2007-03-10: Trading Sanity


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Anders_icon.gif

Date It Happened: March 10, 2007

Summary: While scheming is afoot, the Company has its own schemes already in place, and Anders delivers them, along with a deal, to Niki and D.L., for them to accept - or else.

Trading Sanity (or, "Smug Bastard")

Monica's Residence, New York

It's morning in the new residence of Monica Dawson. The young woman's name may be on the lease, but she's not home - she went to work bright and early, leaving her guests alone in the apartment. Micah was sent off to the (unfortunately public) school this bright and early Monday, and now, his mother is catching up on some rest. Sunlight sneaks in through a sliver of unclosed curtains, filtering into the spare bedroom; Niki, wrapped in sheets, nestles her face into the pillow, unconsciously trying to avoid the daylight. She, for one, is dead to the world. Cozy. Safe and sound. Right?

On the other hand, the great big black man of D.L. is not dead to the world. He's in the bedroom though, but he's hard at work… looking for work. He's got newspapers all over the floor and he's currently leaning back against the wall, talking on the telephone, trying to get himself an interview. "Yes, I do have a record but…" He sighs, shaking his head. Listening to the wackness come from the other end. The BS. "Right. Position filled. Yeah, I got it." He hangs up the phone and tosses it onto the chair. Slinking down onto the edge of the bed, his side of the bed, he buries his face in his hands to breathe, calm down and think. Sigh. But a manly sigh.

Some polite knocking at the door and ringing on the doorbell heralds a tall man in a smart black suit, a briefcase in one hand and a hardback book with a nondescript brown leather cover in the crook of an arm. He patiently stands at the door, knocking and ringing periodically whilst he waits for an answer. After all, Anders has the entire day if he needs it, no need to go up to eleven right away.

Slowly, peacefully, Niki begins to stir. Was it D.L.'s voice or return to the bed or the knocking on the door that woke her up? It's hard to say. Her eyes start to open and an arm sneaks up so that she can brush pale blonde hair away from her face. "Mmh. Hey," she reaches out for D.L.'s arm. Her voice is soft, still muffled from recent sleep. "Were you on the phone?" Knock knock knock again. Her calm starts to become ever-so-slightly damaged and she pushes herself up on her elbows, looking toward the bedroom door, and by the extent of her mind, the door to the home.

"Yeah." D.L.'s attention has been taken by the door. Which means Paranoia. Which means, "Stay." Not that he's treating her like a dog or anything, but D.L.'s sliding himself up into a standing position and moving towards the bedroom door. "I'll see who it is. Monica ain't never expectin' anybody." He slips his way out of the bedroom, pulling the door up behind him and looks at the clock on the wall. Frown. But then he's moving towards the front door and not opening it. "Who is it?" He sounds much like he's ready to punch someone. But then, again, he's always sounding like that. And he damn sure don't sound like Monica Dawson!
"Good morning, Mister Hawkins," says Anders, on the response "If I may have a moment of your time to share with you some Good News from a Good Book." The man is all smiles and sweetness, even given the early hour, "I think you will want to hear my Good News, Mister Hawkins." Oh god, Jehovahs witnesses.

Niki stays. Good girl, she gets a cookie? Wait a second… as the woman starts to detangle herself from the comfortable bed, swinging her legs over the side, the voice drifting in snags on some part of her memory. Her brow knits, a stern expression finding its way to her features, and she makes her way to the bedroom door, lingering in its frame. She can't quite see Anders because her husband is in the way, but she's almost sure he's there. That voice. She's heard it too many times, and it's usually not offering Good News from the Good Book. Niki watches D.L. anxiously, intently, as if she might will him to turn around and pay attention to the warning written all over her face. When that doesn't work within a span of three seconds, she runs out, clad in pajama shorts and a tanktop, to try to slam the door in Anders' face.

Niki stays. Good girl, she gets a cookie? Wait a second… as the woman starts to detangle herself from the comfortable bed, swinging her legs over the side, the voice drifting in snags on some part of her memory. Her brow knits, a stern expression finding its way to her features, and she makes her way to the bedroom door, lingering in its frame. She can't quite see Anders because her husband is in the way, but she's almost sure he's there. That voice. She's heard it too many times, and it's usually not offering Good News from the Good Book. Niki watches D.L. anxiously, intently, as if she might will him to turn around and pay attention to the warning written all over her face. When that doesn't work within a span of three seconds, she runs out, clad in pyjama shorts and a tanktop, to try to look through the peephole. "Damnit," she whispers. "I know him. They found us, D.L. Don't let him in!"

"We're Atheist. Come back next trimester." is all that D.L. can say, as he's been given the knowledge by his wife. He finds himself stepping between her and the door, aiming to make sure nothing comes through it or something at her directly. "Bedroom. Now." is said with a whisper to Niki as he turns his attention back at the door.

"That is fine, Mr. Hawkins," says Anders through the door, "But I still think you will want to hear my News, Sir. It concerns your wife and her "condition"." Still bright and cheery-voiced, Anders continues, "If you don't want me to come in, we can discuss my News in the hallway," he takes a step back from the door then, putting the briefcase down, "You have my word that I am both alone and unarmed."

Niki is already backing away from the door when D.L. makes with the roadblock impersonation. Although she clutches his arm at the elbow instinctively, she lets go without complaint when she's directed to the bedroom. The man's words from behind the door give her pause, if only briefly. "He's dangerous," she warns under her breath. "But maybe we should hear him out." Niki levels her husband with a meaningful stare before she makes herself scarce. In the bedroom, she looks this way and that, scraping her fingers through her hair and clutching her head for a moment as she searches for— for what?

"My wife's fine." D.L. responds, though he's stepping back too. In fact, he's stepping back to make sure he's closer to Niki and the bedroom than he is the door. He's not exactly sure what's going on and if he's going to have to choke a bitch, but he's definitely preparing. Let's hope, in case things turn bad, that Monica has mirrors in the guest room! "Leave us alone. I'm not gonna' tell you again." D.L. courage is evident in his lack of wavering tone. He's solid. Ironically.

"Sir, with all due respect, we have information to the contrary," Anders, getting perhaps a little frustrated by shouting through the door, "Your wife has about a week before her… her friend comes back to visit, perhaps permanently. We can help, have no desire to keep her permanently and, moreover, wish to give you a briefcase full of unmarked notes in return for a minor favour. You /are/ still unemployed, correct?"

The woman who is being talked about in the other room? She's flattening herself against the dresser that sits next to the door, listening anxiously. The Company messenger's words suddenly strike Niki as if she's been physically hit - or perhaps, more aptly, doused with icy cold. Jaw tensing harshly, her gaze slants to the side, catching in a slender full-length mirror attached to the closet door.

Niki's reflection is considerably less uneasy. As a matter of fact, the blonde in the mirror has a salacious smirk in place, one identical brow lifted in some sort of challenge. Like this little offer is some kind of joke. Come on, do it. Can you really stop me?

"Let him in," Niki is all of a sudden rushing out of the bedroom before she even realizes her legs are moving, but at least she's in control of them. "Let. Him. In. I don't care about the money, D.L., but we have to do this. I have to let them keep helping me. I don't want her to come back." Desperation? Check.

Great. Just great. Now D.L. has to try and battle two people that want the same thing, neither of which is the right thing. Especially for him. Or his marriage. Or Micah. "Niki, no!" D.L.'s too busy with the making sure of staying between her and the door. In fact, he's rushing to her to grab her by the arms and hold. "We don't need your money!" is tossed over his shoulder to the fool on the other side of the door. His eyes are looking at Niki, though.

"Baby? Look at me." Yes. Time for D.L. to use The You Love Your Husband Stare(tm). "We don't need him. We don't need them." Not that he's too 'up' on just who 'them' are, but he's got a pretty good idea from 'dangerous'. "You can beat this, Niki. We can do this together. You and me. Micah." Yes, time to throw in the Micah Defense! "Jessica can't take all of us. She can't."

At least, D.L. hopes she can't.

"Very well, Mister Hawkins, I am authorised to sweeten the deal," Anders says, with a frustrated sigh, "We will stop pursuing you regarding Mr. Linderman's.. accident. We will leave you be once Miss Sanders' treatment is over and you can both go back to your regular day-to-days." Anders leans against the wall at the far side of the hallway, "All for just one little favour, I'm sure I can convince records to lose your files.. and the files on your boy, Mickey, was it?"

But she can and she has, hasn't she? Niki is, for a few scant seconds, a ragdoll when D.L. tries to stop her. She's soon standing firm, however, and trying to throw his hands off of her roughly - even as she looks in his eyes. Her gaze, too, is firm. It looks like she's already made the decision. "I wish I could say that's true," she tells him, just as sincere as she is defiant. "But you don't /know/ that. Do we really want to take that risk?!" When Anders continues with his offers, her head snaps around; her eyes all but burn through it. Then? She heads for it to throw it open. "Micah." Get it straight. She looks over her shoulder at D.L.; meanwhile, she clutches the doorknob so hard that it might loosen in its screws. "They've helped me before. They can do it again. It's time." Blue eyes swing back to Anders. "What do you want from us?"


D.L.'s left standing in the middle of the room. Because Niki's a blonde and well, that's pretty much enough said right there. He lowers his gaze to the floor as she listens to Niki open the door to her (and probably his and Micah's) doom. But the moment is short-lived, because he's turning around with all the anger and frustration of years of marriage possibly going down the drain in this exact moment. His eyes are narrowed and he looks through the now open door, glaring with the fury of a thousand angry slaves. No words. Nothing to say. Niki's made up her mind. The only thing he can really do is stand by her.

And pray.

"I think I want to come in, Miss Sanders, perhaps even sit and have a cup of coffee, but," Anders grins as the door is finally opened, shit-eating, even, "But, the Company just asks for a little favour, insignificant, really. we need some objects retrieved from a low-security location and passed on to a higher-security location. Shouldn't take Mr. Hawkins more than an hour, maybe two."

It's a good thing Niki can't see D.L.'s face. Her perspective on this situation is a different one, but it's not a comfortable one by any stretch of the imagination. She has nothing but suspicion and wariness for Anders. There's no gratitude here. It just… has to be this way. It has to. "You can stay right where you are," she retorts. No coffee for Anders. When he reveals what it is, in vague terms, that the Company wants, she scoffs through a humourless laugh. "Stealing. Of course." Yeah, she knows what all of that 'retrieval from low-security to high-security' crap means. Give the blonde some credit. She looks to D.L. for his answer. This is what they've been trying to get /away/ from.

Figures. Just figures. It had to be him. All D.L. ever wanted to do was provide for his family and live. That's all. How he got himself mixed up into all of this, well, the world may never know. He crosses his arms over his chest and shakes his head. "Forget it. I don't do those things no more. I'm clean." D.L.'s making a real effort here to not just punch the holy grin out of Anders. Niki's body being in the way is probably the only thing stopping him from doing so. "So. Thanks for stopping by. Sorry to waste your time." He steps up to place one hand on the door and another on Niki's shoulder. "Let's let the man go about his business, baby."

"Yes, stealing, Miss Sanders, though it is such a simple theft and it will set you up quite nicely. Perhaps you could return to Vegas?" Anders says, "We would be more than willing to finance your move to elsewhere." Then, turning his attention (and grin) to D.L., "As someone who is also trying to become "clean", Mister Hawkins, I commend your effort and willpower and am honestly very sorry that you won't take my money."

Then, Anders pauses, to pull a radio from his belt, press the talk button and say, "Dispatch, Hawkins and Sanders are no-gos, take Micke-.. My mistake, Micah, on to the facility, Skaargard over and out."

Niki closes her eyes for a few moments and lets out a long, tense breath as she just… deals. She's dealing, right up to the point where Anders talks into his radio. It might be a bluff. It probably is. But she can't take that chance, so she lashes out with the protectiveness of a mother and curls her fingers tightly around the man's hand - the one that was pressing those buttons on the radio. "You leave our son out of this," she says with an all-too-obvious undertone of 'or else' in her voice, forced through gritted teeth. "If your people never go after Micah again, and you're honest about the company helping me, leaving us alone…" Niki brusquely lets go of Anders and eyes the radio pointedly.

Or she can just pretend that D.L. hasn't said a word about telling this man where to shove it. Great. He really has to learn how to control his wife. This is insane. He finds himself sighing and leaning his head against the open door. This is becoming too difficult. Too dangerous. And he really wants to shove Anders through the wall and into the Roper's apartment, but they're old and probably not decent so, "I'll do it." is probably the only thing that's going to matter about him talking at this moment. "Just give me the details, and the money and leave."

Its half-expected, but the response still catches him off guard, the ambient temperature of the room dropping somewhere around two degrees before Anders catches himself and starts that damn grin again, "I didn't want to have to do that," the man says, before pressing the button again, "Dispatch, cancel last call, subjects are co-operative." He returns the radio to his belt and nods to D.L., "Actually, I believe you may want Niki to go with you, Mr. Hawkins, there may be some resistance," Anders suggests, pulling an envelope from his jacket pocket and handing it over, "Enclosed are all the details you require, addresses, a recon report, suggestions as to tactics.. We like our operatives to be prepared, even auxilliaries like yourselves." Anders is obviously enjoying this.

When she's satisfied - just barely - that Anders has called off his potentially BS crew, Niki steps away from the doorway, slinking to stand close at D.L.'s side. She seems slight in comparison to her imposing husband. Operatives? Auxillaries? She eyes the envelope warily as it's handed to D.L. and stays quiet, this time.

D.L. practically snatches the envelope, not exactly happy about all of this. He hates being blackmailed. Pun intended. "Stay away from my son." is the only thing on his mind and coming out of his mouth. He'll take care of the stupid little project. "The money?" He takes a step towards Anders, as if he's going to have to beat the cash out of him. Which he wouldn't mind doing, actually.
Still grinning at the big black man, the similarly big Norwegian takes a step aside and gestures towards the briefcase, one of those fancy stainless steel ones you see in movies, "Have fun with it, Mr. Hawkins, buy your wife a pretty dress," Anders says, "Oh, and Miss Sanders, once the objects are retrieved, feel free to drop by the hospital, our facilities are at your beck and call." With that, the man turns and heads out, whistling one of Foreigner's better songs.

Niki adjusts her folded arms, none of her tension about this whole scenario abating as she stands there in her PJs. (Which is /always/ what she's wearing, in some form or another, when Anders sees her, but she's far too preoccupied to realize that quirk.) When the man leaves, he gets no goodbye from Ms. Sanders, who slips past D.L. to grab the suitcase from the hall and lock the door once she, and the indeterminate amount of money, are back inside. Stalking through the living room, she tosses it on the couch without making any move to look inside of it; instead, she just collapses on the edge of the couch beside it, burying her face in her hands. Dealing.

No need to lock the door now. The evil has already been let in. D.L.'s not happy. Not with Niki. Not with the situation. Not with anything at the moment. Still, though, he has to take the lead in this bad situation. He looks at the envelope in his hands and just shakes his head. "Get dressed." is said to Niki, with that 'I can't believe you did this' tone to his voice. He had it under control and then she had to go off and be a woman. "Go get Micah. Get out of New York." Since she's got a briefcase of money, presumably, now. "I'll handle this." He holds up the envelope and heads to the bedroom.

The company is not a stupid organisation, within the envelope is a key to the briefcase and within the briefcase is.. a single slip of paper with an account number on it and details on how to withdraw the cash that will be deposited on receipt of the objects. Also, some wit has drawn a smiley face on the paper.

Niki lifts her head slowly, one hand catching in her unbrushed hair and running through its length while she watches D.L. disappear into the bedroom. "I'm not going /anywhere/!" she shouts. Good thing Monica's never home when this happens. She launches off of the couch, heading for the bedroom. "We had to do it, D.L. You think I WANT this? There's no other way." She stands in the doorway, bare arms crossing and a desperately contrary look on her face. "I'm going with you."

So not in the mood to argue. Not at all. "Fine." He tosses the contents of the envelope onto the bed and rolls his eyes. He's already moving over to the closet to yank it open and see what he may need to be wearing for this little operation. Which probably is bigger than he thinks. "After we're done, I'm taking Micah and I'm leavin'." Here we go again. He snatches up a jacket and tosses it on, before grabbing a hat and pulling it onto his bald head. "I'll be back in a hour. Be ready." Cold. D.L. is so cold right now. This does not bode well for the marriage… working together… team spirit.

Niki watches the items from the envelope spill onto the bed. Along with the key to the briefcase are papers, photographs; she's in the process of lifting up a printout, the type art dealers might show a prospective client, a small image of a painting. There are several. She's hardly paying attention to what she's looking at, some sort of biotoxin symbol in art; in fact, the picture flutters to the bed as she stares in wounded shock at D.L. "No… no," she insists, but rather than words of argument, they're choked. Like she's on the verge of crying. See what you did, D.L.! "Everything is going to better if we just do this one thing!"

"It's always one thing, Niki. Always." D.L. can't really stick around here right now. He has to go. Clear his head. Think. All of that bad stuff. "I'm pickin' up my son. Put on a happy face. He doesn't need to know what's going on." is explained, just in case Niki can't really comprehend it or something. His eyes soften a moment as he watches her. He doesn't like to make her cry but, dammit, sometimes ish just happens. He shakes his head and walks out of the bedroom, soon to be followed by the slamming of the front door. Not Quite Paradise, is it?

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