2008-02-17: No Saviours, No Prisoners


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif

Summary: Home isn't what it used to be, but it hasn't been for a long time.

Date It Happened: February 17th, 2008

February 17th, 2008

Queens, New York City

It's afternoon by the time Niki makes it to Queens — just about the time Micah should be off of school, if everything is still going as normal. God, what if it's not? She has no idea about the finer details of her family anymore, but that, she's determined, is about to change.

And so, with a hard-set look of determination on her face, she marches down the familiar street. A heavy, long black coat fends off the winter cold; combined with the gloves, pants, and high stiletto-heeled vinyl boots she wears, plus the extra tight ponytail her long blonde hair is pulled into, Niki is a more intense figure than usual when she tries to door to Monica's house. Her house. To which she no longer has a key. She rattles the outer door lightly in its frame.

Later… D.L. Hawkins is returning to the scene of the crime. Still a little weirded out by what happened on this street not too long ago… he's looking down as he makes his way towards Monica's House. His hands are shoved in the pockets of his pants and his black hoodie is zipped up, the hood of which is covering his bald head. Pausing in his steps as he looks up towards the house, he's managed to spot a familiar looking back-of-the-head. The last time this happened, things were very weird. So he keeps his distance, standing at the curb of the street. "… Niki?" is called out softly, almost as if he's trying to make sure he's saying the right name. His eyes are narrowed in confusion and the look of them shows that he hasn't slept in, at least, days.

Poor D.L.

Niki is just starting to step to the side to try to catch a glimpse through the window, and about one second from pressing the doorbell. It seems wrong, unsettling, to ring the bell to her own house,. It would be a weird relief if someone would open it for her, welcome her inside before she has to. But that doesn't have to. She freezes with her hand hovering in front of the doorbell, hearing a voice she doesn't expect. It's unmistakably D.L., but instead of whirling around, she turns very slowly, as if unsurely. Although there's something different about Niki — the more hardened edges to her features, for one — it's the right blonde, this time. "…D.L…" she says with a good deal of 'what are you doing out of jail' present but unannounced.

There's a relief that comes through his features as staring, long and hard, seems to get him the right blonde this time. Especially, well, after dealing with the wrong one earlier. Factors are all brought to light in favor of this being his Niki… the most primary of them being that she recognized her name. "Baby?" is still whispered softly, as if he can't believe this is really his wife. He finds himself pulling his hands out of his pockets and is about to take steps over towards her, so that he can wrap her up in a hug and smother her with love. But then he catches the tone of her saying of his name and stutter steps to remain in the same spot. "I know a guy." Explanation? Given.

Niki just stares for awhile, still trying to process the fact that D.L. is here, standing on the sidewalk a few feet away — trying to fathom what his being here means. "I thought you weren't going to take any deals," she says at last. Not exactly a warm welcome home.

Niki just stares for awhile, still trying to process the fact that D.L. is here, standing on the sidewalk a few feet away — trying to fathom what his being here means. "I thought you weren't going to take any deals," she says at last. Not exactly a warm welcome home.

D.L. steps back. He actually takes a step back. Something's wrong. Something's off. So he immediately goes into explaining thing. "I told you to move on and I meant it. I'm not here to do anything but see my son." That's right, D.L.'s not about to explain the terms of his release to some woman that's his wife but looks less like her than the other woman that looks exactly like her looks. If that even makes any sense.

"So am I," Niki replies. Yeah, she's been gone, too. She slowly eases out of her tense pose, letting a heeled boot fall onto the step, then the next, then the next until she's on the walk-up. "D…" A hint of worried, conflicted emotion shows in her blue eyes. More typical. Softer. Nevertheless, there's an edge about the woman now, a heaviness, like someone who's been through hell and back. But then, she has, hasn't she? "…A lot's… happened. I wasn't expecting…"

Daniel's on the defensive now. Not that he expected to get bowled over with a pounce or anything, but at least some sort of emotion. Not this delayed reaction that he's getting at this moment. Mostly, well, because he's just trying to see if he even belongs here any more. "Neither was I." D.L. doesn't even need her to finish whatever it was that she was saying. Especially, well, with her being so… not herself, but herself. It's very confusing. "I've been cleared, by the way. I'm an actual free man, now." He chooses his words carefully. Maybe he wants a thank you? Maybe a hug? Maybe just his wife? Who knows. But he doesn't move to meet her halfway. Not this time.

Niki is the one to approach, but she still seems … thrown. Even cautious. As she steps closer and closer, however, the more and more she looks like herself — a pang of emotion is evident on her face just before she walks straight into D.L. to wrap her arms around him. He deserves that. They both do.

D.L. is hugged. This is strange. Or… well. Awkward. If only because it's happening now and not earlier. He does bring his arms up a bit to hug her back, but his is a bit distant. Almost like he's not sure if he should be doing this. It's a very strange kind of hug. "You're different." he notices allowed, before pulling himself away. Just in case lingering is a bad thing for their future. "Gonna' tell me what's up or is that none of my business?" He's immediately doing the Guy thing and assuming Another Man.

A long marriage and this embrace isn't anything it should be. Niki holds tight, but her arms are stiff; she's distant, too, despite pressing so close. She steps back, letting her arms fall. "Like I said," she says, and if a person can be flippant and apologetic in the same instant, that instant belongs to Niki right now. "A lot's happened." She frowns, glancing at the house before settling on D.L. She's slow to elaborate. "I've been … away."

That causes D.L. to put some more space between them. Taking another step backwards. "Funny. I know the feeling." All he's done for this woman and she's playing these prolonged speech games. Prolonging things that he doesn't have time for. He's got a son to see. Not that Niki isn't entitled. "But, y'know, fair enough. You don't owe me any explanations." And with that, the subject matter is dropped in favor of, well, a worse topic. Crossing his arms, he shrugs a bit. "So. How do you want to handle custody?"

Niki flinches as if injured, glancing sharply away, her features growing stony. "I don't have time for this." She came to see Micah. That's what she's going to do. He might not even be home yet, but it doesn't matter — she's heading for the door to the house, only to stand there uselessly because she can't get into her own house without break and entering. Her head drops. She twirls around again, quiet at first before she says in a low voice: "What happened to us." It's pretty rhetorical, all things considered.

"Jessica." is the pretty easy answer. There's not much else to really say at this moment, considering the fact that she's, well, possibly being Jessica. Or at least a version of Niki that doesn't seem to like this D.L., not that he's a different version of himself like the rest of these people. Tracy, Niki, Jessica, The Other One. Jesus. "That's what happened to us." D.L. doesn't even move this whole time. He just watches as Niki seems to be more restless than anything. Arms crossed over his chest and everything. "Do you even still love me?" Wow. Left field.

Niki can't look at her husband. She looks away, instead — down the street, but she's far from taking in the sights of the neighbourhood. Practically without looking, she descends the steps again — onto that left field of D.L.'s — and, crosses her arms, tucking them in against the winter air, head turned away. "You know I always have." She faces him, and there's a change in her eyes, an imploring expression that wasn't there before; imploring of what is the question. Maybe she's not even sure. "That hasn't changed, D.L.," she insists, shaking her head as she talks, her long ponytail swaying slightly behind her. "I'm just wondering how many reunions we can through."

"Then maybe we need to stop." Whatever could D.L. be talking about? There could be reunions, being a family, anything like that and then some. But it could actually just mean that he's tired of not having his family. He leaves it vague as intentionally as possible, just to see if Niki will even sweat about this possible option. From the looks of this new version of her, he seriously doubts it. "I'm tired, Niki." comes his explanation of his words. "I used to have a family. I don't know what I have anymore…"

Does he even know that they're on the same page? How can they be thinking so closely and standing so far apart? "You have a son." That's what he has. Where Niki fits in now, she doesn't know, but Micah always has and always will be the most important factor. The woman takes a step ahead, but doesn't get very far. "I am … a lifetime of tired, D.L., but I have to do what's best for Micah." Blue eyes penetrate D.L.'s. "So we have to figure out what that is." Whatever that means. She waits a beat before her voice quiets, lowers — but doesn't quite soften around the edges. "I missed you. For what felt like … a long while."

D.L.'s starting to soften his own defenses at this point. Mostly because it seems to him that Niki is trying to be civil about this whole thing. He doesn't even really hesitate in his response, as he's been thinking about this the entire time he's been sitting in Sing-Sing. Well, when he wasn't fighting for his life, that is. Against the guards or inmates or both. "Micah needs his mother." is definitely said, with conviction and everything. Even his body turns towards her, in an effort to open up his arms. They uncross slowly and he moves, finally, taking the step to see if she'll let him hold her in that protective way he always does. "… I need her too."

Niki doesn't move at all, not at first. She's a mainstay of strength only since these the last few days, but despite being solid as a pillar in her husband's arms, she's not unyielding. She's still herself, still sensitive underneath it all. "You have to give me space," she says slowly, keeping her voice even although it's more of a challenge than it was a moment ago, when he wasn't close again. She slowly leans in, even with her arms tightly crossed as they are. "I'm not that girl anymore. I don't need to be saved." Niki's head tilts up, seeking out D.L.'s eyes again. "I need you to help me keep Micah safe."

"… Alright." D.L.'s not sure how to take that she doesn't need him anymore. Especially when he came out of jail to be that exact thing that she's saying she doesn't need anymore. He even has to close his eyes as he pulls his arms from around the woman that used to be his Bonnie. His wife. Now she's like some sort of La Femme Niki-ta or something. He sighs and opens his eyes again, looking past Niki and towards the house. "As long as I've got my wife and my son, I don't need anything else." It's a lie, but it's a romantic one. Maybe.

Niki has been living so many lies lately, it's almost rattling to face up to something so real. Or was real. What's 'real' anymore, anyway. Unfolding her arms in tight quarters, gloved hands hold onto D.L.'s arms. "I have to know that you're not going to disappear again." To jail, to fake death, to Vegas. The blonde's voice is fraught with insistence. "Micah hasn't had either of us lately and— it's all or nothing, D.L. I have to know that you're in this. For Micah."

"I went to jail for you, Niki. That was the last time." Maybe he's saying it so she knows that he's not about to be doing this over and over. Especially, well, with the fact that she doesn't need him anymore. He's literally about to fall into the role he was afraid to fall into for so many years. He doesn't know for sure, but considering that she's all badass now. "I'm never leaving again. Unless you're not yourself…" And Jessica is not mentioned. But that's what's written all over his face at the moment.

They should get out of the cold. It's domestic theatre day again here on the street. But Niki stays exactly where she is. "You're not looking at anyone but me. But everything she was…" Jessica. "…it's a part of me. I can't help that." And she's making no apologies for it. She's stronger for it, in ways… if more damaged in others. Thinking on it, remembering, Niki's face gets that slightly hardened edge, eyes flashing darkly — not unlike the personality on D.L.'s mind. "I remember everything, D.L. Everything she done. The way she thought. The people she killed. There's no such thing as a fracture anymore."

"I just need to know that she's a part of us, not against us, now. I love you. Including the bad things that get on my nerves. But because they're, she's, a part of you. But I need to know that my son is going to be safe with you." Thus, D.L.'s explanation for even bringing up the other side. But if what this new Niki is saying is true, then, he doesn't really have anything to worry about. In fact, Micah is probably safer in her hands than his own. "Come on." D.L. moves to take a step closer to the door, before extending a hand to offer it to his wife. "Let's get inside."

"I can't … have this happy family," Niki says — it's all she wants, at the end of the day, and saying outloud that she can't have it sends little lines of pain along her features, etching into her forehead, bringing her mouth into a frown. All the same, she takes the hand, curling her black-gloved hand over D.L.'s, tighter and tighter. "I can't. Not yet. I want it," she insists sincerely, "But there are things going on, D.L., big and dangerous things that…" Niki steps closer to the house as well, closer to him. "…I can help with. It's something I have to do."

D.L. should've known something like this would happen. Everything gets laid out and planned out and he's preparing to suck it up and not be the man of the house and then… she drops a bomb on him. Curious as he wants to be, he's just not sure it'll even do any good to even talk about it. Especially, well, considering that it seems to be something that… oh well. "Right." And that's when the phasing of the black ungloved hand comes through the black gloved hand and D.L. ends up pulling himself away from what's supposed to be his wife. "Well." His words are slow and deliberately so, as both hands go back into his pockets and he turns his back on her to head towards the house. "At least you know where we live." And already he's stepping closer to the door. "I'll tell Micah you stopped by." Burn.

"…" Niki is caught in a incredulous stare. Her hand is still outstretched where it had wrapped around D.L.'s a moment ago. Hold on a minute. She starts to shake her head with an uprising of denial, marching after him, reaching out for his arm at the elbow. "I came to see my son," she says matter-of-factly, a current of maternal rage rushing into her voice. "And I am not leaving until I do. I meant everything I said, D.L. You have to understand that everything is really complicated right now." Niki glances aside, lifting her brows and, in the heat of the moment, tosses her head and says flippantly, "But if you can't, then— "

"Complicated? You think our life isn't complicated enough?! Look. I'm not saying you can't see your son. Our son. All I'm saying is that if you're involved in whatever you're involved in with whoever you're involved in it with…" Which she obviously doesn't need help with, considering that she basically told D.L. that he's not going to be able to be her husband anymore, just play the role. "… just do what you have to do, Niki. We're not going anywhere. I just… I don't know what's going on and I'm not even going to ask because I doubt it's something good. Otherwise, you'd be smiling." D.L. misses her smile. "I don't want to have to explain to him why you came once and that's it."

Niki answers heatedly, "Our son needs to know that I'll be here for him." To her, D.L. is making it sound like that won't be the case. She's definitely not smiling. If only. "I am going to do everything I can to stop any of this from coming down on you or Micah." She shoots a look around D.L. at the door to the house. Somewhere inside, the dog is barking. Niki isn't planning on going anywhere yet. Not when she hasn't seen Micah.

"That's just it. It's not just about you, Niki. It's about us. A family." D.L. can't believe he sounds like an after school special, but he has to say these things. If only because nobody else is going to say them. And Micah's still not home yet. "We should be dealing with whatever it is, together. That was the mistake I made last time. I shouldn't have ever let you out of my sight…" Guiltiness for the Jessica fiascoes, maybe? A little. "But. Maybe this is part of the new you. So you can have your… whatever it is. We'll be right here waiting." Staind reference, ftw.

They're going to go around in circles all afternoon if this keeps up. Niki takes a moment to close her eyes, looking as tired as she feels; sighing and running a hand overtop her hair, she regards D.L. again. But it's not to square off, per se. "I know. And… I want you to be on my side." She moseys up the steps to lean back against the outside wall alongside the door. "Hey." She forces up a smile. It's precarious and strained, easily shattered, but the sentiment is real. She just can't manage to give D.L. that bright smile of hers right now. "I'm glad you're not in jail. I hated … thinking about you being in there."

"Wasn't exactly a picnic for me. I've got new scars." D.L.'s trying to remain as calm as can be. But there's something eating at him and he can't quite figure out what it is. Or why it's still bothering him. Something's off. "Listen, baby. I just want this to work this time. More than I've ever wanted anything else. I cannot survive without you or Micah. I've tried. It doesn't work." And there's his own forced smile, which almost immediately fades. "I just… if we're going inside, then I need to know things. Everything. The moment we start keeping secrets is the moment that this…" And he makes a motion towards Niki, himself, the house. "… starts going back down the wrong path."

While the thought of explaining everything gives Niki a momentary air of unease, she looks determined, above all else. "And you'll tell me how you're a free man." She glances at the door beside her, shifting from foot to foot. "I don't have a key." Step one in what's going to be a long story.

D.L. just smiles a little bit, reaching his hand onto the doorknob… then through the door itself and there's some quick putzing around before he pulls his hand back through and proceeds to open the door. He lets it swing open while keeping his eyes on Niki. "Nobody's home." Uh oh. "… Maybe we should catch up. Then talk." Oh god. See? D.L.'s starting to return to himself. Just took some time.

Niki passively watches the miraculous shimmer of the door as D.L.'s hand goes through it; it's when she steps through the threshold that she allows a brief (and still tense) smirk of amusement. "You've been in jail too long." Turning about-face when she's inside the slightly dim, empty house, she takes a moment to look around. It's good to be home. She starts to unbutton her coat. Unfortunately for D.L., that's not a cue. "I think you should hear this first."

"But baby. You just said it yourself. Jail? Too long?" There's some door closing after the D.L. as he's finally starting to warm up to this whole having his family back idea. Especially since things are going to be talked about. Apparently, right now. Not that it couldn't wait 20 minutes. … 30. "But! If this is important, then, I can wait." Smile. "… For a little while." Kidding, kidding!

Aside from a little raise of one brow, Niki … ignores that for the time being, shrugging out of her coat to reveal the white tanktop underneath, perhaps not the best idea, given the metal loops running up either side, windows into glimpses of skin. She also has a tan. Again, long story. Choosing the end of the couch, she settles into a typical storytelling pose, leaning ahead a little, gesturing with her hands.

"A couple months back — I started seeing Dr. Suresh for treatment. He thought he could help. And he did, sort of- there was this serum… but, in the end it was too risky, so he wanted to stop treatment 'cause it was making me … forget things." She glances up edgily. "I took someone else to see him. Someone with … the same problem as me. Only, these people busted in the lab 'n' grabbed us — I woke up, couldn't remember anything. You, Micah. My … life."

D.L. is too busy listening to really do anything much. He's listening very closely as he's getting ready to do something along the lines of sitting down, but sitting down is not a good enough thing to do at this moment. Not when he can tell this story isn't going to be headed in a positive direction. "What people?" Already, he's wanting to hunt down these people and break them into small Linderman pieces.

"I dunno. There was a doctor. Some lab. I guess they…" Niki shakes her head, brow tense. "Have some issue with people like us. People who can do … things." Like open locked doors without a key. "Before I know it I'm being whisked away to some company in Jersey. They…" She actually smiles. "They took care of me," she shrugs, but glances down, not wanting to look at D.L. while she has a brief moment of guilt in retrospect. "Gave me a job. Then I started working for Nathan. I had kind of a fresh start, you know."

"I dunno. There was a doctor. Some lab. I guess they…" Niki shakes her head, brow tense. "Have some issue with people like us. People who can do … things." Like open locked doors without a key. "Before I know it I'm being whisked away to some company in Jersey. They…" She actually smiles. "They took care of me," she shrugs, but glances down, not wanting to look at D.L. while she has a brief moment of guilt in retrospect. "Gave me a job. Then I started working for Nathan. I had kind of a fresh start, you know."

Whoa. Jersey. Lab. Company. Huh. D.L.'s eyes actually go a little wide at that. Could have something to do with the fact that, well, he was just in Jersey. Doing something. A favor. For someone. Weird. But the most important thing about all of everything that Niki said? "… You're working for Petrelli?" Yes, he does the old last name thing. Maybe it has something to do with some inner and hidden feelings towards the Senator but… whatever. "Doing what?"

Niki nods for an instant in confirmation as she carries on, "The Senator. I'm … I was his bodyguard, I guess you could say." Among other things. She skips that part. "Except … it turns out … he's not always Nathan." She stresses that point, and although she's pretty sure D.L. will get her drift, given all they've been through, she watches him closely to make sure. "He's— dangerous. And … powerful. I mean, God, he's the Senator of New York. So… when I could remember again— after I got healed…" Story hour is not over yet.

D.L. is rolling his eyes. Again, somebody else with the issue that he just had to deal with forever. And now this is becoming more and more complicated. Still, though, he's either forgotten to sit down or just chosen not to sit down. Whatever the case may be, D.L. is not sure he can keep up with this story. And so much honesty. Plus, he hasn't really heard anything dangerous yet. "Y'know. I need a bodyguard too. I'm almost a celebrity…" What with all the jail time and murders and everything. He's like a ghetto O.J.

Niki watches D.L., not seeming particularly entertained by his so-called celebrity status. They've both been in the papers too much for horrible things, few of which were D.L.'s fault at all. She pauses a moment before getting to the meat of the story. Scratch that— she pauses twice, once to open her mouth to continue without doing so, and again to get the words out. When she does, there's a dangerous resolve to them. "I'm pretending to be Jessica. … For Nathan. Logan. He thinks I'm on his side. I'm going to help to take him down — from the inside. I am going to help Nathan."

"I can help." And that's when D.L. slams his fist into his open palm. "I can knock 'em both out. Problem solved." And then there's probably something about going to jail for punching a Senator. But whatever. He's willing to risk it again. Plus? This time he's got help. He's got a guy with horn rimmed glasses on the favor roll. Because he damn sure doesn't have a payroll.

"Don't, D.L. Just don't." Niki pushes up from the couch, starting to stalk through the living room toward the kitchen. Why, who knows. She's not looking for a snack. Her back is to D.L. as her heeled boots take her away. "You didn't want me to keep secrets, you're going to have to let me do this my way. There is too much at stake for you to just bust in there."

"No D.L. Smash? Not even a little one?" D.L. may be making a little bit light of this information, but this is because he's trying to remain calm. He doesn't want this whole thing going on where he has to sit by the cell phone waiting to get secret messages passed and stuff. This is not boding well for the future of the family that they want to put back together. "What could possibly be at stake? So, some Senator has some MPD issues? Big deal. How dangerous can he possibly be?" Shrug.

How to put this. Niki turns around, her expression in all-out opposition to D.L.'s lassez-faire attitude to the point where it's almost angry. "Imagine, for a second, if it were Jessica. In a position like that? With that much power? I don't know what he's planning, but it is not good. He's already tried to kill his family." Sound familiar? "He has connections to the place that took me in and they are not as nice as they seem 'cause the guy who hired me? D, it was Linderman." She gives a scoffing laugh, because both people in the room know that can't be true. But she saw what she saw.

D.L.'s hand immediately goes into the fist of Linderman Killing and he looks at it. His own bare hands. He knows he did it. He felt it. It was squishy. Narrowing his eyes, he looks up from his fist and towards Niki. Noting her anger or whatever it is, he grows serious with her. "Forget all these games. Just take him out." There's nothing wrong with this plan to him.

Never should've told him. It's written all over her face. "So what, was that your plan for me all along, D.L.?" Niki counters incredulously, even with a hint of accusation the louder her voice gets, gesturing violently with her hand. "Just take me out when I got to be too much trouble?" This blonde is more outspoken than she used to be, more forceful. "It's not that simple."

"It is when you don't love the person." D.L.'s words come fast and… wait a second. And before he can even figure out what to do next, he's already letting the jealous husband syndrome fill his head. And within moments, he's just nodding and offering a small smirk to himself, as he figures he has this all figured out. "No. You're right." Quick change there. "Go. Play nice. Let your powers combine with whatever… or whoever… you gotta' do to get whatever it is you gotta' get done. I'll take care of things here." He /did/ tell her to move on.

… dfghjk. "You think you have this all figured out!" Niki's voice elevates even more and she points at D.L., her hand falling swiftly to her side where it stays tense, clutching air. "I'm in this thing because he is like me — I know how it works, I have the chance to help him, help the people he's hurt— " She holds up her hand, not to be confused with surrender. She's just stopping herself from going further. "Fine." She stalks past D.L. toward the bedrooms. "I'm going to go wait for Micah."

D.L. doesn't do anything. He just listens and watches as Niki goes on her stalking rampage of doom towards the bedroom. Sighing to himself, he just shakes his head. "Yeah." is the only response he has, since there's no since in arguing with the wife that's feeling more connected to someone that's apparently going to destroy the world or something more than she's even feeling connected to his ex-husbandy self. In a way, it's over. But not. "I'll get dinner started." And he's off. To the kitchen. To be a good little… whatever he is now.

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