2007-09-14: Life After Death


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif

Summary: Immediately after Run Through: a happy ending?

Date It Happened: September 14th, 2007

Life After Death (AKA Black Phoenix Saga Part One: Rising)

Las Vegas, Nevada

The tires of the Ford POS squeal as the Suits flee the scene of what is obviously a crime. With the way that crowd has fled and become scarce, there is hardly a chance of anyone memorizing their license plate. But that's not the important thing. The important thing is that there's a man lifting himself up from the side of the convertible. On arm is down, whilst the other dark hand is brought up to touch the woman's face. The fingers linger there for a moment, before sliding down to her shoulder, in which there is a firm grip placed.

"Hang on, Niki…"

The voice could be familiar. Though, even if the voice can't be placed, there's the fact that this man is pulling Niki out of the car. Which constitutes pulling the trident out of her body first, right?

Not if he's pulling her -through- the trident.

Niki is looking for blood. It trickles down her forehead, smears an arm from little cuts and scrapes from the collision, insignificant, but those are insignificant, far from fatal. The black lacy fabric of her shirt makes it difficult to see around the spike of the trident; she looks down, trying to see, bringing a hand up to touch it. Her fingers come away red - but there should be so much more blood. There should be more searing pain, there should be nothingness/, she should be dead. Instead, there's a strange sensation in her body. Strangely //familiar. Like that voice…

"…wh…" She tries to move and finds that she's being moved away.

Nothing seems real. The blonde's eyes fight to focus on the man in the car with her. "D.L.?" Niki's voice is subdued and thick — almost sleepy, as if she's just waking up.

"Shhhhh. Nik."

As the man gets Niki out of the car, by pulling her through the door with him, he works on getting her up into his arms, where he can hold her protectively. and his hood ends up dropping down to bounce against his back, the chocolate features revealed in all of the glory that is Daniel Lawerence Hawkins. He doesn't smile or anything like that, letting the phase power stabilize into a more solid form, so that the reliving of his wedding night can happen, what with the carrying her like that and all. "Let's get you outta' here, baby."

When completely unbelievable things happen, when someone practically returns from the dead to save you from dying yourself — you're supposed to have some kind of extreme reaction, aren't you? Stare like you've seen a ghost? Scream? Embrace? Maybe that's only in the movies. Niki's sure of what she's seeing now, but she can't even get a word out. She grabs onto D.L., clutching the front of his shirt, wrapping an arm around him to hold on as she's carried with a deceptively weak grip. Her breath hitches and she starts to cry pent-up tears. Floodgates: unlocked. Niki's hold gets progressively tighter as she leans her head down onto his shoulder — his real, solid shoulder.

By this time, there are distant sirens drawing nearer. And the crowd that dispersed has started to gather around once more. Since there are things afoot in the car and a giant trident sticking out of it. Definitely something that the Neptune Cafe patrons are wanting to get a better glimpse of. Should be a real madhouse on the street, here in a second.

As far as D.L. goes, he's graciously decided to continue on with the carrying of his wife, through the few people that are straggling back and off towards the wall of some establishment that will allow him a chance to let his woman calm down.

The place that he takes her into, is deserted. Probably some restaurant that hasn't opened up yet. Or has either closed. Regardless, there's tables and chairs and good stuff like that, but nothing too complicated to worry about really. Even D.L. doesn't have anything to say, since he's kind of refusing to put his wife down. It's been too long since he's held her in his arms…

Niki holds on like she'll never let go. There. There's a movie moment for you, and with being carried as if across a threshold, at that. She hardly sees where they are. She hardly comprehended the trek from the wrecked car to the empty restaurant — her eyes are shut tight and blurry with tears, regardless. "D," is all she manages to get out, at first, in-between shuddering breaths. She pulls her head back to look at him, searching his face with her reddened eyes. In a cracked whisper, she asks, "How…?"

"Somebody up there likes me, I guess." is the response from D.L., while he tries to put on a reassuring smile. Just to, y'know, let Niki know that he's not a mirage or anything like that. Hell, the grip he has on her is pretty much just as tight as the one she's got on him. He's not even going to try and explain the craziness as to how he managed to survive. At least not now. "Are /you/ okay?" Immediately, he's looking her over, in an attempt to make sure he phased her out in time. He can't have her dying in his arms. That would be… not good.

It's a challenge for Niki to look away, but she does, looking down unsurely at herself. She turns her hand over, the one that was clutching the front of D.L.'s shirt — she's mangled the fabric, left it dark with blood. Slowly, she nods. She's fine. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and maybe a concussion, but fine. "Because of you," she says - in part, it sounds like she's only just now realizing that herself. If he hadn't been there… alive— "All this time… you've… been here?" Niki looks dizzy. Even though she's safe in his arms, her world is spinning. "When those men came to the house, I thought…" She shakes her head, her tangling hair swaying back and forth, back and forth.

Because of him? Well, maybe just a little. But that's what happens when you love someone. You save their lives. You don't blow them up and leave them for dead while you make off with millions of dollars. Ahem. "What men came to the house?" The look on his face is one that is mostly confused, but could be misconstrued as something else. Who really knows when it comes to the Sanders-Hawkins family, since there's always so many different secrets floating around in their lives.

"From— the police or FBI or something," Niki assumes. "They were snooping around. They had pictures— they thought— I guess they thought I was hiding you…" Talking clearly, in legible sentences, is a challenge. There's a tremulous, almost manic quality to her voice that she can't shake. Being in a car crash and then being saved by your dead husband tends to have an effect on a girl. There are a lot of unanswered questions, but right now, they're all overshadowed by D.L. just being here. "I can't believe it. Baby, you're alive," she says in a gasp and throws her arms around his neck.

D.L.'s expression is hard to read at the moment. His eyes are worried, but distant. Somewhere in there, though, is a bout of happiness, because he's alive and his wife is too and there's just too much going on to really understand what could be going through his mind right now. He can't even keep up with it, to be honest. "Yeah. I'm alive." is the obvious response, though. He just won't tell her why he's still alive. That might not go over too well.

Over D.L.'s shoulder, Niki starts to take stock of where they are; slowly, it all starts to sink in but that doesn't mean everything starts to make sense. Far from it. "That car…" She tries to hop down to put her own two feet on the floor — not to pull away, because she stays close. "How'd you know where…?" He was right there after she crashed. She seeks out the man's hard-to-read eyes, her own, paler eyes holding a conflicted expression of a different kind. Hers is searching, confused, and a touch wary. "Were you… following me…?"

Not that she was heavy or anything, but D.L. doesn't mind letting his woman down. He'd been holding her for a moment or two and is already wary of the line of questioning that's coming towards him. "I was working." Which is one way to put things. But then again, there's not much else to really call what he was doing. He can't really say whether or not he was following her. That would be against protocol. And so, there's some unzipping of the hoodie that he's wearing to reveal a Neptune Cafe uniform shirt.%

… What? Niki looks at the shirt, but very little comprehension shows on her tear-streaked face. Instead, there's a new wave of confusion to layer on the old one. "Working," she repeats without conviction. She finds herself taking a shuffling half-step backwards in her boots. Her voice wavers and becomes, suddenly, unsure. "…Is it really you?"

"Niki. Of course it's me." There's some reaching and digging into his shirt to come out with the chain that's been hanging around his neck. Hanging on the chain is the wedding band from long ago. Still bloodstained. Maybe he knew he was going to have to prove it someday. Just… not so soon. "I've been working at the Cafe. Tryin' to get enough money, and courage, saved up to come home." He lowers his head, slightly ashamed at this quiet admission. "I hadn't quite figured out how to say: 'Hi Honey. I'm Not Dead.' yet. But it looks like you saved me a trip…"

"I was at your funeral," Niki's voice still wavers, but it has more fervour the more she starts to realize the full weight of this revelation. Her eyes lock on the wedding band with instant recognition. All the same, there's a hint of doubt. She's been tricked before. What if…? "I spoke. In front of your whole family. I was at your grave yesterday!" She comes close to laughing at how strange and unbelievable it all is. "You… helped rob a casino, D.L. If the police knew you were alive…"

D.L. slides towards the Niki, reaching out to wrap her in his arms. "Baby, shhh. Relax. That's all been taken care of." He's not going to go into details, because that would admit to some selling of the souls and what not, but hey, he can't really not keep her in the dark. Or something. This whole web of lies is pretty damn confusing. "I'm sorry. About… bein' dead." He shrugs a little helplessly. "But you have to understand I was tryin' to do what was best for you and Micah…"

"You're sorry." Incredulous, Niki repeats D.L. again. There's so much she doesn't know. "You can't just do this," she says, her breath half taken away by emotion, as she's wrapped up in his familiar arms. She leans on him, contrary to her words. She's barely holding it together. D.L. is going to have a crying wife on his hands again in a few moments, by all appearances. "All this time…" Now she's repeating herself. "You could've come home."

There's a reason why D.L. has been laying low. And this is it. He has no idea how he's supposed to make up for not being dead when he's supposed to be. It seems so wrong, somehow, to try and apologize for still living. Which it seems like his wife is wanting him to do. "I couldn't. I… you said it yourself. People came askin' about me. You would've been put in danger. I couldn't let that happen." His words are honest. "I was gonna' come home. I was just waitin' for the right time."

And this isn't the right time, but it's what life threw at them anyway. Which begs the question: what the hell are they going to do now? The thought crosses Niki's mind, but falls apart. She blinks back tears, forcing herself into some semblance of composure — but the second she starts to smile at D.L., another tear falls. She seizes his shoulders, as if testing them for solidness and reality. It's an imperfect test which he seems to pass, because Niki is kissing him fervently in a matter of seconds.

(Hopefully, this really is D.L., not a twisted illusion and Niki isn't actually locking lips with the likes of Candice.)

Not that he isn't about to be happy about this whole thing, but there's still a lot to deal with. Since, well, he's not dead. Being dead is probably not a good sign. But being alive isn't going to do much each either. But there is love in the air. And people being reunited. And this probably could lead to something more. Which means that maybe there is room-needing. D.L. has to actually force himself to peel his lips from Niki's, if only for a short moment. "I've got a room…" Yeah. It's really D.L.

Face-to-face, Niki holds the sides of D.L.'s head, along his jaw, as if in amazement at being able to touch the familiar face she never thought she'd see again in person. A room, huh. She smiles like she's going to laugh, for a few seconds, in the little respite. "…I missed you so much," she says in an earnest, broken whisper before reaching to take his hand for the first time in months and presses her lips to D.L.'s. D.L.'s. Surreal.

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