2007-07-26: Don't Trust Mohinder


Niki_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Don't. Trust. Mohinder. And oh yeah, Peter gives Niki the phone number of a telepath that is better at it than he is.

Date It Happened: July 26, 2007

Don't Trust Mohinder

Monica's House, Queens, New York

Afternoon at the Sanders-Dawson residence is as mundane as they come. Given the less-than-mundane residents of the house, it might be surprising that they live out their days normally. Boringly. For one resident, who often wishes every day was so uneventful, she's more than happy to get lost in the routine. Every day is like the calm before the storm; how long until it breaks? Niki is standing in front of the sink in the kitchen of the house she shares with Monica and, of course, Micah. She seems to be home alone. Right now, she's taking the time to do some dishes. The radio is turned on nearby.

Afternoon is rarely boring for one young man who ventures to Queens to visit someone very different from normal. Peter knows where she lives due to their lessons together and dropping her off in the taxi first, so there'd been a possibility he could visit in the future. There's a knock on the door. On the porch, the young man is dressed casually, as has often been the case these days, with a carrier bag across his chest and hanging at his side. Sunglasses cover his eyes, though he reaches up to push them over his forehead now that his eyes are shaded by the home.

The faucet is shut off; it takes a moment for the sound of knocking to overtake the running water, though, and so there's a delay before it's answered. A blue-and-white flowered dishtowel is in Niki's hands, drying them as she opens the door in jeans and a simple white tanktop of relatively little substance. She doesn't look like she plans on going anywhere today, her hair pulled back into a ponytail with a few strands of blonde escaping in the heat (air-conditioning or no). "Peter," she says, instantly smiling and looking worried at once. "…is everything all right?"

Seeing the state in which she answers the door surprises him. Peter's used to seeing her dressed for outings. "Hi— sorry— I hope I'm not interupting anything." His hair is windblown a little, as if he had the window down on the way over, though there's less to windblow than there could have been before. "Everything is— look, this may be a weird question, but have you…" This is not a question he's sure how to ask. It could be taken the wrong way. He reaches up to remove his sunglasses so he can have something to hold onto. "Have you talked to Mohinder recently?"

The last song fades, crossing into: ADVERTISMENT: It's some serious hiphop bumper music, surrounding soundbites - "Nathan Petrelli. A man of principle. A man of vision - a choice for change in a state that needs leadership. Vote Petrelli - Seriously fly." (paid for by the Inner City Coalition to Elect Nathan Petrelli.) "My name is Nathan Petrelli, and I approve this message."

"You're not interrupting anything at all," Niki tries to reassure Peter, the hand with the dishtowel going to her hip casually as she leans against the doorframe. The question her unexpected visitor poses seems to throw her, as she gives him a rather strange look. "I haven't spoken to Dr. Suresh for… a while," she answers unsurely, questioningly. She steps aside, to let Peter in, if he wants. She vaguely registers the radio in the kitchen airing an ad for Peter's brother, but seems to ignore it. "That… is a weird question," she adds with a hint of a smile — but underneath it, concern. "Why do you wanna know?"

The radio playing that commercial really breaks his mood a little. Peter still can't believe his brother approved that message, considering he doesn't even want to admit to most people that he can fly. It draws his eyes, before he looks back at Niki again. There's actually a grimace at her answer. "I— don't think you should trust him anymore. I know— he's probably helped you a lot, but there's… do you remember why we didn't get our lesson with Cass there in Bat Country?" Because to take that, they'd have to… "I didn't mean for any of this to happen…" The distressed look is evident on his face.

"I don't trust him— not completely anyway, but he's been good to me," Niki answers. It's quickly evident that Peter is confusing her, as she steps back from the doorway and slowly folds her arms under her chest uneasily. "We… decided to do it alone," she answers, as if it should be that simple. Yet, furrows form along her forehead. Her question should explain it all: "Bat Country?" What the hell is Bat Country? She has absolutely no idea about the silly name for the clinic, even though there's a sign. She's never seen it before. She's never been there. That's what she thinks. "What are you talking about? Peter. Didn't mean for what to happen?"

The last song fades, crossing into: "We're the Chipmunks (Rock Remix)" by Jaden and the Chipmunks

"We did— we did decide that, but…" Peter glances away, wishing that he could apologize more for this. "We met there— at Cass' clinic. She calls it Bat Country." He knows it sounds weird, very batty, but that's the name she opted for and it's the one that he uses. The sign had been there— it's possible that she didn't notice, but… The sunglasses finally get dropped into his carrier bag so he can rake his fingers over his hair a little. Windblown? Perhaps it's because he keeps doing this that it's disorderly. "You don't remember." He finally says, with a hint of a set to his jaw. "I'm really sorry. It's not to do with what you're going through… But— I can't tell you what it is because I don't… want this happen again. I just needed to know if— if it happened to you too."

They went to—? That's it. Niki takes Peter by the arm, or at least tries to, with the intend to drag him (in an entirely normal manner that has nothing to do with crazy amounts of strength) inside. There are neighbours close-by. "I don't understand." The cheerful music by Jaden's band on the radio is at odds with the serious pair in the entryway. "Tell me. If I have to, I can keep a secret," she says, and for the record, sounds like she means it. "Just tell me."

Dragged inside, without use of super strength Peter doesn't fight too much, but he hadn't really been keeping his voice down too much. He has that issue. His brother has a problem with it too. At least he's not walking through her place of employement talking about how he thinks he can fly… "All right— just… The Company. They have Lachlan's sister Megan— I've never even met her, so I couldn't tell you what she does or anything about it really, but I figured out that she's with them. I told him, and he got really upset— you showed up and stepped between us. You called Mohinder to try and check on it— and Cass set up a meeting. Cass didn't remember this meeting— neither did Lachlan. And you don't remember calling Mohinder and hearing about it. They took your memories. And all of you must have protected me, because they haven't come after me…" And they still haven't yet.

Niki closes and locks the door behind Peter. Lock, chain-lock. She lingers there with a hand pressed lightly against the door as she listens to the story, to all of these events that she doesn't remember, that she never even knew happened at all. She slips past Peter into the living room - that is, a few steps away from the door - to swiftly sink onto the edge of the couch, Elbows on her knees, she runs a hand over her head, letting it all sink in, staring down at the floor. "You're telling me," she begins, "That I did all of this and they just took it away. Like it never happened." Her hand catches on her ponytail and she pulls it over her shoulder. She looks up at Peter, wide-eyed. "So— let me get this straight. If that's what happened, then— it was my fault. They screwed with Cass and Lachlan because I called Mohinder?"

Following her to where she sinks into the couch, Peter blinks as she makes this deduction— it sounds like something he'd say. They really do have a lot in common. "No— no, it's not— it's as much my fault because I'm the one who told everyone…" His fault. He'd rather keep most the blame. Stepping in front of her, he kneels down enough to get back towards eye level, putting a hand on her arm. "You were just trying to help… It's not your fault alone. I shouldn't have— shouldn't have told them. I knew Lachlan wouldn't let it go— wouldn't just wait for them to release her. If you hadn't called Mohinder he might have done something worse— he was talking about kidnapping Elle even. They might've done a lot worse if he had…"

"Did they? Release her, I mean." Instead of playing the blame game, at least outloud, Niki leans hard on her knees and just regards the nearby Peter. There's turmoil building in her eyes, then suddenly confusion strikes again. "Elle. I met her. Why her?"

The last song fades, crossing into: "Dude looks like a Lady" By Aerosmith

"I don't think so," Peter says, shaking his head. There's really few ways to find out— though he might be able to get a flash of where she is now— it could take twenty minutes of trying and he's pretty sure he needs more than a name… "They're likely still holding her— and I can't really ask Lachlan or Cass because then… they might want to know why I'm looking for a woman I've never met." Staying kneeled in front of her, he reaches up to touch a strand of hair that's escaped and push it behind her ear. But then his hand drops away. "Because they know about her— because she's the one who helped me escape the Plaza. Because she's Bob's daughter… Maybe he thought she'd be more— useful for a trade or something." But all he can see is a golden statue of Lachlan coming out of that.

Niki finds herself tucking the same strand of hair behind her ear even though it's going nowhere. "So… we just… do nothing," she says with incredulity. It's a helpless situation, isn't it? Damned if you do, damned if you don't? "Maybe they did a good thing, taking everyone's memories," she suggests — cynical, but honest. "I mean, I kinda wish I didn't know."

That radio is really starting to bother him. But Peter's trying his best to stay serious here— especially since… "Sorry… I shouldn't have told you," he says, looking back down towards his hands and straightening up. There's a bit of tension in his jaw. Even Cass knows her memory was erased because he didn't lie fast enough— and she's better at seeing through the lies. He starts to pace a little away from her, though not quite in the immediate direction of the door.

"No, it's…" Niki starts to protest, but cuts herself off by her own sigh. She stands up, though she goes nowhere. The towel she had with her has since been abandoned on the couch. She's doing well to ignore the radio in the background and its unsuiting mix of Aerosmith. "It's better that you told me," she says. Decisive. "There was a day where— I dunno, I thought I blacked out. I lost… time. Now I know." That it was something else entirely from what she thought it was.

Turning back towards her, Peter still looks bothered, but at least that takes away some of the guilt. "It wasn't you— or anything else." It was his fault. "I am glad that you protected me— because I know that they asked who else knew…" They would want to find the source, and the source in this case could be pinned on him, more or less. A clue or a hint, but he drew the conclusion and he told people. "I did get in contact with the— with the guy I told you about." He reaches back into his carrier bag and pulls out a notepad, ripping off the top sheet. Ramon Gomez. With his phone number under the name. "He agreed to try to help. But I thought you might want to talk to him first."

That may or may not have been what happened - Niki wouldn't know, certainly, she doesn't remember - but… "I guess you're welcome, I mean— I wouldn't want anything to happen to you." She glances at the paper after she takes it, apprehensive; a dark and troubled look even passes across her features, so who knows what she's going to do with the number. All the same, she tucks it in her back pocket.

Despite his early mood, what is said earns a hint of a lopsided smile, tugging on one side of his mouth. Peter's hand shifts to her arm again, touching her a little above the elbow. "You're a good person. Even when you didn't know who I was you tried to help me." He's said it a lot before, because it obvious means a lot to him. It's also… other reasons. The troubled look almost causes him to extend the gesture, keeping his hand on her arm longer. "I'll set up a time to meet with him— one that works for you too, I hope. I'll be there with you." It's supposed to be reassuring.

And it is reassuring, even against logic. "Having you look around in my head is one thing. I trust you," Niki says, looking down at the space between them. Even though they haven't known each other for long, she says it all the same and sounds like she means it. "But a stranger…" The woman rolls one shoulder back uncomfortably, and her mouth clams shut so that she can purse her lips as she roves over her discomfort with the whole scenario, but she starts to smile as her head tilts back up. "I'm glad you'll be there."

"Well— I did include the possibility of him teaching me until I'm better," Peter adds on, letting his hand lower down her arm a little again. Still present, but stable. "It may take longer if we try that, though. If it gets uncomfortable enough that you'd rather wait— then it can wait. As long as you don't start… losing time all of a sudden. Without— a Company memory wipe to explain it away." The smile returns, if briefly and still lopsided— that's just how he smiles.

"Waiting isn't an option — not for this or any other way to get control of my life." Like drugs. "Some days I think I'm strong enough, but I held onto that before and got burned. I don't wanna think it again and find out too late that I'm wrong." Niki is matter-of-fact about it. Upfront, rather than self-pitying, this afternoon. Sucks, but she has to do what she can. Her smile, which had disappeared completely again, shows a glimmer of returning. "So I'll trust your friend if you do, if he has anything to offer me."

With a bare glimmer of the smile returning, Peter's hand moves away from her arm to brush the back of his knuckles against her cheek. For a guy with any other family, this might come off as too friendly, but for him… it's common place when he likes a person and is trying to comfort them or cheer them up. "Then we won't wait. If it can help in any way, the sooner the better." There's a glance towards the door and he lets his hand drop away finally. "I guess I should go. I'll call you in a few days to find out when would be best for you and him both— but call me if there's any immediate changes."

So much can happen in a few days. "Yeah." Niki smiles with the subtle hint of a nod that says she will call if she has to. A thank-you lingers somewhere in her blue eyes; she just doesn't say it, because she's said it enough already. She moves to see him out, and intends to lead him to the door with a friendly hand to the elbow, at his side for the short distance. "You sound like a doctor," she comments, good-natured ribbing. "Call if there's any immediate changes."

The touch doesn't seem to unnerve him any. Peter even seems to shift his elbow into it as if to return the gesture a little. With her comment, he actually laughs, a genuine sound to it. "Nurses say that too. Especially in-home ones." If anything happens, they make a commitment to get over to the residence of their client as soon as possible. Noon or night. And he'd definitely been one of the more commited types. "Guess you can consider me your personal nurse." That doesn't get paid! But… "Helping you through this so you can smile again is enough for me," he adds, seeming to mean it, even if he follows it up with a wink, before he reaches to grab his sunglasses from his carrier bag.

The laugh is contagious (especially given the personal nurse comment), if only for a moment. "Got it." Niki slips away to open the door; after she swings it inward, she leans lightly against its narrow edge, holding into the handle. "I'll see you then."

"Be safe, Niki," Peter adds last, with the same brief and lopsided smile. Slipping the sunglasses onto his face, the nurse moves out of the door and starts to the street and then down it. A cellphone comes out a moment later, likely to call for a ride, or maybe for anothe reason all together. There's subways, after all. They're cheaper, and he's been relying on cabs too often.

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