2008-04-24: No Winners

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Niki and Logan throw down.

Date It Happened: April 24th, 2008

No Winners


259 West Broadway

New York City

Previously on Heroes...

"That's why you have to hang onto… you. Everything that matters." Niki spares a glance down at the drink she was given and seems distracted for a second or two until she just sets it aside on the counter instead of drinking it. "I know you've probably heard that a million times by now. I want to say we had some kind of master plan to make you better, but we just have a lot of maybes and… I'm not even 'supposed' to be here right now," she says, letting an ounce of bitterness sneak into her voice. "But I thought…" The blonde shakes her head, cutting herself off with a dismissive smile.

"I've heard it less than you think." His head tilts a little, as if to make eye contact. "People don't thrive in cages, Jessica. But it was a nice try." That's really the only cue she'll get, Jessica, because there's no signal. Muscles tense under the mask of bulky clothing and fabric, upper body winding up in anticipation in the last few seconds before Logan is bringing his arm around in an arc, the squarish whiskey bottle heading into a determined trajectory towards the blonde woman's temple.

* * *

The shift in Nathan's voice sparks Niki's nerves like lightning.

It's too quick, too close, to get out of the way — she's spry, but she's not that spry. The woman's arm shoots up, a bent elbow in front of her face, quick and inelegant — anything to stop that heavy bottle from cracking her in the head. She lashes at it, swinging out that protective arm with the force of what seems like a train.

Hard to know where the bottle breaks. Whether from the impact of Niki's arm or if it shatters at it hits the wall. Perhaps both. Either way, glass pieces shower the ground, spattered with whiskey amongst the glittering shards, the smell of it instantaneous and heady.

Logan didn't have a plan, not really, so it's hard to feel too bad when what little of it there was goes awry. There's a solid sound as the whiskey glass he was holding tumbles to the ground in the same moment feet are sliding against alcohol slicked kitchen tile, ignoring the stab of broken glass, ignoring even the constant ache in his knee. Can't fly, he can feel it like one might feel a missing limb, so it's for the door he goes, a hand flicking a tall metal kitchen stool in his wake which falls to the ground a noisy clatter.

All hints of the reflective and sympathetic are gone as Niki is propelled to this new state of tension. Well— almost. There's still a glimmer of worry behind her eyes, even in the face of would-be danger. Logan shouldn't be a threat — not against her strength — but she knows that he's smart, even with his lack of a plan.

Alcohol-slicked glass crunches underfoot, rattles chaotically around her boots. Niki's on the move as soon as Logan is, long strides rushing after him. "It's not gonna be that EASY, Logan!" She's in good shape. She's stronger. She's younger. And both of her knees are just fine. It's just that metal stool that gets in her way and threatens to trip her up. With her only thoughts being that she absolutely can't let Logan get away, Niki just straight-out launches herself at him, grabbing for whatever the hell she can grab for to bring him down.

Of course, it can't be that easy. The door is several feet away and the distance may as well yawn a space of several miles instead for all the good it will do, although unlike Nathan's self-conscious limp towards the kitchen, there's barely a hitch in the way Logan moves, as if the pain were some other thing he can deal with later.

Which doesn't negate the fact it's damaged, and when Niki's hands grip onto his arm, a handful of fabric at his back, it's the first thing to crumble. A sharp grunt of pain manages to get out around the time Logan's palms hit the ground, hands thrown out to stop himself from completely falling. Getting into a brawl with someone with superstrength was— an unfortunate necessity, and he throws himself into it, elbow arcing back towards her face. No one-liners, no hurled verbal abuse. Something like panic is making his heart hammer, making him thrash in the way a cornered animal might.

Niki lands hard on her stomach on the floor, but with Logan as a handhold, holding tight as she can without ripping the fabric and tearing him free, she wastes no time in trying to squirm and crawl her way up him like a crazed animal. But there's no such crazed look in her eye, just the sum of adrenaline and determination.

The stool on the floor is subject to abuse as Niki kicks her feet in a scramble, brown leather of spike-heeled boots clanging against the metal rungs. Meanwhile, the elbow strikes her in the face and she lets out a cry, her head thrashed to the side — she lets go of her grip of his clothes, but her hand clamps tighter around his arm in a vice grip. Neither of them are going anywhere any time soon.

Another groan as her hand makes bruises on his arm, an experimental jerk, but it says. There's a moment of stillness, a split second Logan letting out a breath of laughter, before his other arm reaches up towards the looming kitchen counters, grips onto the handle of a drawer, and yanks.

Like rain, utensils come clattering down over them, forks and spoons and— knives. His hand scrambles to seek out something sharp, to bring it around, to hurt and punish even if it means hurt and punishment right back. The window of freedom is closing rapidly, and there's only so much a man with clipped wings can do.

Even as the shower of utensils rains down dangerously, Niki leeches on with her up close and personal attack. She's trying to shove him down, pin him against the kitchen floor, but by that time he's already got something sharp in his hand thanks to the shiny treasure drawer. Niki experiences just how unnerving it is to see a knife coming at you and, worse, to purposefully not move out of its way.

Amidst all their thrashing about, Logan's punishment knifes into her upper arm, eliciting a sharp shriek of white hot pain. She feels her grip loosening on him and scrambles into action before it's too late; screaming in some mixture of rage and blinding pain, she climbs to her feet, hauls on the man's arm, swings toward the living room furniture and lets go. It's like bowling!

Strike! Logan is very much a ragdoll in relation to Niki's brand of power, hitting the coffee table and both it and himself going down in a painful tangle of limbs of wood and flesh, a soft groan summing up the cacophony of the crash. Incidentally, he still has his knife, fist white around it, although he's not making a run for the door any time soon, a hand shifting to shove the tipped over coffee table away from him, extracting himself from the mess, bad leg dragging. "You're right," he grunts. "It's not going to be easy."

Niki curls over and clutches at her arm, stumbling out of a wide off-kilter stance to follow the path of damage. She straightens, mostly — walks normally, mostly. She's out of breath and those that do come are slightly jagged, due in no small part to her arm having been gored, rather than exertion. "You're not gonna win this," Niki says, her voice distorted by pain and conviction, eyeing Logan more darkly the closer she gets. As she approaches, she plucks the tall kitchen stool from the floor with her good arm, red-stained fingers curling around the seat's edge. Workin' it ringmaster to lion style, the metal legs pointed out to Logan. "Any of it. I'm not letting you leave, and everything you built? It's going to fall apart. Just face up."

Adrenaline depleted, it's harder work getting up, but he does. Unlike Niki, he's surprisingly unharmed, save for general aches and bruises and of course older injury - no blood blossoming to the surface, unlike the ruby red flow Niki gets to reckon with, the same stuff smeared on the knife held loosely, now, in Logan's hand. He turns it over a few times, watching her with all the wariness in the world. "There's a special place in hell for traitors," he tells her, limping back from her and the stool she's wielding to protect herself. "Maybe we'll be neighbours."

Experimentally, almost, he tugs his sleeve back and flips the knife around, sits the sharp edge of it against his own wrist, in an angle for a person who knows the best way to slice. "You sure you want me to face up? Niki? Accept that I'll become just another bad dream when Nathan wakes up?" Despite the action, the threat, his voice comes out calmly, eyes sharp.

Niki glowers at Logan's first words and fights to keep her expression unaffected even though the barbs go deeper than she'd like them to. She was so good at playing impassive when she was posing as her alter ego, now she's more than a little distracted. She eyes the knife, swallows. "You wouldn't." She doesn't sound too sure. The blonde steps forward suddenly, pressing the legs of the stool against Logan's chest — harmless, but firm. She could easily slide the metal through him like butter, like the knife at his wrist, but she won't, and they probably all know that.

Logan's jaw clenches when the metal legs jut against his chest, although he doesn't back away. "Why not?" he asks her, eyes forward the whole while. No room for smiles, even whimsical ones, mocking, crazed. His expression is frozen into seriousness, loathing, and every other nuance that a trapped man on death row might have. However, he's not sinking the blade into skin and vein, when this would be the chance to do so. There's a lot of things Logan is not, and suicidal doesn't fit his particular MO. Still, the blade is firm, likely creating a shallow line beneath it at least. "I should, if you're so confident. If Jessica isn't even in there." Fear? Does he have room for it? Maybe. His gaze is searching.

Niki eyes that blade warily, shoving the points of the stool just a little more urgently against Logan. "You never met Jessica," she spits. "She's part of me, just like you're part of Nathan." Blue eyes slide up from the dangerous position of the knife to meet the man's gaze. There's a certain hardness in her stare, a strength that could easily be swayed to something colder, steelier. "Is this really what you'd do?" she questions with skepticism and curiousity both, every word edged with caution. "End everything when you realize you can't win?"

The shove sends him stepping back, a hitched step that connects his hip against the edge of the nearby couch, and he continues back and back, knife still in place. "I don't want to be a part," Logan argues, voice rawer. "He'll ruin everything we ever worked for." But her final question— steely gaze breaks, slightly, flickering down towards the knife at his wrist. Strange to know now, that his father never did kill himself. A weakness that he and Nathan both had run away from like it was some kind of genetic imprint, and it's not even there. The sharp edge lifts up, showing a pink line in skin dotted here and there with smears of blood, but a glorified papercut in the grand scheme of things. With a sneer, the weapon is dropped between them, arms hanging at his sides. "This is ending everything."

For a spell, Niki doesn't move at all, although the increasing throb in her arm reminds her that her blood is sure moving. She studies Logan and ultimately looks … unsure, as if not convinced of his words for whatever reason. "Is it?" She lowers the stool an inch or two. It's no less a presence than it was before. She shifts from foot to foot, minuscule shards of glass crunching underneath her boots. "I know you wanted to make a better life— well, a more powerful one, anyway. I actually get it," she tells him. Sincerely. Though her voice is wrought with disdain, it's not hate. She leaves a strange space for sympathy and understanding. "I think about Jessica and I remember. That … need to control everything 'til it lays out just how you want to win." Niki takes a turn for the dismal. "Surprise, Logan. You can't win at life. Do you get that now?"

"We could have had it," Logan says, although the argument's drained from his voice. "That night, I remember it better than Nathan ever could. When he threw everything away and flew Peter into the sky. And I remember what it was like after, the pain and the misery and for what? For changing the future?"

Starting to crack a little, now he smiles, a hand up in a gesture of annoyance, voice becoming shakier. Maybe not even talking to Niki, but then again, he hasn't laid this out for anyone else. "The future's proven twice over that it will always be miserable, and Peter is a walking testament to that. Nathan sacrificed us to save the world and it didn't change anything, except that now I have to pick up the pieces to get back a semblance of what we could have had. We should be on our way to the White House by now."

He runs out of steam. Whether because he knows it's not Jessica he's appealing to, really, or because she won't just let him walk away either. "I've been here for a lot longer than any of you know," Logan finally mutters. "But yeah, sure. I get it."

"What Nathan did… it did change things. Who knows how many lives he saved." Niki glances down for a second. "But I guess you don't care about that," she mutters under her breath. In contrast, when she looks back up, her features have softened slightly. Niki sets the stool down at last, stepping closer — in line with the door, incidentally, incase Logan changes tactics again. She presses a hand against the dark stain on her sweater, wincing as she talks. "The future's still miserable… no thanks to Pinehearst. But maybe it can change. We've— been trying. You can let Nathan pick up his own pieces. Maybe he won't become President, or maybe he'll surprise you, but I'd like to believe he still has a shot at … something." Niki starts to shake her head, halting halfway through to give the Senator's alter ego a sad smile. "Since you don't."

No making for the door, even as the stool is set down, Logan rolling his shoulders and glancing for the bedroom, as if trying to reckon with his current prison. "Yeah, well. I'd like to see Nathan try," he says, the words deceptively kind, deception scattered in the next moment when he adds, "It'd be funny."

Cheque, please. Logan let's his gaze drift from her, and Niki might not recognise it now that's an outsider, but it's a more obvious cue than Logan's transition had been. Nathan's eyes shut for a moment in psychological confusion as one consciousness usurps the other, hand drifting up and wondering his he aches more than he did just now— oh.

The bloodied patch on Niki's arm is glanced to, then her eyes, a swell of 'oh god what did I— ' and then back down again into resignation.

It's not long before Niki's watchful eyes have her figuring out that a switch has been made. She seems confident that it's not a trick, too, since she's going for Nathan's side a moment later. Not before swooping down to retrieve the kitchen knife, however. Just incase. "Do you remember…?" she asks on a hopeful note; it's not as if remembering what happened when one personality takes over ever leads to fond reflection, but…

"No," Nathan admits, a hand up to rub his forehead, then steers around to the back of his skull, still tender from where Heidi had hit him but throbbing tenfold now, which might have something to do with the— furniture rearrangement, the tipped over coffee table getting a look. "Last I remember was pouring myself a drink, and…" His gaze swivels over towards the nearby kitchen, spotting broken glass amongst the fallen cutlery. There you go. He lets out a shaky breath, looks back at the blonde, the knife in her hand, then down to her arm. It's the second part of that list that doesn't have him coming any closer. His voice comes out reasonably vacant. "You— should go see someone about that. I'll be okay, here."

"It's fine." Actually, she's a little dizzy, but never you mind. Niki just presses her fingers over her arm again — the stain, a dark, indiscernible colour thanks to the blue of her sweater, has spread far down her sleeve. "I think he's starting to see that he's not gonna come out of this on top." She studies Nathan and what she finds makes her give him a rather melancholy look, but she smiles as she tries to catch his gaze. "So… promise me you'll hang in there, Nathan, okay?"

"Hanging," Nathan confirms, with an attempt at a smile in return. Not an amazingly appropriate choice of words, considering the threat Logan had attempted, still visible in a thin line on his wrist he hasn't thought to notice yet. He opens his mouth to spout more optimism, thinks again, and adds, "I'll try harder, next time." Laughable, in Logan's book. Also a heavy handed hint designed to discourage thoughts of no more excursions.

"Okay. Deal." Niki smiles in turn, warmer, bigger, heartening; a feat, given that she's bleeding kind of profusely and looks exactly like she's been thrashing around on the floor in recent times. She starts for the bedroom, but grabs onto Nathan's arm for support, just for a few seconds — ironic, but there you have it. Her steps hitch, blood loss to be blamed more than the chaotic arrangement of furniture. She says nothing of her state. Instead, in a tone more conversational than the situation would imply, she asks Nathan, "Do you need anything?"

Despite himself and his reservations, Nathan hands go out to steady Niki. Christ. So much easier to retreat sometimes, just like Niki had said, but that would end disastrously, he's sure. "Let's just get me back in there and set up so you can— go get yourself looked after." And make his mistakes go away. Peter's magical healing touch. Shuffle, shuffle towards the bedroom, with Nathan's hitched gait and Niki's fading coordination. "Opportunistic son of a bitch," he says out loud, with a soft snort.

Niki flashes Nathan a fleeting smile of reluctant thanks for the support and makes it all the way to the bedroom without much incident. "Yeah," she says under her breath, bitter mostly because she understands Nathan's sentiment well. At the side of the bed, she wipes the knife off with tissues by the bed, cleaning both sides — a gesture she doesn't even realize she's doing until she looks down and gives her head a jarred little shake, dropping it in the bag she left behind. "Don't— tell Peter about the…" She glances down at her arm. "The knife thing." So much for Peter's magical healing touch.

Nathan is sitting down by the time Niki is cleaning off the knife with an expert's efficiency, picking up the loose handcuff and snapping it back around his wrist with a twist and click of metal. Barely thinks about it, making sure it doesn't close too tight but certainly not enough to escape. His gaze darts up to look at her in the next moment, brow furrowing. "The hell I won't," he says, simply. At least he does ask, "Why not?"

"Because he'll just get mad," Niki says, walking into the adjacent bathroom and disappearing, presumably to try to do something to her injury before heading out to get more legitimate help of some kind. It's an effort that, a few seconds in, involves a hiss of 'ow Jesus f— '. "I don't trust him to not — ow — take it out on you." She emerges, sleeves rolled up and a towel tied inexpertly around her upper arm, already smudged with red. It's… a quick fix. She heads for the closet. "And no one needs that right now."

Now that he's secured himself to the bed, there's nothing more for him to do than to get comfortable. Dragging his injured leg back up onto it, Nathan resumes the position he had been first found in, relief visible to be off his feet, especially with his newest accumulation of bruises. "That's not as important as you getting yourself healed," Nathan insists. "Besides, he… we've talked. Since then. Snuck in when you weren't around, and he didn't do anything, even with Logan mouthing off at him."

"Yeah, well." Niki opens the closet, the mirror on the door swinging out of sight. Inside the closet: a few items of clothing, some women's, some men's. She flips hurriedly through hers, but when they're not what she's looking for, she touches the sleeve of a black button-up shirt and hesitates. "That was before Logan attacked me with a kitchen knife." Suddenly decisive, she grabs the shirt from the hanger and slides it on — something to cover up with. It's far too loose, of course, given that it's men's — identical, in fact, to what Future Peter has been wearing. Niki grabs the door to the closet, about to close it, but thinks about the mirror facing Nathan and leaves it as is.

"I guess I have a little more faith in him than you do," Nathan argues, but in the next moment turns his hands in a gesture of it's your injury. Resting his head back against the uppermost bar, legs sprawled before him lazily. "It'd be nice to think that I don't have to leave scars on every person who's tried to help me."

"It's not… A matter of faith." Niki goes to take the bag from the floor. "This Peter— he's…" She shakes her head, distinctly ill at ease with the topic of conversation. She goes about setting a few plastic-domed trays of easy food on the bedside table along with a pile of energy bars from the bag. "He's not the same person you know. He'd heal me all the same, it's not… we're not…" Niki runs the hand of her unstabbed arm through her hair and just shakes he head, looking acutely tired. "I'll just see you later." she looks down at Nathan and smiles tightly through her tension, stepping around the bed for the door.

Nathan says nothing as to Peter, watching Niki with sudden, avid curiousity. Something occurring to him, and irrationally making him want to punch Peter's face right off his— face, some ingrained well of manliness that is so disconnected from reality that it flares into nothing a moment later, as not cool as it may be. The idea of his brother sleeping with a woman that— no, he has no right to feel anything at all.

Except maybe old. And beaten by a girl.

"Thanks for coming by," he settles on, as she's already moving for the door. "Even with…" The stabbing. He returns his gaze upwards.

"Might've even been worth it." Niki gives one of those tired but sincere smiles over her shoulder and steps out, leaving the door ajar.

In the kitchen, Niki steps gingerly around the glass of the broken whiskey bottle and leans on the counter for a few solid moments. Who knew being stabbed in the arm was such a bitch? Who knows what that knife hit. She looks around the counter until she finds a an water bottle she left behind; discernable as hers since its plastic is tinted pink. She grabs its handle and takes a long drink, gives the bottle a strange look afterward — tastes a little off, she thinks, but maybe that's the gradual blood loss talking.

The woman hurries her way out of the yet-again-trashed apartment, leaving Nathan… not quite alone. Alone with himselves.

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