2008-02-08: The Looking Glass

Starring:

Logan_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Logan has something to tell Niki.

Trivia: Spot the props continuity failure and win a toaster!

Date It Happened: February 8th, 2008

The Looking Glass


The King's Hotel

Las Vegas, Nevada

In the spacious ballroom of the luxury hotel, set up with many a chair and table for the biotechnology convention that's in town, guests stand and start to file out. It's the last event of the day. A few journalists snap a few last pictures of Senator Petrelli endorsing Pinehearst's research. Behind him, sitting on a white fold-out chair beside Logan's apparent entourage (in fact, they're panelists, scientists from Pinehearst), legs folded under the skirt of her dress — pink, for the record, slim all the way down to her knees, with a white blouse shaped like a jacket overtop — is Niki.

Today, playing assistant for the day and making sure the Senator gets from point A to point B at all of the convention's various events blended seamlessly with Niki's job of keeping the him safe. There are a lot of people around, a lot of guests and professionals from around the world — a lot to watch out for, and thus, looking quite like the glorified secretary she's supposed to be, Niki has kept close to Logan all day. A laminated tag from the biotech convention, endorsed by the King's Hotel, Las Vegas, hangs around her neck on a white lanyard, and she toys with it while waiting for the right moment to follow him out.

It's been a long day, but it's been good for Pinehearst, and good for him. The last round of journalists ask their questions and take a few photos, Logan smiling obligingly as if he were born exactly for this. In a sense, he was. A black suit and a white shirt is kept from looking too severe with a neutral blue tie, an American flag pin on his lapel sparkling as much as his wedding ring would, if not for the fact it were missing from his hand.

"I do plan to introduce and support new health care legislation," he confirms with one reporter, another smile. "Where'd you hear that?" A murmured chuckle from the gathered press. "No, you'll be hearing more on that in a few days but for now I'll say that my campaign always had a foot firmly planted in the health care system of America and I plan to help follow through with that. My endorsement of Pinehearst tonight has been a reflection on that attitude, I feel."

He glances back towards one of the members of his entourage who, well trained, steps in to conclude the gathering, Logan raising one hand in a still wave of departure to the press before his hands return to his pockets, and he makes it leave. A glance to Niki as he goes and a raise of eyebrow, waiting for her to step in time with him as they go. "How'd I do? In your professional opinion."

With a glint of the gold bracelet on her wrist, Niki sweeps a few items from the floor beside the leg of her chair: bottles of water, the convention brochure, her purse. She rises on a cue, falling into step with Logan. "My professional opinion?" she asks with good-natured incredulity, handing the fuller of the two bottles of water to the Senator. She goes the extra mile! "Well— I dunno, I thought you sounded pretty inspirational up there," she says with a one-shouldered shrug and smile.

"Then that's half the job done," Logan says, a little wryly, as they move from the ballroom, deeper into the bowels of the luxury hotel, and he takes the offered bottle with an absent thanks, twisting off the cap as they go. "God knows I don't know half of what they talked about today." Perhaps true if this were Nathan, he'd have no issue about endorsing something that gives him a silver lining without looking too closely at the fineprint, but Logan makes it his job to know. They walk easily, the man seeming to have made a full recovery from the knife wounds, healthy as he'd been the day before.

Niki goes about tucking the folded piece of paper with the convention's many details inside her purse. It's all done for now — she doesn't have to think about it anymore tonight, which is nice, because— "You 'n' me both." There was a lot of scientific jargon flying around. As they walk, Niki hitches her purse over her shoulder and glances around the hotel lobby and its plethora of coming-and-going (and loitering convention-goers. When her gaze returns to Logan, it lingers with sincere concern … and curiosity. "How're you holding up?"

A glance her way, and then a glance back over his shoulder. The security has dispersed save for one suit remaining, a PA, and he takes the cue of a glance to give them room too. Logan hand drifts up for a moment to brush against her back as they steer towards a staircase, before dropping back down by his side again. "Healthy as a horse," he says, lightly. "I wanted to thank you, properly, for what you did for me last night. I might not still be standing here if I didn't have anyone reliable to contact at that moment."

That answer serves to make Logan's "Schedule Coordinator" seem more worried, even though it's a good answer — he's healthy, but how? Guy must be tough. "It's— no problem. I mean, it's my job, right? Keeping you safe," Niki says with a smile that seems to say 'no big deal'. She heads up the stairs she was steered toward, brushing a hand along the rail idly while the other hangs onto her purse strap.

"Doesn't mean you don't go an extra mile or two," Logan says, hands finding their way into the pockets of his jacket as they go. "I was actually hoping to catch a moment to talk to you, when I'm not actually bleeding out into your car. It's been kind of a day so far but if we're both off duty now, I have room with a view." His tone holds a certain note of professionalism, as if perhaps he were inviting her up to to go over tomorrow's events and logistics.

Niki manages a rather modest little smile at the continued thanks — with a tiny serving of guilt, given that she came close to interrogating him during that ride to New Jersey . She watches the floor rise up ahead of them as they conquer the stairs. "I guess I'm off duty." He's the boss. "Unless you're planning on going somewhere that could get you stabbed again," Niki adds with a joking undertone.

"I think we're safe in this corner of the world," Logan says with an almost rueful seeming smile, stepping up onto the landing of the next storey. He heads for the elevators, the expanse of luxury red carpeting stretching out before them. Up here, they're not being followed by any of Logan's men at least, a handful of hotel goers flitting back and forth. "At least for tonight. Was that a yes?"

The corner of the world away from his crazed wife, right? Niki casts Logan a sidelong look, fleeting, there and gone — slightly more critical, chary. She hesitates before she answers, watching; in contrast to that briefly critical look, despite it, she smiles. Bright, white, and uncontrived. "Sure, if— " Forced to slow her pace once they near the elevators, she tips her head down toward that lush red carpeting, a gesture that seems almost shy. "I mean if you need to talk to me."

"Everyone needs someone to talk to," Logan says, elusively, and hits the button on the elevator.

Ding.

The hotel room is a generous one, and all his. The view afforded to them allows the bright lights of Vegas to make a canvas stretching out towards a darker horizon. Professionalism aside, Logan is taking off his tie as if the accessory irritated him, but that's more for show than reality. There's no combination of clothing in the world that makes Logan feel more at home. "Would you like a drink?" he asks, neglecting to get himself one as he leads the way inside.

Niki only spares the hotel room a brief glance, taking in its splendour in a few seconds; it's exactly what she would have expected, after all. Doesn't make it any less nice, but, well, the whole hotel is nice. Figures he'd have the gem, though. Lingering near the entrance, there's a hint of hesitation before she answers, no immediate yes or no. She sets her things down on an elegant stand. "Um. You know, I don't think I will tonight. But thanks," she politely declines before following Logan. "Nice view," she commends with a look out toward the Las Vegas cityscape. "You were right."

"Happens sometimes," Logan says, shedding his jacket, too, down to his slacks and shirt and altogether less the Senator than he has been all day, if only within these walls. He doesn't watch the view, however, mostly her reflection in the window, fixing his shirt collar to accomodate the lack of a tie. He offers a smile through the look glass. "First time we met was a lot like this. Same city. Different circumstances, obviously. How're you handling it? Knowing what you know, now. About who you used to be."

Niki can't help but watch the Senator expectantly, with the same sort of quiet curiosity she often has lately. As he gets comfortable, she does nothing, standing a few feet away. She looks back out the window, catching his smile in the reflective surface. He wanted to talk; is this what he wanted to talk about? Her? "It's…" There are no good words, exactly, for how it is, so she has to scrape up what she can. "…it's not easy," she admits, glancing down. "It's just… so strange to even think about," she laughs, lightly, through her words — there's no real humour in it, just a kind of awe. "That I was this whole other person…" Interpretation could take that more than one way, granted; who Niki used to be, or who Niki was when she wasn't //Niki/. "I'm just going to take what's important from my old life and move on."

Logan nods his understanding - limited as it might be, and moves to lean against the side of the window, keeping an amicable distance between them. Sure, there's a number of things that could be taken from a man inviting a lady up to his hotel room and offering her a drink. That's kind of the point. But there are more important things. "That's all anyone can do," he commends. "You look at back at all the mistakes the person you used to be once made and you build a better life for yourself for the future." A pause, thoughtful. "I lied about something."

And no doubt, Niki is wondering about those numbers of things now, as she stands at that amicable distance — until he confesses that he lied. Her eyes, which have trailed from their downward cast back to the window, move away from their reflections to shift suddenly to Logan. "Okay," she says softly, testing the waters. Anything else she may have had on the tip of her tongue is set aside. The woman's thoughtful expression tightens, brows coming together, lifting. "What was it?"

"About why we went to the doctors," Logan says, watching her in a way that's not exactly predatory, but perhaps with the same amount of focus and caution. "We both had the same problem, or… you did, and I'd potentially have it too." Pause, and he takes his weight off the wall, shrugging a little bit in seemingly honest regret. "I didn't want to tell you the truth right away. I wanted to put it behind me, like you could put your past behind you. But it's not really work out anymore."

Niki didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't that. That's for sure. To say she's floored would be an overstatement, but she's definitely struck speechless at first: glossy lips part slowly all the more and she stares at the Senator across from her. Offended, hurt, scared… are not on the list of emotions playing over Niki's face right now. Yet. On the other hand, questioning and a whole heck of a lot of wariness, yes. "…potentially," she repeats his word back to him, unable to keep scepticism out of it, given what Peter said. Crazy or not. She takes a second, shifting from heel to heel, and her voice lowers to a half-whisper in a question she doesn't want to ask. "Are… you… who are you?"

"Nathan." The lie is given smoothly, effortlessly, with just enough earnestness to sound sincere without pleading. Logan takes a step towards her. "I'm Nathan. I'm sorry I lied but I need you to believe me now. And I need your help. I think— I think you're the only person in the world right now who could do that - believe me. Help me." He's an excellent liar, if this act is to be of any indication. But perhaps, in some twisted, backwards way that only a sociopath can rationalise… he believes there to be much truth to it.

That searching gaze of hers is bordering on frenetic, searching "Nathan's" face for any signs of a lie. It sails by right in front of her face and she can't see it, because she doesn't know the difference — if it's even there at all. "Me," she repeats quietly, incredulous and humble, but she calms, instinctively taking a short step closer as well. "Okay," she grants with a hint of reassurance. "I believe you, Nathan." The truth is, she probably would even if she could remember her past with him. It's the rest of the world that would get in the way. But here, now— "But I— I don't remember. This thing you're going through, or that… you might go through, I don't— " she shrugs one shoulder, holding it up, "How can I help you?"

She's awarded a kind smile, one that shows a bit of relief as well, and Logan closes a little more of the distance. His hands settle on her arms, just above the elbows, palms warm and fingers gentle. "You already have," he tells her, meeting her gaze before letting his dip as far as the floor. "I've changed. I know that. I'm not who I used to be. But I'm not dangerous. I'm not like Jessica. I'm… like you."

Like her. It resonates — her arms lift, hands brushing his elbows — but it's not so simple. "I barely even know who I am," Niki says, her soft voice hollow. Watching Logan's face all the while, she tilts her head in trying to catch his eyes again. "And— it's not like I know who you used to be." A smile spreads across her lips, making a crack in the tension. "But I've liked what I've seen so far." The blonde's smile stays, warm and brilliant. "I want to help that person."

He allows his gaze to be caught, studying her eyes. This proximity, it's been the death of him before - all Heidi had to do was look into his eyes and see that unfamiliarity. But Niki knows none of that. Logan's hand raises off her arm, fingertips searching out a blonde lock of hair to push back from her face. "Maybe we can find out who we are together," he suggests, corner of his mouth lifting in a smile.

Oh, circumstance. You work in mysterious ways. Niki looks from the hand at her pale hair to Logan's face and her smile tones down, only to become softer, tugging one corner of her mouth. There is, in fact, a hidden weapon somewhere on her person, but that's because Logan more or less ordered it there. It stays hidden, benign, and forgotten. "Yeah," she voices. Closer, closer. 'Together' is the magic word, apparently. "Maybe."

Closer, closer. His hands find more purchase in her hair, immaculately done for the events of the day. In fact, they're both immaculate people right now, dressed to impress within a room largely untouched and a view of a city reduced only to glimmering lights in the darkness, superficiality effectively hiding its flaws. Because beauty might well be just that, the practice of hiding the ugliness. Logan's other hand comes up to tilt her face a little, and while he might keep alive only those that are useful to him, there are all kinds of uses and what is that quote about everybody needing somebody—

The phone rings, tinny sounding from the pocket of his jacket across the room, annoying and incessant. Of course the phone rings. Amusement and annoyance in the same space cracks the moment, Logan looking away from her, hands not quite leaving her. "I may need to take that."

Niki is on edge, the entire time — the with bated breath variety, not the falling over the precipice variety, although she certainly is that, too. She just doesn't know it quite yet. Her hand wraps around the Senator's bicep and when the phone rings, she closes her eyes. She sways, slightly, in the way someone might just after they've spun in a circle several times and must fight to regain their equilibrium. In fact, the interruption gives Niki a moment to clear her head.

The tables turn, this time. She glances in the direction of the phone. "You said you were off-duty." Does a United States Senator ever really go off-duty? …. His schedule says otherwise, and Niki would know, but she has moment of impulsiveness. Amnesia does wonders for one's sense of adventure. Holding onto his arm tighter, with sudden urgency, she pulls the undone collar of Logan's shirt toward her and tries to touch their lips.

Well. He did say he was off-duty. At the touch of her hands to his shirt collar, Logan allows himself to forget the ringing phone, Niki stealing her kiss and him allowing that too, returning it as hands come up again to wind through her hair, and then, an arm hooking around her waist, drawing them, finally, together.

The phone stops after a while, not that anyone is paying attention. It silently catches the message: his wife is dead. He'll find out later, when he's feeling slightly more… dutiful.


He must laugh when she laughs, sigh when she sighs. In short, he should be the shadow of her mind. A lady, in the presence of her lover, should never want a looking-glass; as a beau, in the presence of his looking-glass, never wants a mistress. — Henry Fielding

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