2007-10-07: On The Waffles


Nathan_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Never too late for a new beginning, right? Waffles, also, have magical properties.

Date It Happened: October 7th, 2007

On The Waffles

The Petrelli Estate

The hour is late, a little bit past dinner - and that's okay, because Heidi and Nathan aren't really having dinner, exactly. No, in the center of large, white plates, is a waffle each, ones Nathan even made himself and while they may be a little crispy around the outside, they're at least passable. Just drown them in syrup and dust it with icing sugar, which they are. Sort of a dessert. Why waffles, though?

Because waffles are delicious. That's why.

The table is set out on the patio, making use of a rare, dry night, and outdoor heaters are tucked in the corners to provide a little warmth to the setting. The doors to the mansion are kept open, and Nathan steps back outside, holding a freshly opened bottle of white wine and a couple of glasses he sets down, pouring them full and passing one to Heidi. The excuse for this he'd given her is that they hadn't gotten a chance for a very long time to do anything strictly for themselves, and while this may be a slightly unexpected request from Nathan, it's a hard fact to argue with. "Thanks for humouring me," Nathan says, as he moves to sit down opposite her with a flicker of a smile. An untucked button-down shirt over slacks is sort of a mix of formal and casual that dates-at-home require.

There's no mistake that Heidi likes when Nathan does stuff like this. She's been all smiles since the suggestion was made, mostly because she likes to spend time with him now and then, and that's hard when there's a campaign going on. Everyone's taking it in stride, just like they did last time. It makes moments like these even better. Even if Nathan's made waffles.

Heidi still hasn't told Nathan of her adventure in the haunted house, and won't, unless, say, Peter reads her mind again. Bad idea, though! In any case, Heidi knows what Nathan does with embarrassing information. "No, it's nice. Gives us a little time to catch up." She does eye her waffle, though, the expression on her face somewhere between a smile and a smirk… And she reaches for the syrup. "No strawberries?" she asks hopefully. Simon's allergic, but Heidi loves them.

It's true, moments like these - where they have each other to themselves and it's not a quick discussion over the kids or a blood-covered brother and a shotgun - have become rarer, and it seems like the campaign itself is even taking its toll. He's dressed as neatly as ever, but he certainly doesn't look well - almost too tired for the hour, paler, less talkative. Which doesn't exactly add to a date, but he'd had this planned and wasn't going to raincheck just due to what must just be a fall-related cold, or something.

Nathan picks up his wine glass, taking a sip just as she asks that, and he scans the table as if maybe someone else had put down some fruit to go with the waffles, because he certainly didn't. Who eats waffles with fruit when you can have liquid sugar? "No strawberries," he confirms. "But next time there will be. Then maybe I can even attempt a proper dinner." Let's hope not, that might end disastrously.

The fact that they CAN have moments like this despite blood-covered brothers and shotguns means something. It's still on Heidi's mind, sure. It wouldn't not be, given how rather frightening it is to see Peter covered in his own blood, and not doing so well besides. They live in an odd family.

Maybe it's because it's dark out, but the first time Heidi looks up at Nathan, she doesn't seem to notice that paleness or fatigue. Or maybe she's paying more attention to her slightly burned waffle and getting the syrup on there just right. Then there's the wine and sugar - the latter of which goes on the waffle, the former might go on the waffle if really necessary. But after taking a bite, she determines that it's edible. Even good. Nice work, Nate!

"Ah, waffles are good," she encourages, perhaps to avoid a fire in the kitchen. Looking back up at him, she finally notes dark circles under his eyes. "You look a little tired." Understatement. But there's worry in her voice.

After a bite is taken from his waffle, Nathan decidedly pours just a little more syrup on there. To measure out the black bits. Hey, those had crunch, and character, and were completely deliberate. Ish. He glances back up at Heidi at her comment, and gives a slight shrug. "Well the papers are saying I've managed to lose fifteen percent of my voters over the past few months, and I got only a few weeks to make up for it," he says, concentrating on slicing through his waffle with knife and fork. "In conjunction with having a brother like Pete, that's enough to make anyone lose a few hours a night." And his gaze goes back up at her, with a smile. "I'm fine." His fork and knife are set aside, apparently not particularly interested in digging through his dessert, hands linking together casually instead. "How about you?" he asks. "How're you holding up?"

There's really nowhere they should feel safer than at their own home, right? For this reason, she can feel comfortable discussing things she can't talk about elsewhere - in public, over the phone. But she'll get back to that in a minute.

"I know you want to win. You wouldn't be running if you didn't," Heidi says, cutting her waffle into more easily managable squares, so the syrup can soak in between the pieces. "But you should take care of yourself, too. At least try?" Again, she looks across the table, light catching and highlighting that blue in her eyes. It's hard to resist. Really. Do what she says and get some sleep!

Not right now, though. Waffles.

Back to that feeling safe at her own home, though. "I'm all right. Worried, about you, and Peter. Something happened to him, and — " She doesn't need to know the details. "And I'm worried. It doesn't matter if he can heal all that in minutes, Nathan. That was a lot of blood. I just hope he's okay." There's a moment where she looks down at the waffle again, before adding with a smile, "I just worry about you two, all the time now."

Nathan doesn't respond to the order to take care of himself more than a nod. He's already been taking Cass's advice and treating it like he might a cold, and as far as he can tell, he actually is getting enough sleep. Not details he shares now, though, this isn't the proper time and place for it.

Neither, really, is what Heidi goes on to talk about, Nathan glancing away briefly as she brings up the subject of the recent Peter debacle, clasped hands gripping a little before relaxing onto the table, one moving past the candles and syrup and all that to take her hand. It hinders waffle-eating, but he only maintains the hold for a few moments. "I know you worry," he says. "I worry about him too. It was a bad night but he'll… he'll be okay. I think he was hurt worse than he has been, it looked bad from where I was standing. But he knows he can't just go running into situations like that alone, so at least we won't be seeing a repeat."

It's getting a little chilly; Heidi turns her chair a little toward one of the heaters for warmth, while looking skyward. Everything looks different from up there, which is a thought she's had ever since she asked Nathan to show her, and he did. At that moment, it meant everything - the trust was important, necessary. She didn't really think about the implication at that point, but she's had the point hammered home since… And especially when Nathan appeared on the balcony a couple nights ago with his badly shaken brother. It's not all fun.

Back down to earth.

Her hand is taken, and she gives his a squeeze. "Well, I worry about you, too," Heidi says dryly, turning back toward him, her other hand resting over his. She knows things, she observes, and while she may not have all the answers, she's very good at putting puzzles together.

Nathan moves his chair around just enough that they can sit closer, rather than on opposite sides of the small outdoor table. At this angle, the paleness is certainly more apparent rather than disguised by shadows and candlelight, but whatever ails him is obviously being pushed aside, gaze sharp, attention focused. "I think you're supposed to worry about people you love," he says, just as dryly and with a hint of a smile. "But if it's of any comfort, I'm just as in favour of keeping myself out of trouble as you are." He's pretty much abandoned his food, but he draws his wine glass closer.

It's not hard to notice that Nathan doesn't look well. She reaches up to touch his forehead - it's an automatic response. Heidi's already kind of thinking of what they're going to have to do to have him better by the election. Soup. Rest. Her hand moves down to his cheek, holds it for a moment, then drops it back to rest over his hand. "Well, yeah. You two just give me more cause than the usual family," she says, though she's still smiling. "Normal people have to worry about car accidents. I have to worry about you colliding with a jet." Finally, she does reach for her wine, taking a sip before putting it back on the table. "I guess I'd be more worried about the jet then."

As she touches his forehead, skin a little warmer than the chillier environment should allow, Nathan just shuts his eyes, opening them again when her hand moves to his face, back down to his own hand. "Jets are easy to avoid," he says, lightly. "Kinda big, hard to miss." He leans back, perhaps in a move about to stand up, but instead, he stays seated, hand travels to his pocket. "You've been a part of this family for so long it's hard to imagine you once upon a time weren't," he says, taking out— well it's unmistakable. A velvety little box for jewelry, something small. "Or to imagine a time when you might not want to be." An obvious allusion to what had happened months ago, one of the very few times Nathan independently brings it up. The box is opened, almost casually, and offered enough so that she can see the ring inside of it, perhaps white gold, but unmistakably an engagement ring. "I know we've been on a road to fixing things between us, but I'm not about to take it for granted."

Yeah, well, so are semi-trucks, she starts to say, but Heidi knows it's a silly worry. He's not going to crash into any jets. It'd be nearly impossible to do if he was blind, and he's not.

Idly, she wonders if maybe the kids brought home a cold from school, and Nathan just got it because he's been stressing himself out so much lately. That must be it - and like the airplanes, it's nothing to worry about. Everyone gets sick once in awhile, but Heidi will be feeding him extra soup at dinner, and they should probably go inside—

The road to here hasn't been without its hitches - they both know that, as Nathan alludes to as he kind of throws her when he pulls out a ring. Thinking back to it, though, Heidi's not sure she could have left him, and she asked if that made her a doormat. No, not really… And while not hung up on material things, it's moments like these that make her realise why she didn't run off. It's like she's twenty years younger, at least that's how it feels as she looks at Nathan with wide eyes. Confused? A little. And she's not sure how to best respond. Obviously, she's impressed. Happy. But it's hard to put to words. In the end, she just asks, "Are you…?"

It's a matter of symbols, and Nathan is notoriously not good at this sort of thing. In fact, he didn't even come up with this idea on his own, but it stuck, and eventually, he had to. And this may or may not be the second hardest thing he's had to do kind of ever, but he's forgetting to be awkward right now. "Yeah, I am," he says, taking the ring from the box, her hand in his other hand. "We got lost for a while there." Even before the affair, before the secrets about superpowers… maybe somewhere around the time of Heidi's injury and beyond. "Never too late for a new beginning, right?" And he's watching her carefully as he speaks, his own expression carefully neutral - perhaps just a hint of nervousness that, like her own feeling of feeling twenty years younger, is also kind of youthful. "Will you?"

So what's the big deal? They're already married, they have two kids, they're happy, mostly. But this is somehow so important that it's reached a point where Heidi's not sure whether she should be laughing or crying - both for good reasons! She's happy. It's not something she asked for, not something she even expected, and he did it anyway.

"We did," she agrees quietly. It seems for the moment that she's decided on tears. She'd probably pinpoint the same moment, too, and the feeling she had like she had to rise to meet a new set of standards without a clue what they were. It's a long time since she's been stuck in a wheelchair - every once in a while since then, she's wondered if she's good enough. Not now, though. She nods, smiling. "Yeah— Yes, Nathan. Of course I will."

"Good." That comes out as a sigh, a small barely audible chuckle, and not necessarily because he expected her to say no. Nathan probably wouldn't have gone into this if he had that expectation. But she said yes, and no matter what, that's something to be relieved about. The ring is pressed into her palm so that she can hold it, look at it - although she'll have to wait a moment because Nathan is pulling closer, a hand briefly raising to brush away one tear track from her face. "Thank you," is murmured, before a kiss.

This means more to her than the ring she's wearing now. Not that Heidi would say that outloud - she doesn't want to hurt Nathan, though she imagines it might already be understood. That one means almost nothing, except a broken promise, that she still wears to symbolise that, yes, she is married, and yes, she does love her husband. But the deeper meaning behind it has been absent for months.

She holds it, still grinning, closing her eyes as she's kissed and then repeating the 'Thank you,' back to Nathan. It's not just that she's excited about the re-proposal, but that it actually means something again.

Still, she's torn. When she finally opens her hand to look at the ring, she's not sure what to do about the wedding band she's currently wearing. After all, that means something.

Backing up a bit, not after running his hand over her hair, Nathan follows her gaze back down to the ring, the existing wedding band still worn isn't hard to not notice. His hand moves to clasp hers, covering it. "Your choice," Nathan says. "Keep it, save it, throw it into the Hudson." However, (it's platinum, and) though Mara's vision from that ring did cause a train wreck, she had said it brought her happy memories, right? Nathan leans back into his chair, still keeping their hands linked as his other goes for his wine glass, not taking a sip from it yet, just holding it casually in his hand.

If Heidi planned to throw it into the Hudson, she would have done so a long time ago. The only throwing of it that she managed to do was to drop it on the floor before she left Peter's apartment that one day.

She does take it off, though, placing it on the table, before replacing it with the engagement ring. In a way, it does seem a little silly, just in the sense that things were going fine, but… Isn't it the little things like this that make them stronger? "It's so pretty," she says quietly, looking at the diamonds. She doesn't say anything for awhile, before she wraps her arms around her husband, holding him close. "Thank you, Nathan. Thank you. I didn't even…" Expect. Any of this. She still doesn't plan on telling everyone she knows why Nathan re-proposed - that will be between them. But it doesn't mean she can't tell everyone that she has the sweetest guy in the whole world.

When she pulls back, she's got this look in her eye. "How do you feel? Right now?" Oh mischief.

And Nathan doesn't plan on telling her that he didn't come up with this himself. But hey, he gets points for doing it without any more urging than a simple idea being handed to him. "It's pretty on you," he comments, retaking that hand once she's slipped the ring on, thumb brushing over her knuckles.

Then, that question draws his eyeline back up to hers. He knows that look in her eye, and really the only honest answer would be: his head is splitting in two from this goddamn headache, he's trying not to shiver under his clothes because the heaters may as well not be there, and his concentration is so shot that he's not even doing very well at the talking thing ever since he'd given his little reproposal spiel he'd thought about beforehand anyway…

But what his actual answer is, after taking a few very liberal sips of wine from his glass, "I feel great."

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