2007-06-29: Right, Wrong and Undeserving

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi finds Peter hiding out in one of the studies at the mansion and he tells her what he did that made him so upset he went out and attempted to drink himself under a table somewhere.

Date It Happened: June 29, 2007

Right, Wrong and Undeserving


Petrelli Mansion

It's the middle of the day… and where is Peter Petrelli? He's back in the house at least, but he's holed himself up in one of the upstaires studies. A sitting room, really. A blank book in hand, he's sketching away at the pages, and frowning. The house in general has been relatively quiet, at least for the last hour or so. The boys are off doing something to entertain themselves, which luckily does not involve jumping off of a roof, and most of the animals are involved in this entertainment. Most of the animals except Snowy.

The minature American Eskimo puppy sits outside the door to the study he's in, looking up towards the door knob as if trying to figure out how to get it open. There's a soft whine in her throat, and she paws at the bottom of the door. Animals often know when something is bothering their owner. And something is definitely bothering Peter.

And it's not the stick figures that he just sketched on the page. He's not sure who he just drew, or even what they're /doing/… but there's two of them, and he's pretty sure one is a girl.

—-

Sometime, and some point during the day, Heidi recalled the message she got from Peter on her cell phone. The initial worry returns, the idea that he could have been slightly (or very) drunk, and out on his own makes her wonder just what the heck happened that night. Even if Peter is all grown up now, he's still her brother, and she really should see what's wrong.

And so at some point after breakfast, she wandered downstairs in order to wait for him, hoping to catch him, but it's been a couple hours, and he hasn't appeared yet. And lately, Heidi's been hearing Snowy's cries, which is as good an excuse as any to see what's bothering Peter.

Making her way upstairs, she pauses at the door, hand raised to tap on it, but she doesn't knock. Her hand returns to her side, and she listens. Hearing nothing, she decides to chance opening the door, which she does, just a crack - to see the young man drawing again. Snowy will likely make it through the slightly open door first.

"Pete?" she says quietly, to get his attention while not startling him. "I wanted to come up and thank you for breakfast." Yes, she knows, and no, Nathan didn't tell her. She's /just that smart./ "You okay? I thought you'd come downstairs by now."

—-

The little white summer-cut puppy does indeed zip through the slightly open door and run towards the two-cushion couch he's sitting on. Hopping up to get close to his lap, she looks up and him with big blue eyes and wags her full tail. Peter glances up at the door first, then towards the puppy that dashed over to make him notice her. Closing the blank book, and setting the pencil aside on a nearby side table, he puts his hand down onto the puppy's head and looks back towards the door.

"You're welcome. Nathan did make the toast— and the coffee." Well, the toaster and the coffee machine did most the work, but it was the thought, right? "I just… needed some time— to think." He'd been about to say alone, but he doesn't want to kick her out now that she's there in the doorway.

"I'm glad you and Nathan got a chance to talk, finally."

—-

They did more than talk, but that's really a matter for Heidi and Nathan. It's not something you go around sharing with your little brother, but Peter will likely find that Heidi's moved herself out of the spare bedroom now. The wait was necessary, the timing was right. Their relationship is now truly on the mend, just past the ripping painful bandages off stage. The crisis is over.

"It wasn't something I could keep from him." Talking in general is probably what Peter is talking about, but this was a necessary conversation, something Heidi couldn't - nor did she want to - keep to herself. "I didn't tell him about the drawing, though. I just said I thought things would work out… Didn't want to worry him more." All said, he took it pretty well.

She holds out her phone, puts the speaker on, and dials her voicemail. The message from Peter is saved, and Heidi plays it for him. "This is what I'm more worried about now, though," she states, perceptive eyes meeting his, narrowing, as she reaches back to push the door closed again. "You're a good kid, Piglet. This isn't like you. What's the matter?"

—-

Oh, he /heard/. The walls aren't that thick. But he knows better than to bring that up with her, even if he minorly hinted at it with his brother this morning. "I understand. Nathan— doesn't care much for the paintings of the future, honestly. He— got one from Linderman for me— but then tried to destroy it before I could see it." And there's a good reason he'd done that, so he can't completely blame his brother on it. Peter'd still be able to do what he needed to do anyway— and he saved Claire's life. That had been the important part.

But it's the voicemail that plays back that he looks towards. The white puppy hops up into his lap and tries to crawl up his chest, resting paws against his shirt, and looking up at him as if she might sneak kisses— but he's looking quietly towards the phone. Now that she's inside fully, he lets out of a sigh and nods. "I had a long day. Last week… I decided… that I needed to break up with Elle."

It's said pretty softly, as if it's not something he's proud of at all, but it's something he needed to talk to someone about. That's for sure. "Actually… I'd made that decision a while ago. But… couldn't do it. She'd been so upset… she tried to make consessions… and I couldn't go through with it." A hand raises up to run over his hair, as he avoids further eye contact. Even his puppy starts to lower her ears a little, as if feeling his worry. She actually could be in truth. "Made the decision while practicing a new ability with Cass… the ability to make people do what I say."

—-

She'd apologise profusely if she knew Peter heard. Poor guy!

After the voicemail plays, she pushes the button to turn the speaker off, then puts the phone back in her pocket. Elle was not Heidi's favourite person… Even if the woman is quick to forgive, she can't abide anyone who would hurt her friends, and hurt them badly - and that's even despite the fact that Elena let bygones be bygones. Heidi can't do it, she can't take the chance. Not when her kids were involved, and not when her family is at stake.

But her feelings don't matter right now.

She doesn't say anything, though there's a frown that touches her face as she leaves the safety of the doorway and makes her way over to where Peter's seated, one hand raising to rub his shoulder. Everyone knows the pain of a breakup. Or, well, most people do. There aren't too many people who are lucky enough to meet Mister Right on their first time out. Or Ms. Right, as the case is here.

It's the last part that catches her attention, though. "To… make people do what you say." She doesn't like the sound of that, because… "It's really not… pleasant to learn that that's been used on you," she says quietly, as if she knows, because she /does./ Thankfully, what happened to Heidi wasn't awful. The hand on Peter's shoulder stops, gives it a pat. "Are you doing all right?"

—-

Eh, he's happy for them. After a while Peter did have to turn the radio on, though. It wasn't as bad as it could have been… and it isn't like he's sixteen anymore. Not understanding exactly what's going on inside his sister-in-law's head about his now ex-girlfriend, he doesn't pull away from the hold, or say much of anything for a while. He closes his eyes and takes in a slow breath, before he nods at her words. He doesn't know of her experience with persuasion, but he does know what he did was fundementally wrong.

"If she ever finds out, she won't have any reason to forgive me. But we know what she's capable of… and I couldn't… take the chance that she'd hurt anyone, or hurt herself worse doing it." It's not entirely for everyone else's sake. There's still affection for thr girl that might as well be a downed powerline in the middle of a playground. "I just… had to make her be okay with it. Couldn't do that before… when I realized I could…" It kind of became the inevitable choice.

Even if he hates it, and feels terrible for doing it. "I don't… know if it was the right thing to do. In fact I'm pretty sure it's not. But the only alternative… would've been to have them take her memory again… and I couldn't do that to her. Not after she fought so hard to get back what she had." That… and he wants to believe that the memory of what they had would actually be good for her.

—-

"Well, 'the right thing' has grey areas," Heidi says. "It's kind of like someone telling you that you can either take a green apple or a red one, when you don't like apples to begin with. Whatever you do, you're not going to like it, but at least you had that choice to begin with. And you figure if you at least take action, you're going to save someone else who doesn't like apples from having to take both of them." She chuckles quietly; the analogy was the best she could do on short notice.

And now she can bring her own feelings into it a little. "You took the lesser of two evils." And that's what it is. An evil. "Ali asked me to make calls on her behalf. At the time, I don't think she even knew that's what she was doing to me, but… I did it. Spent hours on the phone because she asked me to, and I had no way of saying no. It's not the best thing in the world, Pete, but you know she can hurt people. Look what she did to Elena… What if she went after your brother. Your nephews?"

Heidi reaches for his hand. She wants Peter to be okay with this… Obviously, Heidi thinks it was the right thing to do, at least in part. Elle scared her, even if she wanted to get to know the girl at first. The fact that Elle was left with Simon and Monty /still/ terrifies Heidi. "I wish I could say something to help."

—-

"I still violated her free will. That's not something that you do to someone you love," Peter says softly, still sounding miserable. Making him okay with this is not going to be easy at all. Not when he seems so down on himself. Even the chuckling seems to make him flinch, though again… he doesn't full away entirely. Ali… that makes him glance up a moment, as he recalls what little he's already heard about that woman. Not the one who's power he absorbed and used, but definitely still one of the ones he heard of.

"She wouldn't have hurt anyone again until I broke up with her," he explains, looking back down, and fully believing this to be true. If she'd known their relationship was in danger, maybe… but he'd nearly broken up with her over the Elena-situation. If she'd done something to his nephews, or anyone else… she would know that would seal the deal much faster than her attempts to show him how good she could be.

"I don't think there's anything that anyone can say that would help with this. I didn't even give her a chance to prove that she could do the right thing…" And to him… "And worse… I promised that I loved her— and I couldn't share everything with her, didn't trust her, and… I didn't love her as much as I should have."

—-

There's not a lot to say to that. The thought of it makes Heidi feel cold, especially knowing that the killer who had her photo does exactly that to make people kill themselves. At least, that's what he did to Elena's mother. And Peter's right; she's not going to refute it, she's not going to offer him any words of comfort, because she knows there are none pertaining to the idea that he can - and did - rob someone of their ability to make their own choice.

What can you say to that? Where's the /fairness/ in that?

"It's the fact that she could, Pete. The fact that she could do something like that and not bat an eyelash while doing it." She's not condoning what Peter did to Elle, but she /is/ on board with the fact that they broke up. The difference between Elle and Peter is that Peter feels awful when he hurts someone, and Heidi still hasn't decided whether or not Elle was even capable of that feeling. Remorse. "What if you'd given her that chance? What if she'd hurt someone? You'd be tearing yourself up over that, too."

—-

The words continue to make him flinch, probably because Peter still can't place the blame on her, but when the reason he broke it off had little to do with anything she did at all. She's right. He would have torn himself up over most any outcome of this, and at least this way he might be the only one who has to hurt. If that works out that way… it'd be worth it. Even if it makes him hate himself a little bit more. More than he already did…

But one thing he hasn't said yet… is /why/ he broke up with her. He'd thought of avoiding it, considering the company, but…

"I was cheating on her, Heidi," he admits in a miserable tone, leaning his head back against the couch and closing his eyes. The puppy in his lap shifts a little, turning to look up at him again, ears still lower, tail not sticking out or wagging. "Not physically… but…" That doesn't make him feel any better about it. At least physical he could have blamed on lust, or something superficial and not as important to him.

"Should've been able to give her everything— she might've been a better person if I had… but I couldn't. Not when I fell in love with someone else." And as far as he knows, she doesn't know who he's talking about with this. But… "I had to end it because I couldn't stand doing this to her anymore. Couldn't stand how it made me feel."

—-

They aren't meant to sting, but Heidi realises that her words don't seem to be doing any good. Her own opinions are strong enough that she knows she's biased, and so the blue-eyed Petrelli lapses back into silence, just keeping in contact with young man, one hand on his back, the other still on his arm.

And that's when Peter's words cut through the silence. It's a sensitive subject for Heidi, considering what Nathan did… The /scope/ of what he did, and for some reason, the comparison between Peter's actions and Nathan's actions is momentarily infuriating. The gentle hand on his back tenses noticably, then relaxes again, continues to rest there, before withdrawing. She can go to her room and scream into a pillow later. "Then you really did do the right thing." What if Nathan had decided to break it off with Heidi and go to Mara? It could have happened that way. It's something she's thought about many times.

This is one of the rare times that Peter will ever, /ever/ hear Heidi talk about Nathan in such a negative way. But she takes Peter's hands, looking into his eyes, finding them, no matter where he's looking. "And what if you'd stayed with Elle, Peter? Is that the right thing? God, Peter, if Nathan thought /half/ as much as you do— If you think you're like him in that regard, you're /not./ Everyone has flaws. That's one of /his,/ it's not one of yours."

Heidi knows why. She knows /who./ Either name could be a sore spot right now, though, so she'll wait for Peter to say the second one, if he chooses. "Nathan loves me. I know he does. No matter what he says, though, I'll always know that I was /never enough./ Would you rather Elle be okay with this, or would you rather somewhere down the line, she has to feel this way, too?"

—-

"No I didn't," Peter suddenly says, pushing the puppy out of his lap and moving to stand up, trying to take his hands away. Snowy whines a little, but moves off of his lap, and the blank book falls to the floor and opens to one of the many bad sketches that don't seem to say anything at all. Deep down he knows she was trying to comfort him, or make him feel better, but all he can seem to hear is that he's hurt her and brought up something bad again. Especially when she knocks herself. Again.

"This wasn't about— I shouldn't have brought this up." He feels guilty, but at the same time, he doesn't even make it to the door before he turns around and actually raises his voice a little. He's so emotionally wound up, he can't even stop himself. "It's not the same at all, Heidi. It's not. You are enough, you just weren't here. Elle was. It doesn't matter that we weren't married. She was right here. And this started even before she got her memory erased! What I did was not the right thing. Shouldn't have had to do it at all."

Hands go to his face, to wring at the tension, but it doesn't go away at all. "I don't deserve to be with anyone," he concludes rather pathetically.

—-

ARGH. He's so damn stubborn, just like his brother! Even if Heidi lets his hands go, she stands, too, when he does, hands on her hips. Yes, she's hurt. That doesn't mean she can't handle this and that she will. She also doesn't think what Peter's feeling is silly, but she does know that, with time, he'll feel better about it. That Peter raises his voice at her doesn't faze her at all, and blue eyes stare back evenly as he yells.

Then she steps forward, takes Peter's shoulders, and /gives him a good shake./

"You're my brother, Peter. Don't forget that just yet, okay? It's not the same, it's as different as night and day for you right now, but I know where you are. I'm sorry it hurts, and I'm not going to tell you to forget about it, because I know /no one can./ It hurts. Things hurt. But this isn't going to be this painful forever, okay?" The hands that are on his shoulders wrap around him in a firm hug. She's a little to short to rest her chin on his shoulder, so her face rests against it, instead.

"Pete, if there's /anyone/ out there who deserves to be with someone, it's you."

—-

Getting shaken startles him a little, but Peter does stop in his tracks, and looks up into her eyes. The puppy abandoned on the couch continues to whine a little, but he does listen to what she has to say. It's only when she hugs him that he's forced to break eye contact, but he returns the hug, wrapping his arms around her, pressing his head against her own. With his eyes closed, he just stays there for a while, but she'll feel the tremors on his shoulders. At this point he's shaking, and it's pretty obviously not out of anger.

"Don't know… if I can believe that," he says simply, before he pulls back enough to put a hand over his face and start to pull away again. She's not the first person to tell him that, but somehow… he still can't completely believe it.

"Maybe after I— spend some time alone. I don't know." It hurts too much right now, and he can't help but know that it's all his fault. "I need… to go for a walk or something."

—-

She's said what she wanted to say. There's no reason to keep him here any longer, so she nods, stepping back and releasing him. She wants him to feel better, but Heidi knows that everything takes time to get over. To tell him to just snap out of it when it's been weeks and she still hasn't forgiven Nathan completely yet… It would be hypocritical.

"Okay, well, you'll believe it later." She sounds sure of that. "Go for a walk, come back, take a nap. No drinking. That's not going to help anything." Even if it seems to in the short term, it'll just hurt in the end. Plus, she doesn't want the boys to see their uncle drunk off his ass.

Reaching out, she gives his arm another pat, and tries an encouraging smile. "There's something I want to talk to you about later. Tonight, tomorrow, whenever you're up to it. I have a request." But not now. Heidi's been thinking… But she can't ask him this now of all times. Not when he's still so raw. "It's going to be okay." It will. It will. Heidi turns and leave Peter to himself, for whenever he wants to head off on his walk.

—-

"Why do I have a feeling I heard that before…" Peter murmurs softly at the command not to drink anymore. He'll take her advice, or at least… he'll try to. Reaching at thin air, a dog leash suddenly appears in his hands, showing what he plans to spend his time with. "Snowy, come here," he says, tapping it against his leg. She bounds down to his feet and wags her tail, suddenly a lot happier, even if he's still not very happy himself.

"I'll be here— maybe tomorrow," he says with a nod, before returning the hold by raising his free hand up and squeezing her own. A hint of a smile appears on his mouth, but it's forced. Turning away, he leads the puppy towards the door, down the stairs, and outside. A walk to the nearest park should take his mind off of some of this.

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