2007-07-14: How Many Petrellis Does It Take To Change A Light?


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Summary: Peter asks Nathan over to help with setting up a new TV and DVD player, and to talk about things he's missed out on talking about. And… somehow he starts to channel a technological savant and gives Nathan something that will help him change a certain kind of light. It's not entirely legal.

Date It Happened: July 14th, 2007

How Many Petrellis Does It Take To Change A Light?

Peter Petrelli's Apartment

After spending weeks over at his brother's house, with the exception of a night in Syracruse and a night soon after, Peter made a rather odd request of his older brother with mention of needing to set up a TV in his apartment. That's actually one of the things he didn't have much use for in his home, really, so why would he suddenly decide he needed a television and a DVD player? That was the question while he's bent down plugging in the brand new flat screen set. "…Well… I sort of asked Elena to watch movies with me and I didn't really… want to do that at your place. Cause then the boys and Heidi and— it would be a distraction… Here it'd just be the two of us…" There's a hint of a sheepish shrug. But why would he need his brother for TV set up, anyway? Not his brother's forte. Maybe he asked him here for another reason…

No, Nathan is not known for his technological prowess, which is why Peter got a dubious '…okay' after asking Nathan over. Right now, he's just sort of standing there and supervising helpfully as Peter grapples with and figures out the wires. "It's appreciated," he responds with, glancing around the room absently. "Not that you or Elena aren't welcome any time, but if you can keep your dates to yourselves." No, he's not really all that aware of anything between his younger brother and the Latina, and this statement comes off as generic teasing. Then, he reaches over to grab a bundled up wire left neglected out of Peter's reach, and holds it out. "I think this is what you're looking for." Despite not being known for his technological prowess. He has moments of helpfulness.

Date? Yeah, there's that sheepish look again. "Don't think it'll be more than movies, but— your wife is a meddler," Peter says, looking a little frustrated at the set with all of it's pluggy hole things. He might need the— oh there it is. "Thanks," he adds, reaching to take the offered cord and plugging it in. There. Now they just have to set up the DVD player and program the remote. But— at least now he can straighten and face his brother. "There's a lot I've been meaning to talk to you about but haven't found the time. You know… the whole thing with the car and— then Syracruse." He'd gone on a whole trip for a talk they never got to have. "The boys have been keeping it a secret," or he thinks they have. "I told them about me. Not all of it, but— that's why Monty's cast was able to be removed. He should have had it for a few weeks longer."

Nathan is picking up an instruction book as Peter talks, to see exactly how useful it is before he can reject it - and he does, tossing it onto the couch, because he's a man's man and doesn't need instructions. "It's been a busy week," he mutters at one stage, turning to go and lift the DVD player out of the box to hand to Peter. That's about the moment his expression goes still, and he very firmly hands the device over just so he can rub his face wearily with his hands. Mustn't kill. Think before murder. The idea of that Monty would have had to have his arm in a cast for an extra few weeks is enough to make Nathan pause and think, too. "So you healed him," he says, deducing the obvious. Peter gets a long look before Nathan sighs. "I'm not the best example of this, I know, but don't you think it's better if the boys learn how life works without the… the short cuts?"

Already killed him once in last few weeks, twice would begin to become homicidal! Peter takes the DVD player and sets it down, while he watches his brother for a moment. "That might be the case with certain things, but— Nathan he was hurt by someone like us. And it wasn't just because of that. I didn't know how the thing with Carter would end. I'd rather they know ahead of time and not find out if someone broke into the house with guns." Because there's no way he wouldn't have healed them if things had gone sour— or healed their mother— or did something else to protect them. "I didn't tell them about you."

It's clear that Nathan is less than pleased with the situation, but it's done. Peter makes a good point. Boys did a good job at keeping a secret, which is enough of a table turn for him to recognise it, and besides, Peter did say he'd aimed to talk to him sooner. Nathan lets out a sigh, gaze fixing on something random in the room that isn't his brother's usually inquiring gaze. When Peter answers that unspoken question, Nathan almost smirks. "Thanks," he says. "Did Heidi give you a rough time on that one too?"

"She wasn't exactly pleased at first," Peter has to admit, as he puts the DVD player down and gets to work trying to figure out all these pluggy things to connect it to the TV. More pluggy things. At least he's not completely fumbling around, but he could still use a little help, surely. "But I think she was relieved that they wouldn't need to find out the hard way— and Monty wanted to go swimming, so at least he can do that now… I did warn them that healing isn't something I can do often. That healing was what put me in the hospital a month ago. So they know it's mostly for emergencies." Not a total lie, though it'd been healing and a couple other things that put him in that coma.

Nathan doesn't go crawling around amongst the wires and such, but he does step closer to observe Peter's progress. "As long as they don't get it into their heads that powers're normal," he says, more to himself than to Peter, but still audible. "I'm content with them being aware about it, just not relying on it. Wait, go back, use the other wire, the— screen thing blinked. Console?" Oh hell, he doesn't know what it's called.

"Luckily Hollywood did our work for us, on that," Peter says, frowning a bit at the wires and the gibberish that is coming with it. What the hell? This is why he never set up a good TV in his apartment. He's stuck staring stupidly at the wires and the holes he knows there's supposed to— oh hey. What's this? Suddenly it's like he knows what he's supposed to do and he reaches for the wires and changes them around and… there. What the hell was that? When he moves back in front of the TV, he grabs the remote and immediately starts to program it, without even needing the instructions. Huh. Might as well ride it while he can. Wherever this came from. "They depict super powers all the time, but they also show the bad things about having them. So… they know secret identities are important, and people will use them for bad."

Nathan stares a little as Peter seems to suddenly know what to do, then shrugs, moving towards the kitchen, where beer is stashed. Whether or not Peter actually had any beforehand, because Nathan picked some up on the way. "Maybe. By the same token, if I ever tell them I can fly, they might start expecting me to be zooming all over the place with a cape and everything," he says, offering out a can to Peter, and shrugs. "At this age. Point is, I don't want them thinking superheroes are real."

There's a pause, and Peter puts the remote down and suddenly disappears into his closet while his brother fetches the beer. There was beer in the fridge (and whiskey too). What he comes back with is a small tool set, which he puts down on the table. Then he disappears into his bedroom and returns with another remote, and a radio. And then he opens them all up and starts to toy with them. Isn't this sort of dangerous? It just seems like the right thing to do right now. Instead of opening up the beer, he keeps working on whatever he's doing. "I told them that I'm not a super hero. And I certainly don't intend to wear my underwear outside my pants and flying around in a cape. But… whatever you tell them is up to you, Nathan."

"I'd disown you if you did," Nathan says, cracking open his own beer before eyeing the items on the table, and whatever it is Peter is now doing with them. "And yes, it is. Something that I can't seem to make Heidi understand, she seems to— Peter, what the hell are you doing?"

With the radio opened up, and the old remote as well, Peter looks rather lost in what he's doing, but he's doing it. It's the question that draws all of his attention back to his brother. Hands stop working. When he looks down at the stuff on the table, he blinks. What— "…I have no idea what I was just doing." And no idea how to put it back together, either. With a shake of his head, he finally takes the beer and opens it. "I think Heidi just… doesn't understand why you're so afraid of it. She actually thinks she's less… worthy… because she's normal. With so many people who have abilities around…"

Finding a place to sit down, Nathan picks up the TV remote, switching it from DVD player to TV, checking the reception absently. "I know she thinks that," he mutters. Then, he thinks to rebut with, "I'm not afraid of it. It's not about being afraid. But I've kept this to myself for a long time, Pete." Not something they've discussed, Nathan's knowledge of his ability, and it feels odd to bring up now. He shakes his head absently, switching off the TV again when all seems to be in working order. "What we can do— I know it can help. I've seen it help. But we wouldn't need so much damn help if these abilities didn't exist in the first place." He eyes the radio pieces, points at it with the remote. "Case in point."

"I never did ask you how long you've known that you can fly," Peter says, frowning a little down at the radio and remote. What the hell was he doing? He's definitely still paying attention to his brother, but then it clicks again. Maybe it's all the talk about his wife and abilities that's hitting him. A majority of his interaction with a certain someone had taken place right after the rescue. But he's not realizing that at all. Putting down the beer, he picks up his tools and starts to fiddle with something in the radio again, until he finally starts ripping out pieces. This should be taking all of his attention, but he actually sounds like he's got his mind in two places successfully, "You're probably right. But things are tough for people without abilities— we just have a whole set of additional problems to go with it." Like trying to figure out what the heck he's putting together with parts from a radio… all he knows is he's starting to transfer pieces into the remote.

"My kids are already growing up in a strange environment. Not gonna pretend like I can give them a normal life, but I'm working on it." Aaand the world is doing everything in it's power to ensure this doesn't happen, if this past week is of any indication. Past few months, for that matter. Nathan takes a long pull of beer, sort of… watching in bemusement as Peter likely does illegal things with his remote. Then, he says, "Closing on sixteen years now. That's how long I've known."

"Sixteen years… Thought you'd just recently discovered it," Peter says, shaking his head a little as he gets to work on putting all sorts of things into his remote that definitely shouldn't be there. He even moves some things around to make room for it. Whatever he's doing, it has only a fraction of his attention, though. In some ways he might even be insulted that his brother, who he hero worshipped most his life, never mentioned it. Even when he was walking around the office trying to say he thought he could fly. But… this is his brother. And they're very different in that. "I don't think your job is to give them a normal life. A happy and safe life is far more important than a normal one. Even if you didn't have abilities, you're a politican. That's hardly normal."

Recently discovered it, no. Recently understood it," Nathan corrects. He knows Peter enough to know that such a secret might bother him, and he adds, "I could barely explain it to myself, Pete, how was I meant to put it into words for my kid brother?" He sits back in his chair, stretching his legs out, by now less disturbed by Peter's sudden genius over mechanics and technology. "Well, these abilities don't denote happiness and safety, to me."

The remote is suddenly put back together, and Peter starts to close up the case. At this point— he suddenly knows exactly what he built and what it's supposed to do, and it makes him blink. Is this legal? Oh— right, conversation. "It may not make us feel safe, but… it's our kind of normal. And I think we were doomed to be part of this from the start. Our parents were. This is who we are." And… "I think I just built a remote that turns traffic lights green from 500 feet away."

"Not a legacy I want to be passing on," Nathan argues, but— what. His gaze goes sharply from his beer can and towards the new device Peter has apparently created. "No you haven't," is his immediate answer, squinting. "…have you?"

Unfortunately, it's not something they can really get out of. Peter does have to nod a little. "I don't think we can do anything about who our parents are, or who we are— we can just… choose what to do with what we're given. Same as everyone else." They just happen to be given a legacy of money and power. The remote is held in his hand. It was for a small TV. Only had channel, volume, and power buttons. That's it. "Yeah— it's the power button. It'll take a few seconds to switch over, since the other light has to turn yellow first, but this thing can turn traffic lights green…" It's weird. "I barely passed shop class," he finally muses. Though the closest they'd came to this was learning how to put together a light socket.

"Do we know who you got this from?" Nathan says, now holding out a hand for the remote to look at. "The ability to become a techno wiz over a period of a few minutes. Which, by the way, means you can set the clock on the microwave back home when the power next goes out." Did he not just say he doesn't want his family getting used to these shortcuts? Maybe the microwave is especially frustrating.

"I have an idea," Peter says after a moment, but when he looks back down at what's on the table… "I don't know if it'll work like that. I know what I made… but I don't have the slightest idea how I made it." Or how to do it again. But he does hand the remote over, before he reaches for his beer.

Nathan turns the remote over in his hands, and if Peter can read him at all, it's clear he sort of wants to test this out. As a man who struggles with New York traffic daily (made crueler with the ability to fly remaining unused), it's just intriguing. But, Nathan is an adult, works hard at being an adult, and resists playing with the cool new toy, setting it down again. "Patent it and make a fortune. I could probably keep you out of jail," he kids, before finishing off his beer. "Was there anything else you needed to tell me?"

"There's other ways I can make a fortune," Peter says, glancing from the remote to his brother. There's a pause. "Why don't you keep it? I missed your last birthday, and you deal with traffic more often than I do." Yes, he saw that look in his brother's eyes. Giving him permission to play with it— it's a birthday present now. "Only other thing is… I saw Mara. I'm guessing you already know that… Gray found her apartment? I let her stay the night here before she moved out to Hartsdale."

OKAY WELL THEN IF YOU INSIST. Nathan only hesitates a fraction before picking up the remote and slipping it into his jacket pocket. Best present ever, should it work. "I'll let you know how it runs," he says, with a flicker of a smile at Peter, before that smile fades entirely at this next topic of conversation. "She… yeah, she told me. Helped her do some packing before I had to get home. Did she give you an address?"

There's a smirk as Peter watches his brother drop the remote in his pocket. Good thing he instinctively grabbed a remote for a TV he never uses anyway… It'll see good use now. Should it work. Which he's pretty sure it will, as long as the batteries are still good. "I'll let you know if she does. But she's only staying in Hartsdale for a few days— until she gets things settled." Course a few days could turn into a lot longer… It usually does. "I made sure she knows she's not alone in this, but…" There's an unsureness in his grimace, and he downs the remainder of the beer fast. "But that's it. And I'll probably be staying here again soon." Only reason he's not right now is because of whoever Carter was working with.

This is not a fun topic. It was never going to be, of course, but Nathan looks distinctly uncomfortable at certain moments during what Peter has to say, bringing a hand up to rub the back of his neck. "Well I'll call her later in case she needs anything more, but I guess it's out of our hands." Too much rests on what Gray will do next, what Mara will do next, and Nathan is going grey just trying to keep up.

"Thanks for helping with the television and the DVD," Peter says, finally standing up. In polite terms, this would be the start of a 'goodbye and see you later'. But he's probably going to be hugging his brother a while before they get to that point. "Even if I'll still be at your place a few more days… when I move out you can call me any time you need to. I'll fly right over." That includes Mara, Heidi, even microwave programming.

Beer finished. Random present received. TV functioning, with Nathan's help of handing over a wire or two. He stands as Peter does, straightening out his jacket unconsciously, and nodding once at Peter's offer. He draws him into a Manly Hug (tm), and that is how appreciation is shown. "Try to catch a cab when you can," he has to put in, tone wry.

"If it's not an emergency, I will," Peter says, extending the hug a little longer than necessary, but pulling back to lead his brother to the door and show him out. Now he just needs to put away the radio pieces and the tools, then he can finish checking reception and get back to— …what? How did he manage to get cable? He shouldn't have cable in this apartment?

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