2007-09-01: Travelocity

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif thomas_icon.jpg

Summary: Elena, the gnomewrecker, gets driven to school by Nathan. Of course it can't go smoothly.

Date It Happened: September 1st, 2007

Travelocity


The Petrelli Estate

Binky was a secondhand scooter. Reliable most days, until today when the worn engines are somewhat heated and it's in a desperate need for a tune up. So when Elena finally pulls in with it along the Petrelli drive way, it suddenly veers off on the side, and sends one of the misplaced lawn gnomes -launching- off the grass and flying in a not-so-graceful arc across a window. Perhaps Nathan will watch it fly while he's sitting in his office reading something. Because….well, that's what Travelocity gnomes do. They fly. And all lawn gnomes look alike. So even if it doesn't look like a Travelocity gnome, since they all look alike, the description is still apt, damn it!

"……….oops," Elena says weakly. She clambers off Binky, dragging the keys with her as she trots across the lawn and towards where the gnome has landed, picking it up, looking surreptitiously left and right. And then she trots back to where it was situated earlier. As she plunks it back onto the ground, the head snaps off, and drops onto the grass.

"…………….." she GROANS. She picks up the head, and tries to fix it. She has no super glue, so she…just…tries to balance the head on the neck and lets go once it's in place. No one saw that. Really.

—-

"………." There's a lot of dotting going on today, as Nathan pulls off his reading glasses and eyes them a little suspiciously. As if they were the cause of seeing a lawn gnome go tumbling ungracefully past the window. A moment later, he sees a flash of Elena, then again, and he sighs, setting down his newspaper and taking the bait, a.k.a, going to see what just happened. One day, he'll learn to just ignore it.

Outside, Nathan just stands there for a moment, hands on his hips as he watches Elena fidget with said flying gnome, then clears his throat. "You know you're not meant to drive on the lawn?" he says, by way of announcing his presence, then squints. "Did you break a gnome?"

—-

She jerks away from the gnome, Elena folds her arms behind her back and beams at Nathan, and tries to put on her best innocent face. Much like a young daughter having been caught by her father doing something wrong. Except….Nate wasn't really her father (and her father has better taste in ties), but her host. And she's the college kid who's helping out with the kids and keeping Heidi company. "Hi Nate," she greets cheerfully. "And I know, but…..I was just running some errands before school and for some reason, Binky just….veered off. I think there's something wrong with the….I don't know. But I lost control for a few. I didn't mean to drive on the lawn."

It didn't do much damage, save for squashed grass. And the gnome. "….well…" she says. "….I'll put some super glue on it, it doesn't look too bad."

This is when the head snaps off, and drops onto the soil again.

"….it should work on porcelain," she says, and she does look apologetic. "….though I think you're the only one with lawn gnomes in this neighborhood. Heidi's idea?" She starts walking up the porch. Probably to get some superglue.

—-

During her explanation, Nathan glances towards the obvious track through the immaculately cut lawn, then the freshly beheaded garden gnome. But there's one very important question to ask before he can really process the situation, fixing an almost suspicious, narrowed gaze on the college student. "You named your scooter 'Binky'?" Then, he holds up the 'you know what? never mind!' hand. See? He's learning.

That hand then reaches out, palm up. "No, not Heidi's idea. I'm thinking she'll probably thank you for beheading— the gnome," and that hesitation is absolutely not because the gnome has a name, because it doesn't, at all, that would be silly, "but for now I'm gonna have to take your keys." Smile! No, he's not her dad, she has a perfectly good dad of her own, and he has his own somethingteen daughter to not think about, but she started it with the Totally Innocent look, and besides. Thomas will never be the same again, superglue or not.

—-

She blinks a little bit when Nathan asks her about the scooter. Elena stares at him for a bit, and she laughs all of a sudden. "You two really are related," she tells him with a grin. Though Nathan, who's a very smart and cunning man, can probably figure out from her words that Peter had said the same, exact thing about her scooter. He, too, posed the same question, and he, too, wasn't really looking for a straight answer for it. She has absolutely no idea that the gnome had a name (Thomas, apparently), but if she did, she'd think it was adorable. "….so it was….-your- idea?" she asks, peering up at him curiously. "…..is this related to the tie thing?" she asks. Because this is what she does, he pokes at her for being a brat, she pokes at him for his questionable tastes in the weirdest things ever. But she finds it adorable - she's not going to tell him that though. But then, he puts his foot down, and she stares at him, keys still in hand, but she makes no move to hand them over. "….what? But….I need them to get to school," she says.

—-

Well who names their scooter 'Binky' it's a fair damn question, and Nathan shrugs a shoulder, the one that doesn't have its arm outstretched expectantly. Then, he blinks. "…related to the tie thing— you know what?" Quick Petrelli is quick, and he steps in, yoinking the keys out of her grip and tossing them up in the air to catch with his other hand. "Shoulda thought about school before, huh?" Because his ties are excellent. Women have no place to critique! "You can get these back after we get someone in to look at it, preferably before we rip up the whole garden." By we, he means you. Nathan starts to head back towards the mansion, scooter keys in fist.

—-

YOINK!

One second they're there, and one second they're gone. Quick Petrelli IS quick as Elena stares helplessly, watching her keys get tossed upwards and seized by the surprisingly athletic older brother by a fist. She stares at him, jaw agape. A few weeks ago their interactions were awkward, but polite. Close to a month living with him and after all the subtle pranks and pillow-throwing, they've degenerated to this! "Wh— wh— what?! But…but…I have three labs today!" she blurts out, following Nathan back to the mansion. "I get there faster with Binky, the bus takes forever! And…and….oh come on, Nate, give them back!" She tries to grab the keys, and fails. Tries to sneak-grab from the side, and fails. Finally, she tries to get it again, but she misjudges her flight path and ends up…..

Alright, in no uncertain terms, Elena ends up koala-ing on Nathan's back. "Naaaaaaaaa~aaaaate!" she cries, clinging onto him helplessly. A) Because he's taller than her, and B) he has her keys! Peter warned him about this, right? She could be a brat. Hell he KNOWS this by now!

—-

Her attempts are casually evaded - Nathan has years of practice playing keep-away, what with being an older brother. It's practically genetic. A few weeks ago, there'd be no key yoinking, probably just a sigh and a request not to drive the scooter until it was inspected by a mechanic because he'd rather not be dealing with the paper work that may come from an injured housemate (and won't someone think of the lawn?), but now, NOW, Elena gets to share in the mythological immaturity that is Nathan Petrell—

OOF!

Oh hell, he does know this about her by now. All the same… ASASDAJKJLK.

Nathan staggers forward a step, but she's not especially heavy so at least there's no faceplanting. He just has an Elena on his back. "Jesus Christ," he exclaims, and… is not giving her damn keys back. It's a matter of principle, now, and he holds them away from any reaching hands. "Okay, this is just— get off." And he helps. By attempting to spin and dislodge the koala'd Latina.

Meanwhile, two gardeners watch from across the grounds. "…" Then they go back to work.

—-

Heidi warned her about this. She saw the signs. The chicken suit. The smile. The expert throw of pillow to the face. When Nathan Petrelli cut loose, he really cut loose. Three weeks living with him, closer to four now, has opened the door to a brand new dimension of the Petrelli enigma. He had always been the most difficult to figure out between Peter and himself. Then again, he had to be, he was a politician and before that he was a lawyer. Elena herself was light despite her height, at 5'6" she was only 115 pounds - 15 pounds underweight, really, for a girl her height. But it wasn't really her fault, her abilities had the unfortunate consequence of accelerating her metabolism. This is also why she eats close to eight times a day and that she helps with groceries on top of everything else.

But when Nathan spins her around, the effect isn't…what he expected. It was like riding a mechanical bull, only Nathan was more of a bird than a four-legged male bovine. Hence the more he tries to spin and shake her off, the tighter she koala's. "Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate!" she cries, her grip more desperate now, hanging onto him for dear life. "Pleaaaaaaaaaaaase! I'm going to be late for class!" She begs. She pleads. She latches onto him like a barnacle. I'll never let go, Nate!

—-

This. This. What. Nathan stops, bringing his free hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose as Elena continues to cling to his back like a human-sized backpack of some kind. Containing… annoying. "Don't make me do barrel rolls four hundred feet in the air, brat," he says, which— he won't do. Because it is broad daylight and people are around and probably forcing Elena to plummet to her death might be a little drastic all things considered.

But he isn't giving her back her keys.

"Okay," Nathan says, in his negotiation tone of voice. "If I drive you to class, will you get off me and let the scooter alone for the time being?" Look! He will even personally drive you! Because she'd likely be late with a called cab or personal limo.

—-

The image is comical. If Elena had been given a smidge of Ramon's power, she'd be laughing at the image of Nathan barrel-rolling her across the sky, and her screaming her head off and clutching onto him for dear life. "…you….you wouldn't!" she gasps. He really wouldn't do that, would he? So there he is, in all of his almost-six-feet glory, with a grown young woman hanging off his back like a backpack. It was amazing as to how solid he actually was, he can stand there and pretend that this wasn't happening, while she clung onto him and her feet dangling a few inches from the floor like a pair of limp noodles.

But when he settles for the Let's Make A Deal sort of voice, she pauses. "…….." Didn't Heidi say he got in a car accident? Hell didn't he also say that he KILLED Peter once with his car? His driving record leaves much to be desired, but what choice did she have? "…….okay," she relents, and lets go of him, dropping onto the floor. "…but…just no barrel rolls in the stratosphere." And then, they should be good. Right?

—-

Denial is an awesome thing, and Nathan is reasonably good at it, hence why he can get his lawyer on while wearing a cape made of Elena. But then she drops off - thank god. Nathan rolls his shoulders, fixing his shirt which has become slightly untucked due to all the shenanigans. He pockets the keys - because he's sort of hoping that she'll be unwilling to dig her hand in there what with the leopard print boxer shorts incident - and gives her an arch look. "…well I don't know what your scooter can do, but I generally stick to roads when I drive," he says, dryly. "Let me grab my keys and I'll meet you by the garages."

—-

Oh HELL NO. Elena's NOT going anywhere near his pockets. Especially after the leopard print boxers incident which she is hoping she'll forget at some point in the future. Then again, Nathan lucked out on that one, since seeing Lachlan's naked peen kind of burned EVERYTHING ELSE FROM HER BRAIN that day. Including those. Until it somehow gets brought up again. But with Nathan rolling his eyes in an almost brotherly fashion and telling her he'll give her a ride and that she's NOT GETTING HER KEYS BACK until they see the scooter fixed, she does smile at him winningly, her cheeks flushed somewhat pink from embarassment at what just happened. "Okay," she says. See? She doesn't even -question- the 'sticking to roads' part because….well if she called him on that he might just pack her into a bus or -really- fly her up 400 feet and do barrel rolls. Between that and Nathan behind the wheel, she'll take the latter. "I'll wait." And with that, she turns around so she could gather her things from the guest room in the house and meet Nathan at the garages.

—-

It's the easy answer without some form of comeback that makes Nathan suspicious, but he doesn't call her on it, just nods once and goes to retrieve a jacket and… a hiding place for the scooter keys, somewhere she'll never find 'em. Too many gnomes have died today.

By the time she's ready, he's leaning against a… rather impressively pretty black sports car. The same one that owned and pwned Peter, in fact, with its window now replaced and dents seen to and most importantly? The brakes now work. But Elena doesn't have to know this, does she? "Ready?" Nathan prompts, before climbing in. He does drive, even if when it comes to the work day, he just pays other people to do the driving for him.

—-

If she knew this was the car that Nathan KILLED PETER with, Elena probably would've had second thoughts getting into the car with him. But armed with her bookbag and her books, she gives him a nod, opening the passenger door and clambers in. She looks left, looks right, and clips the seatbelt securely in place. Because seatbelts save lives, right? Does this thing have airbags? She surreptitiously checks, hopefully without Nathan seeing. "Nice car," she tells Nathan simply, glancing at the gearshift. Manual or automatic? "The science building is to the east of Washington Park on the main campus." He knows where NYU is, he's lived here forever. "Have you been there before?"

—-

"I know where it is," Nathan confirms, and… smoothly pulls out of the driveway, onto the road, with all the skill of any competent adult driver. SEE? SEE? Those other times were totally flukes and could happen to everyone. "Made any headway in where and when the hell Peter is?" he asks, in his Casual voice, glancing towards her as they head for the campus. Because a full month and then some has gone by, and he's lapsed from quiet panic to an abstract sort of resentment towards Peter. It will be a scary day when he reaches acceptance, so right now, he's happy in thinking up ways to kill Peter when he does eventually get home. The best thing is? He can try every method he comes up with!

—-

He was right about that talk with Jack. Whenever Nathan brings up Peter, it's like he's bringing up the most complex mathematical equation known to man. The sort that stumped millions and millions of MIT and Harvard grad students when trying to write lines and lines and lines of proof across the boards. So when the Casual Voice is used, Elena….to her credit, she doesn't fidget in her seat. She does look out the window though, watching the trees and traffic roll by. So far, so good. LOOK. PIGEONS! They're…..extremely fat in this city.

"No," Elena says with a sigh. "The tricky thing about time traveling is that….well. No one knows how it's done except maybe the dude he went to the future with. No one knows how it works. There are theories, but no one's exactly managed to figure out how time machines work, let alone be able to study the phenomenon. There are billions of permutations to consider, so many theoretical concepts in— " She shuts her mouth with a click before she gets all sciencey. "…in short, we just…don't really have the means right now to figure it out. All we can do really is hope he isn't stuck there forever."

—-

Political sciences were his thing - not, you know, science science, so Nathan tunes out just a little when she starts delving into that, trying to pick up the keywords. Her summary is met with less enthusiasm than one might hope for. Nathan sort of just grunts in unsatisfied response. Not that Elena wouldn't tell him right away if she'd made some kind of theoretical breakthrough about one of the greatest scientific mysteries in the world, but some spark of hope would have been nice. "Well that's incredibly unhelpful," he comments, a little jerkily turning a corner. "You'd just think that after a month, something would have to give."

—-

Her fingernails dig against the arm rest of her passenger seat, you know, the one attached to the door, because sportscars don't have the 'oh shit' bars on the top-side of the roof of the car. Elena sweats a little bit as the black vehicle turns a sharp corner. Oh god. Please let them get there in one piece. What's the point of going through the trouble koalaing the infamous Nathan Petrelli into submission to take her to class if she doesn't get there in one piece? Maybe it was his DASTARDLY PLAN ALL ALONG. "Sorry," she tells Nate. "But I really don't know. I know it's been a month. We're all worried." We. Not just her. "You'd think that…well, if Hiro's practiced with the power, he'd be able to bring them back by now, but he hasn't. Either something happened that they can't, or…" She closes her eyes. "They got separated. It's not like Peter absorbs a power and then instinctively knows how to use them. He has to learn them." He's not Sylar, who picks things up at an inhuman speed. "Practice with them. And if he's never time traveled before…" Without Hiro, he may very well be stuck there.

—-

"You know what I think?" Nathan states, eyes on the road at least as he talks to her. "I think the fate of the world and my brother rests in Nakamura's hands too damn much." He speeds up to catch a green light, hurray, with a quick glance left and right for cops beforehand. Hard to say if he KNOWS he's making Elena nervous, and is enjoying it, or if this is just how he rolls. Likely the latter, as he doesn't glance in satisfaction of her tensed up posture. "I'm going to kill him when he gets back," Nathan informs Elena, casually, as he's been informing almost everyone who knows the situation lately.

And looksee, they have approached NYU in one piece - it is a glimmering beacon in the near distance as they drive. "Okay, where am I parking?" Which is a question that Elena could answer - if not for the fact that Nathan has already chosen a place and is abruptly veering to take it. He's an aggressive New York driver, after all.

…but he just. Sort of overshoots when he realises he didn't give himself time to brake and so in order not to crash into the car he'd be parked behind, he veers harder, and if things worked in his favour, if anything ever did, he'd get away with a slightly screeched stop halfway on the foot path.

But. But. There is a pole. BAM! The front of the car smashes right into it, making the whole vehicle shudder to a startling halt. And Nathan simply blinks. You cannot be serious. He cranes his neck to reluctantly view what damage is done, and considering the. The smoke starting to rise, it's a good amount. "…"

—-

"I don't really know Hiro very well," Elena says. "I've only talked to him once and that was months ago when he was trying to recruit people just as insane as he was to break Peter out of the Company facility he was in." Nathan would know, HE had been there. She'd seen him, even if they didn't really speak at the time. But when he says he's going to kill Peter, she tilts her head at him, glance askance. "Are you killing him because you're worried about him or are you killing him because you're worried about him and you know he can come back from it?" she asks dryly. At least Nathan knows how he's going to react. After not speaking to him for a month and fighting with the man and getting him angry enough to blow up his own balcony, she wasn't sure how she's going to react when she sees him next. While she's living with his brother and his sister-in-law.

Maybe she should move to Cass's place for a bit once she finds out Peter's back.

"We're parking over— NATE!" Her hand slams into the dashboard, to brace herself on impact. The sportscar slams right into the pole, the seatbelt jerking tightly on her to keep her from smashing her face anywhere near the dashboard. Granted, the crash wasn't that bad. I mean, they didn't die. But ….the front bumper is crushed. Again.

Silence.

"……..you know…" she begins, eyeing the thin trail of smoke from the point where the car smashed into the pole. "When Heidi and Peter said you had bad luck with cars…" But she doesn't continue it. She'll probably get a withering look at this point. Instead, she unclips the seatbelt, and opens the car door. Because….it can't be THAT BAD, can it? Also? NYU students are gawking at the damage done.

So she does what she can only do in this situation. She smiles. She flashes a V with her fingers.

"Vote Crane."

—-

"I can drive," Nathan states, clutching the steering wheel with tight hands, still staring out the glass. "I can." But Elena is already clambering out, and Nathan is quick to follow, staring in disbelief as he shuffles between his angled car and the one parked in front, where the front is bent around the pole.

And if looks could kill? Elena would drop dead right about now as Nathan executes a death glare across the dented hood. He relents after a few good moments of glaring, stepping onto the sidewalk and flashing a politician smile at the gawking students. "We're okay, thank you," he says, and just sort of facepalms when one student, recognising who just crashed his expensive sports car, whips out a phone to take a few quick snaps. Oh this is just awesome. Nathan is going to make Hiro take him back in time so he can punch whoever invented cameras in phones in the face, especially when a couple of more students grin and follow suit.

"Ha ha," Nathan mutters, turning his back on the crowd that begins to disperse, observing the damage. "Well, got you here in one piece. Can I borrow your phone?" Nathan asks of Elena, hands on his hips as he glances her way. "I left mine at home." Strained smile.

—-

"Yes, sir," is all Elena replies. This reply is very bland, when he declares, to himself, that he can drive. That's okay, Nathan, Denial is the first stage. It will lead to acceptance eventually like you said.

Yeah some of the more politically savvy kids aren't going to be fooled. Sadly her generation isn't all that interested in politics. She was, her grandmother demanded it. She can't say the same for Samantha or even Mikhail, who she just met yesterday in Eastern Lit class. "….yeah, one piece. Wish I could say the same for your car though….do they give discounts to politicians in the local Jiffy Lube?" she wonders. But when he asks to borrow her phone, she is already in the process of handing it over. It's a cherry red jPhone. With a cartoon ninja in the LCD display.

Kids.

When he flips it open, he'll find a little notice that states she's got voicemail messages and that her last missed call had been from his little brother a month ago. "Maybe George'll be around," she tells Nathan hopefully.

—-

"Clearly they should be giving at least me a discount," Nathan mutters as he stares down at the jPhone, glancing it over a little before shrugging and dialing. First order of business - getting someone to remove his car. Second order of business - calling for a ride home. He wanders away from Elena and his wrecked vehicle to make these calls, free hand pressed over his other ear to block out the sounds of traffic and people as he paces away, as if pretending not to associate himself with the car for the benefit of new passersby.

When he's done, Nathan says Elena's name for her attention, tossing the phone back towards her as he wanders back over. "Are you okay?" he finds himself asking - her personal health hadn't really factored in, seeing as he survived, but it occurs to him that she might have like. Whiplash or something. And could probably sue.

—-

She looks over when he calls her out by name, and both hands reaching upwards to catch the phone tossed back to her. Elena slips the thing back in her back pocket, having been able to retrieve her things from the car. She's got her bookbag, and her books cradled in one arm. And when he asks if she's okay, she's a little startled. "Eh?" She nods. "Yeah, I'm okay." Besides, if she was hurt she could just will it away until she got home and grabbed an ice pack. "The seatbelt took the brunt of the pressure. Nothing a hot bath can't fix. You? You didn't knock your knee under the steering wheel or anything, right? You're pretty tall, and it's common in most front bumper impacts." She searches him critically. If there's any sort of pain, she'll know. But she doesn't say that out loud.

—-

Apart from the obligatory ache of a seatbelt cutting into your chest, Elena's mostly hit the nail on the head. Possibly because she KNOWS. But Nathan isn't about to whine about a bruise to the knee, and just raises an eyebrow at her. "I think I'm okay," he says, dryly, pocketing his hands in his jacket and moving to lean against his car, in for a bit of a wait. He then tilts his head towards the science building. "Get going. If you're late after I crashed my goddamn car to get here, barrel rolls. Five hundred feet. I mean it."

—-

She grins. "I should sit here," she says. "And wait with you." And be late. Because she's a brat. But Elena smiles at him and tips her hand to him in a mock salute. "Yes, sir," she says, biting back a laugh. "But don't think you can get me with that threat all the time. I'll see you later. Have a good day, Nate….thanks for driving me to class!" With that, she turns around, and starts walking towards the science building. Because despite her bravado….no way she was going to survive with her dignity intact getting barrel-rolled 500 feet in the air.

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