2007-03-24: Intervention


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Bob_icon.gif

Guest Starring:


Summary: Niki and D.L. confront Bob and the outcome is… unexpected.

Date It Happened: March 24, 2007


Private hospital, somewhere outside New York City

March 24th, some time past midnight. It's long past visiting hours at this unassuming private hospital outside the city - granted, the wing we're zooming in on doesn't normally allow visitors at any hour, day or night.

"We're not goin' in there breaking the door down," a female voice reminds her partner from the hospital's ill-lit parking area after the car door slams shut. It's Niki Sanders, and her partner is, of course, D.L. Hawkins. She's not set to have an appointment, not for a couple of days, least of all at this hour. She walks around the car to take his hand in hers, looks up the path to the hospital, then firmly at D.L. Her grasp tightens. "Let's go."

D.L. actually frowns. He has to frown because he'd much rather be kicking doors down and knocking people out left and right. He pulls his hat lower onto his head, as if that would hide his identity. But, of course, there's nothing that could truly hide his identity from those that may be watching. He's a big black man. It just won't work. "Just tell me when I can start hitting people." D.L. remarks, holding his wife's hand firmly, just in case he has to start phasing early. After all, he's the one with the power. Unless Niki goes Jessica, then there'll probably be all sorts of Hells to pay.

This late at night Bob is usually home, but there is so much crap going wrong. He's not putting out fires at the moment, having done as much as he feels he can do for the moment on each of the problems requiring his attention. So he's going back to routines which made those problems not happen so often in the first place. Because he /has/ spent so much time on the fires, he's doing this in the dead of night: walking the hospital, checking on every single project.

What do you do when you're on a determined mission to confront the powerful person who seems to be in charge of a powerful organization? You walk through the damn front door. This Company patient hopes so as she pushes the door of the hospital open, sticking close to D.L.'s side even though her she's dictating their direction. As she strides through the front lobby, the nurse at the desk jumps up in protest with a flurry of papers— but Niki doesn't follow the rules this time. When it comes to getting through the door into the hospital itself, she just shoves it open solidly, sending it flying against the inner wall, and keeps on going. Destination: the wing at the back, which she knows very, very well.

D.L. looks at the door that's being clattered against the wall and finds himself following along with Niki as they bypass the nurse and start to making their way towards the back. He's too busy trying to get his facial expression to not look like they just waltzed into a building with pissed off intentions. He doesn't have anything to say or even add, as he's busy with the whole keeping close to his wife thing.

Aaaaaand there go the alarms. Bob pinches his thumb and forefinger into the bridge of his nose as he goes back to a security kiosk to see what the Hell is going on. Meanwhile, heeeeeeere comes security, drawing stun weapons. The Company generally likes its phasers set to stun, just in case some interesting research subject comes breaking its doors down, you know how it goes.

Niki doesn't want to get turned away. If she thought that might not happen, she might not have caused property damage - that and she's had a really, really, trying day. This is a woman who just wants some answers. When the alarms go of, she automatically comes to a halt, several feet from the doors she /needs/ to be going through. "Damnit," she says quietly. Regretfully. Oops. Guess we might be doing this your way after, D.L. Faced with the security, Niki holds up her hand - the one that's not still gripping her husband's tightly - her frostbite-tinged fingers splayed defensively. "We just want to see Mr. Bishop," she explains - cool and collected, but with an edge that hints at how easily her calm might be damaged.

D.L. squeezes a bit tighter, making sure to hold onto the fact that he's about to phase them both. Which shouldn't take much work at all. His eyes narrow and he gets to phasing, though it probably doesn't look like anything's happening to either of them. "Come on. We're taking a shortcut." Security is not something he wants to waste punches on. So he moves to drag Niki with him and towards the nearest wall, so that maybe they can work their way around the goons and get to where they belong. Let's hope they don't waltz through a wall and into the Security Station or something.

"You know," Bob says, almost conversationally to the security guard manning the kiosk. He's just heard Niki's demand, and it has matched Peter's demand, and maybe a few more that haven't hit his desk yet. "With all these people wanting to talk to me, I should start a blog. I could call it: www.bobknowsbest.com. Think it would go over well? Oh, they're phasing." He presses an intercom button so that his voice will be heard in the company bits of the hospital. "Good evening, Niki. D.L."

Her hand staying where it is, nice and weapon-free for the security to see, Niki is about to protest to D.L. - she was about to talk nicely to the guards, but then she's in a wall. She stumbles a little bit after coming out of the other side; it takes her a second to get her bearings. That's never going to feel normal. As Bob speaks to them as a disembodied voice from the intercom system, she instinctually looks up at the ceiling. "The offices are that way," she says to D.L., pointing down the hall. What are they going to do, have a yelling match with the mysterious Mr. Bishop?

"How does he know we're here? Cameras? Professor Xavier syndrome?" D.L.'s too busy with the moving towards the hall and falling right into a jog. A jog that will help to bring them towards the offices much farther. He's not really going to be paying attention to much of anything but punching this dude in his head when they get there. "Questions first. Then I get to have fun, right?" is tossed at Niki, since he's pretty sure she's still running the show even as he's the one leading the run.

Bob heads down to his office, just shaking his head. Probably, he should bring back up…but he's confident he can quietly talk his way out of this one. So when they get there, there he'll be, with his hands folded on the desk top and the door open, waiting for them.

Niki tied her hair back before coming here, and her ponytail sways as she looks at D.L. sharply. "We don't have to get in any more trouble than we're already in," she says. It's not a yes, it's not a no, it's-well, it leans toward 'no'. She just looks at him carefully, worried about how all this is going to go down. Seeing the door to the office in question already open, she leads the way inside - her pace doesn't slow until she's standing in front of the desk. "I want some answers," she announces. The blonde looks vexed more than angry, but angry has its place. She also looks /exhausted/, but that's beside the point. "Either your /treatment/'s not working or your company's been lying to me."

"My vote's on lying." D.L. says. Of course, he doesn't want to let go of Niki, but he has to be intimidating too. Inside the office, he's taking a look around to make sure there's not any more evil security guards hiding to get the drop on them. In fact, he's smirking somewhat darkly and narrowing his gaze at Bob within the next moment. "So let's skip the part where you deny everything and get right to the part where you're about to tell her what she wants to know. So I don't have to beat you with every book in this place." There's books, right?

"I'm sure you're aware that every treatment we could possibly come up with is experimental at best, given the relatively small window of time we've had to study the phenomena of evolved powers." Bob says evenly. "Most of what you're taking is brand new. By this accusation am I to assume that the multiple personality issue has returned?"

Niki listens, Bob's calm, scientific response doing nothing to put her at ease. She shakes her head wildly. "You /told/ me you could make me /better/!" Emotion leaks easily into her voice, and the words she throws at the man are accusing. "The doctors said it was working! But Jessica— " She sets her jaw firmly, glancing away for just a second before her blue eyes jump harshly back to Bob. "She /killed/ someone today."

D.L. is going to have to keep playing Good Cop. The hand that's holding Niki's pulls back on her a bit, as he leans onto the desk more fully now. He tsks and shakes his head, looking at Niki and then looking at Bob. "Man, let me give you a piece of advice. You don't wanna' make her angry." He smiles. Just a little. One of those mischievous smiles that he shouldn't ever really be doing. But he is. "You wouldn't like her when she's angry." Yes. He went there.

"Niki," Bob says gently. "We're talking about your mind and psychology here. We can't change you if you don't want to change. If some part of you really and truly wants to hold on to Jessica, then we can feed you drugs all day long and you yourself will find ways to bring her back. Now let me ask you a question that's more to the point. How clean is the murder scene? In other words, given your criminal history, how likely is it that you're going to go to jail without my intervention?" A long, concerned look at DL. "You, as well. Were you there?"

'The mind.' 'Psychology.' Niki doesn't want to hear those words. "Then you and all the doctors here were just … what, lying to me all this time and telling me it was going to be okay?" She hesitates before answering his question, but the fear that flashes across her face makes the answer pretty obvious. "I touched the door when I went back. She got sloppy— something went wrong. D.L. had nothing to do with this." Niki shifts from foot to foot before eyeing Bob and asking a question of her own. "Where's Anders?"

"You threatenin' us?" D.L. doesn't take the thought of jail lightly. Especially in the case of him and his wife. "I swear, you even think about turning us in, because of what YOU messed up? You won't even make it to the phone." He's getting angry now. Looks like there's no more Good Cop in him. Especially since he's leaning further on the desk and is ready to reach out and snatch this fool up.

"Anders was last seen giving Jessica a rather large pile of money," Bob says. "He has not reported in. My guess is you killed him, Niki." He glances over at DL. "Did it sound like a threat, D.L.? I believe what I said was that it is a practical concern. Do you disagree that it is a practical concern, or that I have resources that can make it less of a practical concern?"

Though Niki looks like she'd back D.L. up in a heartbeat, there's part of her - some wavering, scared little glint in her eyes - that says she wants to hear Bob out. When the man actually speaks, however, when he accuses her— "No," she says, squelched, and shakes her head. But then, she can't be sure, can she? She was covered in ice… "No, I didn't see him. He works for you, what was he doing paying Jessica?" Slowly, she sinks onto the edge of a chair in front of Bob's desk, which she grasps the edge of, leaning ahead.

D.L. blinks. "Just…" And then Niki's talking and this can't be good. Because she's falling for these tricks again. God, why did he have to marry a blonde. So not cool. She keeps falling for the same talking stuff over and over. He sighs and shakes his head. "Don't get off track, Niki. He's still a liar. He could be telling you anything." He finds himself moving back to stand next to the seated blonde.

"Jessica called Anders and demanded even more payment for the paintings," Bob says, ticking an eyebrow. "We were naturally surprised, but not unwilling. The paintings are a very valuable asset." Bob leans forward. "I apologize that the pills are not working. You were in a vulnerable mental state and nobody wanted to put the suggestion in your mind that there might be the slightest chance of failure. Such a suggestion could only /reinforce/ what we feared."

"I'm not getting off track," Niki tells D.L. with a glance his way, softer than the frustrated stares she's been giving Bishop. "I don't want to back to jail, D.L.! But," she pauses for a moment, gripping the edge of Bob's desk tighter, "/maybe I should/. " The woman looks back to Bob; the accusing tones haven't left, but she's not questioning what he's telling her. Of course, she says nothing about his apologies, either. "How long have you known about Jessica? That she was back?"

D.L.'s not really sure of what he should be doing at this point. He's just going to be a listener. There's too much talking about events that he doesn't know about. Even when he's in the same room, he's out of the loop. He's not going to let her go back to jail, that's for sure. He'll just walk her out of there. There's no place in the world that can hold D.L. Hawkins!

"Not until I reviewed the painting job," Bob admits. "Then I suspected, even before she made contact. As I have found myself explaining again and again, I will explain to both of you. The Company strives to do the best it can with a phenomena that is larger than all of us. All of us are powerful. None of us are omnipotent. The fact is the consequences of the slightest misstep are always large because we ourselves are larger than life."

Niki came here to get some answers, and that means she does a lot of listening, even if some of it is stuff she doesn't want to hear or believe. That said… "I didn't come here for a philosophy lesson. Either you can help me with what I am or you can't." Her hands fall away from the desk and she sits with a tense slouch, looking warily at Bob. "What you said before. About the murder scene… you said 'intervention'."

D.L. just stares. He can't really believe Niki's actually listening to this dude. But it's not his decision. He's here as support. Supportive husband syndrome is in full on support mode. He figures she's never going to be -truly- helped by these guys, but maybe she can get them off her back and he can find a way to really help her. He's trying to pay attention but… he wants to punch the Bob's face in. So images of that dance through his mind on the regular.

"I did say intervention, didn't I?" Bob smiles. "You must know I have vast resources at my disposal to clean up any number of little mishaps and messes." He leans back in his seat, watching them. "Let me ask you a question. You two came in guns blazing. What was it you /wanted/, exactly?"

"I have had a /really long day/ and I don't /remember/ most of it. I wanted to know if I was being lied to," Niki says through her teeth, standing up to be at D.L.'s side again, twining her arm around his. "I told you, we wanted answers."

"I want something different. I want out. I want her out. I want Micah out. I want our family away from you and this stupid hospital and everything to do with this place… the moment we walk out those doors." D.L. can't help but to express his hatred for this place. And him. Not that he even knows him. "You're not helping her and I'm tired of you holding stuff over our heads. We got your paintings. We're done." Yeah, you tell him D.L.!

Bob considers that for a long time. "Very well," he says. "I will clean up the mess for you, in the hopes that it will convince you that I am not the bad guy here. I will go ahead and match the money that Jessica has no doubt stashed somewhere. In return, I will ask you to avoid breaking into my facilities again, working against my Company in any way, spreading the word about the company or using your powers in public. If you think you can go it alone without so much as the medicine that we're providing, the only thing I can do is support you. You've both tried."

This time, Niki's right there with D.L. She spent her whole stay at the hospital believing they were doing good, helping her, but now? She's on her own. She hears Bob out, slanting a quick gaze to the angry black man who is her husband right around the time the Company man mentions Jessica's money. By the end of his offer, she sizes him up carefully. "And that's … it," she says, questioning, duious. She's used to being screwed over.

"That better be it. You leave us alone and we'll leave you alone. That sounds about like what I want." D.L. finds himself leaning on the desk again. His fists clenching and all of that. "But I swear, if I even -think- you or your goons are following me or family? I will bring this house down. Brick by brick. And then beat you with them." And then he casts a quick glance at Niki. "And that's before I let Jessica loose on you."

Bob pulls out a checkbook and starts to write the check. "With all that subtlety you two display?" he asks dryly. "I don't need the goons. I can just watch the nightly news to see if anyone has ripped through any walls and threatened to misuse any libraries in the search for blunt objects lately." He passes the rather significant check to Niki. "I wish you both much luck."

Niki takes the check slowly, drawing it toward her once it's in her grasp. She looks it over, looks at Bob, and frowns. "I wish it could have been different." For the first time tonight (this morning?) she sounds… subdued. Apologetic. She's ready to go. "I want to go home," she murmurs quietly to D.L. and starts to turn away to leave the office. Then maybe this day can finally end.

D.L. stands 'guard' as Niki makes away with the check. Watching Bob and not even daring to blink. He backs himself up, moving after his wife as he slips on to the door and grabs her arm, just in case, before he decides to get the heck out of dodge with her. This has been one crazy night/morning/whatever. But he's rich now. So… hallelujah.


Bathroom, Monica's House, New York

The faucet is turned on at the sink to let a stream of warm water trickle into the basin. The woman at the sink, wrapped in a white towel, her blonde hair damp, lets it flow over her hands. Soon, she wipes one hand dry and and swipes a red cell phone from the countertop where it was left. She keeps the water running.

Jessica smirks, self-satisfied, as she dials a number and listens to it ring.

PHONE: The other end answers, "Hello?"

PHONE: Niki - or who sounds like Niki, at any rate, says, "Heeey, Mr. Bishop." There's the sound of water running softly in the background.

PHONE: Bob says, "Good evening, Ms. Sanders." Ms Sanders, after all, is always safe. It applies to each of them."

PHONE: Niki wouldn't be saying the words that come next. "I think they bought it."

PHONE: Bob says, "I think so as well. I trust you know what to do next?"

PHONE: Niki's altergo gives an abrupt snicker. "Please. You don't have anything to worry about."

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