2007-09-15: Juggling Acts


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Summary: When he doesn't hear back from Niki after a phone call that went very bad, Peter goes to her home to try and find out if anyone has heard from her. He meets Monica, asks her to believe in many impossible things before breakfast. And she learns how to juggle. And he does too.

Date It Happened: September 15th, 2007

Juggling Acts

Monica's House

After a few attempts to call a number back, worry continues to crease Peter's forehead. It's morning, a whole night has passed since the fateful phone call. So much going on, and this too… The decision to visit a residence in Queens made itself— because he has to know. They'd be the first to hear anything, after all. Dressed in a dark jacket, dark shirt, and jeans, he knocks on the door, checking his watch. He'd have visited earlier— but this isn't a question he wants to ask her son— it's getting into the later hours of morning now. From the looks of things, he skipped shaving this morning, bringing out some dark stubble on his chin and cheeks. Hair also falls haphazardly about his forehead.

Monica had a late night, working a shift at the Madison. She's been enoying a late morning in her jammies, and upon hearing the knock, rises and pads to the door. First thing? Look through the key hole. Second? Open the door, but with the chain lock still in place. The young woman opens the door. She is likely not what Peter is expecting. "Can I help you?" she inquires politely.

In his mind, it would have almost been better if a blonde woman had answered the door. At least then Peter'd know she's all right. "Yes— I hope so. I'm… looking for Niki Sanders. I've… visited her here once and we're friends." More or less. "I've been trying to contact her and she hasn't answered her phone the last week and when she finally did… I'm just… worried about her. Do you know if she's in New York right now?"

"She's my cousin." That's safe information, right? Monica adds helpfully, "She's not here right now, though. I can take a message for her for when she comes back if you like." She's still not opening the door to this stranger. Niki sometimes owes people money, and that never ends well.

There's a wince. Peter pulls out his phone and checks it again, making sure that there's been no calls— even if he knows otherwise anyway. "I was trying to tell her something important and… I think she might have been in an accident. That's why I didn't come earlier in the day. I didn't want to worry her son." But at least she's older and can possibly cope with news that her cousin may have been in an accident. "You're related to D.L., aren't you?" It's obviously the case, but he figure he'd ask anyway.

Monica's brow arches up, and she can't help but smirk a little. "Gosh, how can ya tell?" Her accent is still light, but detectably Southern. "You one of his boys?" By boys of course, she means his old gang. But then her expression turns concerned. "What makes you think she was in an accident?" Then, "Hang on." She closes the door and there's the sound of a chain lock being released. Opening it again, she invites him inside. "Come on, now. You want coffee? I'm Monica." Well, if he tries something funny, she can…hit him with a cast iron skillet or something.

"No— I've only met him a few times in passing, once at the bookstore," Peter explains, folding his phone back up and putting it away. In some ways he wishes he'd been recording the call, just for proof, but— he doesn't tend to record his conversations. Even with insane alteregos. "The one that Niki worked at before— I took over her job when she left. That's— part of how we met." Part. Leaving out exploding and her falling out of building and— her being "involved" with his brother. Yeah. All that stuff. "I'm Peter. Peter Petrelli," he adds, once he's got the invite in, stepping inside. "Coffee's fine, thanks." There's a long pause. "I was on the phone with her. I had an important message and… I think— it sounded like she got into a car accident. I've tried to call a few times since it disconnected, and it hasn't gotten through."

"Monica Dawson." she returns. "Yeah, I'm D.L.'s cousin…" she trails off. "There haven't been any calls. She'd list me as next of kin, I've got Micah here with me. He's at a friend's house right now." She frowns. "I haven't heard anything - is she - is she in trouble?" Her tone intimates the sort of trouble that involved well…what vague sort of trouble she knew D.L. and Niki would get into.

There's a nod. The lack of calls is at least a good sign, but… Peter runs a hand through his hair. If he's pretending, he's acting quite the part of being concerned. There's obvious stress and worry on his face. "I shouldn't have told her then— I should have waited til she got back." He'll easily take the blame for her injury, even if… "It'd sounded like she was in some kind of car chase— so it could be she was in trouble, but I don't know why or— I just needed to tell her something. I've been trying to contact her all week since I got back." There's a pause. "You're his cousin, so… I guess you should know as well. D.L. isn't dead. I have this on pretty good authority." Like the tall black man himself, two years from now.

Monica's fretting had started to remind Monica of those old Russian ladies that cluck like pigeons in the park at each other, at least until he comes to that part. She stares at him disbelieving, but then takes a breath. Her life is just getting stranger and stranger. "Okay," she says, "You know enough to convince me you know Niki and D.L. But explain to me how he's alive."

"I— I was out of town for a month, a little longer, actually," Peter explains, looking down towards the floor for a moment. If he knew how much she knew, he'd probably blab everything and not try to be cryptic, but she could be a normal person for all he knows. "I ran into him while I was gone— As soon as I got back I tried to contact Niki, but I couldn't get ahold of her. I've only been back a little over a week and a half. I don't know how he's alive— I'm not even sure how he died— but I know what I saw."

Oh, Peter honey. Monica don't play that. "And what exactly did you see?" Her tone suggests that she's not going to be put off if he starts to hem-haw about it.

There's a pause. Apparently the young Mr. Petrelli is hesitating quite a bit. "I saw him," he explains at first. "How much do you know about your cousin? About the things he's involved with— the things that he can… do?" It could be as simple as breaking into cars, or… breaking into cars without any tooks.

"You mean that he used to be a thief?" Monica asks with patience. "I know he made some bad choices." Monica's not as aware as Peter may assume she is, but her acceptance of certain ideas might not be so far fetched. And not because of Nikki, but because of Micah. "Him and Niki both. She's been sick, but she's getting better. And Micah's doing real well. Look," she folds her arms. "If I could have my mama back I'd give anything…so you'd best not fool around with me, Mr. Petrelli."

"I…" Peter pauses, then nods. To be honest, he had no idea D.L. used to be a thief, but it explains a lot. His ability would certainly make the job easier. But… "I wouldn't lie about this, Miss Dawson," he says, deciding to be more polite since she is as well. Even if he's older. "I know about Niki's health problems, because I've been trying to help her as much as I can. It isn't much in the end— but I have been trying to help her. I'm a friend, and she helped me in the past. I would never tell someone this as a joke, or if I wasn't completely sure it was true. I spoke to D.L. even. Just a few weeks ago."

Monica remembers when she was a little girl, and her mother would read books to her at night. It was Alice in Wonderland - or maybe Through The Looking Glass, where it was suggested to the heroine that she try believing six impossible things before breakfast.

Fortunately, Monica hasn't had breakfast yet.

"If you can't reach Niki, have you tried reaching D.L.?" she asks carefully, obviously willing to consider a reality framework where her cousin's alive.

"I don't have any idea how to reach him," Peter says, shaking his head a little. "When we met up a few weeks ago…" Two years from now… "I didn't exactly have time to ask him for his phone number. And I doubt if he has one he'd leave it listed and you'd still believe he was dead." There's a pause, he paces around a bit, looking at the walls, some of the things on them, pictures and the like. There's a lot more impossible things she could be asked to believe, but the one right now is about her cousin. And his state of not being dead.

Monica frowns. "Niki's in trouble, my cousin may be alive, and I've got work and possibly school and definitely Micah to take care of. Niki ain't answering her phone, and D.L., presumably, isn't available if he's not actually dead. So what do you suggest I do?"

What can she do? Peter has to wonder why people keep asking him, like he has any idea what he's doing half the time… He's totally winging it, jumping into things face first and not worrying about the consquences to himself, but worrying. Finding a clear spot along the wall, he leans against it and looks back towards her. "I guess all I can really ask you to do is to call me if you hear from either of them. I know it's a lot to ask— you don't even know me— but— " That's as far as he gets. All of a sudden the wall has a weird effect, like it turned to liquid or something, and while he's leaning as he is, he ends up falling right through it. Stumble, stumble. And suddenly he's in a bedroom, on the floor. Staring at the ceiling. Okay. Apparently he was talking about her cousin a little too much.

Monica blinks. What just happened there? There's more blinking, and then she runs into Micah's room, where Peter found himself. There's a bunk bed with kid science posters up, a computer that's been thoroughly gutted on the desk, and Leggos on the floor which Peter had best not step on if he ever wants to be on good terms with the boy technopath for the rest of his natural life. At whatever condition Peter finds himself, Monica stands in the doorway and gapes. "The hayl?" she says, eyes wide in amazement and accent suddenly making a strong appearance.

By the time the bedroom gets another intruder, Peter's sitting up, flinching, and looking at the wall. He's not really wounded, more than his pride, but he's once again earned his tribal name of Falls Thru Walls. And there she is. From her reaction, he's guessing she didn't know about her cousin. There's a visible wince. "I— fell through the wall." Obviously. Most everyone he'd ever had to explain this too at least knew they'd be capable of something strange and unusual, but… "I didn't mean to, it just… happened. I don't— have very good control over that." That and about twenty others he has very little control over.

"Yeah, no kidding you fell through the wall!" exclaims Monica. She's unable to help herself - she walks up to Peter and pokes him in the arm with her finger. "Hunh." she says, looking surprised. How did you do that?" Her gaze goes, if absently, to Micah's gutted computer. Now there's another uncanny thing…

Arm is still solid. Finger doesn't pass through, but Peter does look at his arm as if he half expects it to. "It's— I can do things that… some people can't. That's one of them." There's a lot to explain there, but he starts to push himself to his feet. "Like something out of a comic book, or a scifi movie." Is this another impossible thing to believe? Yes it is… "That's actually part of how I found out your cousin was alive… why no one else would really know yet. Because I can do things that… other people can't." Except for people like her family. Like his. Like many of his friends.

Monica regards him with a frown. "You mean like what Micah can do with machines. He's so good with them, it just isn't normal." She gestures to the gutted computer.

"Could be, yeah," Peter says, glancing towards the computer. "I have another friend who's very good with technology— like— builds robots kind of good." It's not quite the same, but… for all he knows it might be. Genius is common, but there's a line between genius and super powers, and at least one person he knows has crossed that.

There's a pause, before he gestures to the legos on the floor, or at least some of them, and they lift up, like something one would see on Star Trek, and then set back down. "That one I'm better at." It's one of the easiest ones for him to display, actually. "I can do a few things." Which isn't to say he's showing off, but since he inadvertantly showed her already, he might as well show her that he's not all about falling through walls. Good thing he didn't crash land trying to jump off of something this time.

Monica watches for a few moments and then, "Can I show you something?" Without waiting for an answer, she turns and heads back into the living room. Assuming he follows her, she picks up the tv remote and offers it to him. "Find something." she says. "A cooking show, a sports show, anything where somebody's doing something that can reasonably done in this room, no matter how hard it looks."

Yes, Peter follows after her, carefully stepping around the Legos and moving back towards the living room, only to be handed a remote. His eyebrows raise, but he turns the tv on, and starts to flip through channels. TV shows, talk shows, news, cartoons… and then he comes upon one of those morning talk shows where they have a local show off something. The local of the day? A juggler. Juggling those little pins. "That good enough?" he asks, looking away from the television to her.

Monica eyes the television for a few moments, and then without a word, heads back into Micah's bedroom. She roots around for a few minutes in his closet, and when she comes back she's holding four small versions of bowling pins, obviously from a game Micah has stored away. And without any ado, Monica starts juggling the pins. When the man lifts his leg and juggles under it? So does Monica. When he starts pirouetting in place as he tosses pins? So does Monica. Perfectly.

There's a shocked expression on his face as she leaves the room, comes back with bowling pins, and starts to juggle. He glances from her, to the television, noticing just how perfectly she's doing it, how well timed it is, the way he moves even. It's rather amazing. And what does she do when a second guy joins in and they start passing the bowling pins back and forth between each other?

Perhaps not entirely seriously, Monica launches one of the pins at Peter, matching to the pattern seen on screen. The pins she's holding are rather light, and really if he gets thumped it won't be so hard. She's not expecting him to catch it. Or if he catches one, well - not the other. Or the third. Or the fourth.

Even if they were heavy pins, Peter'd still be okay. Wouldn't be the first time heavy objects had been lobbed at his head— but he reaches up and catches it, the same way that the man on the screen does, and juggles them in his own hands for a few moments, before throwing them back. This could continue for a while— but luckily there's a commercial break coming up.

Monica is just gaping now. "Okay," she says, after indeed, a commercial break causes them to cease their efforts. "I don't even know how I did that, but you can walk through walls and make things fly through the air and you can do what I do, too!" She blinks. "Niki and D.L.?"

Luckily they caught the pins before the commercial break cut things off, so they're not left lobbing them at each other. Peter doesn't want to know what happens if it got cut off mid-act. Huh. Well… "I'm not sure what you were doing either— mimicing what you saw?" Like what he does with abilities, except she does them with actual skills… He pauses, looking at the television with a frown, before he decides to turn it off. If they turn onto a martial arts movie or something, they might start beating each other up. And that wouldn't be good. "I— do what you do— just with special abilities. Like if you could set things on fire— I might be able to as well." There's a pause when she asks about her cousin and his wife. Hesitation. That might be confirmation enough if someone's smart.

Monica says, "I don't want to set things on fire!" is her automatic reaction, followed by Oh my god." Monica iz smart. Hurr hurr. "All three of them. Niki and D.L. and Micah." She puts a hand to her head, and peers at him sidelong. "What do they do?""

There's a long pause. "I'm not sure what Micah does— I've never really met him, just seen him from a distance while talking to Niki, but…" Probably computer related, by the looks of things. Peter shifts a little under her gaze. She doesn't even have to watch a show about interrogation to get things out of him, honestly. "It's really not mine to tell you…" Hence the hesitation, but a moment later he gives in. "Your cousin can walk through walls. And Niki's… really strong. Like tear doors open strong."

Okay, D.L, that's in the scope of her belief, but, "Niki?" Brows go up, and she shakes her head. "Listen," she says after a moment. "The only thing I can think of is if something's happened to Niki, and she can't get ahold of us, it may be that someone's got to go to her. Problem is, it ain't like I can just call my Nana and ask her to come up here while I zoom off to Vegas." As that's where Niki went, or so Monica believes.

"Yeah— I know it sounds— but she can take care of herself. Remember when I said she helped me one time? She stopped somebody from beating me up," Peter says, explaining half why he owes her. But there's… more to it than that. There always is. Go to Las Vegas. That makes him frown, and look toward the turned off television. There's a hint of weariness. As if he wants to offer something but… "I'd go instead, but I really can't. I have too much to do here— too many people that are counting on me." He already ditched them for a month to go into the future, and he can't count on teleportation or time travel to make the trip faster. "It hasn't even been a whole day since the phone call. Maybe if neither of us have heard anything after… forty-eight hours— we can try to do something. Maybe I can… find someone to look after Micah so you can… find out what happened." If the news is really bad, she might have to fly out there anyway.

Monica frowns. "I don't have the money to bring my Nana and my little brother here, and he'd have to come to, much less the money to get to Vegas and back. Forty-eight hours sounds fair. I mean, you came here all upset and worried about her, so suddenly going to the 'can take care of herself' route don't make much sense. So I guess I'll hear from you in two days if you haven't heard anything?"

"I was hoping she was still in town," Peter admits, flinching. That'd been his first question, after all. "If she was in the city I could have helped her more easily— but if she's in Vegas…" It's not a matter of money with him, it's a matter of an evil Company who might try to kidnap a young girl he's promised to protect, his brother, his niece, Sylar… He reaches into his pocket to pull out a blank card. It has his name, phone number and even address on it. He sets it down. "Yes, please— if you hear anything, call me. If we haven't heard anything soon… then I'll see what I can do to get you to Vegas— and not have to worry about Micah." Even if he has to buy her a plane ticket, and ask Heidi to babysit a kid— he'll do it. But there's really too much that he can't just drop. "Good luck with the juggling— and I'm sorry to worry you." But at least he brought good news with the bad. And strange news times five.

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