2008-05-26: They'll Live


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif

Summary: A call to make sure someone is okay mounts a mission.

Date It Happened: May 26th, 2008

They'll Live

New York City

The Streets of New York City aren't the best place to be. Especially when you don't have a job or really anywhere to turn to. When you've either lost or given up everything for someone else, the streets tend to be the only thing you have left. If you're Daniel Lawerence Hawkins, that is. Currently, D.L. is minding his business, leaning back against the wall of some random building that probably makes sense to other people… but not to him. The world no longer makes sense. He can't seem to bring himself to care about much of anything but his son… and his mother. Thoughts of Nicole race in and out of this man's mind, even when he doesn't want them to. Sighing, he reaches up to pull the namesake of his hoodie down, revealing the sleepless eyes and ever present tired expression on the man's face.

Across the city, uptown, the picture is a good deal different. In a nice, old apartment on the Upper West Side, more expensive than she could normally dream of affording, Niki sits at a table by the window, a refugee from her own home. The curtains are half-drawn, giving her a glimpse out onto the city, letting slivers of sun in. Her knees are drawn up to her chest, arms wrapped around legs that pale denim clings to. A laptop sits, closed, on the table, along with two cell phones. If you erase the surroundings, maybe it's not so different. She's tired, too, even sleepless, and she's thinking of someone in particular.

Niki reaches for the black phone, then hesitates and goes for the silver. The one that lists her as nameless. Unknown Caller.

Somewhere on the streets of New York, a phone rings.

Practically curled up as he leans back against the building, it's not until about the second ring does he hear his phone going off. D.L. blinks and looks down at himself, patting around the clothing to quickly come across the cell phone he's been using for a crapload of days. Months. Long enough for certain people to keep in contact with him when they need him… or want him. Flipping it open, he brings it up to his ear. "Hawkins." is all he says. There's quite a few different people that call him from Unknowns, so the straight and business voice is the one used to answer this particular phone call.

No one answers, at first. From the quiet apartment uptown, that "no one" doesn't hide the troubled emotion that hearing the voice on the phone produces on her face, because no one can see her. That she knows of. Niki glances into the apartment, making sure to keep quiet. D.L. gets his answer in the form of a soft, feminine voice, not a "business" call. Something a little more familiar. "… D.L.?" Please don't hang up.

"…" D.L.'s expression actually frowns up at this point. Recognition of the voice doesn't mean that there's going to be happy faces and smiles. In fact, the mouth is curved into a frown, but the eyes are more worried, nervous and slightly anxious as to what this phone call could actually be about. Immediately, conclusions are drawn and D.L. leads this conversation in a direction where he believes it needs to go: "Somethin' wrong with Micah?"

"No," Niki is quick to answer and reassure. "No, he's fine." In hiding, and out of school, but fine. "I uhm." Her eyes shut, a hand coming to press along her browline with a thumb and forefinger. "…I wanted to… make sure that you're okay." A question lingers there, somewhere, pervasive. He answered the phone, so that means he is, right? Still— "You… are? You're okay?"

"I'll live." D.L. quips as quick as possible. Since he's sure that everything with Micah is okay, he's pretty much done with this conversation. That particular tone in his voice is pretty evident. But… before he can bring himself to just hanging up the phone, he has to get this one particular question out of the way. He hates that he cares. He honestly does. But he can't do anything about it. It's love. "… Are you okay?"

"… I'll live." The soft scoff of a laugh is telltale — Niki is smiling, but there's barely anything honestly upbeat about it, save for maybe nostalgia. She doesn't let the pause stretch out too long — before she lets either of them hang up, she says, "Something— happened, we had to leave Monica's. All of us. I… I wasn't sure if …they'd go looking for you to find me." The joke would be on her hunters, since D.L. doesn't know where she is. "If anything else happened to you because of me, I— " Niki's voice hitches, then becomes extra quiet. "…I just had to know that you're alright."

Over on the other side of town, likely on the wrong side of the tracks, D.L. is already getting to his feet. The emotional anger that he feels towards his wife, no matter how estranged she is, is still in his heart, but there's something overriding it. Something more important. "Okay, baby, listen to me. I need to know what's going on." He's drawing conclusions in his head and that's never a good thing. "Who's they? What happened?" Realizing that she's never really been 'open' about her new job, he's figuring he's tossing out questions that probably shouldn't even be asked. "… If you can't tell me, then at least tell me where 'they' are so I can make 'em rest in pieces." Could this neverending protective streak be for Niki or Micah?

Niki draws a shaky breath in then out, half of which she doesn't manage to hide. Shaky, for more reasons than one. She looks out the window at her left, shielding her eyes against the sun reflecting off the buildings. It's not hard to guess that D.L. is nowhere near this part of the city. A contrast to the warm sun, her expression hardens and she turns away from the brightness. "The people I was working for… pretending to work for… Pinehearst. They found me out." She's said this much… "They— they have Cass. The boss, he's … crazy dangerous, D.L. He almost took my strength. I got away just in time."

Uh oh. Trouble. Which is the major thing that's going through D.L.'s mind right now. "… /What/?" The anger is boiling at this exact moment as he's wanting to go off on his wife for being careless and putting Micah in danger and not letting him help in the first place… but that's all for another day. He's going to be handling this his own way. "I need a name. I can find the building, but I need a name." D.L.'s going to call in some favors, more than likely. "Let me help you. Let me be your husband, again."

"D, he'll destroy you! You don't understand what this man is capable of." Niki clutches the puny cell phone in her hand before switching it from ear to ear. She stares up at the ceiling in frustration; some part of her wants D.L.'s help, but the other part of her, the other part says exactly what she tells him now: "I'm not sending you on a suicide mission." A pause. She's thinking, thinking. "But…"

"Can't destroy somebody he can't touch." Not to mention D.L. is having some serious Superman issues right now. Superdad(?) issues. There's a serious problem with people messing with his family, even when part of the family doesn't want to be married to his part of the family anymore… but that's something else that can be worked out at a date after all the smoke clears. Loyalty & Love are two things D.L. can't shake out of his being. "What?" is the response to her but. The word, not the figure.

The build-up to whatever it was Niki was going to suggest crumbles. Instead, she sighs tensely, a breath into the phone, and in the apartment, she stands up and looks out the window again, leaning her head against the thick pane of glass. "… I don't know." Maybe this is a bad idea. "Maybe— " But maybe… maybe maybe maybe. "Maybe you can find Cass. If she's in the building… we can't see her."

Anti-Climactic Mission? Acquired. "… You want me to find someone? That's it?" Again, he's been tossed back into the realm of Courier or Messenger Dude. Here he was all geared up to go ahead and kill this dude and put everything back to the way it was supposed to be… like when he took care of Linderman. That worked out well. Kind of. "Alright." He's just hoping he even remembers what this Cass looks like. "You just stay put."

This is surreal. There's something definitely surreal about talking to her… Estranged husband? Is that what D.L. is? It's a stupid term, anyway! …about this. He's been left out of this whole ordeal and now he's— what, on a mission? "…they did something to her," Niki blurts out in a hurry, afraid D.L. is literally about to hang up and run to Jersey. "…I don't know what she'll be like." Sick? Scared? Drugged? …Dangerous? It sure does sound like a warning, even if Niki doesn't say the remainder of her thoughts out loud. "There's a whole lot of people trying to bring this place down." Deep breath. Niki closes her eyes. "…You could come meet them."

"Nicole. All I want in this world is to be with you and Micah. I don't care how it happens. I don't care who I have to destroy to make that happen. But I want my wife back. I want my son back. I want my life back." D.L.'s losing it. He's trying to stay in control of his emotions, but he's not sure if he can. There's a pause for him to fight back anything that could be considered a tear. "Just tell me what to do. Where to go. I'll be there." With a secret weapon named: Noah. Maybe.

Oh God. Niki has a moment of being overwhelmed and turning her back to the window, leaning against the drapes, squeezing her eyes shut and her emotions down. "Before… you go… to find Cass," she says slowly, not replying — or not able to reply, right this second — to D.L.'s sentiments of wanting his life back, "come here. I'm not… mission central. If you want to help us then… the street's two-ten. Central Park West."

If Niki listens close enough, she'll likely be able to hear D.L. moving. He's already on his way. "I'm on my way." See? Told you. There's some stomping as he picks up the pace and hits a corner. A half-step into a jog later, D.L. is skidding to a halt. His eyes go slightly wide as he stares in front of him. Which, well, could mean there's something very bad about to happen. "I— I love you." Or something very good.

"… I know you do," Niki answers gently, a smile spreading across her face to outshine the conflict stormy in her eyes — not that D.L. can see her, but he probably knows her voice well enough to imagine. She looks around the apartment she's in — Peter's, for now — and it fades. But you know what? Believe it or not, D.L.— "I love you too."

She presses 'disconnect' and shoves the phone down on the table like it's on fire.

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