Title: Fragile Mind
Author: Always An Angel
Summary: Peter's POV about himself, his family, and…well you'll have to read it
Spoilers: Anything up to and including The Invisible Thread
Warnings: some mature language, one mention of sex, mental issues
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Peter reclined in a plush chair in Nathan's Senatorial office as his mother and brother talked. He had no interest in their conversation. He had no interest in anything they said lately. Peter had finally acknowledged that they were not the good people that he had always told himself they were. His mother was a scheming liar and his brother cared about little else besides his political status. And most importantly, they frequently treated him like shit. For years they used, abused, and lied to him and took advantage of his empathetic nature and his unfailing love for them. Sure, Peter had always had a little voice in the back of his head telling him what they were really like, but he had always pushed it away. He told himself that they didn't do horrible things, that they loved him, and that they didn't mean to hurt him. He had been so naïve.
Peter held in a sigh. It had taken a long time for him to accept that reality. Even after everything they had done Peter still lived in the land of denial for some time. When things finally settled after his weeks on the run from government lackeys led by his brother he had immediately separated himself from everyone. He needed time to think. He needed to clear his head. And being around his family was not good for his mental health. He had been able to acknowledge that much.
As the weeks of isolation continued, however, he began to understand many horrible truths about his family and about himself. His mother, who claimed he was her favorite, played him and many others like pieces in a chess game. His happiness wasn't important to her and he knew deep down that after he killed his father he became expendable in her eyes.
And his brother…Well, that was something else entirely. In some ways, Peter had always been and always will be the most important person in Nathan's life. Peter was the only person that Nathan loved unconditionally. But it was a tainted love. It wasn't the pure, simple love that brothers usually had for each other. It was possessive. Nathan always tried to control Peter, to own him. To Nathan he was the only one who could protect Peter, who could love him right and that entitled him to being allowed to hurt Peter. (Oh, and he did hurt him, often, leaving so many emotional scars on Peter that he could no longer count them.) No one else was allowed to hurt Peter, and Nathan would go to great lengths to make sure of that. But in the end, Nathan would always put himself first.
These realizations had hurt more than anything Peter experienced and he knew the old Peter would have crumbled from the weight of it. But Peter was a changed man. He had become hardened, jaded and distrustful. He had simply been through too much. Claude had been right. The world is a horrible place and people suck, every last one of them. And his so-called family was some of the worst of them.
He still loved them, though. And he recognized that they loved him in their screwed up way. They weren't completely bad people. They were trying to make amends, at least Nathan was. Didn't he deserve another chance? Even with all the unethical things Nathan had done and all the ways he had hurt Peter, he was still Peter's big brother. He was still the man who let Peter win games, who held Peter after nightmares, who rearranged his schedule so Peter could have a happy birthday. He was still the man who protected Peter from the bad things in the world and stepped in when their father tried to take out his frustration on him.
Peter forcefully pushed away those thoughts. He took some deep breaths and tried to bury the empath again. It was a ritual he practiced often lately. Peter would always be an empath, nothing could change that. But he was beginning to learn how to turn off his natural empathic reactions. For once, he needed to put himself first. If he didn't he was sure it wouldn't be long before he had a mental breakdown from neglecting his own emotions. Plus, Peter had learned the hard way that most people didn't deserve his empathy and he was easily hurt and taken advantage of. It would never happen again.
Peter strengthened the mental walls around the empath and let the jaded man he had become have full control. He settled back in the chair. What the Hell was he doing here? Oh, that's right, he was trying to get them off his back. He had ignored them for weeks. It was a clear signal he wanted to be left alone. He wanted nothing to do with them. Maybe, once his mind stopped being an uncontrollable storm of conflicting emotions and intense memories he could order it enough to reconnect with his family. But not yet. He wasn't close to being ready. Even when he became ready it would not be the connection they had before his life had gone to hell. Peter would never again be able to trust either of them with his heart.
Unfortunately, his mother and brother just didn't seem to realize that. They persisted with the calls and eventually he gave in just to get them off his back.
"Are you listening, Peter?" What? He didn't realize he was supposed to be a part of the conversation. Not that it would matter if he had. He'd still ignore them.
"Of course not." He smirked at their astonished expressions. What did they expect from him? Were they really that oblivious that they thought they still had his undivided attention? Couldn't they see he just didn't care anymore?
"Peter! This is important!" His mother had the nerve to scold him.
"Not to me. God, can't you two get a clue? I don't care. I don't care about anything you have to say and I don't care about either of you. I'm sick and tired of your bullshit. And I'm done with you treating me like I'm not worth anymore than gum under your shoe. I am not going to let you take advantage of me anymore. And after everything that happened if you thought I would then you are more naïve than I ever was. You two are some of the most horrible people I have ever met and it's time I start to treat you as such." The only expression on Peter's face was a small, cruel smile. His eyes held no emotion. He learned that from his future counterpart. He learned that expressing emotions made a person vulnerable and true feelings had to be buried deep inside.
"Peter-" Peter continued before either one could get a word in.
"Honestly, I'm better off without you. I want nothing to do with you." It wasn't completely true, but they had to think it was. They had to think he hated them and that he would never forgive them. He needed space. He needed time. He needed to be away so he wouldn't go completely crazy. Well, more crazy than he already was.
"Pete, how can you say these things? We love you." Nathan's voice broke a little and Peter felt a small amount of triumph run through him. He had really hurt Nathan with his little speech. Good. The bastard deserved it. Still, his heart was breaking. No matter how much he hated them, he still loved them just as much…especially Nathan. But he needed to be separate from them and he needed them to understand how they had hurt him.
"I have better things to do with my time, like my job, or…" Peter made sure to lock his eyes on Nathan as he finished, "I could teleport to the future and fuck my future self. That would be a fantastic experience."
"Peter!" His mother and brother shouted together, both their voices scandalized. Peter had to laugh.
"You're being overly dramatic, Peter."Nathan had taken a deep breath and attempted to gain the upper ground again. Peter rolled his eyes.
"I don't think so. I'm out of here." Peter took a deep breath to gather himself and push away the hurt look on his brother's face. Then, he stood, stared at his mother and brother defiantly, turned, and began to walk out of the office.
"You get back here, Peter. We need to…" But Nathan cut himself off before he could finish his sentence. Unwillingly, Peter turned around to see what distracted his brother. Nathan Petrelli was not someone who simply stopped talking mid-sentence. Every word was always well thought out, even in the heat of a moment.
"Nathan? What is it?" Their mother questioned Nathan as he moved towards the cabinet.
"It's just this clock…it is running 14 seconds fast." Nathan pulled out the clock, opened the back and began to fix it. Peter had frozen in place. He was quiet for a few moments before he let out a short, disbelieving laugh.
"You're joking, right? I can't believe you have the nerve to do that in front of me! I had the ability too, remember?"
"Pete, what are you…" But Nathan didn't get to finish. Peter's adrenaline had already been pumping from the fight and he rushed over before Nathan or Angela could make a move. He grasped Nathan's shoulders hard and concentrated, reading his ability.
On the surface was flight, like it should be, but as Peter pushed further he read more. There was telekinesis, shapeshifting, electric manipulation, regenerative healing and dozens more, all held together by intuitive aptitude. Peter let out a horrified gasp as his suspicions were confirmed, but did not let go.
"Let go of me, Pete! You're hurting me!"
The voice barely registered in his mind. He only had a split second to decide what to do. Peter dug his fingers in deeper and concentrated on activating his ability to absorb. But this time he wasn't just copying an ability. This time the empath in him could have no place in what he was to do. Peter gathered all his negative emotions and focused on pulling the abilities from the man in front of him. He would take them like his father once took his powers. It was a despicable act, a horrible violation, but he had no choice. He had this one chance to destroy the monster who killed so many—who killed his brother, for good. A bright light flowed out of the man and he screamed in pain. Peter gritted his teeth at the overwhelming absorption of abilities, but did not stop. The man continued to scream and Peter closed his eyes and ears, shutting himself off from what sounded like his brother in agony.
The process only took seconds to complete, but it felt like an eternity. The man dropped from his arms as he shifted back into Sylar.
"What did you do to me, Peter? I feel like I've been drained!" Sylar cried out. Although, the voice and face was Sylar, the tone and inflection was all Nathan. Peter briefly wondered why the bastard would keep up the act. Then, the memories came. Noah, his mother, Matt…fuck, how could they? He quickly discarded the questions and telekinetically opened a drawer in Nathan's desk. A gun flew into his hands and in less time than it took to blink Peter took aim at the monster's head and pulled the trigger.
His mother screamed. People rushed in. Confused words were shouted. Peter heard none of it. His mind stayed blanked for a few moments. Then, he began to laugh. It was loud and hysterical, sounding like a crazed person, but that didn't even register in Peter's mind. The monster was dead. He wouldn't be able to heal. Peter stole that ability and all the others. He could feel them flowing through him. All that power…
His laughter continued. The bastard was finally gone. He had killed Sylar. Sylar had killed Nathan. His powers were back. He knew instinctively that he would be able to absorb more without losing the ones he just ripped from the man in front of him. The dead man. The dead monster. Dead from being shot in the head. From Peter shooting him. Just like he shot his father. Sylar would never be able to terrorize again. But murdering the monster had murdered what was left of his brother too.
Suddenly, the hysterical laughter turned into tears. He slid to the floor as uncontrollable sobs were ripped from him. What just happened? How did it happen? How did he not realize his brother was Sylar? How could Nathan be dead? Why didn't he feel Nathan die? Why didn't Peter save him? And Peter had just killed what was left of him. Peter had killed his brother again. He killed his father, he killed Sylar, he killed his brother twice! No, three times! It shouldn't be so shocking. Death had always followed him. Simone, Ricky, Caitlin, himself, for fuck's sake. Almost blowing up New York, almost releasing a virus that would wipe out most of the population. How could this be his life?
His brother was dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. His brother was dead. Never coming back.
Peter didn't bother trying to stop the tears. He pulled himself up even as he continued to sob, ran to the window and flew away.
He never returned.