2008-02-03: Dangerous Promise

Starring:

Charlotte_icon.gif Ndugu_icon.gif

Charlotte returns to Ndugu's village, as she often does, to find that national politics have caught up with the people there:

February 3rd, 2008:

Dangerous Promise


The Republic of Congo, Africa

The village is quieter than usual, perhaps due to the heat of this time of the day or perhaps due to the recent tragedies that have befallen it. Whichever reason may be responsible, most of the inhabitants are inside their huts or generally remaining quiet in the shade. Ndugu is doing much the same, leaning against a tree near the center of it all with an old, worn book in his hands. The Origin of the Species.

Any trageties are unknown to Charlotte, or Charlotta (pronounced Char as in charcoal) as she is known around this small village in the Congo. She's been courting Mr. Ndugu for some time to the idea of joining Pinehearst, but even so. This is her safe spot. This is where the Petrelli boys and even Niki's expansive list of problems can't touch her. So she threw on something to wear: a yellow sun-dress with green print palm leaves and sandals. She has no intention of leaving the village area. So she pushes through the trees, expecting to be hit with a wave of children, as usual. Already she's digging the candies out of her pocket.

No wave of children this time, unfortunately. In fact, the few children who do peer out from the windows of their huts do not come rushing out - most held back by their parents. Ndugu lifts his eyes at the sudden, colorful appearance of Charlotte and he stands up. Closing the book and tucking it under his arm, he steps over towards her without a word.

Charlotte stands near the mouth of the path, candies in her hands with a bewildered look on her face. She and Ndugu have spoken several times before, as she visits this village often. Indeed, it is her favorite place to come. Favorite in all the world. Figure that out. Ndugu's approach causes her to turn her head towards him, dangly earrings catching the light as they twitch this way and that, though her eyes don't leave the village as she looks for all her little friends shouting 'cadeau!' as they always have.
"Is everything alright, Mister Ndugu?" She asks, clearly concerned.

"The children are missing," Ndugu answers flatly and without pretence, taking a look over his shoulder at the thick jungle around the very edges of the village, "Taken, I think."

Charlotte finally turns her attention to Ndugu, eyes widening slightly as her face pales. "The children? Who took them?" She rather expected to see Ndugu a little more angry. After all, he's a large man. Most large men are easily angered, but it's a good foil to have him calm. Because Charlotte? Is not particularly calm at this moment. She's just keeping it bottled.

Ndugu is angry but he's not fearful. He doesn't believe the children will be harmed and he's got a plan in mind, too. He doesn't voice that plan just yet, however - no, he has to be certain it will work before he takes that step.
"The rebels, we think. To train them as soldiers."

Charlotte shakes her head, the earrings jingling softly. "Where have they gone?" She asks, looking around. "Was anyone else hurt?" Doe-brown eyes return to Ndugu. Oddly enough, she's not afraid of the man - then again, there's only a few people she's afraid of. And the people of this village have taken care of her, been kind to her. Ndugu is of this village.

"In the jungle," Ndugu answers, looking off towards the tree line again as he speaks with his usual flat tone, "Not far. But even you should be wary of going there … it is dangerous."

Charlotte shakes her head as she looks off in the direction of Ndugu's line of sight. "I've never been much further into the jungle than where I show up on the path." By show up, she means teleport, but really it's such a tacky word. "Actually I'm sure I've never been far out of the village." Once more, her concerned gaze returns to Ndugu. "Have people gone out to look for them?"

"Some," Ndugu says with a nod, "But we cannot lose anyone else to the rebels. If we let our guard down here the rest of the children will be taken."

Charlotte adjusts the bag on her shoulder, sliding a hand down her dress as she listens. She feels a little silly, dressed up as she is, but really she couldn't help it. She thought she was coming to sing and dance and play with the children, like she always does. "What's going to happen?" She asks Ndugu, her voice dropping so as not to alarm the neighbors.

"This company that you work for," Ndugu asks, seemingly changing the subject all of a sudden, "They are powerful? Do they have many resources?"

Charlotte takes a deep breath as she listens to him. "Yes." She answers slowly, already aware of what is coming. "You want us to find them, the children." It's not a question, it's a statement. She certainly can't blame him, after all she'd do the same thing.

Ndugu nods his head, not begrudging the fact that Charlotte jumped right to that conclusion because that is exactly what he had in mind. "Yes. If you do this thing, I will come with you to America."

Charlotte nods as she listens. "You have a deal." Apparently she has the power to make that sort of deal. Or doesn't. But either way, there are children involved, and she has enough connections and pull - she hopes - to get this done. Particularly if it will secure Ndugu's arrival in America. The eyes she looks up at him with are full of compassion and something stronger…determination. Who could have thought there might be a strong woman under there? But children. Children. "I'll need some names, of the children so that I can find them."

"I have written them down for you," Ndugu says with a nod of his head, reaching into the pocket of his shirt and producing a slightly dirt-smeared piece of paper with the names written on it. The handwriting is blockish, far from neat or even cursive. But it is legible.

Charlotte reaches out, gently taking the paper. She glances over it a moment before folding it and tucking it away in her dress. "I'll have it taken care of, Mister Ndugu. I promise." Her words are perfectly honest. Still, she looks up at him, over his hard exterior, trying to get a read on this man. He's so serious.

Ndugu remains quite guarded, even as Charlotte agrees to help retrieve the children he does not show the slightest bit of relief. He'll relax once the children are safe and sound, he reasons. The look from her does not go unnoticed, however.
"Is there a problem?"

Charlotte shakes her head. "No, of course not. I'll take care of it, Mister Ndugu." SHe must remember who pays her bills, however. "Pinehearst will take care of it." And indeed they will. Contrary to Peter Petrelli's belief system, Charlotte is sure Pinehearst has a heart, and one semi-bad egg won't change that. Of course they'll help, even if it is just for the benefit of a weapon like Ndugu.

"Good," Ndugu says, nodding his head once. That problem is dealt with, at least, and he's glad for that.

Charlotte nods, tucking a bit of hair back behind her ear. "Give me a day to speak with the company, and I'll bring a few agents out here." She's already working through a plan to make sure these rebels don't come back. The young woman cocks her head to the side. "Just be careful until then, please. Make sure everyone here stays safe."

"I will keep them at bay." Ndugu looks out towards the treeline again before he turns his attention back to Charlotte. He looks thoughtful for a moment before he decides to say, "Thank you."

Charlotte shakes her head. "It's nothing. We'll find a way to get the children back, and to keep these men from bothering your village again." She gives him one more nod, and giving him a dimpled, hopeful smile. "I will see you soon."

"I should hope so," answers Ndugu, and as friendly as the reply may be he doesn't put a great deal of emotion or even a smile of his own into it, "I will be waiting here."

Charlotte begins to fade out in front of him. In a few shivers and a sprinkling of dust, the girl has dissapeared in a breath or two. There is nothing left to say she was here, expect perhaps some light shoe prints in the red dirt.

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