2007-05-16: No Country

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi and Mara meet and the ugly truth comes out due to a vision the latter gets from the former's wedding ring. Peter comes home to discover the two women and Nathan drops by to be a good brother, only to find out that everyone in the room thinks he's a bad person in general. Emo scene is emo, kids.

Date It Happened: May 16, 2007

No Country


Peter Petrelli's Apartment

Heidi's been coming by here a lot lately! This time, though, it was specifically for Snowy, since last time she was here, she didn't bring anything for the puppy. And that was a crime! In any case, when Peter didn't answer - and considering the fact that she found him passed out last time she was here - Heidi let herself into the apartment, only to find that Snowy was here by herself, and there is no brother to be found. Oh, well! She wasn't here for Piglet, anyway. She does do a quick search for puppy-messes, just to help out if she can, but after finding none, and taking the puppy outside (Because she /had/ to. Just to show her off!) She's kneeling on the floor with a little white puffball, who is now happily chewing on a little tiny rawhide. Nomnom.

There's a rather unceremonious THUD! against Peter's door. "Owwww…" Outside the apartment, Mara has stumbled into the door, where she is now pressing her cheek against it. She scratches lightly at the door with her nails and then taps at it with the silver handle of her cane. "Peteeeeeeeeeer! Open uuuuuup!" Somebody's been drinking way too early in the day. "Your brother's a stupid /asshole/. Open the door!"

As soon as there's a thud on the door, poor Snowy takes off running, leaving the rawhide and a very dazed Heidi sitting on the floor. Then Snowy returns for the rawhide and just leaves a very dazed Heidi, who turns toward the voice on the other side and utters a quiet "What the hell…?" Okay, so… Someone obviously knows Peter, and also knows Nathan. Because Heidi's kind of scared of opening doors to strangers now, however, when she stands, she doesn't immediately open the door. In fact, finding that she forgot to lock it, Mara will likely hear the bolt click closed, as Heidi stands silently on the other side. Okay, who is this person, and how does she know Peter? Paranoid Petrelli is Paranoid.

"The Hell, Peter? Did you seriously just lock me out?" Mara slaps a palm against the door. "I like my eggs with cheese and I prefer bacon to sausage. Are you satisfied yet?" She whimpers softly and swallows back the lump in her throat. "C'mon, Pete. Please? I just need someone to talk to. Ten minutes. That's all I need. I don't want to be alone right now…"

Heidi looks back at Snowy, then back at the door. She's not a coward, and this girl sounds like she needs help. She does jump a bit as Mara's hand contacts the door, then unlocks the bolt, followed by opening the door itself. The blue-eyed woman stands there, brows drawn down, as she regards this girl. "Hi… Peter's not here. Did you need help with something?" Water, coffee? And what was that about Nathan being an asshole? Heidi's just a /little/ offended. Or would be if she didn't know Nathan was an asshole.

Mara stumbles forward a pace when Heidi pulls the door open. Whoops. Was I leaning on that? Not anymore!

Wait. That's not Peter. That's a woman's voice. That's…

"Oh /bollocks/."

Mara attempts to backpedal quickly. "Missus Petrelli," she slurs. That's a sobering sight. "I didn't mean… Didn't mean to intrude. I- If Peter's not here, I- I should probably just-" But something hits her in the pit of her stomach and hazel-green eyes grow just a touch wider, a little spark of fear flickers there. "Is Peter okay?" She cranes her neck to try and see in the apartment without actually stepping closer to Heidi.

Oh god, she's /drunk./ Heidi stares a bit, before automatically holding out an arm to steady Mara. Cane. Legs not working. /Yeah,/ she can relate to that a whole lot. "No, it's okay, here. C'mon, sit down, you should have some water or— Coffee or something. C'mon." Snowy peeks out from her hiding place, barks, then wiggles her way over to see Mara, with the bone still in her teeth. She's not letting it go!

"Snowy, go on. Go." Heidi normally wouldn't raise her voice with the pooch, but she doesn't want Mara to step on her. "Peter's fine, he's just out, I'm sure." Wait. /Wait./ "You know me?"

"You're the Congressman's wife. I've seen yer pictures." It's not a lie, really. Mara's ushered to the couch sort of against her will. But she really does want to sit down. "Heeeeey, Snowy," she greets the puppy. "Good ta see ya 'gain." She sits down heavily on Peter's couch and tips her head back, staring at the ceiling. Oh God. Either I've had too much to drink or not enough to deal with this. The cane is set aside for now, up on the couch where the pup can't mistake it for a chew toy. "You're prettier than your pictures."

"Yeah, that's a good point," Heidi says with a smile. She's… been in pictures before, and yet she's always surprised when someone recognises her. Alas, her privacy is forfeit forever and ever. In any case, it's pretty obvious that this woman has been here before, since she knows Snowy and Peter and all that. Admittedly, Heidi is curious, but she's going to go to the kitchen and put some coffee on first. It's not good to be drunk in the middle of the afternoon. "Well… Thanks—" She says, realising that she has no idea what this girl's name is. "Er, sorry, I didn't get your name."

"I'm, ah…" Mara blinks at the ceiling several times. To tell the truth? "Mara. Damaris." She pauses and then thinks to add, "I'm a detective. NYPD homicide." Adds a certain legitimacy, right? Except that you're /drunk/, Damaris. Good job.

"Well, looks like this is a day off for you, Mara," Heidi says with a smile as she locates the necessary ingredients to make coffee. Namely a pot, coffee, and water. The last two are easy. It doesn't seem like Heidi's particularly upset by the fact that Mara's drunk. After all, people /do get drunk./ She has to ask, however, "You didn't drive, did you? If so, I'll be calling you a cab on your way out." Mugs, right. They're clean. Peter's a pretty tidy kid. "So, you know Peter and Nathan?"

"No, I didn't drive. That would be stupid." Mara rolls her eyes, except that her lids are closed so Heidi doesn't actually see it. Then, there's the question. "Uh… Yeah. I know 'em. A… A little." She opens her eyes again and watches Heidi make java. "I'm really sorry about this, Missus Petrelli. I didn't realise Peter wasn't home." Or that /you/ would be here.

Okay, so. Smart girl. Excellent. Heidi smirks, shrugging as Mara apologises. "What do you need to say you're sorry for?" she asks. "It happens. No way to predict when Peter's going to be here." With the coffee on, Heidi returns to the living room, kneeling down to play with the dog. "Now, I don't mean to pry, but since Peter only has one brother, and I'm married to him… What'd Nathan do this time?" Maybe Heidi's too naive, or maybe she's just more likely to trust people than not, but… Bad things just don't cross her mind. She's not the jealous type.

Mara has a brief smile that drops away into a sort of ill expression when Heidi asks her what Nathan has done this time. She isn't about to say 'well, me, for starters.' "Oh, he, ah…" She pauses, trying to think. "He made a comment about my teeth." She parts her lips, showing off the gap between her front two teeth. "And I'm terribly sensitive about it, as you might imagine." Smooooth, Damaris.

Heidi notices that sudden frown. "So… You called him an— " Pause. "An asshole, because he commented on your teeth?" she asks. She might be able to see that, if Nathan was the 'make fun of people' sort, but he's not, unless said person is fairly close. And Heidi's never seen Mara before— That she knows of. Then again, the fact that Nathan is an asshole really /does/ make the story make sense. But last time Heidi got this feeling that she was missing something, she really was. Namely, the fact that her husband can fly. She hears the coffee maker beep, and gets up to go pour a mug for the drunk girl on Peter's couch. "Must have made him angry somehow."

"I /might/ have insulted his tie," Mara responds a little sheepishly. Heidi /has/ to believe that one, right? Nathan really does have some awful ties. "Possibly." Said drunk girl slouches down into the couch a bit further. It would be nice to just disappear right about now. Peter gets all the handy abilities. … Oh. /Crap/. Mara sits up again and peers into the kitchen. Which mug is Heidi pouring coffee into?

The mug? Well, it's… purple. And pink. Which is fairly girly, but it's okay, this is one of the mugs Heidi got for him when he moved into his apartment. Unlike the women's shoes purchased for Peter by Nathan, this mug actually /was/ a funny gift. It came with flowers in it. Yellow. They were beautiful, and just perfect for a bachelor guy's first home. "Yeah, you attack the ties, you attack the man," Heidi says, returning to offer the mug to Mara. Sometimes Heidi's actually able to find a sensible tie for Nathan to wear by sabotaging all his other ones for the day. "Here. No cream or sugar, sorry. The idea is to sober you up a bit."

Mara takes the mug with a grateful smile. Purple. Good choice. She takes a sip and smiles. "It's fine. I like my coffee black if I can't have real cream." She tilts her head to one side. This can't really be happening, can it? Good God. "I couldn't help it. It was like one of those Magic Eye things. Made me want to cross my eyes and find the schooner." A helpless shrug. What can you do?

Yes, it really is happening, and Heidi is /so damn nice/ and DON'T YOU FEEL AWFUL, MARA?! Heidi sits down across from the woman and picks Snowy up so that the little wiggly puppy can crawl around on her and chew on her hair. And stuff. "Yeah, he's got some pretty terrible ones. I confiscated a few of them and hid them." He always finds them, unfortunately, but it's like ongoing payback for the 'Adelheid' incident. "You met him through work?" she asks. After all, she's a detective, and Nathan's a lawyer and a politician. Law and legal go hand-in-hand. Which makes perfect sense. Shut up.

"Yeah. I mean, sort of. I knew him when he was working. I didn't know him /real/ well, but…" God, Mara. Where are you going with this? Do you even know? "I actually got better acquainted with him through a mutual friend. Small world, we just kind of kept running into each other." Does she dare say they drink at the same bar? Maybe Heidi doesn't know he goes out to the bar. "He actually found me after I'd been shot by a mugger. Got me to the hospital." Mara's expression turns very serious as she takes another drink from her cup of coffee. "Your husband's a hero, Missus Petrelli."

Wow, all these things she doesn't know about Nathan. He's a pretty amazing guy! Sure, that's why she married him — a guy in the Navy, looked great in a uniform, kind and caring when he wants to be, fairly down to earth. Except when he's flying. Sure, he changed a bit over the years, but Heidi can still see the same guy she married, even if he puts on a different front to other people. When Mara says he's a hero, though, Heidi smiles, looking somewhat shyly at the floor. "More than a lot of people know," she says. That's not giving anything away, right? It's just a simple statement of fact. "I'm glad he was there for you. Dangerous city. I didn't want to move here at first."

"He… He /flew/ me to the hospital, Heidi." She deserves to know some of the truth, right? So why's Mara's expression so apologetic. Well, because she knew before Nathan's own wife, of course. "I was bleeding pretty badly, and… Weren't sure the ambulance would… I'm… I'm sorry?" Because she feels like she should be. Well, she /knows/ she should be, but maybe not because of this.

Blue eyes meet Mara's when she speaks, surprise evident in them. She knows! Is Heidi the last to know everything? Well, there must be a reason for it, she reasons… Like the fact that Mara was bleeding badly and Nathan didn't have a choice. See, that makes sense. Unfortunately for Heidi, it's nearly impossible for her to come to the wrong conclusions about anything. Her suspicion only goes so far, and doesn't seem to include Mara anymore, after the initial collision with Peter's apartment door. "I think I was the last one to find out," she says, lips pursing briefly, before she blinks. "What is there to be sorry about, Mara? You were shot."

"Because I know he only just told you. I promise you I slapped him upside the head and told him he was a wanker for not doing it sooner." Mara smiles shakily. Christ, the guilt is all-consuming, isn't it? All Nathan's fault. It is. Completely. "I have my own ability." Her eyes drop to Heidi's hand. Oh, this is such a bad idea. But she could… Back up to Heidi's face, dear. Look at her face. Ball's in Heidi's court. If she wants to know, all she has to do is ask.

That makes Heidi frown, just a little. It seems like Mara talks to Nathan a lot, which is strange, because - again - Heidi's never met her before. Sure, saving someone's life kind of makes you friends, but… Heidi /just found out,/ and apparently Mara just decided Nathan was an asshole - yeah, the blue-eyed Petrelli is a little tiny bit concerned over this, but…

More important is the fact that Mara has an ability, too. And Heidi is wildly curious about these people. "You do?" she asks, her interest evident in expression and voice. "Can I ask… what?" She's nosy, sure, but she's only just found out that people can do weird things like fly and heal and take pain away. There's such a wide range.

Really, Mara's amazed that she's getting away with this. Heidi Petrelli is, apparently, the most trusting woman on the planet. That only makes this that much harder. What horrible deed did she do in a past life to make her deserve Nathan for a husband in this one? "I have visions. I touch objects and I see… Well. It's a bit dodgy, it is. Sometimes it's the past. Sometimes it's the future. Sometimes I see a combination of the two. I don't really… I can't tell the difference between the two without obvious cues, right?" She rolls her eyes at herself. "I'm rambling." Clearly more coffee is required, so another long drink is taken. "Psychometer. That's what I am."

Even if Heidi graduated with extremely high marks from her university, that doesn't mean she's always the most common-sensical person ever in the whole world. She was pretty sheltered as a kid, though… So it translates to now, with her two beautiful sons and dumbass jerkface of a husband, who she loves very, very much. "…That's possible?" Heidi asks, before catching herself, laughing, and shaking her head. One hand runs through black hair. "…Of course it's possible. What /isn't?/" In a slightly lower voice, and mostly to herself, she adds, "My husband can fly." Still getting used to /that./ Resituating Snowy in her lap so the pup isn't chewing on the arm of the chair, Heidi sits back. "I guess I don't understand it. Wish I'd known sooner— I mean, generally. About Nathan, Peter. People like you."

"You knew when Nathan thought you were ready. There's a lot of people who can't understand. Can't even begin to /fathom/." Mara smiles reassuringly, setting the coffee mug down. "You're right, though. I've come to realise that there's very little in this world that's impossible." The coffee is doing its job well. The detective smirks faintly, "He's never mentioned me." It's not a question. "He's very sweet like that. He keeps our friendship discrete because I don't exactly need to be outed, yeh? I mean, if people knew about what I can do… What /he/ can do? You're a bright woman, I can tell. I mean, I /know/ you are. I don't need to explain to you what would happen. And, really, a close friendship between myself and someone as… prominent as your husband? People would ask questions, wouldn't they?" Like all those questions that /you/ aren't asking… but really, really should be. Really.

Heidi laughs to herself. No, she didn't find out when Nathan thought she was ready - it was an accident, and it makes her slightly bitter even still to know that she would nave gone on /not knowing/ for perhaps forever. "He didn't tell me," she says somewhat flatly.

It seems like the rest of what Mara says would be interpreted /exactly the wrong way/ by everyone else in the world, but for some reason, Heidi completely buys into the words of this somewhat drunk young woman, without even batting an eye. Despite the fact that they just met! Yeah, maybe she didn't get enough sleep last night or something, but her ability to perceive anything is at an all-time low, probably due to a smart database or something on the game's server. Who the hell knows! In any case, the truth is that Mara is either very lucky, or Heidi is very stupid, and its not the latter. "I— yeah. He…" Has a bit of a history. But she doesn't say that. "Well. Thanks."

"You're welcome." Mara nods her head once. "So, d'ya want to see what I can do?" She pauses and narrows her eyes a bit at her own words. "Well, not /see/. I can't /show/ you what I see. But I can tell you."

It seems that, for now, at least, Mara has averted a crisis. Heidi still has that somewhat uneasy feeling, though, that's just refusing to go away. Mara's already told her that she has an ability, though, so it can't be that… And at the prospect of seeing someone else's ability, her eyes light up, and she smiles. "Yeah— I mean, yes, sure, if you don't mind."

"Absolutely. C'mon then." Mara holds her hand out. "Hand me your wedding ring. Promise I'm not gonna pocket it and run away." She tilts her head toward her cane. "You could outrun me easily."

"Wha— " Her wedding ring? Heidi's eyes narrow for just a moment, but she doesn't seem particularly inclined to /not/ hand it over. Of course, Mara said she had to contact an item, /something,/ in order for the ability to work. The irony of handing her wedding ring to Mara is completely lost on Heidi, since she has no idea what's going on, but she takes it off and hands it over, anyway. "Okay, but I'm warning you," she says with a half-smile. "I've been running in the park. I might be able to catch someone with a bad leg by now." Or she might need more training. It's hard to tell!

"Well, I could just hold your hand, but that might be a bit strange," Mara grins. When the ring is deposited in her hand, she gasps. Her whole body lurches. And she keeps her eyes open. She forces herself to leave her eyes open so Heidi can watch them go glassy, unfocused. Unseeing. "My God. This never gets any less-" She goes slack, staring ahead blankly. She's seeing now. It's obvious she's seeing /something/ by the way her eyes dart around. But it's nothing that's in front of her. "It's your wedding day. My God, yer so happy, aren't you?"

Heidi laughs. "Yeah, that would. A little." So handing over the ring, it is! And when she does, she almost instantly regrets it, one hand reaching forward as Mara's eyes blind. The expression is frightening, though the fact that she speaks is somewhat reassuring. "Hey, are you…?" Okay, is the unspoken word, the hand poised in the air, fingers outreaching before curling back inward. Her wedding day, though… "I think most women are," Heidi says with a chuckle, hand finally drawing back. She can't resist waving it in front of Mara's eyes, though, before she rests her arm across her lap again.

Nope. Mara doesn't see a thing. "Is it weirding you out?" she asks. "I can close my eyes, if you'd prefer. I just thought it'd be a bit more… impressive?" She falls silent, letting the vision engross her totally. "It isn't just you. I mean… You're happy. But… So's he." How can a man be so happy to be married to one woman, and yet so eager to sleep with another? "It won't stop," Mara realises quietly. "Please, take your ring back." Make it stop. Please. It's killing me. Somebody help me. Stop me seeing.

Oh god, what a horrible power, and awesome at the same time. Heidi can't help staring at the girl's sightless eyes. "No, it's okay…" she says, trailing off. It's not exactly impressive, but it does give a little credibility to this power that Mara has. It's obvious she's not seeing a damn thing, and it's just so sudden—

Something in Mara's voice…

Blue eyes narrow in confusion. So is he? Of course Nathan was happy! It was the best day of their life! The birth of their children is the only thing that equals it in Heidi's eyes, and that wouldn't have been possible without their wedding. However, she has no time to think as Mara asks her to take back the ring… The other woman will feel a delicate hand close around her wrist, before another takes the ring. "Okay, I have it. Mara?"

No one thinks to knock on their own apartment, right? So when Peter approaches the door, he just unlocks the deadbolts and opens the door and steps inside, pulling off his jacket to hang on the coat rack at the entrance of his living room. Snowy barks and runs over all happy-like, abandoning her toys for a leg to attack, specifically the man of the apartment. He's home, ladies.

The Psychometer lets out a choking whimper. "Why isn't it stopping?" She closes her eyes tightly, pressing her palms against the lids. "Call Peter!" Mara begs. He'll… Maybe he'll know what to do? "Stop!" At least when she was unconscious, it never felt like she had a choice to see or not to see. She simply /did/. But being awake? Being /aware/ she has no control over the duration or the content? Something she can't dismiss as a dream? It's disconcerting to say the least. "I'm sorry," she cries, "I'm so sorry!"

Oh god, she /BROKE MARA!/ She's too new to this to be able to help someone who's having a crisis! Horror-stricken, Heidi allows herself a moment to panic before reaching out to rest a hand against Mara's knee. "I'm here, just take it easy. It's okay," she says, offering reassurances as her other hand fishes around in her purse for her phone. "You don't have to be sorry, it's okay. It's okay."

The quiet voice will continue as she finally finds her phone, except it's right then that Peter walks into the apartment, and Heidi is on her feet. "Peter! Peter, she— " She gestures toward Mara, whose hands are pressed against her eyes. "I don't know what's wrong. She says it won't stop."

In Mara's vision, there's a boy asking to dance with Heidi. He's all excited, a new member of his family, and he's so very proud of his brother. In many ways he's particularly proud. Hardly recognizable at this young age, the main distinguishing characteristic is his flawed lip, much the same as it is in his older days.

"Mara? Heidi?" The older Peter calls out, looking around all surprised. And— he has damn good reason to be surprised. Heidi and Mara are both in his apartment, and… At least Nathan's not with him. "It won't stop? Mara? You mean she's not unconscious? What happened—? Are you having a vision?" He's never had one that didn't knock him out.

"Oh God," Mara groans. "Kill me now." She pulls her hands away from her eyes and gropes blindly. "Peter! Help!" She reaches toward the sound of his voice, staring sightlessly ahead. "/Yes/, I'm having a vision. And you're /adorable/ in it. Stop it this instant." Maybe it's the guilt that won't let her stop. Or maybe she really has lost control of her ability as she's feared. "Please. Please, help me."

And Heidi loves her new little brother. For this day, she's put off teasing him, because it's a special occasion, and she doesn't want to ruin it by being an ass. See? Her and Nathan were made for each other!

In any case, Heidi moves out of the way so that Peter can get to Mara. Stepping back, she puts her wedding ring back on, before both hands rake through her hair in a display of worry and anxiety… Yeah, she's still kind of upset that her wedding ring broke Mara, and is a little too concerned to think about just /why/ that would happen. Mara's comment about how adorable Peter was doesn't even earn a smile.

This is Heidi, though. It's pretty much the definition of the woman. She'll worry about anyone, whether or not she's just met them. "Pete, she's a little drunk."

There's even a hug between taller older Nathan, older by thirteen years, and his little brother. It's very obvious that Peter worships him at this age, thinks he's the greatest thing ever in the whole world. And he likes his wife too. Not in a preteen crush way. Not yet at least.

The older version, real time, steps forward and kneels down in front of Mara, taking her hands into his own. "Heidi, can you go into the kitchen and get me a glass of water and something to eat— there should be some bread. That will help." He can stay calm at a time like this, even if there's so little he can do. "Calm down. Just take deep breaths. I'll do what I can to get you out of this." Something must be wrong with her ability— something must be happening. "Has this ever happened before, Mara?" Think of Elena— maybe he can fix what's wrong— maybe he can nudge her body's chemicals to correct this.

"Sort of?" Mara takes Peter's hands and holds on for dear life. "It won't stop. The last vision… I couldn't make it stop either. But it didn't carry on like this. Not this long." Without thinking, she gives voice to her fear, "M…aybe it's the guilt?" With a sharp cry that's somewhere between a squeal, a whimper and a shriek, she snaps out of it. Just like that. Mara's eyes focus again and she sees her friend. Here. Now. She lets out a huff of a breath and wraps her arms around him tightly. "Hold me, Peter. I feel like I could die."

"Yeah, of course," Heidi says, turning back toward the kitchen so she can put something together for Mara. Glass of water with a couple ice cubes, and in the fridge, she finds the bread. Given the fact that she's a mom, and doesn't really feel all that comfortable giving someone bread and water to eat, she also finds some cheese in the fridge, and— Voila. Instant cheese sandwich. And water. Hopefully Mara's not vegan, and if she is, Heidi will make her eat it anyway, dammit.

Guilt?

Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, Heidi shakes her head, approaching Peter and Mara and kneeling down, holding out the plate and the glass of water. "I'm sorry, Mara, if I would have known…" She sighs, half-leaning against Peter as she checks to make sure Mara's eyes look normal again. "Are you okay now?"

Luckily, Peter very much likes to hug. The final shot she might have seen would be little Peter hugging on his new sister, who's not teasing him today. Even if she teases him, he loves her. Just like he loves his brother. The older version pulls her into a full hug, hands on her back, rubbing up and down and trying his best to physically soothe her. "Shhh, it's okay. It's okay. When his happens again, just stay still. Close your eyes until it passes. Maybe learn some meditation? You're strong enough to get through these things. It's better than falling down every time you have one, right?" He falls down every time he has one.

He pulls back enough to see the proffered sandwich, "Thanks, Heidi." Removing his hands enough to take the glass, he tries to place it into Mara's hands. "Have something to drink."

"I'm not strong enough for this," Mara whispers hoarsely. She all but digs her nails into Peter's back in the tightness of that embrace. "It was their wedding, Peter. Everything was so perfect. You were all so /happy/." She pulls away abruptly and tries to stand, groping for her cane. Even if she doesn't need it, it's well-practiced movement and an act she's vowed to keep up. "I have to go. I can't-" Can't what? Can't stay here? Can't tell her? Can't bear the thought of ending that marriage? "I'm sorry." Her hazel eyes fix on Heidi's blues for a moment. She looks… devastated.

She sits back on her heels, much more relieved now that Mara seems to have snapped out of whatever was happening to her. And yet— She seems to have taken it completely in stride, which surprises Heidi most of all. It's like the fact that people have these powers has become part of every day life. While at the same time, freaking her out more than she wants to admit. It's… good to have a balance.

"You got it from Mara, didn't you?" she asks. Peter had mentioned 'visions,' and said that he absorbed powers from other people—

Mara's gaze is met with confusion, Heidi's lips moving in a silent word that has little definition. The distress at their happiness, the crushed look in Mara's eyes. The cold chill she feels precedes the realisation by mere seconds. She didn't want to come to that conclusion before, she tried not to, but everything adds up. Everything Mara said. And it's not long before Heidi, still looking directly into Mara's eyes, just goes completely blank, eyes wide as she stares. "…No."

…God damnit. Screw Nathan for putting him in this position. …Oh wait, that's what got him in this position. Peter looks between both women, and then moves over towards Heidi, a very torn look on his face, one that probably isn't helping. "Heidi. It's not— Yes, I got the visions from her, but please— it's okay. Look at me." Sorry, Mara, but she's his sister-in-law. And while yes, he likes Mara quite a bit, he's known Heidi since he was practically her oldest son's age. It's a responsibility here… He reaches out to try and take her shoulder, pull her closer to him. God, he has no idea what to do in this situation. And part of him wants to make sure that Mara doesn't leave until they're finished. Pointing a hand towards the door, he locks the deadbolts. That should slow her down for a few minutes.

"I'm sorry," Mara repeats, sobbing. She finds herself paralysed. Unable to will herself to move. To flee. If her own fear and guilt didn't glue her to the spot, Peter using his ability does it. She sits right back down on the couch, staring at him in disbelief. The last time somebody did that, it was… One crisis at a time, Mara. You lived long enough… for this? Great. Back to the whole wishing she would have died that night thing. "It was over before this. I swear. Tell her, Peter!" She'll believe you, right? She could tell Heidi that she broke up with Nathan. She could tell her it was /her/ idea. That she respected the woman too much to break up their marriage. That she couldn't let Monty and Simon grow up in a broken home of her making. But no. "He loves you. In the end, you're the one who matters to him." The sobbing stops and Mara closes her eyes. It's come to this. It's out in the open now. There is no great weight off of her shoulders. There is no great sense of relief. There is only this hollow. This emptiness inside. And the stabbing guilt that floods in to fill in the space.

It hurts more than she thought it would. Then again, she never anticipated it, even if she should have. She hung onto Nathan's every word, believed him because she had to, because it was the right thing to do. The anger she wants to feel is bogged down by the terrible weight of this epiphany. Consequently, Heidi feels no rage at all, even as she's looking directly at Mara; instead, it's a painful sadness, and the feeling that she's completely alone. She tries to stand, but the chill is interrupting - a memory of a sharp pain midway down her back abruptly strikes, and her feet can't find the floor… So she trips, catching herself on her elbows with a pained yelp.

Blue eyes find Mara's again. They're already damp… It's only a matter of a few more seconds before she sobs and the tears spill over.

Peter is her grounding force, though. Heidi pushes herself to her knees again, and while she allows Peter to contact her shoulder— She's not dumb. He's not surprised. Peter /knew./ Nathan knew, and Peter knew, and Mara— "I— But you— "

She grits her teeth, grunting, pressing one arm to her eyes. She has no idea what to say, how to even start this, how she should even /react/ in a situation like this. What happened to the truth? What happened to trust? What did she do to cause something so awful that Nathan felt he had to go to someone else?

She doesn't have an ability. She can't /do things./ She's not good enough.

Could Heidi see it in his eyes? She tries to remember back, but can't recall. Was it tenderness or guilt? Love, or pity? When her arm comes down, the expression on her face has completely changed. No longer blank, Heidi looks nothing short of completely crushed, eyes fixed at a point on the floor. The worst part is, she suspected nothing, didn't have a chance to prepare for it, didn't even /think/ that Nathan would have found what he needed with someone else. The news is sudden, and the closeness she's felt the last few weeks with her husband is so vacant now, that it might as well have not even been there at all.

When Mara speaks, Heidi's attention returns to her, lingers for a few moments, then finally rests on her brother. Quietly, she says, "Pete, open the door. I need to leave."

"No," Peter says firmly, looking at Heidi and holding onto her as best he can. He can almost feel what she's going through, even though it doesn't quite work that way. Instead, his hands move towards her face, trying to cup her jaw bones much the way he might someone he intended to kiss— but kissing isn't the point here, obviously. "You weren't here Heidi. Nathan shut you out because of what happened. He saved New York only to wind up in a hospital bed with burns for what he /thought/ was the rest of his life. He thought I was /dead/ Heidi. And when he found out I wasn't everything else started happening." Everything else? Well, he told her most of it already. "Mara was hurt and they were friends, they got to know each other and things happened. People make mistakes. He needed someone and… It happened. But it ended when you came back, I swear it. Nathan wants to be with you."

"He didn't /need/ somebody, Peter," Mara says with a bitter chuckle. "/I/ needed someone. And he's enough like you that he became that someone." She smiles ruefully through the fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. "He consoled me in the only way he knew how. He /never/ needed me." Because saying that he needed her makes it so much worse.

She gasps, teeth still gritted as she tries not to cry. It's hard— Damn near impossible, and she can't tell her eyes to stop making tears. Even forced to look at Peter, she won't look directly at his eyes. He knew. He /knew,/ and he's making excuses.

/You're not good enough, Heidi./

It's at that point that she breaks, eyes squeezing shut when she wails, the sound drawn out for several seconds as she leans against Peter. By this point, she can't hear Mara anymore, in fact, all she can really hear is white noise - static in her ears as she remains just on the conscious side of passing out. "Let me go, Peter. Let me leave, please, I have to leave."

Fuck. God damnit. Nathan, if you walk through that door right now, he's going to toss you back out. Just so you know.

Not letting go, Peter moves his hands back to her shoulders and wraps his arms around her. The worst thing is— he can /hear her/. Even if he couldn't quite feel her, the thoughts flow into him at headache causing speed. And he can hear Mara too, come to think of it. "Heidi, /listen to me/. You are good enough. Don't think that, please don't think that. Whatever happened between them wasn't what the two of you have. Nathan, /loves you/. I know this. Please, after everything that happened— I didn't want to hurt you. Just listen to me." And the best part is, with the telepathy actually doing it's job right now— she's getting this in her head, through the white noise, as well as her ears.

You know what Nathan does? He turns up places unannounced. Last he saw of Peter, his younger brother was a rambly, emotional wreck. It's high time Nathan actually /check on/ him for once rather than letting it get that bad, see what the situation is with Elle, etcetera. Maybe hey, invite him again for drinks - not that many drinks, this time - if Peter actually did man up and dump the poor girl. Poor, electrozapping girl. Yeah, she'll live. Approaching the door, he tries to let himself in - if it's open, usually means he's welcome. Today, it's locked, incidentally, and Nathan raps his knuckles against the door, leaning impatiently against the frame. He'd /better/ be in.

I can't do this. How could I have done this in the first place? What kind of horrible bitch am I? Mara's despair flows into Peter's mind entirely unchecked until she recognises the look of concentration on his face. Oh, shit. Sorry, Peter. She tries to clear her mind. But she /can't/. She's already heading for the door in her carefully practiced limping gait when Nathan knocks.

A quick glance is cast over her shoulder. If Peter's reading Heidi's thoughts, then he probably won't be able to use telekinesis to keep her from turning the bolt. Turning her head quickly again, blonde hair tousled about her face and sticking to the gloss on her lips, Mara unlocks the door and pulls it open.

Oh /Hell/ no.

"You son of a /BITCH/!" Mara's arm comes up to swing her cane wildly, but the only the she manages to connect with is the doorpost, striking it hard enough to knock herself off balance. She stumbles, beginning to fall backward.

What— What? When he echoes her thoughts, when she hears them in her head, she pushes back, the first traces of anger on her face as she finally meets his eyes. She's never hit anyone before, and, granted, the anger is /meant/ for Mara, but Peter just happens to be the one who drew that temper out. It's probably something he's never seen before - Heidi is /never angry./ The expression almost looks ugly on her face.

She has no idea how to hit someone, but that doesn't matter. The action is entirely involuntary. Her arm crosses her chest, right before she backhands Peter. With a closed fist. Across the face.

And right after she does it, she regrets it, the anger vanishing again. She shakes her hand - hitting people in the face /hurts!/ and looks down at it. It's bleeding - she must have caught his teeth. "I just— I think I— I— Peter, it /hurts!/" she wails, rubbing at her hand, but she's referring to something else. It seems like she's pretty much in her little bubble here. Doesn't notice the knock at the door. Or Mara heading off. OR NATHAN.

It would seem that Heidi doesn't know her own strength. Not only did she hurt /herself/ hitting him, but she also hurt /him/. There's some blood at the side of Peter's mouth as he stumbles backwards, a little dazed, but not falling over. And he's going to have a broken tooth later. Or he would if it didn't already start fixing itself. The bleeding stops almost immediately too. It just needs to fix the damage to his tooth, his nerves and his jaw at this point. Wow. Who knew Heidi had it in her? "Heidi," he says, his hand going up to his mouth as he stumbles further away. "Heidi— I know it hurts, please just— "

Let's not forget the other occupant of this apartment. Snowy starts barking worriedly, for a moment, and then whimpers as she starts to back against the wall. What's going on? The big two legged people are acting weird.

The telepathy fell apart at least, as his body needed to start regenerating thanks to Heidi's surprise hit. But he still manages to hear the bang of the cane against the door, and the cry from Mara, and he turns to look. Oh son of a bitch.

…! Nathan's arms come up to fend off an attack, though it turns out to be unneeded, the cane bouncing off something not him. "/Mara/?" Not the brightest thing to say, no, but he's too busy stepping forward to grab her arms to balance her, forgetting what had become so familiar to him - her previous injury, and it being nonexistent. "Christ, what's /wrong with you/?" She attacked him with a cane! He was having a good day!

And then he actually spares a glance to the rest of the apartment, and perhaps there'll be an explanation as to what just happened, and he sees an upset Peter, and then an upset Heidi and… and… Nathan's brain locks, at this stage, because in no way in reality can Mara and Heidi be in the same vicinity. He stares at his wife like he's never seen her before, then tries to snap out of it. "Honey?" Because maybe the conclusion he's already leapt to isn't so, maybe…

"Shut up, bitch!" Mara's elbow comes up to connect with Nathan's nose. "This is /your/ fault! How could you do this? If not to me, then to /her/!" The blonde gestures to wildly to Nathan's wife. "Look at her! LOOK! That is /exactly/ what I tried to avoid! I just had a vision of /your/ wedding! How could you?! You were /happy/ with her! You /are/ happy with her! How could you-" There's only so much Mara can scream at the man. "Let me /go/!" And she doesn't mean in the physical sense. Well, okay. That, too.

"Just /WHAT?/" she asks desperately, genuinely looking to Peter for some sort of answer. Jesus, she hit him and she's sorry, but she can't process all this at the same time. She feels like she's failed somehow, like she couldn't /be there/ when he needed her, and now all of that, all her trying, it's all for nothing.

And then she hears Nathan's voice through the white noise in her ears, constricted pupils focusing on /him…/ No, he can't be here right now. As a thin stream of red makes its way down the back of her hand and to the floor, Heidi stands, obviously shaky on her legs, a grimace on her face as if she's in pain. She hasn't felt this terrible since she was in the accident… The very memory of it is making her unsteady.

He's blocking her way out. /They/ are blocking her way out. Very briefly, she considers the window, even looks toward it. But she wouldn't do that. She's not that desperate. But she /NEEDS TO GET AWAY./

If Nathan hadn't shown up, he would have tried to keep her here to talk to him. Peter would have had time to explain. But /things don't work out that way/. Do they? No. He puts his hands back on her shoulder, and in fact wraps his arms around her, closing his eyes, "Heidi, please, it'll be okay— listen to that. He loves you, I mean it." At the same time he's /trying/ to do something. Trying really hard— but when nothing happens he's left looking pale and tired. Too much. Too much. As close as she is to him, she'll feel his body heat rising, and she'll also notice his face is paler than normal. Not falling over and ready to crash, but very similar to how he looked after helping save her. Oh yeah…

"Mara /STOP/. I know you're mad but STOP." Damnit. Nathan, you son of a bitch.

/Ow/. Nathan's hold on Mara is instantly knocked loose as he elbow connects with his face, the shock of it causing him to stagger back a step, hands to his nose. He stares… just /stares/ at Mara as she screams at him. "Mara— !" he starts again, because he wants to tell her to shut the hell up, she's giving everything away, but he knows, logically, it's already done. So he stares. This is a nightmare. This is /actually/ a nightmare. Shakily, his hands come to rest at his sides after a brief inspection for blood, keeping a few paces away from her should she decide to hit him again. He looks at Peter, disbelief and accusation - YOU TOLD HER - and then to Heidi, panic. He's never seen her look at him like—

No, he has. In the past, she has. They share that memory in this instant and he reaches a hand out for her. "Heidi," he says, now drawing away from Mara, casting her a look, moving towards his wife. Almost like one might approach a wild animal. But he has no idea what to say. He looks to Peter, again. "What happened," he asks, though the question comes out a statement, an order. Explain.

In the end, Mara isn't sure how it would have gone, but what she is sure of is that it wasn't like this. When Nathan walks away from her to join his wife, it strikes a blow clear to her core. What did she expect? It's what she wanted him to do, right? Be with his /wife/? She can see Peter looking ill. She knows, but… She can't quite bring herself to stay. She turns and starts for the hallway.

That's the entire point, isn't it?

It's not going to be okay. None of this is going to be okay. This hurts /so much./ And with Peter hugging her, and her legs so weak, all she can do is lean against him. With his face so close to hers, she can feel the heat from him, and when she pulls back, eyebrows lowered, she can see the exhaustion that's appeared on his features. Now torn between leaving and trying to help Peter, Heidi's hands remain on his shoulders, blood from the laceration starting to stain his shirt.

And she looks past him.

To Nathan.

Back to the window. Too high up, she'd kill herself, and that's the last thing she wants, but she needs an out. If there's one thing Heidi's good at, it's /problem solving./

So she takes a step toward the window. Get them away from the door, allow them to let her leave… The look on her face never changes. She barely has to act for it to be convincing, as her fingers contact and press against the cold surface of the glass. If they call her on this, well, she's pretty much trapped. Of course, the fact that she's hesitating so badly kind of makes it obvious that she's not /really/ intending to jump off Peter's top floor apartment. So she adds, "Just let me go. Please, Nathan."

God. Damnit. There's a look of pure /tired/ disappointment at Nathan. Seriously. There's only ever been a look like this once or twice, but it's there now. They're really going different ways now. Backing away from Heidi, because he knows she'd have a hell of a time getting that window open /anyway/. And she looks too scared to do anything. And /he can't stop her/. She hit him. And you know what. Peter's really pissed off. As he walks over to Nathan he hits him in the back, a good shove in his wife's direction. It could have been harder, but it's really weak. Almost noodle-like. "Mara got a vision off of her wedding ring. She felt terrible and gave it away. You. Stop her. I mean it."

And then he starts towards the door, following after Mara. "Mara /wait up/."

This is. This is so. Nathan's gaze falls back on Heidi, even as Peter speaks to him, taking it in. The sort-of-shove sends Nathan stepping forward, or maybe that's just him and the shove is more of an urge, but either way. Nathan knows he's made a mistake. Accusation drains out of him as he understands what he's just been told, and he says nothing to Peter, letting him go after Mara, /THAT WHORE/. A wave of misplaced anger when his mind conjures up that name, but he tries to shake it off, because Heidi is backing towards a window and he /knows/ she won't do it. But it's not the first time someone's jumped out a window to get away from him, is it?

Let her go? Can't do that. "We have to talk," he says, voice steady, eyes on Heidi's. "Please. Let me explain this." He knows a moment of fear, because he can't, not really, but it sounds good to say, for now. He moves towards Heidi, hands out to touch and hold her arms.

Mara's face is an ugly, contorted parody of it's usual appearance when she turns to face Peter in the hallway. Tears have made her eyes red and puffy. Her eyeliner and mascara run in rivulets down her cheeks, almost connecting haphazard lines between her freckles. "Don't." She can't meet his gaze. Rather than to pretend that she can, she stares off at the wall as a fresh wave of sobs wrack through her body.

Her face is wet, eyes red, the anger is slowly returning. She feels cornered, they already /know/ she's not stupid enough to jump out a window, and Nathan keeps standing in her way. "/Move,/" she says, though her growly voice is high-pitched enough so that it doesn't sound threatening at all.

She wants him to hold her, to tell her everything's okay, but she jerks back as soon as he tries to touch her. Suddenly, it's the /last/ thing she wants; the disgust is written all over her face - except for one place. Her eyes, wide, terrified, she has no idea what to do. "Ex/plain?!/" she says. "What— What is there to— " It's essentially black and white. You sleep with someone else, and you lose your rights to explain things. With Snowy barking and Peter chasing after Mara, Heidi just can't take anymore of this.

For the second time this day, the wedding ring comes off. She looks at it, then she drops it.

Then she makes a run for the door.

With Mara against the wall, looking just as devastated as Heidi, Peter's not enjoying this at all. In fact, it's hitting him far worse than it probably should. God they're both so hurt— no one's happy here. "Mara…" he says softly, before he too is leaning against the hall right next to her, eyes closing and there's tears in his eyes. There was something he asked Nathan while they were drinking. And it's replaying in his head. A question he definitely did not get an adequate answer too. And now he really understands. If anyone is the victim here, it's Heidi, though. "I can't believe you both did this to her."

It's strange, the way your brain leaps ahead and draws up conclusions and equations of logic. Because for a moment, it seems more important to Nathan to pick up that wedding ring, make sure it doesn't get lost, than it does to stop his wife from leaving. Critical, vital, that the ring is not abandoned and left on the floor, so he lets Heidi brush past him, moving to pick up that band of gold, sparing it no glance before clutching it in his hand. His heart seems to thump harder as well as sink when he realises Heidi is running away from him - in other words, it breaks.

"Wait." He turns, but it's true, she's running. He could probably catch her, he could probably summon up the words - any words - to make her at least give him the time of day, because that's what he always does. Negotiates just for a little more time, to fix things and do better and… Nathan stands, watching her disappear. This time, he has no defense. Just like Mara had said would happen.

For a moment, Mara almost sought comfort in Peter's arms. And even now, there's nothing she'd like better than for her former lover's brother to hold her and tell her that she's not a bad person. Except… Except that she is. She knows it. And he knows it. It's like she's been punched in the gut. It stops her sobbing and leaves her breathless. Even still, she wants to throw her arms around him and apologise. She's sure Nathan once told her that it isn't hard to disappoint Peter, but it still kills her that she's done it. That he's looking at her like that. Knowing she deserves every ounce of pain for what she's done, she finds herself able to meet Peter's eyes entirely without fear.

"Neither can I." At least Mara's reply is honest. "I'm sorry," she breathes. There are a million excuses she could come up with. But she can't formulate a single one. Because Heidi deserves better than Mara's excuses, directed at her or not. She drops Peter's gaze only long enough to blink. I should have died that night and she would never know. "I should go," she says somberly. But she won't try to leave again unless he allows her. There's no point in running from someone who can chase you down, use their ability to chase you down, or guilt trip you to keep you from running.

She'll appear through Peter's door, running so fast already, her legs so sore that she has to put her hands out to brace herself from running into the wall opposite the door. There's a thud, but she catches herself, hands pushing her off so she can make a dash for the stairwell. Heidi has absolutely no idea where she's going. In fact, she's got no way to get anywhere, either, since her purse is still sitting on the chair in Peter's apartment. She doesn't care, though. She just has to get the hell out of here.

There's only so much that Peter can do right now. He already feels weakened to the point of exhaustion. All he did was /try/ to use an ability to help Heidi get away more quickly, so she could have time to recover in a state when she wouldn't be panicked. Didn't succeed either. But that's not the point, is it? This is the point. They've all hurt her and there's really nothing they can do to fix it right now. "Go," he finally says to Mara, shaking his head as his eyes follow Heidi down the hallway. "Just take care of yourself. Didn't lose my hand so you could run off and drink yourself to death."

He doesn't chase after Heidi. He won't stop Mara. And he doesn't try to exert an ability. Because this is one time when he's really accepted that he can do no good here. And besides, he's not sure he could make it to the stair well if he tried to run after her this time.

Alone in the room, now, Nathan sort of… doesn't know what to do with himself. He opens his hand to look at the little piece of jewelry in the centre of his palm, before slipping it into his pocket, not wishing to do that any longer. A glance around, he eyes Peter's dog, who, well, is looking a little nervous. Fair enough. "Just you and me now." Oh GOD, he's talking to a dog. A shaky hand comes up to rub over his face, then back through his hair, tugging at it in annoyance. This just /can't be the goddamn end/, it happened too… too… unexpectedly. He could have gotten a warning, some preparation, some lines to learn, goddamn ANYTHING—

Oh. That was. A chair he kicked. He can tell because his ankle hurts a little from not kicking it exactly right, and by the fact it's no longer upright and there's a scrabble of claws as the poor dog runs away from the weird human kicking furniture. Just. Nathan doesn't quite remember doing it. /Get a grip/. He moves to the door, to leave, he wants to be where people are so he doesn't have a breakdown.

That hurt. Mara would never /intentionally/ drink herself to death. …Okay, maybe she would. Maybe this would drive her to do it. She briefly considers it as she begins to turn to leave. When she hears crashing, she stops for a moment. Is… Is he okay? She wasn't concerned about Heidi's departure, but Nathan's stupid enough to actually hurt himself. When the door opens, she's frozen. Just the barest glimpse of him, and it hits her, though. It hits her hard.

She has nothing left. Her career is all but over, credibility shot. Her home was destroyed. Her friends all think she's crazy. And now this. Now him. And Peter… That unseeing look comes over Mara again, but it's not accompanied by a vision. She finally turns away and heads for the stairs. Her pace is trudging at best. And she's three steps down the hall before she remembers she's supposed to be leaning on her cane. "Bollocks," she mutters under her breath.

The two women are leaving, his brother has stepped outside his apartment after making something crash and his poor puppy bark. Peter walks towards the door and looks towards Nathan, an unhappy and very tired look on his face. He looks as if he's the one who's running up or down stairs right now. He's not, but that's how it looks. "Get out," he says to his brother, shouldering past him and into his apartment. "Get home to your sons or chase after your wife. But get out." Yeah— no one's ending up in a good place tonight it would seem. No one at all.

Nathan lets Peter push past him, but he turns with him. HUG ME. Okay, not quite, but yeah, that stings and it shows. Nathan wasn't sure what he was expecting from Peter, here, but… not quite /that/. "Pete," he sighs, wearily, feeling a flash of anger. Isn't he there for Peter when /he/ screws up? Mostly? But the anger is gone as soon as it flares, because that irrepressible sadness keeps dragging it back down. He doesn't deserve sympathy, even from Peter. Not right now. Nathan is out the door, no longer standing lingering there and suddenly wanting to disappear as well. Of course, he leaves the door open. He doesn't rush, though. God knows he doesn't want to run into Mara, if that muttered curse and rustle of movement he'd seen out of the corner of his eye indicates her. He feels a bit like the man without a country.

There's only a few moments before Peter steps back out the door and grabs his brother's arm. "Wait." There's a very guilty look, before he says, "Get in here. But you're sleeping on the floor." With Snowy. And he doesn't let go of his brother's arm until he gets his ass inside. "And you have to call mom and tell her the boys need a maid tonight. In case Heidi doesn't go home."

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