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Holding Onto Flight

Title: Holding Onto Flight
Author: jaune_chat
Character: Peter Petrelli
Rating: PG
Warnings: Mentions of violence and weapons
Spoilers: Up through 3x15 “Trust and Blood”
Word Count: 698
Summary: Peter wants to keep flying, even at a cost.

Peter stared at the wall of the cheap motel room, waiting to hear Matt start tossing and turning in his bad dreams, for Mohinder to drop off in an exhausted stupor. None of them were sleeping well, Peter least of all. He held himself rigid, counting to one hundred, before finally moving off of the floor and slipping out of the room.

He didn’t hear any outcry behind him as he shut the door, and he heaved a sigh of gratitude. Mohinder was sleeping like a nervous cat and Matt like a trauma victim; they needed what wretched moments of rest they could get.

Peter walked to the edge of the balcony; coat wrapped tightly around his shoulders, carefully keeping his face in shadow so no passersby might recognize him. He waited until the streets below were clear of traffic, checked one more time for anyone watching, and then flung himself skyward. It was only the second day since the crash, but this had already become a ritual; flying through the darkness, reveling in the speed and absolute freedom for a while, before cold, hard reality could set in on the ground.

In the sky, Peter soared over the ocean, letting the brisk salt air try to dry the sticky tears pouring down his cheeks. He couldn’t let himself cry in front of Matt and Mohinder. Matt had suffered an abrupt and painful loss, and Mohinder was so screwed up that Peter didn’t even know where to begin. He didn’t want to burden either of them with his own sorrows.

Did they realize how much it cost him to not touch? He’d told them he needed Nathan’s flight to play messenger and scout, and they hadn’t questioned that. He’d figured out that he could hold back from absorbing a different power if he tried, if he didn’t accidentally touch skin, but it was best not to take chances. It hurt not to be able to able to comfort his companions in their misery. He couldn’t offer an embrace, touch someone’s arm to emphasize or soothe, clap someone on the shoulder to offer sympathy, or even offer a helping hand. He was used to helping, he'd gone into hospice care to offer that helping hand even to the dying, and it killed him to not be able to do all he could for his friends now.

Tomorrow night they were supposed to go after Noah Bennet, and while having both him and Matt invading Bennet’s mind might be easier than using the sedative Peter was going to have to obtain, Peter didn’t want to let go of flight. Let Matt and Mohinder think it was because Matt was more experienced at using his power, or because Peter needed flight in case of emergencies, but Peter couldn’t give it up, not now. It was all he had of Nathan, and unless things changed drastically, that would be all he had of him for a long time.

Nathan’s betrayal of him, of everyone, hurt far worse than the lingering bruises from the crash, cutting him so deeply that flying at supersonic speeds was the only way to outrun the pain. He’d last touched his brother with a gun in his hand and an arm wrapped around Nathan’s neck, hissing in his ear all his anger even as Nathan’s men prepared to kill him. But in the dark nights since, Peter grieved for him. The brother he’d loved and worshiped was gone, washed away in the slipstream, and there seemed to be nothing left but a manipulative façade.

But Peter wouldn’t let go of flight. He knew that sometime soon he might have to, but he couldn’t right now. He had to believe this could be fixed somehow, that if they could just learn enough, work hard enough, be enough, Nathan and his hunters would back down and see things didn’t have to be this way. Somehow, someway, there had to be a way through this, a way for them all to be free. If only he could fly there…

If only.

Below him the ocean swelled with the new salt of his tears, and Peter turned to fly back to reality.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
crashgirl82
Mar. 5th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
Oh, Peter. This is what I exactly felt might be why Peter held onto the flight ability for so long, and you put it into words. My heart breaks for him here. mems.
jaune_chat
Mar. 5th, 2009 08:09 am (UTC)
I'm so very glad you liked it. From everything they've shown us with Nathan and Peter's relationship, and Peter's new empathy, there had to be so many reasons Peter held flight for so long. He speaks to me, I only transcribe it.
moonmaiden34
Mar. 5th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
this makes my soul sad. if it wasnt so beautiful i think i would really be distressed right now. that last if only is heart wrenching.. so sad in such a beautiful way.
jaune_chat
Mar. 5th, 2009 08:10 am (UTC)
Thank you for commenting. Peter does bring the most beautiful sorrow to the fandom.
phoenixgfawkes
Mar. 5th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
What a fantastic, spot-on and heart-breaking characterization of Peter. Of course it would kill him not to be able to touch anyone, to offer comfort, when once it came so easily to him, when there was a time when his connection to other people was what defined him. It would be a good way to explain why Peter's been so detached these last couple of episodes, it shows how everything he's been going through lately (especially Nathan's betrayal, the wound that cuts the deepest) is taking its toll on him.
jaune_chat
Mar. 5th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
Character-driven introspection, that's my thing in a nutshell. We know Peter is a very passionate character, and he's practically turning in on himself to deal with the current situation without getting himself killed too badly. I just want to hug him, ya know? Thank you so much reviewing!
brighteyed_jill
Mar. 5th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, puppy! This was beautiful! The idea of Peter holding onto flight because it's all he has left of his brother is very poignant. And I like the reference to Peter's (canon) proclivity for physical closeness and intimacy of all kinds (not just the smex). He likes his snuggles, damnit! This was lovely: He’d last touched his brother with a gun in his hand and an arm wrapped around Nathan’s neck, hissing in his ear all his anger even as Nathan’s men prepared to kill him. I also liked the way you captured Peter's wistfulness, a remnant of a quickly disappearing innocence: f only he could fly there…

Well done, sissy-poo!
jaune_chat
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so very glad you liked it! Yes, I can write non-smex canon when I feel like it, I really can. This whole story came about when I was writing the commentary for "Cold Wars" and I wrote the phrase that Peter was "holding onto flight." The title dropped, and then the rest of the story fell naturally into place from that.

And Peter does seem to be losing what shreds of innocence he had, and it's really sad to see. I just want to give the lad a hug!
miss_miso
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
Oh, this was lovely, and very sad. Beautiful job!
jaune_chat
Mar. 7th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! Peter can be so tragic when things go against him and I wanted to write that.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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