2007-06-28: The Devil Where You Turn


Heidi_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan comes home, and Heidi tells him a secret. They discuss their new enemies.

Date It Happened: 28th of June, 2007

The Devil Where You Turn

The Petrelli Estate - Basement

It's been a tough couple weeks. Several times, Heidi's picked up the phone in order to call Nathan, but she /knows/ he'd come home, and with his campaign, she knows he can't afford that. It's not even an emergency; Heidi's convinced herself that this is all her own irrational fear, because there can't really be anything to worry about. Right? It's the waiting around that really scares her, though. The idea that anything could happen - good or bad - while she's just standing around. She'd attempt to affect the outcome, except that she has no idea what she can to. Granted, Peter's drawing of the future helped… A little, but considering what he drew…

It's easier to take her mind off of it, so she's in the storage room in the basement, going through some old boxes. Kids' toys, photo albums, paperwork and tax statements from years and years ago. There's a pile of Things To Be Thrown Away, and a pile of Things To Keep, but she hasn't gotten far. It's dusty; probably one of the least upkept rooms in the whole house. And why would anyone clean in here? It's for /storage./ Things of sentimental value are thrown in with old McDonald's Happy Meal toys, pages of water-damaged books are cracking and falling apart. How long has some of this stuff been down here?

Sitting atop a pile of boxes is Spica, eyes closed as she purrs contentedly in Heidi's company. The dogs are elsewhere in the basement, having grown bored of Heidi's constant (though gentle) corrections when they tried to make chewtoys out of some of the garbage pile. They'll probably be the first to realise that Nathan's home.

Longest couple of weeks ever. Or at least, this year. Funny how that works - you feel, for the better part of your later life, like there's absolutely no time to waste. Try doing a campaign trail across New York while local politics are turbulant at best - it just seemed to go on and on. Now, Nathan is home, although it seems like no one else is. He doesn't think much of it - the estate is large and hard to fill with noise, even with two sons and a small menagerie of animals.

Speaking of which. There's the sound of distant yipping, and a scrabble of claws upstairs, as soon as Nathan is further inside. "Jesus," he mutters, when one of the dogs - Caesar, judging by his collar colour - comes barreling directly into his shins. In a few weeks, they'll likely be too big to pick up, but for now, Nathan can still manage it, scooping the wriggling puppy up just as Julius comes rocketing out of nowhere. "Least someone's glad to see me," he says, and when avoiding face-licks gets too difficult, Caesar is set back down. Now where the hell did they come from. Usually where the animals are, Heidi or the kids are. And lo, the basement door is opened.

Trailing two excitable dogs, Nathan moves to the entrance to check to see if there's a wife in there or two sons creating chaos. He's dressed in a light sweater and comfortable slacks, more husband-and-father than jetsetting politician. "Anyone home?"

Trying to figure out if the empty photo album /used/ to be full of pictures, or if it's always been empty - Heidi /SWEARS/ she remembers photos in this book before! - she completely misses the dogs running upstairs to greet Nathan. However, she's more attentive when she hears the footsteps from above, and even though it sounds silly, they sound like Nathan's.

So she stands up, brushes herself off, and heads over toward the stairs. She's wearing an old t-shirt and jeans, hair pulled back to keep it out of her eyes while she works. And as she steps out of the storage room, she's just in time to see the dogs running down the stairs, Nathan standing at the top. "Hey, you," she says, smiling, setting aside the photo album in her arm so she can maneuver around the dogs to get up the stairs. It's difficult. Rottweiler puppies grow fast, even though they always seem to think they're still tiny. So when Caesar sits in front of her on the stairs, she's kind of stuck.

And… there's a lot to tell Nathan. That uncertainty might as well be written on her face, because despite the fact that she looks genuinely happy to see him, there's something else in her eyes. Worry— he's been gone for awhile, and a lot has happened in that time. Discomfort— It's still so soon after the affair. Relief— He's okay, he's home, there's someone else here for support. "I missed you."

And Julius is trying to push between Nathan's legs for reasons unknown and really, the logistics are less than ideal. Enough to distract Nathan to miss the look of worry in Heidi's expression, as he busies himself with nudging the oversized puppy aside to move down the stairs. "Can't say it was a fun trip," he says, as he leans in to kiss her on the cheek, before glancing at her up and down, amusement plain. "Did you get into a fight with a duster?" he asks, rubbing his thumb over her sleeve to indicate the slight film of dust that being in the basement tends to give people.

And /now/ he notices all is not entirely well, and though that is /kind of the default/, it still attracts his attention. "Or just keeping busy?" he adds on, a prompt. What's up.

Two dogs are so much better than one! See? They are twice as efficient in trying to knock people down flights of stairs. The kiss is awkward, mostly because Caesar is trying to get in on the action, too, because that is what puppies do.

"You should come downstairs before the dogs make that decision for you," she says, stepping around the puppies so she can reach solid floor again. It's about time to start thinking about getting them training, because Heidi doesn't think she can handle them on her own, and Nathan's not home enough, and the boys just want to dress them in capes and make them into sidekicks.

She's not going to dance around the topic, though it /does/ cross her mind that she could possibly avoid it entirely. He's busy. If she doesn't say anything, he might not question it, but… She needs him to know what's going on, and he needs to know why. "Actually, there's something I need to talk to you about. I didn't want to worry you, so I didn't call." And really, this could have stayed secret forever, except for the fact that there's a killer who's possibly after her.

On the list of things Nathan never really wants to hear upon coming home, Heidi's last statement is in the top ten. Slightly too tired for an argument, he resists the urge to reprimand in some way by pointing out he has a phone for a reason. Pick your battles. Besides, now he's focused on what Heidi needs to talk to him about. Following her on to flat floor, Nathan pushes his hands into his pockets and frowns over at his wife in the dimness inherent in all basements - not even the light up ahead can really do much with that.

"What happened?" he asks, mind leaping towards— well nothing actually very severe or outlandish. Annoying reporters and journalists is what he immediately thinks of, considering the media attention on the election and his own personal life. Crane's raised questions, after all, though it was only a matter of time.

It wasn't that easy to just call him up and tell him to come home over what very well could be nothing. Heidi wants Nathan to succeed, even if it means they have to put their more personal life on hold for a little while. A family emergency that isn't a family emergency… Well. It's not great for the papers, right? She can be independent. She can take care of herself. Besides, Peter's moved in now, which means she has him around, just in case something should go wrong.

And this is a long story. "I have to start from the beginning. It's not going to make much sense at first, but… It will." And so begins the tale of Heidi's Dark Secret.

"I had to have fertility treatments," she starts. "Before we had Simon, I'd been trying…" She told Nathan she just wasn't ready yet, but she /was./ She wanted to have kids, but couldn't. "I didn't want to tell you, because I didn't want you to think less of yourself - or me." And to be fair… there's been enough problems that her fears may have been justified. Maybe not, who knows? "I would have told you about it if it hadn't worked, but I didn't… Didn't really see a reason." At this point, she smiles, though it's tired and somehow relieved at the same time. She's been waiting days to tell him that, and now it's out of her hands. "Besides, it wasn't your fault at all, it was mine. I went to a clinic, they gave me a shot, and that was it. It was easy."

That's not all there is to it, though.

"I found something out while you were away, though."

This is further left field than Nathan expected. Enough for him to stay completely quiet and attentive, reacting only in the way his frown deepens by the end of her summary. Nathan hopes that's all she wanted to tell him, because… he can handle that. He might be fighting the urge to shake her, but he understands that. The secrecy. And is also painfully aware of the fact that he has no right to throw stones in this glass house, but all the same. The idea of Heidi going ahead, getting some kind of injection, and he never even knew… to put it mildly, it makes him uncomfortable. It shows.

He moves to sit down on a waist high cardboard box, likely filled with books no one is ever likely to read again but ones no one can bring themselves to throw away. His arms are folded across his chest, and he maintains a defensive mask, nodding once at her. Continue. He's shelving his reactions until he hears the whole thing.

Yeah, it's something pretty weird. And she hopes Nathan understands, considering what he kept under his hat, but it seems like he's pretty shocked all the same. Heidi was expecting this; this is far bigger and much less comical than 'Adelheid.' "I'm not perfect, Nate. I said no more secrets. I had one. I'm sorry." Is there more? Maybe. Everyone has there own skeletons. At least she's telling him… At least he wasn't there when Elena showed her that folder.

This is serious, though. Whether or not she told him is a bit of a moot point now. The worry leaves the blue-eyed woman, replaced with a seriousness that dictates that, yes, there is more. "I don't know the whole story. Elena's mother was killed— " She can't remember when. "A couple years ago. It was called a suicide, but it wasn't. Someone with the ability to… To make people do things. He made her kill herself." That much Heidi remembers. It was horrible, made her really see the danger that Evolved can inflict. "She… Went to a clinic, too. There were other women in the folder, pictures of them and their children. Pictures of me and the boys. Out of all of the women in the file, there's only two who are still alive."

Heidi looks away. "The rest were murdered."

The only sound after Heidi goes quiet is the sound of puppies. One has gone and curled up somewhere to nap, the other is sitting against Nathan's leg and panting noisily. This. Just another danger. This one, however, seems to hit home sharper. Fear for people he loves is different than fear for himself. "Is it…" He trails off, because whatever that question was going to be, it's not as important as all the others now queing up. Her apology is simply accepted, because this is more important, for now, to focus on. "Are you in danger?" he asks, standing up to… to stand up. And feel slightly less helpless about it all as a result. "How do you know all this? Now?"

Had she told Nathan, would he have kept her from doing this? No. Maybe they might have taken a different route, maybe not, but he probably would have thought the clinic was practical and safe as well. Damn

Heidi has a few insecurities. Everyone does, but she worries, and this was just one of those worries. Had she not been able to do it without Nathan, than she would have said something, but the objective was to not worry him, to prevent him from thinking less of himself, and to prevent him from thinking less of /her./

"I don't know," she answers honestly, quietly. Elena's father tried to give me some defense against what this guy can do, but I won't know if it worked until… Something happens." She can still remember the voice in her head. She was surprised, almost scared by it. "He's making people kill themselves, though. Even if he can't convince me to do it… You know there are other ways." He'd have to get his hands dirty, but…

"The folder. Elena and Peter— " She doesn't want to bring Peter into this, but he was there. "And a few other people. They got a tip about the location of the man who killed Elena's mother. They went there. That's where they found the folder. I have no idea why I'm a target, but I am, if what's in that folder is true. Nate, for all I know, I could be next. We know about him… That's good, that's something." She pauses, then adds, "Peter moved in for awhile."

This isn't fair. His family shouldn't be allowed to endanger themselves while he's away, damnit! Of course, they were - or rather, Heidi was - already in danger since years ago, if these women are all connected through this clinic. Been a while since he stopped trusting in coincidence, too.

So, Peter knows. And is here. Not a bad thing, considering, and Nathan is relieved he won't have to request such a thing of his little brother. "I'll get security tightened around the estate," he says, voice a little heavy, gaze dropping down to glare ponderously at the basement floor. He's already compiling a mental to-do list, before he looks back at Heidi, offers a hand to draw her close. "Timing's a bitch, huh?"

As much as she wants to have guards and such at every corner, it's not practical, and while a little extra security is awesome, and Heidi won't complain… "Be careful. We don't want to look like a target." And by 'we,' she means 'I.' She doesn't fully understand this whole thing, and only knows that someone out there possibly wants her dead, and, according to Elena, thinks he can achieve immortality by doing so. He's crazy, essentially, and Heidi wants nothing to do with him. However, she'd never regret what she did, because it gave them two wonderful boys.

But, yes. She's been in danger since she walked into that clinic, and she has no idea why. "It was… I don't know. The best I can figure, it's some sort of religious extremist. I don't know, I can't say anything for certain. It's been driving me crazy. The thought that he could make me do something against my will? It terrifies me. But…" She's said this before, and she says it again as she bypasses the offered hand to lean against him, instead. She did miss him, it's good to have him home. "I don't want to stop living my life because there's some idiot out there. I wish I could tell you more, but I don't know."

As she leans, she smiles, just a little bit. She feels safer with him here; despite the fact that Peter could probably crush a train just by thinking about it, it's the man who can just fly who she really needed. And this would be why she couldn't leave him - it's not easy to fall out of love with someone who you actually really love and care about. "There's nothing we can do about it now, anyway." And in spite of everything, considering what she could do - barricade herself alone in the guest room, continue shutting him out for past sins, stay up all night with a baseball bat in her hands - it wouldn't be what Heidi /really wants./ "I don't want to be alone tonight," she says softly into his shirt.

Target shmarget. Nathan's first compulsion is to have the place crawl with guards armed to the teeth. He knows it's not practical, and he knows Heidi is talking sense, but someone /might want to kill his wife/ and Nathan is prepared to put the world on hold to ensure this doesn't happen. That whoever this guy is can't even get close.

Strange how this situation somehow rings familiar, and Nathan just feels /angry/. Only the feeling of Heidi leaning against him manages to take the edge off this emotion, and he wraps his arms around her into a dust-sharing embrace. For once, the puppies seem content to not push in between them. "I just don't want to wait around until it's too late," Nathan murmurs. 'Again', is the unspoken word. Maybe when they have the time, when past injuries hurt a little less, he'll tell her about all that happened between he and Mara - in terms of Sylar, not… everything else. That can stay buried and assumed.

But her last comment derails him from this train of thought, and even though it's likely out of comfort from fear that Heidi wants him beside her, it's enough to satisfy, lessen his own fear and remaining anger. "Me neither," he says. "We'll figure this out." Strike out first, for once. God, there's so much he doesn't know, but Nathan tries to convince himself there's time to find out, get the facts straight, and come up with a plan. "Is it so outlandish these days to just call the police?" he muses, out loud. And by police, he /really/ means FBI. Likely he still has some connections.

Maybe one day Heidi won't be the damsel in distress. Maybe one day, she'll be the one who can help someone. God, she hopes so. This whole lying in wait for her own demise is starting to get to her. "Trust me, I know," she says with a chuckle. She could tell him about the drawing Peter did… /Should/ tell him about it, since it did put her mind at ease a bit, but her image in the picture…

Scarred, scowling, standing with Peter in some old, abandoned building.

"It'll be okay," she says. "I just know, don't ask me how." It's not really intuition, and she knows the future isn't necessarily going to happen as Peter drew it (the future isn't written in paper?) but the fact that she /could/ have a future is encouraging. Way to think positive, Heidi!

"Call them and say what?" Heidi gently chastises. After all, they can't dial 9-1-1 and say that there's a killer on the loose who uses his voice to make people kill themselves. That would be the end of Nathan's political career. "I don't even know what he looks like. I don't know if anyone does. It'd be impossible to file any kind of report. We just have to be careful."

Oh. And.

"And before you say anything, I already told Peter, I'm not leaving this time. I'm not running away."

For what appears to Nathan as intuitive optimism, Heidi gets a raised eyebrow. No one /knows/, after all. That's why there's such a thing as fear. But then again, that's why there's such a thing as optimism, and he lets it go.

What he also lets go is this argument that it's impossible to involve any authorities. Police, maybe. Higher powers, less so. She could be right, but that doesn't mean Nathan can't make a few carefully worded calls. He chooses to keep this to himself, too. Maybe hash out a proper plan for Heidi when he actually, ya know, /has one/.

"I'm not expecting you to run away," Nathan says, firmly, hand brushing over her ponytail to rest high on her back. "I'm just expecting that we take measures to ensure you stay safe. That the boys stay safe. And no, I'm not talking about shelving your life away." He knows she's already done that enough times for her to be stubborn on this one point.

HEIDI KNOWS, because her brother-in-law can draw the future, and she somehow believes that this is all true, because she has no reason to doubt it. After all, with her husband able to fly, and Elena able to … do what she does, and Peter able to do EVERYTHING EVER, why would drawing the future be so far-fetched? Of course, if they take measures to prevent it… Who knows what could happen?

And this is why playing with time is a bad idea. Step on a rodent some time in the Cretaceous, and humans never evolve and all that philosophical stuff.

It sounds cliche, but Heidi feels safer now, comforted in the fact that Nathan will take care of things. Or, at least, help /her/ take care of things. At least they're both agreeing on the fact that Heidi isn't packing up and leaving.

So, that was her excitement while Nathan was away. "I hear you have quite an opponent," she says. And she's more than heard through the grapevine. She watches TV, too. Listens to the radios. Reads the newspapers. And she wanted to /smack that man so hard./ There's a little tiny quirk of a smile as Heidi looks up at him, resting her arms around him. She'd rather talk about something more mundane, anyway, and what could be more down-to-earth than some good old-fashioned mud-slinging. "He doesn't seem to like you very much."

Heidi didn't like the guy very much. He might seem like the kind of tough New York needs, but she… Well, she's a little biased, but she thinks Nathan would do much better in the position. "He looks familiar. I swear he's been on TV before," she comments idly. "Seems like an ass, though. I mean, more than the usual politician."

And joking about the fact that Nathan is an ass takes her mind off the fact that someone wants to kill her.

"He kind of made it personal, dear. He says you're soft on the issues." Resting her chin on his chest, she looks up at him, smiling. Apparently, she really missed him, or something. Needs to have someone close. Who knows. In any case, it leads to her next statement. "We should go upstairs and find out."

The threat of impending doom and death. It does things to people. Not all of it is bad. To Heidi's credit, she gets an off-balanced blink from Nathan, before he's on board once more. Totally on board. "You're right. That's pretty personal," he says, as he lets her go, only to swoop her up again. The whole thing is less romantic when he almost trips over a dog, upon heading for the stairs, but, well, that's life.

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