2009-12-19: Steady As She Goes

Starring:

Tracy_V4icon.pngNathan_V4icon.pngHelen_V4icon.png

Date: December 19th, 2009

Summary:

Various people of the Petrelli office deal with being shaken by strange circumstances in different ways, two of Nathan's staff meet and there's a silver lining to the night.


"Steady As She Goes"

Nathan Petrelli's Offices

Brayden curses as the light hits and he clamps his eyes shut. "Wh-at?" His entire face scrunches into a terrible frown. And then Stephanie is gone. Leaving the pair alone. Totally alone. He looks at Tracy before he manages, "Damn. What the hell was I doing before all of this?!" He runs a hand nervously through his hair.

Tracy squints against the heat — too much heat! — and starts to back away from the bits and pieces of the office that are on fire. She throws a forearm up when the shockwave hits with a sudden gasp and shout; by the time its gone, she's backed against the desk as if forced against it, hands braced against the edge behind her, though she thought for sure she'd be on the floor.

Everything seems so still and cold in contrast to just seconds ago.

Breathing hard, she looks at Nathan, all of her composure taking a rapid retreat. Never mind his question. The important question is: "What the hell just happened?" Swallowing, Tracy pushes off the desk and doesn't wait for an answer. "I." There's a slightly wild, panicked look in the woman's eye as she looks down at her hands and makes a sudden run for the door. Logically, she should stay and figure this out, but she can't. "I have to go, I'm sorry," she slurs hurriedly and fights the door open, disappearing. Into the cold street. Better than a blazing explosion.

"W-wait," Brayden snaps to attention as he follows her out the door hurriedly. His strides are crazily quick. "Linda, wait! Wh-what just happened? We need to figure this out!" He calls as he tries to follow. "L-Linda!"

Tracy's steps are beyond brisk, but she doesn't outright run, not wanting to attract attention. "You really— you don't want to follow me right now!" she calls back, and she means it — the mix of panic and hard-edged warning in her voice shouldn't be reckoned with. A wince comes to her face as she looks down at splayed hands, palms up, turning that familiar shade of hypothermic blue with the hazy vapour she knows means danger. Her steps hitch and she looks around, searching out the path of least resistance: an alley beside the building that houses Nathan's offices. It's a dead end.

Despite the warning, Brayden keeps following, "Linda, we need to figure this out!" He pursues her at that same fast pace. He can feel his own emotions running wild; his fight or flight mechanism still in gear. "Who is Niki Sanders?" he asks directly as they reach the alley.

Back still to Brayden, Tracy stops dead in her tracks. She can't force herself to calm down; she knew, sooner than later, that this was going to happen, given how hard she's had to fight to control her ability lately; that it would go out of control somewhere she very much thinks she can't afford it to. Despite her racing heart and arctic hands, what she does force herself to do calmly is look around the dingy alley. "She— " Tracy's jaw tenses as she looks over shoulder with a swing of a ponytail. "I know who she is. I haven't … been completely honest … with you. But right now, you need to— " She strains against a wince, fighting against her power, and turns it into a curt but apologetic smile. "You have to go."

Brayden frowns, "Who is she, Linda? I've been operating on blind faith here…" He stares at Tracy coolly. He wants answers. No one has been straight with him lately. Other than Heidi. His jaw tightens as his resolve strengthens. With another frown he narrows his eyes at the woman. No, he's not going anywhere. Not yet, anyways.

Fine. The woman's considerable anxiety almost overtakes the resentful look she's giving Brayden as she does, in fact, turn around, but not completely. Perhaps more pressing, though, are the hands she has raised in front of her, slightly curled in toward her, tense, so eager to freeze anything she touches, and barring that, maybe herself. See how now isn't the best time? Happy now, Mr. Petrelli?

He'll have to wait even longer for his answers. Making a very concerted effort to not look entirely helpless as she stares him down, Tracy steps to her right and presses one hand against the building opposite the office. The brickwork is damp and slick from the recent icy rain and takes instantly to the spread of freezing that extends from her hand, pale like frost. It reaches all the way up to the window above and the grass starts to crack loudly, splinter. "I… told you… you had to go!"

As the ice comes across the building and the ground, Brayden's eyes widen and he takes a single step back. Maybe he can help. "Holy!" Beat. "Linda I didn't —" quickly he cuts himself off before shaking his head. "What can I do?!" the urgency is beyond evident in the man's voice as his breath appears in foggy mist within the air and the frost forms across his jacket, pants, and face. And then he clears his head and manages to soothe, "Just breathe. We're fine now. She's gone."

The ice travels further along the wall, and down, onto the pave where slush has already collected from more natural sources. It freezes into solid, sparkling ice, as does every puddle in the alley.

"Nothing," Tracy is quick to answer throughout. "You can't— do anything." She does breathe, harder than ideal, but gradually slower; she forces her eyes shut, her fingers curling in and sliding against the slippery surface of the wall before she slowly steps back and stops touching the brick. "This— this is why no one can know who I really am. Not— for awhile. Not until the US government doesn't want me," she forces out, angry, but controlled. To a degree. Whether that control extends to her power is questionable. She takes a hesitant step forward — hesitant for Brayden's safety. She holds out one hand in warning, still tinged faintly by a chilly blue. "But I'm not who she said I was. I'm not Niki. But you knew her. Before."

The kind of day that Helen has had shows on her face. After being cleared by the police and shepherded out of the mall where she was shopping for Nathan, she called him. Immediately. But his phone went straight to voicemail. Without any sort of packages or bags showing that she succeeded in her mission, she steps out of a cab in front of the Petrelli headquarters. Her hair is disheveled and she's still shivering, even though it has nothing to do with the cold. She just saw someone fall through a ceiling and die - that's not going to be anything she will forget any time soon. As she steps up to the doorway, her keys already out of her purse to unlock just in case, she hears voices coming from the alleyway nearby. One of them sounds like…Nathan?

Cautiously, the redhead, bundled up and wary moves toward the opening to see what may be going on. If Nathan is in trouble, she's not sure what she can do, but she needs to know. The 9-1-1 operator already knows her, maybe she could pull in a favor to get some police over here. However, she doesn't notice the ice that has spread over the ground and the wall. Her heel hits it in the wrong way and she slips quite spectacularly to the side. If she wanted to be stealthy, this is not the way to do it. Crashing right into two metal garbage cans, the sound echoes and makes a huge racket that will immediately call attention to her. The only positive thing she can think of is that the only thing recognizable about her, will be her legs. Everything else is buried in snow and garbage bags.

He tries to remain calm through Tracy's anger, freaking out would probably just make the situation worse. "I. Knew. Niki." Brayden chokes on the words. And he must've known about the Company Stephanie had demanded to know about. "That explains it. Something seemed familiar about you." He swallows as his eyes widen a bit. "Just… keep breath —" And then CRASH. Jumping slightly, Brayden turns around to see the pair of legs that are all too familiar (yup, he's looked at them before). And while they aren't totally recognizable, he takes a leap.

"Helen?" he slides over to the woman to help her up while glancing at Tracy. How's he going to explain this one?

A sound of warning and surprise emerges from Tracy's throat as she sees an approaching figure just behind Brayden, but it's cut off before its time by the crash. The commotion certainly doesn't help to calm her down any, a fact which only serves to make her look especially angry (at this entire evening) while she works to keep herself in check. Her brows raise when the name "Helen" is voiced. Great. Breathing, she closes her eyes while Brayden checks on the publicist — only a brief reprieve, but her hands slowly go back to normal.

The last thing Helen would want to do is startle Tracy any further, if that's what she knew she was doing. Or even if she knew what the two had just been through. "N—Nathan," Helen stammers, attempting to pick herself up out of the garbage and the cans. They rattle and make even more noise. Looking even more disheveled and scared than she did when she started, she takes his hand and attempts to pull herself up out of it. Once out, though, she doesn't let go of his hand yet. She kinds some sort of human contact. "Wh-what are you doing out here?" She looks over his shoulder at Tracy where she doesn't seem to be doing well, either. "What's going on?"

A glance is given to Tracy and then Brayden's focus returns to Helen as he pulls her up as best he can. "Steeeeady." He gives her hand a supportive squeeze as he attempts to contrive an explanation. There really isn't one, but he tries anyways, "There was… an incident in the office. We both needed some air following it." He hmmms quietly to himself as he stares at the Helen incredulously. He looks at Tracy for support and then shakes his head, yes, he's flustered and has totally forgot how to act. "Uh… have you two met yet? Helen, this is Linda Johnson. She's one of the advisors on our staff. And Linda this is Helen Muth, my publicist and right-hand woman." Yes, he's pushing the introduction because he really doesn't know what else to do or say. The alley is covered in ice, but otherwise things seem normal-ish, right?

Tracy inches closer to her boss figure and the publicist, careful along the slick ground in her high heeled black pumps. Neither she nor Brayden are dressed for the outdoors, but she's even less so, given that she's minus a blazer in a modestly-buttoned-to-the-throat yellow blouse and a black skirt to the knee. Bare legs, thin fabric, and there's a lingering chill in this alley making it colder than the street. She may look a little worn down at first, but now that the most immediate threat of freezing everything in sight has passed (very tenuously), she can better turn on her game face. The pretending redhead takes a deep, concealed breath and smiles at the real one. "No. Hi." She does not, however, offer her hand. "It's nice to meet you Ms. Muth— granted, this isn't exactly the most ideal location… are you okay?"

Of all the people that Tracy has dealt with so far, Helen doesn't think that she's Niki. Or someone other than just what Nathan says that she is. "Nice to meet you, Ms. Johnson." Her voice is shaky, but she sounds like she means it, at least. The woman looks familiar, though. Something about her face that makes her think that she's seen her before. Maybe she has, but she can't place it right now.

"Y-you too?" Is everything going crazy around the city? Maybe it's not just an isolated event. "I—I, oh God, I just saw the most horrible thing." It may not be as terrible as what happened to Nathan and Tracy, but she has no idea what that was for them. To her, seeing a man fall to his death is as traumatic as it gets. Her hand tightens on Nathan's. "I tried calling you, b-but your phone was off."

Ah. Good. No questions about the ice, but then maybe Helen is too upset to even think about it. Brayden's expression turns to concern before he nods. "We were threatened in our office." Beat. "What happened to you? Helen, you look like you've seen a ghost — Are you going to be okay? Do you need a doctor?" The tightening grip on his hand is met with furrowed eyebrows, "My phone was off?" With his free hand, he carefully reaches into his pocket and sure enough, his phone is off. With a single press of a button it's on again. "I'm sorry. I shut it off when I talked to the boys on the landline earlier today…" He's not used to carrying a cellphone around anymore.

Tracy listens in on politician and shaken publicist before deciding aloud: "… I'm … going to get my things out've the office and head home," She flashes a polite smile to both Helen and Brayden, though it's edged by a rather sharp tension. There's a lot of that going around. Before she goes anywhere, she gives Brayden a pointed look. "We'll finish later." A glance is given to the icy wall and the window above, cracked and frosted over — hopefully belonging to an empty room — before she quickly strides her way out of the alley, back toward the door to the Petrelli offices.

No, Helen doesn't notice that the ice is out of place. It's cold out, and ice is natural with something along those lines. "I'm…I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt anything." Frowning, she finally drops Nathan's hand, suddenly realizing how this must look to 'Linda'. Especially when she'll be working with her soon. "I just…I didn't know where else to go." She doesn't want to worry her family with. Then, her thoughts catch up with what Nathan just said, "Y-you were what? Are you alright? What happened?" It's almost the same questions that Nathan asked her and she doesn't even realize how that may be a funny thing under different circumstances. "I'm—-I'll be fine."

A nod is given to Linda, "Yes. We can finish later." There's no way they can talk about any of the events now that Helen is here. Although, it seems protecting his office from people with abilities isn't going to happen, particularly as Stephanie said she'd be back. "We're both fine. I just have a feeling we haven't seen the last of our threatening friend." Especially because she said so. So there. As Tracy begins to leave, Brayden's phone beeps with that familiar sound that he has a voicemail. "Did you leave me a message, Helen?" He really needs to train his assistant to be able to take calls for him, he sucks at answering his phone. He continues to press the phone to his ear and listens to the voicemail thoughtfully as a grin broadens on his face exposing two distinct deep dimples. Yup. It's good news, even if the Lt. Governor's office is annoyed to have been put through to voicemail. He glances at Helen and the fleeing Tracy, "We're in business! Officially on Monday — if we want it… tell me ladies, do we want it?" His eyes twinkle with mischief.

"Linda" is out of the alley, past the corner when Brayden gets the message, and his reaction as she eavesdrops is enough to give her pause. She backtracks altogether to step back into the mouth of the alley all the way, then, studying him as though suspecting he's joking. Tracy doesn't know him very well, after all. "You're kidding," she says slowly, starting to smile. "…You're not kidding. Of course we want it! You should return that voicemail immediately! US Senators should be punctual."

Whatever those two have been through, Helen attempts to take that news the best she can. And, she really is excited for them. This will be just what they needed to move on. She manages a smile and agrees with Tracy. "Yes. You need to call him." And not only that, they have a lot of work to do before Monday. "And we need to seriously step up our schedule." Brayden still has a lot to learn. Her hands shake a little, but she folds them in front of her so that it's not noticeable. "Let's get inside out of this cold and work our way out of whatever just happened. Right?"

"I'll call right away," Brayden smirks at Tracy with a wink. He was teasing, this is what everyone's been hoping for. Well, everyone in his office anyways. "Yes, there's lots to do!" He grins as he begins to walk towards the entranceway again. "And time to process after we get this whole Senator-thing down." He continues to grin as he opens the door to the offices, "Come on ladies. We have work to do. I'll pay you overtime."

Helen follows after Nathan, a trace of her old humor showing up when all she says in response is, "Really, Nathan? Paisley? We've gone over this."

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