Characters: Angela, Peter
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to NBC, Kring, and others who aren't I.
Author's note: Written for the mission_insane prompt, "Dust Bunnies." This is the fourth part of the Moving series. Many, many, many thanks to thepansythug, oh_mcgee, and bigfiction, because this part was kicking my ass, yo. Like, for serious.
Summary: Peter gets ready to move.
Fear Of the Future
One Step Closer
What had been closing in around Peter only a week ago now seemed gigantic; all of the restlessness that had seemed to be slowly consuming him was now being packed into cardboard boxes and stacked up to one side of his soon-to-be former bedroom. Every picture, every piece of clothing, every memento from his past was wrapped up and labeled for transport to his new home.
Upon taping up the last box, Peter was mildly surprised that it had only taken him roughly two days to transform his room into something that was almost foreign to him; it was as if he had never truly occupied it for nearly nineteen years. The transition itself had been almost unnervingly simple; despite his less-than-remarkable housekeeping skills, there hadn’t been much to do after Peter had stored away his clothes and thrown out anything that would just take up space.
All that was left to do was vacuum the wide expanse of carpet before hefting his possessions down to the main floor so that they’d be ready for the trip to his new place of residence; Nathan had cleared his schedule for the following day in order to help him move—his father had remained aloof, which was typical of him, but his mother had been oddly distant as well, providing noncommittal responses to every attempt Peter made to discuss his future plans with her.
At first, Peter had more or less understood, realizing that he’d sprung his plans on her suddenly, but he was becoming increasingly aggravated, wanting his mother to express some form of emotion; disapproval, anxiety, anything that wasn’t the removed figure she’d become as of late. She’d left hints of her disappointment, however, such as placing a catalogue for drapes, furniture, and general home improvement near one of the comic books Peter had left on the coffee table.
Peter sighed and went downstairs to get the vacuum, griping over the tactics employed by his family to make a point—from passive aggression to direct threats, the Petrellis knew how to be heard. Whatever his mother’s problem was, she would never explain herself to Peter directly. He found himself unsure of just what it was his mother wanted from him, as she had never held herself so apart from him before; she’d given her husband and Nathan the silent treatment, but she’d always come close to smothering her youngest son, despite her insistence that he grow up.
Peter dragged the vacuum upstairs to the bedroom and closed the door behind him, wanting to close himself off from the enigma that was his family by immersing himself in cleaning the floor.
The task took longer than it should have; part of him seemed to want to drag it out, giving him as much time as possible to remain in what had been his home for nearly nineteen years. He moved his dresser to the other side of the room, then pushed the vacuum alongside the newly exposed carpet, sucking up every last trace of his presence with each clump of dust and debris that had collected there.
When all of the dust bunnies were gone, the room appeared impersonal, almost cold. Peter scanned the bare walls, spotting tiny holes where he’d hung posters and pictures. He began to back up slowly, taking in every last inch of his old room even as it seemed to be telling him to leave; his nostalgia was no longer welcome—he didn’t belong there anymore. A wave of claustrophobia surged through Peter, and he grasped the doorknob, glancing one more time at paint, wood, and plaster that no longer wanted to have any part in his memories, before opening the door and slipping out into the hallway.
Peter closed the door behind him quickly, feeling as if the unwelcoming atmosphere would seep out of his bedroom and spread throughout the rest of the house. He trudged downstairs to the kitchen in order to get a glass of water, tired and thirsty after preparing for the move; he was thankful that he didn’t have to move the boxes downstairs until the following day, when Nathan could help him stuff everything into the car. His brother planned to arrive at seven so that, after several trips, they’d at least have everything in Peter’s apartment by ten. After that, he and Nathan could spend their time unpacking.
A small, sly grin tugged at the corner of Peter’s mouth as his mind focused on the more pleasurable idea of several hours alone with Nathan, who also seemed to be the only person who supported the idea of him getting a life of his own. He hadn’t seen his brother outside of family functions in over a month, so it would be nice to have that luxury again for an entire day.
He reached the kitchen and filled up a glass with water, then grabbed an apple and walked out to the living room, flopping down onto the couch that he had made up into a bed for the night; his own bed had been dissembled and boxed away, and the mattress and box spring were currently propped up against the wall inside his room. He grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, his spirits continuing to lift as he watched sitcom reruns on daytime programming while thinking about having Nathan all to himself, with no chance of any interruptions.
Around six o’clock, the front door opened and Peter muted the TV, getting up off the couch to see who had come home. He peered out of the living room, watching his mother navigate her way toward the stairs. “Mom?” he called out softly, finding himself suddenly nervous again.
Angela turned around, her hand braced on the staircase’s railing. “Yes, Peter?”
“Are you…” Peter’s voice cracked slightly and he cleared his throat, frustrated with his hesitancy to approach his mother. “Are you angry?” he asked, slouching forward a little as he tried to look like anything but a little boy struggling for his mommy’s approval. “About the move?”
Mrs. Petrelli raised an eyebrow at her son. “Make sure you go to bed early tonight.” Her tone was reserved, her expression giving away nothing toward her state of mind. “You don’t want to keep your brother waiting.” She reached out and patted Peter’s cheek, almost hard enough to sting, then ascended the stairs, her heels clicking sharply.
Peter flinched as he watched his mother disappear from view, each step she took sending an uncomfortable jolt down his spine. He slumped against the wall and ran a hand over his face, scratching the stubble on his chin as he sighed in resignation, knowing that his mother wouldn’t accept his decision to move out for awhile. He studied his socked foot for awhile in silence, then squared his shoulders in determination, refusing to regret his attempt to be more independent, even if he did have to push aside the nagging pit of guilt settling in his gut.
Pushing himself away from the wall, Peter retrieved his brand new set of keys, intending to head out to his apartment so he could have some time alone in a place that was entirely his own, even if Nathan was paying the rent. He contemplated leaving behind a note for his parents, then decided against it, his jaw clenching as a small wave of anger briefly surged through him, then shook his hair out of his eyes and exited the house, leaving his negativity with it.