2007-04-14: The Newest Petrelli

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan meets the latest addition to the family.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2007

The Newest Petrelli


The Petrelli Mansion

She hasn't been answering calls. Her cellphone has been off. Essentially, Heidi's been completely unreachable for a couple hours for everyone except those she's been /with,/ and who knows who those people are? Granted, she's sometimes turned her phone off in the past - everyone does now and then. It might not be cause for worry at all. Of course, she's also not in the living room, or the sitting room, or the kitchen, or anywhere else in the house. It looks like she's holed herself up in the bedroom, with the door closed. It's not locked, though - thank goodness for small favors?

Nathan has been doing /things/. It's not the first time he's come home from an unusual series of events, and maybe he'd normally linger elsewhere - go to see Peter, go visit a bar - but this time, the estate seems like a /good/ place to be. When he moves upstairs, he's wearing a fresh shirt from some delivered drycleaning still hanging in his den, and he heads to the bedroom, having snooped around the house to see very few signs of life. Hired help tells him his wife is, in fact, home, so he knocks on the bedroom door first, just once, before opening it.

She's in the room, sitting on the floor, back against the bed and toward Nathan. She looks over her shoulder when he opens the door, an expression on her face that's… almost unreadable. It's not sad, or upset, or unhappy, or anything like that… There's a smile there - at least half of one - which lasts a moment before her attention turns back to something on the floor in front of her.

Should Nathan come around to see what she's looking at, he'll find exactly what it is that Heidi's been hiding in here… And there's evidence around the room, as well. A couple bowls on the floor, a small litter pan.

And in front of her is a small grey kitten.

"Hey," Nathan says, contemplating leaving her be… but it's his bedroom too, damnit. He steps inside, shutting the door. "I had a weird day," is how he begins, but this is cut short when he wanders closer to see the… animal in front of his wife. He's silent for a moment, only then just noticing the cat-related things around the room. "Heidi? You. Is that a cat?" Smooth.

It wasn't an impulse. She's been thinking about it for some time, she's made plans… "I'm not attached yet," she says. The little kitten looks up at Nathan with expectant green eyes and offers a "Maow?" in question as Heidi scratches its back. "I have a friend who says she'll take her if necessary." Of course, her eyes say otherwise - she's already fallen in love with the little hairy lump, and isn't too keen on giving her up. "I thought you might want to see her before you said 'no,' though, so I brought her home. C'mon, sit down."

Nathan approaches a little warily, but he does in the end sit down, favouring his right arm as he settles on the floor opposite Heidi. He gives his wife a slightly arch look. This is a surprise and he's never been good with surprises, and they /both/ know that. But still, he asks, "Does it have a name?" He doesn't attempt to pet the kitten yet, because, well. It might break. Or bite him.

It's only half a surprise, really. She's said she'll give the kitten up if she has to, but she'd rather not. It's just that she knows that bringing an animal into the house is a decision that should be made by more than just /her./ As he sits down, she idly notes that he's using one arm over the other, though it could just be coincidence. All the same, she worries, especially knowing he'd been quarantined… "You doing okay?" she asks. The kitten mews again, sneaking over to explore this new toy that's so considerately set itself on the floor. "She doesn't have a name yet, no. I figured I had three boys in the house, I could do with another girl around here."

"Managed to cut my arm open today. I fell. It's fine, had it checked." Not totally a lie. The best kinds are half-truths, anyway. Nathan reluctantly holds a hand out to the kitten, before very gently stroking her back, in the kind of hesitant way dog people do when they're aware they aren't petting a dog. "You coulda asked me, you know. I wouldn't have just said no right away." Because obviously that's why he's not been made aware! Clearly!

"You fell," Heidi repeats, blue eyes narrowing just a little, looking up into Nathan's face briefly before her eyes return to the kitten. It's a reasonable explanation, she can accept it, even if she's starting to question some of the things being told to her. Logically, there's no reason to doubt, except for the nagging feeling that something is going on. Perhaps it's better than she doesn't know. At least she doesn't have to guess with a cat, right? They're animals. They behave a certain way. It's something that's going to be a constant in her life. "You wouldn't have said no /right away,/" Heidi says, picking the kitten up to put her into Nathan's hands if he'll take her. "But you would have if you didn't see her. Here." —and she's already purring as Heidi holds her out

Nathan makes a soft sound in his throat in protest, but otherwise, he just purses his lips and takes the kitty, giving his wife a mock glare. "She's gonna drop fur," he says, a little lamely, and holds the animal like it might explode. But after a moment, he relaxes minutely, letting the cat rest in his hands as he skritches behind her ears. "Okay, it's cute. You really want to keep it?"

"All cats shed." It's one of those inevitable facts of life - death, taxes, and shedding cats. Well, except for the hairless kind, but those hardly count. The little one seems slightly less content in Nathan's arms, but it probably only wants to get back on the floor so it can play. It's been a constant cycle. Sleep, play, sleep, play, poop, play— As soon as Nathan relaxes, the kitten does, too, resting in his arms. "I'd like to keep her, yes."

What will the boys think? "Simon and Monty have been talking about getting a dog or a cat. I just thought…" The statement ends with a shrug. "I figured she'd be something we could talk about." Without the need to hold things back, without the need for either of them to feel like they aren't getting the whole story. What happened today? The cat ran around and did stuff. No secrets there, right? "It's a big house. She can't destroy the whole thing all at once."

"Well I don't see why we can't have a cat," Nathan says. He'll just. Have to make sure he doesn't leave suits and shirts lying within fur shedding reach. But it's a compromise. He has enough things Heidi can choose to hate him for - at the very least he can let her have a cat. He tilts his head away when said kitty noses at his cheek, and he goes to set her back down on the floor. "At least she likes me." Another unwavering certainty. Well, maybe, it's a cat after all, they're sort of fickle at best. Nathan glances at Heidi, puts on a smile. "Maybe the kids can come up with a name." Hey, it's true - the cat /is/ something to discuss.

That's settled, then, and easier than Heidi thought it would be. Then again, she already bought all the things, a month's supply of food, dishes, treats… She must not have thought Nathan would say no once he saw the kitty. At least there was a backup plan. "Of course she likes you. You're a likable guy." She pauses, then… "The kids don't know yet. That's why I'm up here. I didn't want them to name her before I knew for sure if we could keep her or not. She's a purebred Russian Blue… I've always wanted one." The 'sleep' part of the kitten's cycle rolls around again, as she curls up on the floor and closes bright eyes.

Heidi rubs the kitten's back gently, one more time, before drawing her knees up and draping her arms across them. "The whole hospital thing… you didn't find anything else out about what they were quarantining?" She's asked him this a million times already, but maybe he's found something else out? He hasn't been home, after all. "Sorry, Nathan. I just /worry./"

"I know you do." Nathan shifts positions, then, to sit beside her, back against the bed. "From what I gathered, it was pretty much a false alarm. No one's gotten sick who weren't already sick, and I'm not feeling any different." He rests an arm, conveniently the uninjured one, along the bed behind her shoulders, a hand moving to brush a strand of black hair behind her ear. "Don't worry about me. Pete's fine too." A beat. "He uh. He was thinking about you and… you and the boys and Claire all meeting." It's very much a Peter idea, by the sounds of it, and coming from Nathan, it just sounds awkward.

Asking Heidi to meet Claire — that kind of thing might cause disbelief, even rage. It's been so long, though. How can Heidi fault a girl for Nathan's mistakes? And if she's forgiven Nathan, how can she not forgive his daughter? Claire isn't the one at fault here, after all. Not at all. She leans against Nathan's shoulder… This feels /okay./ It's not perfect, there are still issues that they'll need to work out, but it feels like things are getting back to normal. "I think… It's a good idea for the boys to meet their sister." She's not too sure she's ready to meet Claire yet, but she might be. It's sort of a middle ground between outright refusal and happily inviting the girl over for brunch. Because they /always/ have brunch. "Peter wants to make sure everyone's okay."

Nathan's arm shifts to hold her as she goes to lean, hand resting on her arm. "His heart's in the right place." The way he says this, it may as well be an Ouchie, not a Shiny, but there it is. "My priority is making sure my family is okay, and that consists of you and the kids. You don't have to meet her." God knows /he/ had hesitations in even seeing the girl's photo.

"…Well, I didn't marry you because I thought life would get less complicated," she says quietly. In other words, she's in it for the long haul as far as she's concerned. So there are doubts. What marriage doesn't have doubts? There's also a history that she's built with both Nathan, the kids, her own family and his. One day he'll tell her things, but if it's not today, then… Another time. She's patient. "I wouldn't know what to say."

"Tell me about it. I never do and I've already met her." At least now, Nathan has someone he can admit that too. That talking to your own daughter is just plain difficult. Sure, there's Peter, but he and Claire already have some kind of connection. It'd feel like defeat. "It's not like I'm well versed in how to talk to a teenage girl. No matter what the tabloids say." A joke! Ha ha! Ha.

"It's okay to care about her, Nathan," Heidi says, sitting up again so she can face him. She has no idea what's going through his head regarding this admittedly touchy subject. Her own reaction wasn't exactly encouraging; she stayed up for a long time after he told her just /thinking./ Still, she'd never fault him for loving his own daughter, or else she'd have to expect that he could somehow not love his sons. Or his brother. Or /her/ for that matter. Telling him he can't care for someone isn't even something she'd consider. After offering a somewhat non-humoured smile, she nods toward the sleeping kitten. "You can practise with her."

Okay, bad joke. Nathan lets out a subtle sigh, before mirroring that smile, though it fades quickly. "It's not about… You should know I haven't made the best impression on her. And she has her family. It's never gonna be ideal, whatever that is. I'm not even sure if it's okay to care about her, as far as she's concerned." That sounds harsh, but, it's Nathan.

She arches her eyebrows, looking at Nathan as if he's nuts. "Of course she's got a family. I don't know what she wants, or if it's the right time, or /what,/ but…" Ah, it's just hard to think about for everyone, it seems. There's no reason why it should be easy, but Heidi's trying to figure out why it's so damned complicated. What's wrong with the cosmic entities of the world giving them a little middle ground for once? "Whatever you decide to do, just remember that your family's here for you, too, okay?"

There's the kicker. So much of this is in Claire's hands. And who knows if she even wants anything to do with him or his family? Or what if he's meant to be doing /more/? Peter makes it sound that way. Nathan closes his eyes for a moment, sighs. "Whatever I decide to do," he repeats, then just nods, a hand seeking out one of Heidi's. "I'll remember."

"Okay." Her fingers intertwine between his as she adds, "Good." …Maybe all this was about the fact that he has a daughter. Maybe all her paranoia is all for nothing, that he's already told her the big secret. It's just that… if there's one, can't there be more? It's troubling, yes; it's also hard not to think about it all the time, and it all comes down to the fact that when she looks into Nathan's face, she doesn't have to look past anything - there aren't any scars there. Something happened, and no one will tell her /what./ A miracle? Catching herself staring, she looks away, back toward the convenient thing in the room - the kitten. "So, we're letting the boys name her, then?"

"Within reason," Nathan says. "I'll let you be the guiding hand in that one. Didn't Simon name the fish last year GI Joe?" Or some other action hero. Perhaps GI Joe is outdated. All kids have to idolise these days are iPods, anyway, what does he know? The staring, also, wasn't lost on Nathan, but perhaps he misinterpreted it, because his hand comes up to nudge her back to look at him, before leaning in to kiss.

"Well, Monty wanted to name it 'fish.' So… lesser of two evils. Besides, I think it was 'Optimus Prime.'" Because giant robots look exactly like fish, and vice-versa. "I'll make sure they pick a nice name and understand that cats live for a long longer than fish do, so they're going to have to call her that when they're in high school." They could come up with a whole range of embarrassing names that might seem like a good idea right now, but they'll be upset when they have to introduce their friends to 'Shoe' the purebred Russian Blue. Anyway, She doesn't resist when Nathan turns her face back toward him. "That was it, then?" she asks… And takes the excuse to stare again. /How…?/

"That…" Nathan backs up a few inches, giving her a puzzled look. "What was it then?" There, the staring, again, he's not just imagining things. But he manages not to turn away, meeting her eyes instead. The temptation to do the former is great, however. She's one of the few people that saw him disfigured. He can't help but wonder if that's still what she sees.

The problem is, it's /not/ what she sees. She was so prepared to accept him despite the fact that he was so badly hurt. She rationalised it, accepted the fact that things like that happen all the time. In the end, it wasn't about how he looked, but now it is. How's that for irony? Sure, she still loves him, but 'healing' has been nagging at her since he walked in the front door the first night she was home. "You're dense, Nathan," she states, smiling. "The kiss. That was /it?/"

"…I should hope not." She doesn't really get much of a choice but to be kissed again, Nathan's hand untangling from her's to smooth up her arm, shoulder, into her hair. "I'm only dense when you're in the room," he adds, matter-of-factly, as soon as the kiss is broken. "Sorry 'bout that.

"I don't know if that's a compliment, or if I should be insulted." Still, she doesn't seem too terribly torn up about it, or else she'd be protesting a whole lot more. Certainly not leaning in for another kiss, which she does, and it seems like she's about to say something when she's interrupted by a curious 'Maow?' from the floor. She chuckles quietly, before looking down to see the little kitten looking up at them.

"Maow???"

Too bad. Reluctantly, Heidi leans back up against the bed, reaching down for the little bundle of fluff. Her eyes return to Nathan, though. "You're going to be home tonight," she states. "No running off to get locked inside a hospital, or whatever it is you do. You're staying home."

Damn cat. Nathan gives the kitten an accusing look, but, not wishing for Heidi to catch that, it fades fast as he turns his attention back to his wife. He smiles a little compulsively, as if that struck him as funny, before he smooths it out again and nods once in agreement. "Yeah, I think I can deal with that." He drops a kiss onto her cheek, before moving to get up off the floor, mostly just to sit down on the bed again. "Then maybe we can leave the house together for once. Tomorrow, even, if you want. I can get Peter to watch the kids.

Things are going to be okay, right? She should stop worrying now, because things are going to be okay. Heidi remains on the floor, though she leans her head back so she can look up at Nathan. It's spur-of-the-moment, kind of like it was before Nathan got all wrapped up in running for congress, and that's… Well, she missed that. "Think he can watch the kitten, too?"

"I think he can handle it," Nathan says, and this time, the smile he gives Heidi comes a little easier. He leans over, kissing the top of her head, before going to stand. "I got some calls to make. Play with the kitty for me and I'll be back in a little while."

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