2007-05-20: Heidi Go Seek

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Elena stops by the Petrelli mansion to check on Heidi, only to find out she hasn't returned yet. Nathan answers the door, and both work together to track her down. Elena discovers a new use for her powers. Unfortunately it looks like she's not aware of it herself.

Date It Happened: May 20, 2007

Heidi Go Seek


Petrelli Mansion, Hyde Park + Somewhere in New York City

There are too many hotels in new York. First bill to pass through Congress: less goddamn hotels. No, Nathan hasn't frantically rung every hotel listed in the phonebook, but he has checked the couple that seemed likely, that they've been to before. No such luck. Naturally. The phone rings and Nathan tiredly picks it up. Yes, he confirms, there will be a press conference on Thursday 11 am sharp, thank you, /goodbye I am trying to find my wife/. That last part, thankfully, goes unsaid as he sets the phone back into its cradle and leans back into his office chair. He's tempted to kick the floor so that the chair will spin once, lazily, but he's told his sons off enough times for playing on daddy's furniture that it seems hypocritical.

The doorbell rings twice before it occurs to Nathan that there's no one else in the house to answer it, so with a sigh, he moves to go do so. And? He's not wearing a bathrobe. Just casual-dad-clothes, slacks and a sweater.

—-

When the doorbell rings, it's Elena, dressed in a pair of slacks, a short-sleeved, button-up shirt, and a pair of shoes that, while business casual, seem to be made for walking around New York. There's a carrier bag slung diagonally across her chest, her hair pulled up in a twist, with several strands artfully pulled out to frame her face. She's even got a touch of makeup on, simple, but no, she's not here to ask Nathan out on a date. There's a security ID card clipped to one of her belthoops, indicating that the girl works for a Company called Evolution Software - but Nathan already knew that. Looks like she just dropped by before heading to work today.

She blinks, not recognizing Nathan at first. He's NOT WEARING A TIE. Or a suit. Or anything that made him look like the man he was accustomed to seeing on TV or in the papers. He looks…normal. As normal as a guy who can fly could be. "Mr. Petrelli," she says, blinking. "I…uh…is Heidi back yet? I was hoping….I wanted to check on her."

—-

Almost too normal. At the very least, there's no argyle to be seen. Nathan blinks at Elena, likely not someone he expected to see visiting here, or even asking for Heidi let alone knowing that Heidi is 'away' somehow. He's not actually aware of their friendship - although didn't Elena say Heidi was awesome? Or something? Had Nathan thought it somehow tactful to ring Heidi's usual friends to see if she had gone or spoken to them at all, he certainly wouldn't have drawn up Elena's name, anyway. "No, Heidi's not home," he says. "Did Peter mention she'd be away?" Because Peter and Elena are friends, so, maybe that's it.

—-

"No…" Elena says, and looks somewhat awkward. "She…..visited me a few days ago. She was upset." But by the look on her face, Nathan can clearly tell she knows, and not only did she know, but the fact that her wife confided to the 19 year old. The fact that Nathan didn't think of calling Elena can't be blamed on any logical perceptions he has….it was just really unusual for a 19 year old to be hanging out with a 39 year old in the way she was doing. "I know she left….but I got the impression that it was temporary. It's been a couple of days since then so….I wanted to see if she was doing okay. She also left a few things in my apartment." Namely, some of her clothes that were still usable. "That I wanted to give back." At least she's not JUDGING YOU, Nate. Well, not really. At the very least she's not getting mad at him on Heidi's behalf, she knows it's counterproductive.

—-

Nathan narrows his eyes at the young woman as she explains, apparently not entirely happy that she should know as much as she does… but then again, he'd, at least figuratively, cried on the shoulder of a complete stranger and yeah… Heidi would have needed someone to talk to. Whatever irritation he felt leaves him at this moment of insight, and he nods once, pushing the door open a little wider as he steps back into the estate. "Why don't you come in," he says. "Last I saw her was on the 16th so you got a head start on me." He's not really giving Elena a choice, it seems, as he turns his back on her and heads further inside, leaving the door open.

—-

She should get going, but Nathan is letting her inside, and despite all her misgivings, she's convinced that the man actually loves his wife and the part of her that refuses to think that their marriage is going the way of the dodo keeps her where she is. Finally, Elena steps inside, closing the door behind her. "She came back here for a while," she says. Probably during the night that Nathan was thinking about. So he MISSED HIS CHANCE TO INTERCEPT HIS WIFE. "On the 16th, and early morning 17th. I was here then, she wanted to see Simon and Monty. She didn't…trust Elle to babysit them." She follows the taller man, scrutinizing the line of his shoulders carefully. "But aside from that, I haven't seen her since though George…I think that's his name…. he stopped by my house with a message from her telling me she was okay and she needs to be away….for a bit." Away from him. But she doesn't say that.

—-

/That Bastard George/, as Nathan has taken to calling him. Having gotten no word since yesterday's failed attempt to get information - or as far as he can tell, even communicate with Heidi - that man is definitely off the list of trustworthy people. Even if it's only been 24 hours and surely George has better things to do. All the same. Nathan leads towards the opening sitting area so that they don't have to stand awkwardly in the foyer, taking to perching/resting against the arm of a couch rather than relaxing. "George is one of our drivers," he says, with a tense smile. "As far as I can tell, he's the only one that knows where she and the boys are." So there you have it, Elena - Nathan's misplaced his family. His arms come up to fold as he regards her. "So you saw her. Is she…?" He can't bring himself to ask if she was okay, so he lets that sentence be open-ended.

—-

She follows him into the sitting room, Elena still looking hesitant. She had no idea she was being dragged into the Petrelli family problems, but it can't be helped. BOTH Peter and Heidi confided in her, it was bound to happen eventually. So when she watches him sit on the arm of the couch, she can't help but feel her expression soften. As mad as she is that this happened to Heidi, who had been nothing but a wonderful and courageous woman since the moment she met her acquaintance at Peter's, she can't help but feel for Nathan. Her father lost his own wife. She knew what it could do to a man who thought he had everything he could ever ask for. "She was….." She pauses, and she sighs, looking to meet the older Petrelli brother's eyes. "She was miserable, Mr. Petrelli. She thought she wasn't good enough for you, and she blamed herself for not stepping up to become what she thinks you want. I managed to convince her not to believe that because you don't seem to be the type to marry just anyone." She searches his face for a moment, and speaks up, quietly. "She still loves you, sir. She just doesn't know if you still feel the same way. She feels like she lost you somewhere down the line."

She pauses, lifting a hand to rest on her chin. "Have you tried having George followed?" she asks. "By someone you trust? Someone he doesn't know about?"

—-

It takes a lot of effort for Nathan not to just cut Elena off. He wasn't intending to have a heart to heart with someone who, as far as he knows, doesn't have the worldly experience to know quite what she's talking about. His expression makes this plain at a couple of points, communicated through restlessness and discomfort, but otherwise, he actually lets her speak. Because it occurs to him she has more of a clue of what's going on with Heidi than he does. Perhaps she's repeating what was said. In which case - owch.

He nods his acceptance of all of this, but when Elena suggests the idea of following That Bastard George, Nathan frowns. "No," he says. "Listen, you… I'm not expecting you to help me, here." Because let's face it - this isn't Elena's problem. "You're just the last person who spoke to her, I wanted to know if she was okay." A beat. Damnit. He had been trying to give That Bastard George the benefit of the doubt, him being his only lifeline to his wife, but. It's been a /whole day/. "I'd do that but I'm trying to keep this whole thing quiet," he says, shrugging a little. Except for one drunken slip, naturally. "I don't need to be dragging PIs into this, you know?" However, he's obviously considering the merits of this idea.

—-

Sadly, Nathan, she IS repeating what was said. By the looks of her, Elena isn't exactly comfortable with this EITHER. She doesn't -want- to be dragged into this, she had never expected to be dragged into their marital problems. But Heidi came to her, and well…he -asked-. Not to mention part of her, perhaps some part of her, wants to show Nathan just how badly he fucked up. Because while he might realize that NOW, sometimes repeating a fact cements it in someone's head. At least she's not being hateful, or snide. She just sincerely wants Heidi to be happy again, and for Nathan to come after her and not give up. Because giving up was for losers. LOSERS. And she's not voting for a loser, damn it!

"I know," she says, with a shrug. "I'm not exactly comfortable with…..you know." She gestures helplessly to one side. "I'm 19. What do I know about this stuff? But….Heidi's my friend. And Peter's my friend." Just a friend. "The least I can do is at least try and help get you guys in the same place." Because they really, really need to talk. Running away wasn't going to solve anything. "So….I guess….you, or you and I. We can try and tail George, if he's not giving up where she is." That and it might mean more to Heidi if Nathan did it himself, too. But she's not going to say that out loud. She's already meddling enough.

—-

Yeah so basically, it's a situation where no one is happy. But Elena seems to get what needs to happen. Nathan just needs the time of day. After that, it's Heidi's game to lose. He sincerely hopes she doesn't choose to, but that's a later bridge to cross. At her suggestion, Nathan almost smiles. It's more of an amused tug at his mouth, an interruption in the broody seriousness no matter how brief. "You don't have anything better to do than play detective?" he asks her, rhetorically, although there's some gratitude there, as well as a way out should she choose not to help.

All they need is to look each other in the eye. And then maybe, just maybe, they'll be reminded of what brought them together in the first place. Elena hopes so anyway. At the tug on Nathan's mouth, the first SORT OF SMILE she's ever seen on the man's face which actually made him look more charming than scary, she can't help but quirk an open grin at him. "I'm a teenager," she quips back at Nathan. "Shouldn't you be encouraging me to learn more marketable skills?" And being able to play detective was pretty damned marketable. She sets her bag down on a nearby place, and she cracks her knuckles. She's ready to buckle down and get to work, a determined expression setting on her face. "When does George come back from wherever he is?" she asks.

—-

Oh he remembers, and it shows, especially when Elena doesn't excuse herself from this situation. Hell, he introduced himself the first time a moment after jumping off a building only to go and, well, /find Heidi/. Even if this time, it's his own fault, the parallels can't be helped. "I was going to call him back around here today to see if he got my message to Heidi," Nathan says, then shrugs. "I could give him something to take to her." SNEAKY PETRELLI IS SNEAKY.

"……awesome," Elena says simply. "And then we can follow him. Have a cab waiting on standby. You call him, I'll call a cab and I'll instruct the cabbie to wait in front of the house adjacent to yours that way George would think it's for your neighbor. I'd say we could drive it….but…" She pauses. "If George has been an employee of yours for a bit, he might be familiar with your other vehicles. So…..I think it's best if we took something that can blend in easily with New York traffic." Because -all- of New York city's cabs are yellow. And by positioning the cab on the next door property, the cab driver can easily see George leaving the Petrelli driveway. Even if they waited for a few minutes, the driver will know what they're talking about when they say 'Follow the car that just left'.

—-

You know, considering the greater scheme of things… this conversation ranks low on the scale of insanity next to the /last/ time they had to go find Heidi. Nathan kind of just… looks at Elena for a moment, before pointing towards a phone situated in the corner of the room. "Arrange the cab," he instructs - his way of saying 'good idea, let's do it'. Hopefully Elena is learning to speak Nathanlanguage. He, meanwhile, goes to punch in the familiar number for his usual car service, taking his weight off the couch to wander across the room to do so. He adds, as an aside to Elena, "Limos aren't hard to follow, I figure." Now what to give to George to give to Heidi? Something legitimate, can't exactly just be a spatula, now can it? Oh. He knows. He takes the wedding ring from his pocket - something he hasn't really let get very far from him and wanders off to his office, letting Elena take care of cab arrangements.

"No, they're not," she says simply. Because limos, even in New York, seeing them around is pretty rare unless there's some sort of big event going on. This is where Elena is actually more energized. Something to do. A problem to solve. The young woman was a budding scientist, and growing up to be at the very least an able strategist. She actually grins at Nathan when he points to the phone. She'd say 'Yes, sir', but that might be too corny. She strides away from her bag, while Nathan moves off to do just what he does. She picks up the phone, and dials 411. She doesn't know the cab company's number off the bat. "New York," she says, prompting the state on the automatic message. And then… "New York City. New York City Cabs." She gets the number, and then. "Yes, connect me directly." She plants a hand on one, slim hip, hearing someone pick up on the other line. "Yes, I'd like a cab for…" And she rattles off….well, she knows the Petrelli's address, so she estimates and picks one for one of their neighbors. One side had odd numbers, and one side had even numbers, she just goes for the next odd or even number, depending on the Petrelli's address.

—-

"As soon as possible," Nathan is saying into his phone, as he one-handedly opens a small postage envelope, slips the feminine wedding band (it's platinum) inside. He hesitates, not wishing to seal it just yet. Maybe he should… leave a note, if for some reason they wind up with an incompetent cab driver and never find her. But no, maybe this will just speak for itself. "Yes, George specifically," he adds, impatient when the person on the other end repeats this particular request. "Thanks again." Click. Phone snapped shut, pocketed, and he closes the envelope. He should maybe start rehearsing what he's going to say. Except… there's just nothing worth rehearsing that would possibly be good enough. With a sigh, he moves back out, towards where he left Elena. Time to set this 'plan' into motion and just jump off the goddamn bridge when it comes.

When Nathan steps out of the other room, Elena looks up after putting the other landline back into the cradle. "The cab will be here in ten minutes. What's George's ETA?" she asks, standing up from the couch and moving over so she can retrieve her carrier bag. She slings the strap over so it's diagonally across her chest. She'll wait for the older Petrelli, sliding her hands in the pockets of her slacks. Her eyes move towards the window, to see if there's a limo or a black lincoln coming up. And then, she pauses. Should she hide when George is here? She starts scanning for possible hiding places. She will HIDE UNDER NATHAN'S DESK. Because the plant on the side isn't big enough.

—-

George drive up in his SHINEY BLACK FERRARI and gets out. He's wearing sunglasses, his hair windswept by the… wind. He is suddenly ten years younger and buff, the sun shines on him, he glitters as he walks up to the Petrelli house, and flowers grow in the grass wherever he steps. When he knocks on the door, the sound is like heaven.

—-

"A few minutes," Nathan answers, feeling oddly… assured about this plan. It's not exactly outside the realms of the actions he's taken before in this past month, but all the same. This seems like the right way to go about doing things, and it has been a /long time/ since Nathan has felt that even remotely. Moving to pick up a jacket and tug it on, he starts to head out when, after a few moments later, That Bastard George pulls up in their driveway. "I'll go deal with him, you wait here," he says, glancing at his wristwatch. Upon opening the door to George, he steps outside directly, not about to invite the man into his house. He promptly holds out the envelope, and once it's taken, it's likely obvious what's inside it. "I'm not gonna ask where she is," he says, almost gently, assuring the driver, again cutting through unnecessary niceties and smalltalk. "Just. Take this to her."

She nods, now that she sees the black ferrari climb up the front driveway of the Petrelli mansion. Elena doesn't say anything though, and instead, she patiently waits. She tucks herself into the room, away from view of the door and the window, pretending she's not there. Unfortunately, she doesn't have invisibility - but she does follow what Nathan says. She inclines her head a bit however, and she perks her ears up so she could hear what Nathan and George are talking about.

—-

What follows is a brief conversation. George is probably relieved that Nathan isn't attempting to wring Heidi's location out of him this time, and agrees to take the ring (it's platinum) to Heidi. Hard to say if he'll do it immediately, but Nathan doesn't press the issue. That would be kind of obvious. Nathan waits until George is back in the Ferrari, starting it up before he slips back inside, glancing over towards the semi-hidden Elena. He listens for the car to pull away before once more, opening the door. Time to go! Mission: Rather Possible.

—-

When she hears the car start, and veer away from the driveway, Elena walks towards Nathan, and pauses at the door. She checks her watch, which looks new by the way it glints. Odd, though - did they make heart-shaped Casios? But she nods to Nathan, and even gives him an energized grin. This is the sort of thing in which she thrives these days. Problem something. Being proactive. "C'mon, Mr. Petrelli," she says, turning to hurry down the driveway, and veers off to the side to go through the side-gate of the mansion so they wouldn't be seen walking out of the driveway in case George looks through his rearview mirror. "Let's go find your wife." When she opens the gate, and peeks through, just enough to see the black ferrari turn the corner, she hurries to the cab that's already parked in the adjacent property.

She opens the door and grins at the driver. "Hi. Follow that ferrari," she says, pointing to where George just disappeared to. And then she crawls into the cab, scooting over to make way for Nathan. Whenever he gets in, the cab will start to do what they ask.

—-

Oh snap. Elena got in the 'follow that caaar!' line before Nathan could. Well, it is sort of her idea, so, she gets the line. He supposes it's fair. Closing the door behind him, Nathan knows a wave of 'oh god what am I doing' as the car pulls out to, indeed, follow that Ferrari. What if That Bastard George is a bastard and doesn't go directly to Heidi's hotel? This was such a stupid idea. Clearly. Oh, sure, his /intentions/ are on the right track, but what if it doesn't work? But then he glances at Elena who still seems determined and enthused, and he lets himself at least /buy/ that attitude. Nathan hazards a glance out the front window, seeing the Ferrari just ahead. He takes out his wallet, starts thumbing through the /way too many notes/. "Wherever he parks, park down the street from him," he informs the driver, then glances at Elena, has to put in: "You enjoy this, don't you." No, that's not snark - clearly he's not talking about the reason, just the problem solving.

—-

"Oooooh, with a fancy car like that, he gonna go faaaast." Their cabdriver, a heavy, but pretty-featured black woman says from the driver's seat, adjusting her rearview to look at the odd couple in the passenger areas of her car. "We gonna play tag wi' him, or somethin'?"

"Uh….I forgot to give him something before he left and it's -very important- that we get to where he is," Elena says, nodding sagely and to her credit, even looks convincing. Hopefully Nathan will play along.

"Mmmmmmmmalright. S'rush hour in the mornin' so it might get a little rough."

Elena nods, and blinks when Nathan addresses her, turning to look over at him. And she seems to be observing him a little with those inquisitive, gold-flecked eyes. Heidi told her that Peter reminded her of Nathan, and she had been skeptical because it looked they were nothing alike. Seeing him this close though…. she flashes the former congressman/future senator a small smile. "I figured I ought to get some practice in, get ready for the real world once I get out of college and into the MD/phD joint program I've got my eyes on. Besides, I think it feels good when you just….sieze the reins and tackle a challenge head-on. It makes me feel more in control over my life, especially in a city as crazy as this one."

Their cab driver? LURCHES forward. "Hold on to your butts~!" she calls behind them, and even lets a loud whoop as they tear into traffic. Hey, George is driving a black ferrari. Those things go fast.

"……..I think we better buckle our seatbelts," Elena says faintly, and frantically pulls hers over.

—-

Nathan is about to respond. Really. And then the car starts /driving/ - they call that torque, kids - and he blinks, rapidly doing his seatbelt. "Okay let's try not to get arrested," he says, because that would just make this whole week complete, wouldn't it?

"You jus' sit tight, honey," the cab driver says, shooting them a sparkling smile while keeping her eyes on the road. "Let me take care o' business." Wink! They seem to only speed up.

Ahaa. Nathan casts her a smile - definitely fake politician smile this time - and he sinks back into his seat, glancing at Elena. "Well if the real world's anything like this, I'm sure you'll do just fine."

—-

Oh Mavis. You do good. Weaving the taxi around like a slinky on a mouse maze, she actually seems right at home with this crazy driving. In no time at all, they can spot the black vehicle in front of them. At least despite the insanity, she can still keep a bead on George and his car.

Elena's eyes are forward. They don't drift to the side to look at the city passing them by. She inches forward a bit on her seat, reaching out to grip the front as she narrows her eyes at the car. At least it was in sight. When Nathan addresses her again, she looks over at him and blinks. "These days it's a lot crazier than this," she tells Nathan. "Sometimes you ought to get a little crazy to cope. It's not so bad. If anything, it's made life a helluvalot more interesting. There's nothing worse than stagnating in your own shell."

The cab driver seems to be slowing down, because George is slowing down. The black car in front of them slows to a stop in front of a hotel somewhere in the downtown area. And per Nathan's instructions, the cab driver stops a street right behind the black car. Elena doesn't get out yet though, and waits for George to slip into the hotel. And when he does, she looks at Nathan, gives him a nod, and unlocks the door, stepping out and adjusting her bag.

—-

After handing Mavis a good lot of cash with a quick 'keep the change', which is substantial, Nathan steps on to the sidewalk, watching That Bastard George head into the hotel. Planning to linger until the zone is Bastard-free, Nathan glances towards Elena. He kind of wants to say 'you can go now' because really, she can. She should. But she'd also make a convenient verbal meatshield should Heidi refuse to see him, and— if the kids are there, they have to be, they can't discuss this in front of them. OH, god, what's Heidi already told them? But Nathan doesn't have much time to ponder this - George is soon out of the hotel, likely needing to actually go and drive someone than run errands.

So, Elena gets a glance, a wry 'oh god here we go then' half-smile, and Nathan heads into the hotel, moving towards the desk. "My wife is staying here," Nathan begins, brushing off the 'hello, how can I help?' niceties that desk people do. "Heidi Petrelli, I'm supposed to be picking her up from here but I've completely forgotten the number." And luckily, he's already working 'desperate husband' chic due to the circumstances, so this comes off as sincere. But. Nathan stares a little when no, there's no Heidi in this hotel. Damn. Damn. Of course this was never going to—

"Adelheid?" Nathan hears himself say. "She might have put it under that name." A glance to Elena, a shrug. And lo, floor three, room fourteen. Would he like a key? "No, that's fine," he says. Nice one, Adelheid. Despite himself, he can't help but smirk.

—-

Well, there. Mission accomplished. By all rights, she should leave. She's about to be late for work, even if EvoSoft doesn't really care when she comes in since Jaden just hired her on a whim. She gives Nathan a quizzical glance, Elena is about to say her goodbyes, but Nathan gives her the smile. The damned Petrelli smile. She groans inwardly, and so she follows after him. She's been hanging out with this family way too much, their little expressions were starting to affect her in ways they shouldn't. "Mr. Petrelli, if she's got your children, maybe I could…" she offers. To give them a chance to talk alone. It's the least she could do, and really, she's gone ALL this way. If Heidi and Nathan didn't talk, she'd be pissed!

She'll let Nathan hunt for his wife at the front desk, and then when the room number is given, she can't help it. Her grin is bright, and sort of goofy, and she flashes Nathan a thumbs-up. Go get 'em, dude. And then, she'll follow him to the elevators to floor three.

And then, when they step out, her gung-ho expression vanishes a touch. Serious now. Serious. She glances over at Nathan, and she gives him a small nod. She'll let him lead, walking down the hall with him to the door where 'Adelheid' is.

—-

"That would be good of you," Nathan says, in response to Elena offering to watch the boys, and when they reach the hallway, Nathan tries very hard not to slow right down, because he's supposed to be leading the way. Or like. Go 'nevermind!' and run in the other direction. He's pretty sure Elena might injure him for that. And he'd kick himself later, anyway. Once they reach the right door, it takes him a few moments, and it's really only due to Elena standing right there that he doesn't take even longer to weigh the pros and cons of this. Bridge. Time to cross it. Or jump off it. One of those. The door gets knocked on sharply, three times, and he backs up a step, studying the ground until it opens.

—-

There was just a knock on the door a few minutes ago, and now Heidi's holding a wedding ring (platinum!) in her hand. She's not sure why Nathan would have sent it back to her, though a million reasons run through her head. That he really is done with her is fairly high on the list, and he's just giving her back what's hers. At this point, she's torn between thinking that must be right, and wondering if she could have reconciled. Looking at Simon and Monty just makes her wish things could have turned out a little differently.

If only Nathan hadn't…

There's a knock on the door again, and with a sigh, Heidi pockets the ring, steps around the boys, and heads toward the hotelroom door. Likely, it's George, since they haven't called for roomservice, and no one else knows she's here. She answers the door in a t-shirt and jeans, hair pulled back, no make-up, looking as if she's never even left the hotel room today. Indeed, she has not, except to go to the pool with the kids.

How can she do anything other than stare when she sees who's on the other side. Heidi doesn't say a word, but Simon is already running past Heidi - closely followed by Monty - to wrap his arms around Nathan. "Daddy! Did you see this place has a pool? It's /so cool!/ Where have you been? I reached level /TWELVE/ in my game, can you believe it?"

—-

….awwww. The kids. When the younger Petrelli boys cling to their father, Elena's expression couldn't help but soften. Part of her was bracing herself. Would Heidi hate her for helping Nathan find her? But….her expression. In the apartment. It's been three days. She's going by her gut, the sheer instinct telling her that all they need to do is talk and see how it goes. They can't give up yet. Both of them can't give up yet. So when she looks up at Heidi, she looks both determined and apologetic. "We followed George," she explains softly, sliding her hands in her pockets.

She looks between both adults.

Come on. Look at each other. Look at your gorgeous children, She wills. There's a chance. Sieze it. It's not hard. One of you just has to reach out and take it.

She, of course, seems to forget that her powers manifested in the first place due to those same wishes. To make people better. To -fix- them. But she's looking at the both of them hopefully. "….if you guys…want to talk I can watch Simon and Monty for a while. Maybe take them out to ice cream." She smiles down at the two boys.

Come on. Come on.

—-

Nathan is very used to the pale blue Heidi-eyes that make her gaze often more intense than she intends, and when she opens the door, he feels trapped by it. Half a second later, his kids break that spell and Nathan descends down onto one knee so he can hug them. "That so?" he says, in response to about everything mentioned. Pools that are awesome and level twelve and all that. "That sounds great - you guys've been good for mom, right?" He's in dad-mode, which is almost a completely different person, as he once said to a certain blonde in Vegas one night, but he sinks out of it once Elena tells Heidi how they got here. Has to handle this.

Standing up once more, he urges Simon and Monty over to Elena, finally looking back at Heidi just as Elena makes that offer. You know. Even in 'not leaving the room' clothes and makeup, she's still pretty. Very pretty. …this is not the train of thought he'd been intending. But it's true. He clears his throat. "Can we do that?" he says, to her. Smile? A very uncertain, shaky smile that he can't help. "Talk."

—-

How can she say anything with the kids here? They don't know the specifics of why Mommy and Daddy are apart, only that there was an 'argument.' She'd never tell them exactly what happened, because she wouldn't want them to see their father as anything other than their hero. Their father who for some reason looks particularly stunning today.

No, /no./ Her eyes widen just a little, and she shakes her head, like she's trying to clear it.

"Yeah, it's kinda boring here. And Simon threw up," Monty says. Simon swears that he didn't, and it seems like they're going to argue /right there,/ oblivious to everything else, until Elena says the magic words. /Ice Cream./

They don't have a clue who Elena is, but suddenly, she is their best friend ever. Still at a loss, Heidi looks down at them as the look expectantly up at her. "Simon is allergic to strawberries," she says, completely neglecting to, y'know, introduce the kids to Elena. And it seems she doesn't intend to, either, because honestly, she's feeling a little anxious, a little foggy, and also /just sad,/ and with the conflicting emotions, it's really hard to concentrate.

Cue a long pause as Heidi looks to the floor, to Elena, and finally to Nathan, before she nods, holding the door open a little more. The heartbreak she was feeling before is being tempered by /something,/ though she has no idea what it is, nor that Elena is causing it. But yes, she wants to talk to him. Yes, she wants to hear his story. And—

No, not /that./

—-

She can guess who Simon is - the older one. Because it was always 'Simon and Monty', not 'Monty and Simon.' Elena can't help but smile slightly when Nathan drops down on one knee to hug the children, and she extends both hands. "Alright, no strawberries," she tells Simon. "And then if you're both extra good, I'll show you the moving robots display they're having at Toys R'Us today." How does she know that? She works for JADEN, who tends to be obsessive over his toys. That and Heidi mentioned the boys liked robots. So she looks between both Petrellis, who look….well. They're staring at each other. This is promising, right?

Go for it, guys. Look at the way they're staring. Those aren't the expressions of people who don't adore one another!

"I'll bring them back when you call me, Heidi, we won't be far," Elena says, and with that, she turns around to lead both boys down the hall. "So favorite ice cream flavors? If we hurry we can catch the ice cream truck just as it goes down the street," she chats with the boys amicably as she heads for the elevators.

—-

Why yes. Staring is happening. Oh there's still nervousness, fear that this will end so despicably badly, anxiety, and of course, guilt. Lots of it. However, Nathan is also noticing the things he used to notice about Heidi when they had first started dating that haven't really gone away. Distance makes the heart grow fonder? It's been three days! She hasn't even left town! Whatever. He just feels so much love for his wife, and not in the steady kind of friendship vein either. "Thanks Elena," he says, a little vacantly, not actually looking towards her, stepping inside the hotel room, managing to step around Heidi rather than towards her.

Okay. I'm sorry. That's the first thing. He's finding it a little h— difficult to focus, and he shakes his head to try and clear his mind, because this is very ridiculous. He turns to her. I'm sorry. Except. He finds himself pulling her closer, into a kiss, while part of his mind goes 'WHAT THE HELL SHE WILL KILL YOU, PETRELLI' and the rest of him goes 'but she's pretty'.

—-

Well, /that/ was weird, thinks Heidi as Elena heads down the hall with the boys. Her head is clearing a little, albeit not completely. The feeling that remains leaves her sort of despondant, tired— A lot like she didn't want to have this conversation, and is now having it anyway. Nathan is here, she both wants to touch him and /doesn't,/ because the thought that he's been with another woman makes Heidi feel sick. The /idea/ is something that can't ever be washed away. And yet, the feeling left behind is… unfulfilled, a lot like she should act first and ask questions later, and /this is not the time to be feeling this way!/

To distract herself, she raises her hand to fidget with the bandage around it, when he kisses her. And she doesn't protest, or resist, and, in fact, is just about to wrap her hands around his shoulders when /NO./ …Okay, she'll wait a second first. Two. Three.

Four. Five.

It takes a good deal of concentration just to raise her hands and /push him away./ By using the hand with the cut across the back of it, she successfully replaces the amorousness with pain, wincing as she takes a step back, asking breathlessly, "What are you /doing?/" Hell. "What was /I/ doing?"

Steel blue eyes look up at Nathan as if this is his fault; she mops a hand across her lips and turns away from him. "It's not going to be that easy," Heidi mumbles. Bring them back to the present. Cold water is the situation. "You had an affair."

—-

Feeling Heidi push him away is a bucket of cold water in itself. First, disappointment. Then, realisation as to what he just did. Nathan swallows, looking a little spooked, before he raises a hand. "I. That wasn't my game plan," he has to say, apology in his tone, although that lingering feeling of sheer /want/ is still bugging him. Think of… of snow, Petrelli. Snow and ice cubes and icycle— no, not icycles.

But that moment, whatever that moment was, has passed in the ways it counted. The idea of touching her now, while she must hate him so much, despite the love Elena mentioned, is almost as repulsive to him as it is to her. "Elena came by about half an hour ago," he says, as if explaining his presence. "She told me you two talked, and… well George wasn't going to tell me where you were so Elena suggested— " yes, all Elena's fault, don't look at me, "— we take matters into our own hands. I guess." A pause. "She also said that you didn't think I loved you. That's not true."

—-

Well, she's not angry. Not at first, anyway. In a lot of ways, Heidi wanted to have this conversation and wanted to see him, and definitely wants to make up with him. But the idea of doing so - inviting him back with open arms - is just /foolish./ And she's also a little grumpy that he kissed her, and she let him, and she doesn't know why. It's kind of like an open invitation for 'Okay, walk on me, after all, I'm a doormat.'

Another glance is given to Nathan before Heidi looks away, to the floor, where Simon and Monty have a few dinosaurs and transformers. She seriously doubts this is all Elena's fault, though it's pretty certain that the girl had a hand in getting them here. It's not until Nathan speaks of love that the first signs of anger appear on Heidi's face, and she glares at him inredulously, jaw just slightly slack.

/So many questions,/ and not any way to ask any of them. "You. Mean. /Everything/ to me," she says. Mean, present tense. "Do you realise how much /trust/ I gave you? It's gone, Nathan. That hurts more than anything. Do you know what it's like to— " She shakes her head, takes a breath, then continues. "I've never — this isn't like the accident." That was pain. Fear. Depression. This? Loss. Abandonment. Loneliness. Betrayal. "It hurts, and I don't know if that'll /ever/ go away."

—-

Oh this was going to be so much worse than he ever imagined.

Nathan could deal with condemnation, being called names, accusations and pure anger. But this - /this/, her looking at him like that and the fact that she's implying how much she still loves him… very few people can make Nathan feel an inch tall. And he feels angry about it, indirect anger that he'll come quickly to discover is directed at himself. Not Mara or Heidi. "I want to get your trust back," he says, quietly, once there's a break to do so. "I'll work for it. I know I've hurt you, but I'm not—" This is so out of his realm. It's why lies are easier. "I'm sorry," he says, after floundering for an end to that sentence. "But you should know that it's not because you're not enough for me. It was circumstantial." Circumstantial?! he repeats back to himself, in his mind.

—-

She wants to trust him again, too! But Heidi has no idea how she's going to do that when she's already questioning everything he's doing. This is foreign to her, to have a lack of faith in him, when he's been lying and cheating since— Well, God knows how long. Claire was born while they were still dating.

To that end… "I don't know if… If yu're capable of it." She looks nothing short of devastated when she says it, those steel-blue eyes glassing over again on account of the fact that she's just not able to refrain from crying any longer. But… It's true what she's said. She doesn't if he can! Not for lac of trying, but because of the fact that despite all the opportunities he's had for honesty, he's lied to her over and over and over. "Everything I've found out from you has been an accident. Everything, Nathan. Why—"

A long stare follows as he brushes this away as being 'circumstantial.' Opportunistic? What? What does that even mean? It sounds as if he's trying to quantify this as something he can write off as last-years' news, that he can just tell her it happened, it's over, an they can move on. She can't. The tears are there, but she hasn't truly crumbled yet; the walls slowly break apart as she stands there, stricken, looking at him from her little spot on the floor surrounded by robots and dinosaurs…

Then she breaks.

It's a long, drawn-out wail, and while she tries to keep it as quiet as possible, it's hard, because /this is how she's been feeling the whole time./ Pain. The heels of her hands press into her eyes as she sobs - an attempt to get air that's failing horribly.

—-

His first instinct is to leave. He knows that should he be feeling and expressing this much pain in the presence of another, he'd want to be alone, too. Nathan supposes that she /did/ try to do that. He moves forward, second instinct being to pull her close and hold her as he would any family member, but then he can't do it - can't bring himself to give her another excuse to push him away. He stands there, instead, hands dropping back down to his side as he watches his wife cry.

"Heidi," he says, helplessly, trying to get her attention back. He needs to start talking. That's what he needs to do. But Mara was right, still /is/ right, that he has no defense, no excuses. Well, there's a start. "Nothing I can say right now will make this any better," he says, in an informing, somber tone, with that desperate edge of someone who's not sure he's being listened to. Damn, can't help it. His hands come up to touch and hold her arms, in an effort to her her to look at him. "But I need to fix this. And you need to know that whatever I had with Mara… it's done. It's been done ever since you came back." His hands grip her arms a little tighter - an unconscious thing on his part, but otherwise, he's keeping to together. He really has no right to not. "You're right, I needed you. Looked in the wrong places."

—-

The question is, what does /Heidi/ even want right now? She's not sure, because she's got conflicting facts racing around in her mind, like the fact that she loves Nathan terribly, which contrasts the fact that she's still at that stage where she's considering just walking away. Not completely out of his life, but—

But she can't do it. She can't leave him, and she knows it.

She stiffens when he touches her, but this time, she doesn't push him away. At least he's being honest enough with himself to realise that he can't make this better, but the bitterness that comes from him mentioning Mara's name makes her feel uncomfortable again, and Heidi refuses to look up at him. It's not the first time she's refuted him, but it's the first time she's ever done it because she's got /zero faith/ left in him - And all she does is shake her head. She doesn't believe him that it's done, not this time. Because she saw the evidence, she's allowed herself to think, for her thoughts to stray to the unspeakable.

Finally, she does meet his eyes. "Am I still in a wheelchair, Nathan?" Because it seems like no matter what she does, it's not good enough. It'll never be good enough. Her lack of whatever it is he needs is her wheelchair, and it's an obstacle; despite what Elena said, Heidi can't help believing that the fault is at least partly hers.

—-

"No," Nathan says, refusing to look away now that she's meeting his eyes, and refusing to let her go now that she's doing nothing to make him. "You never were."

He risks touching her jaw, her throat, before resting his hand on her shoulder, a little closer and intimate. Remember me? I'm your husband, is sort of what those touches seem to say. "The only way I can possibly see you still in a wheelchair is that when I look at you, I see the mistakes I've made." He's talking honestly, and it comes easier than he thought it would, and he kind of smiles ruefully, and very bitterly. His eyes tell a whole other story to a smile, as well.

He steps back now, looking almost wary. "Is this something that can be fixed?" He needs to know. The unasked question is: are you going to leave me?

—-

It would be so easy for her to take that the wrong way, but Heidi knows what he means. It doesn't lead to a smile just yet, though the harsh look she's giving Nathan softens just the tiniest bit. The contact is allowed, though she finds no comfort in it… It's unclean somehow. Broken. But when his hand rests on her shoulder, she raises the bandaged hand, in pauses in the air for a good few seconds, before coming to rest on his. The connection is there. This isn't just an empty gesture.

The question of whether or not it can be fixed is met with silence at first. If she says 'no,' it's over. There's no getting it back after that, because it would have a final quality to it - saying goodbye for the last time. "What does this make me?" she asks. "If I say yes, what kind of person am I?" There are a whole lot of ways a person can hurt someone they love. This is one of many, and hardly the worst. At the moment, though, she hates what he's making her think. However, after hinting that she's going to say no, she adds, "I want this to work."

—-

Thank god for that qualifier, because for a moment, Nathan felt cold. He had sort of started believing that this was fixable, from those he had talked to since that day, but Heidi was the one who could turn that all around. However, when she amends this, he nods once, feeling the world spin back on its axis. He just can't lose his wife, lose his /children/, over such a stupid, impulsive… Call this a life lesson. Even 40-year-olds get 'em.

"Get back to me on that and I can start evaluating what kind of person this makes me," he says, a little hollowly. He should go. He's made his case. Yet he kind of wants to stay and convince her to come home with him, wanting his family back where it belongs, installed. What to say. Oh… he should tell her… "I'm going to be running for Senator. There's a press conference on Thursday. And I don't think I can go through all this again without you."

—-

There's not going to be a happy ending tonight, but at least Nathan can be secure with the fact that she's said that she wants it to work. That means there's a chance, that means she's not going to dismiss him outright. It's going to take work, though; she'll never look at him the same again, with that naivety destroyed. However, even now, Heidi is still trusting, and she believes that he wants to make it work. She doesn't for a moment believe that he's just saying this out of guilt or obligation. It's just not a sure thing that he'll be able to follow through, because—

He lies.

Closing her eyes, Heidi nods, starts picking up Simon and Monty's things, placing them in their bags as she collects them. "You told me already," she says. The night he took her flying, the night she finally started to feel like things were going to be okay. Truthfully, its his virtues that have saved him, just balancing out the fact that he had an affair. Saving her, taking her flying. If not for those… Well, who knows?

She hands the small suitcase over. "I need some time alone. Take the boys, okay? I'll come home tomorrow." Then… "Then we can…" Try. It goes unsaid, though.

—-

He takes the suitcase, trying not to look /too/ visibly relieved… which is tempered by the fact that he knows this isn't a sure thing. She could still just leave him. But this is a bigger window of opportunity than Nathan first had to work with. He wants to kiss her again - something slightly less forward than before, more of a simple kiss on the cheek - but he decides not to risk it. She already said she's coming home, and he knows this needs work before they can really slip back into roles of husband and wife.

It had all been going so well.

"I'll see you tomorrow. I love you," Nathan says, in response and departure. He doesn't wait to give her an opportunity to say it back or to decide not to say it back, turning to go.

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