Title: Somebody That I Used To Know
Written For: original_lie’s music fic challenge
Prompt: "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Elliot Smith
Characters: Nathan Petrelli (ramblings about Peter)
Disclaimer: Belongs to Tim Kring and all other associated people.
Summary: Nathan faces the knowledge that he may just have lost his little brother. Circa: Ep #12 “Godsend” - Ep #13 “The Fix”
Word Count: 1,046
He sat in that chair day in-day out watching the sleeping form of his brother. Somebody in this position usually lay still in a peaceful slumber, unaware of the world passing by. But not Peter – he seemed to be reliving an anguished nightmare every hour of the past two weeks. And Nathan couldn’t help him. There was no way he could save his brother from the terrifying dreams that plagued his mind. All he could do was sit, and watch, and worry as his stubble grew in rough patches, as doctor’s passed in and out of the room, as his phone rang continuously. He knew he should keep his cell switched off, but he was Nathan Petrelli – man of the people. His political campaign was in full swing, and he was four points behind. To drop off the face of the earth now would widen that gap. He couldn’t risk his career for his family, and yet he always found himself in the situation of having to do so.
But lately it had been Peter’s fault. As much as he loved his brother, he couldn’t stand his insistence that he ‘save the world’. It was some deluded fantasy he held that made him fly halfway across the country and risk life and limb for some girl he didn’t even know. He remembered the state he had found his brother in – weak, bloody, yet still incredibly hyper. And as much as he wanted everything to be okay he found things only got worse for Peter. He collapsed and for once fear struck deep into the core of Nathan’s heart. For all the money, power and influence he held, he could not fix all of Peter’s problems. Now as his brother lay there helpless, attacked by visions in his mind until his heart would give out, Nathan could only watch and wait for his brother’s last breath. But no, that was not going to happen. Not if he could help it. They’d flown the best doctors into the country. One of them had to be able to help him.
Is it true that desperation makes you do crazy things? For it seemed that way with Peter. And now Nathan began to fall under that same spell, if only to understand what was happening to his brother. Empathy had never been a big part of Nathan’s personality – that had always been Peter’s gift. It was strange how his mother encouraged that from Peter, yet when it came to himself she would shut him down, allowing him only to care for whomever she approved of. A little part of him was jealous for that simple freedom Peter had, even if Nathan Petrelli was the child who had all his parent’s love and devotion. He remembered, however, that he and Peter had always stuck together. Compatriots in a feuding war between their two arguing parents. He had always protected Peter, always fought for him, always until this day when now it felt like Peter had thrown his life away. Peter was finally living up to his father’s expectations – wasting his time on things that would not benefit him. Nathan thought Peter would always need him. But on this day, he began to feel he was wrong.
As he returned to the hospital he found his brother was gone. Missing. He did not dare to jump to conclusions. There were no clean sheets; the blankets lay in a state of disarray. Obviously someone had been there not that long ago. Obviously his brother was lying there not that long ago. Passing the window, he saw his mother. He could not believe that Peter had just woken up and walked out. He could not understand how his mother could just let him traipse away. He says he’s gotta get away. He remembered what Peter told him before he passed out. Nathan knows he has to take care of this situation now before Peter abandons his family. Peter is not the big threat he believes himself to be, Nathan is sure of that. And even if he is, if he’s going to blow up New York, Nathan will be there to make sure that doesn’t happen. He’s not going to lose his city. He’s not going to lose his family. After all the tragedy of the past six months, he doesn’t need another life at risk.
His search ends once he finds Peter in his apartment, packing his bags. His younger brother is about to abandon everyone. His younger brother is about to run away from his troubles. But Nathan knows, better than anyone, you can run but you won’t escape the things that haunt you. It was the sole reason he joined the marines – to escape the pressures of his family, to escape the problems he had caused himself. And yet they were still here, once he returned everything was still here. He felt bad about leaving Peter, but their unity had not been severed even by a dozen seas. It was this feeling that assured Nathan he’d always be able to do something for his brother, and he offered help, a way out. He had that genetics professor from India on his side. And yet still Peter ran. Just when Nathan thought he had control of his little brother he lost him again, using his own powers against him to fly out that hallway window.
Now Nathan realized he could do no more to help his brother. As much as he wanted to fix this for Peter, he could do no more. He had been rejected. And like any feeling of rejection, it hurt. He found it hard to accept his brother didn’t need him anymore. That caring little guy who had wept to his older brother when he fell and skinned his knee. That young man who had tried to convince him he could fly. Nathan was angry with him, but he knew he wouldn’t be for long. Once Peter showed up and asked for help he would forgive him. He would do whatever he could to help his brother. Peter was big enough now to make his own decisions, to control his own life. Peter wasn’t who he used to be.
Peter was just somebody that he used to know.