2007-05-11: Interlude

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Summary: Niki is back, at least for a bit, and looks to D.L. for stability while Jessica takes her life - their lives - in another direction, but is he the person she needs him to be? DRAMA, et cetera, on which Micah spies.

Date It Happened: May 11th, 2007

Interlude


Niki & D.L.'s Bedroom, Monica's House, NYC

Out early, in late. That's been the routine - the secretive schedule of Jessica for the past several days. It's been a faade, pretending to be Niki all this time, at least for Micah; D.L., this time, was spared the lie. She's been preparing. Laying down the framework for what's to come. To help them, she says. This afternoon, in the room known as Niki and D.L.'s, there has been … talking. A one-sided conversation, since Jessica was, theoretically, alone, but we all know that's not exactly the case, don't we? Now, all is silent, and… Jessica?… is sitting on the floor against the closet door, wearing the thin pink robe she put on after a shower earlier, and looking at the floor. Yeah, your wife's totally not crazy, D.L.

"You're crazy." Why is D.L. saying that the moment he comes into the room? Because he can't really be nice to Jessica. At least, he's figuring it's Jessica. He's not used to this whole back and forth switching thing so often. He steps all the way into the room and makes sure to close the door behind him, in case Micah gets to walking around and listening through the walls and stuff. He has a tendency to do that. D.L.'s been sleeping somewhere else for the past few nights since he realized Niki was gone for good. He don't trust this Jessica at all. But still… Micah's on the line so. "When do we do this thing?"

It takes a moment for the woman to lift her head when D.L. walks in and says what he does - there's a delay, a slight lag between hearing and registering. When she does look up, her eyes are cloudy, like she's trying to see through fog and not entirely sure what's going on around her. Her room. D.L. saying she's crazy. D.L. asking some question she doesn't know the answer to. That's when the realization kicks in with an unhealthy dose of shock - and memories that aren't entirely her own. "…oh my god…" It's with a frantic fear in her eyes that /Niki/ struggles to stand up in one big rush, her hands inching up the mirrored door behind her.

Blink. Figures. Poor D.L. cannot find the right words today. He's almost skeptical, but there's something that he's trying to cling to and hope that he's right about. "Niki?" He's by her side in faster than camera panning can allow. "Baby, is it you? For real?" He's not exactly sure how he can tell, but he's just going to try and trust her to be honest with him. Stupid idea, that's for sure. But when you're a crazy black man in love with an insane white girl that can kick your ass in the blink of a mirrored eye… you don't get many good ideas.

On her feet, but looking unsteady, Niki all but falls into D.L.'s arms. Strong. Stable. "/It's me/," she says firmly, trying to banish doubt. "It's me." She wraps her arms up around his neck, clinging, walking a tenuous line between breaking down and pulling herself together. "… oh God," she intones in what is hardly above a horrified whisper. "… Cass."

"Cass? Who Cass?" D.L. damn sure doesn't remember that day at the bookstore that was crazy as hell. In fact, he's confused as to why his wife's even back out of the looking glass. Things have been crazy, so this could be a trick again. He'll just have to play it cool enough to find out what's going on. If only he had the gift of gab or something. He'll just have to rely on his big black man ears, instead. "What's going on?"

Niki steps back just enough to look at D.L. without breaking contact. "My boss - from the bookstore. Jessica…" She looks over her shoulder, into the mirror. "She was looking for…" she turns back to D.L., desperation in her eyes. "It's my fault." Repulsion sinks into her features in due time - a second later. "…and Peter…" These disjointed bits of news are all Niki can piece together for D.L.'s sake, it would seem. "I have to find them. I have to know they're okay."

"Who? Peter? What?" D.L.'s confused as all hell. Of course. But when is he not confused. There's a reason why he's the token sidekick and that's because he never knows what's going on. Ever. Even when he's the one doing whatever it is that's going on. "Baby, I need more than names. I don't understand. What'd she do?" Maybe he should look into becoming a cop. He sure does have to ask a lot of questios.

Niki doesn't know how long she has before Jessica takes over again, and it's obvious. She's rushed. Anxious. "Listen. I had some money in a briefcase-whatever we had left, from the paintings, from Jessica, from Bishop. I've been adding to it. I hid it." From Jessica? "She went to the store, she was looking for it. It wasn't there. She might've— I think she hurt them—" Stepping to D.L.'s side, her gaze levels from him into the mirror, which it darkens on. "I don't know how much time I have."

D.L.'s still confused. He didn't know about all of this extra stuff. Definitely not about the damn hidden money and such. Already, he's starting to figure out something or other, but things aren't concrete. "You mean, you hurt them." D.L. explains, trying to put things in some semblance of perspective. "If you go to check on people there could be isses." He works on trying to calm her down down. "I'll check on your friends, hm?"

What D.L. reminds Niki of solidifies another realization: that what few normal things in her life since coming to New York are systematically being destroyed. The bookstore. Tenuous friendships. People who didn't think she's psycho are few and far between now. So much for normal, what she promised Micah. She nods, reluctant but understanding, and just sinks against D.L., closing her eyes tight. "If I just let her do whatever she's doing, to make things better…"

"No! Things will NOT get better! She's the problem, not the solution." D.L. says, as quick as possible. He's even grabbing her around the shoulders and holding tight to make sure she stays Niki. Not that his touch could do anything like that, but he's pretty much trying to be something of a leader in this family. Not a good one, though. "You have to fight her, baby. For Me and Micah. We need you, Niki…" Pleading?

Niki's hands go up to clasp D.L.'s wrists, but it's not to try to stop his grip on her - not at all. She just holds on, looking up at him, conflicted. "You're the one who said I should just accept her as part of me!" Right? That happened? Once upon a time in a season known as 'a few months ago'? "I almost just wanna let her do it if it'll mean a better life for us. All of us. I don't even know what that /means/." D.L. knows something she doesn't, this time: the heist. But Niki shakes her head, swallowing hard. "Maybe you should just get me locked up."

"We can't be a family if you're locked up." D.L. conveniently ignores the part where he gave bad advice. It would've been good advice if this was a television show or something and maybe actually had some kind of bearing on what Niki did with her life. But with Jessica controlling her life and such, there's not many chances for D.L. to actually talk to the woman he married. "Forget whatever she's up to. You're back. We can go. Stay away from all mirrors…" A small joke.

They've been down this road before. How long can they be a family /without/ her being locked up? "I /should/ have been put away for a long time," Niki reminds D.L., her voice softly cracking. The joke, such as it was, garners no smile from her, not even a hint. "Go. Go where? It's not like I can run away from her, D.L. I tried, and look where it got me." A laugh, there; it's without humour, too. Her hands slipping away from him, she strides slowly past him to the other side of the room with no real direction.

So here's where things are not going too well. D.L. can't seem to figure out which way to try and talk, because everything keeps getting thrown back at him. And now she's walked away and that means he could end up with Jessica all over again. Also not a good thing to have happen ever, really. "I don't know, okay, Niki. I don't know. Maybe there's someone out there that truly understands what's wrong with you and can fix it…"

Maybe. Maybe. Niki's said a lot of maybes herself, but… "I'm tired of maybes." She turns around - still the whole woman D.L. married for the time being, thankfully, but who knows how long that'll last. "This isn't something that can be fixed." She believes that now, after everything she's gone through. Niki heads back to D.L., hugging him again and grasping at the back of his shirt, desperate to hang on. He's completely capable of slipping through her fingers, but right now, he's one of the very few stable things she has to hold on to. Him and Micah. "Just promise me, whatever happens, you'll stay, for Micah. I don't know what I woulda done without you this time, D."

"Don't worry. I'm taking care of everything." D.L. says, with lies written all over his face. He's hoping that hugging her will keep her from knowing that there are bad things afoot at the Circle K. And then some. He's clearly just trying to make sure that everything goes according to the vague plan that he's gotten from Jessica. Then he can find the right moment to snatch Micah and run like hell.

If only Niki knew D.L.'s plans, she might not be hugging him so tightly. But thankfully, for him, at least, her face is buried against him; she can't see the lie on his face. And it may as well not exist in his voice: she doesn't want to hear it, not now. She doesn't even ask questions (ones like "how the hell?" should present themselves). After a few moments, she pulls back. "How's Micah been?"

"Um." D.L. hasn't really been around himself, so he's going to have to lie again. He does that alot. Lie. Because, that's what's apparently going to keep the family together. Telling the truth will end up with them all being dead. Eventually. Or soon. Who knows what Tim Kring has up his sleeves. Anyway! "Good. Missing his mother, but he's surviving." Yeah, maybe a little bit of a guilt trip will keep Niki around for longer than five minutes.

"You have to be there for him, when I can't be," Niki tells her husband, looking him in the eye. Maybe she senses that he hasn't been around, maybe she remembers that much, maybe she just wants to make sure! Damn those maybes. "He needs you, too." She moves away, wandering around the bedroom, snatching clothes from here and there - closets, drawers. "You'll see if Cass is okay? And Peter? He just got in the way — Jessica didn't plan it."

Great. Just great. Now he's getting himself involved in stuff that he knows nothing about. He knows bits and pieces of the plan, but nothing that involves Peter. Not that he really understands in the first place. "I can't work and be his mother, Niki." Only a little bit defensive in what he's trying to make happen. Maybe something will click and Niki will stay around. Forever.

Lingering in the hallway is Micah, listening to the conversation from just within his doorway. He frowns at the topic, trying to stay as quiet as he can, despite the quivering of his breath that passes through his lips. He heard his father's lie, and yet, he remains silent. For now, his anger is quiet, confused, and full of pain that swells in his chest. He wants to scream at them, to yell, and to cry. There is so many questions he's yet to get an answer to. His father disappearing, his mother being fried with electricity, and in the far end of his mind, the paintings.

"I'm not asking you to be his mother, D.L.," Niki halts in the process of pulling a wine-coloured hoodie from the top drawer of the dresser to look at D.L. "I'm asking you to be his father." As firm as her statement is, something in her falters after it's spoken - guilt for having to say it at all. Her brow creases and she reluctantly slumps before de-robing to shove some jeans on. If she's going to in control of her body for more than five minutes, she may as well have clothes on to start the day with. "I'm sorry, I'm just trying to…"

"Right." D.L.'s only response. He frowns and shakes his head. Not even really wanting to be in his room right now… with his own wife. At least Jessica appreciates what little talent he has. He leans back against the wall, planting his arms across his chest. "I'll try harder." He's not exactly being serious, but he's not joking either. He's doing that thing where he has to be mad.

The door to Micah's room is heard slamming shut, as the little mouse is angrily stomping across his room, back to his computer. Settling himself down, he lays his hand on the keyboard, then starts to type as he pulls a game up to tinker with. Nothing like a good, violent shooter to try and wind yourself down from living with a dysfunctional family.

Zipping up her sweater, Niki is soon in front of D.L. again with a hand on one of those crossed arms. She squeezes - affectionate, not crush of death. "We /all/ have to try hard." Then— *SLAM*. Glancing to the closed door with a frown, she murmurs, "…Micah…" Before she pushes up on her toes to give D.L. a kiss. Trailing her hand off her arm, she slips out into the hall to sneak into Micah's room - and try to defuse another bomb. All she wants to do is give him a hug from /her/, not from Jessica.

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