thebratqueen: Captain Marvel (Nathan/Peter close)
[personal profile] thebratqueen
So... I may have done some writing. *cough*.

This is totally [livejournal.com profile] kayteaenbee and [livejournal.com profile] christinenj's faults.

So there.

Anyway....

***

George Bernard Shaw
By The Brat Queen


Fandom: Heroes
Pairing: Nathan/Peter
Rating: PG
Warnings: Hi, did you SEE the pairing part?
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Word Count: 4,458
Summary: If he couldn't be President of the United States he was at least going to be president of the God-damn living room.

***

The first thing Nathan was aware of was talking.

No, that wasn't strictly true.

"Nathan? Nathan? Nathan, please..."

Nathan cracked his eyes open by about a hair. Just to show Peter that he could.

Peter shut up and traded words for clinging. It hurt like ten kinds of hell but Nathan could deal.

He could hear, see, feel and, now that there was closeness, smell and taste as well.

Five senses told him that his brother was alive.

This allowed Nathan to pass out again.

***

Next there were arguments. Multiple voices, all swirling around him.

"The research is very preliminary - "

"But it could work!"

"It would be highly dangerous, to say nothing of the sheer amount that would be necessary - "

"I'll make more."

"You would need assistance. The levels of radiation - "

"I'll help."

That last voice had been Claire's. If Nathan could, he would've smiled.

She got that kind of determination from her father.

***

There was darkness. Touching. Wetness. Sharp smell. Then - ow!. Damn it, that'd hurt.

"Shouldn't have moved."

Had Pete read his mind? Oh. Right. He could do that now. Great.

"I keep Matt away from you."

That was either mindreading in the literal sense or the kind of mindreading that Peter could always do, because he knew Nathan so damned well. Either way it sparked a wave of affection. Petrellis took care of their own.

Peter squeezed Nathan's hand. "We take care of us."

True enough. Petrelli brothers took care of their own.

"I hope to Christ we don't have another relative out there somewhere."

Wondering just how another relative could exist got Nathan thinking about their parents and just what else they didn't know about them. Which lead to Nathan realizing that he did not want to imagine their mother having an affair with, well, anyone really. Bad enough thinking about her having sex with Dad. Frankly, Nathan was fine for imagining he and Peter had both been left on the doorstep by flying monkeys with emotional issues which would, by the way, go far to explain Nathan's powers and Peter's hair.

"It's shorter now."

Huh.

"Not everything came back right away, after..."

Nathan didn't have to open his eyes to see Peter's wry grimace, or subsequent look down. Nor did he need Peter's new kind of mindreading to know all the levels of meaning in "Not everything."

Nathan stopped thinking, and squeezed Peter's hand in return.

***

He - they - were in a hotel. Motel, actually. Adjoining rooms in the middle of Who The Fuck Knew, Somewheresville. Nathan knew this was not the first such location. When he woke up and decided that he was going to stand, since Nathan Petrelli did not convalesce for long since he had things to do, he came across the others deciding which place would be the next.

They were sprawled out in the next room, which had been turned into some kind of makeshift communal area. Standing in the doorway Nathan could see, well, damn near all of them. Including Peter, who stood closest to where Nathan was. He didn't look intimidating. Peter rarely did. But Peter had the power to destroy the world now so really he didn't have to.

Not that Pete was a huge fan of destruction. That being the whole point of why they were there. Nathan liked to stay on target with that sort of thing.

Maps were spread all over. The little girl - Molly - was concentrating and drawing crayon circles wherever inspiration struck her. Mohinder put the information into a laptop. Conversation swirled around concepts like "clusters" and "population density" and "statistical likelihood" and "avoiding."

"No," Nathan said.

All eyes turned towards him. Peter was the only one who didn't look surprised.

"We're not running anymore." Nathan might not have known every talking point of the current conversation, but he got the jist of it. More than enough to know theirs was not a plan that he would be backing. He might be recently back from the dead or whatever it was, and he might be in a pair of ratty sweats instead of a power suit, and they might be miles away from New York or anything that resembled a real city, but that did not change one single core thing: Nathan was the one who was going to lead. He'd spent his entire life gunning mercilessly for that goal and he wasn't about to put it aside now. If he couldn't be President of the United States he was at least going to be president of the God-damn living room, or whatever the fuck this was.

"No running," Nathan said. "Staying. Finding a place. Sticking to it. Anybody out there wants to find us they can try it on our turf."

Bennett was nodding like he agreed. Parkman, on the other hand, scoffed. "We're considered criminals. Terrorists. Where exactly are we going to find a place where we can stay?"

"I have money," Nathan replied. Because being rich meant that was always an answer.

"Under your name," Bennett pointed out. "It may be difficult to use the ATM card of a dead man."

Well, that answered one of Nathan's questions. Still, Nathan had dealt with worse. "It's my money," he said, because that was sure as hell true. He'd earned every damn penny in all of his various accounts, be it from work, screwing over Linderman, and, last but certainly not least, the inheritance of being a Petrelli which so fucking help him if Ma tried acting like he didn't have a right to it anymore. "It's mine. I want it. How do we make this happen?"

Micah got up from where he'd been sitting by Niki and DL and held a hand up near Mohinder's computer. "Where is it?"

Nathan smiled. That was much more like it.

***

They were all fugitives, in one way or another. Either by actual law enforcement, Bennett's old job, or all the freakshows out there who combined the fun of superpowers with a lack of sanity that made Sylar look whimsical in comparison.

Adding to the bulls-eye over their collective head was Molly Walker, and the locational bulls-eye that her power could put over everyone else's.

The adults had apparently had a grand old debate about this, with the end coming when Bennett finally said that okay, if they absolutely had to keep her alive, then for God's sake they were going to keep her safe.

This had all happened while Nathan was under. He got the bullet point version after the fact. In the end he endorsed their decision and gave it his full support.

He didn't feel an overly strong need to mention that it was because if Molly had this useful skill, then so did Peter. And if Nathan was one of the bad guys and had a choice of trying to kidnap the adult with more powers than God over the little girl with the power that could barely be used defensively - well, no contest.

So Nathan was fine with making sure all the bad guys had a choice.

***

They made progress. They made plans. They had a system. They had goals. Nathan felt better and better with every passing moment.

"We'll need the blueprints of all the buildings that stand a good chance of holding us," Nathan said. "We'll need access to supplies. We'll need to build defenses. We need somewhere that our powers are king and everyone else's don't stand a chance. We need new identities. We need - "

"We need to get Ando," Peter said. "We need to find Hiro."

"We need to get Ando and find Hiro." Nathan added these tickmarks to their action items without a second thought. Since, frankly, he wasn't doing all this for his health. Then, since they were getting into these kinds of specifics, he said, "Also for God's sake can somebody buy me some real clothes?"

***

It took time for Micah to find what was Nathan's. In addition to changes that had happened after Nathan's supposed death there were also all the blocks that were thrown into place because Angela Petrelli was many things, but flat-out stupid was none of them.

Micah tore into all the obstacles that had been thrown into their electronic path with the glee of a kid who'd just discovered the best new videogame in the history of the planet. He won, eventually, and looked up with a joy and pride that showed he had no indication that all of his efforts had been against a tide of reminders that there was a mother who was Very Disappointed In Her Sons. Nathan could practically see the look on her face for fuck's sake. She may as well have included viruses that popped up her scowling picture.

Perhaps coincidentally Peter did not stay near while Micah worked. Maybe because he was oblivious to the meaning or, more likely, because he wasn't and wanted to deny it. Because Peter's unconditional love was going to stay aimed towards their mother even though Nathan felt fairly certain he could choke her to death with his bare hands.

"Get Peter's money too," Nathan told Micah. Peter wouldn't ask for it. Peter didn't think thoughts like that, even when their lives had been what passed for normal. Peter wasn't the sort of guy who planned for retirement. These days Peter might not be the kind of guy who'd get retirement. But the money belonged to Peter and Nathan was damned if anyone else was going to lay their hands on it. It could stay in some account in the Caymans forever if Peter wanted. Just so long as it was Peter's.

"Make sure he gets a good interest rate," Nathan added.

***

"You may as well stay dead," Bennett told him. Of them all, he was the expert on track-covering.

"What about Peter?" Nathan asked.

Bennett shrugged. "Him too."

Nathan shook his head. That wasn't good enough. "I want him gone. I don't want anyone knowing he existed."

"We don't have that kind of power anymore," Bennett pointed out.

Of course. Because Ma was the one with the fucking mind stealer in her pocket. God forbid she'd asked for a necklace for her Confirmation or whatever celebration had brought that gift into her life.

"Micah then," Nathan said. "He erases all records. That gonna be more of a sign than leaving them alone?"

"There's ways to add noise," Bennett said. "We can fill in the vacuum."

"Good." Nathan would leave it to Bennett to show Micah how. Sure, Peter had the techno-power too but Pete would have a fucking existential crisis over erasing his own identity in the system. Easier if he never knew that it'd happened. Since this was the same guy who couldn't remember when he needed to renew his passport - Hell, his Starbucks card - Nathan wasn't too worried.

"The memories will still be there," Bennett said.

Nathan didn't add that he felt pretty certain that Ma knew the 'death' story was a crock to begin with. No matter. Better to assume she'd be coming than have false security in thinking they could hide from her. Nathan didn't want to deal with ifs unless they were a part of planning for when.

Speaking of -

"We're going to need weapons," Bennett said, getting to the words before Nathan could. "Traditional, to supplement everyone's powers."

"I'll sleep better knowing there's folks besides you and me who can shoot a gun," Nathan agreed. He didn't count Parkman since the unspoken word there was competently.

"I'll sleep better knowing we've eliminated all possible dangers," Bennett replied.

"You protect Claire," Nathan said. "I'll protect Peter."

It wasn't a deal. It was an understanding. When the end of the world came you made your choices. Nathan couldn't find fault in the one Bennett had picked.

Bennett gave a quick nod in return. Maybe even a hint of respect.

Pete was still the only one who comfortably called him "Noah" though. That was annoying.

***

They picked Colorado. Huge house in the mountains. It needed work, but it met the first rule of real estate by having the perfect location. Namely it was a bitch and a half to get to unless you had a serious engine under the hood or a superpower that allowed you to avoid the car issue entirely.

Once they had the where they could get more specific on the hows. Bennett had some leads on places where weapons could be had for the taking, provided you had some advantages in getting to them.

"I'm up," DL said, looking like he was glad for an assignment that he could take point on.

"I'm coming with," Niki told him.

During the prepwork, Nathan pulled her aside.

"Don't go," he told her. "Your kid should have at least one parent alive if the worst happens."

This was a concept Nathan himself held onto tightly. It let him mark a box named "Heidi and the boys" off in his mind and consider that loop closed.

"I know." Niki stepped back. The look in her eyes was nearly Jessica. "That's why I'm going with him."

Nathan looked over to where Peter was deep in conversation with Claire. "Fair enough."

***

The first new ID was Nathan's. It got to go on the house his money had bought them.

Nathan looked at the paperwork that Micah's abilities had created in the system. He devoured the clauses and line items because he might be legally dead but there was no fucking way he was going to sign his - whatever - unlife away by not paying attention to the fine print.

Then he got to the signature panel.

"Bruce Wayne?"

"Because of the new house," Micah said. Beside him, Molly was beaming with mirrored glee. "It's Wayne Manor! We can call the basement the bat cave!"

"Kinda makes sense," Parkman when he came over to see.

Oh for fuck's sake.

***

"What? No way!"

Any shock that Nathan would've displayed over Peter finally talking like a sensible person was obliterated by Peter's next words.

"You fly. You're totally Superman."

"Fuck you too," Nathan replied. Even he knew Batman was cooler.

***

Pete was doing that thing where he faded into the background. He'd been able to do it since he was born, really. Actual invisibility was icing on the cake. He got quiet. He wore muted colors. He kept his arms folded and his eyes down. He probably would have gone full-on Claude on them if not for Nathan taking Peter aside and making it very clear that he didn't give two shits about anyone else but if Peter tried a true disappearing act on him Nathan was going to use every resource currently at his disposal to track Peter down and beat the ever-loving hell out of him.

"I don't know if I can control it," Peter whispered. His head was bowed. He looked up at Nathan through his lashes, which were all he had left to hide behind now that his bangs were gone. "It could happen again. I could destroy everyone. The world - our friends.'

Nathan refrained from pointing out that he didn't have friends. He had a little brother. "If you do, I will save - " 'you' was the word on his lips " - the day again. Do you understand me?"

This was one of a thousand such conversations, dating all the way back to when Peter was in single-digits. Pete, if you ever get in trouble at school, get into a fight, get into an accident, get too drunk, get a girl pregnant, call me. That they were talking about the entire damn world this time was either an indication of Peter's trust in Nathan, or Peter's breathless inability to recognize limitations. Maybe it was both.

Peter's hand curled on Nathan's bicep. "I'm scared."

Nathan looked Peter in the eye. "I'm not."

It didn't matter if Peter could read the truth in his mind just then. Nathan had said the words, therefore he would make them be true.

***

The moved into the house. Nathan gave up on getting everyone to stop calling it Stately Wayne Manor, though he still felt that if Batman was going to have a house in the mountains he wouldn't have decorated the inside with so much paneling.

The house was big. That didn't mean it was luxurious.

They set about making it their own. What they didn't have they made, bought, or stole. Sometimes it was a combination of all three. Rooms that hadn't seen advances since the '70s got the latest computer systems. The kitchen got a bigger fridge and microwave. The carpet got ripped out and replaced simply because it was really fucking tacky.

Small steps, Nathan figured.

Ando joined them. He brought the news that he didn't know where Hiro had gone either and, by the way, Hiro's dad was an issue.

"What can he do?" Nathan asked.

"Do?" Ando frowned, as though this was a translation problem. "Oh! I do not know if he has power like Hiro, but he is a very powerful man."

"Businessman?" Nathan guessed.

"Yes!" Ando pointed, nodding with relief at getting the point across. "And he knows. About superheroes."

That was okay. Nathan could handle businessmen. And he knew about superheroes too.

***

Molly actually cried with frustration. She tried map after map, frowning with concentration until she got headaches and Mohinder bitched at all of them for overworking a child. Like they all weren't taxing themselves to their limits.

It didn't matter. She couldn't find Hiro.

"He's probably lost in time," Bennett said.

That was when Pete decided to do his thing.

***

Nathan and Peter had rooms in their own section of the house. Possibly due to their family connection. Possibly a carryover from how everyone had avoided Nathan's room back when he'd still had enough leftover radiation to power a few thousand iPod batteries. Either way, it kept Peter close. Which meant Nathan could see when Peter gave up on leaving his room in favor of spending hour after hour making pictures.

At first he tore through pads of paper and pens that had been scavenged from the motels of their collective forced road trip. Then Nathan sent Ando and Bennett - the only two who had enough experience with Isaac to matter - to go shopping because for God's sake how about using some real art supplies, Pete?

Peter's room became filled with canvas after canvas. Charcoal sketches littered every corner. When material ran out Peter moved on to the walls and floor. Once, seeing Peter on his hands and knees and frantically trying to sketch something in the dust, Nathan made it clear that Peter Always Has What He Needs was now in the collective rulebook with a position much higher than All Of Us Should Stay Alive. At least as far as Nathan was concerned. Especially since Nathan didn't have that second rule in his book.

So Peter got to spend his waking hours lost in oil and turpentine to the point where Nathan started to wonder if Isaac had been addicted to the smack nearly as much as he had been to the visions.

Nathan made sure that Peter had the basics. He put food in front of him. He yanked paintbrushes out of Peter's hand, shook the milkiness out of his eyes, and made him eat. When nighttime came he made sure Peter slept.

Nathan's room became the place for Peter to stay when the paintings took over Peter's own. Nathan got to watch over Peter night and day then. He kept a hand on Peter's shoulder to make sure he stayed put and slept. When Peter had nightmares - quiet, whimpery ones that made him twitch - Nathan woke him and promised that everything would be okay.

"What kind of dreams are they?" Nathan asked him one night when Peter was holding him so tightly that they both could've been exploding again. Peter had the prophecy thing going for him in a few directions. Nathan had to check.

"Not that kind," Peter said, with a shake of his head. A twist of his lips indicated that he was regretful. "Nothing about the future. Just - just memories."

"We survived," Nathan reminded him, because "You survived" were not words that Peter could deal with.

"We have to help," Peter said. His voice was soft. Husky. He tightened a hand on the T-shirt Nathan was wearing with his pajama bottoms. "Those people - "

Peter meant the ones in his paintings. The ones who were in trouble. The ones who showed up on canvas as Peter tried to chase after Hiro with nothing but a paintbrush and determination.

"I'm taking care of it," Nathan told him. Which he was, through delegation. It gave the others something to do, and it kept those dangers far away from Peter.

Peter closed his eyes with relief. "Thank you."

***

If Nathan had a conversation with Peter or, God help him, Mohinder about the subject there might be use of a word like "nesting." How else to explain the way Nathan turned his energies onto the house with the same determination that he had to his Congressional seat? Sure, it was nice to have a place to stay. Nicer still when the color scheme was upgraded into one from a more recent millennia. Also nice when the final defenses and offenses were put into their security system. But really that wasn't it.

It was peace, or at least satisfaction. It came from knowing that Nathan had given Peter a home.

***

"I can't do it."

Peter was on the floor of his room. His back was to the wall. His knees were drawn up to his chest. Rainbows of paint were smeared over his face and clothes. A slash of red along his inner arm had chilled Nathan to the core until he remembered that Peter's blood wasn't a shade of Alizarin Crimson.

"I've tried," Peter continued, oblivious to how he'd just upped the number of times he'd brought Nathan close to a heart attack. Tears and exhaustion rimmed Peter's eyes. "I can't find him. No matter what I do, no matter what I try - "

"Okay," Nathan told him. "We'll try something else."

"Nathan, you don't get it." Because even in despair Peter could not stop being a drama queen. "I couldn't stop the explosion. I can't control that power in me. Now I can't even use what I have to find Hiro, or save him if he's in trouble!"

"You can't do it this way," Nathan said, patiently. This was again an echo of the past - you can't have ice cream for dinner, you can't watch R rated movies when you're only 10, you can't go through college without settling on a major for longer than two weeks, and Women's Studies does not count, Peter, Christ. "Big deal. We'll find another way."

Peter folded his arms tight, tucking them into the space between his stomach and his thighs. "I'm useless."

This from the guy who might one day have every power in the world.

"Not true," Nathan told him, nowhere near the topic of his brother's superheroic abilities.

Peter swallowed. He looked up at Nathan. "Ma thought so."

Peter had spoken so softly that for a moment Nathan wondered if he'd gotten telepathy.

"How'd - " Nathan started to ask, then dismissed the question as irrelevant. How Peter had found out wasn't nearly as important as knowing that Peter had found out. Sure Nathan could point out that at least their mother had known that Peter would survive the blast, but Claire was right. That wasn't surviving in any way that mattered. Not for either of her sons, least of all the one who'd love the entire world if given half the chance.

"You've got to stay with me, Pete," Nathan said instead. He cupped Peter's face in both his hands, making sure they kept eye contact. "I need you here. I can't do this without you."

Peter gave a wry smile. "Sure you could."

I can't protect you without you, moron. Nathan thought, maybe loud enough for Peter to hear. But that didn't matter in light of seeing his little brother there, looking lost and small, and like his spark of optimism and belief that he could and should run head-first into doing the heroic and stupid thing simply because how could you not save the world when given the opportunity, was in danger of dying out because their mother, who'd been Peter's world for so damn long, had been unconcerned about needing to save him back.

So Nathan kissed Peter.

He drew Peter up out of his ball of misery just enough to get their lips together and kissed him. Strong. Determined. Purposeful. Done quickly not because he was avoiding second thoughts, but because Nathan wanted it accomplished before Peter could read his mind and find out by taking the thoughts rather than having Nathan give them to him.

When they pulled apart Peter was blinking at him. He said nothing. A frown line appeared across his forehead, a silent question mark that Peter waited for Nathan to answer.

"I love you," Nathan said. He didn't mind if Peter read his mind now. At this point it would save time.

"I love you too?" Peter replied. The uptick at the end of his sentence asked if they were speaking the same language.

Nathan shook his head. He stayed silent, letting his thoughts speak for themselves. Nathan didn't know what the hell this whole new world was about, but he knew that he needed his brother in it with him. He needed Pete to be there, he needed Pete to always be thereā€¦ and he needed Pete and his unconditional love to accept how Nathan was now defining the word devotion.

Not agree. Just accept. Understand. Maybe even forgive.

"No." Peter sat up. He put his hands on Nathan's shoulders. "No. There's nothing to forgive, Nathan."

"I just want my cards on the table here," Nathan said. Not because he was going to be honest about everything - Peter didn't need him to be honest about everything. But because he wanted Peter to understand that honesty would be about the important things.

"There's nothing to forgive," Peter repeated. He kissed Nathan back. Not as strongly or for as long as Nathan had kissed him, but just enough that Nathan had the answer he was looking for.

Everything would be okay. At least, between them it would be.

That was all Nathan wanted.

***

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." --George Bernard Shaw
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