2007-06-17: Free Will and Willpower

Starring:

McAlister_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Ali goes to ask Heidi why she helped with the whole legal issue, and ends up telling Heidi about her power.

Date It Happened: 17 JUNE 2007

Free Will and Willpower


Petrelli Mansion

The tap that comes at the door is.. … well. Can a tap be furtive? This one is. It's late, after all - and somebody got past the guards despite that fact. One way or another, it's one of those taps that may imply the tapper isn't entirely sure about the plan currently at hand.

A glance through a peephole or window would definitely reveal a rather disheveled and very.. wrinkled (clothing!) DJ of passing acquaintence, looking down the lane toward the street.

—-

The boys are upstairs. It's not quite time for bed yet, but it will be soon, and the evening has been fairly quiet so far. It's nice… The puppies are with the kids, the cat is sprawled out on one of the armchairs, and Heidi is comfortably reading a book with the TV on low volume. There's a glass of juice on the table next to her, and she's just thinking about getting Simon and Monty into bed, when there's a knock on the door.

Standing up, she heads into the front room to check, looking through a window nearby to see a now-familiar face. Well, that's odd. Still, there's no reason to leave the girl outside! Opening the door, Heidi offers a warm (If slightly confused) smile. "Hello, Ali. Everything okay?"

—-

McAlister stays firmly on the doorstep. "Not really?" There's something grim about the girl, her jaw set, face a little pale. "But it's alright, I guess. Miss Petrelli - I.. " And there she fumbles. How /do/ you ask strange questions, really? "Why did you help me?" That does it, there. Earnest, a little bit plaintive.. and definitely worried.

—-

This is one of those things that she's really not so sure she can answer, especially not this late at night. "You— " Couldn't have come over to ask /tomorrow?/ But she doesn't say that outloud. Blue eyes focus, she bites her lip, then steps out onto the porch, closing the door behind her. Last thing she needs Ali to see is Nathan walking around in his pajamas. The question is something Heidi's often asked herself since she got it in her head to make those calls. "I don't know. It seemed like the right thing to do." As far as she can figure.

—-

"Yeah?" Oh, there's /hope/ there, Ali reaching up to drag fingers through tangled hair. "So.. you figure you'd have done it anyway?" It's odd, how carefully her words are chosen - but it even has her speaking slowly, longer pauses between sentences, thoughts.

—-

Heidi frowns. Thinking about it… really /thinking/ about it, the answer is probably /no./ After all, rules were broken, and by calling in certain 'favours,' she had to be careful not to jeopardise Nathan's campaign. It was difficult, and all for someone she really barely knows. Instead of answering the question, though, she stares at the girl as if trying to figure something out. "Are you /sure/ you're okay? Do you — " Know what time it is? No. "Do you need me to call someone to… What's wrong?"

—-

"I'm…" Ali stares at /shoes/. Shoes are safe. "I don't know anymore. I …" A sudden, low, laugh. "I don't even really know where to start. It doesn't matter - I just wanted to know. You wouldn't have, would you." Shaking her head, she speaks more to herself - "Of course not." That's really resigned.. but then she asks another truly odd question, careful and quiet. "Are.. uh. Is anything /different/.. after we talked?" It sounds lame - she /knows/ it sounds lame, but it's the best, it seems, she has at the moment.

—-

Something. Is going on here.

These aren't questions you come over and ask someone in late evening, when most people are starting to think about sleep, so something is going on. Heidi isn't stupid. "What do you mean? Different?" Even if it sounds lame, she's trying to figure out if Ali is trying to tell her something without actually saying it. Reaching out, she sets a hand on Ali's shoulder. "You need to just ask," she says, the frown becoming a (hopefully comforting smile.) I don't bite. I promise."

—-

"Yeah, well.. I might." Not that Ali seems to begrudge the touch. Instead, she just asks, softly - "Different? Just.. oh, hell. I don't know. Different. I .." She tries something else. "I woke up and found out a lot of stuff I thought was true wasn't. And .. you were somebody who was nice to me, you know? I'm just… If something was wrong. If I did something? I wanted to put it right. That's all." It's rambling, it's still cautious - but it's out there anyway, halting and unsure.

—-

The problem with this is… Heidi is pretty much just /naturally nice./ So the fact that she helped this girl out… Well, she was fairly easily able to rationalise that it really was the right thing to do. God knows why! She just wanted to make those calls, do what she could, because Ali asked. Heidi chuckles, turning toward the door, but she doesn't go in. How much should she say? It's weird, but… "If you want me to be honest, I have no real idea why I called the courthouse. I've never done anything like it before. I wouldn't call that 'wrong,' though; people help other people. If you feel guilty for asking me… Don't. No one wants to have to deal with that." She shrugs. "I did what I could. It's what you asked me to do."

—-

"That's the problem." Ali murmers that, softly - "Did I… end up asking you to do anything else?" Oh, that's /worried/. Really worried. And it's a very simple question, to boot.

—-

She feels this little flutter in her stomach when Ali next speaks, like she's figuring it out, but cant quite believe what she's hearing. No. She's just being paranoid after— "Ask me to do… No, I don't think so…" Her voice trails off. She's at a loss for words, so all she can do is stare. At this point, she's worried about the girl standing in front of her. "I'm going to call an ambulance." Maybe she hit her head.

—-

McAlister shakes her head… goes to speak, and then doesn't. "I.. I should go. Look.." She fishes in that bag over her shoulder, coming up with a scrap of paper, a pen. "If.. if you sort out anything weird, this is.. you will probably find me at this number." Scrabbling for words there - picking them specially, it seems. "I'm so sorry. I.. I should go, right?"

—-

Something is /not right here./ Heidi's a mom. She knows the signs. She knows when something's going on, when someone's in distress. And this? It's like Ali is shouting 'OH GOD PLEASE HELP ME,' all while hardly speaking at all. With that in mind, Heidi doesn't take the paper. There's a moment in time after that where she looks just slightly glazed over at Ali's offer to leave. Almost says /yes,/ but she can't do it. "N— No, listen. I think you should come inside for awhile. I'll get you some juice, you need to sit down and tell me what's going on." And she's not taking no for an answer! …Unless Ali tells her to!

—-

Ali.. looks up and at her, then. And, softly, she points out, "Miss Petrelli? Right now, I'm.. sort of dangerous." Again, words are carefully chosen - there are no commands, simple statements of fact. "And I'm trying really hard not to hurt anybody before I"m not anymore. There's a couple of people who are trying to help me, and It'll work out. I think it will." She bites her lip. "I did something to you - I didn't mean to. I didn't /know/.. but the longer I stay? The more chance I might. And.. I don't want to. I've … I know. It sounds so stupid doesn't it? But it's true. I don't even know what's real anymore - but I just.. if I'd hurt you? I had to try to put it right." And there it is. Laid out.. somewhat plainly. As best it can be, perhaps.

—-

Perhaps the look with which Heidi fixes Ali can be described as 'incredulous.' Dangerous? "No," she says, the smile returning for a moment as she's about to explain the fact that just because Monty broke his arm doesn't mean Ali is a /dangerous person./ But the smile fades with the more the girl says, becoming thoughtful, then concerned, and almost confused. With what she knows of the girl - which isn't much - and with what's already been said out here on the porch, it's still foggy. Nothing's being outright stated, she's not a /mind-reader—/ And that's the thought that causes the final piece of the puzzle to just snap into place. Would she have normally done something for this girl she barely knows? No. Did she? Yes. Did Ali ask her to do anything else? No. The questions make sense now, but… The smile returns. "I don't know what you're thinking, but… I think someone might be pulling your leg." There's a beat. "If… you're suggesting what I think you're suggesting."

—-

Ali shakes her head. "They're not. I.. got enough proof." She tries out a wan smile - and.. maybe it's the mom thing? Maybe it's just that she needs to say it - who knows? She adds, softly, "It's kind of sobering to figure out the only reason people might like you is because you made 'em." She twists the strap of her bag. "A guy I really wanted to date asked me to my high school prom. Great night, you know? And.. now all I can do is wonder if he wanted to, or if he just didn't have any choice." She starts to turn away. "I'm really sorry, Miss Petrelli. I know it doesn't make sense, but I am."

—-

Whoa, wait. "Hey. Ali." That hand returns to the younger girl's shoulder, though Heidi is frowning now. She isn't going to ask Ali to prove it, because she already looks miserable. She can, however, attempt to actually help the girl by her own free will. There's no reason to be an ass about the whole thing just because you know you've had your mind messed with. …Okay, so there's /every/ reason to be an ass, but this is Heidi! "Listen. You're not alone." THERE ARE OTHER ALIENS— no, wait. "…Okay, it's a little disconcerting, but you didn't know." She's taking this pretty well, isn't she? Truth is, she's pretty freaked out, since Heidi had no idea she was being manipulated, but she's seen some really weird stuff already. More quietly: "And there are other people like you."

—-

Ali pauses at the touch - "Really?" That word has /so/ much weight. "I Dj'd at your husband's rally. So.. are all those people going to vote for him 'cause they like him.. or because I told them to?" And.. that raises a sinister point.. and it's clear Ali knows just how sinister that is. It.. doesn't look like something she's happy with. At all.

—-

There is no answer to that question that Heidi can /possibly/ answer. The implications of this makes her feel cold, though; at the impromptu party, Ali was calling for people to dance. Heidi would /never do that./ Ever. "Oh god," she says under her breath, quietly, steel-blue eyes meeting the DJ's. She doesn't know. She can't say for certain whether or not Ali's fears are real. And the fact that she's speechless is pretty much written all over her face. "There has to be a way you can turn it off," she says. After all, Nathan doesn't fly all the time. Peter isn't healing every single thing he touches.

—-

"There's.. yeah. There's.." Ali just breaks, then. Visibly. The wall crashes, and her eyes shine brightly, her lips twisting as she fights it. "There's somebody trying to help. And they'll make sure I don't hurt anybody if I .. you know. Can't." She makes an absent gesture. "Why.. why am I telling you this? I gotta go. I can't ask you anything.." For obvious reasons, "but I think people knowing about … me… and… everything.." Obviously, she's run out of those careful words. The intent, perhaps, is obvious however.

—-

Oh, no. The poor girl. Even without the words that would /make/ Heidi care, she does, and that's pretty obvious by her helpless expression. She's not horrified, just… worried, really. Ali is a nice person; her actions /right now/ say volumes about her character. And because she can't say what she wants to, Heidi will fill in the blanks, drawing her hand back, but not stepping away. "You don't have to say anything. I won't tell anyone. I have every reason to keep quiet about it, okay? Ali. Don't beat yourself up over this. You're a good person. The fact that people like you… That doesn't mean you — " She pauses, looking away, chuckling. "I mean, look at me." Heidi's not mad! See? "Thank you for coming by. Thanks for telling me." She'll let Ali go, if that's what the girl wants.

—-

"Thanks for.." She wipes at her eyes. Ali tries out.. "Giving me a chance, anyway. Maybe.. if I sort this thing out.." I can buy you a drink? I can come by again? Sure. Something - but regardless, she leaves it there, and starts for the gate.

—-

One hand reaches for her hair, fingers running through it as she sighs. She can't help everyone, and at this point, Heidi really doesn't even know if she's compelled to aid Ali or not because of some command she was given. It's a violation of self to realise that you've acted without meaning to, without anything appearing out of the ordinary while you were doing so. Then again, now that she knows what happened, she can recognise the signs, and knows that she genuinely does hope Ali figures things out. For now, though… She has two boys to put to bed. Another smile is offered, before Heidi turns and heads back inside.

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