Title: Worse than Weather
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Era: Pre-Heroes (hinted post-Season 3)
Rating: K / FRC
Characters: Angela Petrelli, Nathan Petrelli, Peter Petrelli (, Arthur Petrelli, Heidi Petrelli)
Summary: Peter’s life is easy – though that depends on whom you ask.
Written for: Heroes_Contest’s (heroes_contest) One-shot Challenge 9: Autumn
Warnings: Light Season 1 and 3 spoilers.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
Disclaimer: The show, its characters, its places, and everything else, belong to Tim Kring and the other respective creators and owners of ‘Heroes’. I have made no profit by writing this story, and make no claim over the show.
Feedback: The good, the bad, the ugly – as long as it’s fair, keep it coming.
Author’s Notes: English is not my native language, but may that be forgiven. This is also my first story in the Heroes fandom.
About Worse than Weather: My first written (though not the first planned) piece of fiction about Heroes. This is not perhaps the debut I wanted to make, but hey, all’s fair in love and war, right? I hope I interested someone to read this one, and perhaps gave good enough impression that someone will give me a shot in the future as well.
As for the story itself, it started out random, and somewhere in the middle I came up with the main point of the story, after which I actually began to really like it. Nothing new or shiny; just some usual Peter angst, so to speak.
Story and its status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Worse than Weather
Written for Heroes_Contest’s One-shot Challenge 9 (Autumn).
Autumn in New York could be spectacular – or downright miserable.
At the moment, when it had been pouring rain at least a week, Peter was voting for the latter. He tried to see the best in everything, and most of the time he succeeded, but right now he was having difficulties with that.
It was a miracle the streets weren’t floating by now. One couldn’t cross a street without getting their shoes wet, but at the same time, it still wasn’t as bad as it could be. If the rain continued, though, Peter might have to take a boat to school instead of his usual traveling means.
If there were indeed alligators living in the sewers, they must be waiting for their moment with gleaming eyes right now. Not that he really believed that particular urban legend, but it was nice to play with the thought sometimes, and imagine there was indeed a kingdom of reptiles beneath them.
Deep in his thoughts as he was, Peter stopped too close to the edge of the street, and a car that sped by flung a wall of water at him. On a usual day, he might have been wet up to his shins, but now it was a question of his shirt still being dry; his pants and shoes most certainly weren’t.
Groaning, he dared a look up to the sky as if challenging some weather god. If only he had the ability to make a little sun appear in the sky… His day, and plenty of other people’s too, would have been much better.
He had already suffered from a particularly nasty piece of luck today. Last night he had studied for his upcoming exams for so long that he fell asleep on top of his books, and almost missed said exam by sleeping in. He made it though, in yesterday’s clothes and without breakfast. He had stopped by a café when he was done for the day, but his stomach still wasn’t satisfied. It used to be so easy when he still lived with his parents: being late for school, having no clean clothes, and going without food were out of the question.
Yet, he had to remember why he had gotten his own apartment, and these days only went to visit the house of his childhood.
He crossed the street at the green light, cringing at the wet sloshing around each step even though he was already as wet as he could get. The cold water felt nasty nonetheless, and he already looked forward to a warm change of clothes his mother would no doubt force upon him when he got to their place.
Peter entertained the idea of getting a cab, but he had already voted against it earlier – he needed to eat this week too. Besides, he was so wet that he would die of embarrassment upon getting in a cab, even though he could afford to tip the driver for his trouble.
Wet, cold, and miserable, he walked the last couple of blocks, and finally arrived at the familiar doors of his parents’ home. His mother was the one to open the door.
“Oh for God’s sake, Peter! Did you walk here? Don’t you even have an umbrella?” Angela Petrelli demanded as she pulled him onto the nearest thick carpet and closed the door.
Peter didn’t bother explaining to her that he had had an umbrella – until it broke in the latest autumn storm last week. It had been such a wreck after that episode that no amount of tape could save it.
He was ushered out of his coat, shoes, and socks, and then sent up to his old room to shower. Peter knew there were also some of his clothes still there, so he would have something clean and dry to wear. As he passed the living room, he heard a soft murmur of voices coming from in there: Nathan and Heidi were no doubt already there, promptly on time as usual.
Taking two steps at a time on his way upstairs, Peter soon reached his room and shed his clothes that stubbornly tried to cling to his skin. He shivered as he stepped under the spray of water, flinching at the change of temperature but forcing himself to stay in the shower until he felt pleasantly warm again.
As he was putting on a fresh set of clothes, there was a knock at the door and Nathan stepped in. “Hey Pete,” he said, smiling as he always did when he greeted his brother, and came to give Peter a hug. There was also that small kiss on the cheek they shared, such a common thing between them that they hardly noticed it these days. Sometimes, Peter couldn’t help but imagine if there couldn’t be more, and how he would feel about it, but he never entertained that idea for long for fear of it bursting out of his mouth and making Nathan look at him in that amused, disapproving way he sometimes did when Peter didn’t get something he obviously should have.
“Hey Nathan,” he replied softly and went back to buttoning his shirt. The familiar scent of Nathan’s cologne drifted in the room. “How are the kids?” He recalled that Nathan’s sons Simon and Monty weren’t joining them for dinner today, so it would be just the ‘adults’ – although Peter sometimes felt anything but when his father joined them at the table. It was unlikely that Arthur Petrelli would be here tonight, though. It was amazing that Nathan had made it in from his tight DA’s schedule.
“You know, the usual. I’m sure they would have liked to see you,” Nathan said, his eyes running across the room, no doubt recalling something from their youth. Nathan hadn’t spent much time in Peter’s room – not as much as Peter had in Nathan’s, anyway – but perhaps there was something to provoke his memory.
Peter looked at Nathan looking around, then followed the older man’s gaze around the room as well.
“It still smells like you here,” Nathan said suddenly.
“Smells?” Peter asked, grinning.
Nathan just shrugged. He didn’t often make such comments; when Nathan spoke, it was all business, and nothing else. He wasn’t like Peter, going on and on about meaningless things – or at least, what he considered meaningless. Peter liked details, in a different way. Everything had its own purpose in life even though it didn’t have to be a significant one. Nathan never took the time to see that, because his mind wandered down a grander path of things.
“Do you ever wonder… if things could be different?” Peter asked out of the blue. It was something he had been pondering for a while.
“Different?” Nathan asked, looking at him with one finely shaped eyebrow arched.
Peter was bound to shrug again. “Yeah, you know…like…different. This life and us, and what we do, and who we are.”
“Have you been smoking pot again?” Nathan asked softly, coming closer, his forehead almost against Peter’s own as he leaned in, looking into his eyes. His heavy hand was one of comfort on Peter’s shoulder. There was a moment of stretched silence. If Nathan was looking for signs that Peter was high, he was doing it discretely; Peter didn’t think it was about that. Eventually, Nathan pulled away with a ghost of a sigh. “Come on, Ma’s waiting. I’m hungry.”
He didn’t ask if Peter was hungry as he turned towards the door; Peter was always hungry these days, between his tight schedule, studying, too little sleep and tightly stretched amount of money in his hands. He was a bit careless about spending his money still, but when he had none, he had to learn the hard way that something had to change.
Peter followed Nathan downstairs, hugged and kissed Heidi, Nathan’s wife, then his mother again, and took notice of his father’s absence. With an air of relief he sat down at his place, trying to hide the hunger in his eyes when Angela brought the food to the table.
Judging from the smile his mother and brother shared, and the slight shake of heads, it didn’t go unnoticed.
It was close to eight when Peter finally headed home. Nathan and Heidi had left a while ago, their sons waiting. Peter helped his mother clean up, sat down to talk with her for a while, and dreaded the arrival of his father. He needn’t have worried, though, since Arthur hadn’t returned by the time he announced he had to go. He still had some school work to take care of.
Angela offered to get him a cab, but Peter had long since felt like his parents’ money wasn’t his, and he wanted nothing to do with it. So, he kissed her cheek and took his leave.
For the first few blocks, the weather maintained some control over itself, but it didn’t last. Rain began to pour down again, mercilessly, and Peter swore beneath his breath, hurrying his steps. He now wished he had taken his mother up on her offer to pay for his ride home.
As he stopped to wait for the lights to change, he looked up to the sky. Water slid down his skin, hair clinging to his scalp. If only he had the power to control the weather…
With a sigh, he pulled his jacket a bit closer to his body, though it didn’t stop the freezing shudders. He knew he would be running soon, trying to keep warm.
The lights changed and he had to cross a huge puddle of water, which went way beyond the stretch of his stride. If there was something left dry in his shoes, it did not remain so.
If there are worse things than weather, I’m not sure if I’ll live through them, he thought to himself.
In a small alley on the opposite side of the street, a man stood in the shadows, brown eyes following as Peter Petrelli made his way towards home, looking little better than a wet dog, and appearing none too happy about it. In his mind, complaints of his current state and the weather circled around, though not making it to his lips. The usual optimism he carried wasn’t there at the moment.
The man cocked his head, eyes following the younger man. There could have been amusement in his eyes, and there surely was some in his mind, but he didn’t allow it to come forth. He had learned to hold onto his emotions until it was safe to express them, unlike young Peter…
He missed this time. Missed the ease with which he had navigated through life. There had been obstacles, and challenges, but they were something a normal human could deal with. In the next coming few years, things would start to change. The Eclipse would come. The world would change. Peter would change.
One of his hands idly wandered up to his own, shorter hair. Peter’s current long hairdo was like a sign of innocence he still carried. In his older self, though, it had all been stripped away. He didn’t particularly miss it – not the hair – but it made him melancholy to recall this time and this world. Even if it might not seem like it, his life had been rather easy then.
Peter was gone from his sight, and he lifted his eyes towards the sky. Rain kept pouring down, but before it could hit him, the drops kept bouncing off his telekinetic field that kept him sheltered from the water. For a second, he felt detached from the world; he could not feel the rain, or the wind. It was by choice this time, but some things that took place were less like it. He wondered if that’s how Claire felt now that she no longer felt pain. Detached from the world, like some invisible, thin but resilient barrier between herself and the world.
Closing his eyes in concentration, he allowed the shield to drop. Rain fell to his skin and onto his clothes in an instant, and he watched it puddle at his feet. He was invisible, not wanting his past self to see him, and it was odd when there was no reflection in the water either. As if he wasn’t even there. He wondered if Claude ever felt like that, even though he would refuse to admit it: he was there, but no one knew about it, and in the end, how hard was it to lose oneself?
Peter knew it wasn’t very hard. He had lost his own direction more than once since the Eclipse. Lost himself in false hopes and the beliefs and lies of others.
This Peter, past Peter, was still unused to manipulation. He was so soft, and he would still make all those mistakes he had. Going after him now he could stop it all, but would it be worth it? Would he learn anything? A few lives might be saved, but maybe something else would go wrong, too. He had seen that happen.
He slipped down to the street, still invisible, dodging past people, sliding past them. He didn’t want to interfere with their lives by colliding into them. A car sped by him on the street, the tires hitting a pool of water and spraying it his way. Although he now allowed the rain to fall upon him, he didn’t want that, and inches from him the water collided into an invisible wall, falling back. A woman on Peter’s other side gasped, then thankfully kept on walking, although she still didn’t know how the water had just stopped. She didn’t doubt the logic of that, though. It was such a small miracle.
Peter smiled, and kept walking. This New York was such a distant memory to him. All the other versions and possibilities cluttered his mind now, bad memories and vivid dreams. That was one of the reasons he had come back: to see that the world could be like this, no disaster brewing beneath the surface. Just ordinary people with their ordinary problems.
He saw Peter now, walking hastily towards his apartment, wind tugging at his jacket and making him lean forward slightly. Brief curses swam across his mind, making his older self smile and shake his head.
“There are worse things than weather,” he told his younger self in a silent voice that bore the sign of knowledge. The other could not hear it, and it was better that way. Peter would learn, one day. It would cost him his innocence and faith in people, but it would also teach him a lot. In time, he would be stronger.
In time, he could perhaps control the weather, and make the rain stop.