Characters/Pairings: Nathan Petrelli, Angela Petrelli
Warnings: Mentions of past character death, drunkenness
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to Tim Kring, NBC, et al.
A/N: Written for nbc_las for the prompt: [character] finds a mysterious package
Summary: Someone out there wants Nathan to remember.
Nathan hefted the thick, sealed packet with slightly shaking hand. The address on the strange package was written with a precise and exacting hand. The spiky cursive lettering unquestionably came from his mother’s pen, but why? Even if he were spending his days slowly destroying himself with drink and despair, she would have come over to his apartment to deliver anything personal. At the very least, Ma would hope it would shake him out of his drunken apathy.
Nathan shook his head, feeling the cheap whiskey sloshing around in his brain. He could never follow the serpentine twists of his mother’s mind when he’d been sober and suspicious, let alone as the wreck he was now. He clumsily broke the seal and pulled out a packet of papers.
He’d expected something she’d tried before, photographs of the halcyon days, of summer in the Hamptons with his family. Pictures of Peter and him fishing in their father’s boat. Of his arm around Heidi at a beach party, with Simon and Monty running around underfoot. Things to make him want to throw out his bottles and pay off his bar tabs.
Those memories were pure and unsullied things, a gleam of perfection he could never hope to obtain again in his lifetime.
But instead the packet was stuffed with pictures drawn in marker and cards written in crayon, some in a childish scrawl, others in practiced copperplate.
Get well Daddy! We love you Daddy!
Nathan, I’m praying for you. Love, Heidi.
All the cards that had been on his bedside table at the hospital, when he’d been trying to recover from his horrific burns. Before he’d been the recipient of an unspecified miracle that had healed him, but let him realize that his brother was probably dead. Before he’d sunk into abject despair at not being able to have saved his baby brother and crawled into a bottle to mourn. Before Heidi had divorced him and taken the kids away from his self-destructive behavior.
Get well Daddy! We love you!
Nathan kicked a half-empty bottle against the nearest wall and collapsed into the closest chair, clutching the cards to his chest. He fumbled for the phone and typed in Ma’s number, pressing it to his head as it rang again and again.
His mother had answered the phone herself. Not always a good sign. “Ma, why the hell did you send me the cards?” Nathan demanded, managing to sound something like the firm lawyer he’d been and not a drunk on the edge of tears.
“What cards?” she asked sharply. “Nathan, it’s three in the morning.”
God, he hadn’t even looked at the time. It didn’t stop him though. Why couldn’t she just let him mourn in peace and not keep trying to drag him out of the pit? “The cards from the hospital, Ma. I got the package today. Why, Ma? Why the hell would you remind me of that?”
There was a moment of blessed silence where his mother didn’t immediately launch into one of her lectures or prim speeches before she finally found something to say. Her words sobered Nathan up immediately.
“I never sent you those cards, Nathan. You didn’t take them with you, and Heidi certainly didn’t want them.”
Nathan looked at the package again, squinting at it to be certain of his address.
“It’s your handwriting on it!” he snapped. He was in no mood for his mother’s games.
“Nathan, dear, you’ve made your choices very clear. If I had something to say to you, I’d do it in person,” she said, her voice sharp.
“Then who?” he demanded.
“Perhaps someone else who wants to send you a message. Now, go back to sleep, dear.” There was a decisive click, and then the dial tone filled Nathan’s ear. He stopped himself from throwing the phone across the room and just sagged back in his chair, holding the packet of cards to his chest.
He looked at it again, wondering who had wanted him to break out of this self-imposed nightmare more than his mother. The list was distressingly short. And whoever it was, he or she still believed in him. At least someone in this world still did.
Get well Daddy. We love you