2008-01-29: The Dream Logic

Starring:

Logan_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: A past hallucination is confirmed to be real for Nathan when Peter visits the dreamscape again.

Date It Happened: January 29th, 2008

The Dream Logic


The Dreamscape

Finding where his brother happened to be laying his head down wasn't the most difficult part. The most difficult part was calming himself down enough to reach out toward a dream not Kory's. Closing his eyes at a reasonable proximity to his brother's place of rest, Peter reaches out into the dream. The misty place between dreams holds him off for a few minutes as he walks along, searching for a specific one. He knows his brother well. He doesn't know the man he's become nearly as well.

Since he recently stepped into this man's dreams with Kory's assistance, it's a little easier to find. His hand reaches out, touching the dream, and he takes a metaphorical step to get inside. Once again, his hair is longer. This time he's dressed in a suit, slicked back, all done up as if he's about to go into court. Fitting. It had been exactly how he looked when he learned his father was dead.

Lucky for Peter, he steps into sanctuary. It's difficult to invade a dream shared already by two people, so twined together that it may as well be one. By while Logan's influence is seen in the sprawling mass of chaotic nightmare, Nathan is but one lonely facet, and easy to find.

It's a church, the doors held wide open to a New York street, blowing in sleet and smoke. Peter finds himself stepping over the threshold, into a dusty kind of darkness with haphazard light piercing through windows both whole and not. It's a small chapel, and empty, although it seems only recently vacated - the dust is from finer debris, not age. The rows and rows of pews are all emptied, but there is one figure huddled towards the front, seated casually on the stairs with his back turned to the stage. Certainly not praying, he only seems to be here for peace and quiet. Outside, guns explode, tanks grind, a war is waged in the distance. A repeated fantasy.

There's nothing notable about what Nathan wears - hard to see in this hazy lighting. The same sort of nondescript black clothing from before, as if it doesn't matter. As Peter walks, his footsteps, quiet as they are, seem to get his attention, and Nathan lifts his head. A pause, and then, "You're back."

The suit could also be considered highly appropriate for a church.

The location change might be a surprise on it's own, by so is the voice that he hears, the fact that he's not standing in the seat of destruction. It tells him that just maybe he'll be speaking to his brother again. Peter steps closer to the front, away from the explosions that go on outside the doors. Hands drift to the tie that he wore for this, self-consciously fidgetting with it as he moves closer. "Nathan?" he asks, eyes shifting away to the windows. How will he protect himself if Logan makes his way inside?

"Yeah— I came back. I… I heard something that… I needed to talk to you."

Silence falls, distrustful and heavy. But finally, Nathan braces his hands against the stairs, and pushes himself up to stand, moving down the aisle towards his brother more appropriately dressed for the setting than he is. "We shouldn't be talking here," he says, with a shake of his head, despite the deceptive safe nature of the chapel. As he comes further into view, he's a little different this time than his appearance in real life, a little worn around the edges, much like he was during the days before he pursued his title of Senator. While he was fucking around with Mara and avoiding obligation. Less than cleanshaven, hair a little longer, and obviously in dire need of sleep or a detox. "Unless you can do like you did last time, hold him back." The sound of jet planes up above makes the stained glass rattle in window panes, and Nathan simply ignores it.

"I can't— it wasn't me who did that last time, and I'm here by myself," Peter admits with a grimace, looking back at the windows again. There is one other way— he takes a deep breath, obviously thinking of something dangerous as he looks over to his scruffy brother. There's a mild squinting expression, and his whole form seems to ripple, almost like a pebble dropped into a reflection on water. It seems to go unstable. The sounds do not go away. There's no dimming of the ruckus.

The form settles and he sighs, "I don't know how. I haven't got training to do that yet," he admits, looking back. "It's yours too, the dream. You might be able to hold him back on your own. Or— we can just make this short… Do you remember Pinehearst?"

Nathan opens his mouth to speak, when quite suddenly, the wall left of Peter suddenly bursts inwards in an explosion of light and debris. Both men are thrown off their feet by the force of whatever it was, left to land amongst the rubble of broken stone and now broken wood as well as pews weakly crumble beneath them. "Peter," Nathan shouts, as dust makes the air hazy and weak sunlight suddenly spills in through the chapel's broken roof. The sound of approaching fighter jets, yet another squadron, starts to whine through the air as Nathan picks himself up, unhurt - it is, after all, a dream. "Peter." He's tempted to tell him to just go, to not bother, but damnit… Peter came here for a reason. "Can you fly?"

While the one whose dream this happens to be escapes without hurt, Peter isn't quite so lucky. That doesn't mean he's broken or anything, but he does have visible scratches and scrapes from being thrown. It isn't much after his brother stands that he gets to his feet. "Fly? Of— of course I can fly," he says, looking around at the chapel that's no longer quite the santuary it once was. Kory said she could fly in a normal dream… And he's certainly not normal. His abilities are near second nature to him. There's a glance up at the collapsed roof. Is his brother implying they try to outrun the guy who commands tanks and fighter jets?

Not quite. "I know a place," Nathan says, a little wryly. "I found it. Follow me." And quite suddenly, those jets arc overhead, and Nathan simply curses and takes off. No time to explain. This dream is about as real as it can get for him these days, more vivid than the real life he's hardly treated to. Above, the sky is a broiling mass of preternatural storm, but Nathan doesn't seem afraid of it as he disappears up into it.

"You found— " Peter would have probably said more, but his brother curses and takes off into the sky. There's not much time to fasten down his tie or hold on to his jacket before he has to take off himself. Bulleting into the sky behind the dark mass of his brother, he does his best to do as instructed. Follow. Catching his brother will be impossible, but following… that's a bit easier. The storm might have more wary, though. What did his brother find?

And Peter leaves behind a church that lies in burning ruins only a few moments later, the sound of the bomb hitting the ground almost deafening even by the time Peter flies up after his brother. The storm up above, however, is consuming, and dazzling, and before Nathan can even come into view, the storm engulfs Peter's flying form. Up and down become skewed, momentum doing enough to distort the sensation of gravity utterly, and electrical currents crackle dangerously through this environment. Distance is nothing. There's only the feeling of losing yourself.

The longer he's in it, the more his appearance changes— Perhaps the losing himself applies so readily that he can't even hold onto his physical manifestation. Peter remains himself for each moment, but his clothing alters, his hair goes from slicked back, to in his eyes, to as short as it'd been the first time they reunited after the explosion in the sky. The further they go… he actually takes on that scorched appearance that his brother never remained conscious to see. Clothing burnt, skin dirty and blackened, bangs flying at the sides.

The electrical arcs are closer and closer, as if trying to find him, raking through the clouds like fingers in search for something. In search for him. It grows darker, hazier, as if the hazy daylight were transforming into nighttime, and should Peter get a sense of down, he'll see the city lights of a New York City below him.

Unbeknownst to him, there's a chase going on, between a man and a monster. Fortunately, man wins. For now.

It's almost like an attack - it would at least feel like one. Nathan comes out of nowhere, slamming into Peter's side at a perpendicular angle, arms wrapping around his brother as they tumble almost carelessly through the sky, trajectory taking them no where in particular—

Wood splinters. With far less force than their violent fall from the sky suggests, both men suddenly drop harmlessly through a roof of flimsy pine and land on a ground of the same substance. A blink later, the broken roof is repaired, and Nathan rolls away from Peter, lying on his back and breathless. But they're safe. There's not even the sound of warfare - only the sound of rain pattering against the top and side of the treehouse. It's nighttime, and it's dark. "You okay?"

BAM.

Peter doesn't even have the awareness to avoid the collision. Honestly he's lost sight of his brother the further they've gone— he was just starting to fret, think that he wouldn't be able to follow, when he's barreled into and knocked out of the storm and into…

A treehouse. He feels the impact, a grunt audible, but if this had been the real world, the treehouse would have crumbled under the impact, the roof wouldn't have fixed, and there'd probably be far more leaks just in the roof and the sides.

When he straightens, he looks much younger than his twenty-eight years. Not quite the same age that his brother got him drunk up in this treehouse, but close. "This— it's our treehouse." He even sounds younger.

Nathan, also, has changed. Slightly more prim and proper as would otherwise be usual, dramatically younger - almost Peter's real age. The old scars at his jaw stand out as if they had only a handful of years to recover than a decade and a half. He props himself up on his elbows and moves to rest his back against the treehouse, not really looking at Peter, legs folding. "Yeah," he says. "It is. There are some things he can't touch. Doesn't know well enough to touch." He meets Peter's eyes in the half-darkness, raising an eyebrow. "Pinehearst. Dad used to take us there, didn't he."

The treehouse. A place that's belongs almost completely to the two of them. Fitting— this is where they talked about much of the future, the man that his brother would become. In the place they built. Peter's a little dirtier than his brother, showing signs outdoor play on his clothes and face and hands. Not quite the prim and proper of the two, he still has much the same mannerisms. The only difference from his youthful self is the fact that he's a lot more serious looking. His eyes remain old. "Yeah— where he'd take us fishing and deer hunting. But it's also the name of a company. A biotech firm. Do you remember what happened after— after you and Niki were taken? When you were hurt? When you were rescued?"

Nathan's head tilts to the side in a slightly quizzical gesture, thoughtful. Pinehearst. "It was the— " He pauses, uncertain. "The clinic I woke up in. I don't know, it's… hard to remember anything after the attack." His knees draw up, arms circling his legs. "He kept everything from me, it was just— dreams. I dreamed about dad, even."

Dreamed about dad. Peter's eyes drop away, to the wall of the treehouse. His hair falls into his eyes, much like they would when he got older. It was long even back then… "Remember when I— when I captured Sylar instead of killing him? There was something that happened that… I didn't want to tell you because I thought it could have been a lie. It's not the kind of lie I wanted to spread around, until I knew for sure…" His forehead creases, even at this younger age. "It turns out it was a lie— but— Sylar told me that we were related." The fact that he even considered it to be true for a time… "That we were brothers. Because someone told him that we were brothers. I think you dreamed about dad because… because Gabriel told me that our father is alive. And he's at Pinehearst."

Sylar being related to them, the idea of it, only gets a narrowed eyed look from this younger version of Nathan, cynical and somewhat dismissive. And skimmed over. Arthur Petrelli, alive, at Pineheast. The whir and beep of medical machinery, bedridden, a pipe in his throat. "Dad's dead," Nathan says, simply, but his voice is anything but certain now. He can't even remember what was said in this apparent dream, but he had been sure, for a while, that somehow— "Paralysed. He was hurt. He said that— " He cuts himself off from the betraying truth he was about to voice, as if wary.

That's exactly what he said. Peter hasn't seen him to know if it's true, he hasn't tried to find him yet— but… "Bedridden? That's how Gabriel said he was— in a bed. That he couldn't move. He said the same thing." The stories match. That gives some validity to them, though he might want to disbelieve still. Reaching over, his slightly smaller hand touches the arm of his brother, squeezing the fabric of his prim and proper clothes. "What did he say, Nathan?"

"That Ma did it," Nathan finally admits, confusion and somehow hurt in his eyes as he looks across at Peter. "I don't— remember a lot, if it was— if it was real then I was kind of on a lot of morphine at the time. I don't remember any of what happened after."

"What do you think happened after?"

Nathan visibly jumps as the scratchier, more severe voice of Logan sounds through the confined space of the treehouse. In the dark, thick shadows, he sits in the opposite corner, almost completely hidden but slowly coming into focus, as if from the shadows themselves. And he is in his true form, now, in a tattered, burned suit and slowly healing but never reparable radiation burns that cover him - not the black that Peter witnessed that night, but red, exposed ruined flesh, distorting his mouth. One blind eye stares sightless across at them, milky white, the other a cautious glare.

"You never learn to adapt, Nathan," Logan says, words coming out a little stranger, likely due to his deformity. Should Peter glance back at Nathan, he'll see his brother transformed back to his now 41-year-old self, the same appearance he had back in the church, and barely masking the fact he's terrified of the mirage now joining them in the treehouse. "So I had to do it for you. As usual."

Ma did it. Mom tried to kill the man she had been married to for forty one years. Peter's younger face frowns, even gives a micro shake of his head. He doesn't seem to want to believe it. The invaders voice wipes all of that away. Eyes whip over, blinking with surprise, and his hand tightens on his brother's arm. Much like the changes in their appearances, he's changed too.

He's drenched in rain that shouldn't have fallen on him, hair slightly long. His clothes look very different than what he would normally wear. Gray. Almost like borrowed clothes. And there's a red stain in the center of his chest. Fresh blood. The wound doesn't exist, already healed over. Neither of these men will understand the significance. He never told them how Logan had shot and killed him the first time they met, a year and a half from now (and half a year ago).

"You're working with him, aren't you? Dad?"

Logan rests his head back against the wall of the treehouse. His posture is casual— maybe even weak. As if in pain. Considering the burns, it wouldn't be surprising. His breathing is reedy, although his voice sounds like a continual snarl. "We have an agreement," he says, elusively. "Nathan couldn't get passed his own hang ups enough to listen, but I did. And no, Petey, I'm not gonna tell you anything. This isn't the place. You can find out for yourself the day Dad decides what to do with you." There's a certain reverence in his tone reserved for the father of at least two entities in this place - it's hard to say if Logan would technically count as progeny, but he certainly sees it that way. "Walk into Pinehearst," he adds, with a fixed sneer. "Dare you."

The burns… The longer he looks at them, the harder it is to look. Peter's eyes finally drop away, focusing on the carefully crafted wood that they nailed together. Countless splinters. It helps him focus. The blood dries. The dare is what draws his eyes back up. He squeezes on his brother's arm again, looking back to make sure he's still there. He doesn't want to be alone with Logan, but at the same time… "I dared to come in here, didn't I?" It's not the same, though— he knows it. His eyes seem to look through his brothers— even through the treehouse— as he checks on his physical body. Exit strategy.

Nathan, while still there, is silent. His expression could almost be carved out of stone, severe and guarded so as not to betray the fear he feels just from this entity's presence. Outside, the tree that houses this structure seems to creak, and the whole place trembles slightly, as if to represent such feelings, the ones he's trying to keep masked.

"You did," Logan says, glancing towards Nathan at the response from the reality they're surrounded by. His breathing hitches, a shudder making his eyes squeeze shut. "And just like now, you won't even understand what you're walking into."

He won't understand what he's walking into? Peter squeezes his brother's arm one last time, and then lets go. It's the burnt version of his brother that keeps his visual attention, but when he speaks, he's talking to the man next to him instead— his brother. The real Nathan Petrelli. "I'll see you again, I promise," he says, voice determined.

The physical form begins to fade out. He hopes to make it all the way back to his body before something really bad happens. He regrets leaving his brother alone, but… there was a dream. One of the first ones he did on his own. A scratch he got in the dream carried over outside. Who knows how it would end if the man in the treehouse somehow found a side arm and tried to finish what he started in the mansion.

"No," Nathan says, turning as if to grab at his disappearing brother, but Peter's already gone, vanished from the little sanctuary. Nathan shuts his eyes in resignation as Logan's hoarse chuckle fills the silence, the rain still pitter-pattering against the treehouse.

"At least he's exercising some caution," Logan says with his twisted, grimacing smile. "Learned his lesson. Maybe next he'll learn some timing. So much for tryna talk, right - guess he got what he wanted." He watches, now, as Nathan gets to his feet, needing to stoop a little due to the low ceiling of the treehouse, but looming all the same. "What're you gonna do Nathan? Finish me off? This is already getting old."

The transition is easy. Dream logic. Suddenly, Nathan is looking up at a whole and healthy version of himself, and his left eye is blurred of its vision. There's no real pain, not in a dream, but he knows what he looks like. He knows he's the crumpled form in the corner of the treehouse, burned beyond recognition. Logan smiles with a mouth untouched by radiation burns, and backs away. "See you in the morning," he mutters, before turning to disappear out the window, flying away easily into the falling rain.

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