2007-09-22: God Helps Those


Nathan_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Upon the rooftop of destiny, Niki helps Nathan prevent a future.

Date It Happened: September 22nd, 2007

God Helps Those

Uptown, NYC - Rooftop - Deveaux Building

Arranging a place to meet had been more difficult than Nathan had expected. He didn't want to invite the woman to his home, because that was just too much trouble than it was worth. As for his headquarters, it's been made clear to him over the past few days that people seem to take note of who goes in and out of there, so that was an equally bad idea. Cafes, restaurants, bars were all out of the question as well - talking to an attractive woman was one thing, but what they had to discuss warranted somewhere less public.

So that is why Nathan finds himself standing upon the Deveaux rooftop, where he'd stood so many months ago to concoct a plan that seems laughable now. Where he'd told a small group of people what he could do. It's the rooftop of fate and epic, sure, but it's also the rooftop of secrets and bad ideas. Reasonably fitting, really. He leans against the ledge, hands resting against it as he peers over his shoulder at the city of New York. Dressed in a casual jacket, over a dark button-down shirt, jeans and boots, altogether less polished than usual.

The door at the opposite end stirs, the telltale sound of someone joining Nathan high above the city. Funny, how she keeps winding up on this rooftop; funnier is still the company she keeps while there. "It's weird," Niki reflects as she steps onto the roof of the Deveaux building. Enveloped in a soft, cream-coloured sweater jacket, extra long, with a hood that spills over her back, a simple white tanktop and dark skinny jeans underneath, she wraps her arms around herself as she makes her way toward the ledge. It's the view that she regards as she closes in, rather than Nathan. "This isn't the first time I've been up here."

Nathan turns to her when he first hears Niki's approach, but doesn't go to greet her, as she comes to join him at the ledge. "It isn't?" he asks, gaze switching back towards the horizon for a moment. "Me neither. This place has seen a few strange visitors." And he's just talking about the one meeting he had - like a convention of superheroes, organised, of course, by Hiro. He inclines his head to her. "Thanks for coming. You could have said no." May as well recognise that he's not entirely entitled to her help, considering their brief history.

Niki rests a hand on part of the ornate stonework that rises above the ledge. The sleeves of her sweater are long, almost hiding half her hand. It's the first day of autumn, it's getting colder. She doesn't respond to his thanks and statement - she just looks at him for a moment as if she might, watching the streets below, instead. "I was here with … your brother." Pause. "I read the news today— is he in jail for hitting that guy?"

Grunt. That's all Nathan at first has to respond to that, at first, along with a slight wince, then a restless shrug. "Yeah, he decked a journalist because he said a few things that set him off," Nathan says, annoyance visible. "He gets out on bail today. You met Peter up here?" Pause. "Do I wanna know why?"

"I don't make a habit of sleeping with the Petrelli family, if that's what you're thinking." With a bit of cynicism Niki is quick to correct a line of thought that might not even be there. Best to shoot it down early. "He took me here after…" she starts, on a gentler note. "…well, I'm sure you remember. I wound up in your kitchen." That was a long day. "And, again later— pretty much for the same reason as this." Niki shrugs one shoulder, casting her eyes away. "I guess everything's about Jessica."

Nathan is quiet for a moment, glancing at her, then says, tone a little clipped, "I didn't mean it that way. Peter just gets himself into enough trouble that half the time I'd rather not know." He's already found a few grey strands here and there, he doesn't need encouragement. He runs a hand through his hair, bringing his palm to rest at the back of his neck, in an agitated, slightly nervous gesture, then looks towards her again. "How do you mean?" he asks, of her final statement.

Niki keeps her habit of looking down. "He went looking in my head," she answers, just casual enough that it should be obvious it wasn't an intrusion against her will. "Thought, maybe, he could find her in there— Jessica. Fix me," she says the last two words through a sort of laugh, and smiles — almost wistful. "…I half thought he was gonna wind up splattered on the sidewalk down there."

That smile and almost-laugh isn't shared, Nathan regarding her seriously as she speaks, trying to formulate the right questions in his mind. This talk of telepathy reminds him of Ramon - what had he said? That he had— wanted to 'listen'. "Fix you," Nathan repeats, absently, and doesn't ask for the outcome. He can infer it from that last comment. "Why aren't I talking to her now?" He adds, to clarify, "If she's still in there, why isn't she always— taking the front seat, I guess."

"Honestly, I wish I knew," Niki answers cynically and slowly turns away from the view of the city, gliding both hands through her hair and looking up at the overcast sky. "It used to be, if I was in danger, she'd come out. Or she'd— be involved in all these things I didn't even know about. 'Making a better life.'" She looks along her shoulder at the senatorial candidate, a glimmer of true concern showing for the first time since she stepped on the roof. "You're … not okay," she pries gently. With a breaking voice, half in a whisper, Niki ventures, "You think it's happening to you?"

It might be a nice change, for Nathan to be off-balanced in this situation, because as she turns the questions to him, the discomfort is obvious. But he can't outright deny it - like Niki had pointed out just the other day, he had to have his reasons. "More or less," he says. "I think there's a chance it might, one day. It's…" An apologetic, evading wave of his hand. "It's complicated." He doesn't know if Niki's aware of Peter's journey to the future, if she should be made aware. "I'm just trying to make sure it doesn't happen, and if it does… be prepared." Making a better life. That fits with what Peter had told him.

"I was told… there can be a fracture in people who can do what we can do. There's meds— maybe if you catch it early…" Niki is silent for a few moments after that, turned away, her fists clenching over the hems of her sleeves. "You…" she eventually says, quiet. When she whirls back around with a flurry of straight blonde hair, there's more conviction in her eyes. They shimmer, more than they did a minute ago, with moisture. The thought of this happening to someone else— "You have to be the strong one." She sounds a touch regretful — for her own sake. Past mistakes. Things she overlooked.

A fracture… Meds? Meds. Nathan— can't say he likes the sound of that, but he files it away for later reference, studying briefly his hand against the stone-work ledge of the rooftop they stand on. When she speaks again, he looks to her, at first disconcerted with her conviction, but— he gets it. It can't be easy. One of those fates no one wants to wish on anyone. "I plan to be," he says, after a moment. "I'd see it, sometimes, just— in mirrors. In moments of weakness, I guess. It hasn't… he hasn't done anything. He doesn't have a reason to. I'd like to— not give him a reason." A wry, slightly bitter smile.

Nathan said some key words, just then. The colour seems to drain out of Niki's face; though, up here, under the dark sky, above most of the city's most garish lights, her skin already looked pale. Brow knit, her mouth falls open more and she starts, very slowly, to shake her head. The look she gives Nathan is the sympathetic variety one gives when the other person is falling over an edge and there's nothing to be done to stop the catastrophe. Comforting, huh? "You have.. a family. You have big, important goals, you're running for senate. You're down in the polls, right? I read that in the news, too." She steps closer, focussed. "I dunno if you're anything like me — like Jessica — but if there's some chance that you are? There's already a reason."

No, that doesn't bring him comfort, and Nathan's smirk fades. She voices those concerns, the very same topics that had been haunting him for the past week or more in connection to this, and there's something simultaneously relieving and worrying about that. The fact that someone actually gets it, what's at stake, coupled with the confirmation. "So what do I do now?" he asks after a moment, looking at her directly - and honestly asking, rather than a flippant rhetoric. They're standing close enough for their voices to level right down to murmurs beneath the noise of traffic and weather.

Niki reaches across the short distance to grab Nathan's arm above the elbow and hold on, just to look him in the eye intently. Searching, maybe. Trying to see anyone else staring back. "You hold on," comes her solemn answer, equally heartfelt and unhelpful, and she squeezes a fraction tighter.

It's not an easy answer. It's not a 'you do this, then this, and tada' sort of solution. But there's something there, something Nathan can latch on to. Something that isn't about getting medication, therapy, quitting his job. God helps those that help themselves. His hand finds hers, drawing it off his arm so he can better squeeze. "Thanks," he says, equally solemn. Her searching gaze will only find one man looking back at her, but one man not without fear, as guarded as it might be. Nathan releases Niki's hand, gaze breaking towards the view from the building, then more inward, towards the door. "Do me a favour?" he says, with a glance back to her. "Don't let Jessica win."

"I don't plan to," Niki says gravely with a conviction that surprises her, inwardly. She trails after Nathan without making any honest effort to follow - she just watches him with that same look of gut-wrenching understanding. "Watch… for blackouts," she gives one sliver of technical help. "I used to lose a lot of time."

At least he can honestly say that blackouts have yet to occur. Just that same nightmare, months ago, the same mirage. Nathan pauses his walk towards the door as she speaks, then nods once in acknowledgment. He feels like perhaps he should offer something back - money in return for her time doesn't seem to make sense, and she's more qualified than him to deal with her own situation effectively, and it's not like friendship is a currency he deals with on a regular basis. So he instead, he simply says, by way of goodbye, "You know how to reach me," before pushing open the door and disappearing into the building. Candidates always have places to be - and places not to be.

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