2010-01-12: The Many Faces of Nathan Petrelli



Date: January 12, 2010


Logan lives in the real world while two other Nathan incarnations chat in his subconscious.

"The Many Faces of Nathan Petrelli"

Nathan's Office — NYC

Logan sits in the quiet of his office, watching the contingency tape Nathan had made to release to the media had his plans gone foul. With a deep frown and he crosses his arms over his chest and just shakes his head. How did Nathan think things would go, anyways? They couldn’t very well capture a New York Senator for no reason. Of course, they would’ve simply said he’d fallen ill or had terrorist ties or some such nonsense. With a smirk, the Senator of New York turns the DVD off on his computer and turns to face the window — the reflection of him in his black suit and golden-colored tie smiles sardonically back at him. It’s a beautiful day in New York, but Florida would be nicer this time of year…. yet something prevents him from going there. Something inside him won’t let him make a call to bring suffering on a woman who tried to kill him — not with kindness — but a baseball bat. And a knife.

Deep within Nathan’s subconscious is a small log cabin buried in the woods. Unlike the sky in New York, this sky is clouded over. There’s a slight breeze, but it isn’t so windy that a person would need a coat, and the sound of the ocean against the craggy cliff down the pathway from the house echoes through the forested area. The cabin itself contains two figures: one dressed in blue jeans and a white dress shirt and the other clad in blue jeans (complete with black suspenders), a red plaid shirt, and hiking boots. The one in the hiking boots sits on his wooden rocker while knitting a hideous red and green (the colors are hideous, the project itself, not so much) scarf for the other. Both look like Nathan Petrelli. Both have his dark brown hair, his solid jaw, and his large hands. But only one consciously thinks of himself as Nathan. Or so he thinks.

The one that presumes himself to be Nathan (dressed in the dress shirt) rocks back and forth on the porch, scowling. He’s not pleased. He came here for a quick mental break and couldn’t find his way back into the real world. With a tight set jaw, his eyes are narrowed at Brayden’s work. He shakes his head, “Since when do you knit?” Clearing his throat, there’s almost an implicit statement he hasn’t spoken, and considering the pair share the same stream of consciousness, Brayden will know what it means. “Seriously, why couldn’t you have taken over my brain? You’re harmless.” At this he sighs. He’s angry for letting his own guard down. If he’d remained vigilant none of this would have happened.

Brayden, unlike Nathan isn’t in the habit of taking things too personally, although the thought that Nathan sends him is met with a defensive tone, “Knitting doesn’t make me a woman. Just like nursing didn’t make Peter one. You have a real mean streak, Nathan.” Despite the comment, Brayden’s smile returns quickly as he counts how many to knit and pearl. Knitting takes focus. “Besides, you knew that Caitlin taught me to knit unless you’re denying I’m part of you too… that’s why you’re here and he’s out there. Or, at least, that’s why I think you’re here.”

“Wait. What?” This is not something Nathan had considered. But then it’s something he won’t consider. Not now, anyways. “I’m not Logan. Logan isn’t me. We’re different people. If the merge had worked I would be in control. And I’d know everything he’s doing out there. As it stands I know nothing. Nothing.”

“You know nothing because you think you and Logan are still separated. And your denial makes it like that,” Brayden quips back. “You didn’t know I could knit because you let yourself believe that you and I are different, and that I’m useless. You relegated me to your subconscious because I’m not political and thus, useless.” He smiles easily at Nathan. “I know what he’s doing out there. But then, I accepted you were both a part of me before either of you existed in memory.” Brayden continues with his knitting.

“Wait…” Nathan holds up a hand. “You know what he’s doing? What is he doing? Has he gone after Heidi or the kids? Did we ever get that meeting with the President? Is Pete okay? Have they talked?”

Brayden silently continues his knitting. Even after Nathan poses his last question. “Look. You could know what’s going on and turn this train around if you just confront what you did to the people you care about. YOU did those things, Nathan. We did those things. They were terrible things. Instead of running from them, you need to accept responsibility.”

“But it wasn’t me,” Nathan insists. “He did them. His sociopathic tendencies did them. He killed Peter. He tried to kill Heidi. He shot Claire. He pumped Jack full of narcotics. I hate him. I hate everything about him, and I’d intended to lock him away in my subconscious mind for good. Why did I let my guard down?!”

Quietly, Brayden allows the knitting needles to clink together before finally addressing Nathan’s original questions with a sigh, “Right now he’s thinking about Florida. Don’t worry though, he’s you. He loves Heidi even if he’s angry at her. And he felt guilty about Jack — although he wrote it off as indigestion. He’s not a sociopath anymore. He’s your ambition, your decisiveness, and your determination rolled into one big mess. But because of the merge he’s tempered by your feelings for people. The funnier part is, he thinks he’s still the nefarious Logan. And is, in a way.” He sighs again, “But you’d know this if you’d just accepted he’s you. You’re him. I’m you. We’re all one person now. How is it I’m the only one that sees this?”

“Clearly we’re not one person if I can sit in my own subconscious and talk to you,” Nathan scoffs. “And I’m glad he won’t hurt Heidi or the kids, but I can’t figure out how you can be so sure….”

“I’m sure because I am Logan, Nathan,” Brayden murmurs in return. “I’m Logan as much as I am you. And Logan is me. I wouldn’t let anything happen to Heidi or the kids. You, unlike me, haven’t let yourself become part of Logan because you’re afraid of what he’s done. You’re afraid to let him be part of you, and thus you’re not a part of him.” At this Brayden puts the knitting down on a small table beside him. “It’s like the faces of a pair of dice. The dice contain different numbers. And the faces look different, but they’re all part of the same dice. When I was at the monastery I learned that we are all very complex people. Logan is just a different side of you, Nathan. And he’s only out in the world because you refuse to believe; you won’t accept him as part of who you are. And if you did you might see that he’s actually very helpful.” The makings of a soft smile play at Brayden’s lips. “In the end, we’re all you. All three of us are you.” He pauses before adding, “It’s your fear and denial that have you here.”

Nathan just shakes his head. “How am I to accept someone so terrible as part of who I am? And even if I did, how would I get back to the real world and out of this place?”

Brayden offers one word, a word he’s heard before many times at the monastery. “Acceptance. You need to accept who you are and not give into defeat. I know Peter, Ma, and Heidi aren’t around, but it’s your choice to accept Logan or not. If you don’t… then you’ll be stuck here while he pilots the ship. And while I’ve tempered him, I’m still not entirely comfortable with him as a pilot.”

Nathan doesn’t respond. He has too much to reflect on; too much to think about. Silently he considers everything shared.




In the end, thanks to Peter, the many faces of Nathan Petrelli belong to one man.

Nathan Petrelli.

He just needs to find a way to embrace it. And with no one around, that may prove an impossible task.

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