2007-10-23: I Was Never There

Starring:

Felix_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif

Summary: Niki and Felix run into one another again under slightly less stalker-like circumstances … sort of; Niki mentions the incident at the drugstore where they both were; Cam spots Niki on his way back from visiting Kory and Lachlan.

Date It Happened: October 23rd, 2007

I Was Never There


Queens, New York City

He apparently really does live here. Because Fel's not in his usual sharply tailored suit, but in jeans and t-shirt under his overcoat. He's pacing a little stretch of the block by his house, lost in thought, indulging in one of those rare cigarettes - an occasional vice, rather than a real bad habit. He looks drawn and tired and nervous.

Niki also looks tired and drawn and nervous - and she also apparently really does live nearby, too. With her arms wrapped around her stiffly over the padded white of her hooded vest, to counteract the thin black sweater underneath, she comes walking down the block. Fate? Coincidence? Complete chance? A likelihood based on variables of similar whatevers? This is not the determined walk of a woman who has anywhere dire to be; it's slow, even a little unsteady, and Felix and his supposed apartment is the last thing on her mind.

It takes him a moment to notice her. And when he does, he doubletakes, and looks hastily around for D.L…..before choking on the smoke he inhaled unexpectedly. It leaves him coughing, cigarette held away from himself. He doesn't greet her, but steps pointedly aside to let her pass.

Lost in her own weighty world of thoughts, the normally (in recent times, at least) paranoid blonde wouldn't have even noticed the FBI agent if it weren't for his fit of coughing and the cloud of smoke she walks through. She gives a casual glance at the man, her attention becoming less casual when she realizes who he is and stops — which takes a moment, given the toned down wardrobe, and the fact that Niki herself seems half asleep and a little out of it. She clues in to the apartment nearby.

Fel's expression is pained, a little dry. He merely nods to her politely, and murmurs what sounds like 'Good evening'. By his posture, though, he's braced for trouble.

And Niki… not so much. In fact, she gives the man an ever-so-slightly quizzical 'what's wrong with you?' look. "Guess you actually live here," she deduces, her voice coming out on the flat and defeated side.

"I told you," he replies, inclining his head, with a certain thread of amusement in his voice.

"How'm supposed to know if you're an honest guy or not," Niki replies with a hint of cynicism — by the sound of it, she might still be undecided on that point. She studies Felix for a moment with tired blue eyes before starting to walk down the sidewalk, but she doesn't get very far before she staggers in her high-heeled boots and slowly deposits herself on the curb, a hand going to her forehead tenderly, instinctively. Breaktime.

There's the sound of footsteps approaching, and he peers at her. "Are you alright?" he wonders, tone a little more gentle. "And well, I don't know. Some would argue that anyone who works for the Bureau is by default a spook of one flavor or another. So, you'll have to take my word for it?"

"Yeah, I'm… nothing. I just need a minute," Niki reassures her stalker-not-stalker with a weak smile. Brushing some stray strands of blonde hair over her ear, closer to her ponytail where they belong, she cants her head up toward Felix and stares thoughtfully for a few moments that turn into several until it seems like she's not going to reply at all, just stare wearily at him. Then: "I saw you. At the drugstore. You disappeared."

"I couldn't st— how do you mean that?" Fel says, eyeing her with his head canted. It gives him the air of a vulture pondering the best angle from which to attack a carcass. "Wait, drugstore?"

It doesn't feel quite safe to look away when someone's mannerisms are vulture-like, and so Niki keeps on staring up at Felix from her slouched posture on the curb. Her purse strap has fallen down her arm, and she leans heavily on the purse that's slid into her lap. "Before the cops made it there," she clarifies, cautious.

"What are you talking about?" Fel's voice has gone perfectly bland, as has his expression. "What drugstore?" Denial, not just a river in Egypt, apparently. He's in a black overcoat over t-shirt and jeans, standing a little ways from Niki and eyeing her with a decidedly predatory air. He's also smoking - a black cigarette dangles from one corner of his mouth.

The subway isn't the safest way to travel, but it's a lot cheaper than a taxi when you have to travel quite a distance. Which of course attracts Cam to its' use. He comes out of the subway station and makes his way towards Monica's house. When he spots Niki on the curb nearby, though, the boy starts to make his way over to her instead.

"It was … a Walgreens. It was ransacked? A buncha people were killed?" Ringing any bells? The blonde's eyebrows raise up, trying to find any hint of realization in Felix's expression. It's gotta be there somewhere. "I wasn't hallucinating. I know what I saw." Focused on Felix, she doesn't notice Cam just yet.

Man, someone needs to work on his pokerface like whoa. Because Fel….not at all convincing. He shrugs at her, and spreads his hands, having ashed the cigarette in the gutter - it leaves a little whorl of smoke behind. "What did you see?"

What a conversation to catch! Cam pulls up a bit short as he hears the word 'killed', and looks between Niki and Felix. Both so focused on each other, he just does his best to stay quiet, listening and trying not to draw attention yet by crouching to retie his shoe, even though it never came untied.

"I saw you," Niki says simply enough, quirking a tiny smile. She's matter-of-fact, because she's confident, but that's all it is. Not cocky, not accusing. Just stating the facts. Chancing a glance away from Felix — though not far enough away to catch sight of a familiar boy nearby — she gives a half-hearted shrug of her shoulders. "You were there, and then you weren't. That's all I'm saying."

"I can't vanish into thin air," Fel says, very quietly. And he is, apparently, a hundred percent sincere, this time. "I'm ….not sure what you saw."

Cam can only tie a shoe for so long before being noticeable, but he stretches it out. He does glance up, curiosity caught as Niki says what she saw, but then quickly back down again. Just a moment more and he'll have to give up on overhearing and just approach.

Even if he could disappear into thin air, Niki seems rather blase about the possibility right this second. "So were you there on… FBI duty?" she ventures, wrapping her arms about herself against a sudden nonexistent chill.

Fel's silent, for a long moment, before he says, gently, "I was never there." He's not lying, or trying to deceive her - there's an odd emphasis put on the phrase.

Time's up. Having tied his shoe twice, if he takes any longer he'll look really stupid, and stand out. Cam bites his lip. Right when it's getting good too. He stands up then and makes his way over closer to Niki. Not greeting until she looks up, but no longer hiding.

Niki seems to understand; at least, she starts to answer with some kind of vague agreement, but she only gets as far as halfway through a nod before she notices the twelve-year-old. She's distracted, completely, by the agent and his spooky phrasing. "Cam! What are you…" It takes her a second to remember that this child doesn't run by the same rules as her own son — so she smiles warmly and just says, "Hey. It's getting awfully late."

Good. She understands. Fel grants her a solemn nod, before he's diverted by Cam's appearance. There's an odd tightening around his eyes. Where is his child? The one who doesn't even know his name. "Your son?" he wonders, quietly.

Cam nods quickly and says, "Kory took me over to Lachlan's place. You know him, right? Said he knew you. Kory wants me to get a guard dog, after what happened in the park. He said he'd talk to you." He looks up to Felix, then, and says, "Hi." Then says, "Just stayin' over a while."

"No," Niki answers with a good-natured laugh. "My… pal." Cam's appearance seems to have sparked some life in her otherwise drained appearance. "Wait a minute. Who's Kory and why were you at Lachlan's?"

"Pal?" Fel echoes, tone clearly prompting, as he glances down at Cam.

Cam grins at that description of him, but then answers the questions, "She runs the 'Lair. She's sorta a big-sister, just without the whole family stuff. She's been super-worried 'bout me since what happened, and her friend Cass said he could help. He's pretty cool."

"Yeah," is Niki's answer to Felix, with a fond smile to Cam. "… she— knows Cass too," she says, next, with some surprise, briefly in awe. Here we go again with the crazy connections. "It just so happens," she smiles more broadly, "that Cass is a friend of mine, and Lachlan is pretty cool." Most of the time. When he's not shouting at her and threatening her on trains, but he had reason to. Niki slides the strap of her purse back up on her shoulder and starts to push up off the curb.

Felix is visibly biting back the impulse to start interrogating Cam. He merely smiles thinly, one of those expressions that fails to reach his eyes.

Cam glances up to Felix, a bit warily as he sees the man's expression, but looks back to Niki as she gets up, smiling. "Cool! I ain't met Cass, yet, but sounds cool too."

Niki gives Felix a sidelong glance as she stands. This isn't his business. "She is," she tells Cam. "You should feel safe around them. You know I used to work at Cass's bookstore?" She steps up over the curb onto the sidewalk, but her feet drag, almost stumbling, and halts with one boot still on the road. The woman has to steady herself before she can go anywhere. She's not drunk, honest. An apologetic smile, of sorts, is given to Cam before she holds out her hand to him. "I was just on my way to the store. You can walk with me."

"Evening," Fel says, finally stubbing out that cigarette on a streetlight post, and then flicking it into the gutter. "Take care," He still doesn't know her name.

Cam blinks as Niki stumbles, looking instantly worried, "You ok?" He looks back to Felix, giving a bit of a wave, "Bye." He looks back up to Niki, nodding as he takes the offered hand, smiling a bit, "Ok. If you're ok."

"Bye." Niki's still trying to figure Felix out as she looks back over her shoulder at him. "I'm good," she assures the boy as she heads down the street the way she was heading originally, before she was waylaid by Felix - and more by her impromptu curbside breaktime. "There's a corner store just down the block."

Cam smiles again and nods to her assurance. If Felix is still within earshot, he might overhear her name. "Niki? Thanks for lettin' me stay, even if it is just for a while."

Which indeed he is. Though he's turned his back on Mom-figure and child, Fel grins to himself, and clatters up the steps to his apartment building.

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