2007-12-10: Scar Lost

Starring:

Nathan_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: After beating on Sylar, Nathan returns home to have a chat with his wife.

Date It Happened: 10 DECEMBER 2007

Scar Lost


Petrelli Kitchen

It's well dark by the time Nathan gets home. He's switched on a dim lamp in the sitting room, having moved towards the antique tea tray that had been set up with colourful, expensive bottles of liquor, more for show than practical use but on occasion, it was indulged from. The bottle of Pendleton *clinks!* gently against the rim of the glass as Nathan pours himself a generous helping. First and last of the evening, he figures, it's allowed to be generous. He hesitates when he caps the lid of the whiskey bottle, noticing the bruises developed on his right hand's knuckles, the skin split across the center, a detail he hadn't noticed before.

He needs ice.

He wanders to the kitchen, one-handedly undoing his navy blue tie as he goes as the other hand grips the lowball glass, dressed otherwise in a lighter blue shirt, a grey suit. Once inside, Nathan doesn't, however, retrieve the icepack kept for little emergencies such as this - he lets a couple of blocks of ice fall into his glass from the little disposal unit, whirls the drink around once and indulges in a sip before he can let the freezer door close. The night has marginally improved.

—-

Since the boys have school tomorrow (Aw, mom, it's almost Christmas! WHY CAN'T WE STAY UP!) Heidi was upstairs puting them to bed when Nathan got home, even though by a child's standards, it was way, way too early for that. Despite having all their Christmas presents already, she was very cryptic with the 'It's not too late for Santa to check his list again' comment she made when Simon showed all the signs of arguing for the next hour or so. Simon's answer was that if he didn't get presents, he would sue Santa Claus for damages. Sure, it was damages to his 'cycle' instead of his 'psyche,' but Heidi got the point and won the argument by closing Simon's door. One would suppose there are worse things a boy could learn from his father.

Like fighting, for example.

Eventually, and it does take some time for Heidi to assure Simon that Santa has immunity against litigation, because he's Santa, Heidi makes her way to the kitchen, where she heads to the refrigerator for beer. Because once in awhile, Heidi needs one of those.

Being with children all dy makes a woman perceptive, and in that slightly disinterested way that means she is seriously concerned and just trying not to make a big deal out of it - yet - she notices Nathan's hand and asks, "What did you do to your hand?" Casually. She suspects nothing.

—-

There's really not a lot one can do about it. Not a lot of lies that can excuse it. As soon as he'd heard her footsteps, knowing she would inevitably notice the injury, Nathan's brain had started ticking away like it usually does, automatically trying to draw up a story that would do the least damage to himself, to her. At least he'd stopped trying when he'd noticed himself begin, and had well since given up by the time she approached the fridge, he moving back to allow it and leaning against a kitchen counter, as casual as her tone of voice. He should probably have just stuck to body blows, like he'd planned to, but then Sylar had spoken to him. That changed everything.

"Nothing I'm particularly proud of," Nathan admits, honestly, drawing up his glass to sip from. Once that's done, he inclines his head to her. "How was your day?"
The scowl Heidi offers betrays the fact that she's nothing less than concerned. There's the slight narrowing of her eyes, almost a twitch, really, that conveys her disappointment. While Nathan has neglected to retrieve the ice pack for himself, Heidi opens the freezer and pulls that out, leaving the beer for later. Maybe she'll need two.

After wrapping the pack in a paper towel, she hands it over, and while 'What were you THINKING!?' is written all over her face, from the intent pale gaze to the pursed lips, she doesn't say it out loud. Nathan's probably heard it enough times to figure out what she's thinking.

"It was fine." She pauses.

In every woman's mind, there is the need to point out the blatantly obvious. To grind the point home, not necessarily to spite, but to get through. And often, it's the most enraging thing a woman can say to a person, but somehow… somehow, Heidi manages to take the edge off, to make the accusation that follows gentle, despite the conclusion she's drawn. "Nathan. You're a Senator." YOU CAN'T DO THINGS LIKE THIS, YOU NUMB-SKULL. Her expression softens, though. Marginally. "Are you going to get in trouble for this?"

—-

He only hesitates for a moment, but he's not about to fight with her over things like taking care of himself. So the glass of whiskey is set aside and the ice pack is taken, pressed against his hand with only a slight wince from the politician.

Nathan looks up at her when she points out the obvious, before looking back down again, curling the ice pack around his hand enough so that it can be gripped and he can resume his drinking, glass picked back up. "No, I'm not," he assures, firmly. It's not as if the guy he'd beaten can really press charges, and that forces a tug of a bitter smile to pull at his mouth. "No one's gonna know. Peter might yell at me but— " Shrug. Making Peter happy with his behaviour is one of those obstacles he'd given up on a long time ago.

—-

At least he's complying with that. Meanwhile, she heads back toward the sink so she can soak another paper towel in warm water and soap. Perhaps she's not a medical genius, but she's dealt with enough cuts and scrapes with the kids to know how to handle a split knuckle or two.

Heidi's quiet as she rings the water out of the towel, and when she approaches Nathan again, she takes the drink out of his hand and sets it on the counter. "Here, let me see," she says, reaching for the affected hand. He can ice it when she's cleaned it.

Even though she can almost read Nathan's mind at times, she can't answer all her questions without asking. There's a pause in her demeanor, the motion stops for all of a second, before she looks up at him. That half-angry-though-tolerant look is fixed back on her face. "He could go to the police," she argues. "You're a public figure. No matter who you are, people are going to see that as an opportunity to sue you."

—-

Again, he allows this too, offering his hand. It's not overly manly to allow your wife to fuss over the cut you got from beating up some other man just prior, but the reason behind it is a show of testosterone in itself, so he's not about to complain. If it will make her feel better. Although perhaps not, as Nathan endures one of his least favourite Heidi-looks, the one that seems to imply he's about as mature as his two sons. His back straightens a little.

"I told you about Sylar," Nathan begins to explain, voice quiet. "Peter— I don't know how, but he managed to get the guy into a locked room, on some sort of drug that makes his abilities go away. Giving him a second chance. A wanted serial killer doesn't have a lot of leg to stand on if he wanted to take me to court over this. No one's gonna take him to court, that's for certain." So justice had been dealt out the old fashioned way.
Heidi presses the towel onto Nathan's cut hand, her touch gentle. Her answer at first is a simple 'Mm,' but she's thinking about something better to say under the cover of tending to the injury.

—-

Certainly not one to condone violence, Heidi nevertheless agrees that sometimes - sometimes - it is acceptable. She wanted to hurt the people who kidnapped her, for example. Tried, even, but that didn't work out as intended. She won't admit, though, that anyone deserves it, even if it's clear by her lack of immediate contradiction that she doesn't intend to argue Nathan's point. Killers deserve what they get. A person reaps what they sow.

"Before I say anything, I don't believe he should be given a second chance, so I don't agree with Peter either. But Nathan." She reaches up to take his face with one hand - which is notably soapy from its previous contact with the towel. Momentarily, she's not sure what to say. "Whether or not this guy deserved it — You have two boys. A family. What if he takes it out on you later?"

—-

It gives him some pause. It's not as though Nathan wasn't aware of the repercussions, but it brings the concern back to the surface that Heidi arrives at this possible conclusion so easily. He takes her hand, the one at his face, which leaves behind a small smear of soap and water but all the same, his fingers slide easily between hers. "When this guy was taken by the Company, I told— one of them that it was their own fault for not putting him down while they had the chance.

'One of them'? He's not going to bring up Mara's name in this conversation, complicates it, even if she has so much to do with why he was even there, even if Claire was the trigger. He continues talking in quiet tones.

"I told Peter the same thing when he told me what he'd done. I considered following my own advice." A rueful flicker of a smile. "Couldn't do it. Sylar— Gray wants to get better. Peter's a kind person but I don't think he'd make a mistake like this, after everything. I think Sylar knew it, too. That he deserved what he was getting."

Doesn't make it any less of a possibility. One doesn't turn "good" overnight. But here's to hoping.

—-

A lot has happened to their family now. One would think that 'hope' would be a thing of the past… But while Heidi has become jaded thanks to some of the things that have happened to her, she can't automatically assume the worst, even now.

Removing the cloth, she puts the ice back on his hand. Hopefully it'll help with the bruising enough so that if he's seen in public, it won't stand out so much. "Keep your hands in your pockets," she comments idly on that note, then adds somewhat dryly, "So I don't have to lie for you." She will, if she has to, but it's probably the least-preferred way of dealing with this.

"I wouldn't want you to kill anyone, Nathan. There's no value in it. It's…" Stepping back, she leans against the counter next to him, picking up his drink and apparently claiming it as her own. "We were given free will, and everyone says how much of a crime it is to strip someone of that. Killing someone is basically telling a person that they can't make their own decisions, that you've made it for them. Once you do that… They can't come back from that. It's not like hitting someone." She reaches for his shoulder. She's seen him kill someone before - for her - but that doesn't mean he should make a habit of that. "I'm glad you didn't. And on the other hand, maybe he'll realise that, too."

—-

Maybe there'd be some value in it. But Nathan isn't going to argue with his wife about morals, ethics, when she's already tolerating this as well as she is. "I hope he does," Nathan murmurs, lifting his gaze to meet hers, letting the ice pack settle across the bruising. "Don't worry," he dismisses, "no one'll know." It's cold, he can wear gloves when going out, after all. He has far, far bigger secrets he has to work at keep. His free hand comes up to touch her jaw as he leans in to kiss her cheek as a husband might with his wife. "Do I get my drink back?"

—-

Heidi arches her eyebrows at him, looking out the corner of her eye, before she takes a sip of his expensive booze. "I don't know. With you around, I might need this more," she replies. She wants to be mad at him, and indeed, she should be. Hitting people is not an acceptable pasttime, but how can anyone feel sympathy for a murderer. Part of her almost wishes Sylar were out of the picture for good, but the idea of assassinating someone makes her shiver.

But if she is angry, it's subtle, residing in her expression. Perhaps this will be discussed at a later date, but while there's blood involved, it seems pointless. "You can tell the boys you were helping me put up Christmas decorations. They'll stop trying to help," she jokes, though with as flat as her voice is, it's hard to tell.

Finally, she hands the drink back over to him. "Was there a reason?"

—-

Nathan lightly snorts at her suggestion, glancing once again at his hand, although he can't observe the bruises with the ice pack over it. The swelling's gone down and maybe they won't notice. He hopes he doesn't have to tell them the truth, that's one of those things he doesn't want to encourage. There's a few things about himself he hopes they don't inherit. Probably a good thing Heidi does a bulk of the parenting.

Drink accepted, although Nathan doesn't partake from it right away, backing up again and leaning against the counter once more. Clearly, she's not a hundred percent happy with him, which he can live with. He's not a hundred percent happy with himself either. "Reason?" he repeats, then takes a sip.

—-

She doesn't condone lying, certainly. Heidi's had her issues with it - and Nathan - in the past already, but has come to re-accept that some fibbing here and there is necessary. The kids telling friends at school that their dad beat someone up is a one-way ticket to investigationville.

"Reason," she repeats. "As far as I know, he's never done anything to our family. He hasn't come to our home, attacked our kids, kicked our animals. So you just find this guy randomly on the street and take a swing at him? Was he attacking you? What?"

—-

And another sip, this one finishing off his glass, seeing as he'd already started before and Heidi had helped. Nathan moves to splash the remaining bits of ice into the sink and set the glass aside, although it also helps him to feel less cornered all of a sudden. "He's come to our home," he tells her. "Earlier this year, you weren't back yet. He attacked Claire while she was here for a few days, mom too. Peter chased him out." Meanwhile, Nathan was locked in the Company basement for a few days on bad behaviour. He's just lucky he remembers it. "He's hurt Peter enough times for it to be a reason. And he hurt Claire too." He's omitting things, hoping this is enough.

—-

Heidi closes her eyes. Okay, so he has hurt the family. He has been to the house. And despite the fact that Claire is Nathan's daughter with someone else, Heidi still feels protective of her. The very idea that he'd go after a child would make Heidi want to hurt him - so yes, it is reason enough. And she's about to leave it at that, when she recalls two things. First, the fact that Peter's ability to heal himself comes from Claire, and second, that Sylar steals abilities by killing people. Nathan said 'hurt,' though, not 'kill,' and so Heidi's initial OH MY GOD reaction ends with a deep breath and the relaxing of her shoulders.

"Is she okay?" Heidi asks. Claire's a likable girl. The kids love her, she's always been polite to Heidi, even if their first meeting was just a little awkward. "Nate, I understand why you did it, I do. I just want you to know that. But I worry when things like this happen."

—-

"She's not okay," Nathan answers. It's not his duty, he knows that, to act the protective father figure with Claire. Noah has this down in spades. It doesn't make it any better. She'd come to him - the closest place of refuge, perhaps, but she'd still done it. A couple of times. It's enough. Only fueled by what Sylar had done to Peter, and what he had done to Mara. "He took her ability but she lived through it." He runs the faucet, then, to clean his hands off soap, and then also splash water on his face, trying to rid himself of his own tension, damp hand circling to the back of his neck.
Not the answer Heidi expected. A 'yeah, she's fine' would have been typical, anticipated, but 'no?' Heidi's eyes narrow, she starts to ask what, but she can paint in the rest of the picture on her own. "Oh god," she says with some disgust, eyebrows lowering over staring blue eyes.

Nathan's justice tumbles around in her mind again. She can't say if it's right, and she can't say if it's wrong. There's more in the world than just black and white, though, and Heidi understands the driving need to protect one's children at all costs. You throw yourself in front of busses for them, you get dressed up in the most ridiculous-looking costumes for room-mom at the halloween party at school. You wake up at three o'clock in the morning when they've had a bad dream, and when someone commits an atrocity like killing your child, you deliver justice in the best way possible.

As Nathan's leans over the sink, Heidi touches his shoulder, moving around him just enough so that she can meet his eyes. She's horrified. "I'm. S— "

It sounds stupid or uncaring, but it's the only thing she can think of to say. "I'm sorry."

—-

He's pretty sure Noah would have finished Sylar, but Nathan doesn't voice this out loud, just turns off the faucet once more, giving a sigh. He doesn't take Heidi's sentiment as stupid or uncaring, however, he knows her too well. Brown eyes meet pale blue, and he puts an arm gently around her waist. "So am I. It shouldn't have happened in the first place. A lot of things shouldn't have happened." A kiss to her temple, almost a nuzzle, Nathan taking pleasure in the fact that he has a wife and a family and all those things Sylar can't ever have, including forgiveness. "I'll get back to being a Senator tomorrow," he assures her. No more locked room beatings like the kind you hear about in crime stories, military horrors, negotiations between justice and revenge. He's happy to settle within the confines of the law, being a public figure, once more.

—-

Heidi rests her head on Nathan's chest. Still, all she can think of to say is 'I'm sorry,' but she'll come up with something later. They'll talk, maybe for a long time, or maybe not so long, but she'll think of something to say. Maybe it won't be anything to make Nathan feel better, but she can only do so much.

Somehow, things always end up okay.

She'll be here for him tonight, at least, and tomorrow, like he said, he goes back to being a senator. She could make some coffee, they could sit in the kitchen chatting for the next few hours before they have to sleep, they could try to take their minds off it by watching a movie… As Heidi backs away, she takes his hand, peeking under the ice pack. They have to do something.

"I'll go get some Band-Aids," she says, and vacates the kitchen to do so, before Nathan can protest the coddling.

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