2007-07-15: Misplaced Trust

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: Benji and Niki run into each other. Again!

Date It Happened: July 15th, 2007

Log Title Misplaced Trust


NYC - Subway

Amazing how a shower, sleeping in your own bed, and fresh clothes can make a difference. These are things that Benjamin has done. Which isn't to say that he still doesn't feel like crap.. but now it's a human crap. Wait.. nevermind. Now he's on his way back to Hartsdale. Thankfully, sans partner right now. Preparing for future similar incidents, he has a packed overnight bag in hand. (He hopes to never get socked in the face again! But you never know.) Bag, check, dry erase board, check. He heads towards the subway, to make it to his meet point for further transportation.

A familiar face in the crowd. It's a battered, bruised face, and she almost misses it, disregards it as a stranger. Coincidence being what it is - or isn't? - Niki realizes that it is Benjamin over there by the subway entrance where, here in lower Manhattan, she just so happens to be. How, in a city of so many, she keeps finding Benjamin, she'll never know. Philosophical ponderings are nowhere near her mind and probably rarely will be, though, as she starts to jog through the crowd toward the subway, a blonde in a long, fitted white tanktop, black jeans and silver foldover boots. "Benjamin!" she calls out. Overhead, it looks like it might rain.

Benjamin keeps walking, ignoring inevitable stares.. because face it.. If someone's walking around, standing out with nasty looking injuries. They're gonna get stared at. It's part of human nature. With the crowd teeming around the station, it could be easy to ignore Niki when he hears her.. but to be honest? He wants a friendly face. Not that there aren't friendly people at the Company, but, well, they're /Company/.. of which he is now a part. So he slows his steps then turns around to look then walk towards Niki. The dry erase board is pulled out and written on: Hi Niki! :)

When Niki manages to make her way through the crowd to appear in front of Benjamin and his dry erase board, she instantly has a soft expression for the poor guy. Sympathy? Check. She's smiling, but it's the kind of smile you give a heartbreakingly cute little animal who has broken its paw. "Hi! … I wasn't expecting to run into you so soon. …again. Are you sure you should be out walking around?"

Benjamin doesn't smile back. Sorry, hurts, can't really anyway. His bag is set on the ground so that he can 'converse' a little easier. Board erased, he writes: I'm OK. Not too drugged. Gotta go 2 work.

Droplets of rain start to fall from the sky, scattered.

Empathy still in high gear, Niki narrows her eyes as she looks over Benjamin's face; it's half a wince, half a casual investigation of the bruises he's acquired. After a glance at the board, she glances up at the grey clouds. "Come on, I'm headed for the subway, too. I dunno if we're taking the same train, your work's by Central Park, right?"

Benjamin gives pause at that. Crap. He briefly forgot she knows where his office is. Must fix this. Fortunately, he can hide behind bruises, and not stammer cause he can't talk. On the board, he writes, "Consulting upstate, so going north." But he wants to walk with Niki all the same.. and prays to whatever God's listening that he doesn't get her ambushed too.

Playing the role of the clueless blonde today is Niki Sanders, because let's face it: Benjamin is the most unassuming gentlemen on the face of the planet. She can't pick up anything out of the ordinary in his voice - he's a bad liar, but it doesn't exactly translate to scrawling on a board. "Gotcha. I'm just going home." Which is… south? She starts to head down into the subway station regardless, because the rain is starting to really fall. "Did I tell you Cass's boyfriend got me a dog?"

Benjamin picks up his bag and walks alongside Niki. When she mentions Lachlan, although, not by name, his steps falter some. On the board he writes, 'Oh? You two made up then?' Because let's face it.. Lachlan still wants to maim him further. Even more so if he ever gets wind of Megan.

On the squeaky-squeaky sound of the marker on the board, Niki looks over her shoulder to read Benjamin's response and waits a second for him to catch up, hovering off to the side of the stairs to be out of the way, before wandering down into the station proper. "Something like that," she says as she goes with a hint of a laugh under her breath. "I tried to explain, you know? To him and Cass. I wasn't expecting that they'd actually forgive me."

'That's good! :)' Benjamin writes after waiting to hear Niki speak. After he shows that message, he erases and jots down another, 'Glad to hear it. I know /you/ wouldn't hurt someone without reason.' Once that's shown, he writes again, 'Bet Micah likes the dog ?'

"It's more work than he thought," Niki answers with a knowing little grin. The subway station is typically crowded, so she moves away from the hustle and bustle. It would be easy for someone to bump into the injured guy writing on a dry erase board - in fact, she leads him off to the left by the arm gently when a crowd of Japanese tourists come bowling down the stairs. "The puppy is with Lachlan learning how to be good now."

Benjamin can't help it. He tries to laugh, but it comes out as a pained grunt. Busy erasing his board, he doesn't notice the incoming crowd until Niki's pulling him gently aside. 'Tks' he writes, then the next message, 'Is he doing okay? And Cass?'

Niki just shrugs. "As far as I know." She doesn't really know, but they seemed happy. Glancing over at the trains, the arrivals and departures, she tucks a strand of slightly dampened hair behind one ear. "They're going to…" she trails off, hesitant, and changes the subject - so it would seem. "What you do, your ability…" She steps closer, looking at Benjamin with a more serious air, keeping her voice down. "Making people sleep. You're getting better." It's a statement of fact, but it's questioning. The last time on the subway. People falling like sleepy flies.

'Good. That's good. Going to what? Marry?' Yes, that's the first place Benjamin's mind goes when Niki trails off like that. The abrupt change in topic gives him reason to pause, then again, Niki's good like that. Changing topics. 'Been practicing a little,' he writes. It's true, but not the whole truth.

The first written words from Benjamin give Niki pause and she can't help but smile a little, almost laughing but not quite. She's back on track in no time, though. And what a track it is. "It's really…" She searches for a word. She finds one, but it's not exactly what she was looking for. Her hesitance over using it is pretty damn obvious when she says: "Nice. …" Frowning, she looks around nervously before her blue eyes settle on the bruised ex-accountant. "You don't have to hurt anyone, you know?" Unlike her goes unspoken, but it's implied. How can it not be? Niki is certainly going somewhere with this, but—" Maybe we shouldn't talk about this here…"

Benjamin gives Niki a questioning expression, and he just drops that line of thought. No need to press. Either way, he's glad things with Lachlan and Cass just work. It's weird to him, but it's their thing. 'Maybe not,' he writes as to talking about this here. There's a suppressed and inward flinch however at the subject of hurting people, 'I haven't hurt anyone,' he lies.

A crowded subway station. There are probably hundreds of people coming and going, when you get right down to it, and none of them probably care what the blonde woman and the poor guy with the marker are doing or saying. But it's the sheer amount of people that urges on Niki's mild paranoia, the paranoia she developed a several months back that never quite left. You never shake the feeling of being on the run, not really. She ran into a girl from the Company once on the subway. Who knows who could be watching now? "I know," Niki replies. Commending. Appreciative. "When does your train leave?"

If only Ben could read minds and know what Niki's thinking. There's a fat lump of guilt rising, one that he tries to swallow. Thankfully, he just comes across as looking like he's in pain. Which he is. Getting hit in the face was useful for something! 'In a bit. I got here early,' he writes.

"Okay," Niki flashes a smile at Benjamin. She finds a bench in a glance around the station and heads that way, encouraging him along with a smile so that she can tell him whatever it is she has on her mind. Make friends with your guilt, bucko. Unknowingly, Niki's about to lay it on thick. She takes her phone out of her purse as she sits down, a sleek, red, but otherwise plain cell. "You never who's listening, right?" She works her fingers over the phone's numberpad, texting Benjamin's phone even though he's right there. Safety first?

I have a frnd who can read minds
he's going to try help me w/ Jessica
Or whever

Alright, that makes the man flinch. Benjamin nods just a little in confirmation. He follows Niki to the bench and sets his bag down. Which is lucky. His phone vibrates and he pulls it out of his pocket to see the message. A troubled expression shows in his eyes as he responds with..

Dont tell me more.
Not safe.
Hope u get help

Niki's expression becomes a mirror of Benjamin (…so to speak; they're not exactly long lost twins, but she looks awfully troubled all of a sudden, too). "Benjamin…" she voices quietly. "I was gonna ask… for your help, too. I don't trust a lotta people. I can't. But you… I trust you. I thought— with what you can do…" The blonde's brow furrows, the fine lines of concern marring her pretty face. "Are you alright?" She glances down at her phone and sends:

Are u being followed? Do u need help?

Benjamin is a bad Agent. He should be fishing for information. But he's on his own time right now. To Hell with it. He pockets his phone then writes on the board, 'Got 2 go. Don't want to be late. Bye.' Bad avoidance tactics, ftw. Grabbing his bag and tucking the board under his arm, he takes off at a brisk pace for the northbound trains.

Niki is left alone on the bench with an unsettled feeling. Slowly, she flips her phone shut as she watches Benjamin disappear, opening it halfway and closing it again several times after that, an uneasy habit. After he's out of sight, her train arrives. She stands up, but she leaves the station in a hurry.

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