2007-05-12: Two Bottles Of Gin


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Summary: The Petrelli brothers get together for a long overdue talk. One that Peter needed to have a long time ago. He gets out things he couldn't tell to anyone else. And discovers he's a depressed drunk.

Date It Happened: May 12th, 2007

Two Bottles of Gin

A Bar

Nathan really couldn't remember the name of this place even if he tried. He's dropped in, once or twice, and mostly remembers where it is out of instinct than address and name. Either way, it's appropriate - the level of noise is quiet as people talk amongst themselves, the guy manning the bar doesn't look like he could mix a fruity drink even if he wanted to, and some CD of generic radio music plays on loop. This place doesn't play coy, basically, and Nathan appreciates this. Currently, he occupies a table for two further away from the bar. He has a beer bottle in front of him, as well as an empty glass that employees haven't come to take away yet, and he checks his watch, trying to remember if Peter said he'd meet him there at ten /to/ or ten /past/. Whatever. Nathan takes a long pull of beer before resting back against his chair.

Whatever time he'd said, Peter arrives right around the appropriate time. Maybe a few minutes early, in fact. He pauses in the doorway after entering and dials something on his phone, listening to it ring. Whoever he's calling, though, they must not pick up. There's a hint of a smile quirking on the corner of his mouth for a split second, before he sighs and looks somber again, hanging up. Stepping towards the bar first, he glances up at the bottles they have to choose from… no fruity mixed drinks, huh? What does he end up ordering? "Gin and tonic," he says, waiting for the glass to be filled before he steps over to join his brother, stuffing the cellphone back into his pocket. Once he's seated he says, "I saw Mara today." Just to get that out of the way. "She stopped by a couple hours ago."

Upon spying Peter walking into the pub, Nathan raises a hand in a not-wave in greeting, waiting patiently for his brother to go get himself a drink and siddown. He doesn't have a greeting for Peter outside of 'hey', so Peter kicks off the talking unprompted. And receives a raised eyebrow look. Well that's not surprising. She did say she wanted to go see Peter, and 'surprise' him. In fact, that's a good thing, now Nathan doesn't have to hold back on /that/ particular topic. "She came by this morning," Nathan puts in, with a weary smile, arms coming to fold on the table. "Guessing she didn't call ahead for you either?"

"No warning, no. Showed up and knocked on my door," Peter says, looking into his glass and pulling a bottle from his pocket and adding just a /little/ more gin to it. And that's a bottle he'd recognize. He'd avoided drinking from it. But— "She didn't want it back. Healed her knee, though. She won't have to worry about limping the rest of the way through her therapy— said she'd fake it a while, so it looks more gradual." Healing comes in handy. He just wishes he could have done it earlier. "She told me you two talked— are you okay?" His brother'd been the one having an affair, and he's worried about if he's okay? Indeed, from the sound of it.

When Peter tops his own drink up, that definitely gives Nathan pause. You don't have to be empathic and a people reader to know something's up when people starting adding liquor to their liquor. Even if it is just a little. And yes, Nathan doesn't forget that bottle, by the looks of it, gaze shifting away as he takes another long drink from his beer bottle, enough to almost finish it. He wants some of what Peter's having, damnit. The question as to where he's okay returns Nathan's gaze to his brother, considering how to answer that, and how to take stock of what the answer is. "I've been better," he says. "I was hoping you'd do that for her— heal her. It didn't come up, we had to…" He trails off, squints a little across at Peter. "Did she say anything about it?" May as well know what ground's been covered. And what damage is done.

"She said the two of you were done," Peter says plainly, glancing across at his brother and sliding the gin and tonic over before standing up and going to get another glass. And he actually asks to buy the bottle. They can skip the tonic part as the night progresses. He's already got a minor head start thanks to Mara's idea of a fruit basket. Bringing his glass, the the bought gin bottle over, he settles back down and continues to talk quietly. "Also told me more about her visions. She wanted to know she was doing the right thing… I said she was. I hope you're okay with that."

Peter, you are the best brother ever. Nathan takes the G&T with gratitude, and seems very approving of the development of the gin bottle being placed down between them. As for the topic of conversation, less so. The indirect question of whether Nathan is okay with this gets a restless shrug from the older man, taking a drink of gin-with-some-tonic, as he needs to catch up. "She's doing the right thing," he says, in grudging agreement. "We're done. She ended it, if it wasn't ended before." Gotta give the woman credit - she's was a lot more plain about that than Nathan had been, clearly. There seems to be more to it than just that, but he waves it away with his glass. "That can't be all you two talked about," he adds, promptingly.

"She wanted to look at my hands," Peter says, glancing down towards both of them. Even if you knew he'd lost one, there's no way to see which one he lost. They look as perfect as they'd been before Sylar froze his hand solid. Before it got snapped off. Plucking the drink up, he gives a rather deeper drink than normal. "We talked about a few other things. Breaking it off wasn't wrong— but she also needed to know that loving you wasn't shameful either." There's an odd look towards his brother, as that may sound weird. Coming from 'what about your wife' guy that he is. The actions they did might be shameful, but… "At least your love kept her alive for a few months longer. Just glad she was smarter than me. That she loved you enough to let you go— Just hope she loves herself enough to move on." Because she certainly needs to.

This talk of love is tricky. Nathan can live with one-night-stands, the occasional mistake. Loving another woman was never going to be okay, even if the action could be dismissed. He's just wired differently than Peter, or something. "My love didn't keep anything alive," Nathan argues, though mildly. "She took care of that herself in the end, and you stopped the bad guy." An unnecessarily bitter gesture of clinking his glass against Peter's before downing the rest of his drink goes here. Then, he reaches for the gin bottle. "I couldn't even keep her in one damn place."

There's a sigh, and Peter leans back in his chair and downs the rest of his glass of gin too. Might as well keep up. "I'm sorry, Nathan. But she is alive— and she might not be if she hadn't called you first. If she'd hesitated and called the police— or Parkman, or anyone else— she wouldn't be here right now. /Maybe/ if she called Hiro she'd be okay." But Sylar'd already killed Hiro once, and he doesn't come back as easily. "Either way— it's done now. The two of you can still be friends." Assuming, of course, they can keep it as just friendship.

Nathan makes a cynical 'hn' sound at that last part, pouring himself a renewed drink before reaching over to refill Peter's as well, whether or not the other man asks for it. "Not right away," he admits. "Maybe sometime, when… I don't know." He's repeating their conversation a little in his head, and it just seems rather bleak for the future, really. The bottle is set down, and Nathan glances down at his glass. Is he really desperate and/or lazy enough to drink gin straight? He'll let Peter make that decision.

Still leaned back into his seat, Peter's gaze drifts towards the refilled glass. It still has ice in it, so it's not /completely/ straight— but it will be when the ice melts. Reaching forward, he picks it up off the table and stares into it, clinking the ice along the edge of the glass. He doesn't look back up at his brother as he asks a question that seems very important to him. Or at least he phrases it as important. "Is it possible to love more than one person without cheating? Or is just loving someone else at all cheating?"

"Well it didn't work that way for me, did it," Nathan answers, flippant despite the weight Peter puts on his question, before actually looking at Peter and realizing they've deviated from Nathan Feeling Sorry For Himself, into Peter Has Issues Too. Whoops. "No, Pete," he says, trying to match Peter's tone with a serious one of his own. "That's— that's not cheating. That's just…" Gesture. "Doing what you do. You got a lot of room for that kind of thing."

Yes, they'd switched to 'Peter Has Issues Too'. There's even a slight flinch when his brother doesn't get it and speaks first. Up until he corrects himself. Then his eyes draw across the table and he nods slowly, before he takes a generous drink from the gin. Yeah, it needs the tonic water, but at least it's not completely terrible. A few moments later, he says softly, voice somber, "Feels like I'm cheating. Doesn't help I already got accused of it. I do love Elle, but…" He trails off, shaking his head. "I don't know, actually. Maybe what I love isn't really— her. Maybe I just love the memory of her— the memory she doesn't have anymore…"

Damnit. He needed to have this conversation with Peter before now, clearly. Nathan sips his gin-and-ice, with only a slight shudder at the sharp taste of it mixed only with water. It's definitely starting to work its magic, and he says what's on his mind, what's /been/ on his mind. "She doesn't remember betraying the Company for the sake of you," he points out, rather solemn. "All well and good that she can imagine what it was like to be in love with you but Pete, you know it can't really work that way, right? She's not the woman who made those sacrifices for you."

"I know," Peter says, taking a lot deeper of a drink than he should. And from the way his face crumples, he really isn't going to be lasting long, at least not in the straight face variety. In fact, when he sets the glass down, with just some remaining ice, there's tears in his eyes and that he quickly wipes away, as if hoping they're dismissed as tired or allergies. "Feels like everything she does now is just— trying to prove it— to prove that she's still the same person I fell in love with— but she wasn't trying to prove anything before. Before it was her. Before she— she didn't need to be told to do anything— it was all her. And now I feel like— she's only doing these things because she knows I'm going to leave her." Yeah. Those aren't allergies or tiredness.

There's a table in the way, or else Nathan would likely hug Peter. He reaches out a hand and grips Peter's arm instead, that'll have to do. "Pete," he says, as if trying to ground the younger man. "Either she'll work it out," which, by the sound of Nathan's tone, seems like he feels this to be an unlikely option, "or you have to do the hard thing. She's owned by the Company, in the end…" He considers something, then says, "She asked me if she wanted me to have Heidi's memories erased. After what happened. Sweet gesture, but. This is who you're dealing with, now, not the girl who ran away with you months ago." If Peter wanted a peptalk in how to keep his girlfriend who throws lightning, he's not getting it from Nathan.

There's a flinch, as Peter's told something he did not know about. Looking up towards his brother, he gets a teary eyed look that reads very clearly as 'please tell me you said no'. How could she suggest such a thing after what was done to her? He doesn't seem to understand. Shaking his head, he reaches up and rubs at his eyes again. A young man crying in a bar. Hopefully no one's watching them. "That's just it, Nathan… she wasn't trying to win me over. She told me to knock her out and leave her there— I fell in love with her because of the picture she gave me— the book— the fact that she believed I could leave— that I could control myself. She wasn't— she wasn't trying to win my affection. She /just did/. And now— she told me that she's… she said she tried to be what I want. And that it's not who she is. I've taken to reading her mind just so I know she's not pretending." There's a long pause, before he reaches over and nudges his bottle across the table. Refill please. "And she attacked Elena."

That hand moves away from Peter's arm in order to pick up and tip the bottle, splashing just a little bit of gin over the side as he refills Peter's glass, then tops his own up. That last statement earns Peter a puzzled look. "I'm not letting Elle or… whoever it is that does the memory erasing thing near Heidi," he says, first to assure Peter of this. Last night sealed this deal, he'll have to talk to Elle to make sure she's aware that nothing needs to be done. "I just think you need to think long and hard over this thing you have with Elle. I only helped that day because I didn't want her attacking you or your friends anymore, not to… help restore something that's /gone/." He sips his gin, shudders, sips again. "Why'd she attack Elena? She thought you and her were…"

Gone. Closing his eyes, more tears fall before he wipes them away. Offending tears need to stop. But they don't. He might as well be mourning someone. "I /was/ trying to restore it. I want her back. If it had to just be gone— wish I'd never tried to get her back. Wish she'd never knew what we had— or any of the things we'd done together. Wish we could have just started over." But they didn't. Because he'd been so desperate to keep her— just as she's now desperate to keep him. "She thought I was cheating on her with Elena," is the stiff explanation at the end. "Because we know each other— and we'd pretended not to. Elena doesn't want them on her back." Them. The Company. "So I didn't mention knowing her and just left it. She kidnapped her. Handcuffed her to a bed that we sleep in together— and electrocuted her until she fought back."

Once drinks are filled again, Nathan shakes his head. He had known Elle was dangerous, but— honest to god psychopathic? The look he gives Peter is worried, disturbed. "Peter… I know everything is crazy these days, but you know that's. That can't be normal, not even for people like us." Who fly and save the world and don't call the police. All that jazz. Nathan turns his glass between his hands, slowing down a bit. The edge has been taken off but he doesn't want his mind completely clouded, so his drinking slows down. "You should have known from Jane that once these things are gone, it's forever," he says, grimly. He's not quite chastising Peter, just trying to point out what he's been seeing. And probably should have voiced by now. That's what Nathan gets for trying not to interfere. "Dunno what to tell you, Pete. If you want to stay with Elle… this isn't going to be a quick healing process. I don't want you setting yourself up for this because you feel like you're obligated to her."

"Aren't I?" Peter asks, already a little into the definitely not sober side of things. "I'm the reason her memory got erased. I'm the reason she's gone." Head lowering, he kneads at his forehead a moment, before lifting the glass in hopes that the alcohol will make the tears come less. May not be the case. He doesn't often drink— and he rarely drinks when he's this broken. "Tried to break up with her last night. The person I fell in love with— I don't think she'd do that. She says she trusts me, but if she trusted me— why didn't she /ask me/. Why would she go to attack a girl she barely knows? She had to think it was true. Truly think it was true. Which means she doesn't trust me." He's getting off on a tangent. Taking a slow breath, he looks back up and adds, "I couldn't break up with her. She threw out all these compromises, promises— things I know she wouldn't have said if I hadn't told her I can't handle this anymore— her and the Company. I can't handle what it's done to her— I can't handle what it's doing to me. But I couldn't do it…"

Damnit. He wanted to have a drinking partner, but not like this. Nathan reaches out to take Peter's glass away once it's set down from the last sip. And if he meets resistance, he becomes more insistent. "You're losing sight of this," he says, trying to push aside his own drunken haze. "She'd didn't ask you and she just went ahead and did it because… well that just must be her. It's not— you're not the bad guy in this." His hand comes up to wearily rub at his face. He can barely keep up with his own love life, let alone Peter's. "Not sure I like what this is doing to you either, Pete. Look at yourself."

Unfortunately, in this situation, Peter certainly exhibits signs of depression— and it comes out even more when he's drinking. At least he's not an angry drunk, so when the glass is taken away, he just looks at it a minute. That was helping, but it's okay. "Aren't I? I fell in love with who she used to be— because of the pieces of who she'd been that show through. I know everything she's capable of and I can accept it— and I still love her. But I can't— live with it." It's hard to explain, but he's really trying— or maybe he's not because the gin is making him ramble by this point. "But if I leave her— it'll hurt her. She's been hurt so much by everyone— I can't force her to be something she's not— and I can't be with her the way she is. It would have been better for her— if she'd have just forgotten me. Now I understand why her father did what he did."

"You were happy before Bob did what he did," Nathan mutters, setting Peter's glass away from him - not confiscating it, Peter's a big boy, just hinting heavily that he needs to slow down. "I wouldn't credit him with much, if anything." Despite having taken away Peter's drinking rights, he himself finishes off his own drink, with a visible shudder this time. Oh gin. He barely even puts much thought in his action - he just auto-refills his glass. "Need to stop thinking 'bout what you want it to be," he continues, a little slurry at this point. "Start looking at it for what it is. She's not— she's /never/ going to be happy if you're like this when she fucks up, Pete." He sounds certain, despite not really knowing much about the woman - perhaps that's a point of confidence that comes with gin, or maybe he would just like to see his brother separated from Elle. Either way. He swirls his drink, waiting for Peter to talk next, and prepared to interrupt if more rambling begins.

"We could've been happy," Peter admits with a slow nod, thinking back on things with an odd nostalgia. "Would've had to fight the whole Company together to keep her with me— but we would've been together. But it would've been better to leave her that way. It feels like everything I— everything I've done with her since… has been obligation… and guilt. And it /shouldn't/ feel like that. It shouldn't hurt this much to be in love. The only thing I've felt even remotely similar…" he looks up across the table, and then— slowly holds up the other bottle of gin. The one he got a vision of of. A vision of guilt and desire and desperation…

…no no, this is YOUR turn for angst. No reminding Nathan of his. He glances between the gin bottle and Peter, before sliding the newly bought one across the table. He doesn't explain this action, yet. "I'm sorry it's worked out like this, Peter," he says, sounding like he means it, too. "Guess we're not allowed to have happiness that comes easy. If you're looking for my opinion, I think you need to start over. You both do. And know this isn't the end of the world." Then, he taps the gin bottle on the table, and holds his hand out for the one Peter is holding. "Trade you."

"Start over…" Peter says softly, having to nod. He's about ready to open the bottle in hand when his brother asks for a trade. Another time, he might have attempted to hoard it, keep it to himself. But he just passes it across, giving it up, and taking the newer bottle instead. One with less memories. One that's truly his. "Nathan— It's okay to still love her." With the tears and tension in his voice, it almost sounds like a question. Like he's asking if it's okay to still love Elle. But really— he's not talking about that her anymore. "I should go home. I'll call a cab," he says, moving to stand up. To his credit, he doesn't wobble much.

He doesn't drink from the gin bottle he's given. Nathan simply glances it over, as if wondering how hard he needs to throw it for it to just /go away/. He'll reserve that action for somewhere more suitable, obviously, now loosely holding the Gordon's by the neck, looking at Peter when that not-question is asked. But he tries to take it for what it is - after all, it's Mara's and Nathan's history that's the issue. Not a lack of one. In fact, a lack of one might be really nice. "I know," he says, emptily, because his thoughts are elsewhere. Then Peter goes to stand, and Nathan's attention is snapped back into reality, and he stands too, holding out his free hand for Peter in case he /does/ tip over, abruptly. "You sure? You can come crash at the mansion, maybe," he suggests. "If you need a break."

"No— I'll be okay," Peter says, putting the bottle into his pocket. Opening his phone up, he frowns for a moment and then pokes through the phone book and dials a number. Closing his eyes, he listens to it ring— listens to it ring— and then just stands there and listens, leaning against the table. A soft voice might be audible, and he smiles very faintly, before he hangs up without speaking. Last time— he just needed to hear it again. And as he heard it he could feel his body stabalizing, the alcohol becoming less of a problem. When he puts the phone away, he stands up a little steadier. The tears are still in his eyes, the tension is there, but the haze is less. The wobble that might have been is gone. "Yeah— I'm good. Thanks Nathan."

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