2007-11-04: Refuge

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Niki takes Micah and Cam to Peter's apartment for refuge. She admits to Peter that she slipped; Peter tries to help; Cam's power acts up, but not from the boy himself.

Date It Happened: November 4th, 2007

Refuge


Queens

It's almost a whole ten minutes before Niki emerges from the house in Queens, but the second she's in the driver's seat, she's urging the car into motion. Her purse is thrown between the seats, unzipped with the very few things she shoved in there half-visible: cell phone, wallet, freaking bottle of pills. She's slightly less put-together than she was only a short time ago, sheen of sweat — from anxiety, and adrenaline, more than strain — covering her skin and splashes of water on her sleeves from when she hurriedly washed her hands of blood. "We're visiting a friend for the night," she tells the boys, peeling out into the road. The drive's not going to be as fast as she wants on the streets of Queens to Manhattan, that's for sure.

During the time they were waiting for the car, Micah had a chance to jump on a nearby wireless network on the laptop. But weak signal, combined with data encryption lead to him not getting anywhere else with the CPS website. But as his mom hurries into the car, the laptop is quickly shoved back into the messenger bag. "Which friends, mom?" he asks, glancing down at her purse. The cell! He really should let his father know what's going on. However, the car peeling out stops him as he's pushed back in the seat.

Cam hasn't put the time to as much use as Micah… he's mainly been watching the house, trying to puzzle out what might have happened. What was the accident? When Niki comes out, he almost asks, in fact, but one look at her face and he stays quiet, though he does nod at Micah's question.

"Peter," Niki replies - not that it means much, beyond a name that occasionally shows up on the phone with the more familiar surname of Petrelli. She twists in her seat to glance back — both at the kids, and behind the car. "It's safer this way," she explains, without explaining at all. Eyes focus back on the road, the unexciting black car manuevering through Queens as fast as Niki can possibly manage — without breaking another law today, because it would be just her luck to get pulled over for speeding. "Micah, can you get your dad on the phone? I don't think he has it on him."

Micah has at least seen the name 'Peter' on the phone. Instinctively, he glances out the back window as his mom does. Nothing yet it seems. "Don't worry, mom." he says, reaching for the cell phone in her purse. "I'll find him even if he doesn't have it on him." She should know he will.

Cam looks a bit relieved as Niki tells Micah that. He just stays quiet though, not asking the questions he obviously wants to. He looks to Micah and says softly before he starts, "Hope that means your dad's ok."

Niki doesn't even have it in her to ask how Micah figures on working his magic. With a grave look about her, the mother holds tight onto the steering wheel and is not forthcoming through the entire drive to the address stashed away in her head.

Peter Petrelli’s Apartment

Manhattan

It takes awhile, a half an hour or so of tense driving for them to make it to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and another few minutes to find somewhere to park, before Niki urges the kids out of the car. "This is it." With her purse slung over her shoulder and one hand on each of the boys' backs, she heads for Eastern Centennial Apartments and hits up number 1407 to be let in.

Micah arrives in front of the door with nothing more than a backpack and his laptop messenger bag. He peers up at the door for a moment before turning his attention back to the cell phone. The display flashes intermittently, as he attempts to locate his father. "I don't think he has his phone with him mom." A quick glance up and down the hallway. "If there's open wireless I can try to find him that way." He throws a glance at Cam. "How you holding up?" He knows Cam's probably not as used to this as he is.

The light buzzing sound fills the apartment. Peter happens to be in the kitchen, washing down the counter to finish cleaning up. He drops the towel into the edge of the sink, and moves over the few feet to the door, where he clicks the speaker over, "Niki?"

Cam shrugs a bit to Micah and says, "I'm ok. My dad used to make me do drills like this, just never thought I'd have to for real." He starts to say more, but when Peter answers the buzzer, he quiets. Unlike Micah, he doesn't even have a backpack with him, just a cellphone sticking slightly out of a pocket.

"We'll keep trying," Niki tells Micah. "Peter," she replies into the speaker with an unintentionally urgent voice. "It took awhile, with traffic." She glances at Cam, overhearing, and can't help but give him a gentle frown and pats a hand over his head. It is, in a way, apologetic.

"It's fine, I needed the extra time to clean up. Come on in," Peter says, voice mildly hoarse and whispered as is usual with him, but not sounding overstrained like it had been for awhile. With her confirmed, he moves his hand to unlock the front doors and let them in.

"I'm sure someone around here has some kind of wireless." Micah nods. He's not going to give up. If he has to, he'll get the phone to talk to the laptop and search that way. Not as fast, but just as effective. The voice over the speaker isn't recognizable to him, but if his mom knows him, it must be safe. "Yeah, first time I had to I didn't think I would ever have had to do it." The last is directed towards Cam.

Cam nods a bit to Micah and then looks up to Niki, smiling a bit to her silent apology. Then he looks back to Micah and asks softly as he follows, "You've done all this before?"

And they're off to their temporary refuge. Nerve-wracked, edgy energy is practically palpable around Niki as she and the almost-twelve-year-old and twelve-year old appear at Peter's door. She reaches down to try to take Micah and Cam's respective hands as she stands between them. The stress is obvious around her eyes, mouth, forehead - and made not better by the boys' conversation. Like them, she's not exactly prepared for any sort of stay. She just has a purse and the clothes on her back - jeans and a red, fitted long-sleeved shirt. "Thank you so much," is the first thing she says on seeing Peter.

The door doesn't take long to open. Peter'd stood nearby until they knocked. Healthy skin-tone, a lock of hair hanging into his forehead without getting in the way of his eyes, he inclines his head and a hint of a smile tugs on the corner of his mouth, "No problem." That's the first thing he says, then he glances down towards the two boys. One he recognizes from a few brief sightings, but never… "You must be Micah." It's the other one that distracts him. Like he recognizes him from somewhere, but can't quite put his finger on it. This causes a long pause, before he remembers to step out of the way of the door. "Come on in. Do you need anything to drink?"

Micah nods to Cam. "Yeah. More times than I can count." he answers, looking back towards the door as it's opened. Dark eyes glance up to Peter. He doesn't appear anything special. Just another ordinary guy. Allowing his hand to be taken, he tries to get a glance past Peter to at least get an idea of where they'll be staying for however long. "That's me." An upbeat tone sounds in his voice after being recognized.

Cam, too, lets his hand get taken. He has, of course, never seen Peter at all. Still, despite the situation and despite the fact that it's a stranger, he smiles and gives a friendly, "Hi." Then he adds, "And I'm Cam." He follows them into the apartment, glancing around curiously.

Niki may be hauling kids into what, to them, is basically a stranger's apartment, but she's not in the state of mind for pleasant introductions — good thing the others get that under control right away. She slides off to the side of the door, barely glancing around the unfamiliar apartment. "I wish," she replies to Peter's polite question — she's probably not thinking about water or juice or tea, though. She lets go of Micah and Cam and switches her weight from foot to foot, eyeing Peter. There are, obviously, things she doesn't want to talk about while the boys are in earshot.

"I'm fine, thanks." Micah responds politely. Attention children, the captain has turned off the 'Hold Hands' sign. You are now free to move about the cabin. Errr…apartment. "Is there someplace I can set up my laptop?" he asks, glancing over at Cam. "I've got some video games on it that Cam and I can play."

"Nice to meet you, Cam," Peter says, opening up the fridge and glancing at the contents. Decided bare contents. The fridge had been cleaned out recently, and good thing, too. The cheese had started to gain a colony, and all of his veggies had begun to move towards becoming goo. The bottled water, though, happens to be there, and he grabs a couple and sets them on the counter. "I'm Peter Petrelli," he adds, for the benefit of the younger duo that he's just met. The question on the laptop makes him blink, but he nods, "Yeah, there's— you can set up in the bedroom if you want to use the bed, or there's a table and a desk." He gestures into the living area, where there is, as said, a small table and a desk both. The desk actually has a laptop on it. And he's got wireless internet, so kid's in luck.

Cam nods to Peter, and as the bottles are put out he says, "Thanks." No complaint here, anyway, about choice of drink. He takes one and then follows after Micah, whichever area he chooses, taking a drink of the water.

Niki watches the kids slink off - then heads for Peter, keeping her voice low. He deserves some kind of information for this sudden invasion. "Someone from Family Services dropped by," she says, "and she wanted to take Micah into custody, and remove Cam…" This is going nowhere good.

Micah grins as the locations are mentioned, and pointed out as well. "Sweet." he says, motioning at Cam. "We can play Zombie Fight Night. It's just like the XBox version, only we have to start from scratch." Noticing the laptop, and wireless setup…a small grin tugs on the corners of his lips. There's just enough room on the desk it looks like, and the nearby power outlet/strip, for Micah to setup.

There is a nearby power strip for him to use, with a few small things plugged in, but plenty of free places. Peter watches the boys move off, staying in the kitchen as Niki approaches him, and explains— in part. "Oh." He looks confused, but serious still, "Well, I doubt child services will come knocking on my door, so you should be all right for now. You're okay, right?" He keeps his voice down, unaware of anything that the boys might be doing as they set up in the next room.

Cam grins to Micah and says, "Cool." He glances to the adults as they go to have their little talk, and climbs into a chair by Micah to watch. He doesn't ask about the game, already guessing what Micah's planning to do, just watching and taking another drink of water.

"She isn't," Niki replies in a harsh whisper, glancing back in the direction the kids went as she does so and stepping closer to Peter in the hope that her voice has further to travel and might not be overheard, especially when what she has to say is so heated. "She wanted us to… leave our own house, I… I was pissed off, I couldn't lose Micah, and just for a second, I wanted— " She hesitates, expression dark as she looks away. "I gave in, just for a second, I gave in."

There isn't a need for Micah to overhear what is being said. He got a good enough glimpse back at the house to know what happened. But he's not about to say anything right now. Instead, focus on the laptop. "We have to try and find my dad." he whispers towards Cam. "He doesn't know what happened." After the laptop boots up, he shove his hand over it and the screen starts to flicker.

That explains a lot. There's a deep breath from Peter, a serious expression crossing his face, before he reaches up and touches the other woman's shoulder. His grip is firm, supporting. "We need to work on this again— I'm sorry we didn't keep at it after I got back," there's a hint of genuine self-blame for that. Situation isn't good, either way, and he looks past her, toward the two boys, just to make sure they're not overhearing, before he adds, "We can make sure this doesn't happen again. Somehow. It'll be okay." So many promises he can't keep, but he makes them anyway. "Are you sure you don't need anything right now? Besides a place to stay?" She's already got that.

Cam nods quickly to Micah and says, "Yeah." He seems completely oblivious to the conversation in the kitchen, it must indeed be beyond his hearing… or he's just not paying attention at the moment either. He watches Micah work silently.

"This is it. I'm done," Niki says adamantly, shaking her head with a sway of blonde. "I'll do whatever it takes," she adds through harshly clenched teeth. That sounds awfully… final. She pauses a moment, blinking hard. "If you'll watch the kids for… just a couple hours… I have to go back. I have to— " Clean up the evidence. "I should be in jail."

Micah is too consumed with the task at hand to even overhear what is being said. Probably best he doesn't hear it. On the screen of the laptop, pages fly by at a decent clip. From the looks of it, he's tapping into multiple systems. Cell phone networks, NYC surveillance cameras, etc. There's a glance in Cam's direction. "Can you call his cell phone? I need to try and trace where the signal is going." A piece of paper with the number is offered to the boy.

Cam nods quickly to that and pulls his cell phone out of his pocket. After weeks with the family, he's already programmed their cell numbers into his phone, (and Lachlan's and Kory's), so it takes him just a moment to dial D.L.'s number, putting it up to his ear to listen in case D.L. actually answers this time.

"Niki— it wasn't you. It was Jessica," Peter says, keeping his hand on her shoulder, and even moving to hold onto the other side with his other hand. "Look at me— you didn't do this. I can stop her this time. I should have done it before when— listen. There's ways to make her pay and make sure that she doesn't hurt anyone again, okay?" He pauses, before letting go of her shoulders. "I'll keep an eye on them." He let go of her shoulders because he turns toward a cabinet, opening it up and dumping a coffee mug into his hand. There's a spare key in there, which he holds out to her. "Just come back when you can?"

Niki wraps her hand around the key. She keeps Peter's gaze, but just barely. It's constantly moving, hard to get a hold of. "I could have stopped her. I could have pushed her back. All this time of wanting to stop her and…" The woman's expression darkens, her eyes locking on Peter's, this time. "I let it happen. I may as well've snapped her neck myself." With that admission, she turns away, toward the door, armed with the key.

"Thanks." Micah grins, turning back to the screen. The cell phone networks in NYC spring up on the screen, and packets of information can be seen flying back. Up on the right corner, a map of NYC is displayed, with little red dots that are slowly disappearing as Micah works to isolate D.L.'s phone. Eventually they all disappear. "He's either not got his phone turned on, or he's not in range of a signal." Next the surveillance cameras pop up, and a facial recognition program starts running matching against faces on the cameras.

Cam ohs, nodding a little as he turns off the phone again, putting it down on the table in case Micah needs it again, and just watches what he's doing with fascination.

"Niki…" Peter says, face worried and serious, but he can understand what she means. He's much the same in his belief on controlling aspects of himself that are difficult to take control over. "I said I would help you. And I will." The tone of worry, and even hopelessness passes through his voice. Guilt that he hadn't helped her already would also be there. She's already moving toward the door, and he steps after her and reaches out to grab her arm really quick. It could be he intended to pull her in for a hug or something, give her some last minute support, but an unnatural chill builds on his fingertips, pouring into her.

Niki twists around in surprise to face Peter when he grabs her arm, recoiling her shoulder back through instinct at the sudden cold. It takes a few seconds of staring, chilled, before she looks down at Peter's hand and toward the room the boys are in. The realization on her face is clear. "You can … do what Cam can do."

Well, of D.L. is out there, he's definitely pulled a SWAYZE and isn't wanting to be found. Facial recognition hasn't found a match yet. Of course, it still runs and matches faces that happen to walk into the camera's view. "This could take forever." But there's no faster way Micah knows to find his father. Unless he put out an APB through the NYPD system. But that's something he's not even considering.

Cam nods a little to Micah and bites his lip. "Well, maybe he'll answer the phone if we keep trying every hour or whatever." He still watches Micah, unaware that his power's been copied.

There's a surprised sound from the kitchen and Peter's hand pulls back rather quickly when he realizes what he's doing. There's small ice crystals forming around his fingertips. They both have aspects of themselves they can't control. At least no one got hurt this time. "I'm sorry. I didn't— right— you said he was like us." He looks back up at her, keeping his hands to himself now, "You're okay, right?"

"I think so." Niki touches her arm where Peter's hand was. No harm done — or at least not enough to complain about. "Micah? Cam?" she calls out. "I have to go out for a couple hours. But you'll be okay here with Peter," she actually chances a tense smile in his direction at that, "I'll be back as soon as I can. Be good!" And a moment later, she opens the door to slip out, but not before a sombre look of gratitude to their host.

The mention of his name causes Micah to pull his hand away from the computer. Instantly, it stops what it was doing and returns to a stock Windows screen. "I can't find dad anywhere. I don't think he wants to be found." he offers, nodding towards his mom. "We'll be ok, mom. Just…" Hesitation for a moment, "…hurry back. Please."

Cam blinks, but then nods at Niki's shout, and says, "Yep, we'll be fine. See ya when you get back." Totally confident that she will, indeed, be back.

"I'll take care of them. Be careful, Niki," Peter adds to Niki, waiting for her to slip out before he locks the deadbolt. He doesn't put the chain up, since that would make it difficult for her to get back in with her fancy new key. Unless she breaks the door down, which he'd like to avoid. There's little ice crystals left behind on the door, and he has to spend a moment looking at his hand before they disappear completely. This makes it safe for him to enter the living area where they are. "If you're looking for you're dad— I'll see if I can help, but…" He can't really promise. He's been working on that ability for weeks now and hasn't gotten much out of it. "You'll be safe here, though. It's not much, but— you'll have the bedroom, with Niki and I'll sleep out here— Just let me know if you're hungry, or want to watch television or anything. Have a few boardgames too."

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