|Primary Characters:||Peter, Nathan|
|Spoilers:||Yes. Season 1, including the finale.|
|Description:||Nathan flies around looking for Peter, hoping that he’s been able to heal himself. When he finds him, it turns out Peter is as happy to see Nathan as he is to see his brother.|
Until the very last second, Nathan didn’t know if he was going to hold on and wait for the end, or let go. In any case, Peter made the decision for him. He placed his smoldering hands on his brother’s shoulders and pushed. Nathan made a frantic grab for Peter, but he’d been flying at such speed it was useless. Peter became a fast vanishing speck, that fell, fell, fell.
Nathan whirled along for another ten miles or more, before he was able to stop and turn around. By that time, the detonation had already occurred. The air felt hot and for miles around, smoke billowed up, making Nathan’s vision virtually zero.
He tried to estimate where he’d been forced to let go of Peter, but everything looked pretty much the same up there. It was hard to find any landmarks, especially since he hadn’t been keeping his eyes on the ground.
His eyes itched and teared, and deep inside, he felt a gaping emptiness. Ever since the moment Peter had been born, he’d held a special place in his heart. If Peter was gone, Nathan knew that no one and nothing would be able to fill it. Certainly not his mother. Not even his wife and sons, or his political career.
At the moment, he felt strangely detached from the election and his inauguration. He didn’t know if there would be any point in continuing his search, but he wasn’t going to quit, not for anything. Finding Peter was the only thought in his mind.
To begin with, he flew erratically back and forth, too disoriented to think of a plan for his searches. It wasn’t until he was too tired to stay in the air, that he slowed down and began to look for a place to land. Even then, he only allowed himself snatches of rest, before he soared up again, single-mindedly intent on finding his brother.
He had no perception of the passage of time, and soon the hunger pangs receded and it was only his dry throat that reminded him to take a sip of water now and then. The air contained particles of rain and when he was nowhere near any other source of water he stuck out his tongue and sucked in, what wasn’t quite rain drops, but also not quite hail or snow flakes.
The effort of flying so far, and for so long was beginning to wear him out and he realized he coudn’t keep it up for much longer without getting some proper sleep and some food. A few times, he was jolted out of his determination, when he suddenly plummeted, dropping like a rock.
Before that last day, he’d wished a thousand times to be rid of his affliction, but right now, it was all that made it possible for him to search for Peter. The thought of losing his ability to fly frightened him so badly, he found a cliff ledge and cowered there until sunrise. He couldn’t find anything to eat, and there wasn’t any water either, so he just forced himself on, through sheer force of will.
By now, he didn’t really think he’d find Peter. He’d known that all along, really, but hadn’t wanted to face that possibility. Despite that, he renewed his efforts, and kept on flying stubbornly. His mind had cleared enough to make up a plan. He made a mental image of a board and tried to partition it into smaller squares, which he then tried to cover, yard by yard.
Towards the evening of what he thought might be the third day, he finally caught sight of something out of the ordinary. It looked like a crater left by a meteor – or – the site of an explosion. The grass was scorched in what was roughly a circle, perhaps the size of a football field. It was hard to tell at this altitude.
He flew in for a closer look. The last rays of the sun lit up the burned patch. Fortunately, the ground was rather flat so it wasn’t that hard to survey it.
Nathan’s eyes were irresistibly drawn to the center of the field. He had an idea that it would be here if anywhere, that he might find his brother. By now, he was close enough to discern objects of the size of a large boulder, but since the light was going, it was getting harder, not easier to see.
He had to get closer still. Land. If he approached on foot, he might – Something caught his attention and he made a circle in the air, to slow down and pull to a stop. Standing hovering in the air, he strained his eyes to make out the vaguely oblong shape, lying roughly at the center of the burned patch.
He was painfully aware that the similarity with a human form might easily be due to wishful thinking. Slowly, he lowered himself towards the spot. What was lying there wasn’t black like the surrounding ground. It seemed to have a much lighter color. It stood out as white with a tinge of pink, against the blackened soil.
His breath caught in his throat as he stared at the figure. It looked like a – No, it was a man. Naked. Normally, Nathan would have retreated without calling attention to himself, if this had been a hobo or even a hiker with eccentric habits. At the moment, he had no thought for anything other than finding out who the man was and if he was alive.
He landed heavily, but was able to stay on his feet, despite the numbing fatigue. Impatient with his own weakness, he walked the last few paces and looked down on the body. It was so dark, he had to get really close to be able to tell who it was.
That face – it looked so familiar – In his desperation, Nathan kneeled before the immobile form, stretched out in a way that almost looked comfortable.
He barely recognized his own voice, it was so hoarse and it came out as little more than a whisper. After coughing a few times, he tried again. No reaction.
His initial excitement was fading. Perhaps Peter really was dead this time. There was no telling if Peter’s power could help him regenerate even after an explosion of this magnitude. But he looked so whole and uninjured.
Nathan reached out a hand and let his fingers brush the sleeping man’s cheek. He felt stubble and warm skin, at least as warm as could be expected, after lying outdoors for an indeterminate time without clothes. When he placed his fingers on the man’s lips, he felt him draw breath.
Dizzy with relief, it was a while until Nathan recovered enough to try to wake Peter.
When he came to, he didn’t remember the explosion. Mercifully, there were some stretches of time that were a blank in his mind. What he did recall was a buildup of energy, terror as he’d never known it before, heat, burning heat and pain, even if it wasn’t nearly as bad as he might have expected.
He knew he’d pushed Nathan away, so at least he’d been alone when it happened. The first thing he did recall was lying on his back in a field, blackened and scorched as if a forest fire had raged there recently. It was still hot, but not burning hot, and it seemed to be cooling fast.
If he assumed that the explosion had occurred in mid-air, he was hoping that the fallout would have drifted away from populated areas. He also gave his own body a passing thought. What if he, like poor Ted, would be radioactive, from now on? If so, he couldn’t have anything to do with other people anymore. Especially not Nathan and Claire and –
He frowned as he tried to recall who was still left. As far as he knew, Sylar had failed to kill Claire. Nathan had been with him until the end, but what about the others? He couldn’t guess. In any case, he was exhausted, perhaps a side effect of regenerating so extensively.
If he hadn’t been so tired, he would have wondered more about things like old scars. Would they still be there or had his body regenerated as it had been before he’d sustained those injuries?
Instead, he found himself drifting off to sleep. He was only going to rest for a while, then he’d see about getting in touch with his family.
Someone was saying his name, softly at first, then slightly louder. He tried to open his eyes, but they felt so heavy.
When he felt fingers brushing his cheek, then moving to his mouth, he struggled harder to come awake. After a while, he managed to open his eyes.
Nathan was on his knees only half a pace or so away. At first, Peter didn’t even remember that there were reasons he was reluctant to meet his brother. It felt so good, just seeing him there, so close by.
Nathan closed the distance between them and scooped Peter up into his arms and held him. Despite everything, Peter had to blink to clear his sight. A jubilant feeling filled him up and made him want to laugh out loud.
It was over. The danger was averted and he was safe. But there was something about Nathan – or about himself – something he couldn’t at the moment recall. He gave up the effort and clung to his brother, in a way he hadn’t done since he was eight years old and had fallen off a porch roof and broken his wrist. Nathan, who normally wasn’t so demonstrative with his feelings, certainly not at that age, had picked him up and held him.
Peter closed his eyes and buried his face at Nathan’s shoulder.
Nathan was overcome with emotion. He kept repeating Peter’s name over and over again, burying his nose in Peter’s hair.
He’d found him. Everything else would work out now. Somehow. He’d find Claire and make it all up to her. Linderman could just take his job offer and shove it. There had been no explosion. He and Peter had saved millions of people’s lives. No one had any right to demand more.
Nathan hardly noticed how his lips sought out Peter’s. He deepened the kiss and began to stroke Peter’s shoulders and back, allowing his hands to stray further down. It was a while until he caught himself, prepared to pull back. Peter would have no idea of how he felt about him. Besides, even if he did – how could he understand this unnatural attraction he had for his own brother?
But though Peter tensed up, he didn’t try to pull away.
When he felt Nathan’s mouth cover his own, he froze. That was what he hadn’t been able to remember. That night – what Nathan had done – He thought he’d made his brother forget his attraction for him, but apparently, he hadn’t, any more than he had been able to erase his own memory of that night.
For a few seconds, Peter’s mind was a blank. If he’d done something right, Nathan wouldn’t have the power to make him submit. He would be able to disentangle himself and pull away. But somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to do that. He didn’t know if it was a side effect of the shock, or if there had been a tiny part of him that had wanted Nathan too. Whatever the reason, he found himself returning the kiss.
No one had ever cared about them, not like they cared about each other. Not their parents, perhaps not even Simone. This, was no one else’s business but their own. Their powers set them apart from other people. It hadn’t been their choice, but it was a fact. They were truly alone.
Peter knew what they were doing was wrong, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. All he knew was that nothing would be able to keep him and Nathan apart again.
Right at the very end, only Nathan had been there for him, even if Claire had been willing to do her part. It was brave of her, but she didn’t know him like Nathan did. Nathan had been prepared to die with him. That made a difference.
From now on, he wouldn’t keep anything back. It might have been Nathan’s idea from the start, but he realized he wanted this as much as his brother did.
Peter’s reaction took Nathan by surprise, but he soon gave up questioning his luck. This didn’t concern anyone but him and Peter. Nothing would ever come between them again.