2009-11-15: We Are Petrellis



Date: November 15, 2009


Angela seeks out her eldest son. He doesn't recognize her, but after awhile, acknowledges that he is Nathan Petrelli.

"We Are Petrellis"

Braythan's Hotel Room

The hotel room is white as white can be. White linens. White curtains. White carpet. White walls. And on the walls are pictures, but only in black and white. This, of course, makes Brayden stand out on the white couch in his orange plaid shirt and faded blue jeans. He's seated comfortably, whittling away at his train whistle. The television is on, but he's not watching it. The radio is on, but he's not listening. The competing noises would probably drive anyone else mad, but attention isn't paid to them. He's whittling. The project is taking on a life of its own, looking more and more like a train with each passing day.

Empty liquor bottles of various shapes and sizes line the room. It seems the maid hasn't been in here in some time, and the Do Not Disturb sign hangs precariously over the door handle.

The hotel may be kept hidden from the press for the time being, but there are still those who can find their way here — like Charlotte who appeared out of nowhere, or … here and now … the person whose pale knuckles rap on the door. Breaking into the drone of the television and ratio, and perhaps even the steady whittling, the knock is sharp on the wood, but slow: hopeful. Hesitant. Not the sound of hotel staff coming a-knockin' to disobey the Do Not Disturb sign.

Outside the door, the visitor brings an air of immediacy and all things dire as she waits on sharpened edge for an answer. Angela Petrelli's head is down, watching the crack between the floor and the door. The dark wool trench coat she wears, belted tightly, the collar high around her throat, is damp; dark hair clings to her face in strands, evidence that NYC is seeing some rain today.

The knock manages to cut into Brayden's thoughts, particularly after the scare Charlotte gave him the day before. As he hears it his eyes narrow as his eyebrows furrow. "Who the devil could that be?" he mutters to himself as he places the whistle and carving knife down on the coffee table in front of the couch. And then it occurs to him: Helen. "Just a second!" he calls as he quickly clears the bottles from the coffee table, dumping them into a nearby garbage can. No, he hasn't got them all, but at least some have been dealt with. After jogging to the door, he takes a deep breath, straightens his hideous shirt, and runs a hand through his hair. With a click the door unlocks. Immediately eyebrows are furrowed again, "Uh… can I help you?"

On the sound of the voice — even carrying through the door before it's open — Angela gasps, her breath catching. By the time the man is standing in front of her, her eyes are wide as saucers and it looks as though her breath hasn't caught up to her yet; it's as if she's seen a ghost. A singular hand, showing the signs of aging, grasps at her chest, over the large black buttons of her coat, spidery and very nearly trembling. "Oh Nathan…" A thin, tenuous smile appears, a shaky fusion of aghast and overjoyed. The woman reaches out with her other hand— reaching straight for Nathan's face, to touch him. "I knew you'd come back to me— "

Unfortunately Brayden doesn't recognize his own mother, so he takes a rather hesitant step backwards to avoid being touched by said hand. His lips curl downwards into a frown as he studies her, still standing in the doorway. "I'm sorry… I don't remember…" the tone is half-apologetic as Brayden leans against the door itself. But there is something. A feeling of deja vu. He stares at her eyes a moment before he steps back into the room and out of the doorway to let her in. "I feel like I should know you, shouldn't I?" the question is tentative.

The second the man steps back, the older woman finds herself reaching to empty air and her hand curls in on itself. She looks absolutely and utterly heartbroken. Look at those big sad eyes! Nathan may not remember how capable of scorn and rancour those eyes are, but regardless, the sadness in them now is real and raw. Yes, he should know Angela. She whisks into the hotel room with its blindingly white everything. She's nearly as grey as the pictures on the wall, a stark contrast to… is that plaid? (Oh God it's worse than she thought.) Her eyes roam Nathan searchingly, brow furrowed. "Yes," she rasps quietly. There's that smile again. "Yes, dear. I'm your mother."

He closes the door after Angela steps into the room and motions for her to follow him into the sitting area. "I'm sorry, I'm not remember anything about Nathan really. The occasional thing strikes some recognition. Like New York. And Horn Rimmed Glasses —did Nathan wear horn rimmed glasses? And you, actually…" As much as Brayden tried to hide the bottles, he didn't hide the garbage can. No, it's sitting on top of the coffee table loaded with glass bottles. Quickly he returns it to the floor and motions for his mother to sit down.

Rather fretfully, Angela follows her amnesiac son further inside. The many bottles not-so-hidden in the trash earn a briefly disapproving glance, but she's mostly focused on Nathan himself. Though she nears the seats, she does not sit. "No, you're thinking of Noah. Of course you don't remember, we wiped your memory," she says, as if wiping someone's memory is a perfectly everyday, simple process… which, for Angela, it is, by way of ordering it to occur. Usually, however, it is by other means and with very different outcomes. Not this. "So that you could be whole." Frowning, Angela's head keens to one side as she studies him, her sad, sad expression turning disappointed. "And look at you now…" Incoming mother. She truly doesn't take his hesitance as a no, rushing in to embrace him.

The embrace isn't avoided, but like everything else, it's a hesitant acceptance, and a rather short lived one. He backs up out of it and examines her quizzically, "You did this to me on purpose? Because of Logan?" From what Charlotte said, he'd gathered that Logan had been bad news. "Well, I like who I am now. No crazies in my head telling me what to do or taking over my body. And while I wanted to know who I was before my stint in Europe and the Monastery, I'm learning that Nathan may have not been the best person…" And then he adds, "It's probably good Nathan is gone as is Logan. Nathan seemed so… dry." Oh dear. Insulting a mother's son is never a good idea.

Angela's grip is so tight that she actually stumbles very slightly when the hug is severed. She doesn't let go, per se — her hands come to grip either of Nathan's shoulders as she looks up into the familiar face. The care she emanates doesn't falter, but a sharp look crosses her features. "You can't stay like this. You're just…" A hand deviates to pluck at the collar of "Brayden's" plaid shirt with derision. "…lost. Going by another name, wandering the globe. What are you calling yourself now? You have a family that needs you, Nathan. I've lost you too many times and now Peter's gone from me too. I need you." She pauses, only briefly, before her penetrating gaze becomes more intense. "Who told you about Logan?"

"Why not? This works for me! I roam, I have fun, I meet people," Brayden meets his mother gaze and frowns slightly as she calls him lost. "My name is Brayden. And I don't remember any of you. Everything is gone. I want to help you, but I don't want to lose who I am." And there's a pause as he looks down at the ground. "Charlotte and Charity think that a part of me wants to be the way I am. That I like having freedom and without Nathan's history I don't have to hesitate to be myself." He swallows. "Charlotte told me about Logan and that there are people who can fix my memory, but maybe it's worth me just being me… I could remember on my own, couldn't I?"

Who the hell are Charlotte and Charity? Angela will hunt them down and slap them for giving her son such silly ideas. "You've had almost two years to find who you are. Look at me— Nathan— " Using the name pointedly, his mother flattens a faintly cold hand on the so-called Brayden's cheek, urging him to look up at her, her eyes that bore intently into him. "It was something you had to do. I knew you needed to go. To learn. To get away. When I insisted erasing your memory was the only way to put … Logan aside, I wasn't sure how long it would take. I didn't know you'd be taken from us for so long, but I knew, one day, you'd find your way back. Oh, Nathan. You don't understand who you are." Words that begun reflective take on an adamant tone as Angela nearly hisses. "What you're a part of. It's highly unlikely you'll remember everything on your own. You need your brother. He can heal you. He can sew all those parts of your mind back together."

Eyes are narrowed into slits, "So he was that bad, was he? You willingly gave up your son to get rid of some villain inside his head? And what if —what if it can't be fixed? What if he's still there? Aren't I safer to be me than unleash some terror on the universe?" Brayden has clearly been giving this some thought. "What exactly am I a part of, Ma?!" Oh… Nathan-moment. "And where is my brother, anyways? Everyone keeps telling me he was looking for me and now I'm in the open and… nothing."

Ma. A flash of recognition, of hope, sparks in the eyes of the matriarch of a family her son doesn't remember. Angela's mouth tightens into a thinning frown. She steps away, her hand falling as she paces away, never going very far. "Logan has done… many things, most of which were terrible. But he'll always be a part of you. Of course, if you'd listened to me all those years ago…" Her bitter mumble trails off. It's not as if he has any clue what she's talking about. "By healing you, every part of you should merge! It's called reintegration," she says adamantly, her own eyes narrowing. "You need to step up and accept your fate. You have to take the good with the bad, Nathan! You used to know the value of sacrifice and responsibility. As… for Peter… there's something you have to know."

"Listened to you about what?" No, Brayden doesn't remember. He too paces away, running a hand nervously through his hair. "But don't you see, I don't need Logan at all anymore! I'm a happily functioning adult!" he smiles Nathan's semi-infamous charming political smile. The smile fades at the mention of accepting fate. "And what is my fate in your estimation? To bend over and let fate stick it to me?" She's given a sidelong glance. "What about Pete?" he asks, without realizing he even shortened the name.

Angela smirks, but it's wry and as chastising as a smirk can be. It's also short-lived, just as the familiar smile of Nathan's. "Peter is missing," she answers matter-of-factly, whisking past the other issues — like fate sticking it to Nathan — for the time. "I suppose it's too much to ask for both my boys to be here at once. I'm hoping your… presence…" Scowl. "…in the press will draw him out. But… Nathan." She steps closer, and though her hands go out, it's in gesture this time. Warning. "You're not safe here, for the same reason Peter is MIA. I imagine by now you've figured out you can do something most people can't."

"So Pete's missing… why is Peter missing?" Brayden grins at the mention of the press, "The press really photographed my worst side, didn't they? I really wish I hadn't been wearing that suit —" He offers a fleeting shrug. And then peering at her intently, he quips, "What do you mean I'm not safe here? No one knows where I am other than Helen?" His face flushes at the mention of his ability. "Yeah, when I learned I could fly I left Ireland." His gaze doesn't move, "Is this the trouble Pete's in?" Something strange happens. A nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach. Like butterflies trying to get loose. His lips curl downward into a droopy frown.

The frown, and perhaps the feeling that comes with it prompts Angela to reach out — call it maternal instinct; she knows — and touch Nathan's arm. "A few months ago, the US government got wise. They're taking people like you — like us. Like Peter. I had to take a lot of precautions in coming here so I wouldn't be followed — they're treating us like terrorists, and all because we're different. Because we can do things someone has labelled threatening to the safety of the country, however true or untrue it is. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing the only reason they haven't gotten to you yet is because the press watching your every move. But your luck won't last forever. Unless you listen to me."

This time Brayden doesn't pull away from the touch at all, he lets it linger. There's that same strange deja vu familiarity about it. In fact, it almost melts his nonchalant exterior, at least for the moment. He listens intently. He's not designed to deal with this, but that doesn't mean he can avoid it. Finally he asks, never breaking his gaze, "What do I need to do?"

"Ideally, you need to hide until we can make you Nathan again. But since I highly doubt you'll listen, there is an alternative." The woman smirks briefly, a knowing glint in her dark eyes. "There's a store in Greenwich Village called Enlightenment Books. A woman by the name of Cass Aldric owns it; you knew her, once upon a time, though why you were friends I'll never know." She eyes Nathan considering for a moment, but no matter — onward. "That said, she's helping people on the run. She's tracking down someone who may be able to help Peter. Someone who might be able to protect you more than I can at the moment."

He blinks a couple of times, and opens his mouth to argue, but thinks better of it, and clamps his mouth shut. He doesn't exactly plan on being Nathan again. Instead Brayden crosses his arms over his chest and nods a bit, "Fine, I'll go find this Cass Aldric then. If she was friends with Nathan at least she'll recognize me." He swallows before adding, "Who is she tracking? Someone else Nathan knew?"

"Not especially." Vague. Angela seems to have no intent on explaining herself further on that point; it will become relevant when it becomes relevant. Very intently noting the look in her new and, as far as she's concerned, not improved son, she says, commanding, "I know you're enjoying this little vacation from the real world, but you can't hide from the past forever. It's time to face it and go on with your life." Did Angela just give Nathan similar advice as Noah did? Things are truly upside-down. "The life you're meant to have. Not this lesser replica of my son Made in Ireland."

"You sound like the guy with the horn rimmed glasses," He muses to the floor more than his mother. "Good things come from Ireland," Brayden quips as he glances at his mother before staring out the window. "Nathan had a checkered past, didn't he?" For now he falls silent, pacing towards the window, opening it completely to watch the rain fall against the pavement.

Angela turns to watch her son, soon following. She keeps her distance this time, looking past him out the window as well. "You're a Petrelli. Of course you have a checkered past. It's a rite of passage in this family." Angela smiles, and even if her joking smile isn't caught, the tone is there in her voice.

"Am I, really?" Brayden faces Angela, turning his back to the window. "You're sure I'm not some grand look-alike? I don't feel like the marrying kind, the political kind… the responsible kind…" That's who Nathan was isn't it? His lips purse as he sighs heavily, shoulders slumping forward into a slouch with the sigh.

"Well I didn't have twins." The mother smirks once more, but a more sympathetic expression takes hold, though it's ever-so-slightly distant. "There are times you wanted to get away from it all. You were pressured into doing many things in your past life, by your father… and, I'll admit, by me. We had plans for you, you see. Your father wanted you to marry Heidi, we wanted you to go into law and politics…" Angela sighs sharply and folds her arms. "But you were cut out for it, you were good at it. And though it may be best to leave well enough alone with Heidi, you have two wonderful boys to show for some of your decisions." She pauses, head tipping back to eye the man carefully. "And Claire, though… she was a result of one of your lesser decisions."

Brayden turns to face her, jaw stiffening. He offers a tight smile, "Well I have a competitive streak, and made a terrible monk because of it. I organized my crew in Ireland, and helped pull off some bigger heists than they'd imagined." He blinks a bit and then observes, "Maybe Nathan and I have more in common than I thought: a love of winning." Or an obsession as the case may be. There's a hesitant pause, followed by an ironic smile, equally ironic tone, "I guess… I guess I'm Nathan Petrelli then, aren't I? Like, it isn't some awesome mistake. I really am him. I am Nathan Petrelli. Your son. Peter's brother. Heidi's husband." He's not happy about it, but there it is some measure of acceptance. There's a pause. "Who is Claire?"

Angela smiles the more Nathan speaks; the more he realizes, the prouder and more pleased she becomes until she's grinning in spades. She nods once, clucking her tongue in thought. "Another part of your identity," she answers, unfolding her arms, hands clasping in front of her. "Claire is your daughter." Pause. "Illegitimate, but she's my granddaughter, and she's a very special girl, so I don't split hairs. It might be good for you to meet her in this state. While she has some chance of forgiving you."

"I have a daughter? What did I do to her?" Brayden asks inquisitively, frowning again. "Nathan —er —I(?) really damaged the people around me didn't I?" Sigh. "I spoke to Heidi on the phone. Don't think she's going to forgive me." Shrug. "The worst is I can't remember what Nathan did. But then, Charlotte told me about Logan. Did he do all of the damage or was Nathan also responsible? Or they one in the same? It's all so confusing." Pause. "It's like a real-life version of this daytime show I just started watching: Afterlife. Just constant drama."

Another smirk rises at the mention of Afterlife; Angela has, no doubt, caught Nathan watching it from time to time. It's a flash and gone. "…They were different aspects of the same whole. Logan… done things Nathan wouldn't have been capable of. He was ambitious…. violent. He did something very awful to Claire." There's no stopping the dark expression that overcomes the Petrelli matriarch. She steps up to Nathan's side, looking out the open window, touched by the cooler air. "That's not to say you—" She looks over." Nathan … hasn't done things he's regretted all on his own. Like we said. Checkered past. You'll come to know it soon enough. But you're a good man — strong and presidential. You cared more than some people realized. You should know that."

The woman's knowing gaze glides back outside. "I'm going to book a room in this hotel under an assumed name. Alice Shaw. It might be safe for a few days."

"You're sure you want to risk bringing him back? He doesn't sound like someone I want rattling around in my head—" Brayden grimaces with a frown. "But I guess in a way he's me, right? Like we're all the same: Nathan, Logan and I? And I'm not sure about the presidential part, but I'm strong." He arches an eyebrow and offers, "I could have my publicist book it for you under that name. You would have complete privacy. Helen's proven herself beyond capable thus far —"

"You're working with Helen?" 'Again' is the unspoken word. Angela looks on Nathan with some surprise, but, after a moment's raised eyebrows, accepts it. "That would be appreciated, so long as you don't tell her who I am," she says with reluctant gratitude. She's not cut out to be on the run. "Don't trust anyone. Especially in the government. Even if you knew them before. And don't tell anyone I was here, except for Cass. Speaking of publicists, you'd do well to befriend the press. Stop acting like an ass and put yourself in a position where, if you were to disappear off the face of the planet, people wouldn't simply assume you've ran off to discover yourself in Indonesia," Angela says flippantly. There is wisdom behind her words, however chastising.

"Yes, I'm working with Helen. She's a life saver, really," Brayden raises his eyebrows. He sighs and then adds, "Fine, I'll befriend the press. I'll talk to Helen and we'll figure something out together. Somehow I'll come out looking like a saint. Or like I achieved ultimate Nirvana." He cracks a broad grin. "I won't tell her it's for you. I'm sure she won't object regardless." His expression changes, his eyes soften and his tone reaches a newfound level of sincerity, "I'm glad you came, Ma." Occasional glimmers of who Nathan was.

"You're still my Nathan." Angela gives Nathan another hug, hanging on tight with her face just reaching his shoulder and burying against it. Another thing he'll learn about the Petrellis is that, besides having a checkered past, they tend to be touchy-feely. "I should leave you to it," the mother says with reluctance. She's reluctant to let go, too. Her family has a bad habit of disappearing time and time again. Not only just when she pushes them away.

The hug is reciprocated and like almost everything else about Angela it's familiar. He offers her that bright politico smile and nods, "I'm Nathan Petrelli. Your son." There's a pause, "We'll get Peter back. I promise." Even if he can't actually remember Peter (or what he looks like. "Remember, I never lose." Or at least Brayden never loses.

"No, you win by landslides." Angela pops up to peck Nathan on the cheek. Everything almost seems normal and ideal, for a moment in time. When she eventually does step back, she reaches into a deep pocket of her coat — still slightly damp from the outdoors — and retrieves an item from her pocket. She takes Nathan's hand and curls a medium-sized photograph into it, the type that would fit into a small picture frame for display. It's a family portrait: Nathan, Arthur, Angela and Peter standing side-by-side. Everyone only looks slightly younger than they do now. "I knew you might need this. Take it. It's yours."

He peers at the picture. It's a family. Nathan's family. Brayden's lips flicker into a smile, "Smart looking family." His eyebrows furrow as he looks from himself to his father to his mother to Peter. Deja vu. "Thank you." There's a pause before he adds, "Be safe, Ma. You know where to find me…"

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