2008-03-21: Synchronize


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Summary: Two people who trust each other begin to form a plan of action.

Date It Happened: March 21, 2008


"Jessica's" Apartment

As evening settles over Manhattan, a few golden orange rays of sun still managing to glint off the mirrored surfaces of the skyscrapers outside the vast window of the apartment, Niki puts the day behind her, at least for a few minutes. Her mind overactive as it is these days, the process is mostly physical: shed the clothes, douse in hot water. It all seems a little strange and cold to do in this empty apartment without many of her own things around, but it helps. Presently, she emerges into the main area post-shower, in a much simpler white tanktop and jeans, drying hair made a duller, darker shade of blonde by moisture. She looks around, expectant — a mix of wary and hopeful. A black jacket, one half of a suit, is still drapped over the back of a chair, a Petrelli pin on the lapel, stripped out of when she got here.

It's by the chair that she might find what she's looking for. While the hope isn't as bright in his eyes as it may be in the version of himself that she knew best, it still remains. Not so much at the moment, but if he had lost hope completely, he wouldn't bother to time travel, would he? Standing near the discarded black jacket, Peter's fingers toy with the lapel pin even as she steps out, examining it with a dark expression. The way his jaw is set shows he's not in his lighter moods this evening, but the phone call and message she left on his phone recieved a response. In the form of him standing there when she got out of the shower. "Nathan's back, isn't he?" he asks softly, finally letting go of the pin and looking up to her.

Niki seems relieved to see Peter, but as soon as that has passed, a tenseness sets in. She runs the towel down along her hair over her left shoulder as she nears the chair, the coat, Peter. "If by Nathan you mean Logan," she says in bitter reply. "Yeah, he just got back from some humanitarian publicity thing. But I guess you know that." It's hard to tell how much this future Peter does know. She comes to stand behind the chair, resting her hands on the back of it, over the rumpled towel. The refreshed feeling from the shower is fading already, her expression disintegrating into something dark and moody. "Jessica has an assignment."

"I saw that he was out of the country before I tried to approach you," Peter says, showing that he did know that he'd been out of the country, though that knowledge had nothing to do with time travel. He'd not known when he arrived. There's very little information passed to him in Level Five. Doesn't help that he knows he's being uncooperative with Bennet right now. The mood that she's descended into doesn't go unnoticed. For a moment it even softens his expression a bit, his head tilting to the side as he watches her. Especially after the last words she said. Assignment. "From how upset you seem, I'm guessing it doesn't involve shaking hands and looking pretty."

Niki meets Peter's gaze and moves around the chair, closing the gap between them and abandoning the towel and the coat that serves as a reminder of where she's been. On the heels of his last words — "shaking hands and looking pretty" — she snakes an arm out to take one of his hands in hers, holding on just barely at the fingers. "I hope you have a lot of tricks up your sleeve," she says, studying Peter's face; in particular, the scar that she remembers appearing and disappearing. "Because I'm supposed to kill you, Peter."

"Killing me would be pretty difficult, even for someone of your talents," Peter says in that deep whispered tones. The hand she took shifts so he can hold onto her hand more fully than just touching of fingers. "Killing the me of today would be less difficult— though you'd have a hard time getting to where I am." So more difficult, while being more likely to pull off. All at once. Good thing she's dealing with this version of him, though. "Doesn't surprise me. Logan's quickly trying to destroy everything that he cares about— already thinks he killed Heidi, destroyed his relationship with his daughter, now he wants me dead." No, he's not particularly surprised at all.

There's nothing violent, right this second, about the woman who stands in front of Peter. Her grip on his hand is gentle. She's definitely not about to try to murder him. On the word 'daughter', she actually has a moment of confusion; that is not a part of Nathan's life she's been privy to, but she doesn't pry. Niki looks down and brings her and Peter's hands up between them. "I told him…" 'You' is a vague term, given the fact that there's two Peters in the equation. She watches as she interlocks their fingers, and after a brief, thoughtful interlude, finishes: "…that you trust me." She looks up pointedly. "I offered to do it," she says with a smirk as if it's funny. It's not. The expression is humorless. "He already thinks I took care of Hiro. I think it … shook him. Nathan. Logan was acting…" With a furrowed brow, she shakes her head.

"I do trust you— even… now." Then. Time travel makes for confusing tense usage. Peter's eyes stay on her, but for a time it's like he's looking through her instead, maybe trying to remember something. Events now were so long ago for him, and he'd been locked up in Level Five besides. "If I wasn't with you— right now— if you thought I was locked up, out of your reach… what would you be doing about Logan instead?" What did she do in these upcoming days, while he sat in a cell being stubborn and unbendy. "When he thought Heidi died, I think Nathan pushed himself forward briefly, gave him a chance to interact with a few people, but if he thinks he's lost me… I'm not sure if that would give him a similar strength or make him retreat further." There's a pause.

"That's what I'm worried about." Niki glances away, turning her head just to look out the window. As evening arrives in earnest, it's getting darker in the apartment by the second. "I'm … working with Heidi." There's a moment of uncomfortable consideration before she adds, "If it were me? If I saw … everything I loved being torn apart and killed, I wouldn't have anything left to fight for." Emotion rims blue eyes, glinting light and dark as Niki's stare returns to Peter. "Nathan needs something to fight for. He needs that … hope. He needs to think that he can … save you."

There's a flaw that Peter start's to see, but he understands too. It's not a split personality that he suffers from, but… "When I thought I lost someone who meant a lot to me, I gave up. I let go and nearly became exactly what I spent all those years fighting against… Until you." There's never been a full explanation of how she saved him, but now she might understand a little of it. Why he needs her as much as he does. She gives him hope. Something to fight for. Just like she says Nathan needs. The hands touching hers release. Not so he can move away, but so he can touch her face, thumb running along her cheek, brushing across her lips. "Whatever plan you come up with… the way to save me could involve hurting you to do it." And that is something he can't handle… "If we take those steps, we'll have to be very careful…" Someone could lose an anchor. Peter had once said he would always be there for Nathan. Just as she said she would be here for him now. "What's your plan with Heidi?"

When some of the pieces start to come together, Niki just listens, intent eyes affected by his words. She, takes it in, tries again to see what she is to him. She has little trouble imagining it, which is likely why she's here now. "Just … to get a jump on him, you know. Lock him up. From there…" Niki's head tips down. From there, what? "Any plan is a risk, Peter. Sooner or later someone's gonna have to take the plunge."

"If you have a plan with Heidi, that might be something to go with," Peter says softly, eyes shifting off into the distance. The danger is present, for all of them. But the longer he thinks on it… The eyes move back to her own, his thumbs run along her cheek. He leans forward to kiss her forehead gently, rather than her lips. It might seem out of place, considering how intimate they've been lately. "I think… we can come up with a plan. I have a few ideas. If you're willing to trust me." As much as he trusts her.

In light of the heavy subject matter, all danger and planning for more danger, a smile is even more out of place. But that's what Niki does, smiles — while, sure, it's a little sad around the edges, it's soft and gentle and sincere. The complete opposite of the vicious side she's been playing all day. "You're one of the only people I do trust. Maybe … the only one. It doesn't matter what time you're from."

That vow of trust actually brings out something even she has rarely seem from him. A smile. Almost as if he's trying to return her own. There's a harshness still in the set of his jaw, tension along his forehead. But there's a smile. Something rarely seen on Peter's face these days. Even in the present. "Good," he responds, the rasped tones moving into more of a whisper. The harshness in his voice has faded. "Here's my plan…" he starts.

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