2007-10-03: Ghost Hunters

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Taking a break from the last few days' craziness, Elena visits Heidi and both women walk the dogs together. Somehow, the walk turns into an impromptu ghost hunting adventure! Except that the two of them find rats instead.

Date It Happened: October 3rd, 2007

Ghost Hunters


Upper West Side, New York City

"Julius! Slow down!" Elena cries, her arm almost pulled out of its socket as the large rottweiler yanks her forwards. She hasn't seen Heidi in a while after the dinner, and the press conference, and she had stopped by the mansion to visit her and the boys, and talk about the press conference and how it was received. She was still worrying about it, on top of everything else. That and the last couple of days haven't exactly been easy. Having followed the urge to get out of the house for a bit, the two women decided to walk the dogs.

Her shoulder's going to -pay- for it later.

"How….how did he get so big?" she can't help but ask, somewhat breathless, digging on her heels and using both sets of fingers to grip the leash even as the large dog tries to pull her forward, walking around the tree-lined streets of the nicer, quasi-surban parts of New York. She can't help but groan a little bit when the dog keeps pulling, looking over at Heid helplessly.

"So….the aftermath go okay?" she asks. "With the press conference?" She had been bracing herself for reporters to ask more questions, but Nathan seemed to field them all very well in camera. But that wouldn't stop them from calling her house, showing up unannounced, trying to break in private property. That and she was more apprehensive about the sort of questions they would ask. About Heidi's accident. Her condition. Whether her continued recovery was interfering with her husband's campaign. She was starting to loathe reporters.

The busy family doesn't have a whole lot of time to walk the dogs, and so when they do, the dogs can get a little unruly. There are about seven hundred billion things to smell and see and stick their noses into, so when they have an opportunity to get away from the house… They take it. Even the strong leather leashes are stretching from being tugged by hundred-pound dogs.

Elena's got the stronger one, too. Heidi still struggles with Caesar, though, making a mental note to get these brats a little more professional help. "They're rottweilers," she answers, as she gives Caesar a tug to prevent him from peeing in someone's garden. It's getting cold, sure, but there's no reason to rush the untimely demise of a potential Petrelli supporter's flowerbed. Heidi says, "Heel," and the dogs look at her for about a second, then go back to tugging.

"Well, after a press conference things are never perfect," Heidi starts. In a way, she understands why reporters can be so annoying. If everyone told the exact same story, no one would have any viewer loyalty. The news would be boring. So the truth is stretched, facts embellished, and in some tabloid somewhere, Nathan and Peter are brothers from a small asteroid orbiting Pluto. It's true, because of the inside source. "But it went as good as it could have. The guards kept reporters out - You should have seen the one time this gentleman— " And the way she says 'gentleman,' it would be quote-unquote, but she can't do that, because she has the leash wrapped around both arms - "got past the guards while these two were outside. I don't think he ever ran so fast in his life."

She laughs a little bit - a sound that hasn't been heard much from her mouth the last twenty-four hours, but typical Elena she was bouncing back already from the other day. She's still digging on her heels a bit as Julius tries to follow his brother towards the flower bed, a kind of race to who gets to pee first on that nice clump of petunias in the corner, but she gurgles a bit as she keeps a tight grip on the leather leash. And it has to be leather. They'd break lesser harnesses.

She can't help but laugh again when she tells her about the reporter that made the mistake of breaking into the Petrelli perimeter. "Ouch," she says with a grin. "I wouldn't want to be on the bad side of these beefcakes. God…I think Julius might actually outweigh me. And he looks like he's all muscle." She groans when Julius tugs forward again, practically dragging the latina down the street.

"So everything okay at home?" she asks tentatively. Heidi and Nathan seem to be recovering from the shitstorm a few months ago when she had discovered the man's affair with the detective. In fact everything had been so comfortable during the dinner that she had thought she imagined it. But Heidi looks content these days - still she wants to ask. It's been a while since they really talked, especially now that school's started for her, and moving out on her own….well. Sort of. She spent most of her nights with Peter, unless she had to study for a test the next day.
You paged Peter with 'Oh…get on AIM?'

More likely, the dogs just wanted to play. But when two dogs of that size are running straight at you, the wrong thing to do would be to hang around and find out. Heidi isn't sure that her dogs would actually attack anyone. Calling them guard dogs is akin to putting an alarm sticker in your window when you have no alarm, only Julius and Caesar are considerably more intimidating.

"I don't think they have a bad side," Heidi says after some consideration. "Gentle giants. Even Spica likes them. They're giant teddy bears. I think Nathan likes the fact that they scare off reporters, though. I'm pretty sure he'd be devastated if everyone in the world knew they were so sweet." Caesar pauses to stick his nose into a squirrel hole. It comes up covered in dirt.

Things at home… It used to be a hard question to answer. She knows what Elena's talking about, just by the tone of voice. "With me and Nathan?" she asks, just to clarify. There's a moment of quiet before she goes on. "After I went back home, I thought I was okay. I didn't feel like I was testing him, but I was." She was looking for trust, compromising his comfort to search for it. Heidi isn't ashamed of that - it was a logical reaction to what he'd done. Looking at Elena, she smiles a bit. "I love Nathan. Things are different now, but they aren't worse. Better in a lot of ways, I think." Even so, there's a cynical edge there now. Jealousy where there was naivety at times, and a slight dent in trust.

They could be pretty intimidating. The squat heads, the teeth, the bulky bodies. Julius isn't waiting for Caesar anymore, and she groans when she's tugged further down the street, still resisting so she could wait for Heidi…or for Caesar to drag Heidi over so they can be dragged down the street together with dug sneaker-heels. Elena groans, almost tripping over a crack in the cement when Julius gives a particularly stubborn tug. Caesar might've found the hole, but Julius found the squirrel. And he wants it. "Julius, no! He's not food!" she chastizes. And of course, when you tell a growing kid 'no', said kid wants it more.

She can't help but grin at Heidi as she looks over at her. "Well, I don't think Nate'll have a problem with their first impressions….but I guess they do have pretty open puppy grins despite their sizes and their….sort of apparent capability to eat people."

When Heidi smiles over at her and says that things are better, she looks relieved….as relieved as one could get when struggling with a hundred-pound dog anyway. "I'm glad to hear it," she says, somewhat breathlessly. "In many ways….I was a little hesitant staying with you guys for that one month. I didn't want to get in the way of…stuff, you know? But I'm glad I did. I didn't….want to keep thinking Nate's this big jackass, you know? For the longest time I thought….on your behalf," she says. "But I also know that…you love him and that Peter loves him. I'm glad I got to know him better."

SQUIRREL. Yeah, this is where Heidi draws the line. "JULIUS," she snaps, all business for the first time on this walk. Reaching out for the leash in Elena's hand, but not taking it, she gives it a good tug.

If you've never seen a thoroughly adonished and contrite rottweiler, it's the cutest thing in the entire world, ever. And because of that, the next five minutes or so will give the two women a break, because the dogs won't tug as much until they see something else they have to smell.

There's something that still bothers Heidi now and again, despite the fact that she's forgiven Nathan for it. Back when she was still in the wheelchair— The detective wasn't the first time he strayed in their marriage. She knows it somewhere deep down, but it's almost to a point where it no longer matters. Sure, it happened, but perhaps they've finally made it to the point where they trust each other completely. She's pondering this, sighs, and looks over at Elena again.

"I know I did the right thing." She easily could have left him. "Nathan is a great person. Hard to get to know, I guess, but I'm glad you had the opportunity. Besides, you're always welcome in our house." Caesar starts tugging again, and Heidi's pace picks up. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm a doormat, though."

"….awwww….he actually looks pretty sorry," Elena tells Heidi with a laugh, watching the contrite giant dog with his ears droopy and the small whine escaping from him. But thank goodness they're given a break. She walks in a better pace now, in step with Heidi as both round the corner and down another tree-lined street. "I guess in the end they're Momma's Boys after all," she teases Heidi, throwing her a wink. Then again, she's also got two sons that she needs to take care of.

She hasn't actually thought of it….she's in the first romantic relationship in her life, and while she's heard of cheaters, she really doesn't know much about the subject. About men cheating and how often they could do it before they got caught, or if they usually got the sort of second chance that Heidi gave Nathan. Hopefully she never finds out.

"I'm glad…Peter seems convinced that he likes me." She shrugs. "But he can be really funny when he wants to be." At the last, she shakes her head. "I don't think so. It's not like you forgave him easily. You were willing to work things out, but you made him prove himself. Besides…." She keeps holding onto her leash securely. "You're not the kind of person who could just un-love anybody. I like that about you."

Insert cocky smirk from Heidi here. "He'd better be," she grumbles as the dogs walk on. "You'd think dogs would be easier to raise than kids, but then you take into consideration the fact that you can still pick your kids up…" And then the dogs seem much, much more unruly.

What happened to her is something she wouldn't wish on anyone. Some people suspect - maybe that softens the blow a little when the truth is revealed. For Heidi, the news that Nathan was cheating came completely out of left field. It's hard to describe how she feels when she thinks about it… Pain, triumph, sadness, hope. Their relationship works. They both fought for it. Even so…

She smiles, having heard the comment, and yes, she does try. How can you just cast someone aside that you've loved for years? The subject, however, abruptly shifts - she's not sure where she can take this now, anyway. "How's school been?" she asks. A safe topic for now. "Almost time to start studying for finals. I'm thinking about going back myself, now that the boys are getting a little older."

"That and….at the very least kids know food when they see it. They don't try to get to your Manolo Blahniks," Elena says with a grin. Not like she knows whether Heidi has those sorts of expensive shoes lying around the house. Besides, she couldn't see Simon and Monty chewing on leather like that. Julius and Caesar on the other hand….that and they outweighed the Petrelli kids by several pounds.

"You know relationships like yours and Nathan get rarer every year," Elena says somewhat absently. "I read an article in a psychology journal the other day. Marriages that last for less than for years break up more and more these days, and the people who are in them aren't even that old….people in their late twenties, early thirties. Some people think Marriage in general is on its way out." She looks up at the darkening sky. It was getting darker earlier now that it was October and closer to the end of the year. "Different values for a different time I guess. I remember reading about times where even separation is unheard of. It's like people don't have the patience for each other anymore. I'm glad in the case of most of my friends who're with somebody, that isn't true….then again….you and Nate have been together for years. I guess that sort of thing isn't that easy to break, no matter what happens or who happens."

When the topic suddenly changes, Elena blinks, a little blindsided by the segue, but she goes along with it. "School's okay," she says with a smile. "Dance Corps auditions got done last week when we finally got our picks. Mid-semester tests are starting up. Work's going well too, though I haven't actually spoken with Jaden for a while." When Heidi mentions going back… "Really? What would you study if you went back?" she asks. And then… "What did you study when you were in college?" she asks. She didn't really ask Heidi before.

she does have to laugh at the mental picture of her children chewing on her shoes. Given the fact that one or both of them believe themselves to be velociraptors (Simon, only when nobody's looking) Heidi wouldn't entirely put it beyond them. And while the kids are chewing on shoes, the dogs are stealing food off the table. Such a crazy, mixed-up world they all live in!

Relationships like hers and Nathan's. Heidi can see them together for many, many more years. You marry a peron because you love them, not because you expect them to be a perfect beacon of sainthood. Everyone knows that humanity isn't perfect. Sure, set the bar high, but if it's knocked down, allow it to be reset, too.

She listens to Elena speak on the subject quietly. "I don't see the llogic in staying angry," she says. "At anyone. I could have torn the family apart, and that kind of power is scary." Nathan started them on the road, sure, but it was Heidi who could have left him, both in good conscience civally and religiously. "So I decided I didn't want that responsibility. Everything became easier after that."

Heidi hasn't been in school for awhile, and she's starting to miss it. "Dance is something I could never really do," she admits. "Guess it just wasn't for me. I liked to read, and I still do. That's why I'm thinking of taking some classes, probably biology. Science of some kind. I already have a liberal arts degree."

"The simple things, huh?" Elena says contemplatively, looking a little bit at Heidi as she says what she does. "I'm glad things are better between you two though. Dinner was great, we should all do that more often," she tells her with a small smile. "Though someone else should cook next time," comes the tease. "But I never mind cooking though….I miss it. I don't get to do it too much these days. Besides…" She bursts out laughing. "My roommate, Nadia….she cooks too. I didn't know there was Italian food outside of pasta….she's very Italian, but she makes all these things I never tried before…." She grins at Heidi wickedly. "I tend to stay late for study group just so I can come home after she cooks so I can eat what she made."

"I think I would've minored in it," Elena says. "Dance…but….I needed one thing that I wasn't studying to keep me sane. So….it's an extracurricular activity for me. I enjoy it. I guess I became an endorphins junkie after high school." She beams. "Biology? Really? I'm majoring in that, it's required for the pre-med track in NYU. If you go to the same university whenever you decide to come back, I can totally tell you which professors to take. What liberal arts degree do you have?"

Moving around Upper West Side of New York, she slows down when she looks at a building in the distance. A landmark of the Upper West Side, The Dakota with its old styled architecture looks almost archaic amidst the more modern buildings surrounding it. She inclines her head a bit in that direction, suddenly struck by something. Halloween was this month, right? The very end of October? "Have you ever stayed there?" she suddenly wonders out loud, pointing in the direction of the old, turn-of-the-century building. "I heard after John Lennon got shot there, he started haunting the place." …was she serious?

Heidi chuckles. "I'm sure I can attempt to cook next time. Not sure how great it'll be." But… getting together with everyone was nice, relaxing, safe. It felt good just to be with the people she cares about. "Sounds like you're having fun on your own." Well, not quite on her own, but away from her enormous family. Elena's about the right age for that. Hard to build a life for yourself with siblings running around, let alone a parent.

"I just like to learn," Heidi says, and shrugs. She's been a little bit bored lately, and would really like to have something to do. School would give her the perfect opportunity to keep learning and do something productive, instead of sitting around watching soap operas with her husband. "I've got a bachelors degree, studied literature, haven't really done anything with it, but I suppose I could. It's just the idea of it, I guess." And what's wrong with being a career student?

Heidi stops, pulling Caesar to a stop, as well. Looking in the direction of the house, she arches an eyebrow, before glancing briefly back down at Elena. "You think John Lennon's ghost is haunting New York," she says. "Elena, I had to spend months convincing my kids that ghosts weren't real. I'd be a horrible mother if I let my mind wander in that direction."

"No matter who cooks we should do it again," Elena tells Heidi with a small smile. "It was great the last time, though I felt like Nate and me morphed into twelve-year-olds or something while we were at the table together." Put Nathan and Elena together in one room and the maturity level goes down pretty fast. It was awful in some ways, hilarious in others.

"That's not a bad life to have, being a career scholar," the young Gomez admits. "Literature sounds like fun too, I've been taking some lit courses lately. Shakespeare and Eastern. We started learning about this Takezo Kensei guy the beginning of the semester." Besides, Elena was a big fan of Academia. If she decides not to be a medical doctor, she'd like to be part of it forever.

Well the Dakota was an old hotel, standing since the 1800s and still in business. Certainly not a lot of old haunted houses in New York City, unless one got out of it and went upstate. She looks over at Heidi when she gives her that expression, and she laughs. "Old stories," she tells her, letting Julius drag her further up the street. "I've been hearing about them for years. John Lennon got assassinated right in front, so I've heard it. Some people believe he's haunting that hotel. And not just him….I've heard stories from middle school about people passing by the hotel and seeing turn-of-the-century children running around, or peeking out the windows when it's dark." She grins impishly, waggling her brows at Heidi. "We should check it out one day."

"I'd say we could make it a weekend thing, but with the election coming up, I don't even know how often Nathan's going to be home." She imagines as the month draws closer toward November, he'll be out more often than not, and if he wins - or loses, even - things could change. "But if we can't all get together, you and I can, if you want."

She lets the leash unwrap from her wrist a little bit as Caesar seems to get used to being out and about, and the smells become more and more similar and familiar. "It was fun. I loved reading, so I figure I could do something with it, learn more about it. Now… Well, I always liked science in school, so I figure maybe I could learn a little more. Who knows? One day, I might be the smartest person ever." Another smile is directed at Elena, and she starts walking again, toward the hotel. It's still a ways off, but it's a nice late afternoon.

"Tell you the truth, after what I've found out in the last year, I shouldn't assume that ghosts don't exist." There's a brief look back at Elena as she says that. Heidi was terrified at first, but that didn't last more than a few hours. Her husband, her brother-in-law. It's all normal now. So the question is… "One day, or now?"

"That would be great, I missed you," Elena tells Heidi with a smile, and she does look a little sheepish. "I mean to come around more, but with the move, and school…" She rubs the back of her neck as she walks a more sedate Julius up the street next to Heidi. "But if you intend to go to NYU when you do try to get back into school let me know, maybe we can do lunch or something sometimes. And you can meet all my crazy, geeky friends." Heidi often told her she didn't really know a lot of people in New York. Going to a college as diverse as NYU would probably fix that.

She grins, and looks up at the darkening sky. "I always believed in ghosts," she admits sheepishly. "I loved hearing ghost stories as a kid, but at night after hearing them, I'd hide under the blankets. I'm Catholic so….I'm almost required to believe in the afterlife." She sighs, but she can't help but laugh. "Still it would be interesting. I think if ghosts actually do exist, it'd give me more peace of mind than anything. Gives me something to look forward to after I die. A ghost is the ultimate prankster. Move things around. Make noises….freak people out. Pretty soon you've got shows like Ghost Hunters coming around to where you are filming things and trying to get you on camera."

At the last, she nods. "Has it been almost a year already?" she wonders out loud. Though at Heidi's words, she lifts her brows, looking at the older woman. Finally, she grins. "How about now? It's getting dark, it's a hotel….we can pretend to be guests, look around. Though I don't think Julius and Caesar will be allowed in. I suppose we can ask the doorman to look after them for a while and pretend we're calling on a friend that's checked in."

Plans for dinner - maybe something on the grill this time. It's always nice to do that just as the weather's turning colder - somehow it makes steak and hamburger taste better. And if it's just the girls (and maybe the kids) they won't have to worry about vegetarian patties for Peter. "We could just make a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese and hang out in front of the TV all night. I hear there's a prime-time soap that ABC's trying to catch on." It's all over the radio, jeez.

"I'll probably go there. It's close enough." And there's good programs, lots of people, and strangest of all, she's kind of looking forward to homework and textbooks and school supplies. It was always a chore before, but she misses everything. "Are all your friends crazy geeks?" she teases. "I know Peter is."
Ghosts weren't always impossible to believe in for Heidi. She's a down-to-earth type of person, but that doesn't mean she always required a basis in fact to believe anything. After all, she is also religious. Still, the idea of actual ghosts now, when she's forty years old, is just a little far-fetched. But her husband can fly, her brother in law can become invisible. Really, those are two requirements right there, so why not ghosts? "So… You want to haunt people after you die," Heidi clarifies with a half-smile, raising her eyebrows. "No wonder Simon and Monty love you."

It hasn't quite been a year yet, but it's only in the last several months that she's learned that some people are extraordinary. She's used to it, but sometimes if Heidi really takes a moment to think, it does seem a little strange. On the other hand, why shouldn't people be able to go beyond the norm? It's all very confusing, and yet… Not. Oh, logic.

"…Hang on, I have an idea."

She takes her cell phone out of her purse. They're not too terribly far from home, given the fact that they've walked the dogs here. Even if they've been out for a couple hours, that might be a handful of minutes by car, right? And so, she calls old George the Driver, who will come and take the dogs home to where they're safe, and free to chew up Nathan's loafers without worrying about being pupnapped or the like. Once the call is made, she looks back toward the building. "Now, we won't have to worry about these guys."

"Which one? Afterlife? I actually want to catch that at some point. I haven't had the time to watch TV lately but maybe that's just what I need," Elena tells Heidi. "…and I DO love Mac and Cheese." She grins. "Regardless, that sounds awesome - we should definitely do that." Nate might want to join them too because….well, it's a soap opera. And then she realizes he's made her watch them again, and groans. "You know since Mama died I thought I finally ended the hold it had in my life and now it's happening all over again." She winks at her companion then.

She laughs when Heidi asks her whether her friends are geeks. "ALL OF THEM are," she says with a laugh. "Mikhail….Miki. I call him Miki because I never get the Russian pronunciation right. He's with me in Dance Corps, but he's also an artist and he draws robot fish all over his notebooks," she describes. "And then there's Ian, who's this big comic book and comic-book-turned-to-movie fan, and he puts references to movies all over what he says in one time like my boss does. And Eric and Gene, don't get me started. Gene actually made me LARP at one point to get my mind off things, and Eric…well. He likes Transformers and Star Trek so that goes without saying. Monica's pretty low in the Geek factor though," she assures Heidi with a grin. "……but then again I've seen her do a T-Rex impression complete with the gimpy arms so chances are, she's seen Jurassic Park." And anyone who references that movie is a geek. It was like a right of passage.

When Heidi teases her about wanting to haunt people, she laughs. "Only sometimes," she tells Heidi with a grin. "It's the ultimate state of prank. Besides, if I ever have any kids, I want to be able to watch over them sometimes, even if by then hopefully they're all older with kids of their own…" She smiles. "I do love your boys though. They're both so cute."

Ooh! Good idea, so when Julius and Caesar are taken off their hands, Elena is left with Heidi, within walking distance of the Dakota, her hands stuffed in her pockets and looking up at the distance where the old, archaic building looms like a dark shadow over twilight. "….well. I don't see John Lennon yet." She winks at Heidi. "Shall we?"

"Yeah, that's the one. I guess it starts after Halloween." Maybe it'll be better if it airs at night! Who knows. It's still a soap opera. Heidi laughs. "I think once you start watching soap operas, you always go back once in awhile. They always turn the story back to itself, so if you haven't watched in ten years, there'll still be something you recognise when you turn it back on. They're sneaky. That's how they get you."

Talk about friends takes Heidi back a little. She has friends… Just, after college, they all kind of went different directions. Though she's bonded with more people lately, like Elena, and Cass, it's still nowhere close to when she was part of a sorority. "It'll be nice to meet them, and to be around people again." There's a difference between playing the politician's wife and actually getting to know the people you meet. "I'll probably be the oldest one there, though!"

Reaching over, Heidi wraps an arm around Elena's shoulder, gives her a squeeze, then lets her go. "Don't think about that yet," she says. "You're too young to be planning who you're going to haunt already. Trust me, when you come so close to dying, you really start to appreciate the time you've already had, and hopefully the time you still have coming." Live one day at a time, look to the future, but not that far forward!
Eventually, George arrives to (tolerantly) load the dogs with their dirty footprints into the car, and drives off with them to the Petrelli house, where they will doubtlessly make a huge mess for the maids.

So, onward to the 'haunted' hotel! Is Heidi scared!? Naaah. Well, maybe there's that little edge drawn out by anticipation. Who knows? Maybe there is a ghost in there. "I think we're going to be disappointed," she says, though she's still smiling as she heads toward the old place.

"Well it would really fit. November first is All Saints' Day," Elena says, pondering her internal calendar. "By then it'll probably be really cold. TV by the fireplace sounds awesome." Her father's house was a bit aways from the city now, but the Petrelli mansion does have a fireplace. It would be awesome to hang out with Heidi there. Maybe with two mugs of hot chocolate. Because…girls like chocolate. That's just how they roll.

She laughs. "Yeah but you don't look it," she says, looking over at Heidi. "Come on, Heidi, I'm sure everyone you meet probably thinks you're at most in your late twenties. You don't even look -close- to being forty. Besides, if anyone asks, you can just hypnotize them with those blue eyes of yours." And she leans forward, and widening her eyes like this: O.O for emphasis. "And go: I'm 25 and they'll believe you." She laughs. "Until you tell them who you are anyway….anyone who reads the news will know who you are."

She hugs Heidi back with one arm when she wraps her arm around her shoulders, squeezing back a bit and smiling. "I'm trying not to, really I don't think about it much - it just came up, I guess, in terms of haunting people." She folds her arms behind her head. "Hell usually all I think about normally is how I could manipulate the system so I can graduate early and get to the real stuff." She's 19, marriage and kids don't really ease into the forefront of her mind until something pushes it in conscious thought. She waves when George leaves, and then starts moving towards the hotel.

"Maybe, usually when you're actually looking for these things, they never show up. But we might get lucky," Elena says. She nods to the doorman, who opens the doors of the hotel/apartment building for them as they maneuver inside. The building is clearly very old, there are areas in the lobby where the paint has yellowed despite the recent touch-ups and renovations since the Lennon years. It's well lit, however, so it's not scary….stairs run up to the higher levels, and a set of old-style elevators to make it easier for the people who live in it.

Heidi doesn't know a thing about the show, but there's a fleeting thought— "Damn it, now I'm tempted to watch it," she mutters, mostly to herself, but loud enough so that Elena can hear. "So this means I can skip school and just hang out with my favourite soaps all day, then? They still all run on ABC in the afternoon, right?" Aah, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital! HOW SHE MISSES THEM. "I think… last time I watched, Luke and Laura were married. I hear Laura went crazy, though. Poor girl."

That's a soap for ya, though.

Someone saying that she looks younger than she is is very flattering! Heidi smiles, looking at the ground. "Well, I don't feel forty," she says. "Especially since I started running and everything. And the kids keep me busy." The comment about her eyes makes her roll them. She's always liked her eyes. "They're just blue, they're not hypnotic, really. Believe me, I've tried." She knows they're an odd colour, and sure, there are lots of people with blue eyes, but… Time for a confession. "They don't look nearly that blue when my hair's brown." Guess who dyes her hair. The illusion is shattered. SHATTERED.

"Well, take your time. There's no rush, 'else you'll suddenly realise you're forty years old." It might seem to take forever to get through school, but Heidi's sure Elena'll appreciate the time one day.

Stepping into the hotel, Heidi looks around. It certainly is nice, despite the age. "I just don't see how a building could hold a ghost," she says quietly, so that the person working the desk can't hear. "If I were Lennon's ghost, I'd probably be in a music studio somewhere. That makes more sense. Who wants to hang out where they were killed?"

"I think so? A couple of years ago they were. I'm just not sure now because I'm at school most of the day, and in the afternoons I go to work - or vice versa if I have no classes in the morning." Which means no sleeping in or soap watching for her. Granted it's been getting more difficult to get up now that the days were getting colder, but Peter seems to be a cold weather person and he helps her get up. "Really? I thought Laura was in a coma again?" she wonders out loud. She didn't really know anymore but Laura Spencer seems to make the entire coma thing a habit.

But yes, that's how Soaps roll.

"You've tried? Really?" Elena laughs. "Man….I wish I've seen the attempt. I wonder if Nate gave you that look if you ever tried it on him." Then again, Heidi also has the power of Love and Awesome on her side so who knows, maybe Nate caved when she used it on him. Still, she looks around curiously at the old apartment building…it smells….well, there was a certain smell to it that denoted its age, despite the paint. Kind of like must. She moves over to the old-school elevators, looking over at her and grinning. "Well, I actually read somewhere at one point that ghosts either tend to haunt the places they spent a lot of time in, or the place which they died. I don't know, I don't believe it's actually a science but most 'paranormal investigators.' " She makes the quotes-endquotes gesture with her fingers. "Believe that ghosts are actually visual and physical manifestations of strong emotional imprints left behind in life. So if someone dies in a place, or someone lives in a place, chances are higher that a ghost would return to those places. And since Lennon both lived and was murdered here…"

She grins. "But you're right though. If I was a ghost, I'd want to use my ghostly skills to go to places I like and never been to." She squints at the elevator numbers, and hits the seventh floor. "John Lennon's apartment was number 72." There's a pause, and she smiles sheepishly at Heidi. "Mama was a Beatles fan."

"Really," Heidi says, smiling. Everyone's aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, except in cases like Elena's where your abilities are going haywire and you're making people kiss each other. Yeah. Of course, that's because she had some jerk messing with her conscious thought. "I figured it wasn't fair." So she stopped.

"You're a paranormal investigator now?" she jokes when Elena holds up the quotes. Think about it! She's giving all these facts and figures about ghosts like she just knows, and here they are, hunting for ghosts in October, in a place where people believe one might just live. The fact that they're thinking about it is enough to give Heidi a bit of a chill as she stands near the elevator with her hand against the cool wall. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, really, but given that she's been thinking about her own family and what they can do…

Stepping into the elevator, she notes the fact that it squeals, just a little, as it goes up. "I didn't really need to give Nathan The Look," Heidi says, going back to a previous point. "He was pretty much head over heels - at least that's how I like to remember it." She hasn't questioned that until recently, and even then, she does reassure herself that Nathan does care about her a great deal, loves her. His slip-ups are just… worse than most. She's pretty sure Elena won't have to worry about that with Peter, though.

As the elevator stops on the seventh floor, Heidi looks at the younger girl. "All right, lead the way."

"Me? Nah…but I like reading about weird stuff. I think it's the only reason why I'm not….freaking out over stuff as much as I should," Elena says. "You know my first encounter with….all this…" She waves a hand vaguely to the side. "I was taken hostage by this crazy chick who can shoot fireballs from her palms. I thought it was a trick at first, kind of like what Criss Angel does or something…but I realized it was real when I saw she didn't have anything special strapped to her to pull it off. No hose or gasoline cans or anything. It was scary but…I guess after that.." After that, things just got weirder. Now she's sorta used to it.

She trusts Peter, even if she gets those momentary twinges whenever he talks about Elle or Simone. But she's human, and inexperienced with relationships - insecurities were bound to occur. But that doesn't stop her from loving him, and trusting him. It's just how it is. So when they both step out of the elevator and into the seventh floor….the light is yellow, the archaic architecture was all around them, and the musty smell is still there. A row of doors and a straight hallway that stretches in both directions greet them as their feet find the floor out of the elevators. Part of this….looks familiar. It doesn't take long for it to click in though.

"You know what this reminds me of?" she murmurs to Heidi, so as not to disturb the people in the apartments. "The Shining. That scene where Jack Nicholson's son was just paddling his kiddie bike around and around and around the hotel and he finds those two kid-ghosts at the end of the hall when he turns around." She looks down the hall. "…come to think of it I heard that people see ghosts of 19th century children running around here too. Then again with buildings as old as these…"

Hopefully there's no one listening. Heidi looks around, just to make sure. All the doors are closed, though. There's no one around. "Like I said before, it's amazing what a person can get used to." Her first encounter was, of course, seeing Nathan fly, and not long after that, she learned about Peter, about Elena, Elle, the fact that her boys might take after their father, and that Heidi herself might be some sort of 'carrier.' And yet, they still all have each other and the whole world hasn't (yet) changed because of it.

There's definitely a creepyness about the place, if for no other reason than she's thinking about ghosts. The lighting doesn't really help - shadows dancing on the walls as they pass are still shadows, though. The floor creaks as Heidi walks down in. Just a little, though. "You think children died here?" she asks, somewhat horrified by that. It's hard to imagine someone so young just dying, even if she knows it happens, and yes, Heidi has seen The Shining. "I think I'd rather see Lennon."

"Humans are highly adaptable creatures and all that," Elena murmurs. She can't help but sniff - she's used to newer buildings unless she hung around the New York University campus - which was one of the oldest private univerities in the US. So the smell of must is evident and easily detectable in her nose. Not exactly the same, but almost. So it does look a little creepy, with the faint, yellow lighting and the dark shadows looming over the hallway. The fact that the windows flanking both ends of the hall show the darkness of the city night outside doesn't help. "I was half-expecting wallpaper," she jokes towards Heidi.

But yes, this felt like the hallway from the Shining. She takes a cautious step to the side, and proceeds to move down the hall. After all, they're looking for ghosts, so by Murphy's Law that means they won't find any, right? Right.

"That's what I heard," she murmurs to Heidi. "People would pass by this building and look up, and they'll see children at night looking at them from the windows. Some of the staff sees them sometimes according to the stories, playing on the floor and sometimes they can hear them. I love them in life but there's something about phantom children that gives me goosebumps." Maybe because of the knowledge that children died in the building is kind of creepy, and tragic. She looks over at Heidi and grins. "Yeah, me too…"

As they continue to walk down the hall, the wooden floorboards on the old building creak under their weight, and the accoustics of the hallway force their steps to echo just a bit. There's a sound, a tap, and creaking not associated with their steps. But old buildings make settling noises all the time. Still, that makes Elena look over her shoulder. "…I should stop telling ghost stories while we're looking for them," she tells Heidi quietly with a sheepish grin.

"Peeling wallpaper with the glue still stuck on underneath, cracks in the walls that go up to the ceiling. Gargoyles." They could all be perfectly at home here! "Broken pieces of the ceiling revealing the beams beyond, wrinkled carpets, what else?" That scent is probably years and years and years of minor water damage built up over the century, and while it wasn't ever noticable year to year, it's quite apparent now. Maybe that's what ghosts smell like.
But Heidi is not afraid! No, sir. As Elena walks down the hall, Heidi eventually passes her, heading to the window where she can look out seven stories down. There's a bit of a chill here, though it must be from the outside air, and not the spirits of children. That wouldn't make sense.
"I don't see anything," she says, standing on her tiptoes so she can look higher out the window, beyond the masonry blocking her clear view of the ground directly below.

At the tapping, Heidi turns, looking to Elena to see if she did it. "Probably just someone moving around inside their apartment," she says offhandedly, though when she quiets to listen for the sound again, she doesn't hear anything.

"Old buildings like this tend to be really noisy. Materials settling into centuries-old foundations and whatnot," Elena murmurs. She can't stop thinking about The Shining! Stupid imagination! She keeps walking further down the hall, slowly, so as not to bug the apartment dwellers that are settling in for the evening. The loud thud causes her to jump up a bit, pressing a hand over her heart and wheezing. Yeah. Go you, Elena. You just said it's just old materials and you're jumping at every sound it makes.

It's also a little cold. "….well, the windows probably aren't as insulated as it could be…" she murmurs to Heidi as they keep walking down together. Though…she takes a step closer to Heidi as she goes. For warmth. Yes. That's it. "And I don't see anything either. I told you, if we're looking for a ghost we probably won't find it. That's the way this all works usually…." From the shows she'd catch when she can't sleep anyway.

Suddenly, there it is. A large, amorphous shadow sliiiiiiiiiiiiding across the wall in front of them. And it's getting bigger. And closer. And even closer until…

"SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!"

The mouse stares at both of them. And then? Proceeds to…..rush forward in an attempt to dodge past their legs.

Her imagination is definitely playing tricks on her at this point. The musty smell, the old structure around her, the feeling of the slightly warped floorboards beneath her feet. It's like she's at home, sitting on the couch, watching one of those old late-night horror movies. They seem all the more scarier when they star people she doesn't immediately recognise, only here, there's no blanket to wrap around her for warmth, no children to snuggle up next to her. No huge dogs trying to weasel their way onto her lap.

Heidi shakes her head a little. Ghosts. Really, come on, Petrelli, this is ridiculous. She chuckles a little, turning from the window to give Elena a 'what the hell' look. As she steps away from the window, she can't be sure, but… It feels like the cold is still there, following her.

Those blue eyes that win hearts and MINDS go wide when that shadow approaches them. Heidi doesn't immediately see the mouse, but she does hear that squeaking and the fact that she's already a little weirded out by the noises and cold and shadow— Heidi makes a dash for the elevator. AAAAAH GHOSTS

The shadow. Elena doesn't even react when Heidi makes a break for it. "Heidi!" she exclaims, and looks back at the looming shadow only to see….

A mouse.

The mouse blinks.

Elena blinks.

The mouse moves forward quickly.

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATS!" the Gomez girl cries. Because nothing's more disgusting or dirty or as big as a New York rodent. She turns around, and runs. Of course, the rat only moves where the fleeing goes so it looks like the two of them are being chased by the mutant thing that should be in a subway but for some reason is in the apartment building were John Lennon was shot. Then again, this was New York. One of the oldest industrial cities in American history. Plus….she has a cause to be running, the thing could have rabies!

She skids towards the elevator, helping Heidi pound on the down button if she hasn't done it already.

"We are not going to tell Nathan or Peter about this," she says as she mashes the button for the first floor as Elena slams on the close-door button. Unfortunately for them, in an old elevator like this, the doors don't close quite as fast as they would like them to.

And for some reason, the mouse finds haven in the elevator just as much as the women do. As Heidi's muttering "C'mon, C'mon!" to the doors, the mouse slips inside the elevator car, and sits up, staring at her with little beady black eyes.

Heidi backs away from the little rodent so fast, that there's a thud as she collides with the opposite wall. There's a rail around the whole thing - Heidi never understood why elevators had hand rails, really, but now the reason is clear - for getting away from the gigantic New York rodents. And yes, Heidi actually tries to climb up onto the rail. The mouse is going to eat them.

Yes! Freedom! Safety! Security! Elena practically dives into the elevator just as Heidi pounds on the first floor button. She scrambles to hit the closed button but….the elevator. It is old.

And it is slow.

So not only do the doors not close in time. The elevator descends SLOWLY.

The rat, with its giant beady eyes and fat, bloated body, looks up at the two women in the elevator, trapped with it.

"…squeak?"

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATS!" Elena cries again. God she was a wuss. And there wasn't anything to stand on. So she backs away with Heidi, pressing herself against the corner of the elevator. Of course, the shrieking only agitates the rat even further, so the rat…tries to find a way out. Which means it's darting here and there around the elevator. Elena, of course, is trying to avoid it, so she's leaping back and forth around the small space. At one point, she actually tries to claw her way upward to the roof of the elevator where the maintenance panel is. To no avail. She's Elena Gomez, not Peter Parker after all.

Yes.

They are SO NOT TELLING PETER AND NATHAN ABOUT THIS.

Trapped in an elevator with a rat, which Heidi's imagination is telling her is roughly the size of a rottweiler. "Don't let it touch you!" she says, breathlessly, to Elena as she manages to get one foot up on the rail. There's some masonwork above her (yes, in the elevator) which she's holding onto for dear life as she looks downward at there the huge rodent is running around aimlessly. THERE IS NO EXIT STRATEGY.

She can't quite hoist herself up all the way, because she is weak, and so eventually, she has to let go of the masonry and the rail, turning to see where the rat is - scrabbling against the closed door now. Heidi momentarily calms.

Rats are smart.

Rats are very smart. And somehow, it figures out that it can probably climb clothing. And since Heidi's not flailing around anymore, it heads right for her pantleg, which is a mistake, of course. Heidi kicks her foot, but it's HANGING ON TO HER SHOELACES. "ELENA. ELENA IT'S GOING TO BITE ME."

"WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT THAT?!" Elena cries, still pressing herself up against the wall of the elevator. This? This totally does not bode well for her future career as a researcher when she can't even handle the sight of giant, mutant New York rats. She's freaking out, especially when Heidi screams and flails her leg around and the rat CLINGS ONTO THE SHOELACES for dear life. "Alright! Heidi hang on! It won't bite you! I'll…I'll…!"

Oh god.

She can't believe she's doing this.

She reaches out, and GRABS the rat's tail, and tries to yank it off Heidi's shoe. It comes off, because rats don't really hold a candle to human strength. Unfortunately, like what every rodent does when one picks it up by the tail…it curls in, and clamps up on her wrist….and runs up her arm to dive into Elena's shirt.

"AAHGGGGHGGHRGGRHGEHGRTHGHRTHTGHRGHGH!!!"

She's shaking. She's trying to get it off her. It's on her back. OH GOD. She's twisting and her hands move all over herself to try and grab the rodent. "Heidi!" she cries frantically, twisting about in a panicked fashion around the slow going elevator.

"I DON'T KNOW!" she replies, still kicking her foot even as Elena reaches out for the little critter, who's now just as terrified as the two women are. Somehow, it doesn't think to bite, only to hide, to get away from them both - humans are crazy.

A story must be told here.

This morning, the rat awoke comfortably in its little hole in the wall. In meandered its way down the steps, met a very nice girl rat on the way to the kitchen, and ensured the next generation of rats would be born inside the old hotel. It made its way through the lobby to the conference room, where it easily managed to steal a breakfast roll from the continental breakfast table, before it scurried back up the stairs into its warm den.

But like any creature, rats can be greedy. It figured that this time, it would stay in that room and eat until it was bursting, then go sleep the night away. However, it didn't count on running into two scary women on the way. Roughly translated, its thoughts go like this: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH"

And now the rat is in Elena's shirt. "I GOT IT I GOT IT!" Heidi says, grateful that she was previously rescued, reaching down Elena's shirt (SORRY ELENA SORRY) to grab the rat by the scruff of its neck and remove it forcefully, and as the elevator opens to reveal a handful of people waiting to go up, Heidi is standing there with a squealing rat in her hand.

*DING!*

The double-doors slide open, revealing a bunch of tenants staring at both of them when Heidi Petrelli reaches down Elena's shirt and yanks out a rat. There is a pause, and Elena looks up slowly to find two elderly women, a couple, and a little boy staring at both of them when they've managed to stop squirming. Except for the rat, of course, which is wriggling in Heidi's hand.

She moves to step in front of Heidi, hoping to block most of the view. "Ah….ah heh. Sorry. My…pet got away. We'll….get out of your way now," she says sheepishly, sliiiiiiiiding a step to the side of the elevator and moving out. However, she's moving slowly so Heidi can move with her. She's still grinning, even as the rest of them are gaping. Finally, she moves for the door. Quickly. With Heidi and the rat.

After a bit, the little boy looks up at his mother.

"Mommy are they lesbians?"

"WILLIAM A. CHARLSTON THE THIRD! WHEN DID YOU LEARN THAT WORD?!"

"Daddy lets me watch MTV!"

"WILLIAM!"

"WHAT? He needs to know when golddiggers are going all up on his grill!"

Heidi's eyes are fixed on the rat, actually, so she doesn't notice immediately when the door opens. Still, given the scope of what's happened, she does quickly see that they're now being watched, and so the blue-eyed women's face goes a little red as Elena starts heading out of the elevator and toward the door. And then, completely oblivious to the conversation that William the Third is having with his parents, she makes a break for it, past the doorman and right behind Elena, still holding the squirming critter in her hand. At least she has it in such a way where it can't turn around and take a chunk out of her wrist with its sharp little incisors.

Once they're outside, she kind of realises that she still has the rat, which is considerably less squirmy now. Heidi looks at it, curling her nose up a little.

"Skeek?" it says.

"…It's actually kind of cute," Heidi replies.

"….this doesn't bode well for my future career as a researcher or a doctor if I can't even be in the same place with a rat," Elena says with a resigned expression. "I don't get it. I can handle dead frogs. Dead people in a morgue. People bleeding buckets. But New York rats?" She shudders a little bit. But even when Heidi turns the face of the helpless furry critter towards him, she looks…and… "….yeah, I guess it's kinda cute," she says. She doesn't try and touch it though. "Maybe we ought to let him go?" That's another reason. She can't just kill it. Even if it probably carried a bunch of diseases and had rabies.

She slides her hands in her pockets and waits for Heidi to do…well…whatever with the rat. Looking up at the Dakota, she can't help but laugh.

"We're wimps," she tells her with a laugh. "Here we are all rationalizing how old buildings can't really have any ghosts and the moment we see a LOOMING DARK SHADOWY FIGURE, we bolt for the nearest exit. Maybe it was a bad idea talking about The Shining while entering an old build— "

Something shifts in one of the windows above them. Still a little antsy, Elena's hand reaches out to clutch onto Heidi's sleeve at the sudden movement.

Sigh. Well, at least they're out of the building. Leaning down, Heidi lets the rat go. It scurries into the nearest shrubbery, and will likely never be seen by these two ever again. Probably for the best, right? Just because she didn't kill it and thinks it might be cute doesn't mean she likes the thing. The first time her boys ask to have a rodent for a pet, the answer is going to be a resounding no. And then some. Their little friend will find his way back to the hole in the wall it came from, and settle down for a long night's sleep.

"Yeah, well, we were talking about ghosts," Heidi says, looking at her hand before brushing it off on her pants. Rat germs are gross. Reaching into her purse, which she's managed to hang onto despite the flailing, she finds some hand sanitizer - always carry some! - and rids herself of the ratty feeling.

The bottle drops to the ground as Elena tugs on her sleeve, though. "What?" Heidi looks up to see what the other girl is looking at. There's still tension… Maybe they should go.

The movement in the windows shifts, and a cherubic face peers out of it. The child doesn't seem to be aware that he's being stared at, but what could be distinctive about it is the fact that he's wearing one of those Little Lord Fautleroy hats on top of his head - something that had been totally out of fashion in the 1800s. He seems busy looking out the window.

Elena stares, and then reaches out to pluck the hand sanitizer away and turns around. "Yeah. I think we better go," she squeaks at Heidi. Now she was seeing things. It had to be. The thing about The Shining and ghost turn-of-the-century children was getting to her. The light is hazy. The mind is playing tricks. Plus she's still a little wiggy from the rat. Curling an arm around Heidi's, she'll start moving down the street. Hopefully they can call George so he could pick them up, but now she's moving away from the Dakota as fast as she can. Back to the mansion. Where there are no rats (sort of) and no ghost children (unless Simon and Monty decide to wear Halloween costumes early).

She's never going ghost hunting again.

Unless it's rat free.

Back inside the Dakota, Thomas "Tommy" Wilmer rubs his finger against his nose, and sneezes, and looks behind him. "Mother? Why do I have to wear this stupid thing?"

"Because you look adorable sweetheart. Besides. Your father wants a family portrait with all of us dressed up in Victoriana."

"But we're in AMERICA NOW. Not jolly ol' England!"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License