Title: My Best Wasn’t Good Enough
Characters: Peter and Nathan (with mentions of the other heroes)
Disclaimer: Belongs to Tim Kring and all other associated people. Verbal dialogue taken from the show, not my own. I just had this weird need to write it out.
Summary: I just decided to write the end of 1x11 “Fallout” with a little internal POV
Word Count: 1,917
WARNING: Spoilers for 1x11 “Fallout”
He feels like shite. He feels like he’ll never be able to get up. In his dreams he’s a hero. But now his dreams haunt him with the disapproving faces of others. Maybe he was never cut out for this. He can’t just take off a costume and don a pair of glasses and fool everybody into thinking he wasn’t involved. But he wants to feel like it was worth it. He wants to feel as if he did something good.
He coughs again and wipes at his face wondering why he feels like this now. He can’t remember feeling sick earlier, yet when he was being interrogated his head felt ready to split open and he was ready to throw up. Maybe it’s an after-effect, but it’s the strangest one he’s ever felt. Maybe tackling someone over the edge of a building and killing yourself on the concrete below could do that to you. No wonder Nathan never wanted me to jump.
It’s chilly in this little white brick cell. Sure they’ve got the heat on, but while everyone on the other side of that glass door is sporting sweaters and long-sleeve shirts, Peter sits on this tiny bed with the thinnest of mattresses providing the smallest comfort in only a tight white t-shirt and his own blood. Nobody has thought to clean him up, even though they know the blood is his, even though they claim he has no wounds. How can they tell? Because the blood is dried and not fresh? He can’t even tell himself without a mirror, and that door is hopeless to interpret reflections. Sighing, he looks down to the hands clasped in his lap again, curling up against the wall in an effort to retain the warmth. I just want my stuff back. I just want to get my coat and go.
Hearing keys in the door, he looked up. And all he can see is his brother, his big brother, striding in – his jacket flapping about, his shirt half undone and his tie hanging loosely around his neck. Nathan. He sighed with relief. Now things will be better. At least that’s what his dream suggested. But looking into his brother’s eyes he can see that he’s irate, the stern look being directed at him almost one of an extremely pissed off and disapproving father. Peter half-scurried back against the wall, his feet slipping off the bed, feeling as if he were the irresponsible child about to be severely reprimanded.
“What are you doing here, Nathan?” Peter inquired.
Nathan tossed a plastic bag towards him, one that contained all Peter’s possessions, except the overcoat. Catching it, Peter kept his eyes on his brother, waiting for the lecture, waiting to see if his dream would play out, but all he received was a simple command.
“Let’s go,” Nathan said.
Peter hurriedly followed him out of the cell. He knew Nathan wanted to say something, it was in the look that he had given him, but he kept his mouth shut as he stalked back through the office. Peter’s confusion, however, drove him to question what his brother was thinking.
“Aren’t you going to ask what happened?” Peter asked.
“I know what happened,” Nathan said flatly as he pushed open the door. “You got yourself in trouble, you nearly got yourself killed.”
“No, no, I saved a girl!” Peter insisted, keeping his voice low.
“Had to be a hero, didn’t you?” he said, acrimoniously. “Get it out of your system now?”
“I finally get it now, Nathan. I, I have these dreams, and when I’m around someone with the ability I can do what they can do.”
Though he tried hard to convince his elder brother, Nathan seemed more interested in checking the time on his watch, and analyzing the state that his younger sibling was in.
“You look like hell.”
Peter lifted his hand to his face as he coughed again. The closer they got to the front door, the cooler the air felt. But he wasn’t so concerned about himself. It was an after-effect, wasn’t it? He had to tell Nathan everything he had learned. He had to share it with someone.
“And I was with that girl, and that guy that was trying to kill that girl,” Peter rambled, remembering everything he had been through. He placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “And this, this cop! I, I think was reading my mind. They’re all like us”
“No, they…” Peter wavered, crashing into his brother and then stumbling the other way as they descended the stairs, sounding almost breathless. “Nathan I have to stop that bomb. I have to save everybody.”
“Right now I’ll settle for you walking straight,” Nathan quipped. Peter headed away from him, a gasp escaping his throat. “Peter? Pe—”
Peter crashed to the ground. It was black, so black. And then it grew brighter as he opened his eyes. Nothing looked the same. It wasn’t a chilly Texan night. It was overcast, heading into dusk or dawn. And he was suddenly warmer, rugged up in a blue overcoat, a warmer shirt. As he rolled back from the ground he saw that he was now in the city somewhere. Rising, he looked around him in wonder, a gentle breeze caressing his face as a discarded newspaper rustled by. The city was empty. The tunnel was empty. And hundreds of New York cabs lined the streets – all empty. Did I time jump? Is this what’s left of the world? He walked into the traffic slowly. He could see the flicker of lights from a roadwork sign up ahead. He could hear the murmur of CB radios echoing out of open car doors. Everything was vacant and empty. This is like some B Grade horror film. I’m the last man alive and a group of zombies will come out to eat me next… No, there has to be someone.
He began to check inside all the cars, weaving in and out of the still traffic until his sight caught upon a fallen bike, the wheel still spinning. I guess it’s not frozen. They must have just… left. His gaze traveled upwards, wondering why he couldn’t see the child that had left it there, and stopped as he saw the large banner over his brother’s campaign office proclaiming: VOTE NATHAN PETRELLI My brother. Maybe he can make sense of this. If he’s still there…
Peter paced towards the campaign office but his path was interrupted by the opening door of a taxi. He jumped back at the sound, scared by the sudden presence of someone else in this virtually empty world. A smiling Indian man emerged from the driver’s seat – Mohinder Suresh, a man whose father had written a book about people with abilities, but who Peter found held little belief in the notion himself. Peter was almost happy to see him – another living person, someone that could help, but Mohinder’s smile soon turned to a look of disgust as he looked him over leaving Peter to wonder why it was he was heading away from him.
Pressing on further he found the cop, the one that had been reading his mind, was telling him to go away from them, to stay back. There was a young family behind him and the cop waved them in the opposite direction. Peter stared on in confusion as they ran from him, casting furtive glances all around. Maybe I should leave too. Something’s wrong here.
He saw Nathan emerging from his campaign office and began to hurry towards him, only to be intercepted by Claire. The cheerleader. He waited for her to tell him something. He waited for her to explain what was going on. But she only shook her head, her expression distressed as she apologised.
He heard heels click over the road behind him and turned to look. Simone. The woman he loved since the moment he first laid eyes on her. The woman who was running to him now out of concern. He couldn’t help but feel a little jealous to see Isaac tackle her and pull her away. Peter grew more anxious. He didn’t understand. He couldn’t. No-one would tell him anything. They all just stared at him like the beast with two heads. As if… he were the killer. And no-one would come near him. Including Hiro, and Ando. They just stood and watched. Even the people who believed him, the ones he relied on most, they wouldn’t help him.
Then he saw his hands. They were glowing, emitting a bright red. The more his hands rose, the more this new sensation seemed to take over his body. And it ached and it hurt and it made him feel both alive and volatile all in one. His body vibrated and he didn’t understand, and more than anything it was this non-comprehension that was killing him. It was the feeling that he was totally out of control, that he didn’t know what was happening to him.
His brother walked closer, determination in his eyes, and Peter looked helplessly at him for support. He looked to his brother as he always did to explain it all to him, to fix the problem. But there seemed nothing he could do. It was too late, far too late, and the feeling was killing him. The light grew brighter, ever so bright, and his Peter’s eyes grew wider as the red hue took over. He balled his hands and roared, yelling with all his might, vocalizing that which burned inside of him. And behind the scream he felt the comfort of his brother’s touch, the assurance it held, and now he coughed and choked, and he felt as if it would all pour from his mouth. He struggled to breathe as Nathan lifted his head from the ground.
“Easy, easy, it’s alright. It’s alright,” Nathan cooed. “It’s alright.”
Peter gasped, struggling as if he were taking in his first breath, as if the blood that covered his face had somehow found its way down his windpipe instead of his throat. It was the soft reassurance of his brother’s voice that held him there. It was the gentle way he spoke that convinced him he was out of his hellish dream and back into reality.
“It’s all my… fault,” Peter struggled to get out. “The explosion.”
Nathan looked down at him with concern. “What are you talking about?”
“It’s me,” Peter choked.
The light faded from Peter’s eyes, the noises leaving his throat evaporating into silence. Like that in Peter’s dream. Like that in the still night air. And in Nathan’s arms lay his worst vision of what would happen to Peter if he went to Odessa. He would not be killed at the high school, no. He left his dying for the moment he was with the person he was closest to. And after the losses Nathan had endured over the past six months, he couldn’t face losing another so close to him.
“Breathe,” Nathan instructed, his hand firmly around Peter’s face as he shook it. “C’mon Peter. Breathe.” He slapped his cheek, trying to rouse him. “Peter? Peter!”
Peter’s head lolled to the side. Nathan ignored those that suddenly appeared around them to help. He was distressed over what he was seeing before him. He hadn’t come down to Texas to find this. He’d only wanted to take his brother home, in one piece.
“Peter!” he shouted again.