2008-02-15: Façades

Starring:

Logan_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Truth and lies make for a convoluted outcome when Logan meets Niki after she regains her memory.

Date It Happened: February 15th, 2008

Façades


Charlotte's Building

SoHo, New York City

It's a negotiation that Nathan didn't really have much of a choice in, anyway. He got to see Peter, uninterrupted. While we're out, Logan would like to take care of his little empire, thank you very much, amongst other things. Not a word of protest from Nathan, he had no time, before he's pulled back down, Logan taking the reins, and steering the trajectory of their mutual flight.

The second rooftop of the evening is landed upon, the weather clear if cold. Logan lands with his cellphone already in his hand, almost nonchalant in the way he walks off the momentum, hitting a number and letting it ring. It's not been the best past few days - when hell is gone to, it all kind of happens at once, it seems. He paces across the slightly icy setting of the building's flat rooftop, waiting for the phone to pick up.

It does, inevitably. "Niki," Logan greets, his tone unassuming, no severity even if his unseen expression is somewhat more thundery. "Got a sec?"

There's a fraction of hesitation before Niki's voice kicks in — but when it does, it sounds marginally surprised and almost happy to hear him. "Nathan," she says. Bzzt, wrong answer, but she's not supposed to know that, quite. "Yeah, um. Of course."

Logan simply nods once in satisfaction, blows out a sigh that mostly escapes what the phone can pick up. "I'm on the rooftop." That's normal. He simply clicks the phone shut at this point, hesitates, and slides it into his pocket. The expensive grey woolen coat is warm enough against the cold evening, white shirt and grey slacks the accompany it similar in casual, modest sophistication, and they belie the fact that he's very obviously lost a brawl. Even in the dimness of this setting, the dark patterns of bruises curl up from his jaw to high on his cheekbone, and a dark line divides his bottom lip. The wounds are a few days old, the swelling gone but the marks, for now, remain. These he can't do much about as he waits, pacing on damp concrete, but his posture, his demeanor betrays confidence, calm, lots of things he isn't right now.

Niki looks like she's been dragged from one end of the earth to the other without a moment spared for sleep, and she still climbs up the stairs to the rooftop to meet Logan right away. As it turns out, having one's mind healed from myriad scars and a lifetime of being screwed with makes you exhausted — her body needs sleep to catch up with herself. She came home — if this is, in fact, still home — to pass out, but she can't sleep. Not yet.

She emerges from the rooftop door; it doesn't take long. One, two minutes. Enough time to wrap a warm coat on — long, black, slim-fitting but heavy — and throw a vivid blue, very nearly turquoise scarf around her throat. Blonde hair falls around her face, slightly strangled by the wet and cold she's been in and out of; presently, it's picked up by the wind. "… What happened to you," Niki says with almost doting concern as she crosses the distance.

"Nothing out of the ordinary for me," Logan says with what he hopes is a flash of a reassuring smile, although now his eyes, slightly too dark to study in all the shadow, dart their gaze over her face, studying. Not so unusual for him, and whatever he sees, it has him moving closer, helping to close the distance between them. "Look what happens, you disappear for a while and I already get myself into trouble." His hands go out to smooth down her arms, as if to stave off the cold.

The cold certainly needs staving off, it's freezing up here, as far as she's concerned. "I disappear for awhile?" Niki counters, but it's mostly good-natured banter. Correction: she's pretending to be good-natured, the little smile that turns her lips up showing a hint of playfulness beyond her concern. Even so, her eyes, as she studies the bruises along Logan's face, trying to penetrate the dark, is perhaps more alert than usual. More focused, critical. So this is the man responsible for so many terrible things, holding Nathan hostage like she was held by Jessica. She gives him a kiss. In for a penny…

He kisses her back, hands squeezing her arms gently. It hurts to kiss, and so it lasts only for a moment before breaking, Logan staying closer, however, hands settling on her waist. "Took a few sick days," Logan says, with a trace of irony. The critical gaze he's given is met with one in return, brown eyes studying blue as if they were both trying to read what was beneath the surface. Not a hell of a lot of height difference to contend with, at least, even at this range. "Obviously I shouldn't have done that, all things considered. Place can't cope without me. You okay?"

And the wind blows through and ruffles Niki's hair EXTRA dramatically.

Niki lays either hand on Logan's arms, at his elbows; bare of gloves in the chill, they rest over the wool of his coat and hold on, as if to steal what warmth it offers. "Yeah," she reassures. "I'm fine." That's either a lie or a whole lot of truth, given her renewed state of knowing. "I was worried about you," she says lightly. In contrast, her gaze still studies, searches.

Logan just nods once, minutely, trusting that. "Me too. But it's handled." It's not, but it's also too complicated for this rooftop. Even the fact that she is an amnesiac makes it difficult to explain the brawl that happened on the floors of his apartment, not without giving everything away entirely, and despite his talent for spinning things— he tries to just shuffle what's apparent away, out of sight. "And you know me, anyway, I have a talent for bouncing back from these things." A knife wound in the shoulder and back, what's a few bruises?

On that note… "I'm also learning that you don't— " Niki glances around the rooftop, pointedly taking in the slightly unusual environment — unusual for a meeting, at any rate. Unless you're a Petrelli, apparently. " —summon … me without a reason," she comments; lightly, with a smile. Brows lift, waiting. Tell her something important so she knows what she has to do next. It's not too hard to translate that hope into a naively expectant gaze.

"I don't?" Logan agrees with a slight chuckle, steam whipping out of his mouth into icy cold air as he finally backs off a little, hands returning to the pockets of his coat. "No, you're right. I wanted to talk to you about what happened. About Pinehearst. I'm going to be reviewing security footage, provided there's any to review, tomorrow morning, but I wanted to hear some things from you." A pause, a tilt to the head. "What were they after?" He knows. And he knows they got what they came for. What's important is what everyone else knows.

"I don't know," Niki states simply, frowning slightly at her apparent unhelpfulness, drawing her arms close to her, crossing them, trying to lose her hands in her sleeves. "I was upstairs the whole time. It all happened so fast. I don't even know who they were, except for your brother."

A small, guttural 'mm' at that last bit, satisfaction replaced by a niggling kind of nagging worry. Second encounter with Peter. A short silence as Logan evaluates her for his distance. "Peter broke into my apartment the other day," he says, after a moment of decision. "Stole some personnel files, project information, and then I kind of ran into some trouble before I could sound the alarm. And who the hell knows where he is now?" he says, with an abbreviated smile, before more pointedly, he asks, "You haven't seen him since, right?"

Niki waits, before she answers, stone silent, focusing. Will he know, if she lies that blatantly? Can't risk it. She has to do it now.

As she watches Logan, her expression gradually goes stern and hard, locked on him and unflinching. It matches the tiredness around her eyes naturally, a puzzle piece clicking into place. She unfolds her arms, standing tall. "Actually, I have." The blonde's voice, too, has shifted: self-possessed, strong. She grabs for the front of Logan's coat and waltzes forward, fully intending on marching him backward. Toward the roof's edge. "Turns out he's a miracle worker."

The self-assured confidence about the other man fairly vanishes into alarmed confusion when Niki's hands find strong purchase on his lapels, pushing him back and back. Protesting is a bit like trying to halt a moving train, but his hands grip onto her wrists anyway as he's forced to walk. "What're you— " His words cut when his back hits the rooftop ledge with a grunt - not because it was particularly hard, but his somewhat cracked ribs fairly creak at the jolt. "I see," Logan breathes out - and he doesn't, yet, but he can sense adversity when he sees it, and he studies her eyes for a sign. "What did Peter do, spin a convincing story? I told you he's not exactly himself lately— "

The ledge stops Logan — temporarily. It doesn't stop Niki. Met with the barrier, she presses him against it all the more — not as devastatingly as she's capable of, not by a longshot, but enough to jostle. Cold fingers curl tightly around Logan's lapels, finding purchase. "A lot of people aren't exactly themselves lately, are they," she counters harshly, a bitter laugh sneaking into her voice. The turned-around statement seems pretty true of Niki, all things considered, which is completely intentional. At the length of a strong arm, she starts to raise him up against the half-wall, leaning him back, back, back— "Peter healed me. My mind. The scars."

His feet leaving the ground isn't an odd sensation in itself, but this, cold concrete pressing against his back as the woman lifts him up against the ledge. The only fear is not the potential drop, but the vice like grip on his coat and the stern expression on Niki's face. "Honeymoon's over, huh?" Logan says, a little breathlessly, in more pain than his now cold eyes communicate - the facade, everything he'd spun between them, is promptly shattered like so much broken glass. "Can't blame me for trying." Heels kick against the concrete as he struggles, once.

One façade shatters, another goes up. This time, it's Niki who's putting on a face of half-truths and half-lies. "That depends on if you make the smart choice," she forces through her teeth darkly, sending a chill into her own gaze, shadowed by the pinch of angry brows above. Adrenaline courses through her veins. It's one thing to remember these moves, these threats, it's another to kick them into action so soon, but the fresh rush of memory makes it flow with dangerous fluidity. "See— " Niki suddenly whirls, jerking Logan along with her, only to let go midway. "Your little pet's not the one who came back," she lies.

Oof. Logan meets cold concrete before he can even comprehend it, a sharper groan forced through gritted teeth at the impact. It's unfortunate that by being good at making friends, it has the dual effect of making excellent enemies. See, Jack. See, Niki. Or— someone. Logan plants his palms against the icy ground and gets to his feet, somewhat awkwardly, dusting himself off as he turns to her. Stop, evaluate. "I guess that puts us in an interesting position," he says, voice a little strained - as well as wary. Whether that's for show or not is undecided, but it'd be hardly surprising if it wasn't. "Who am I talking to?"

"Someone who could be a hell of a lot more valuable than Niki," Niki says with a scoff and … hopes it's true, or she's in a hell of a lot of trouble. Adversary, or ally? Heeled boots step across the slippery roof toward the Senator's alter ego and she gives him a languid, wicked smirk. "Jessica." She extends her hand formally, at the last moment curling her fingers in a little twist of come-hither. "Nice to meet you, Logan."

That's certainly an uncertain limbo of alliance, one Niki is hoping to secure and Logan is still catching up to. The name doesn't surprise him, just confirms his shock. "You'll forgive me if I don't come any closer right at this second," Logan says, with a lot of Nathan's dryness. Shared sense of irony, perhaps. For all intents and purposes, he does seem to buy this - there's just a certain cocksure nature about her that makes sense with her story. He's looking at her like she might be a particularly unusual puzzle piece, one that's hard to find a place for but it has to have a place. Despite his words, he does take a step towards her, a thin puddle of icy water rippling underfoot. "And Niki? What's happened to her?"

When Logan doesn't take her hand, Niki plants it on her hip, fingers tucking into her pocket. "Niki might as well be dead," she says with a flippant toss of her hair. "I swept her under the rug where she belongs. She was weak." This can't be good for Niki's self-confidence, but her words actually have conviction. Was weak, she said. She had her weaknesses, once upon a time. Now it's time to be strong, more than ever. "If you let me work with you, I promise I won't hurt you," Niki arches an eyebrow, still smirking Jessica's smirk. "Unless you want me to."

"Maybe you can teach me a thing or two," Logan says, rather flippantly, although there's some truth in there. Nathan is being a pain in the ass lately, ever since his dead wife. Logan can only hope he never becomes that sentimental - the woman stabbed him for god's sake. But back to the present, on the cold rooftop and the black sky above him beckoning him to just fly away - but if there's one thing he's learning, it's that you can't just abandon things. You have to work with them, or take care of them, and not in the TLC sense. And he has no gun, at present. And Niki— Jessica— is making that decision for him. "I can stand being hurt," Logan says, moving a little closer still - as if to portray the idea he doesn't fear her. "You can throw me around all you want." Double-entendre city. "But there are more damaging things. You want to work with me, then I would be very grateful. What's in it for you?"

"We both want to be on top, Logan." Double entendre metropolis. Two can play at that game, just as they can both play at posturing for various reasons. It's all about portrayal, what one wants the other to believe. "Money. Power. Security. I mean, Christ, you're obviously the winning team." The so-called 'Jessica' steps ahead, once, lifting her hands up in front of her, splayed. "I wanna be where the action is."

"I can share the spoils of war," Logan says, almost dismissively. Assuring this character, one he's taken to believing in at least for right now, of everything she could possibly want in a few words and a half-shrug. Now, he offers his hand - palm turned upwards, fingers relaxed, not exactly suggesting he's seeking a hand shake. The corner of his mouth twists into a smirk. "No hard feelings?"

"Do I look sentimental?" Niki props her hands on her hips again, lifting her brows in faux incredulousness, an expression that melts as she poises her tongue below her upper teeth before grinning wolfishly.

"Anything but," Logan says, approvingly, hand lowering. A second of pausing, a glance away into the distance. Almost as if the man has spaced out for a second, looking into empty air without expression, but in the very next moment, he's back. "Do what you can to stay away from Peter," is his advice/instruction, stepping back from her. "God knows his undying need to help everyone is going to be the death of someone soon, preferably him, but he's also getting too close to comfort."

Niki's eyes narrow, softening ever-so-slightly while Logan looks away. She's half expecting it to be Nathan when the man looks back, but when it's not, she's quick to answer him. "Don't worry," she says, channelling the cockiness of her once alter ego. "The joke's on him for trying to help Niki. I'll make sure he doesn't get in my way."

"Good girl." And that seems to be all the business that needs to be taken care of this evening. Logan turns his back, walking several paces until it seems likely a good time to take off, the show of power as effortless as walking.

Niki watches Logan take off, following the dot in the sky as long as she can — which, in all likelihood, is not very long in the slightest — and then she's alone on the cold roof, Manhattan around her. She doesn't waste anymore time in getting back inside out of the cold, but once she's through the roof entrance, she flattens herself against the wall of the stairwell beside the door, leaning her head back 'til it hits the brick. She lets out a heavy breath as if it had been partially horded the entire time. Trickery on this scale is not going to be easy. She's playing with matches.

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