always go great. At least he didn't end up owing the store five hundred dollars worth of stolen books, or anything that terrible in his daydreaming.

Upon entering the Mansion, he punches in the brand new code into the newly 'Jacked' alarm system, and then goes about looking to see who is home. The first person he finds in his journey, is Heidi. And Snowy not too far away. The other dogs and the cat are no where to be seen, nor are the boys or the man of the house. And has their mother even been around much the last few months?

"Hey, Heidi," he says, moving over to the fridge and pulling out a bottle of water, which he opens and downs a few good gulps, and then wipes off his mouth and moves to scritch his excited puppy on the head. Nice to see you two, sweety.

"Any trouble today?"

—-

"Nothing unusual," she says, finally tearing her eyes away from her toes so she can give Peter a tired smile. "Just dealing with doctors. And insurance companies. And Monty." Because Monty has been talking about nothing else but his arm /all day,/ and even Heidi has a limit. It seems like she's juuuust about reached it.

"I'm glad you're home. I got the boys some pizza this afternoon. It's vegetarian, because Monty heard you talking one day." And obviously learned the word 'vegetarian,' and wanted to see for himself what all the fuss was about. He ate half a slice and started complaining about his arm again. "It's there in the fridge if you're hungry."

But. There's a reason she's glad he's home. "Peter, I've been thinking. I need a favor from you. Just… I know it's probably not the best thing to ask, considering what happened, but it's important. What Ramon did, that … defense he gave me. I want to know if it works." She can't see dancing around the topic, because eventually, she's going to have to come right out and ask anyway. "You said you had the ability to make people do things, like Ali had, and I want to see if it works on me."

It does bother her that the only reason she made those calls was because she was told to, and couldn't say no. Ali is a nice kid, though, sorry for what she put Heidi through, and seemingly limited with what she can actually say to people. It's not fair, really, which is beside the point at the moment. "I mean, you can eat first. You look a little tired."

—-

"A regular cheese counts as vegetarian," Peter says with a hint of a smile, especially since that's what he usually gets himself. Occassionally he gets the works, with as many of the vegetables as they can stuff on it, but he's a fan of cheese. One of the many reasons why he never intends to become a vegan, actually. With eggs following as a close second. Milk he could do without, except for cooking. "I'm good for now. I ate a late lunch," he explains. The reason his lunch had been late is… he got distracted. Late enough that he's really not hungry now. "Is Monty okay?"

Though he's not a doctor, he has been trying to keep an eye out for the hurt boy, but that doesn't always work. For one, he's not been around much for the last few days, and when he has… he'd been occupied. Seems he missed this particular complaint.

However, what she gets around to asking of him, a favor she calls it, actually makes him go a little pale. "Heidi…" he says, tensing up a little. "I understand that you— want to test it, but— I don't really— this ability isn't…" He reaches up and rubs at his hair, closing his eyes a little.

—-

"Monty's fine, he just wants the cast off. I think he wants to go swimming. You know, Simon won't go in the water until Monty can? It's sweet. He complains the whole time, though, even though no one's telling him he can't." It's really something Nathan would do, right down to the whole thing where he complains about it and resents Monty while he's doing it. He loves his brother. "The cast'll come off in a few weeks. It was a bad break, so they're saying a little longer. I'm just glad it's still counts as a simple fracture." So… It wasn't /awful,/ but the way it broke apparently warrants a little more stabilisation time.

When Peter seems to be adverse to the idea, Heidi raises her hands. "I know, I understand. I knew when I asked you." She's not going to make him do it. And she knew while thinking about it earlier that he might say no, simply because of the fact that what Ramon did might not work - which would mean he'd essentially be stripping someone else of their free will. Someone pretty close to him.

"If you don't want to, if you're not up to it, that's okay. If you are, just let me know." Smiling again, she turns around to the sink, turning the water on, running the boys' plates from earlier under it. "Sorry, Pete, I'm just worried. I'd rather do something I don't want to do with someone I trust asking me to do it, than… You know." Some murderer walking into her house and telling her to throw herself down the basement stairs.

—-

See, this is something Peter might actually have something to say about. The younger of the two brothers smiles a bit at Simon's big brotherness. It's not completely the same as him and Nathan, because the age-difference is so much smaller. By the time Peter had been old enough to do things that his brother would have wanted to do as a kid, his brother was already on his way to adulthood. It made for quite a big difference. Thirteen years is a lot of years. BUT… he has a question. "How long ago was Monty's last x-ray?" There might be a way to help get the cast off faster… especially if enough time had passed that it would just look like 'really fast healing' instead of 'oh my god it's a miracle!'

But— they have other issues concerning powers. This one he doesn't /want/ to use, even if he understands why she wants him to. It makes his eyes lower a bit, frowning, shifting, and then he looks up and nods slowly, "Fine— I'll try. But I can't promise it's the same. The ability he has seems more… I'm not sure. Indepth. This is closer to what— Ali? — Ali does…" And it's hard to know for sure if there's going to be any effect.

There's a sigh and he consentrates a moment, before saying, "Go get Monty and bring him downstairs."

—-

"Not too long after he broke it. Maybe about three weeks." Somewhere in that range, anyway. It's been exactly a month since it was broken, so it should be healing pretty well now, and in three or four more weeks - depending on what the doctors decide - the cast will come off, and he'll be able to swim for at /least/ the month of August. "He's due for another. I figure we can bring up the itching when we go in for the x-ray." Or vice-versa, since that's more important to him at the moment.

And… Heidi totally understands, which is why she didn't plan to push the matter further. She can deal… After all, she has the drawing which suggests she'll be around for awhile yet. Or, well, she doesn't have it, but she's seen it, and she remembers it pretty clearly…

"It's really okay," she says, continuing to wash the plates, putting on aside, then the other, so they can dry. Still, she looks over her shoulder as Peter speaks, about to say that at least whatever he'd ask her to do would be innocuous - she hopes. And then she feels the tug in her mind that she's actually able to pinpoint and recognise, something that's clearly compelling her to act. She didn't realise the feeling was this before, but now she remembers it… The same push that she got from Ali before.

And it's hard to resist, actually. In fact, before anything even registers, Heidi momentarily gets a faraway look in her eyes - not quite glazed, but something similar, and one foot takes a step away from the sink before Heidi stops, blinks. Blue eyes turn to Peter, though she doesn't say anything, merely shakes her head.

It took some effort, but whatever Ramon did to her, it seems to at least give her some defense against it.

—-

Three weeks… That's enough time to do at least a little healing. And since Peter's ability with it tends to be… limited anyway, it could probably just get him out of the cast a few weeks early. The decision sort of made itself, because this would be an ability he'd rather use— and when it comes time to tell the boys anyway… Monty might be upset that he had to go most of a summer without being allowed to do a lot of things when he didn't have to.

He doesn't say this right away, waiting to see if his 'persuasion' soaks in. When it fails to do so, he watches her carefully, wanting to see some sign of how much it worked, if at all— The way she's looking at him, she knows he used it, which… bothers him. What if Elle realizes what he did to her one day? But at the same time, he's glad it didn't work. "Guess it didn't work? Well— there you go. Whatever he did to you should work to help you out." He hopes. And this way he won't need to actually do anything to her anymore… asking her to bring Monty down shouldn't have been too bad, except…

"I really think you should bring him down here. I'll only need to touch him, but I can give him some painkillers, it something, and then do it— he might not even notice. And the itch could be regular skin irritation. It might not actually go away at all." There's a pause, and he hesitates a moment. "Don't… know if you want them to know right now, I know you said it was up to me, but— at least this is something I can do to help?"

—-

When the shock wears off from what just happened, Heidi's left feeling… Well, she knew she wouldn't feel great about it. That's a horrible ability to have, really, though she did ask Peter to do it. So, she doesn't thank him, instead, it's an apology. "I'm sorry I asked you to do that. But at least now I … have a better idea about whether or not I can protect myself." She's still not sure from /what,/ exactly, but maybe she's at least better-prepared for if and when she comes face to face with this guy.

After the talk with Nathan, Heidi isn't so sure she wants the boys to know. It could put other people in danger, but… She has to trust them. "That's up to you, Peter. I can't guarantee how Monty would even react, except, you know, glad that his arm's healing faster. If you think it's okay to tell him, go for it. If not, then wait." They're already growing up so fast…

She gives Peter another uneasy half-smile, then heads toward the stairs to find Monty. She's gone for awhile, perhaps busy pulling him away from whatever game he was playing - /But Uncle Peter is here now ALL THE TIME, Mom!/ is the complaint as he tries to best his brother in a game of Mario Kart. When Yoshi goes sailing off a cliff and into boiling lava, though, Monty relents. He isn't going to win this race, anyway.

A few minutes later, Heidi reappears in the kitchen, Monty tagging along behind her. "Hey, Uncle Peter," he says dejectedly, sighing dramatically, and going to give his uncle a hug. "How 'come you didn't make Simon come down?"

"He'll get his turn," Heidi says, leaning on the counter and crossing her arms.

—-

Poor Yoshi. Those lava pits are unforgiving.

"I'll try to do it subtly— it may not work at all," Peter can't help but say, taking a long drink on the bottled water before setting it down on the counter. Okay… Snowy's looking at him oddly, and then he's trying to decide how to do this— it isn't exactly something he's good at. When he first started thinking he could do things, he tried to tell his brother in the middle of his campaign headquarters a couple dozen times. In front of his interns, even. Subtle isn't something he's really good at…

But he's managed to hide it from them for a while.

Before the kid gets down there, he grabs some child's aspirin from the tall cabinet and a small glass of water, and waits. When Monty comes down, he bends down to accept the hug more fully, and stays knelt so that he's at the same eye level. "Hey, kid. Your mom just told me that your arm was itching, so I thought I'd take a look at it. I am a nurse, remember?" He gives a lopsided smile. "Have you taken any aspirin for a while? It might help some?" he holds out the aspirin and the water both, wanting him to down those before he actually reaches out to try and do what he wants to do.

—-

Monty frowns when offered the aspirin. He's taken them before, and there's no doubt to Heidi that they help, but he doesn't like to take medicine for the sole fact that /it's medicine./ Besides, when it sits on his tongue, aspirin tastes bad! He looks back at mom for support, though Heidi just arches her eyebrows and gives him a Look that clearly says, 'Listen to your uncle.'

"I guess," he mutters, taking the aspirin in the arm with the green cast around it, and the water with the other. He's learned very quickly that standing around arguing the point is going to get him worse than nowhere, and so - making a face - he downs the offered pain medication, and finishes the whole glass of water.

"Yeah, but you're a dead people nurse," Monty says, holding out his arm for Peter to look at, anyway.

"Monroe!" Heidi scolds, though she can't keep the chuckle out of her voice, one hand raising to her lips to try to hide the smile. Once upon a time, they told the kids that Peter took care of people who didn't have much time left before they went to heaven. And it apparently got translated into 'dead people nurse.'

Go figure.

—-

And it doesn't really surprise him. Dead People Nurse is probably what Nathan called him more than once around the boys— since he called him that to his face a few times. Peter can't help but smile, even though it means what it does. "I got the same training as any nurse, though." The kid certainly isn't dying. That's for sure. Once he has taken the aspirin, he puts the water up on the counter, and then returns to take his nephew's hand. "You've been keeping it a secret, right? How this happened? From people who aren't supposed to know, at least, right?" He keeps an eye on the boy, trying his best to guage if he's going to be telling the truth without finding out through any other means.

If he didn't have to pay attention to what he was doing, he might actually try to read the boy's mind, just to make sure he hasn't told anyone about it, not even the maids. There's a lot that shouldn't be told to a lot of people… and some kids can't keep a secret.

As he concentrates, though, remembering a woman he met very briefly, the boy'll feel warmth on his arm, soft warmth, radiating from where his uncle is touching his bared fingers. It soothes away some of the pain, but may not remove all discomfort. Deep down, the bone knits back together, as strong as ever, fixing the trauma that had been done to the bone. Some physical therapy to strengthen his muscles again may still be needed.

—-

Yeah, but, you don't say that to— Okay, so Nathan does. Nathan does, and his sons learn from their upstanding and illustrious father, who seems to make a political career while all the while acting like an ass off camera, and all Heidi can do is shake her head, roll her eyes, and smile.

"He knows, Peter," Heidi says.

Monty again looks up at Heidi, as if to see if he's allowed to say anything to Peter. When mom nods, he leans in close and whispers, "I have to keep it a secret, I'm a super hero." /Very/ seriously, because Monty actually half believes he is, or at least will become such some day. And Uncle Peter can know, because he's family, and since his parents know already, then this is okay, right? "I can only talk about it with Simon. Mom and dad say we have to keep our secret idemities." Identities, but close enough.

"And what else," Heidi says half-sternly.

Monty contemplates this for a moment, then replies, "And no jumping off the roof 'til we're eighteen."

And this is when Peter takes his hand, and while he's too young to actually be able to put together exactly what's going on, with the recent talk of super heroes, Monty can't help but /wonder./ But his own uncle can't have super powers, right? Because… Because…

Confused, deep eyes meet Peter's. Monty frowns. "Uncle Peter, why are you so warm?"

—-

"It's not a good idea to jump off the roof even when you're twenty-six," Peter says softly, still consentrating as if he's trying to make sure it worked. There'd been a feeling, and he's pretty sure it did— and when he looks up into the boy's eyes he can see that something did change, and the boy felt it— especially when he asks why he's warm. "It's very important to keep identities secret— remember the Incredibles? How the people stopped liking them and what they tried to do, until they had to go into government protection, like criminals, or witnesses to a crime?" It's actually a /really/ good example that the kids can understand…

Besides, he knows they watched it together right after Heidi found out about the abilities.

"There's also… a lot of people who would try to use this— super villians, bad people. Like the crazy lady in Sky High." Another one he knows they saw. "Those movies aren't wrong— it might take a while to know what you can do— and you might end up turning into a hamster or glowing in the dark." Guinea Pig, Hamster, close enough… "Or… you could be able to heal people…"

He's a smart kid, he should figure it out at this point. "I couldn't earlier— because you'd already gone to the hospital. It would've been too obvious. But it's been long enough I could do something— and when your mom takes you to the doctor they'll just be surprised at how fast you healed. But it's not… impossible."

—-

Somewhere deep down in his heart, he knows that he can't really jump off the roof, because of the fact that if he can't really fly, he'll smack into the ground and break more than just his arm. So he nods. And continues to nod when Peter asks him about the Incredibles, because he loves that movie, and others like it, even if he doesn't entirely remember the plots of some of them. But there's a recurring theme through each, and that is - keep your identity secret. "Yeah," he finally says, wrapping his fingers around Peter's, looking at them, looking back into his uncle's eyes…

The difference between Heidi finding out at the age of thirty-nine and Monty finding out at the age of six is that kids are able to just absorb things like this as completely /normal./ Especially now that he knows people can do things like this, and that it's not all just a TV show. He still smiles, though, eyes lighting up when he realises that his /own uncle/ is a real superhero—

But he has to keep that a secret. It's his duty! "I won't tell anyone, not even mom, or Simon, or dad," he says, leaning in close to whisper to Peter. Sooo quietly. This is Monty's secret, and this time, he's going to have one up on his brother. See, Simon might be able to fly, but now Monty can heal people. He'll have to think of a new superhero name.

Then he seems to ponder this for a moment, leans in again, and says, "I think one day you should tell Simon, too." It doesn't seem to matter to the boy that Peter didn't do this earlier, however, it sinks in now, and Monty lights up again, like a Christmas tree. "Does this mean I'll be able to /go swimming??/"

—-

Healing is a good super power. Doesn't hurt anyone, and it might actually make him learn something about first aid so he can bandage people until he figures out how to work it. It's nice. Peter keeps his hand on the younger boy, and when he leans in close, he laughs softly and puts an arm around him, closing his eyes. This is the kind of reception that he can't help but love— even if it's keeping secrets. "Your mom and dad already know, so they're okay. But they might not feel comfortable talking about it, so it's probably a good idea not to bring it up much." He's not going to pretend like they don't know— especially since now they can turn the whole 'how we know about people with powers' on him, and keep the attention off of the flying politican who doesn't want it to get out.

Pulling back to put a hand on the boy's head, giving his hair a ruffle, he nods and says, "I'll tell Simon. Probably now, actually. I just— didn't want to bring you both down here and have nothing happen. Doesn't always work. So don't think you can just go out and get hurt and you won't have to feel it— because I can't always heal you. Remember how I was in the hospital? I had been trying to help someone and it put me in the hospital for a while." It's the truth, but also gives the kid some caution. He can't do this all the time, so being careful is still important. And he's leaving out almost all of his abilities, too… Just the one.

"And yes, it means you can go swimming, after the doctor's say it's okay to take off the cast— we won't know how much I healed until they look at you. You might still need it a week— or a few days. But when that's done you can go swimming, when someone can take you."

—-

It's going to be hard for Monty to keep this a secret, but he'll do it for Uncle Peter, who has now made it so he can go swimming /before August./ That is the only important thing in the world to the boy right now, "Okay," is Monty's answer. His arm still itches, but that's probably because he's wearing that cast still, and… He just wants to scratch his arm.

As Monty heads off to attempt to not tell Simon, Heidi steps away from the counter, placing a hand on her brother-in-law's shoulder. If only Nathan could do that! But Heidi knows that if Nathan finds out that the boys know about Peter, /he will be livid./ It's okay. She trusts her sons, and she's sure they'll keep it a secret. "You made him really happy," she says. "And hopefully this won't be the headache Nathan thinks it'll be. Thanks, Pete."

—-

There's a smile, and Peter finally straightens fully once the boy turns to hurry off and attempt to not tell Simon. That's okay, because he'll sit down with both the boys tonight before bedtime and tell them a story— a partially true one probably— that will explain part of what he can do. The good parts, at least. But also explain the disappearance of their uncle for all those months— and how there are bad people out there, and people who don't believe… People who would use this to hurt their father's political career. In terms he thinks a child could understand, at least. Probably using movies to explain… movies are easy to use.

When Heidi touches his arm, he reaches up to put his hand over hers and smiles. "I don't think it will be… Besides— they'd have seen something eventually— and it's better to tell them now." They could have a burglar break in and shoot their uncle in the chest, or one of them. He'd have no choice but to heal in that situation… at least now they know it's possible… And besides… "I'm glad that I could use an ability to help someone… it— some of them are terrible. This one… It's something that can help people. As long as he understands I can't always do it… then there's no reason I can't do something occassionally." He can't save the world every single day… but he can make the occassional step to help one person at a time.

If he's going to have the power to destroy the world, and rob people of their free will, he might as well use the ones that can actually make someone smile every once and a while.

"I'll take responsibility if anything happens, though… Nathan can blame me."

—-

The boys do love having Peter here. He'll probably eventually be roped into a game of Mariokart, because Simon's at that age where he thinks he can beat anyone at any game, except that 'Everyone' is really 'Monty' at the moment. "I'm hoping Nathan tells them one day," she comments. She'd tried to pressure him once. She won't do it again. But the boys are part of the family, they could have some sort of ability - the odds aren't great, since Heidi herself doesn't have an ability, but the fact is, it's always possible. She thinks it's better for them to know. Nathan thinks it's better that they don't. They've really only come to a tentative compromise on the point so far.

When Peter's hand covers hers, she gives his arm a squeeze. Really, they are who they are. Even if some of the abilities that Peter has are terrible, at least he's responsible enough not to use them in bad ways if he can help it. "The ability to tell people what to do doesn't always have to be bad," she says. She can guess what he's thinking - he's still down about telling Elle what to do. "You could save someone's life with it one day. Just tell someone holding a gun to put it down and walk away." Just as an example. "There's different sides to everything. The abilities you have that are bad can be good, too, if you want them to be."

Withdrawing her hand, she heads back to the sink. "Ah, I can handle Nathan." A genuine smile appears as she takes a towel to the plates she cleaned. "Thanks, though. Glad I'm not going to be in the lion's den all on my own."

—-

"Yeah… tell a bad guy to put down a gun, or to let the hostages go… I know," Peter says, knowing that there's some good applications. In fact, what he did to Elle might as well have been doing the same thing. Disarming her before she attacked anyone. But… it doesn't make him feel completely good about it. "No— I'd never make you go into the lion's den alone, even if that was your costume," he smiles, moving to pluck up his puppy and start to carry her away to find her food bowl and make sure she has something to eat. She's been patiently waiting for him all this time… he should play with her a little before he goes up to talk to the boys. And play Mariokart.

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