2007-12-18: End of the Road


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif

Summary: Visiting hours are over.

Date It Happened: December 18th, 2007

End of the Road

Sing Sing Correctional Facility

Ossining, New York

The oppressive atmosphere isn't much less oppressive in the prison visiting area than in any other part of the prison, despite the vague efforts to make it look like a normal room in a normal building. The reality is still everywhere you look. The jumpsuits. The restraints, in some cases. The four walls bearing down. And this is where we find D.L. Hawkins and Niki Sanders.

"I'm trying to get you help." Niki reaches across the small table. She manages to drum up some optimism, but it sounds like just that: conjured. Trying too hard. The dull, washed-out light around them isn't forgiving to anyone, even Niki, who sits with her black winter jacket unzipped and making her seem to slouch. "I know some people…"

"No." D.L. is already making sure to stand his ground. Rather, sit his ground, since he's seated right across the table from her. Luckily, he's been on good behavior and is allowed these more touching visitations. He's not sure he could stand the whole phone thing for much longer. The husband of the hottie in the winter jacket just lowers his gaze to the table. "No 'people'." D.L.'s tone is not one to be argued with. "'People' are the reason we're even in this mess in the first place. There's nothing anyone can do." And now for the obligatory subject change. "How's Micah?"

Niki isn't ready to change the subject so quickly, and it shows on the rigid lines of her expression. But she sucks it up, at least for a moment, glancing sharply away before she starts to soften, even smile. "He's— " No, you know what, she sticks to her point first. "I'm talking about … people inside the system, someone who could actually make a difference. Maybe get you moved somewhere…" Less terrifying? "Nicer."

"Baby, I'm not supposed to be somewhere nice. I killed a woman. An innocent woman." Maybe he's starting to believe the story himself. That is, after all, the best way to lie: Believe It. "I'm fine. I just have to do what I have to do. If that means I'm in here for the rest of my life, then…" And D.L.'s hand starts to pull from Niki's, almost as if he's fighting with himself, trying to figure out if he'll even be able to let her go. "… we had a good run." D.L.'s given up.

Niki goes quiet. She searches out the prisoner's eyes with hers, searching, and already shrouded by just a glimmer more moisture than there was a few seconds ago. "D… you don't deserve any of this," she tells him adamantly. Knit brows lift up, imploring. "I know what you're talking about because it should be my life. It's not yours." But as long as D.L. is determined to abide by the law, even if he did accept help, Niki knows it's going to be a long road.

"Your life /is/ my life." D.L. admits, pouring everything that he has into that statement. There is no such thing as life without Niki and the fact that he's giving up his so that she can continue on and, hopefully, do the right thing… well… that's got to stand for something, right? D.L. can't meet her eyes. Not right now. Not when he can feel that she's hurting right now. He's hurting too. He's just too much of a manly man to show it, honestly. "And if me being in here gives you the life you deserve to have… then here is here I'll stay."

There's something stoic about the way Niki sits up ever-so-slightly and turns her head, just barely, looking away from D.L, the so completely selfless husband, too. There's no less emotion in her eyes than there was, but there's a certain acceptance. Strength. Wounded, but strong. Her jaw tenses. "You're giving up everything," she says, voice thick, "To give me and Micah a life, the least I can do is try to make yours better."

So this is the part where D.L. isn't sure what to do. He has to pull his hand from Niki's, fully by this time. If only because he's trying to make sure he looks as strong as possible. He looks across the table, not exactly. "Niki. I can be with you two whenever I want. You know this." He's not really sure if he should be saying this type of stuff at the moment. "Don't worry about me. I'll be alright. Always am."

That doesn't make it any easier, it makes it more complicated. Niki glances down at the table where their hands used to be touching. "I just hate seeing you in here," she says quietly; it escapes in a mumble. The blonde is silent for a few long moments while she works through her thoughts before those pained blue eyes of hers look back up at D.L. Her voice is slightly hoarse, a whisper. "Where does this leave us?"

"Niki." D.L. has to choose his words carefully at this point. There's nothing he can say at this point that won't hurt. Or completely destroy both of them. And this is where he's about to probably lose everything that he worked and fought so hard for. He ends up pushing away from the table and up to his feet, looking off towards the far wall. "I love you. More than anything in the world." Pause. "And I love Micah. More than everything in the world." Another pause. "But… he doesn't need a jailbird father." Sigh. "He… he needs a real father." Uh oh.

Niki just closes her eyes when D.L. gets out of his seat. She listens. Moments pass and she's on her feet, too; no doubt the guards grow a little restless. "You're right. He doesn't need an ex-con jailbird father." It seems that she's also reached the point where there's nothing she can say that won't hurt them. That's reality. "He needs a father who's a good man." That's D.L., clear in Niki's eyes as she watches him. It wasn't so clear the first time he was locked away, also because of her, because of Jessica, but things were different then.

D.L. doesn't think he has to worry about anything in regards to saying the wrong thing. It's not like anything can happen… in here. He's about as protected as he can be, physically. Not to mention the whole Phasing thing. But then there's the fact that emotionally, he's already been broken. He can tell Niki's broken too. Who knew a simple murder, after all they've been through, would be the catalyst for such pain. "You don't have to wait for me." His tone is a bit quieter for some reason. "You and Micah deserve to have lives." Yeah. Ouch.

Niki doesn't say anything. There's only one thing left to say and she doesn't say it yet. She stands in silence, her gaze — calmer, perhaps, than expected — settled on the husband who she's been through so much with together… and apart. The weight of everything has sunk in, and tears have quietly started to stream down the woman's face, but she understands how it has to be. She moves to D.L. in a rush, so quick that one of the guards shouts out— but kissing is permitted at the beginning and end of a visit. This is the end of the visit. It's the end of the road. "I love you," Niki says with her face against D.L.'s, her hands finding his cuffed hands. The cuffs he could slip through and she could break in an instant. "Don't ever forget that."

D.L. is fighting back the tears himself. Not that he's an emotional kind of guy, but he has to be at this moment. There's too much about to not happen for him anymore. He might as well make everything official sometime later. It's never going to be the same after this and he's already said goodbye to the woman he's loved ever since he could remember being in love. So much, so far, so… what. None of it means anything now. It's all over. She has to be allowed to move on or Micah's future will continue to be full of pain and disappointment. "I love you." is the last thing he'll probably ever say to his wife, especially with the guards coming over to collect him. They pull and drag, even as D.L.'s feet try to slow them down. Eyes searching for one last look at the blonde he'll never get to see again…

Nothing will ever be the same. A paradigm shifts here in this dismal room, or maybe it already has. Niki's hand falls slowly as her fingertips are forced to trail away from D.L.'s when the guards haul him back to where he came from — to where he doesn't belong, but has to sit. She stands shell-shocked, mouth half-parted, watching him go, eyes gleaming with a heartbreaking emotion. Is this really it? The end of an era that started when they were so young? They were just kids…

The lights go out with a shudder.

Visiting hours are over.

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