2007-03-11: Whispers Of Trouble

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Summary: While D.L. stashes the goods after The Heist, Niki wakes Micah up in the early hours of the morning to talk to Micah.

Date It Happened: March 11, 2007

Whispers of Trouble


Monica's Residence, New York

It's late in the evening, so late, in fact, that it constitutes as painfully early Tuesday morning. Into the darkness of Monica's more-crowded-than-usual apartment steps Niki. She's alone, although she didn't start out that way when she left with D.L. this morning, long before Micah came home from school. She takes care to shut the door behind her with the softest click possible, then she pulls off her boots and begins to sneak her way through the residence. But it's not her home, and in the dark, shapes are unfamiliar; she bumps into a stand, sending a photograph of Monica's Nana toppling over with a rattle outside of the room Micah sleeps in.

Jerking his head up, and his eyes opening wide, Micah is pulled out of sleep quickly, with dreams washing away in a snap. Good bye, Candy Mountain. Rubbing his knuckles into the socket of one eye, he lets out a loud yawn, then frowns. "… Mom?" He looks to the clock, then back over to her. "Mmf… where were you all day? You said you'd call and bring ice cream." He says in a groggy, tired fashion as he pushes himself up in the bed, hugging the blanket around his body to keep warm.

Niki is in the process of righting the picture frame when Micah calls out; she looks up from the task, craning her neck to peek through the crack of the door. "Hey, baby," she says in carefully hushed tones. She makes her way into the room, being even more cautious; she doesn't want to wake up Monica if she's nearby - not that she can tell in the dark. She crouches down beside Micah's bed, hands on her knees. She looks tired. Distraught. But that doesn't stop the loving smile from spreading across her face for Micah. "Ssshhh. I'm sorry. Definite raincheck on the ice cream. Come sit with me for a second," she says, reaching for his little hand with the intent to lead him from the bedroom.

".. Where's daddy at?" Micah reaches out for her hand as he clutches it, pulling himself to his feet. He's wearing a warm pair of jammies, complete with booties for those cold New York nights. He can see that she doesn't sound too happy, even in the dark, and so a frown tips it's way upon his lips. He waddles after her, his fuzzy feet making soft scuffing noises on the hardwood beneath them.

Niki winds her way out of the room with Micah in tow, heading for the living area, where she turns on a lamp to feeble light into the room. "Did I really promise you ice cream?" she says over her shoulder with a playful little smirk, but— wait. See those worry lines and the honestly questioning look in her eye? Gaps in her memory? Uh oh. "Your dad and I had some stuff to get done that took longer than we expected. He's still out… but he'll be home soon," she assures Micah. Yet there's a wondering tone to her voice, as if she's reluctant to say it.

".. Yes.. you promised ice cream…" Micah says as he squints his eyes at her for a moment, then begins to study her face, the way her mouth moves, how she tilts her head, how she speaks. His arms cross over his chest, forming a pout upon his lips. "What kinda stuff? Where is he?" Don't make him GPS track his cell phone! ".. is everything alright, mom?" He questions, his voice drawing into concern.

"Sorry, it's just been a long day, baby," Niki says with a gentle frown as she continues to look over her shoulder and down at Micah. "Job stuff. And yeah," she adds, quirking a confident smile - the very kind that tends to be reserved just for him, bright and shiny and heartening. The kind that says 'it's all going to be okay'. Unfortunately, when she has to put that smile on, it usually means everything is about to go to hell. She turns about to crouch on one knee and be eye level with Micah, searching out his gaze, making sure it locks on. Slowly but surely, that smile fades. "It's /gonna/ be. But when your dad comes home…"

"It's going to be? Mom, just .. be honest with me. I'm not stupid." Leaning away a bit, Micah crosses his arms over his chest, looking frustrated, and more than nervous now as he wrings his hands together. ".. Am I even talking to my mom right now? I'm not talking to 'her' am I?" Ouch. It seems that last few months really toughened him up some. He won't go through another round of that, where he finds his mom and dad fighting, and he's being forced to rig voting machines, and guns, definitely not in the mood for guns.

"It's /me/, Micah, it's your mom," Niki insists, keeping eye contact: Micah's dark eyes with her blue ones, which seem darker, now, in the dim light. There's obvious worry in them, as much as she tries to hide it-he's her world. This is definitely Niki in control. She holds onto Micah, one hand on each of his arms, perhaps to stop his squirming, but it's a firm, affectionate grip, not a rough one. "Listen to me, Micah. When your dad comes home," she repeats. She IS being honest. She owes Micah that. "He might… he might say some things. He's just mad right now, but everything's going to be okay. I'm not going to let him do anything to change that."

With a loud huff, and a flare of his nostrils, Micah jerks himself away from his mother's grasp, or at least he tries to. "Mom! I don't want to go through this again! Why can't we just be a normal family?! I don't want you, and daddy mad, or yelling, or getting in danger." He may be jumping to conclusions, but with his family's track record, it's enough to make anyone leap. "What /happened/?" He asks.

Niki lets go of Micah and frowns, pained by the way he breaks away. She plants her hands on her thighs as she crouches, watching him with sympathy all but overflowing in her eyes. "I want to be a normal family too. Believe me, I am /trying/," he says firmly, a hint of frustration leaking into her words unbidden. She pauses. There's something to say for being honest with her son, but explaining the details of why exactly D.L. is pissed off is something else entirely. Niki chooses her words carefully. "The place that I went to, to get better… they want me to keep seeing them, so that I don't get sick again," she says, and her voice becomes slightly tremulous and forced, because she's thinking about earlier in the evening, when the Company seemed to be so very wrong. But she keeps on explaining, willing her voice to be firm. "So we had to do something for them. But now we're even," she smiles, "It's just that your dad—" And so quickly her mouth twists into another frown; Niki hesitates, looking off to the side.

"But.. but…" Micah says, his eyes widening, glossy, and wet with frustrated emotion. ".. what about dad? What did you do for them?" He asks. With slumping shoulders, he lets out a whistling sigh, running his hands back through the coils of dark hair upon his head, leaning back into the couch's cushions.

"He's just scared. It's not his fault," Niki says with a shake of her head. She might not be making a lot of sense, which she realizes, but… she sighs, standing up just enough to sink onto the edge of the couch. She reaches out for Micah once more. "We just did them a favour. It's not important. But your dad, he's got it in his head that things are gonna go wrong somehow." Like they always go wrong. D.L. probably has his head on straight.

"Mom, I really need to go back to bed." Micah says in a tired voice, obviously unable to process all of this at.. four in the morning. "I.. I just.. I'll.. talk to you after school tomorrow, kay'?" He says as he lets out a sigh, leaning in to give her a firm hug. "We'll get through this, together." The confidence of a child is amazingly sober, isn't it?

Sometimes - no, make that /repeatedly/ - Niki is just blown away that she raised such an amazing kid. She clings to Micah when he hugs her, pressing him to her firmly and closing her eyes. She doesn't let him go to bed right away - she's reluctant to let go at all tonight, resting her chin on top of his mop of curls. "I'm not going to let anyone take you away from me," she says. While it's most definitely said to Micah, it has the feel of a mantra. "And I'm not going to go away any more. I'm gonna be here for you, Micah. Every day. I promise." Finally, Niki sits back, her face suddenly brightened by a smile. "I'm sorry I woke you up," she taps his nose. "Now get to bed! Tiptoe, you don't want to wake up your cousin."

When his mom gets weird like that, talking about people taking him away, and such, Micah can't help but feel that there's a world of things out there she isn't telling him. But, he puts on a brave front regardless, because who knows, one day he may be the man of the house, or out on his own. He has to be a survivor, just like his parents. Hugging her tightly, his hands gather up fists of her shirt in his squeeze, whispering out a soft 'love you', then pulls away to amble back to bed, rubbing at his eyes. Hopefully he'll squeeze in those last three hours of sleep, before he has to wake up, and run to the bus stop.

"Love you too," Niki says back, lowering her voice to a whisper. She watches Micah go with a smile and watches the door he left through for a long time… or a few minutes at least. By that time, of course, there's no hint of her former smile. "Come on, D.L…." she murmurs under her breath. She closes her eyes, steeling herself, but shivers in the end. Niki doesn't head to bed herself, not yet. She'll wait here, battling her memories and lack thereof, until he comes back safe and sound.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License