2008-05-16: A Little More Serious


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Summary: After leaving Gene's, Niki can't get ahold of Cass — so she finds the next best thing, Cass's boyfriend. Niki's "messenger of destiny" tactics need some work. Or maybe not.

Date It Happened: May 16th, 2008

A Little More Serious

33 Prospect Park

Brooklyn, New York

By the time afternoon has rolled around, Niki is in Brooklyn, in the entryway of a building she last visited while bleeding from a knife wound and in need of some urgent patching up. Today, things look marginally less shady, but only barely less urgent, as the sunny day finds the busy blonde, in jean shorts, white tank top and cowboy boots, simultaneously on the phone and pressing the button that links the intercom to Cass Aldric's apartment.

And wonder of wonders, someone is not only in the apartment, but awake and functioning. And dressed! It's not long after Niki's hit the call button that there is a response of the Scottish and male variety: "Yeah?"

When Lachlan's voice — easy to peg since it's pretty distinctive — answers, Niki flips her phone shut and speaks into the intercom. "Lachlan. Is Cass home? It's Niki." And it sounds like comes bearing Something Important.

"Nah, she's werkin'," is Lachlan's response. "Why, wha's up?"

Even the mumbled whisper from downstairs manages to come across the static of the intercom as some form of curse. "…okay, well, no wonder I couldn't get her." Instead of leaving a message for Cass, however, or saying she'll try again later, Niki's next words are, "Can I come up?"

There's a pause on the other end, but finally Lachlan jokingly replies, "Sure, but if ye try anythin' funny, y'know Cass'll kill us both." BZZZZZZ says the door.

Niki stares at the buzzing door with a frozen look lodged between incredulous and amused. After getting a going over at her last stop, she can't help but roll her eyes toward the ceiling as if to say 'oh god why me' before opening the unlocked door and heading up the somewhat familiar route to Cass (and Lachlan's) apartment. Knock knock knock!

BARKBARKBARK. Bonnie is soon silenced and is wagging her tail jovially when Lachlan opens the door to admit Niki. He is dressed — T-shirt and jeans that don't look like he hauled them out of a dumpster this morning — and looks sober and awake. What has Cass done? "Hey," he greets.

Niki starts to breeze in as soon as the door opens for her, but halts abruptly on second thought, eyeing Lachlan. Not only was their last meeting under considerably different circumstances, she's not sure what, if anything, Cass has said about her in more recent times. Maybe nothing. "Hey," she says in return, a quick smile flashing past an otherwise somber expression. She heads in. "This is going to sound weird…"

Whatever Cass has or hasn't said, Lachlan is either oblivious or doesn't care. Gasp. And he doesn't appear to be ruffled by the fact that the last time he saw Niki, she was considerably more naked. He closes the door behind her and, at that trailing sentence, he interjects, "Sorry, I only wear a whipped cream bikini fer Cass." TMI?

Niki, having walked past Lachlan with her back to him, looks over her shoulder with the same incredulous-slash-amused expression she had downstairs, the difference being that now he can see it. "…you're right, that is weird." Seriously, who wears whipped cream bikinis anyway. Jeez. Gross. MOVING ON. Niki slides her purse off onto a random armchair — there's a healing scar from stitches on her shoulder, incidentally — and turns to face Lachlan. "This … is a little more serious. You're on— a list."

That gets a raised eyebrow from Lachlan, whose expression does grow a little more serious. He crosses his arms over his chest and purses his lips with a sigh. "Wha' sort o' list?" he asks. He's guessing it's not the nice kind where he gets fruit once a month.

There's one thing Niki has to ask before she answers. It might determine what she's going to say. Eyeing Lachlan carefully, her expression steely — an edginess that's not directed entirely at him, per se, but the line is blurry — she goes on, "What has Cass told you about what she's doing at Pinehearst?"

There's a troubling question. Lachlan's brow furrows and his frown deepens, confused and definitely concerned by what this would have to do with a list. He shrugs, rubs at his jaw. "Dunno, just research stuff. Dunna understand it, so I dunna ask much," he replies truthfully.

Great. Niki's lips purse together tensely and, as if irritated, she glances off to the side, into the kitchen. "That research is going to cause a lot of trouble," she says bitterly. "I know… she's trying to make sure that doesn't happen," the blonde adds slowly, "But it's almost too late." Oh God, what has Peter done? How is Niki the one delivering cryptic messages of doom? This is all wrong. "And— I want to make sure she gets out before it gets worse— " She holds up a hand, stepping closer. "But that's not why I'm here. You're here. You're on a list of people who're supposed to be able to help somehow."

This is doing nothing to abate Lachlan's confusion or concern — in fact, it just makes things worse. "Wh— where're ye gettin' this?" he asks. "Who's tellin' ye this?" He's just a dog trainer and former drug dealer; how'd he wind up on a list of Helpful People?

Niki hesitates over her reply, blatantly stalling by crossing her arms and shifting from foot to foot. Why? "It's from— " Because it sounds CRAZY, that's why. " — someone… from… The future." Now that she's gotten that out… "I don't even want to be the messenger," she quickly admits, not shy about being a touch resentful on that fact. "It's just how it happened. You should know anyway. They could come after Cass." She pauses to take a breath and go over the things she'd said so far, in her mind; okay, Niki. Time to start making some kind of sense.

Funnily enough, that doesn't sound half as crazy to Lachlan as it rightfully should. This is the guy who, at this precise moment, has a picture in the bedroom bureau of himself, Cass, and their newborn daughter and a letter written by himself to himself. So the question he asks is not "lol wut?" but "Who?" He shakes his head and adds for clarification: "Who from the future and who'd come after Cass?"

Does it matter who came from the future? Niki considers that uneasily. "…Peter. It was Peter. He made the list," she admits quietly after a few moments. "Pinehearst, the people Cass works for— that I worked for— I guess he thinks you can help. To take them down. Whatever." With a furrowed brow, she shakes her head rapidly with a swish-swish-swish of curling blonde hair. "I don't know what you're supposed to do, I just saw your name this morning."

It does indeed matter. Lachlan trusts Peter, so he's less inclined to disbelieve Niki. But thanks to her rather … unhelpful approach to things, he's also more inclined to go talk to Peter. And he's also very inclined to tie Cass up in the closet so she stops going to work when she gets home tonight. (Not in the fun way.) The Scot scratches his bristly jaw nervously as he processes all this. "A'righ'," he utters finally. "So … 'll just stop 'er from goin' back." Right?

A more sincerely enthusiastic expression comes to the fore as Niki nods. "Let's just say— something's gonna go down at Pinehearst really soon, and one of the first people they're gonna wanna blame is the head of the lab. Even if Cass wasn't part of this, she already knows too much. They can find out. The boss can just look in her head, so she needs to not be there when he gets pissed off."

Lachlan nods slowly. Okay. Cass in danger. Cass stop going to work. He gets that. That's something he can work with. The rest is fairly inconsequential. "A'righ'," he says again. Hey, not like he needed to sleep, right?

"I'm gonna give you the number of someone who might want to talk to you." Niki leans over the back of the armchair to rummage in her purse and emerge with a pen and a pad of post-its shaped like a purple flower. She jots a name and number down in her feminine scrawl. "Her name is Kory. She has the list. That's how I knew you were on it." One flower-shaped piece of paper is handed to Lachlan.

And Lachlan's Manliness goes down a quarter of a point when he takes it. The name is familiar. So is the number, vaguely. It takes him a moment to figure it out. "S'the one with … the kid, righ'? The one with the ice stuff, was in trouble a bit back. B'fore ye got 'im."

"…Cam," Niki says as the vague connection clicks for her, too, and she smiles a little. "Right. Kory knows Cam. She works at that comic book store near Enlightenment." Connections everywhere. Go figure. She swipes her purse from the chair, slinging it over her shoulder, avoiding the injured one, this time. She heads for the door, but turns around once she gets there, serious eyes settling on the Scotsman. "Lachlan…"

"Righ', Cam." And the comic store. He vaguely knows that. It's Nima and Lee's store. Small city. Lachlan is eyeing the paper and rubbing his jaw and neck with one hand when Niki pauses in the door. He glances up at her inquisitively.

"These people. Pinehearst. They're really dangerous." The fact that the woman feels the need to voice as much, as if a message from the future wasn't enough, serves to underline it. "What Cass is involved in…" Jaw set, Niki looks down, her gaze all the more severe when it re-settles on Lachlan. "It's just— it's seriously messed up. Be careful." In other words: don't do anything too Lachlan-like. Tall orders.

Like heading down to the facility as soon as Niki leaves and pulling Cass out of there immediately? Sending in a pack of dogs? Wiring the place with explosives and bursting in guns blazing, eyes wild? Don't think he wasn't considering it. He totally was. And as is typical of Lachlan, he takes the warning with only an ounce of the intended severity. All laws do not apply to Lachlan. But he nods a little. He doesn't have enough information yet. He'd need to learn more before he did anything Lachlan-like. Shocker. "Thanks, Niki," he intones.

Niki holds onto the handle of the door and smiles at Lachlan, just hoping against hope that all of this won't explode in their faces. It's a softer expression than she's shown since stepping foot in the apartment, and now it fades out of sight as she lets herself out quietly, shutting the door behind her.

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