Character(s): Nathan Petrelli and Peter Petrelli, with appearances by Simone Deveaux, Angela Petrelli, and others
Prompt: “The last few minutes of Fallout, from the moment Peter falls to the moment where we see them in Godsend, from Nathan's POV.”
Rating: PG-13 for mild swearing
Word Count: About 2,200
Author's Notes: Much thanks to motsureru for the beta reading!
Summary: Nathan struggles to find some way to help a comatose Peter, but is he willing to let his search take him down the rabbit hole?
I should've let Ma come pick him up. Better yet, I should have left him there. Never let it be said that Nathan Petrelli doesn't take care of his family when they need help. At least I'm hoping that's what the press will take from this, which is why I'm here personally. The responsible older sibling caring for his wayward younger brother. There's even a bit of Romanticism to Peter's... struggles. With the right spin, this could work in my favour.
I just wish Peter looked a little healthier. I'd rather this not be mistaken for a drug addiction, and considering how he’s been going on about that painter, people could start making crazy assumptions about the situation.
Then again, this whole situation is crazy. Why did Peter have to choose one of the busiest and most public times in my career to try to be a hero? So he saved a girl's life, good for him. Some girl that neither of us would ever have known or cared about if Peter hadn’t been an idiot, and she's so grateful and gushing that it's only going to encourage him. Great.
We leave the police station, and as we’re heading to the car, Peter’s telling me about this dream he had. “And I was with that girl and that guy that was trying to kill that girl. And this cop, I think he was reading my mind. They were all like us.”
“Dysfunctional?” Stop dreaming, Peter. First flying, now this.
I try not to think about the flying.
“No, they...” Peter starts again. Christ, he looks bad. “Nathan, I have to stop that bomb. I have to save everybody.”
“Right now, I'd settle for you walking straight.” I’m trying not to look at him, trying to make things appear casual, and his wobbling isn’t helping.
And then Peter collapses.
I rush towards him, panicked. His breathing is ragged, and I shout his name to try to get him to look at me. The seconds pass. Then, as I’m holding him in my arms, he starts to come to.
“Easy. It’s all right,” I tell him.
“It’s all my fault,” he says. “The explosion.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
And then he’s out again.
The doctors can't figure out what's wrong with Peter. He’s in a coma, but they can't even agree on what kind of coma it is. I didn't even know there were different kinds of comas. Ma was not impressed with this news. She demanded that Peter be moved to New York so that he can be treated by specialists. The doctors here were a bit insulted, but there’s no denying my mother when she wants something. I debated using my status as medical proxy to try to stop her, but I need to get back, too. Heidi says the boys miss me, and I got a call from my campaign manager this afternoon, who mentioned that Simone Deveaux has been trying to get in touch with me to find out where Peter is. Apparently, Peter's not the only person she knows who's disappeared lately, and she's getting more and more insistent. I'll need to deal with her in person once I make sure Peter's arrived safely.
Some of the machines around Peter's hospital bed look old. Or maybe it's just the fact that everything is dusty in Texas. Dusty and hot. Peter's sweating, too--the fever is one of the reasons the doctors argued with my mother about moving him--but the dust on his face looks more like ash, and I feel like I’m watching him burn.
"What happened to him?" Simone asks. I called her an hour after Peter was settled in at the new hospital, and she showed up 20 minutes later. What kind of job does she have, anyway?
"He just collapsed," I tell her. "He wasn't looking so great, and he passed out. The doctors are running tests to see what's wrong."
"Why were you two in Odessa?"
Great. "I was picking him up from the police station there. He was being released from custody." She looks shocked at that. Of course she does. She knows Peter as the caring and responsible nurse. "He was at the scene of a murder," I explain. "This... cheerleader."
"Murder?" Simone repeats. "A cheerleader was murdered?"
"One was," I tell her. "Peter saved another one."
"Peter... saved the cheerleader?" she asks uncertainly.
I give her a look like she's a little crazy. The last thing I want is somebody thinking I believe the same things as my brother.
"I'm sorry," she says, looking down. "I have to be somewhere. I'll visit again tomorrow." And, with that, she leaves.
I walk over to the bed and look at Peter. "You're scaring your girlfriend, Pete," I mutter.
The specialists can't figure out what's wrong with Peter, either.
“We haven’t identified an infection,” a doctor tells us, “but the fever and the laboured breathing mean there must be one there, and if we can identify it, we might be able to determine if it played a part in causing the coma. In the meantime, though, Peter’s brainwaves indicate that there’s a great deal of activity going on. He’s not resting peacefully, and it’s adding stress to his system. Given the uncertain nature of his condition, we’re reluctant to try anything too aggressive, but the antibiotics haven’t had an effect yet, so unless the fever breaks or something else changes, we may have to start taking some risks with the treatment in the near future.”
He looks at us, waiting for a reply. It’s a lot of words to take in at once. After a few seconds, my mother says “Thank you,” and the doctor leaves. I watch him go, then turn.
“I going to get some coffee,” she declares, standing up. “Did you want anything?”
I look at her for a minute before shaking my head. She heads off towards the elevators.
I wonder if comas can be faked. Faking a coma sounds exactly like something Peter would do, just to try to convince me that all this nonsense about flying and powers and cheerleaders is true. He’s naive that way. He doesn’t realize that the truth isn’t the most important thing here...
What good would it do him to die chasing after this fantasy? What importance would the truth have if he were dead?
What would I do then?
There’s always an event to attend when you’re campaigning in New York. Tonight, it’s a fundraising dinner for cancer research.
Peter’s doctors decided to test him for leukemia today. It’s a long shot, but still...
Just after nine o’clock, Heidi’s phone rings. It’s our babysitter, telling us that Monty’s sick. We’d asked her to make this call when we’d gone out for the evening—neither of us felt like smiling for terribly long. We’re gone before the silent auction closes.
I’m walking through the parkade of the hotel where the dinner was held, pushing Heidi in her wheelchair, when someone shouts at me.
“Mr. Petrelli!” a guy calls, jogging towards me.
I pause and look at him in confusion. “Can I help you?”
“Harry White, freelance journalist,” he says, stopping in front of me. “I have some questions about your brother.”
“I’m sorry,” I tell him. “I don’t have time for this. My son is sick, and-“
“How did he save Claire Bennet’s life?” he interrupts.
I freeze for a minute, debating. “Pardon me?”
“In Odessa,” White elaborates. “He saved her from the target of an FBI manhunt, but there’s confusion about how he managed it.”
Crap. “Who have you been talking to?” I demand. Heidi’s looking at me with a stunned expression.
“I have my sources,” he says with a grin.
I glare at him. “Look, my brother has been going through a tough time, alright? I would appreciate it if you left him alone.” White doesn’t say anything back, so I turn to leave.
When I’ve gone a few yards, he calls out again. “I was told he fell off a five storey building and didn’t get hurt. How’d that happen, I wonder? Maybe he can fly. I’ve heard of that with other people.”
Leaving Heidi where she is, I pivot and storm back over to White. He’s grinning again, and I’m about to grab the front of his jacket when he holds something up. I stop to see what it is: a business card. He takes advantage of my hesitation to put it in my front pocket, then gives a little wave and runs off.
It’s too early for there to be many visitors on the ward when I slip into Peter’s hospital room. At best, he looks the same as he did yesterday. I pull up a chair next to his bed and take his hand, pressing a kiss to the back of it.
“Pete,” I start. “Pete, you’ve gotta wake up. They don’t know what’s wrong with you, but they know you can’t survive like this. They say it’s like you’re dreaming, like your mind is working overtime, going through the same patterns over and over again, and the effort is killing you. Ma’s beside herself. You’re not strong enough to do this on your own, Pete. Whatever this is, come back and let me help you with it. We’ll figure it out together. We’ll find someone who knows what’s going on, someone who can help us. It’ll be alright. You just have to wake up.”
But there’s no change. Peter’s eyelids keep fluttering like he’s trying to look everywhere at once, but his eyes are still closed. Harry White’s business card feels heavy in my pocket. I still don’t believe everything Peter’s been saying, but I need to do something, and it needs to look inconspicuous. Talking to a reporter is a perfectly normal thing for a congressional candidate to do. With a sigh, I pull out the card and my cell phone.
I arrived fifteen minutes early for the meeting to check the place out. White suggested it, a little nook called Alice’s Teahouse. It was an effort not to be off-put by the amount of whimsy in the cafe when I was there to discuss such a serious topic, but White had assured me that it was a safe place for the conversation. I chose a table in the corner and sat down to wait in a chair that gave me a clear view of the door.
I don’t recognize the man who enters the cafe, but when he heads straight for my table and sits down, I’m immediately wary.
“Good morning, Mr. Petrelli,” the man says.
“Who are you?” I ask.
“My name is Eric Thompson. I’ve come to inform you that Mr. White won’t be able to make it today.”
This is not good. “What’s going on?” I demand. “Where’s White?”
“Mr. White has left the country on a last-minute assignment. He won’t be back for quite a while.”
“Bullshit,” I retort. “He knew something about my brother, about what happened in Texas.”
“Mr. Petrelli, what happened in Texas is being handled by law enforcement,” Thompson replies calmly. “It’s not worth involving yourself in that when you have a campaign to run and a promising political career in front of you.”
“Who do you work for?”
He gives a little smirk. “I’m just one of many people who think it would be best for you to focus your efforts where they will be of the most benefit to everyone.”
“This is ridiculous—I’ve heard enough,” I sneer as I get up. Thompson stays in his seat, but he turns to watch me as I leave the cafe and go to hail a cab.
On the ride back, I notice a black sedan following me.
They followed me for about 48 hours after my trip to the cafe. It was probably just a scare tactic; whoever had done this was likely perfectly aware of the dead end I was now staring at. There were just too many questions, and not a single answer. I felt pathetic and angry as I arrived at the hospital.
During his daily report, the doctor told us that Peter was still doing the same. He said they’d come up with a new theory about the problem being in his heart, but he didn’t sound too convinced about it. Ma was not impressed.
As I sit in Peter’s hospital room, I try to think of some way to help him. Harry White knew something. Somehow, he stumbled across some part of the truth, and it lead him to me. I wasn’t even sure he could help me, but when that Thompson guy showed up, I began to see how deep this might go.
Peter thinks he knows something, too. He thinks he know thats he can fly and dream about the future and explode. He thinks he knows that he has to save everyone, that he can save everyone.
What do I know?