2008-02-06: Back On Her Feet

Starring:

Logan_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi decides to work within the world she finds herself in.

Date It Happened: February 6th, 2008

Back On Her Feet


Rooftop

Boots crunch on the gravel atop the hotel where Heidi's been staying. She leans against the building's self-serving water tower while the heater thunders away nearby. A smoke stack billows white clouds into the already overcast night sky. It's damn cold. Wrapped in a long coat, arms crossed over her chest, Heidi looks out over the city. Ten floors up… A person could take a pretty good fall from up here easily, and with the seclusion, with no one knowing she's here, she could very well end up dead herself, but it's a chance she has to take.

Around the walls surrounding the perimeter are little drifts of snow that hasn't been able to melt for all the shadow masking it. Digging the toe of her boot into the pile, she scatters it, grinding it into the rock beneath her feet as she waits. The call she placed earlier left no reason for this audience, only that he should come alone.

It'll be the first time she's seen him since the accident, and she's certainly not unchanged. It's clear in her face - the expression, certainly, but also the series of gashes that remains healed over, and yet perfectly visible, down one side of her face. In some ways, it's strengthened her resolve. In others, it's caused her to give up. She can only hope that this meeting changes something.

Heidi doesn't have to wait too long after their set time. Logan doesn't bother with the stairs or elevators available within the chosen building - he doesn't have to. The only sound of his arrival is the breeze his body creates, cutting through the air, and the soft, gravelly sound of feet landing gently on the icy rooftop, formerly billowing long coat coming to settle. He's wearing a suit under it, as if he'd just come from somewhere important, although his tie has been abandoned, crisp white shirt open at the collar.

"Nice to see you back on your feet," he says, when Heidi goes to turn to him. His gaze dances over the scarring on her face, and there's no victory in his expression when he notes it. Grim satisfaction. Also resolve. Not everyone on this rooftop would take to such a sight well. "And in, relatively speaking, one piece."

She's not used to the sound, but she's sensitive to it enough that she knows it's not just a leaf in the wind flying around, especially when she hears the feet touch down on the roof. She's almost through being surprised by things, besides— it's time to do what she came here to do.

Defeated would be the best description for the look on her face. Maybe it was more hardened before, but now, the spark is gone as she looks over him. Perhaps she really has just given up; indeed, somewhere in her mind, she knows she wants to. It'd be so easy to just hide away from all of this, stay in the hotel where no one can find her, and wait for it all to go away.

Maybe she's been crying.

"I'm done fighting," she says. Arms still crossed to ward off the cold, Heidi closes her eyes. "You proved your point. I can't— I can't lose you, though. Let me work with you." Make him stronger. Show the world he still has his wife on his side. Make him happy. All that is implied.

There's a distance between them, and so far, it's maintained, several feet of concrete and slush stretching between them. Stale mate, or a Mexican stand off. Logan's chin lifts a little at what comes out of her mouth, certainly not expecting it by any stretch of the imagination. Being a powerful man is good for him, it seems - he's lost the gauntness Nathan still carried after he'd been sick, he's clean shaven, hair now ruffled from the wind although that, too, suits him. And despite what he considers to be the courting of Niki Sanders, he wears his wedding ring.

He takes a step forward.

"It's not a bad decision, Heidi," Logan says, voice gentle, although there is a sense of victory he's masking. He did make his point. The scars on her face remain to prove it. There's no stopping him, not someone capable of what he can do. "Wherever I'm going, I'd only want you by my side."

Heidi doesn't step back, but she doesn't step toward him, either. It's for the kids, for her own future, the creeping need for self-preservation that's been crawling up her spine every time she realises that, somehow, she made it out of this without a broken back. It's what she's telling herself in this moment, what she has to believe. Simon and Monty need their father. Heidi needs not Nathan, but Logan. It's written all over her face, plainly, and by the way her eyes look up from the ground, she's completely lucid when she accepts this truth. No drugs, no alcohol. Sometimes…

"Believe me, it wouldn't be my first choice," she says quietly, just loud enough to be heard over the rumble of the heater. She does a half turn away from him, though, again, she doesn't step away. She can learn to love this man - she can. She has to. "Peter… healed me. Came to the hospital and fixed everything he could. I'm still sore." Finally, she uncrosses her arms. One of them is still in a cast, the other is merely bandaged. Almost immediately, they withdraw back against her chest, her lips press together, and she sniffles.

"I miss you, though, and I can't go through that again. You know why we're here? You know why I'm meeting you here? I couldn't get inside a car to see you elsewhere."

He steps lightly and quietly, the thinner coating of ice over the surface of the concrete cracking almost inaudibly underfoot. A hand goes out, now, to settle genly on her shoulder - it's cold from the flight over, and at this range, Heidi will be able to see the ice crystals between the threads of his coat, sparkling in the dim light. It was a cold journey, but iciness suits this man.

Still, his voice holds an attempt at warmth. "I don't plan to put you through something like that again," Logan says, as if this were reassuring. "But I had to show you… nothing was gonna change. I've saved you a lot of heartache and wishful thinking, Heidi."

A considering pause, and then he adds, "I can take care of you."

"You tried to kill me," she manages, though her voice is flat, emotionless. He did try, and he almost succeeded. She can remember - vaguely - the sight of the defibrillator. It was a bad accident, and it was only by the grace of God she survived.

No, not God. There's a deity, sure, but it only pleasures in dangling hope on a little string, before tugging it away again.

Blue eyes look toward him when he nears, and she doesn't flinch at the touch. She almost thought she would… Knowing this man, knowing who he is and what he's done, she's still strong enough not to show him that she is very, very afraid. Her heart beats faster.

Nodding, sniffling, she says "I know," then turns toward him, wraps her arms around him.

Should it find purchase, a steak knife will dig into Logan's shoulder, rip, twist, tear, and then exit, only to plunge again into a point somewhere between his shoulders. It was the reason for the bandages; her other hand comes around with a knife held with the razor edge at Logan's throat. The fire is back in her pale eyes. "You'll let me talk to Nathan now, or I swear, I will kill you both right now."

His arms go around her, holding her close with a sense of purpose. Logan doesn't expect what happens next. The knife finds purchase the first time and draws a ragged, surprised cry from the man, shuddering as it tears muscle, skewers at bone, and then, the weapon goes into his back. There's no cry, just an expulsion of breath as if he'd been punched, eyes unfocusing— and refocusing sharply at the bite of a knife at his throat.

Needless to say, he's released her, hand clutching his bleeding arm. It's all he can do not to collapse. They say that all it takes for bullies to crumble is for someone— one victim— to stand up to them. Blood floods underneath the thicken woolen coat his wears. Logan rears his head back away from the knife at his throat, which only exposes it more. "Making a mistake," he gasps out, breathlessly. "You won't. And I'll kill you." First and last weapon is fear.

"You. You are not as smart as you think you are," Heidi spits. When Logan tries to get away, the knife presses against it - he'll feel it at this point - the paper-cut fracture of skin brought about by the extremely sharpened blade of the knife in his wife's hand.

Unfortunately for Logan, Heidi can't be afraid anymore. She's angry, vengeful, and pushed right over that proverbial edge that was helping her keep her cool. The irony of this situation is that if she hadn't had to life through a second hell - if he hadn't put her through a horrible car accident a second time - she'd still be passivly trying to reach out to Nathan. No more, though.

She smiles. "Logan, my name is Angel." It's not really the same. She's still in complete control of herself. She's not seeing reflections of relics in a mirror… But she sure is smiling when she says it. "Let me ask you this. What do I have to lose? Either you give me Nathan, or I put you out of my misery."

He blinks rapidly, the name— something he can't quite comprehend but all at once understands, jaw clenching as he feels the knife press closer, leaving behind a shiny mark in its wake, not quite a cut but enough for a thin filmy smear of blood. Logan doesn't move.

Something changes. Something seamless. One moment, he's staring at her with shock tainted with cold hatred and enough fear for it to be satisfying, and the next— only shock. Desperation. Nathan's gaze flicks up towards the dark sky accented with lights from the city down below, then to Heidi's eyes, as bright and icy as any amount of neon in Manhattan.

He swallows, making the knife shift a little. "Heidi…?" Then the pain, the messy injury to his shoulder, the sharper, more severe one in his back, and his eyes unfocus for a moment in shock.

She can't think everything through. She has nothing to do at this point except look at him, let him see her. She wants him to feel that anger and give up, like he tried to make her do. Logan doesn't know Heidi, obviously, which means, by extension, Nathan had no idea that she was capable of this. It gives her a sort of dark pleasure.

Then again, before the accident, she wouldn't have been.

It's his eyes that have always clued her in, and she sees the change in them. For a moment, the blade drops an inch from his throat, but it's immediately back. It's the only thing keeping Logan away, she's sure. Bastard. The only thing he cares about is himself. The steely determination in her own eyes doesn't change at all.

"Don't move," she states as she shifts herself, slowly and carefully leaving the knife in his back as she brings her arm around to hold in front of him. "There's a bandage around my wrist. Unwrap it. You need it more than I do."

It's not until this point that the expression breaks, just a little. Her eyes narrow, and the cold determination because - for just a second - rage. "How does it feel to be stabbed in the back?"

He's gone pale, and his breathing comes in hitches, as if panicked and holding it together. The blunt/sharp pressure feeling of the knife still impaled in his body is enough to make the world blur and white around the edges, but he does as she instructs. Hands shaking, Nathan focuses on his task, unwrapping the bandages and trying not to puke, frankly. Her question gets a grunt from him, an aborted attempt at a mirthless chuckle, before he meets her eyes again. Fear, and uncertainty, and unrecognition. "Hurts," comes his short, raw answer.

Then, there's pain.

It's in her eyes and present on her features, but she can't let him hurt her again. Heidi would be a complete idiot if she allowed Logan to lure her into that false sense of security he did while she was in the car with Nathan. It's impossible to tell if this really is her husband or not.

Being cold isn't in her nature, though, even though the cold winter wind is blowing her hair around her face. Her arm tenses so he can be certain that the blade is still there, but she still asks, "Do you want to sit down?" She knows it hurts. There's a knife sticking in his back.

"I wanted to talk to you, Nathan, and I'm tired of Logan— I'm tired of him. I wanted to be sure he was gone. I'm sorry." Once he's got the bandage unwrapped, she'll reach forward and take it, awkwardly pressing it against the wound in his shoulder while maintaining the threat at his throat.

In contrast to the short pained answer he gave before, he speaks quickly now, words a little slurred. "I think if we don't sit down I may slash my throat open when I collapse anyway," Nathan agrees, managing, somehow, to be dry humoured even in this situation, even when his wife has scars on her beautiful face that he put there himself and is currently holding a knife to his throat. How bad things have gotten.

How much worse it could be. For instance? It could be raining.

Sitting down is difficult. Movement hurts. The clothes he wears is expensive and so therefore, thick, and jostles the blade imbedded in his back to the point where a whimper escapes him, but he bites it back. Hands brace against cold concrete, the ice under his fingers actually reassuring, because pain is a white-hot thing. He keeps the arm she tends to still, but it'll need more attention than that, even if he doesn't bleed out right here.

"I'm tired too," he murmurs, wearier, eyes opting to shut. "I'm fighting him. I really am. But it's hard."

When they're seated, she takes the blade away. Heidi doesn't know a lot about medicine, but she knows that when someone's bleeding as much as Nathan is, they're not really dangerous. She hopes she's right… There's no trust left. She expects this to go catastrophically wrong at any moment, and so the knife remains in her hand, ready to strike, but away from his throat for the moment. It's only at this point that she allows herself a smile, which is small, but there. "…Have to admit, I didn't really— I could have been more prepared. I couldn't carry too much, though. He would have known."

She wants to hold him and tell him that everything will be okay, but how many times can she say that before it becomes robotic? Everything's not okay, and she has no idea if it will be. "Are you going to win, Nathan? Because if you don't think you are…" There's a long pause as the smile disappears, she stares at him, looks down at the knife, then back up at him. "If you don't think you are, then… Then just — If you don't think you can, then tell me, and I'll do what I have to." Murder him. Can she do it? Heidi has no idea. No one knows whether or not they can kill someone until they actually do it.

For a moment, Nathan is blank, studying the ground and trying to keep check of himself so his body doesn't give in, and trying to get a sense of Logan's presence. Blank, and then her words sink in, looking at her. Knife in the back aside, it hurts. She'd kill him. His wife would kill him. At his request, maybe, but—

God, it's cold out here. Hot and cold. The blood soaking in his white shirt and underneath the gunmetal gray jacket is little comfort in its warmth. Nathan doesn't look at her anymore. Can't. "I'll win," he says, voice coming out carefully, very carefully. "That— the dream. When you came to me. It was the first— " And his voice finally cracks, betraying him, but he's determined. Steady. He tries again. "First time I knew I could win. I can't if you don't believe I can." What are we, if not what everyone expects us to be?

His wife is pissed off.

There are words she's been holding back and things she's wanted desperately to say. You failed, Nathan. You haven't won. You're losing, the world is crashing down around you and there's nothing you can do about it. She's calm enough to realise that any of these words, though, could hurt Nathan enough so that he retreats into Logan forever.

Besides that, she doesn't believe any of them.

The knife in her hand … she tosses away, down to the floor beneath them. A sign of trust, or a test of his resolve. Either way, she's used up all her weapons and has nothing left, except the hard plaster cast around one arm that she can use as a blunt object.

Her hand gently touches his face, tenderly, though in the cold, she can no longer feel it, or even her own fingers. "You remember it," she says, smiling. "Do you remember what I called myself earlier?"

The knife falls with a clatter. It's motivation enough for Nathan to look at her, now, rather than the dropped weapon. He knows what could happen, and she does too, and is showing him trust. If it all goes to hell now, well, he might not make it out of here with just two stab wounds. He might not make it out of here at all. The thought makes his blood run colder than the icy ground underneath them.

There's not gonna be much to come back to, when all this is done. But it's better than the alternative.

Nathan stirs a little at the touch to his face, his own skin heated from the processes of his own body attempting to deal with the knife impaled into his back, blood rushing beneath the surface, perhaps even stinging the tips of Heidi's numbed fingers. "Angel," Nathan says, roughly. The memory, not really his own, is unclear, but enough.

Somewhere, someone thinks this is a joke. Who cares about the lives of two and a half people on a planet that's ripping itself apart anyway? What's eighty or ninety years to a world that's billions of years old, and who are these two people in a population almost too numerous to count?

This is how she's been thinking lately. Why does she matter, and why do her actions have any bearing on the world around them? They don't, but she can give them both another try at happyness. They can't have it now, but at least they can push toward it, and to that end, she nods. "I know it sounds corny, but you know me," she says. "I still don't know how this works, Love, but I know enough to tell you that he's you. Take it in little steps. Look out through his eyes. Show him that you're not going to let yourself be buried anymore." There's a pause as she looks to the ground, then back up at him. "I'm not going to be able to do this again, you know."

The notion, as ever, grates. Chafes, if you will. The idea that this sociopathic lunatic is in any way Nathan makes denial an easy thing to draw on, and he shakes his head just once. But what does it say that when you look in the mirror, he's who you see? And what game plan, exactly, does he have any more? Besides asking his wife to kill him, and all.

It's getting cold as night thickens up above, the scent of coming snow in the air, threatening to send flaking ice down from the sky to blanket the world in a little more numbness. It wouldn't be entirely unwelcome. "Alright," Nathan concedes after a time. "No one's— talked to him. Neither have I. Try to avoid it. Listen to me…" His hand goes out, and the movement is quickly aborted as skin and muscles pull and the knife remains where it is, a sharp breath flitting between gritted teeth, making the earth sway beneath him.

Okay. No hand holding.

"Pinehearst. He's helping run something called Pinehearst. He's keeping it from me." Nothing useful to give. His gaze swims as he tries to think. "Jack. You have to help him but he's dangerous. He doesn't know what he's doing anymore. I don't— " Fuck it. Despite the pain of movement, his hand goes out to touch hers. "I don't want to hurt anyone else." A man's conscience can only take so much. A selfish thing but it's true.

Immediately suspicious when Nathan reaches for her hand, Heidi is hesitant to let him hold it. Her trust hasn't been completely killed, though, and so she turns her hand around to take his. For a moment, it's nice to pretend that she's won, and that the guy with the knife in his back really is completely sane again, but Logan will be back. It's not hard to see him hurting, though, she realises with some guilt. Some part of her mind - a great part of it at the moment, actually - feels like he deserves it. That doesn't mean she loves him less, which is some sort of crazy duplicity. People have to change, though. "I'm sorry," she does say, because she at least owes him that, for the comment about being stabbed in the back that she couldn't rein in earlier.

Pinehearst. Jack. Jack is dangerous. That's hard to believe, considering he'd been concerned for her welfare not too long ago, and she'll take that with a grain of salt besides… It'd be stupid to trust everything that Nathan says when it could very well be Logan. She looks to his eyes again.

Can't be fooled again.

From under her coat, she draws her purse - the only other thing she'd been carrying. "We use this when we cut the dogs' nails," she says. "I'm gonna take the knife out of your back. Nathan." Letting go of his hand, she stands up so she can move around him, and as she goes, her foot drags the knife she'd dropped along with her - just in case. "I don't want you to hurt anyone else, either."

He's been stabbed long enough for the panic of it to die down, and now Nathan almost doesn't want her even to touch it, to jostle it and create more damage and pain, but rationally he knows she has to. He only gives a grunt in response, watching as Heidi stands up and moves around him before he refocuses on the rooftop floor. His hand comes up to touch at his throat, the slight graze from when she'd threatened to slash his throat creating a disruption through close-shaven skin.

"Make it fast," is his only request, hands bracing against the ground, nails finding purchase in the rough, icy surface. He didn't communicate everything he wanted to, but perhaps this wasn't about listening to him anyway. Message received loud and clear. Nathan shuts his eyes and focuses, instead, on trying not to pass out when she removes the knife from his back.

Though she's not a doctor, Heidi has a gentle touch. That's not to say it won't hurt, because there's a knife stuck partway into his back, but she doesn't just yank it right out.

As she takes the little tube of styptic powder out of her bag, she starts to work the knife out, and the powder in to stop the bleeding. Will it work? She has no idea, but it's about all she's got. There's a lot of blood.

"What's wrong with Jack?" she asks to keep him distracted. She'll help - if she can - but her one advantage is that she had the element of surprise with Logan, which she'll never get again in the same way. "He gave me a gun awhile back. He seemed okay - he was worried about you."

When she feels the knife give a little, she'll yank it out as quickly as she can, and tosses it aside. As she's used the bandage on his shoulder, Heidi pushes her sleeve into the wound instead to try to stop the bleeding. "God. God, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I didn't want to do it this way," she says when it bleeds freely. "How else can I get to you, though?"

A sharp hiss as the weapon is finally extracted, fresh new pain invading his senses now, but— it's better than the dull pressure of the knife remaining embedded. The gush of blood that follows is almost relaxing, purging. He shuts his eyes before slowly, carefully, he takes off his thick woolen coat, shedding the jacket beneath it too in the same movement. The white shirt he was wearing beneath it only exemplifies the vicious red, but luckily, he can't see it, although he glances at his somewhat ruined shoulder.

"Jack's an addict," Nathan says, once he regains the English language. His voice is shaking but not from emotion. He's a little numb on that scale, right at this second. It'd be nicer if he were numb in other ways, but he'll take it. "Logan's— using him. Feeding him the drug, I don't know exactly, I just know that— I know that Jack is following him. And I know." Different subject. "I know. I don't hate you for this."

"I should take you back to my hotel room," she says. But she doesn't want Logan knowing where it's at - somewhere in this hotel, sure, but this hotel has ten floors, and— He probably has ways of finding out anyway.

She has to pull her sleeve away when he takes off his coat, but as soon as he's done with that, she presses the skin together. Hopefully that powder she put in there isn't toxic; at least it seems like she didn't hit anything vital. The blade went inward toward his shoulder, though, so that'll be doubly sore. "So I have to try to get through to Jack," she says dryly. "That's not going to be easy if he's addicted to something. All he'll want is more."

There's definitely a significant change in her demeanor. It's not that she's saying it's impossible, but there's just no hope in her words, either. It's a task that has to be done… So she'll do it. "Point me in the right direction. I'll break apart the rest of Logan's support net, too. Who else is there, Nathan?" If she can convince these people that something's clearly wrong with Nathan - that it isn't, indeed, Nathan, then she can definitely pull the rug out from under his feet. Without support, what good is Logan's control? He'd be caged, physically and mentally, by his own inability to act.

Owowow. Nathan's been through worse pain than this so he rides on that and makes no protest, but ow. "Uhh…" Nathan says, a little shakily, trying to clear his head enough to think. People. His father. God, how can he explain that? Put that to words? He's not even sure it's true. He lets it skid by. What could he expect from her in that regard? "Niki Sanders," he says, after a moment. The therapist in Vegas. "George Dawson." Likely Heidi's at least seen before, talked to on the phone for a few seconds at a time, one of the carry overs from his election to his office. "And showing me back to your place is the worst idea you've had so far," Nathan adds, wryly. "That includes stabbing me. Drop me off somewhere nearby. He'll come back. He's never gone for long."

Niki Sanders. "I know Niki. Her son goes to school with the boys." Went to school with the boys. She's also not telling Nathan that the kids aren't with Mrs. Baker anymore - that they've again been moved for safekeeping. One day, she hopes to be able to tell Nathan where, but she doesn't want Logan using her children. Their children. Nathan might be able to forgive himself for hurting Heidi, and Heidi can forgive him for hurting her, but if Logan touches the children, no box will contain her. She'll shred him.

"Niki and George. And Jack." Good places to start - she sees George often enough, and she can contact Niki somehow.

"I don't want to leave you," she says softly, but she's well aware that she can't just get rid of Logan in one night, even if she's hurt him like this. "C'mon, I'll help you up. There's a fire escape — " She pauses to smile, just briefly, when he says that taking him to her room is the worst idea she's had. She knows, but she wants to. Get him out of the cold, patch him up… "I still love you, you know. I'll say it every time we run into each other."

"I love you too," Nathan says, without hesitation - he was always good at that. For all the lying and the rockiness of their relationship, he'd never allowed himself to hesitate when it came to those sentiments. He studies her for a moment, until he can't somehow control his gaze to not slip towards the scarring on her face when trying to study her eyes, so he looks away instead. The hand of his good arm reaches to touch his coat. "Help me with this."%r%rIt's a brief and uncomfortable struggle, getting both the jacket and coat back on, but better to do so than leaving them behind, even if Nathan couldn't care any less about the cold right now. "He believed it, you know," Nathan says, once on his feet— swaying back on his heels a little. He just needs to get to a different street, call for help from there, and go. His hand clutches his injured arm, and he steps back, away from the fire escape. "That you were going to live with— this. Whatever happens - don't."

One thing she won't do again is hug him and put herself at a disadvantage. She just used it as a weapon, so what's to stop Logan from doing it? Nothing.

She catches his eyes wandering toward the scars. "…Peter… couldn't heal it all, but it's okay. It's okay, it wasn't your fault." Before she helps him with his coat, she takes his face in her hands, meets his eyes, and then gives a nod. She's looking right into his eyes and lying, but he can't know that she does place some of the blame on his shoulders - not right now. Maybe not ever, but she's kept secrets before to save him, like the affair that was supposedly a therapist - she has her suspicions. More and more, Heidi will learn the art of secret-keeping. It's sad, but they say that as couples grow older, they become more like each other.

One arm in, then the other. At least it hides the bright glowing red a little bit better than if he went with only a shirt. The steak knife is wiped casually against the inside lining of her coat and pocketed, while the sharper blade is slipped up her sleeve against the cast that protects her skin. "I will never live with this. He took something that's mine. I'm going to get you back." Another smile, softer this time. "We really didn't know each other. We'll fix that soon, okay? Don't give up."

Backhanded reassurance. Nathan can appreciate it. And he believes her - that she knows it wasn't his fault. That's more than he thought he'd be walking away with. "I won't," he says, solemnly, and he shivers, back and shoulder twinging in unison. The situation isn't dangerous enough. He rolls his shoulders subtly, enough to aggravate the injuries, a warning to the subconscious that may or may not be lurking, waiting. He backs up a step. "Bye, Heidi."

And he's gone, coat flaring as his feet leave the rooftop and he turns in the air, plummeting up and over the edge of the building in a curving swoop upwards. This way, he can get a few blocks away before the world around him crumbles and gives in to him once more.

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