2008-04-24: The Shadow Out Of Time

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi spots something in the man standing in for her brother-in-law and some small confessions are made.

Date It Happened: April 24th, 2008

The Shadow Out of Time


Petrelli Mansion

"Well, at least he'll have clean clothes," Heidi says, sitting on the bed next to Peter. Heidi herself looks like she could use a shower and a change of clothes. At least there's plenty of that here. Looks like the hired help has been taking care of Julius and Caesar, too, and surprise of surprises…

Heidi draws the Russian Blue cat into her arms. Spike found her way home, all the way from the abandoned hotel room. Cats are good at that… Heidi should have at least considered the possibility that this one would find her way back to where she belonged. Even this gives her the sense that maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel. This time, the cat's coming with her.

Suddenly, almost randomly, Heidi's eyes turn to the scar across Peter's face. Her eyes narrow; she reaches up toward his cheek, turning his face so she can see the old laceration better. "You think … telling someone about their own future will influence them in the present?" she asks.

Spike hops down from Heidi's lap, back to the floor, where there's a very fur-covered cat bed for her to curl up on.

The younger brother from the future had brought Logan and Nathan clothes before, but those had been from his old apartment. These clothes are more Nathan's and less Logan's, which is one of the reasons they ended up coming here in the first place. The housekeepers must have still been stopping by, and fed the cat, or else she found a way to feed herself. It is New York. There's probably plenty of ways a resourceful cat could keep her stomach at least moderately full. Not enough to be happy, but… Peter can't help but follow the cat with his eyes, then look back up after he's asked the question.

From the serious set of his jaw, it's touching on a tense subject. "I think any information can change a person— depending on the information. And the person. Their own future, the future of others… information changes things. Makes people look at things differently. Themselves, other people, the world as a whole…"

A legitimate question she asked of him, with a serious and meaningful (to him) answer, but… "I can't help but wonder if he'd have turned into Logan if I hadn't gone to the future and met him. If he hadn't been trying to keep it from happening, he wouldn't have been taken by the scientist, he wouldn't have been hurt, and maybe Logan wouldn't have come out." He can blame himself for just about anything if people give him the time to. "You could even say I involved Niki in this— hoping she could help him." Four years removed from the incident, he can still blame himself for it.

"Once I asked him why he picked the name Logan," Heidi says. Back when all this started, back before she had her accident, and before there was a mark permanently etched on her own face, she thought, optimistically, that she could make everything go away just by being there for him. She hoped that this other side of her husband would just go away.

It didn't happen.

"He said it was because that's what you told him his name was."

It's a heavy statement, but somehow lacking any blame that might come attached with it. It's a statement of fact. "Maybe things woulda turned out differently if you hadn't said anything, but if it was in him all along… And, you know, if you hadn't said anything, I never would have realised that this wasn't Nathan. Maybe it would have been years before we figured it out, and then it might have been too late to help him." Logan would say it's already too late.

There's a certain acceptance Heidi has about Niki. It's strange… Or maybe she's just too numb to be able to direct her ire at anyone other than Logan at the moment. Revenge was subtle, almost an underhanded warning that the two will only understand between them, but it was effective. Heidi doesn't do flashy.

"Maybe if you hadn't said anything, Logan would have destroyed the world. Come on, Peter, don't be stupid." It's a sort of sisterly statement - from big sis to little bro. "Maybe if some guy named Joe hadn't stepped in a puddle somewhere in New York, aliens would have carried him away. Maybe if God was drunk when he made the earth, cows would have ten legs — seriously, Pete. Let's not start the blame game. Things happened. It's not… Worth it to tear yourself up over them."

"And Logan wouldn't have been in him if I hadn't nearly killed him when he saved me from blowing up New York," Peter counters thickly, still looking down at the cat in it's catbed. No matter how much someone tries to tell him to not play the blame game, it's one of the games he happens to be quite good at. Even if at times he'd like to just ignore that he played any part in any of it. It comes out easier with his sister-in-law here. All he'd ever wanted was to make a difference for the world and those who mattered most to him. That difference shouldn't have been what nearly killed the person most important to him.

And Nathan isn't the only one this person has nearly lost, either. A lot of people in the future. A lot of people close to his heart. Ones he hasn't often mentioned or talked about. Except with a few people.

"We should get back to her apartment," he says, looking back at her for the moment. "I'll drop you off and come back when it's time to relieve you." Thus, once again, avoiding the woman currently in charge of watching his brother and his brother's alter ego.

What kills Heidi is that she lacks any of the patience she had before. She actually feels anger with annoying regularity now, at everything. Peter, Nathan, Logan, Niki, her own reflection, the poor bag-boy at the supermarket… The icy glance she gives Peter would kill, were such things possible, but she remains silent. Fine, if he wants to put the whole world on his shoulders, let him. It's not as if Heidi's not doing the same thing.

After all, she pushed Logan, he pushed back, and now look at the mess they've gotten themselves into. She just had to show herself to him, and if Logan gets away, Heidi's right back in trouble. If only he'd just… stop. That'd be so easy… How can everyone else not be at the end of their rope with this already?

"No," she answers Peter, standing, opening another drawer, and pulling out some more casual clothing that Nathan only ever wore around the house. Maybe it'll make him feel more comfortable. "You're going to talk to me. I don't care if you're from the future, I guess you're still my brother somewhere in there. And I'm not dumb. You're avoiding Niki, aren't you?"

Wouldn't be the first time someone's kicked him in the shins for taking the world onto his lonely shoulders, when he should be sharing the weight with everyone else. With great power comes great responsibility, and as far as he's concerned, he has the greatest of all responsibilities. And that makes him accountable for far more than he should be. That, and Peter is prone to do so anyway. So he's used to people giving him dirty looks. Especially this one. He takes it without even a hitch in his breath.

The hitch in his breath does come when she speaks again. Not because she's refusing to leave, or talking about her brother somewhere inside him, but the question about Niki. Observation had always been one of her talents. "We had an argument. I decided it would be better for her if we not see each other too much anymore." The use of those words in particular drops many hints. Though he could be talking about 'see each other' in terms of using his power to be invisible to his advantage.

Except… this is Heidi he's talking to. His expression softens a bit as he suddenly looks away. He tries to regain his tough persona, but it's slipped. There's a long pause. "Of all the things I've tried to accomplish here… almost everything with Niki— I was being selfish. It was unfair to her."

Calm thoughts. Obviously, Peter's not telling all this to her for her to judge him, and somewhere in her mind is the nurturing woman she'd been before Logan entered their lives. She doesn't want to be who she's become.

Realisation isn't hard for Heidi. It just takes a little thought, and she's no longer as naive as she used to be. Peter's particular words cause a sour feeling in her stomach, though it's easily ignored. Heidi doesn't hate Niki, she just hates that she and Nathan have been together.

That's something that Heidi can definitely blame herself for. It feels as if she has never been good enough, that she's second-rate, that maybe if there were more to her, Nathan wouldn't have had to go elsewhere. "What does Niki think?" Heidi asks. After all, a relationship isn't just the decision of one person. "Pete, you can't just decide what's best for everyone," she goes on to say, sitting next to him again. "You have a good idea. You see the future, you read thoughts… Sometimes people just need to be happy, though."

And while he believes fully that his brother's infidelity had far more to do with the man himself than his wife, he doesn't say so. It's possible Peter listens into her thoughts and knows these intricate details of her psyche, but he chooses not to address them now, but he could easily turn a mirror around and ask her to repeat what she'd just said to him. Only say it to herself. Not everything is one person's fault. Except when that person happens to be you.

"I don't know," he admits, showing some weakness in his telepathy for the moment. Maybe he didn't try to read her mind. Maybe he'd been afraid of what he'd see. If she did want him to leave, what would keep him from doing it? "I just wanted to… save a little piece of the future. More than one, but that one was… I thought even if we could never have what we had where I came from, she should at least know that… that it existed. That I…"

The more he tries to explain it, the more foolish he must feel. Leaning forward, he rests his arms on his knees and lowers his eyes to the floor. "I lost Elena," he adds, quietly, giving some insight he may have never intended to share. "And Niki lost almost everything. We both did, really. I couldn't control myself anymore, and she's the one who pulled me back— in more ways than one. It was her— she saved me when I couldn't save myself. And even if that world never happens here… I wanted her to know that. And now I wonder if she'd be happier if I'd never…"

All Heidi can really do at this point is listen, and hope that her presence is enough. Having never seen this future and having never seen what happened to everyone in it - and lacking any clue therewith - there's little comfort she can offer, except for the hand that reaches up to touch his shoulder. "You can't shut people out, though," she says gently, giving the shoulder a squeeze before dropping her hand back to the bed.

"But if it wasn't for me telling her, she never would've known that she meant anything more to me than a friend," Peter explains softly, shaking his head. "She wouldn't have known what could have been, and she wouldn't feel like she'd lost something when…" He trails off, looking up to the wall of the bedroom. It's a classy place, this, but there's so much in it that makes up the family, and the people in it. And the house is so empty right now. Not a soul actually lives in the place. No one calls it their home.

That makes it empty. In heart as well as in fact.

"If you knew someone only had a short time— if they would end up leaving and could never come back… would you still want what little time you could have with them?"

"What did you argue about?" Heidi asks. That's important. She's not sure she's getting the whole 'how' and 'why' thing here. As Peter turns his attention to the house rather than her, she can almost tell what he's thinking, despite the fact that she has no telepathic capabilities.

It's possible that no one will ever call this place 'home' again. Heidi wouldn't stay if Nathan is never okay. Nathan might never come back here, anyway. Who knows? There's even the scent of blood that she can imagine smelling, even though the house has been cleaned and fixed up. That's a smell that never goes away, even if you cover it up, and time does little to mask it. Something in the mind… Bad happened here. It's a memory that will never go away.

"I might never get Nathan back," she says. "I hope to, but realistically, I have to accept— " She closes her eyes for a moment. "If he and I could have one night together, and in the morning, Logan took over for the rest of his life… I'd do it, even knowing that. Sometimes I don't know if we can do anything else."

"We argued about Logan— about what happened. When I shot him. Why I did it. There was a lot of reasons," Peter says thickly, voice stiff. There's plenty of reasons why he shot the man in the knee. Why he did what he did. A lot of them are emotional in one way or another, but there had been some statistical reasons for doing it too. The better to keep Logan from escaping, even if he could fly. Pain for his brother to focus on. A reminder of what he'd done, and what he could still do… Not everyone is quite as bad about that as he is, though. But he knows he needs reminders.

"He was my brother. The person I always… I needed him. And he wasn't…" he trails off, shaking his head. That's going into something much deeper. "Niki had said she'd be there to help me when I lost it— when I couldn't control myself. She— felt like she failed me. Like she didn't try hard enough. And maybe I wouldn't have let her hold me back if she had realized I was going to do what I did…" There's a pause and he nods, thinking on her own words.

"You and Nathan have a history. Niki doesn't remember most of the things I went through with her. It's selfish of me— because the whole thing is for me." For someone who can't stay. For someone who wants to cling to a memory that maybe should never have existed. "I don't even know if she… I guess I wasn't ready to lose her. And I went to the person who was the closest to it."

Heidi can't blame Peter for shooting Logan. It was a little extreme, but if he even feels half of what she does regarding Logan, she knows that Peter deserves to hurt that bastard a little.

Or a lot.

Heidi doesn't have sisters or brothers. Her parents live far away and have always been somewhat distant. Nathan came into her life and became her Most Important Person, too. She counted on him, and he let her down. Tried to kill her twice, put her in the hospital the first time, and put her into hiding the next. All Logan's fault. All Nathan's fault. If only she could find the switch.

And really, she does feel for this future version of her brother. He's already blaming himself for everything, though, so she's not about to get into a contest with him about who has it worse… That'd just be cruel as they took themselves farther and farther downward. 'My husband is a maniac!' 'Yeah, well I'm from a future where everything ever sucks.'

Peter would probably win that one.

"Do what you have to do," is her eventual reply as she looks back at him. Picking up the clothing they've gathered, she says, "Come on, we'd better get back."

Where as Peter blames Nathan for something else entirely… He was supposed to be his older brother. Supposed to light the way, make him be better. And at the time when he needed that guidance the most, he lost one of the things he counted on. Even all these years later, he's had a difficult time forgiving it. If he'd had his brother, would all those terrible things have happened? Would he have killed Kaito? Would he have lost control of the hunger and the constant need to know?

Who knows. He doesn't. The constant need to know and understand isn't gone in the slightest. Even now. There are just many ways he's learned to supress it, to hold it at bay. And he can't even begin to tell someone what it is exactly that he has to do.

"All right," he says, standing up, straightening his clothes with a hand, and touching his face with the other. There's no moisture there, or maybe he's just making it so she can't see it. He'd be capable of it. "I'll do what I think I have to."

It's what he usually does. Even when he doesn't have the slightest idea what he should be doing.

And wait. "I'll carry the cat," he adds, noting her arms are full with the clothes, and she didn't want poor Spike to be stuck by herself anymore.

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