Title: No Such Thing
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Era: Some undefined future
Genre: Supernatural, drama, AU
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Claire Bennet, Noah Bennet, Nathan Petrelli, Peter Petrelli (, Simone Deveaux, Isaac Mendez, Matt Parkman, Angela Petrelli, Mohinder Suresh, Sylar)
Summary: Encountering the wrong kind of creature makes Peter’s life harder than he thought possible.
Written for: Heroes_Contest’s (heroes_contest) One-shot Challenge 14: Midnight
Warnings: Violence/pain, death/murder, gore, language, supernatural events, physical transformation. Very mild sexual content and incest (you’ll see it if you squint - hard).
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire) (Thank you so much for this girl! Such a short time for you to work on it, and still you did beautifully.)
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. Any and all supernatural aspects I have added to the story, and which don’t originally belong to the world of ‘Heroes’, are based on no actual facts.
Feedback: I would love to know your opinion, so send it coming.
About No Such Thing: Started as a random piece of writing I began to work on one weekend. A plan was formed during the next few days to write a daring little story with some extra supernatural spicing. Afterwards finished for Heroes_Contest (heroes_contest) since the theme fit the challenge.
This story has been plagued by plenty of misfortune: writer’s block after starting it, then two broken computers (within two days of each other). If that scares you, read no further ;)
Story and 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.
No Such Thing
Written for Heroes_Contest’s One-shot Challenge 14 (Midnight).
The pain wouldn’t stop. It went on and on, tearing at his insides, making him feel as if his skin was two sizes too small. His vision was blurring, making him stumble, and his nose stung with every inhale, adding to the sensation that reminded him of exploding. The taste of blood was in his mouth, but there was no actual blood yet; he had checked with his fingers earlier, and there had been nothing red stuck on them.
“Come on, Pete,” came Nathan’s voice, urgent and hushed.
Focus on Nathan, Peter told himself, and he stumbled along with his brother’s arm around his chest making the pain just a little bit worse, but then, Peter didn’t think he could take one more step without Nathan holding him.
“Just a bit further,” Nathan urged.
Peter could barely feel his feet. One of his hands was holding onto Nathan’s shoulder, the other fisted against his own stomach, draped over his brother’s arm that held him up. Peter wondered briefly why they weren’t flying, but he distantly recalled Nathan telling him that if he couldn’t hold onto him, they couldn’t take off…
“Just a bit further, Pete,” Nathan encouraged. It felt as if he had been saying the same thing over and over for what seemed like forever. Peter wanted to believe him, but they had been walking for so long; why weren’t they already there? Did Nathan even know where they were going?
They had left the car miles ago where the small road ended in the middle of the woods; the road that was miles away from the highway where Peter’s pains had first started – or so he recalled; he was in so much agony now that it was hard to think.
While they struggled on – Peter stumbling and Nathan dragging him along – it was getting darker. It was harder to tell the trees apart from the space around them. The bushes kept jumping at them out of nowhere. Every root and obstacle on the ground seemed to roll towards Peter, making it difficult to keep up with Nathan. Had Peter still been a superstitious child, he may have thought the roots were trying to drag him somewhere.
His panicked mind jumped at the thought, and he tightened his hand over Nathan’s forearm.
“Ouch, Pete!” Nathan shouted in pain, and when the older man stumbled, Peter almost landed face first in the dirt. As it was, he only made it to his knees, his other hand holding onto Nathan’s shoulder, dragging the other downwards. “Pete,” Nathan said again, grabbing at him, pulling him up almost violently. “Up. Get up. We have to move.”
“Hurts,” Peter managed. His throat burned, and that’s why he hadn’t talked since they left the car, but he wanted Nathan to know he didn’t do this just to make things more difficult; even breathing was hurting by now. The sickening iron scent of blood was the only thing he could smell, making him hesitate with each inhale, but he needed air so he couldn’t just stop breathing.
“I know, buddy. Just a bit further,” Nathan encouraged, pulling him bodily along. Peter wondered if it was him, or was Nathan shaking? His voice had lost some of the determination that had been there all night.
Peter tried to focus on walking. His knees buckled though, and he couldn’t control them. His shoulder hit a tree, making him grunt in pain, but still Nathan dragged him forward. Think, Peter urged himself. Where are we? What time is it? They were in the woods somewhere. He didn’t know more than that because Nathan had been driving while Peter whimpered in the backseat in pain… Time. What is the time? he tried, urging himself to focus. He couldn’t lose consciousness.
Something was dripping down his chin, wet and slightly warmer than his skin, although he felt as if he was burning up with fever. He could taste the blood in his mouth now, and his… teeth hurt. Like when his wisdom teeth had appeared, making his entire jaw throb.
Time. Think of time. What time is it? It had been close to nightfall when they left the highway. So, maybe it was close to midnight now. Peter wasn’t sure, and he didn’t think he could ask Nathan who had enough trouble half-carrying him to look at his watch.
“Almost there, Pete. Just hang on,” Nathan encouraged him.
Peter wondered if that was how they talked to young soldiers in war when it was certain they were all going to die.
“You’re gonna make it, Peter.”
Peter knew he hadn’t said anything, and Nathan couldn’t read his mind, so perhaps Nathan was just trying to find courage himself. Because Peter sure as hell felt as if he was dying.
“Just a little more,” Nathan gasped, and suddenly they went downhill. Peter stumbled and fell, rolling down. When he finally stopped, he could feel dry sticks and decaying leaves against his skin. He heard Nathan coming down, his feet falling heavy, and then there was a muffled thump and Nathan collided into him. Peter peered at him, finding that they were both on the ground.
Nathan’s hand came to brush Peter’s hair off his face, his fingers trembling. Peter just looked at him in the dark, the moon blocked by the trees. Nathan’s eyes flashed as he gazed around, and then he got up again, dirt falling off him. “I think we’re close, Pete. Just hang on. It will be all right. It’s gonna be…” He walked away, and Peter could hear him kicking leaves somewhere behind him. He wanted to turn and see, to help, but his chest was on fire, and he couldn’t properly feel his fingers. His skin felt so tight, as if something wanted to get out, and he could hear his own breathing, ragged and strained.
There was a clang of metal, and a muted cry of relief from Nathan. After a moment he came back, feet dragging in the leaves. “Come on, Pete. Just a bit further.”
It was funny, because Peter couldn’t have lifted himself had his life depended on it. Nathan dragged him forward a few feet, and then suddenly the ground was replaced by stone, and Peter’s feet were jostled against steps as Nathan pulled him down. It was even damper and darker in there than it had been outside. Peter already felt like he was suffocating so it didn’t make much of a difference. The floor was wet beneath his hands when Nathan lowered him down to it.
“It’s gonna be all right,” his brother chanted into his ear, words shaking, his hand combing through Peter’s hair.
Peter wanted to nod, but his body suddenly convulsed. He cried out despite the pain in his throat. His insides felt as if someone had exploded a frag inside him. He tried to claw at Nathan, but he could no longer feel him beside him. “Nathan?” he whispered painfully, and coughed madly as something liquid was caught in his throat.
There were steps, disappearing into the distance, then a clang of metal and the room got even darker. Peter could no longer feel the draft from the night air outside. “Nathan!” he shouted, trying to get up. He managed to get onto his knees and turn his head. It was pitch black around him. All he could smell was blood, and it was making him sick. “Nathan!” he shouted again, and his voice echoed in the darkness.
Suddenly he realized something: he was alone. Nathan was gone. He had left him here.
Panic seized him, mixing with fear briefly before it was washed away by pain. Peter clawed at the floor, feeling the grains of sand beneath his fingernails. He tried crawling to the stairs and back through the door they must have come in, but the pain just got worse, tearing at his head, his skin… his stomach was on fire, and the next time Peter screamed, he had no words to describe the pain.
The State of Wisconsin
Nathan turned the map in his hands, frowning. “Are you sure we’re in the right place, Pete?” he asked.
Peter, leaning on the wall of a building that looked just as unkempt as the street next to them, was unconcerned. “You’re the one with the map,” he noted.
“You were the one giving directions.”
Peter grinned and pushed away from the wall. The air was kind of cool, yet fresh: vast forests opened up all around them, and while Peter found it quite refreshing, Nathan didn’t look as pleased. “You would rather be in New York?” he needlessly guessed.
“You bet. Let’s just get this over with,” Nathan said tensely, folding the map back to his pocket.
“Hey, you agreed to come with me, so don’t start that now.”
“I know, Pete. I’m not quite demented yet, so I remember promising you, in exact words –”
“Great,” Peter grinned, and set off down the street. They had flown all night, and he could use a cup of coffee before they set out. He headed out towards a diner on the other side of the road. Trucks were parked in front of it, none of them shining like most cars you could see parked outside restaurants in the Big Apple.
“I assumed they would be riding horses…” Nathan muttered. He was cranky, Peter could tell, but he had agreed to come without a fight, which meant it was all about impatience.
They went inside, ordered some coffee and a late breakfast, then sat down. The locals gave them a couple of looks, but Peter knew none of them could have seen them soaring down from the sky, so he guessed it was just curiosity.
“So, where are we going to start?” Nathan asked once they got their food and drinks.
“We’ll have to wait until sundown. No one’s seen this thing in daylight,” Peter explained, taking a hasty big bite of his sandwich. In his life, he had learned that you never got a break when you really needed it, so he’d better eat fast just in case.
“You referring to it as ‘this thing’ doesn’t really make me any less convinced that this is just some drunken story,” Nathan muttered.
“I tell you, Nathan, if it’s hairy, almost beast-like but standing on two feet, and a lot of people have seen it, it’s got to be one of us,” Peter said. “I just don’t know if it’s a he or a she, so…” He shrugged. Of all the powers they had encountered, he had never seen anything animal-like – if one didn’t count Suresh’s brief episode with scales. He was excited to meet this person, and see what the power was really about.
“Next I suppose we’re going to hunt down Bigfoot and ask if he’s one of us too,” Nathan groused, then busied himself with his food. Peter didn’t remember when they had last eaten. Probably before leaving New York, which was yesterday. Flying unnoticed took time and precautions, so they had been forced to make sure they didn’t collide with any airplanes, or were seen by people on the ground.
“There’s this thing called lycanthropy,” Peter went on after he had finished his sandwich without interruptions, and was enjoying his coffee. “It could be something like that; a man turning into a beast, or at least half way.”
“Or then it’s a werewolf,” Nathan suggested. “You said this thing has been spotted around the time of the full moon. Why couldn’t we just let Ghostbusters handle this?”
“Because their number was out of service,” Peter cracked back at his brother. “And werewolves are lycanthropes, Nathan; they’re basically the same thing. Besides, our powers are tied to the eclipse, one way or another. Better not forget that. It could be that certain other powers are triggered by something else.”
Nathan nodded, and they finished their drinks, after which Nathan ordered them a refill. “Long time until nightfall,” the older Petrelli mused.
“We’ll have to get closer to where it’s been seen, but you’re right: we have time,” Peter agreed. He drummed his fingers on his cup restlessly, wondering what they were going to find. As far as he knew, no one had been killed by this thing – if you didn’t count some mutilated cattle near by – and it gave him hope. Perhaps it was just one of the special people, afraid of their ability, not knowing where it had come from or what to do with it.