2007-05-12: An Unexpected Confidante

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Coming across a despondent Elena in Central Park, Heidi gives a willing ear, which encourages the young woman to do what she hasn't done in years….actually confide in somebody. Life with Nathan and Heidi's boys are discussed, and the real reason why Elena hasn't been answering Peter's persistent phone calls.

Date It Happened: May 12, 2007

An Unexpected Confidante


Central Park, New York City

The strains of 'Binary Sunset' from the Star Wars soundtrack can be heard in her hand, Elena's dark eyes glancing down at the LCD display that denoted the identity of the person trying to reach her from the other end:

Caller ID: Skywalker

He was calling again.

Closing her fingers over the cherry-red phone, she sighs, leaning back against the backrest of the park bench and looking up at the sky. Speaking of binary sunsets, the one sinking above her head was splashing its trademarked colors over the horizon. Spring was here, and thankfully it was getting a little warmer now than it had been in the first few months of 2008. Expelling a breath, she slouches down further on her seat, her eyes fixed on little kids running around and around the park with their dogs.

She was sulking.

She hated to admit it but that was what she was doing.

She pulls her knitted cap lower on her head, and leans forward, linking her fingers together. Her hand turns the phone over in her hand again to look at the display. It's stopped ringing a few minutes ago. The digital note for 'One Missed Call' flashes on the screen. She sighs again, and lowers her head further. There had been a time where she always answered the phone when that number rang, anticipating something important. Dressed today in a black, slim-fitting jacket, dark blue jeans, boots, there's a cup of coffee next to her and resting against the side of her bag. She's busy toying with the phone, practically visualizing the hurt and remorseful expression on the other side.

"Ugh," she mutters, rubbing her face with one hand.

It started as a walk in the park as she tried to tell herself that what happened to her isn't going to happen again. That's always how it starts, though - a trip to the store, an outing to the zoo… As the sun started to set, Heidi's walk became a run - a slow one. Despite the fact that Linderman healed her back, her legs aren't quite what they used to be. That's okay, though… She'll train, better herself. Eventually figure out how to kick someone's ass - in self-defense, of course. That's a long way off, sure, but it all starts with getting herself home before it's too dark.

It's one of the rare times anyone will see Heidi in clothing that doesn't look even vaguely presentable. A grey t-shirt - possibly one of Nathan's - and black track pants, combines with tried and true running shoes to complete her outfit. It's comfortable and practical, and a simple eleastic band keeps her hair out of her face.

Y— yeah. She shouldn't have pushed herself. Walk would have been better. Or friends. Friends next time. Yeah, so she can walk and at least feel safe. Also pepper spray. Anyway, by some bizzare twist of Heroes-like fate, Elena happens to be in the park at the exact same time, and so Heidi can safely give up on her run without actually giving up, because it would be rude to run by the other girl without stopping to say hi. Besides, Elena's nice to talk to.

The jogging ceases, legs still feeling as if they're not quite on solid ground, as Heidi diverts slowly over to the bench where Elena's sitting. She… doesn't look particularly happy, which prompts the question, "Is something wrong?"

She's still toying with the phone, when Heidi's voice startles her. Elena jerks upwards, and in her surprise, the phone bounces up and around her hands as she tries to grab onto it before it clatters onto the ground. "Sorry, sorry," she says, finally looking up the track pants and the oversided gray shirt to see the familiar, Christmas-lights eyes of Heidi Petrelli. She blinks, and blinks. So she doesn't look like her usual, Park Avenue chic self but the blue irises were unmistakeable. "…..Heidi?" Of course it's Heidi, you dork! You don't know anyone else with eyes like those!

The inquiry sinks in, and she glances down at the phone again, before putting it in her pocket. "…sort of," she says. "I mean, I'm not depressed or anything, I'm just….I just hate how the last forty-eight hours played out is all." She glances down at her fingers. Part of her wants to say it's okay, smile, ask how Heidi's doing and leave it at that. She wouldn't be able to rel— oh wait. Yes she could. In fact she's the only -other one- who could relate to what happened to her who could actually -remember- what happened to her.

But that can wait. She looks up at Heidi again and tries the faintest of smiles. And the young Gomez looks -exhausted-. There are circles around her eyes, indicating lack of sleep. Still pretty, but exhausted. "You look better than the last time I saw you. How are you feeling?" she asks softly, pushing her bag off the bench and tucking it between her legs so she could give Heidi some room to join her on the bench.

Oops. "Sorry!" Heidi says at just about the same time Elena does. Everyone seems to be jumpy. She should have been more careful! Doesn't seem like there's any long-lasting harm done, though. "Didn't… mean to sneak up on you." She takes a moment to catch her breath, which takes a few seconds - at least until she can get a decent amount of air.

Elena's surprise is confusing, which causes the older woman to give her a weird look, eyes narrowed, smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She's not going to run in heels and a dress, is she? That'd be silly. Besides, she wouldn't get to wear her awesome Nike running shoes. Or— walking, as the case was when she left.

/They have purple swooshes./

Elena's response is similarly unexpected, though Heidi takes in in stride, sitting down when Elena moves her bag. One leg is raised, foot resting on the edge of the bench, arms wrapped around her knee. And that's when she realises she has absolutely no idea what to say, because Elena's so much younger than she is, and— Oh, bother it. As she gives up on trying to figure out why age should matter, she asks somewhat awkwardly, "What happened?" Then, silence, before she answers Elena's question.

"I don't know how I'm feeling," she answers honestly. "Like I'm nervous all the time? Other than that, not too bad. Nothing hurts, the kids don't know anything."

"I like your shoes," Elena says, a faint smile tugging on her lips. Why? Because they have PURPLE SWOOSHES, and purple swooshes are awesome. She -was- pretty young after all and she preferred color to blacks and grays. She leans back against her part of the bench, and watches the children play for a while. Her fingers fold, and unfold…but she likes Heidi's straightforwardness. It was one thing she had in common with the older woman, if they were curious about something, they just -asked-. No subtleties. No looking away. No playing coy. She just asked. So instead, she lets out a humorless laugh. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you," she says to Heidi, glancing over at the woman.

"….okay, actually, you might," she murmurs, that hint of a self-deprecating smile still there. But she blinks at what she says last. "….you haven't figured out how to bring it up to your sons yet? I can't blame you….it's not exactly something you can bring up casually, you know?"

She debates, watching the dogs run through the park for a moment, finally, she hangs her head - and starts on the story. She tells Heidi the story right from the beginning. Helping Elle's injured self. Elle somehow getting the wrong idea about her and Peter. Elle luring her into her car and tazering her with her powers before kidnapping her. Being handcuffed. Being electrocuted. Forced to lay still while Elle threatened another friend with -her- death if she didn't do what she said and call Peter over to -explain himself-. Her having to use her powers to knock her out and get free. Everything. All this sounds hollow now, unfolding from a certain nightmare.

A long bout of silence follows, and then she speaks up softly. "Part of me blames myself," she confesseses. "I was so….self-absorbed over my own safety that….I didn't think about what it would look like, you know? I know if I had a boyfriend, and he kept knowing some girl from me, I'd think something's up too, you know? At the same time…we're all not exactly -normal-. And just….doing -that- to someone you barely know isn't normal either. I just…"

Heidi glances downward at her sneakers and smirks. "Thanks. They haven't failed me yet," she laughs, tapping the toes where the material is just starting to seriously discolour. She usually wears them when she's doing something like walking, or running, or even going to the store if she's in a casual mood. Also, she doesn't have the heart to get new ones, because no one has purple anymore. It's a tragedy.

At the insinuation that she wouldn't believe Elena, Heidi laughs. "You know, I don't think I can disbelieve anything anymore." Her voice quiets automatically, as if just the offhand mention of Weird Stuff would attract attention. And… seriously, it might. She's already been going over all the abilities people might have, ranging from the silly to the awesome, and she's absolutely certain someone must be able to hear her from halfway across the world. Then again, Heidi reasons, someone who could hear her wouldn't be someone she'd have to hide the Secret from. They'd probably already know. "I've put some serious consideration into it. Every time I think of some way to say it, though, I always wonder if they can keep it a secret. It's not just Nathan… It'd be you, Pete, everyone who's been in contact with me. I trust them. I do. But if t accidentally slips out— I went over a decade without knowing, and it was important to Nathan. I just hate to think what would happen if Monty… I don't know. Got into an argument in school about who's dad is cooler."

Nathan would win.

Follows next a very long silence from Heidi as she listens, face passive (Except for appropriately inserted expressions of surprise or horror, depending) despite the fact that she's actually concerned over the fact that she'd just previously invited Elle into her house. The lightning scared her, though she played it off, when she /should/ have been scared. This isn't about Heidi, though, not tonight. Maybe she can eventually voice her own fears, but not now.

One hand reaches, placed on Elena's shoulder. Heidi gives a gentle squeeze before pulling her arm back to drape around her knee again. Taking the powers out, and the… kidnapping thing… It— Okay, it doesn't sound like any sort of high school rivalry at all, to be perfectly honest. It's dangerous.

Besides, previously, Heidi had no idea that Elena could hurt people with her ability. This - oddly enough to the blue-eyed woman - doesn't seem to faze her as much as it should. It's Elle that makes her uneasy. "You can't blame yourself if you didn't do anything wrong," she says. "Trust me. I went through that myself. You just can't— it's not worth it." Looking from her knee to Elena, brows drawing downward, Heidi has to admit to herself that she has no idea how to handle a fight where one girl can throw lightning, and the other can snap someone's brain just by thinking of it. She's used to Simon and Monty /MAYBE/ throwing mud at each other /at worst./ True politician's sons, those two.

"You feel guilty that she would think that, but you shouldn't. Think of all the people who do trust you, Elena." Pause. "That said, are you okay? If you need to go to the hospital, we can make something up easily." Except for the fact that Heidi is a terribly liar. Between the two of them, they should be able to come up with something. "I wish I could do something. I feel — " Helpless. "Like I should be able to do something."

She listens intently to what Heidi says about her boys, and Elena nods. "I think…it might be a good idea to wait, if Mr. Petrelli is concerned about it getting out," she says simply. "Wait until an age where they could understand. From what I saw, I've not…actually met one of our own who discovered their…..thing…." They were in public after all. "Younger than 13. I'm not discounting that they're out there though, it's just that….Peter told me recently he was a late bloomer. He didn't start showing until last year, which wasn't that long ago. I don't know when Mr. Petrelli discovered his, but…if they're all late bloomers, chances are Simon and Monty would be too. So I think you guys are okay waiting. I know it sounds flimsy, but you'll be surprised at how many children after they get older discover how much they look like their parents at their age seeing old photographs in the attic, or how surprised they are when they find out they had their growth spurts around the same ages as their parents did growing up. Since this is genetic, there's a great chance that it'll be the same."

The gesture of comfort is welcomed, and when Heidi tells her that she has nothing to worry about, that she shouldn't feel bad, she looks down. "I know…" she says. "I mean, what right did she have, right? I mean, she could've just got right to my face and asked me. I'm not exactly afraid of confrontations, so long as guns aren't involved. And I would've told her the truth, it's just….she's ….not the type to believe….something when you tell her, when she's made up her mind." In other words, she was nuts.

At the last, she nods, and she gives Heidi a smile. "I'm okay," she says. "I'm just tired. I…have a friend who's qualified into diagnosing me, she took care of me last night. Physically I'm fine. Deep down….in a way it was kind of embarassing. I'm not the sort of person who— you know. Would do that. By all rights I -shouldn't- be generous…but I can't help it." She curls her fingers loosely over her lap. "I'm just gonna stay away from Peter for a while is all. So she could at least get her head straight about who he's actually with. I….don't exactly relish the idea of making things harder for him than they already are."

Excuse Heidi while she laughs immaturely at the description of Peter being a 'late bloomer.' It's okay, she's family! And she also catches herself quickly. Unfortunately, she's been kind of digging for humour lately, and imagines that some of the things she's finding absolutely hilarious are inappropriate. It seems like it to /her,/ anyway. Quietly, she offers a 'sorry' so she can get herself back on topic. "Simon's almost nine. Monty'll be seven. Nathan said he was in his twenties." It's hard to imagine him not having enough control over the ability to not fly out of the car while he was driving, but she trusts him. She has to, because she can't fathom him ever doing something like that on purpose. "I— hope you're not offended," she adds. "I hope they don't have to go through this. I know… it's a possibility. I don't think anything less of you, or Nathan or Peter. I know they could handle it, but…" Pause. "Unless they want to," she adds somewhat offhandedly. "I mean, Simon wanted to grow up to be a gorilla when he was four. I just want for them what they want for themselves."

Now seems like an appropriate time to bring up Elle's visit. "She came to my house the other day to drop something off for Nathan. To be honest, she seemed nice enough. A little weird, but everyone's got their quirks." The older woman makes a face - Elle still rubbed her the wrong way at times. Talking about marrying Peter, referring to things that mattered as if they /didn't./ It was vaguely disturbing. She was right to be on guard. "No one has the right to hurt someone else. Not unless it's self-defense."

It doesn't seem fair for someone to have to change just because of a misunderstanding. A stupid confrontation that could have been resolved with words. Women are jealous creatures - even Heidi had a few issues back when she was Elena's age. She wasn't hurt for it, though, neither did anyone hurt /her./ "No, you— " she starts, closes her eyes, then nods. It's probably for the best. "At least let me tell Peter for you." She points to Elena's phone. "I heard it ringing when I was coming up to you. If I know Peter, he's worried. He reminds me of Piglet. You know, from Winnie the Pooh." She won't tell Elena that she actually refers to Peter as Piglet, though. It goes hand-in-hand with Nathan's nickname, but she knows the boys have their pride.

"Oh no, no it's okay," Elena says hurriedly when Heidi apologizes for the laugh, or if she was offended. She shakes her head. "I'm glad I can still make people laugh even…you know. With the dark cloud over my head and the sullen face." She finds it in her to grin at the older woman. "And no, to be honest….I hope they don't either, even if in this age they'll probably think it's pretty cool." Her grin can't help but broaden at the last. "But….it can get pretty hard. I mean I know some people just want to be normal. Hiding a part of yourself from a world that has a centuries-long history of fearing and persecuting things they don't understand can be pretty tiring sometimes. Having to watch yourself all the time. I'm sure Mr. Petrelli feels that too, a little." She can't help but chuckle. "Maybe that's why he looks so serious all the time."

When Heidi brings up Elle's visit, she carefully turns her head in a brief gesture of pretending that a group of dogs haranguing a lone, halpless dog walker has managed to catch her interest for the time being. Elle. She isn't aware of her fingers clenching tightly into a fist, until she -becomes- aware of it and so relaxes her hold. "I'm glad she was….obliging towards you at least. I don't think she'd do anything since you're Peter's sister-in-law," she says. But her eyes say it all: best be careful. At least the older woman knows this side of Elle now. "I'm sure though that….she just takes a little getting used to. Peter loves her for a reason, right?" she says softly, clinging onto the perhaps-girlish naive thought that Peter knows what he's doing.

When Heidi points out the phone, Elena colors a little bit. She rubs her fingertip absently on the LCD display on her phone. "That's around the third time he's called," she says, guilt seeping into her tone as well as a good chunk of uncertainty. "I don't know what to say to him to be honest. I don't know if I'll even be able to look him in the eye after that. We're just -friends-, we never…he's not the type to do something like what was suggested and neither am I. Like I said…it's kind of embarassing in a way. Humiliating even." She looks over at Heidi when she offers to say something to him, and she hesitates. Part of her believes it was best if she just fell off his radar for a while. Part of her believes it was best if he fell off hers for a bit. But that would leave Heidi in the middle, and she knew that was an uncomfortable position to be in. So she nods slowly. "Yeah, I guess letting him know I'm okay from you won't be so bad," she says. It's harmless, at least. "See? No holes."

"Well, just— " She chuckles again. "I've known Peter since he was really young. I mean, him and Nathan are /years apart./ Sometimes it's hard to believe they're— " Brothers. Shaking her head, Heidi tries to clear the smile again, though she can't help adding, "I used to tease him. A lot. I was terrible."

She still does. He's weird.

And for that reason, the smile is gone as soon as Elena admits her hope that Peter must love Elle for a reason. She can't comment on Peter. Won't. Especially when it comes to his private life… Though she does intend to say something about Elle if she can manage to bring it up in conversation. Sometimes he thinks too much with his heart, though, and she can't stop it. No one can, but then again, that kind of describes Peter. He'll learn his lessons if he needs to, and Heidi and Nathan will be there to catch him if he needs a safety net. "Yeah, I'm sure. Everything'll turn out okay."

She's a little naive, yes.

She's also starting to get cold as she cools down from her run. it's been a few minutes since Heidi sat down. The other leg comes up, and she wraps her arm around that one, too. "Means he cares about you." Elena's probably figured out by now that Peter wears his emotions for the world to see. And while Heidi has experience in things like this, she's not really sure it's a good idea to patronize Elena by saying that she's young, and one day none of this will matter. It stings /now./ Just like it still hurts that Heidi herself was kidnapped, that she found out about Nathan's ability in a dire situation, and that her entire worldview was previously one hundred percent /wrong./ "I'll tell him," she says. Then, "D'you want to take your mind off of it for a bit?"

She pauses, and she laughs suddenly, as if Heidi reminded her of something - and she did. "I was wondering about that actually," Elena says, turning around to grin over at the older Petrelli. "About why the age difference was so gigantic between them. Then again, Mr. Petrelli….the dead one…" She winces a little bit at that. But she can't find any other way to describe Arthur Petrelli! "Their father. He sounded pretty busy. Really busy. From what Peter described him. We didn't really talk about him much, but….he mentioned he did a lot of things." Though at Heidi's reassurance, that everything was going to be okay, she nods. "Yeah…I know."

She looks up at the sky and smiles somewhat ruefully. "Somehow."

When Heidi says what she does, she fixes her eyes directly forward. "I think in the end that'll only get him in trouble," she says, at that, though she doesn't explain what she means. But she shakes her head, and the last suggestion, she finds, is a welcome one. She suddenly jumps off the bench, exhibiting some of her old energy. "I've been trying, but I think it was actually a lot better for me to tell someone the whole story. I was so….embarassed about the circumstances, you know?"

She looks over at Heidi and she grins, and points across the park. "Wanna go see a movie?" she asks. "There's a couple of good ones out. And then we can get something sweet after, and then I'll walk you to where you need to go, if you don't mind me stopping now and then to goggle at things I can't afford."

Heidi remembers teenaged Peter. He was so cute, and now he's so grown up. (And saving the world. But she doesn't quite know /that/ yet. Not entirely, anyway.) Chuckling, she shakes her head. "I don't know," she states, glossing over the comment about 'the dead one.' She wasn't too close with Nathan's father, though she did like him all right, and it was terrible when he died. "He was busy, but he cared about his family." At least Heidi can say that with certainty.

If everything's going to be okay, Peter's sister-in-law is still going to worry about him. Sometimes she feels like that's all she can do. Despite the fact that she tries to trust his judgement - just like she trusts Nathan - Heidi's aware of the issues, and she's scared for him. Still, there's no reason to worry Elena. All she can do is nod.

'Somehow' is right.

Before she's able to question Elena's next statement, the other girl is on her feet. Heidi's a little slower to rise, because she's just been running, and her legs are protesting. Especially her knees. Honestly, she doesn't mind that one bit though, because at least she can /feel her legs./ That's so awesome, no one has any idea. "I'm glad you told me. Really. And if you ever need to talk again, I'm sure we'll run into each other. And failing that, you've got my number."

Despite the fact that Heidi looks like she's been running, and kind of isn't at her best, her first reaction is to say "Yeah, definitely." She could use a night at the movies, away from the kids, doing something for herself. "I'll have to call Nathan, though. Believe it or not, he does worry."

"I'm sure he did. Despite everything I've…heard, I think he genuinely did care about everyone in his family," Elena says, sliding her hands in her pockets and picking up her bag, slinging it over her shoulder. Taking a deep breath and stretching her arms over her head, she pops a couple of vertebrae, and turns sideways to wait for Heidi to get up and stretch on her own. She looks a little more cheerful now than she did earlier, however. Maybe unloading really was just something she needed. As open as she seems, she was usually the person people unloaded -to-, not the other way around. Out of everyone she knew, she didn't expect it to be Heidi.

"Thanks for listening to me," Elena says simply, rubbing the back of her neck. "I have a lot of friends but….I honestly don't do this too often." She pauses. "Mama was usually my sounding board, when she was alive. After she died, I can't help but think I got a little stunted in…..you know. Being able to talk about how I really feel about something. I'm more comfortable being the listener instead of the listenee but…." She laughs. "I guess it was too much today."

She takes a step next to the woman, and loops her arm around hers in a companionable fashion. Her palm rests on her forearm, and she relieves a little bit of the fatigue from her bones, taking away just some of the tell-tale aches she could detect. This was how she practices these days, to get better at her control. It could save her life one day, and others.

When she mentions calling Nathan, she smiles. "Okay," she says. "And I know he does." She looks up at the sky. "When I first actually got to talk to him before we went off to go after you, I think this was honestly the first time I saw him not poker-faced. He really was worried about you. He was short with everybody, and he was tight around the shoulders. And he didn't even wait for us when he took off once we found out your location."

"He was a good man," Heidi says of Arthur. Of course, she doesn't know the half of it, honestly, but he was, at least, a decent human being from what she knows.

The older woman offers a smile. It's pretty easy to see the difference between Elena twenty minutes ago and Elena now, and Heidi's glad she was able to help, even if it was just sitting on a bench and listening for a few minutes. At least that's something she's good at - something she can do to help people. To be honest, she didn't really expect to kindle a friendship with Elena, either, but some things just work out how they're supposed to.

"Elena— " Heidi has to pause as her knee pops. Ow. "Talk if you need to, okay? Even if it's not me. Just— What I went through, I'd go crazy if I didn't talk about it. So if you need to, go to someone. I can't imagine anyone refusing to listen to you." She's so nice, but Heidi doesn't add that part. It's understood.

And… she wouldn't have a clue what Elena just did if she didn't /know./ Which makes sense. Still, Heidi offers an accusing glance at Elena, allowing the contact with a smile, before stating, "You're a /show off./" Good-natured teasing. Really. At least she'll be able to walk without wanting to curl up and rest the whole way.

Reaching back, she pulls her hair out of the ponytail with her free hand, and runs her fingers through it. She honestly can't believe she's going out in public in running clothes, but - hey, what's the harm. Elena's description of Nathan kind of draws a smile from the blue-eyed woman as she bumps Elena's shoulder. "Yeah. He doesn't get like that too often. Makes the whole thing worthwhile when he does, though." Oh, she knows he cares. Its just… sometimes, he doesn't seem to realise how to show it.

"So, anything good out? All I hear about is cartoons. Something about Pixar…"

It wasn't her style to brood, or sulk. Elena was a happy creature by nature, and seeing her so sullen and broody just didn't fit the sort of face she had. But when Heidi tells her what she does, and seriously at that, she pauses from a step and looks at her. Finally, she smiles. "….I promise," she says. And she'll keep it. "Like I said….I guess after she died, I was a little….I'm still coping with it. It wasn't long ago when we lost her. I took it to be a sign that I ought to be looking after myself now, even with what goes on with me internally. But…..no man's an island and all. Or woman."

At the accusing glance, Elena lets out another laugh. Heidi's on a roll. "I'm sorry!" she says with a broad grin. "It's just that….I don't get a lot of opportunities to practice until recently, and…to be honest I never liked seeing anyone have a hard time with anything." She looks a little sheepish. "I have a feeling that played a huge part in developing….you know. This. And hey, you wanted to walk!" she protests. "So let's."

She bumps her shoulder back gently to Heidi, inclining her head at her and giving her a wink. "Worth waiting for?" she asks rhetorically. And when she mentions the Pixar film, she nods enthusiastically and gently steers Heidi to the right direction with her as they go. "Oh yeah! I heard it was really good, they outdid themselves this time…"

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