2008-08-14: Ember Of Hope


Niki_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif

Summary: Niki calls Kory to let her know Peter is alive; it doesn't go exactly as expected.

Date It Happened: August 14th, 2008

Ember of Hope

Nantucket, MA

Niki came prepared for the hospital's particularly adamant 'no cell phone' policy. As she fishes a multitude of quarters out of her pocket (it's truly a feat that they fit in there at all), she gives the nurse who led her here another grateful smile. The coins *clink, clink, clink* into the phone and she reads from a folded notepaper to dial — then *clink* some more quarters as the automated voice gets all greedy on her. Long distance. Hoping the person back in NYC will pick up this afternoon, she stretches against the phone cord to lean back against the wall.

Kory is almost always reachable these days. Even on the days she is still working the Lair, moving like a silent ghost between the white, acid-free stacks of boxes. "Kory Alexander," she says quietly. The Muse is sort of shoved into her backbrain for now. The world is quiet again, and maybe it'll stay that way so she need not come out again.

No such luck. Whether the reminder of stranger times is a herald of good news or bad is up for debate. When Niki's voice sounds on the other line — a voice Kory hasn't heard for weeks — it bears that familiar sense of something important. It's not a casual call. "Kory," she starts out. "It's Niki. I'm— I'm in Massachusetts." There's a weighty pause. Her voice softens. "Peter's here."

No. It's not a casual call. Niki never calls casually. Never just says hello. It's always something. "Niki," she says in response to hearing her own name. "Yes," she adds, "I know." Not like there are many women in her acquaintance she knows well with that voice mingling velvet and steel. "Massachusetts," she repeats, tone sliding down the scale to a level of snark that might be better suited to Lee. "Really." Whether she heard the last two words, those vitally important, desperately needed words — is not immediately obvious.

… And because it's not so clear, there's a hesitant pause on Niki's end. "He's… alive," she goes on, her voice prompting; shouldn't Kory be excited? "He's in the hospital and the doctors say he's pretty hurt. They say … that he's been in a coma for a month…"

Kory may have survived the assault on the Deveaux building, but her innocence and trust? Not so much. Peter walked in and came when she called. But it wasn't him. It was a monster with his face who tried to kill her. And who brought another monster with him. "Really," is all she manages, voice distant and emotionless.

"Kory…" Niki's voice couldn't be any more opposite than the other woman's. Forget the steel. Surprise, worry, disappointment — that's more the trend as she listens to Kory's detached answers. It's all wrong. "He's— alive. He could come around! He needs help. I thought you'd want to try. If he's in a coma, that's … sort of like he's sleeping, right?"

Oh, it makes sense, now. "He's the only one who could do that. Reach through a coma." Because he had powers to back it up with. "I can't talk to anyone in a coma, Niki. Thanks for calling, though. Maybe it'll turn out to really be him." But I doubt it, is parenthetically audible in the silence after that doubtful statement.

"Maybe he can— reach back." Hell if Niki understands how this stuff works. "Of course it's him! Look, I know how it sounds, but I didn't call you just to see if you could help. I wanted to tell you that your friend's alive." In the quiet little hospital hall, she stands up taller, gripping the phone tight. "But if you don't care about any of that, then fine. Forget I called. You can go back to believing whatever you want."

Kory isn't exactly stung by Niki's words. The opposite of her accusation is true. Kory wants to believe it's Peter. That it's really him. "How am I getting to Massachusetts?" Hiring a helicopter required calling in a favor. "Where am I going?" The voice remains detached, a defense mechanism, even as she cannot help but try to help.

The barbs melt away from Niki's voice slowly. "… We're in Nantucket. I— I don't know how long we're gonna be here. They say moving him is risky, that— there's complications. But if we can't figure out anything else out… I'm supposed to be in a helicopter with him back to New York tomorrow."

"I can meet you. Do you need me to bring Becca?" She's the doctor who heals. Kory's just — unlikely to be of much help, despite Niki's hopes. "When and where?"

It takes Niki a second to remember the significance of the name. Dr. Awesome. "The doctor? If you can. I wish he could heal himself, you know? I think there's just this one hospital here. As soon as you can. I'll be checking my messages on my phone if you need to get me."

"I'll see if she's reachable." Kory hasn't done a lot of keeping in touch. "I'll text you when I know more. Thank you, Niki." There's only a tiny bit of energy in her voice now. An inextinguishable ember of hope. Or something more. Because the idea of Peter not being gone — that's a light that never goes out.

"You're welcome," Niki says in return — simple, clear and honest. "Good luck with … finding Bekah. Take care." As the payphone starts to beep and let her know time is almost up anyway, she turns and hangs up, sighing after she does so. A hand digs into the pocket of her jeans, but only comes up with some spare change short of a call … which means Niki goes on an unenthusiastic mission to find Trina.

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