2007-09-26: To Change Everything

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter pays Niki a visit and gets an ally in the effort to stop a terrible future. "Maybe just… being here… will be enough to change things."

Date It Happened: September 26th, 2007

To Change Everything


Queens, New York City

Cast in shadows, it would be easy to assume there's no one home at the Sanders-Dawson residence. It's evening, though not so late; it's dark, that's for sure, but hardly an hour that would deem it bedtime for anyone in the house over age eleven. Nonetheless, all the lights are off - as are the neighbours', but they're elderly. Streetlights and the glare from the buildings across the street seem distant, but they shed a rather blue light onto the front steps - just enough for a figure to be made out, sitting against the rail. Niki, a soft sweater in the same shade of grey-blue wrapped around her against the faint autumn chill, just staring across the street. Safe to say she's probably not watching anything in particular.

As she's not watching anything in particular, the blonde resident of the house may not notice a young man walking up from around the corner. From the direction, he probably used a form of public transportation to arrive here, one that's likely cheaper than a taxi. Dressed moderately warm, in colors favoring black and dark blue, he blends in rather well with the shadows. Not so well that he's invisible, but when that happens there's something else at work besides clothes, and Peter has no reason to approach this particular house invisible. Once he reaches the walkway, she may spot him. He pauses for a moment, as if hesitating, then runs fingers through his hair, pushing a stray curl out of the way, before he walks up toward the steps. "Niki?" he asks, in a soft tone. He didn't call first, which might account for the cautious tone to his voice.

It's true - Peter goes unnoticed until he starts up the walkway. Stirred seamlessly from her thoughts when she clues in to his presence, Niki takes a second to reply - maybe making sure it's actually a familiar face on the mostly dark property. "Hey," she replies in a pleasant tone that matches the smile on her face. She wraps her sweater around her a little tighter. "I wondered when I'd see you again."

"I guess for you it has been a while," Peter says rather sheepishly, moving up even closer now that the pleasant tone has greeted him. It's nice. It definitely has a better ring than the tone he got to hear the last time he saw her. Which wasn't the last time she saw him. Anywhere near, even. For her it's been two months since they saw each other. "Sorry I disappeared on you— when I went I wasn't exactly expecting to be gone that long. Figured it was time travel, that I'd just— come back the moment I left." Like Back to the Future. Maybe an hour early if he needed to save someone's life, right? "I tried to visit you when I first got back, but— Vegas."

"Yeah," Niki laughs, darker-blonde brows lifting knowingly, and she looks down. Vegas. One word, one place, on trip, but so much meaning. "Vegas." Grabbing the purse she brought with her from its place beside her on the top step, she shoves it somewhere behind her out of the way - not that it was really in the way, but it's the gesture of the thing. "Come on, sit down," she invites, smiling. "I'd say 'tell me about the future', but I'm not sure I wanna know."

"Already… told you the part you needed to know," Peter says, moving up closer and settling down beside her, glancing off towards the street for a moment while he settles. He can't help but look back at her though for a moment. "It's good to see you again. You-you." Not future her— not Jessica— not… whoever it really was he was talking to. "Wasn't the… nicest place to go, really. But that's the point. If it'd been a perfect world I wouldn't have needed to go there to try and stop it from happening. Would've have…" He trails off, a quiet seriousness setting his jaw.

'You-you.' Niki looks down at her hands, toying slowly with her fingers in small, thoughtful gestures throughout the time-travelling Peter's account of the future. Such as it is. "What… happened to me?" she ventures warily, a desperate glint in her eyes as she turns her head to look back at Peter. "Will it break the future or something if I know? I mean, we want it broken…"

"I honestly don't know what happens if I tell you. I mean the future we're trying to stop is pretty bad…" Peter frowns thoughtfully, still looking toward the street for a moment, though he's obviously not looking at anything really. "I've heard people worry that by knowing we might… create it. Self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing. But I think just knowing that your husband is alive will help things for you personally. Won't save the world, but it might… save you." There's a slow inhale before he glances over, a hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth. "You weren't dead or anything. You were just… different."

Niki smiles — gently at first, and then wider — but looks away, back down again, and lets it start to fade. "Different," she repeats, as if testing the word to find out what it really means. "Different like not actually me?" she asks with a hint of knowing cynicism, there. "On the phone— you mentioned Jessica."

"A lot of people weren't exactly themselves in the future," Peter says, looking away again, squinting a bit. "I'm not sure how literal it was in your case— you— she— she answered to Jessica. Probably was her, too. Talked like she was." Which he's not sure helps matters at all. "I wasn't able to help you in that future, I guess." There's a hint of an apology in his voice. "But with your husband around— and your son— everything should change. Stopping the war will keep… some things from happening…" Like the possible death of her son, he would imagine. But that's something he has a hard time just telling her. It'd been hard for him to tell his brother than one of his boys died in the future.

It's an answer, but it's not a great one. In fact, it prompts a rather dejected expression from Niki. "So you talked to her." She hugs her arms about herself, turning her gaze up to the sky. "Sorry, this still seems so crazy. Time-travelling and… what, prophecies? I mean, I sure as hell believe you, you knew about D.L., but… just… God, I used to think I had problems before all of this started," she says with a vague laugh. A moment later, Niki finds herself regarding Peter warily, all of a sudden disturbed as she thinks back. "Wait, there's a— a war," she picks that piece of information out, not liking the sound of it. And his phrasing, what was it? "And something… happens."

"Yeah— we talked," Peter says softly, still looking at the road. There's tension along his jaw. He's never been a huge fan of secrecy, and she did just directly ask him about the war— and what might have happened… "There's a tornado in the future. Destroys a lot of the city. Guess kind of close to what would've happened if I'd gone nuclear in the middle of the Plaza. It… drew attention to us— those like us. And fighting broke out. Us versus them, them versus us— and a lot of people died, both from the tornado, and the war— and then what happened afterwards. The people like us won." There's a pause, hesitation, as if he's choosing his words a little too carefully. Fear of what might happen if he doesn't? Maybe… Time travel is delicate, really, though he doesn't understand it very much at all. He just wants to fix things. "Everything changed. I almost couldn't believe I only went two years into the future."

What does someone say to news like that? The answer for Niki is a lot of nothing, at least for a few, long moments. She watches the street - watching without watching, as they've both been doing. "A tornado. Like in the painting." Clear hints of tension work through her face, her jaw, her mouth, and she shifts a shoulder uncomfortably. "Sounds like a lot sure happened in two years." But look at what's happened in one.

"A lot happened in the month I was there, too," Peter says softly, running his hand through his hair again. "But yeah— like the painting. Guess you saw that one too." There's a long pause, but then he looks over at her, determination in his eyes, stubbornness in the set of his jaw, "It won't happen, Niki. I'm going to find a way to fix this somehow. Not just the tornado but— all of it. May not know everything I need to know to stop things… but I'll find a way. Maybe just… being here… will be enough to change things."

Niki can't help but be caught up in Peter's determination, if not his optimism. She doesn't want a world with Jessica even in two years, and a world at war is no place she wants to raise Micah in — and so hope flickers in her clear blue eyes, set on Peter. "It sounds like you're trying to stop it all by yourself."

"Not by myself, I mean— I've got people helping me," Peter says, shaking his head a bit, but there's definitely a hint that he's still taking a little too much on his own shoulders. "I'm just the one who saw all of it…" Which kind of makes him the source of change, right? "There's people helping, though. Mr. Gomez, my brother, Cass… I'm not alone in this."

Niki hesitates after at least one of those listed names— but, her expression turning worried for Peter's sake, furrows creasing her brow, she says, "Good, 'cause it doesn't sound like something you do alone." Pause. "Not that I'm some expert on saving the world."

"Didn't happen alone last time, did it?" Peter asks, looking down at his hands for a moment. It's a gesture she might recognize as something he'd do in reference to the last time the world had nearly been destroyed by him. No glowing in his hands, and the worst thing they've done lately is punch a tabloid reporter. "There's a lot more than just me involved— don't worry about that. I just wish I knew what to tell everyone to do." Leadership isn't exactly one of his best abilities. "So if it seems like I'm taking a lot on myself it's because I'm kind of… making it up as I go." Which might not be reassuring. "And I do know things I would've have known before, and… I won't make the same mistakes."

Peter's hands, nice and safe and not radiating crazy light - the reference back to that day - evokes a vivid memory, and Niki reaches out to take hold of a couple of his fingers. It lasts just a moment, a reassuring squeeze, there and gone. "So long's you don't go to jail again," the blonde says with glimpse of a grin, maybe trying to lighten the mood for a change. Granted, given the subject matter… "That's my thing."

There's a surprised glance over when his fingers are squeezed, and Peter watches her for a moment, before reaching over and touching her hand again in return. "No wonder your ability popped up when I went to punch him," he says with a hint of a smile, though it's only a moment— just like the return touch. "Don't worry. Got a pretty good lawyer. He'll probably get me out of the maximum sentence for my particular crime— I could get myself out of it if he can't, too. Can't save the world in jail." And he doesn't need to lock himself up for everyone's sake, either. Thus, not save the world in jail.

Ouch. "…Sucks to be that reporter," Niki says with a little cringe, but she only sounds like she half means it. "I bet he deserved it." She doesn't ask for details, however. "Well, you can't be trapped anywhere if you do what D.L. can do," she says with some level of amazement, because hey, walking through walls is weirder than being super strong.

"Not quite a strong as you can be, luckily," Peter admits, tapping the back of his hand against her arm. "Just a broken jaw and nose." Where as her punch could've caused quite a bit more damage to the poor man's face— who he isn't really feeling totally bad for. "Wouldn't say he deserved that… but I doubt I was the first one to punch him. If he's had a history of being assaulted, might work better for my case." Especially since he half suspects the man had the photographer waiting for him to lose his temper… It could have been a lot worse. The man lived. "I'm not too good at that one, yet. Only seems to happen when I don't expect it to." Which is why he falls thru walls. There's a pause, but then he suddenly changes subjects back, slightly, "I don't know how much you want to be involved in this, Niki— but if I… can I call you? If I can come up with something you can… help with?"

The smile Niki had adopted, about to mention how many times Monica said 'he fell through a wall!', fades after Peter changes the subject. She leans back, propping herself up on her palms. "I used to say… I didn't want any part of this. That— I'm no hero, you know? But I don't want Micah to live in a world like the one you saw. If I can help stop it from happening, I will."

"That's all I can really ask from anyone," Peter says with a hint of a smile, before he glances down at his hands again for a moment. "I know you'll come through— even when you don't know what's going on." She proved herself almost a year ago now, as far as he's concerned— the circumstances were just different. But not too much, so. "I don't want people to have to live through what I experienced, even if I only saw it for a month. It wasn't… pleasant. I wish I knew what to do, really. Right now… I just gotta… We have some clues, at least." There's a pause. And then he looks up toward the sky for an instant… Then he starts to stand up. "I should get going. I just wanted to see you— make sure that you're back. Maybe we can get together in the next couple of days— there's a lot I could tell you. Maybe you'll have some better ideas on how to save the world than I got."

Niki's back. She can't say the same about her mysterious husband, which prompts an instinctive glance back at the dark and quiet house. She pushes herself up also —in time for Peter's last comment. It prompts a laugh to spring up and she breaks into a good-natured smile, bright against the dark around them. "Yeah, right," she says, raising her eyebrows in skepticism and tucking her hair behind her ear. "I'll see you later, Peter."

Once he's on his feet, Peter pauses to tilt his head, looking from her and then into the darkened house. There's a question there, but he doesn't ask it. Instead he nods, touches her shoulder briefly with his finger tips, before backing off down the walkway. "Take care, Niki," he adds in return. Finally, he'll turn and walk away. But there's probably no doubt he'll be back. Eventually.

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