2008-01-15: No Longer in the Dark

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif

Summary: "Nathan" arrives home after many days away. Heidi is angry. Nathan doesn't react as expected.

Date It Happened: 15 JANUARY 2008

No Longer in the Dark


Hyde Park, Petrelli Mansion

It's well into noon by the time footsteps sound through the wider space of the estate, headed for the kitchen. No calling ahead, no warning aside from the words of reassurance Peter had given ahead of time, just the faint click of the front door closing shut, those footsteps headed for the kitchen, and the sudden scrabble of at least eight paws sliding and skidding along hard floors, deep barks of excitement sounding out from the two ever-excitable dogs.

Logan is dressed very much the way Nathan was when he left the estate, a white shirt beneath a gun metal grey jacket, the navy coat abandoned by the door. He crouches down to greet the dogs properly, as even keeping them away enough so that they don't lick his face off but close enough to scratch behind their ears, for a few moments, before gently urging them away. "Yes, I know, welcome home," Logan murmurs, straightening up again and readjusting his jacket.

—-

Unable to help herself, Heidi has still been worried. It's understandable, given the fact that he's been gone for days without word, and while she trusts Peter to tell the truth, seeing is believing. He's not here yet. Why isn't he here yet?

She's been doing housework, even if that's usually reserved for the maids. It's something to take her mind off things, and allow her to think quietly, with the TV off and the kids at school. She's just gotten around to cleaning up some of the dishes from last night when she hears the dogs, dismisses the noise at first, and then wonders…

Setting the dishes down in the sink, she heads to the doorway that leads out of the kitchen, through it, and — there he is. Finally, the relief she's been waiting for falls on her like a bag of bricks, carrying with it the heaviness of exhaustion that's been plaguing her since Nathan vanished.

For a moment, there's the hint of a smile. Then it's gone. "Nathan," she says, and even though the tone is firm, there's a gentleness to it, somewhere beneath the surface.

—-

The dogs depart about the time Heidi makes her presence known, as if sensing trouble and not wanting to get blamed somehow, one making his wagging tail'd way over towards her, then through into the kitchen, and the other moving off to investigate whatever sound or smell has last caught his attention. Logan, in contrast, stays where he is, his hands sliding into the pockets of his slacks for a moment as he glances Heidi up and down, then meets her eyes. The smile is delayed, just a fraction, but it's there in the end.

"Heidi," Logan responds, simply, approaching at a stroll. "Peter said you were worried about me. He told you I was okay, right?"

—-

Run to him, Heidi! Jump into his arms, cry, tell him you were so worried that you hardly slept! It's the truth, isn't it?

As she stands across from him, though, looking into his eyes as he meets hers, there's an entirely different emotion that's bubbling under the surface. It's not evident on her face - actually, that's kind of blank at the moment as she fights with two different and radically opposite reactions.

It's the barest change in her face, but her eyes go almost cold. "I waited for days to hear from you. I went to that lab where you said you were going. I looked for you. You could have at least called, sent some word. The only thing I got was some…" How did that guy put it. "…hallucination." He looks fine, though Peter said he healed him a little. It must not have been that bad, she reasons. There must be—

"How many times to you expect me to be happy in the dark, Nate? I was worried."

—-

The challenge isn't met with apology, at least not right now, Logan simply going still a few feet away from her, gaze piercing and matching her's, although he manages to look away instead as she finishes. There's a pause, before leveling eye contact once more. "I was in a coma for the better part of a week," he finally says, words dropping like slabs of ice, heavy and cold. The rest of him is casual, shoulders relaxed and hands still resting in pockets. "And before that I was under so much sedation I barely knew my own name." Quite literally, that's neither here nor there. "It's sure great to be back. Excuse me."

And Logan goes to side step her, moving for the kitchen, as if maintaining that casual stroll he had before unbroken in pace.

—-

Whatever Heidi expected, it wasn't that. Her memory is fairly good, she notices things that other people might miss. Her first reaction is that it must have been some serious stress, and because - despite everything - she still wants to believe that her husband is good, she can only imagine that this detachment is the result of whatever he went through. It seems odd, but certainly not unheard of. After all, he did send her and the boys away after he was so badly burned. "I didn't know," she says quietly.

That he pracically shoulders past her… That does earn a raised eyebrow, and yet she follows after, easily reaching a hand to set on his shoulder. She gives it a squeeze. "I saw." Well, she saw something unpleasant on the foor of the lab, anyway, but she doesn't clarify that. They're in a kitchen. Not a place for talk of blood and gore, except when it is. "Peter made it sound like it wasn't that bad."

—-

"Then I'm not the one keeping you in the dark," Logan says, not quite shrugging off her touch, only turning towards her, making it unnecessary. But his hand catches hers, to hold in something more reassuring than the way he had brushed her off, before releasing it again to go and get himself a glass of water. No drinking in that sense, just hydrating. "I was injured, and I only woke up a few days ago. They told me you'd been informed of something for long enough to give me time alone." He drops ice into the glass in individual plink!s, rolling the water around inside it before taking a sip. "Do you want to know the gritty details?"

—-

Gritty details.

What.

Okay, so he's very shaken by what happened.

When he takes her hand, Heidi can only hold it briefly before Nathan's moving off again, this time for a glass of water, and the more she talks to him, the more it's just not sitting right with her. "Nh," she mutters to herself, apsently giving Caesar a pat on the head as he brushes past her. Rubbing at her face, Heidi attempts to decide whether she wants the so-called 'gritty details.' It really isn't necessary; it's bad enough for her to know that he was hurt at all. But that feeling that something is off persists.

"Well, if you can tell me anything," she says. Maybe it is a little tiny bit of curiosity. She could have changed the subject if she wanted to keep him talking. "I thought you were dead. After I saw what I did, I … it was hard to believe you were alive."

—-

He leans against the kitchen counter, raising an eyebrow when she pursues the conversation, turning the glass around in his hand in a slow, fidgeting gesture. Well, Logan supposes, glancing down to his hands and noting the band of gold (or is it platinum) clinking gently against the glass, she is his wife.

"Well, like I told Peter," he says, voice a little kinder now, laying on the patience, "the people who took me initially put— sort of a detonator in me." A free hand drifts to his midsection, still scarred beneath his clothes, but healed. He continues to talk, going from kindly to more clinical. "They theorised that it was a way to ensure I'd die if I ever escaped, but I escaped into a group of medical professionals."

His head tilts to the side a little, studying her still. "After I woke up, I just needed some time to myself."

—-

It still isn't adding up, but Heidi isn't a particularly sceptical person. She wants everything to be okay. Things can always go back to normal if you let them. She doesn't live in a bubble, but sometimes she feels like it might be nicer if things didn't always go so tragically wrong. The gentle tone helps, a little.

Still, why hasn't he hugged her? Where are the reassuring words. Her lip curls up as he mentions the detonator, and the explanation comes so easily. There's no emotion behind it, and Heidi searches for something in his eyes. Anything. Fire, humiliation, pain.

Every time she tells herself that everything is fine, her mind wanders back to that phone call.

Still, she approaches, seeking to wrap her arms around him and hold him close. Feel the warmth… Maybe just spend a quiet few minutes with him. She's probably just being paranoid. He's just shell-shocked. Literally.

—-

Her search yields nothing. Ambition is only fiery when there is passion, and that isn't what Logan is. It's mechanical, calculating, grim ambition, currently lying dormant as he appeals to his wife, but under her scrutiny, there's nothing to find but passive, glassy consciousness. When she approaches, however, he doesn't shy away from the gesture of affection, setting the glass of water aside to put his arms around her, draw her in, a hand coming up to cradle the back of her head. It could be read as apology, the embrace certainly warm enough. He knows, at least, what is supposed to come next.

"I'm sorry," he says, murmured, in a way that sounds genuine, against her hair. "I don't want to keep doing this to you. I just didn't have a lot of say in the matter."

—-

What did they do to him? He must have been through something to have nothing in his eyes. It's okay, though. She can fix it. Things can get back to normal, they'll have to… To— Well, there's the reason he left in the first place. "From now on, if you're going to do anything, if you're going to go anywhere for help with— I think maybe I can look for some doctors, get some references. I can go with you."

She pulls away, smiling - finally - and sighing. Everything's okay. "I don't want to let you out of my sight anymore." And maybe there's a little bit more to that look she gives him than the 'happy housewife' that she's supposed to be. Maybe she has an agenda. Ulterior motives. Maybe.

It was a dull realization, actually.

"And the kids will be so glad you're home. They think you went to Washington. Maybe they should just… Go on believing that."

Overplayed? She's not sure. Maybe she's paranoid. Maybe. She's just happy to have him back - that's what that loving expression is saying. And she'll do anything she can to hold onto him.

—-

Logan makes no comment on doctors, references, Heidi's offer to go with him. It, after all, won't be necessary. He has everything under control, and he only nods a little, feigning the kind of reluctance men like him might have for admitting to a weakness. His hand drifts up to brush strands of black hair behind her ear. "I think it's for the best," he agrees. "I'm tired of being the damsel in distress, making everyone worry. Including the boys. Besides," and now he gets out from where he was semi-cornered between wife and kitchen counter, picking up his glass of water as he paces across the kitchen, "the reality is I will be gone to Washington a lot. They're gonna have to get used to that."

—-

If she was unsure before, it's that little statement at the end that pushes her her to the edge. As he escapes from her, she grips the counter, fingernails quietly scratching against it as she feels the bottom of her stomach lurch as that dull realization because blinding. The reality is… Nathan will always be there for his sons if no one else. It's something Heidi's always admired about him - unless she's had him wrong all along. He would be gone to Washington a lot, sure. But he's at least indicate that he'd miss the kids. Offer to take them with him on occasion. Be a father.

It was more than shell-shock.

If this future where he becomes someone else was only a year away, then the seeds for this to happen were already planted long before. She read up on this. It's never just sudden. It's a buildup over time, and whatever happened to Nathan…

"Logan," she says.

—-

"Excuse me?" It's the kind of instantaneous answer Nathan might give, and it comes instinctively, not completely masking the fact it startles him into stillness, making his heart skip once, a disruption. Turning back to her, Logan studies his wife for several moments, glass in hand. Only the hum of the refrigerator breaks the silence for all those moments, assessing the variables, considering his next action as well as the object in his hand and the distance she stands from him, before he gently sets aside the glass of ice water.

Moving towards her, his hands come to rest on her arms. "Heidi," Logan says, in what he truly hopes is a tone of comfort and rationalisation. "Whatever it is that's worrying you, know that I'm okay now. I'm tired, and I want to get back on the horse. I want things to be normal again. And I need your help in that."

—-

The conviction falters a little. As she looks at him, Heidi can hear Nathan there. Can see him standing in front of her, but it's the eyes that she focuses on the longest.

As people go, Heidi's always been somewhat of a doormat. She wants to trust her husband right now, but it's possible that she's not even looking at her husband at the moment. She doesn't pull away when he takes her arms, and on her face? Pity.

Really, though. It's impossible to tell for certain. "Okay, I'll help you," she says steadily, not taking her eyes from his. It almost seems like she's caving… At least she's not throwing accusations around anymore, even if the initial one was weak at best, and was simply a name that happened to get a reaction out of him.

It's not right. It's not right. Red flags are going up all over the place. Something is not right. Okay. "I'm going to call Pete," she says, reaching up to take hold of his arm. It's a gentle gesture. She even smiles, gives him a little rub. If this is Logan, it's simply an entity who's currently stolen her husband, and she damn-well intends to get him back. As she stated before, she's tired of staying in the dark and doing nothing. "And your mother. I think you need your family right now."

—-

Pity. Neither Logan or Nathan are the best at reading people, but the pity is plain, and he hates it almost as much as he hates the man that ever made him necessarily. Pity was something he had to endure from her and doesn't intend to anymore. He's going to be a leader. He's going to be the leader, as if politics was a game that he needed to beat. Inside, he holds on to this, and endures the pity a little longer, curling his mouth in a soft, slightly apologetic smile.

Wait.

"Call Pete?" Logan repeats, the notion jarring him back into the situation. Peter, and Angela, and tell them what? "I just— talked to Peter this morning, remember? Honey, I have my family right here." He takes her hand, lacing his fingers with hers. "All I need is you right now."

—-

It's little things that are adding up to the whole. First the comment about kids, now the refusal to call Peter, that level look in his eyes. She can't read minds, but she knows her husband, and this is not Nathan.

This person… Apparently ruins a country.

She doesn't know what Logan will do, and she's not sure she wants to find out. Somehow, she'll have to get the word to Peter. Jack definitely. The only thing is, how the hell is she going to tell them? This isn't just one of those things where she can run off to everyone and tell them her husband is crazy.

Heidi can fix this. And she won't bring Nathan down. No one will have to know. God. She doesn't want him in the house with the boys!

The expression on her face doesn't soften, it doesn't melt, it doesn't trust. The fingers laced with his remain uncurled. "I'll keep your secret," she says, a coldness creeping into her voice that she didn't know she was capable of. "You give me a week of your time, you stay here, you give me your full attention, and I keep your secret." Are you in there? Can you hear her? Heidi's going to save you this time, Nathan. Don't worry.

—-

Her hand loosens in his, and Logan readily lets it go, the kindness he had attempted to show draining away at her words. He steps back, and for a moment, there is a flicker of an attempted lie, a look of hurt. "Heidi…" he says, but there is something about her now that shows there's no helping it.

No wonder he had sent her away, in Peter's future.

Logan is silent for a few seconds, eyes narrowing. When he speaks, it's obvious the pretence has been cast aside. "I don't think you understand what's happened here," he says, reasonably condescending. "You seem to think you can save him. Y'can't. He doesn't want to be saved. That's why I'm here in the first place. You have no one to thank, but Nathan."

If Nathan were listening, perhaps he'd be proud. But he isn't listening. He can't listen. He can't see. Logan sees no distracting reflections, no unwanted voices. It's just him, looking at a woman who could basically be someone else's wife and wondering: what am I gonna do with you.

—-

She doesn't want him to say her name. It's unavoidable, though - after all, it's her name. It just sounds wrong, coming from him. It's hard to differentiate, though. She's looking into Nathan's face, it's just not him who's behind the wheel at the moment, and that makes her feel fairly ill.

Strangely, when he does decide to drop the act, it's easier for Heidi to pull the two apart in her own mind. It's still bizarre, surreal, and her heart is racing because of the thought that this can't possibly be real. She wasn't ready to deal with this, and who is, really? Who would look at their spouse and think to themselves, 'if he goes crazy tomorrow, I'm ready.' No one.

Unfortunately, Logan's pretty good as casting doubt. Nathan's been having a hard time. He was scared. He— "He was going to get help," she says in argument. The way she looks at him now - it's not with pity, or with fear. It's with a sort of misplaced fascination. It's not Nathan! But it is.

Squaring her shoulders, setting her jaw, she wrinkles her nose at him, chin tipping downward as she looks up at him through narrowed eyes. It's an ugly expression on Heidi, but she's not really familiar with feeling hate and revulsion. "Do we have a deal or not?"

—-

"We have a deal," Logan concedes, and there seems to be plenty of sincerity. Perhaps he doesn't think one week will matter. Perhaps someone like him as no choice but to be arrogant, overconfident, uncaring of the plans of others. But he seems to agree. One week. Deal done. And he moves forward again, hands reaching out to grip the counter on either side of Heidi, not letting eye contact falter.

"And what kind of attention do you want?" Logan asks, voice utterly free of threat, but it doesn't need to have a trace of it, as far as he's concerned. "You want to rescue your husband?" And closer still, until his voice need be nothing over a faint rasp. "Or maybe you want to get to know him a little better? Because I can assure you, he hasn't gone anywhere. The quicker you understand that, honey, the easier everything will be." His hand drifts down to touch her hip. "I love you too, you know."

—-

Well, this is certainly uncomfortable, and yet she doesn't break eye contact, staring Logan down with determination and… a healthy dose of anger. Dammit! She wants to shake this guy until he relents, but something tells her that isn't going to work. She's also going to have to learn not to hate Logan if she wants to get through to Nathan. Whether she likes it or not, this is just a part of her husband - according to the books. And that's evidenced by the way he reaches for her hip…

She's horrified. No, she doesn't want this man touching her, and her reaction is to reach up, plant her hand in the middle of his chest, and shove. The stare has become wide-eyed, though it hasn't lost any of its determination.

He used to be gentle. He had the ability to be gentle. Beyond the shove, she doesn't actually answer the question. "Why do you call yourself Logan?" is asked, instead.

—-

When Logan is shoved back, there's no disappointment or hurt in his eyes. A twitch of a smirk is really the only reaction as he's forced away from her, going with the momentum and a hand reaching out to the kitchen island to steady himself. Almost as if this were a game too. The question makes him tilt his head for a moment, before he says, "Because that's what Peter said my name would be." Oh, paradoxes. A smile alights on his features, not at all showing in his eyes. "A week," he confirms, once more, before he's making for the exit of the kitchen.

—-

It seems like it would be a betrayal of trust to tell everyone what's going on, but she's sorely tempted. She shouldn't handle this alone, but she made the promise, and she knows that the first step in reaching Nathan is establishing some sort of trust between herself and Logan. Running her hands through her hair, she makes the decision.

As Logan leaves the kitchen, she picks up the phone. Dials. Maybe she's going back on her word…

"Hi. Mrs. Baker, this is Heidi Petrelli. Nathan… Just brought home a huge project— yes. I was wondering if you could take the kids for a week." There's a pause, then "Thank you. I'll call the school to let them know."

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