2007-11-06: No Happy Ending


DL_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: This is the hardest story, that I've ever told; no hope, or love, or glory. Happy endings gone forever more.

Niki visits D.L. at the police station after he turned himself in for a crime he didn't commit in order to protect his family.

Date It Happened: November 6th, 2007

No Happy Ending

Police Station - Holding Cells and Interrogation


Being behind bars is not something that someone should actually have to deal with on a regular basis. However, for the likes of Daniel Lawerence Hawkins, this seems to be something of a constant situation. Thus, as he's led from his cell, through the corridors and shoved into the visiting room by rude guards of evil intent, he doesn't even seem to be phased in the least. He's cuffed and everything, though they unlock them when he gets into the room, as he's going to need his hands free to deal with the classic phone-wall combination that he's so accustomed to using.

Before she ever comes into view, there's her voice, desperate and pleading — asking questions, about where her husband is going, what's going to happen to him, how bad is it? Niki, just around the corner with a police officer, is directed to the chair in front of the partition just as D.L. takes his seat. The second she sees him, she rushes to sit down and grab the phone, her other palm splaying desperately against the glass. She's the very picture of urgency, her face wracked with constant worry, panic on seeing him there. In jeans and a black blouse, she doesn't even have a coat. "D.L., baby, what did you do?" Her voice is cracked, pitched. "I came as soon as I saw the report on TV, you… you don't have to do this!"

"Niki." D.L. just says this, trying to use his tone to calm her down. He has the phone up to his ear and is just peering through the glass. He doesn't use his strange ability, just planting his hand against the glass where hers is. "Everything's gonna' be okay." These are words that must be said, even though both of them know that they won't be. He has this very strange, apologetic, but proud look in his eyes. "Where's Micah?" is being asked next, since that's the second most important thing that needs to be talked about at this very moment.

Few though they are, the man's voice has some sort of quieting effect. Calming, not so much, but Niki takes a ragged breath and clenches her teeth shut, staring expressively through the glass. "With Monica," she answers. "What'm I supposed to tell him when he asks why his daddy's in jail again?" Truth or lie, either way, one of his parents is a murderer.

"Tell him his father did the crime and now he's doing the time." D.L. is more worried about the image of Niki than his own. He's already been through the jail thing with Micah. He'll probably never get out of jail on this one, so it's a much easier thing to deal with from behind the glass. Of course, there's just too much pain going through the mind of D.L. for him to even be thinking straight. As long as Niki doesn't come off as being the bad girl in this situation, that's all that matters. "He's going to need you to help him through this, baby."

He's really made up his mind. This is what it's going to be now. Niki blinks back tears, puts on a resolute face, but even though she tries to stay strong… Micah's not her to see her. It's just her, D.L., and the officers lingering near the doors. Wet streaks track down cheeks that are too pale these days. She nods silently and just leans her head against the glass.

D.L. leans his head against the glass also, phasing his forehead through it so that the skin can reach skin and there can be a moment. A quiet moment that doesn't really have anything to do with anything but the transferring of thoughts from D.L.'s head to Niki's. Not that either of them have that ability, but the sentiment alone should be enough that Niki understands what has to become of their family if there's to actually even be a family any more.

Niki closes her eyes. This is all so vividly, painfully familiar — the prison-like walls that close in all around them, the wall that tries to separate them, the impersonal phone pressed against their ears. But everything's been twisted and turned on its head. "It should be me," she whispers into the receiver, looking up at D.L. beneath her furrowed brow without moving another inch.

D.L. doesn't feel the need to move either. He doesn't even shake his head. "Micah needs his mother." is the defending statement that comes from the black man, that's all too familiar with the walls that are closing in on him. Of course, he doesn't even really have to stay in here. Not if he doesn't want to. However, there's nothing that can actually get him of the hook. He brought the freaking body with him, for crying out loud. No jury won't convict him with that evidence and a confession.

"You could just walk out of here," Niki says quickly, quietly, lest the guards start wondering what they're talking about. Not that it matters. To their worldview, it's impossible for D.L. to leave. But that is the reality. She knows it's not the physical walls that are keeping him there. She pulls away from the partition, finally, but keeps her hand against it, her face close, blue eyes reddened and imploring.

"Not this time, Niki." Whether this is some kind of strange ploy to get her to grow up, so to speak or something else… it's kind of hard to tell. Maybe he's trying to teach her a lesson. This time, Jessica has gotten them into something that only Niki can get them out of. His eyes are almost pleading with her, just to make sure she knows how hard this is for him. He could leave. Right now. And they couldn't stop him. But he's sacrificing his freedom to give Niki hers… from Jessica.

Niki breaks eye contact for one split second, her emotional gaze falling to the worn-down ledge in front of her, underneath the scuffed transparent wall. She tosses her head a little when she looks back up, moving her hair from side to side. There's a great deal of depth in those blue eyes of hers, strength. Perseverance… and understanding. She knows, all too well, how hard it is. "I'll give Micah a hug for you."

"I love you, Nicole." And that's the end of it. Because there are guards walking up behind him at this moment and he knows what that means. Time's up. So he's already reaching to put the phone back on the pseudo-hook, while his free hand peels those dark fingers away from the glass. Hard? Doesn't even begin to cover it.

"I love you, too." A flash of panic breaks through when the guards start to move. Niki stays frozen exactly how she is, pale fingers pressed against the glass even after D.L.'s are gone, the phone clutched tightly even when all she hears is dead air and the officer guarding her side of the room is saying "Time's up, Ms. Sanders."

Nothing more to say… or able to be said, D.L. is pulled up to his feet, cuffed and led back towards the exit on his side. The whole time, he tries to look over his shoulder and at his wife. He can't even help himself, unable to stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks as he's shoved through the door and it closes for the last time. Finality.

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