2007-03-28: It Seemed Like The Thing To Do


Benjamin_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: While looking for Rose, Benjamin runs into Niki instead, and they take an informative field trip to a less informative location.

Date It Happened: March 28, 2007

It Seemed Like the Thing to Do

East Village, New York

Benjamin detours, greatly, on his way home from work. His route takes him into the east village and towards Enlightenment Books. He's hoping to catch Rose's end of shift. (Hoping she's even working today.) If he corners her, he can finally talk to her. What he wants to say really shouldn't be delayed more than it has. He's a coward okay? But an honest, well meaning one. The hand clutching his briefcase is a little white knuckled, he's gripping it harder than he realizes as he tries to keep an eye on his surroundings. Without looking paranoid.

Unfortunately for the man looking for his daughter, Enlightenment Books seems to be closing up for the day - or perhaps it's already closed, as the lights inside are dim. It is, after all, getting on in the evening. Also unfortunately for Benjamin, the person who emerges from the bookstore isn't Rose, but it is a familiar face - or it will be, once he gets close enough. The blonde, in a nice pair of dress pants and light blue V-necked shirt, shuts the door behind her and heads down onto the sidewalk, hunting for her car keys in her purse even as she starts walking along toward Benjamin. For a change, Niki is a lot less wary of /her/ surroundings.

Benjamin's expression falls as he sees the dim lights, the locking up of the shop, and no daughter in sight. "Dangit," he mutters. Not that he isn't happy to see Niki, he just.. has stuff on his mind. "Hi Niki.. I guess I'm late catching Rose?" Which is pretty obvious. Hooray for small talk attempts!

"Rose?" Niki glances instinctively over her shoulder at the bookstore. Imagine her surprise when Benjamin's daughter worked there too. Just take a moment and picture it, folks. Shock. A small amount of horror. Possibly a lot of swearing on Rose's part. "I don't think she was in today," she answers genially with a touch of apology in her tone. "I'll… admit I've been kind of avoiding Rose because I'm afraid she'll say something unflattering in front of Cass." Blue eyes narrow ever-so-slightly in concern at Benjamin. "Are you okay?"

"Darnit, I was hoping to corner her.. not that.. okay yeah, I kinda do need to corner her at times. She tends to laugh off serious discussions." Benjamin says with a weak smile. "She kinda just comes and goes as she likes, so, kinda hard to catch her sometimes." He looks up and down the street before continuing to speak. "Cass is nice. I upset her though. Okay? What? Oh! Yeah. For now."

Niki just smiles at Benjamin's assessment of his daughter, and further when he mentions Cass. "Yeah, she is. How did you manage to upset her?" Despite his reassurances— well, those are some weak reassurances. Tipping her head to the side, her brow furrowing just a bit, she asks again. "You sure you're okay?"

"Well, she saw me at the hospital, talking with her dad. She asked me about the visit and got upset when I didn't share her view, but I guess that's not important right now." Benjamin shifts his weight slightly from one foot to the other. "I.. no. I think I'm in trouble.. or might be.. Some guy named Peter Petrelli called to ask about the hospital too, about someone in particular, but I don't recall seeing them. Yeesh, I'm kinda just all over the place, sorry, nervous. Basically he needed someone who's affiliated with the hospital." He lowers his voice, "Cause that guy Angie told me about, Sylar? He's.. alive.. and kidnapped some people.. and.. he knows about me. He pulled a sword on Rose at the park and I stopped him."

Replacing the woman's friendly smile is, presently, a distinct lack of expression. Niki's lips part but no sound comes out. The information overload brought on by Benjamin almost bowls her over; she physically takes a step backwards, a wary edge coming over her demeanour all of a sudden. "Dr. Aldric…" You can almost hear the mental *click*. "…Cass knows about the hospital, the Company." The direness of her voice makes it sound like that's the worst thing that could happen. It's overstated, considering everything else Benjamin said. "I met Peter Petrelli. He… he saved my life," she says with a light, humourless laugh. "Yeah. I know about Sylar." Niki looks away, shaking her head. "Why does this have to be happening /now/?"

"I've kinda been asking myself that all week.. so I can trust Petrelli then? It was weird to have a stranger call. Hey, wasn't a relative that Congressman. Sorry, I've just been really curious about that. Not a common name, or that it matters." Benjamin clears his throat, shifting out of nerves. "Anyway.. Since Anders lives in my building, I tried to pass the message on to him, but I haven't seen him around. Weird. Usually he likes to pound on my door, drunk at all hours. So I told Angie.. since I have her number and she's the only one I really like to have contact with that works with /them/." Obviously. Since he's having relations on a regular basis with her now.

"Yeah, he seems pretty trustworthy," Niki answers with a half-smile that expresses more truth than just 'pretty trustworthy' implies. Guy rescues you from midair, goes to a crime scene you caused and still helps you sneak past the police and then patches you up? More than pretty trustworthy. "His brother's— wait…" There's a twitch of an eye-narrow at Benjamin. "Anders lives in your building?" Or is that /lived/? "Small world. You're sure you haven't seen him around? Since… when?"

"Okay, that makes me feel better. Even if he got my number from the Gomez's, I was still a little worried." Benjamin nods his head then hrms, "Uhm.. It's been awhile. Probably a week? I just figured he was being kept busy. Angie said he moved in just to annoy me. Last time I saw him, it was right after she broke things off with him. He was pretty drunk. So I guess he's been busy and getting over her."

Niki hesitates, though it's not clear what, exactly, she's hesitating over. One thing's for certain: she's awfully serious about it. Shifting her shoulders about, she glances into the street and waits a few more moments before an ominous gaze settles on Benjamin. "If I followed you home," she begins tentatively, as if regretting to ask already, "Would you show me what apartment he lives in?"

Benjamin scratches at his head with his empty hand. "I'm not sure what apartment number he lives in. Just that he's a few floors up from me. Why? Are you wanting to get him back for some of the nasty stuff he said at the hospital?" He is being honest here, he doesn't know for sure what number Anders has. "Sorry that I can't help you with that… but hey.. I have lived in the building for awhile, so I could ask the super? Cause, while he's a jerk, it is kind of weird. So c'mon."

"No, nothing like that," Niki answers with a shake of her head - nor does she explain herself. She just has to know. That's all. It's not like it's going to help her sleep at night, knowing if Anders is dead or alive. She flashes a weak smile of thanks to her former hospital mate. "Um— sure. Did you drive here?"

Benjamin laughs at Niki's question. "No, sorry. Driving and parking a car in the city? That's just insane. Public transportation. The car's at mom's, since she's actually got a house with a garage. This time of day, the train may be faster." He gestures for Niki to follow along with him. "How's your son and husband? I liked meeting Micah. He's definitely all you said he was and more. I can tell that, just from briefly meeting him." That's right. Talk about other things than what's keeping you up at night.

"I'll risk it. I have the car," Niki explains and grabs for Benjamin's elbow lightly to theoretically lead him down off the curb. One of the parked cars across the street is hers. "We're still getting used to the whole… rhythm of New York. Last time I took the train, it shut down." She smiles brightly - so bright that her whole face nearly seems to glow - when Benjamin talks about Micah. Talk about other things indeed. Like things that aren't related to plans about searching a man's apartment for clues that he's dead. "Yes, he is," she agrees with a laugh. "They're … good. Micah's starting private school soon."

Benjamin blinks as Niki takes him by the elbow. He follows along without any fuss. Why should he? He has a blind trust in Niki. "Oh yeah, that's something to get used to. Typically, public transportation is the best way to get around this city. That and your own two feet. Sometimes I wish I could fly, sure would make moving around easier… and that concept just doesn't sound as silly to me as it should. I guess this means I'm adjusting to the whole people with abilities thing. Oh he is? Good! That's great!"

"…Yeah," Niki says with an amused chuckle a thoughtful, oddly knowing smile, but her thoughts and whatever amusement she's harbouring is private, apparently. On the subject of private school, though, she replies, "He's been doing okay at the school he goes to now, better than I expected, but he really struggles at private school, you know? Too smart for his own good." She unlocks the doors of the car when they reach it. "Thanks for this, Benjamin."

Benjamin grins at Niki as they approach the car and get in. "It's not a problem. Oh, he's one of those kids? Too smart, needs to be kept challenged and busy? I wonder if Rose was like that.. I wish her mom had of said something to me about her. Then I wouldn't have missed out on her life." He's quiet a moment before he says, "Then again, it's incentive to make things count with her now.. especially if that Sylar guy finds us again."

"He needs to be around kids that're at least /somewhere/ near his range. And he needs the best education," Niki says as she starts the car and begins to brave the streets of NYC. "It is too bad that you didn't know Rose earlier," she comments with a sympathetic look. "You would've been a good father to a kid. …You think this Sylar guy is gonna come after you?"

"I'm not sure about that, good father that is.. We would at least have a better understanding of each other. Maybe she wouldn't think I'm such a joke." Benjamin isn't as clueless as he seems. "I'm not complaining though. I'm just happy to know I have a kid, who's not really much of a kid anymore. I hope the education situation works out for Micah." As Niki drives, he helps out with the directions to Greenwich. ".. Angie seems to think so. I just thought he was some whacko in the park. Who had a sword, and a gun, and was just pervy. He went after Rose first. I told Angie I used my ability on him. It was all I knew how to do. She told me to not be a hero if I see him again. I hope I don't."

"…I hit him in the face." Niki lets that sink in a moment while she navigates traffic. "With all this talk, I'm kinda hoping he doesn't remember." She looks sidelong at Benjamin and changes the subject, a small grin finding its way to her mouth. "Are you and Angie…?"

Benjamin blinks and looks over at Niki in surprise, "You hit him? Wow.. He.. really didn't /seem/ scary. Just, really creepy, stalker-ish and someone you don't want to invite around or be within twenty feet of. Even if he didn't have a sword or a gun, he would have been freaky still." He turns his head to look forward through the windshield. "I'm glad I was able to put him to sleep so we could run. Huh? Are we what.. OH! Uhm, you could say we are."

"It was awhile ago," Niki explains during a turn. "I didn't know who he was." Which begs the question 'so why did you hit him in the face', but never mind. There's that grin again when Benjamin confirms that he and Angie are… well, something. "Huh. You make an interesting couple."

"Then.. why did you hit him in the face if you didn't know who he was?" Benjamin's sort of boggling. Okay, Sylar's a creepy sort if you don't know who he is, but that doesn't really warrant a hit to the face. He blushes a little, "Interesting's a good word.. I pretty much figured my life was over after the divorce. Angie kinda caught me by surprise." Rose too!

"It seemed like the thing to do at the time. He was trying to hurt someone. Actually, it was Peter Petrelli." Niki's quiet for a moment before she comments on Benjamin's new girl again. "Angie seems… …she was nice to me, when she wasn't paralyzing me." Wary though she may be of the woman, Niki doesn't sound like she holds a grudge. It was what needed to happen. Greenwich is inching ever closer, but it'll still take awhile yet to make it all the way.

"Oh. Well in that case. I hope you hit him hard." Benjamin says, actually condoning some violence there. "She… drugged me once.. then tagged me. Not exactly love at first sight or a great start to a relationship. She said she was under orders." And so were the Nazis, but he doesn't bring that up.

High Rise Apartment Building, Greenwich Village, New York

As it turns out, 'Skaargard, A.' is probably not anyone but Anders - and surprise, surprise, it's the only name as such listed beside the intercom system in the entrance of the High Rise Apartments. As they make their way to the marked number - after pressing the buzzer and getting no answer - there's a definite wariness about Niki's mannerisms that wasn't fully there before she stepped foot in the apartment building. "This is it."

Benjamin just never thought to check the intercom. Why should he? He never initiated conversation with Anders. He follows after Niki to the man's apartment. "Maybe he's at work? Or on assignment? They send people on assignments right? I can go get the super to let you in, if you like?"

Where's D.L. when you need him? His method of opening locked doors would be so much less telltale than Niki's. "Do you think the super would just let us in?" she asks sceptically, looking the door up and down. She sighs, considering; finally, she tugs the sleeve of her shirt down over her hand and clutches the doorknob. "I need to stop making a habit of this," she murmurs, a half-whisper under her breath, mostly to herself, as she looks up and down the hall. Then? She gives the knob a firm twist and tries to open it. It opens as if it was never locked in the first place - just a bit more loudly, with some splintering action as the lock is forced and the chain lock tears off. She winces.

"Probably? Like I said, I've been a tenant for some time and he likes my mo… you just totally lost Anders his security deposit." Benjamin stares aghast as Niki just lets herself into the apartment. In her own way. "Wow. I guess I keep forgetting how strong you really are."

"The Troll Cave", High Rise Apartments

Anders is one of those people who never really unpacks when he moves in, which renders his apartment a mess of boxes and stacks.

This said, it is a fine apartment, with a nice long hallway that opens into an open plan living area. In the living area, Anders keeps his day to day things, a plush leather sofa, High Def Television, computer desc with a decent tower on it, weights and home-gym, mini fridge full of beer, the usual things you'd expect a bachelor pad to have, really.

Off to the corner, behind a particularly large tower of the aforementioned boxes (these marked "comics") is the kitchen. A long marbled breakfast bar (also full of boxes), oven (barely used), microwave (heavily used), coffee machine (industrial) and the other trappings of a kitchen are present, as can be expected.

Four doors branch off of this area, leading to the bedroom, the bathroom, a closet with a "NO ENTRY" sign affixed and a "guest room", the less said about the last the better.

There's nothing to indicate Anders has been here for a few days, but that doesn't say much. It probably always looks like that. Ew.

"Yeah, I'm just getting used to it myself," Niki says distractedly, and not without some bitterness. Also? She has a feeling Anders won't be needing his security deposit back. She's sure to shut the door behind them before she heads down the hall and starts roaming the apartment. Her fingers drift over a newspaper on the breakfast bar. Dated March 23rd. "I'm not even sure what I'm looking for."

Benjamin wrinkles his nose as he peeks into the apartment before entering behind Niki. "I have no idea either. Uhm, he either hasn't been here in awhile, or this place always looks like this, or both. Do you need me for anything? Otherwise, I'm just gonna go down to my place and wait on Rose.."

Niki is in the process of going through the numbers on Anders' home phone when Benjamin speaks up. She's not finding anything of interest, given her expression. "No… no, sorry. I shouldn't have dragged you into this," she says, looking up and giving the man a small smile. "Go home to Rose."

Benjamin shakes his head, "It's okay. I was kind of curious myself. I'll just be downstairs if you need anything, or find anything." If there's anything amiss about Niki's reasoning for breaking and entering, Ben's clueless about it. Or hiding suspicions well. It's just incredibly likely that he honestly hasn't any reason to think anything's amiss. "Later Niki," he says before backing out and heading home.

It's not suspicious! Okay, it's totally suspicious, but Niki's intentions are in the right place. She was hoping to find some semblance of a hint that Anders had been around, to hint that she— Jessica— hadn't killed him. Anything. His death doesn't practically affect her at all, and sure, he was a jerk, but he was a person who is probably dead. "Come on, damnit…" She roves from room to room. Nothing but comic books and expiring food. …And illegal guns. And possibly illegal drugs.

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