2008-03-02: Trusted Few


Niki_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Niki and Peter touch base.

Date It Happened: March 2nd, 2008

Trusted Few

New York City

Steam wanders through the alley beside Lucky Joe's Diner. Best not to ask where it's from; a random grate. March brings with it slightly warmer weather today, especially in the close confines of Manhattan. Niki is waiting in the alley, back near the end, out of the way of any doors that might open on either side. It's grimy, and dark, out of the sun that shines down on the many surrounding buildings, but well, it's a start. Her black stylized trench coat is left open today, and she strangles its sash while she waits. The soft femininity of the long, flowing white sleeveless shirt she wears is choked by the severe metal-link belt above her hips. Tight black jeans, those tall black boots. Blonde hair with more oomph than usual, giant waves in lieu of a ponytail. Niki is looking more and more like her counterpart every day.

Alley. Present day and time. The doors from the diner don't open to spill people into the alley, but someone does suddenly appear in it. The sound of footsteps could be heard approaching from the street, but likely drowned out for the most part by the taxis, up until it got close. When they are easily recognized as footsteps, there's feet to go along with them. Peter melts into view, glancing away from her as he does, as if he'd just turned around to check and make sure they're the only ones in the alley. When his eyes move back to her, the relief she'd heard in their brief phone call shows in his eyes. Dressed in a similar dark coat, he doesn't look like someone who passed out on the floor of his apartment just yesterday… A hand reaches out to touch her arm. To turn her invisible too? That might have been a safer idea. Instead, they pop from one location to another.

New Zealand

It's warmer where they end up. Closer to the equator, maybe? Or southern hemisphere. The wind tugs on his hair, pushing it along his forehead as his eyes open and he looks at her. "Figured it's safest if we meet… far away." And then he glances around… Hmmm. Does he have any idea where they are? It's picturesque, wherever it is. Green hills, blue skies, trees… the only sign of civilization is in the far distance. Looks like a farm of some kind.

Impatient isn't the word for what Niki is, but by the time Peter appears, she certainly looks to be on edge. Nothing new, these days. She opens her mouth to say something, but the word is lost in space and time as they're transported … somewhere.

" —Peter." Niki's voice hits the air in their new locale, and only vaguely registering the blue skies and green grasses, she attacks Peter in a hug. It's short-lived, but fierce. "Boy, am I glad to see you." She pulls back, only now really taking in the faraway land. "… Where are we?"

Hug. From her. Short lived as it is, it seems to have taken him by surprise, from the way he's still blinking for a time when she pulls back. Peter had been worried about her, enough he might have initiated a hug eventually, but… She asked him something. "What?" He glances around again. Oh, right. "I think we're… in New Zealand." Don't ask him where in New Zealand. He just thought of a picture. And maybe Lord of the Rings. No hobbit village, so they probably aren't on a movie set. When he looks back, that tug of a smile starts. "I'm glad to see you too. I tried to call you around… twenty times." The fact that he actually left messages showed how worried he was. But if she'd tried to call him last night… she'd have gotten switched to voicemail. Thanks to being knocked out by abilities. "What happened?"

Is that a farm? New Zeal— okay, she'll just go with it. "I ran into some trouble." It's the same line she gave Logan to explain her disappearance, but her tone is quite different — and for Peter, she actually explains herself. "The Company - they knew I was working for Pinehearst and— well, I wasn't going to tell them anything." There's a 'but'. Niki gives an unimpressed little roll of her eyes. "I guess you could say I was 'uncooperative'."

The Company. That definitely makes the smile go away. She might be unimpressed and rolling her eyes around, but Peter forgets about shedding his coat in the new warmth. "You still remember it… and you're not being held anymore…" It's something. But from the tightening of his jaw and the tension around his eyes… Without any thought to warn, his hand moves up, reaching toward her face. There's a purpose, an intensity as he tries to move her head and collar of her clothes enough to look at her skin. Specifically, he's looking at her neck, for the place that he's seen the mark one too many times. She could have had it for over a year, and he never thought to check until now, but recent events…

Niki looks sharply down at Peter's hand, not sure what he's doing and giving him a look that says as much. Her skin is flawless at her neck, bearing no telltale marks. "They locked me up." She tenses, glowering at the memory; looks like it wasn't exactly a stay at the Marriott. "Asked me questions about Nathan," she says bitterly. "I had to make a deal or they were never going to let me out." Maybe they would have. Maybe not intact. She couldn't take the chance.

There's some relief when his hand drops away, but the frustration doesn't disappear completely. Peter turns away, taking a few steps in rough grass. Finally undoing his coat so that he can pull it off and drape it over an arm— it's too heavy for a New Zealand late summer, even with the wind to offset some of the heat. "They've taken a lot of my friends recently," he says, explaining his anger, though not the action that he'd just done. Why do they mark some people and not others? He can't help but touch his own neck as he turns to face her again, glad that he only tossed on a black t-shirt instead of his usual layers. "What kind of deal did you make?"

Niki turns away also, just far enough to stroll along the hillside at a distance from Peter, in the same direction. Her gaze is downcast toward the foreign grass. "The agent who released me— he wants to use me as a kind of spy too. I'm supposed to tell him everything I know. He wants to take down Pinehearst. And Nathan. Or— Logan. And he wants me to help them do it."

A spy. When she already had been working against them in the first place. They hadn't needed to do that… Peter was already working against them. Anything she gave him that seemed useful for his mother's cause would have been given to his mother… but… He's going to have to call his mother again, isn't he? With the distance growing between them, he has to speak up a little. "Which Agent?" he knows a handful of them thanks to his experiences.

Niki comes to a slow halt, scuffing her boot in the grass before slowly looking up to Peter., vaguely curious as to why the name of the agent matters, but then, he does know more than she does. "Noah Bennet." There's a brief pause before she adds, "I got the impression that he either wants to kill Nathan or lock him up, and…" she shrugs one shoulder, expression dark. "I gotta say, Peter — the latter's not such a bad idea."

"Bennet," Peter repeats the name, shaking his head as he turns away a little again. There's a past there, and it seems to not be a good one. He glances down, shaking his head a little. "I understand why he's angry." Logan hurt his daughter. That's not something that's easy to forgive in any situation. "I do think locking him up might be an option, so I'm not completely against that… it might even help him get better. I'd rather it not be the Company who does it…" They might be the only ones who could. "He was taken in the future, too… that's… how they— we— even found out that Logan existed."

"If anyone locks him away, it should be us." Niki shares the same outlook there. "It's just … what we do after that." That ought to be a question. If they locked him up, what would they do then? She spends a moment looking down, brows knit. "Logan's going to go for President." The woman glances up under her brows. It shouldn't be news to

"I agree. I even got a place we could hold him," Peter explains softly, shifting his coat around to pull out a slip of paper. Luckily he didn't stick this into his wallet, or he wouldn't have it right now. Wallet is missing. In his various ransackings of the old office, he found a card. One person he trusts with the address just happens to be standing in front of him. "It's a meat packing plant. The Weichsel Carcass House. There was a cage left behind when they abandoned it. I've even brought in a generator for electricity… I'm holding someone there now. He… had been addicted to drugs. Mostly thanks to himself, but Logan didn't help matters. Once he's well enough to get out of the cage, I think he'll even help us hold Logan there."

Niki looks at the slip of paper, brow furrowing a touch at what Peter says — wariness builds up, and she can't help but look a little skeptical. She'd still be skeptical if she realized who the man in the cage was. "And you're sure this guy can be trusted when he's clean?"

"I trust him with this, more than I probably should," Peter admits quietly, keeping close. "In the future, where my brother was the President… Where Logan was…" He's starting to regret telling his brother about that. Did his personality decide to reach that high because of it? Or was it inevitable anyway? "The man I'm helping was the one who kidnapped Nathan and locked him up. Him and Ramon were the ones who found Logan. And he was the one who nearly died trying to protect my brother. Protect Nathan. He was my brother's closest friend. He was becoming that here too, until drugs got in the way."

That's … enough. For now, it's enough to now Peter trusts this man, even though she has her own reservations. There aren't many people she trusts at all anymore. People change. Niki just nods slowly, accepting. For now. "What if someone tries to find him?" she asks. "…Someone like Logan?"

"Logan is trying to find him," Peter states gravely, not sounding as if he's really pleased about that. "Considering Logan was the one supplying him with drugs after he was already addicted… used that to control him… It's definitely a good idea to keep them separated— Until Logan doesn't have the leverage to use against him. Until we have power over Logan." Instead of the other way around. It's important… "There's one other person besides you, Heidi and… him that I trust. You might know her. She works at a comic book store. Kory Alexander. She's been helping me for the last couple of months. With some pretty delicate situations. Including Nathan."

Kory. Recognition definitely sparks in Niki's eyes. "I know her," she confirms, but adds, with a shake of her head, "Sort of." Not very well, in other words. She seems thoughtful, distracted on some point, but comes 'round after a moment. "Logan doesn't want to tell me details," she says suddenly. "I have to pry things out of him or find out on my own. But— he wants me at his side."

"She's trustworthy. Though recently out of the hospital herself. Everyone seems to be having trouble these days… The Company doesn't know about her, as far as I know. And neither does Pinehearst, but she's a very strong ally," Peter says, showing trust by just telling her about the woman. It's a delicate situation. He doesn't go around dropping names an alliances very often, but… middle of nowhere. And he trusts this woman. Enough that he told her Heidi was alive. This is right up there with that. "He needs someone on his side…" There's a pause, though, a grimace. "He's not… the two of you aren't sleeping together still, are you?" When she didn't have her memory, he could understand that. She didn't know how things were going. But now…

Oh Christ. Niki visibly tenses, standing up a touch straighter, holding her head a bit higher with a toss of blonde hair, slightly defensive. Although she turns her face away, she eyes Peter, and his grimace, sidelong. A gaze that is harsh at first softens, though her expression does not, otherwise. "Should it matter?"

From the way Peter's eyes drop… it does matter. Possibly more than it should. There's upset. That's plain enough. Setting his jaw, he looks back up. "I should probably get you back to New York. Before anyone notices that you're gone," he even moves a little closer again, but doesn't reach out to grab her just yet. "Anything else before we leave here?" The coat's still hanging over his arm.

Anything else? On seeing the effect her evasive and defiant answer has, Niki's jaw tenses in turn, an unconscious mimic of Peter's. She looks up to the blue skies. Should it matter what he thinks? She doesn't want him to think any less of her. All the same. "I won't unless I think I have to," she tells him, voice thick. In the past, Niki wouldn't have, period, couldn't have — didn't, in fact, but now … her way of thinking has taken a slight shift. The blonde's intent gaze falls from the sky to Peter. "You have to understand that I have to make sure Logan trusts me. For all intents and purposes, as far as he's concerned — I have to be Jessica."

"No one should have to do that," Peter says in a tense way, but his jaw does loosen. It's not that she's wanting to. There's just… things that he knows that personality is capable of… She's strong enough to keep it from happening. It doesn't mean he has to like the idea that she might have to. "Maybe we can work together… use what trust he has in you to capture him ourselves." Would that be worth it? He'll have to hope it is…

Frowning, a storminess still clinging to her expression, Niki gives a subtle nod. "That could work," she sounds confident in that; almost cocky, but not quite. "Just give me time to find out more about what Pinehearst is working on first. And— for you to get your guy out of the cage." … Is this a weird conversation? This is a weird conversation.

It is a weird conversation. Peter nods in response, not quite sharing her confidence, but trying to remain optimistic. Unfortunately the steps she may have to take to retain his trust… "I'll let you know as soon as I think it's safe to let him out, as soon as he thinks it's safe." It's as much the man's decision as it is his. The detox stage won't take as long as the temptation stage. Moving his coat so that he can pull it back on, he holds out his hand to her. "Ready to go back to the States?"

Niki gives the countryside one last look around and manages to melt little pieces of her dire expression away bit by bit, smiling, albeit barely. "Ready as ever." It's nicer here! She curls her hand around Peter's, prepared for the sudden travel she knows is about to happen.

It's a rather sudden change. The temperature difference might be a relief. It'd started to get hot in too many clothes under the sun. The wind is cooler, biting at their skin. Peter doesn't let go of her hand right away, opening his eyes to glance around the alley. They're right back where they started. Activity sounds in the street, above them, everywhere. It had been pretty quiet in New Zealand. With the exception of wind and animals. "Be safe, Niki," he adds, squeezing her hand, before letting go of her hand. "I'm glad you're okay." He'd been worried about her, more than he got the chance to admit to before she hugged him.

It had been a nice day in New York, but it seems freezing now. A breeze whips through the alley, catching Niki's hair mere seconds after she appears with Peter. "You be careful, too," she says earnestly. They're both in dangerous positions. But that's nothing new. Maybe, just maybe, they're not as in over their heads as it looks.

"I'm still alive," Peter comments with an actual smile tugging on the corner of his mouth. With him that's actually quite a feat. With how often he's died, or almost died, and now he's without the ability to heal himself… He's not even trying that hard to get that ability back. "And I plan to stay that way." Can't save anyone dead, right? Before the smile fades away, he disappears completely, sliding transparent again. It's easier on him than teleporting again. She'll hear his footsteps carry him away until the sounds of the city drown out the rest.

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