2008-04-21: Spring Cleaning


FuturePeter_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif

Summary: "What's your plan, Logan? What are you going to do when you've checked off all the boxes on your mental to-do list? Will you be done, or will you just find more things to do that give you some sense that you're more than a pathetic shadow of real man? You could do so much better— Nathan knows that."

"What're you gonna do? Hurt my feelings to death?"

Date It Happened: April 21st, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Niki's Apartment That Is Now Clean

The apartment got thoroughly cleaned in what could have been considered a blink of an eye. Maybe it was a few hours, but no one saw who did it, or how, so it's pretty easy to guess that sometime in the last day or so, someone stepped outside of time and did what they could to get rid of the residue of blood and everything else on the floor and wall. The apartment is no where near pristine, in either case. The sparse apartment would be even more sparse afterward, no effort made to replace the ruined furniture.

One thing would be different, though… the apartment appears to be empty, with exception of the man handcuffed to the bed. One wrist rather than two this time. A stack of folded clothes sit near the end of the bed, just within reach, as well as a basin with water, a wash rag, and a toothbrush and tooth paste. They'd been supplied the last few days, as things settled, but the lack of anyone at all in the room is highly suspect.

In fact the room isn't empty. Someone leans against the wall, invisible to most eyes, waiting for the "prisoner" to stir. Peter has no need to wake him up himself. And by all intents and purposes, he has all the time in the world.

Waking is inevitable, unless something is dreadfully wrong. Rapid eye movement, an uncomfortable twitch of an arm. Not so long later, the man generally known as Nathan Petrelli is shifting around, good leg shifting off the bed to bend, bare foot hitting the ground and injured one remaining straight and ignored upon the bed sheets. A groan, deep and guttural as he sits up completely, and he's looking around.

It's not a bad looking prison. Brown eyes shift to where his right hand is attached to the bed head, length of chain not especially liberal but allowing for some movement, arm stretched out as he comes to sit on the edge of the bed, wrist caught in the metallic bite of the cuff. Other hand searches out along the bed, touches the folded clothes and drags them out of their neatness, inspecting what he's been brought.

Entirely unaware of any other presence in the room, of course. It's not so unusual for the Senator to be left alone here. What's he going to do, fly away?

Sure, why not? That's what this particular Senator happens to be able to do… though chained to the bed may make such a feat either extremely difficult, and painful. Some would argue he's been through enough pain since he came to this apartment.

The clothes are appropriate for the man he should be, actually from his apartment or the mansion. They should fit just fine, certainly better than a pair of orange pajamas that would more fit a man being held captive, more or less. There's a few moments of silence greeting him before something shifts, a hint of clothing running together, weight coming off of a wall as someone takes a step forward. Not loud, so it could be mistaken for something moving elsewhere in the complex, but a more obvious cue comes moments later. "So which one am I talking to?"

The voice is raspier and more whispered than he might be used to, tension making the words tighter than normal, but it still sounds like Peter. Just with some distinct differences. After the question is out, he dissolves into sight, reappearing for the first time since the initial capture. He'd been avoiding one of his accomplices, but that's neither here nor there. The scar stands out on his face, much more than the dark clothes. He'd often favored the darker colors.

A dress shirt, comfortable trousers. Nothing that reinvents the wheel for him, if not actually a suit, which would just be flat out mockery. Certainly his own stuff too, although the matter of possessions has become kind of subjective ever since two people started owning the same things. The shirt collar is dropped a moment later when the empty room speaks to him, whoever this man is, whichever, reacting with an arm jerk against his restraint, eyes darting towards the source.

Eyelids hooding again a moment later, in a sort of veiled wariness. In the deliriousness of pain and concussion, likely Nathan had been slightly more receptive to kindness than he is now, jaw clenching with tension and perhaps even distrust. Or maybe this is Logan, despite the fact he says, "Nathan."

He's also staring at Peter's scar, although it draws such a close line between his eyes that it might not matter.

"If you are Nathan, you'll forgive me for being skeptical," Peter says thickly, moving a little closer to the bed, but staying more or less out of kicking or flailing range. He'd have to move the bed by about a foot to actually hit him, or anything. Not that it would do much good, seeing as he can die and come back. In most cases. By his sceptism, he's referring to a simple thing. Something that he was told to do quite a long time ago (longer to him). From the way his forehead tenses, and his head shifts to the side, almost jerkingly, it looks likely he's waiting to catch thoughts, deceptions, or even just simple clues that he's not talking to his brother.

At the same time, he does need to ask a few questions, perhaps to prompt responses that might give indications. Simple questions. "How's your vision? Are seeing double, blurry? Headaches?" Head trauma can kill people, even days later, and they didn't exactly take him to a hospital.

No, not exactly a hospital. But apparently Heidi didn't manage to crack or fracture his skull, as much as it felt like it at the time. Nathan turns his gaze away from Peter's as the man makes his telepathic rounds. No lies. No roiling resentment and thoughts of loathing.

With such a link established, perhaps he'll see the mirror image as Nathan sees it when his gaze wanders over in that direction. Logan only tilts his head and regards him with one eye gone blind, the other sharp and accusatory and angry, as angry as the red of his burns.

Snaps out of it, and fixes that look back on Peter, the one that asks about as many questions as he doesn't. Shakes his head. "No. Just had a headache for a while, it's mostly gone."

Eyes slide to the mirror for a brief moment, regarding the burned face. There's something almost fitting about being able to see it. Peter saw it before, when dropping his brother off at the hospital. Moments after he'd put those burns on his face. There's a twinge of something in his expression, but the telepathy helps cover it up. The strain, and everything. It drops once everything is clear, with a mild shake of his head, slicked back hair stuck in place without budging. Another couple of steps brings him closer, to the outer edge of the man's possible reach, if he stretched.

"Good," Head trauma is something that might best be avoided in the future, either way… But if it wasn't for the tension in his voice, he might sound relieved.

There's a pause as the scarred man watches the other man. His expression remains tense, as if he's preparing for something, or maybe hesitating. Dark eyes, with hints of green shift to the mirror again, though he can no longer see the face there. When he glances back, he speaks, "Lately it's been my turn to clean up after your mess. For years it was the other way around."

The mattress creaks a little as Nathan shifts to a position more comfortable, letting his trapped arm fold against him, other hand moving to touchingly inspect the skin beneath the metal. Yellow bruising fading into olive skin, nothing substantial. Neither of them have tried to break free, seeing no point in railing against stainless steel.

"Things change," Nathan rasps out, focusing on his wrist rather than his brother for the moment. "Are you in Heidi's camp? This— all of this— is my responsibility because I couldn't hold him back?" The moment passes, fixing this scarred incarnation with a doubtful look. He shakes his head minutely, as if to dismiss that. Doesn't matter. "How much damage has he done? It doesn't even feel like April, I've been… out of it for a while."

"No," Peter says in the same tone, but the word is short. With no strain against the railing, he moves another step closer, looking at him carefully. "I'd hoped you would keep him from doing it, but I had prepared for certain things to happen. I wasn't going to let you or him permanently hurt anyone…" There were many ways such a situation could have gone, but it seemed he was the only one that he hadn't made plans to protect in this case. At least it doesn't look like he did from the fact he's the only one who'd been damaged to a point where he needed healing.

How much have things changed, how much damage has been done? "Things can still get worse than they are, but they're not a lost cause yet. You still have most of your family— though I wouldn't expect Claire to come running to you anytime soon." There's a pause. How out of it has he been? "She's safe now. And will hopefully stay that way." As for all the other damage that's been done? He'll leave most of it out.

Nathan only nods, somewhat jerkily, at what Peter has to say about Claire. He knows enough, that she was kept. He doesn't know the details, and those would horrify him. "I was listening, when Niki called me," he says, watching Peter searchingly. "When she told me she was going to kill you, I got free for just— a few moments. After that, I don't remember anything, but he— " A flick of a glance to the mirror. "He told me."

'I'm sorry' is on the tip of his tongue, but apologies had never come easy for Nathan Petrelli. Instead, he says, "He's scared of you. Makes me think maybe you can help me, all of you. Is Niki… is she Niki?"

"Ask her yourself next time you see her," Peter says with a small shrug, dodging the question for some reason, though it would be easy enough for him to answer it. There's something in his eyes, as if the topic in discussion is one that he would like to avoid, which is probably why he switches to a different topic. "He's trying to destroy what matters most to you— what you would fight to protect and keep safe. He— Heidi— the boys— Claire." The addition of the man's daughter might be a surprise, but he keeps his eyes steady. "They're what you need to keep going, what you need chasing after you, keeping you steady. Keeping you you."

There's that pause again, before he glances at the mirror. "The reason I don't blame you is because it's not entirely your fault. You're a victim too. Doesn't mean you shouldn't fight it, and it doesn't mean you don't have a responsibility to fight it. But it doesn't mean it's easy either. I've lived with something similar for the last… for a while now. Not exactly the same. You won't see me calling myself Bob, or John." Or John-Bob? "But we all have demons to fight."

The dodged question doesn't get pursued, Nathan only narrowing his eyes and looking away. He's still, silent throughout Peter's assessment as to Logan's motives. If he has anything to say on the matter, it's kept behind such a mask, and as the conversation steers around, away from himself, he pursues it. Canting his head to the side, there's a pause before he asks, "What did you mean, when you said four years had happened to you?" Spoken with the tone of someone capable of guessing it, but even after all this time, it still sounds so ludicrous that hearing it from the other man might go down better.

"I'm from the future," Peter responds simply, looking straight at the man, and aware that, most likely, Logan is looking right back at him. "I came back to correct things that happened while I was unable to do anything to stop them. Especially events that have dire consequences on everything else. A ripple of events that dictate what the future would eventually become." From the way he talks, he's just as determined, but somehow more confident, calmer than the younger brother that he knows. It could be he's forcing this guise to the surface, though. The tension is unmistakable. It clenches his jaw, tightens his forehead, makes his shoulders sit oddly.

One day they'll get a nice future. A bright future. The cynic in Nathan— well, mostly just Nathan— can't help but point out that no doubt they'd find a way to fuck that up too. He smiles ruefully, shakes his head. "No light at the end of the tunnel, huh? Not ever." Restlessly, his wrist flexes within its trap. More important things to think about than yet another terrible future they have to prevent. Nathan's already paid, dearly, once to stop a terrible future, and look where he is now. No, what's more important is— "Where's Peter?" A slightly hard look. "The real one."

If he believed there wasn't a hope of a better future, Peter probably wouldn't have turned back the clock to try and fix what went wrong. There's always something better— but if everything were bright and perfect, there'd be no point in struggling anymore? Even if he's tired of fighting it… "He's locked away. Again." Nothing that hasn't happened before. There's something cold in his voice. "At first I tried to get out, but eventually I started to believe I belonged there." There's a hint of distain for his own past in his voice. Something he doesn't try to hide. "Don't worry. I'm sure he'll get out of there faster than I did. And he's safe."

So, not dead. And not here to see him like this. Selfishly, Nathan knows some relief, and he shifts back onto the bed, wincing as he drags his injured leg back up onto it. The skin's been healed over, if haphazardly, no bleeding and no sign of infection, but god does it feel wrong beneath the surface. Twisted, splintered. It can only get better from there, and he rests his back against the bars.

It's like when Heidi told him that she doesn't know where the children are. It's not his issue to worry about, as callous as that seems. As callous as it is. Maybe one day soon he'll have the luxury to be selfless, see the world without him in the way of it. "Am I something you have to change? To make the world a better place?"

Something he has to change. Though the relief wasn't given voice, Peter can understand it. At the same time he knows how guilty he felt for being locked up when certain things happened, for being unable to do anything about it. For being powerless. Helpless. None of those feelings he likes. None he'll ever like. Which would be exactly why… "It's something I have to fix," he emphasizes himself on this, as if it will give voice to everything he can't quite say. Once again he moves closer, until he's within easy reach. A risk, but considering he's from the future, is it really that much of a risk?

Then again he does have a scar. Maybe it is a risk.

"I needed to help you. Because you're brother— you need me and I need you." The tense expression starts to break, softening, voice moving to hints of his normal tones and textures. Still a bit deeper, perhaps because of unhealed injuries, or plain tension, but closer… "It's my fault this happened to you."

"The Peter from this time— knows that too." He meets Peter's eyes, but only after a quick glance over, as if registering that he is indeed closer. But what might it matter? Injured, possibly negated if he's still being fed pills, and of course, handcuffed to a very heavy bed with its iron frame. Then again, anything can happen.

There's a sudden rustle of chainlinks clinking together, a sharp look cast towards it as he restlessly jerks his arm. "What is the plan here? Gonna keep a Senator kidnapped for how long?" There is a certain sharpness to his words now, making something more evident. A change that shifted along the way. Peter gets a tight smile. "Need to stop trying to fix everything, Pete. You're just gonna wind up the broken record."

"And you need to stop trying to prove that you're better than everyone else," Peter says still moving in until he's within reach. The rattling of the chain doesn't seem to have put him off from getting closer. Eyes slide over the Senator. "I don't know what to do about your position. Maybe I'll take your place for a while. Shake hands and smile like the people I'm looking at are my friends. But I have other plans…"

Plans that he may not feel able to share. For all he knows Logan is still listening. And if anything goes wrong… "Niki said I shot you out of revenge," he subject changes instead, looking down at the knee that he injured. "She was right. I was so angry at you. I wanted you to feel even a fraction of the pain that I've felt." Usually not something he would admit to, and his emotions are dulled, numbed, almost shut down. "It wasn't what he would have done." Yeah, the Peter of the past has hurt him, too, but by the time he shot him, Logan wasn't really capable of fighting anymore. It wasn't necessary. It was calculated.

"Maybe you grew a spine in the last four years." The line is tossed away, callously, a flip of his captured hand, brown eyes back to inspect the metal loop. It's tight, but not enough to pinch. Logan wonders— what would break first? The bed's frame? The chain itself? His hand, his shoulder? "I shot you in the head." The change is more evident, now, simply in the set of his expression, the caustic nature of his tone of voice. "Wanna know what I felt when I did it?"

And that's why he knew not to reveal any of his actual plans. Cause taking his brother's place on Capital Hill is not one of them. And never will be. Peter would never claim to be political in nature. Still, despite the evidence presented to him, the slightly older version of his brother doesn't step back, or move away, he only raises a hand, as if to guard with it. For him, that hand could easily be a weapon. Of many kinds. The softeness that had begun to descend disappears, taken over by a cold tension once again. "Enlighten me, Logan."

"Slow on the uptake, aren't you?" An uncertain glance to that raised hand. Judgmental, not fearful. Evaluating. Logan shifts away from the position Nathan had secured their shared body into, just to get closer, but no attack, his body relaxed and weary. Attacking might be stupid, but weirder things have happened.

"I felt nothing. No, not nothing, kind of… accomplished, like when you tick something off a to-do list. It was disappointing, I thought there'd be more of a rush." He takes a deep breath, sighs it out. "Maybe next time, there will be one. I can only shoot you in the skull so many times before it takes, Petey."

"Maybe it was disappointing because you knew deep down it wasn't going to end that way," Peter says, not trying to move back, but keeping a close eye on the man like someone might a rabid wolf that only looks calm and relaxed. Caution is necessary. Always has been. "What's your plan, Logan? What are you going to do when you've checked off all the boxes on your mental to-do list? Will you be done, or will you just find more things to do that give you some sense that you're more than a pathetic shadow of real man?"

That confession of anger at his brother? It's showing again. Only this time directed at Logan, and without a bullet getting fired into anyone's knee cap. "You could do so much better— Nathan knows that."

"What're you gonna do?" Logan asks, head tilted to the side and no longer breaking eye contact from Peter's gaze. Cynicism thinly vieling a whole collection of hate and anger, enwrapped in icecold sociopathy. An eyebrow raises. "Hurt my feelings to death?"

He shakes his head. "No, I know you. Four years doesn't make up for what you are now. Nice scar but it doesn't fool me, as much as it might fool everyone else into thinking you're some kind of hero. Some time traveler with all the answers. Boy, they're sure gonna be disappointed when you yet again fail to save everyfuckingthing."

"You don't know everything, Logan," Peter says, though the words might have managed to cut deep under the surface, it's difficult to see it in his expression. Likely nothing he hasn't heard before. There's disgust in his face, though, that could be masking some of the emotional pain at being insulted in kind. "I'm not here to save everything. I'm hear because they need to save everything. I'm here to show others what they need to do, where they need to go, what causes they need to fight for."

Others. They. Of course any more into this argument and he might inadvertently give away someone that he needs to take action so that the future he's from doesn't come to past. "I chose to save my brother because that's something personal. It's something I needed to do. And it may not be everything to everyone— but it means a hell of a lot to me."

The sound gives him away. The squeak of the mattress' springs, the rustle of the chain, even from him, the slight hitch in breathing when his leg twinges, blocking the pain a little better than his alterego as Logan suddenly moves to stand, arm strung out when the handcuff catches him but other lashing out to take a fistful of Peter's shirt. He's taller, older, and seemingly unimpressed with whatever demons have changed this Peter, and it shows. "You lost your chance. He's the shadow now, not me."

A fist full of shirt brings Peter a little closer. There's no effort to break it, but the hand he brought up as if to defend himself lands on the other man's shoulder. He doesn't push him back, he doesn't tighten the grip painfully. And he doesn't send any of his many abilities into the man to force him down, or hurt him. There's a grimace on his face, the words cutting even deeper than before, but it looks normal on this scarred face. He's always tense, often grimacing. It's the eyes that give away more. "If that's true, why do I scare you so much? Are you afraid of what the future holds? I'm still alive in four years. Are you sure he's the one who's going to lose in the end?"

"You wouldn't be here tryna fix me if Nathan didn't lose," Logan says, lip curling in a snarling fashion and keeping Peter close, the show of aggression exactly that - a show. "Thought you should know it's a done deal. How long have I been here, talking to you, hm?" The hand loosens from Peter's shirt, comes up to grip at the base of his neck in a sort of mock-fraternal gesture, thumb resting on Peter's throat. "How well do you really know me, or him?"

"I can find out," Peter counters with a threat, though there's something off about it, a hint of a tremor in his usually stern voice. A possible stutter. It's true he's not totally clear when the transition happened, or even if it had been Logan the entire time, but he believes he was speaking to his brother. "You keep saying it's a done deal, and I might believe you. And if it's truly over— if you're the one who wins, then why am I doing this, instead of walking into your mind and ripping you apart? Doesn't get more done than that."

Languages Logan can understand, and it takes affect, it seems. Not in a grimace, not in his eyes like Peter shows, but in sullen, considering silence. Weighing up the validity of his threat. His right arm is still stretched and angled uncomfortably, and he's putting most of his weight on one leg. Such things are apt reminders for what he has to deal with the day they decide he's better off dead. With a grunt, he goes to shove Peter away from him. "You could destroy me, or you could get used to it."

The shove sends Peter back a few steps, the hand finally leaving the shoulder where it landed. Shirt bunched where the hand had been grabbing him, he doesn't even bother to straighten it, leaving the imprint of the hold, even if it transferred to his neck after a time. He'd been prepared for just about anything… but that doesn't mean he wanted it. "Maybe when you start showing that you're my brother too… I'll be able to get used to it. But I'm not so much a martyr that I can just get used to someone constantly trying to kill me with a satisfied smile." Everyone who's tried he usually tries to save, but definitely doesn't just accept… "I'll be around, Nathan," he adds, not to the man he thinks he's talking to, but the one he hopes might be listening somewhere in there.

"Get used to it and I won't have to kill you," Logan spits, as if killing people were just sort of a necessary tactic in eliminating such problems. He's also lying, and likely Peter doesn't have to reach out telepathically to figure that one out. The loathing is keenly mutual.

He turns his shoulder to Peter, and limps his way back towards the bed that half a foot. Sitting down is more of a relief than he shows. "What, you want me to leave a message?" he mutters, bitterly, inspecting what tethers him to the bed.

Lying is something that his brother, and his brother's mirror, are usually quite good at. Not so much this time. Peter can read it on his face. Perhaps the pain had something to do with it, or maybe he's gotten so used to the sight of it that it really isn't that good anymore. A message? "I don't think you have to deliever it," the scarred man replies, without a smile, but a return of that confidence. "My brother knows I'm going to be right behind him no matter what. Even if I'm just trying to make him come out and prove he's the man I looked up to and chased after my entire life."

There's a small pause, and then he takes another step back, and starts to fade out of sight much how he appeared.

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