At Fault


colette_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title At Fault
Synopsis Colette and Melissa stake out Nicole's apartment, waiting for the elder Nichols' return.
Date March 12, 2010

Solstice Condominiums - Nicole Nichols' Apartment

The weather outside isn't the only thing frightful tonight.

Colette Nichols has never been this panic stricken in her life, and the way the girl nearly hyperventilated inside of the Brick House was a clear sign to Melissa— who hardly knows her— that something was terribly wrong. The end result of that panic now sits on the stool in an extremely well-furnished kitchen of a richly appointed condominium on the upper east side of Manhattan. Keys resting on the island, Colette has turned on every light in the house, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, hallway, everywhere is lit and not a corner of the condo is darkened.

Sitting on that stool, Colette holds a handgun in one hand, tapping the side of it against one denim covered knee, and has a high-intensity LED in the other, rattling the chain with every nervous bounce of her knee. A courier bag is discarded on the kitchen table, and she's staring out the large uncurtained bay windows to the heavy snow falling down over much of the city's quiet streets. She risked curfew coming out here, and the redness around her eyes and running mascara where tears streaked down her cheeks is a clear indication of her frame of mind.

It's the only place Colette can think to go, her phone left on in her lap, waiting for a call that never comes. After the text message and photograph she received from an unknown number, depicting her sister and Emile Danko, she's been an absolute nervous wreck. Perhaps it's good for her that she brought a friend along, even if she hasn't fully explained what's going on.

Swallowing dryly, Colette looks up from her lap, around the kitchen, then tests the LED with a touch of the button, filling the wall in front of her with a brilliant white light before it shuts off. Breathing in deeply, she exhales a shuddering breath, biting down on her lower lip before turning attention towards the silhouette of the dressed in black blonde standing in the living room.

"She's— gotta come home." Colette's been saying that for hours, and all she's said is that Emile Danko may have murdered her sister. Sitting there in the kitchen, trembling from head to toe, the frightful feeling running through Colette's body right now is a pain that Melissa Pierce can't take away with her ability.

Melissa stands near Colette, doing her best to calm and comfort her. She doesn't really get what's going on, and no clue who Danko is, but she can calm and comfort! "Of course she will. She'll walk in that door any time now," she says, touching Colette's shoulder lightly. "You want to try to give her another call?"

"No." Comes the sharp response, just shaking her head once. "If— If he has her I don't want him to know if I got the message or not." The dark-haired teen's voice quavers when she says that, brows tensed and green eyes flicking over to Melissa. "I— we— we hh— have to try and keep— keep ahead of him or he'll kill us all." There's an unsteady swallow, green eyes wide and jaw trembling. The teen looks up to Melissa, trying to keep herself from breaking down and calling Judah, trying to keep from panicking until she is absolutely sure something is wrong.

"D— Danko— Danko's Humanis First." The organization's name comes heavy and dry like sandpaper off of her tongue. "He almost killed my friend Joseph, b— burned his church to the ground, hung— hung my friend Felix and tortured him…" her hands shake, fat tears swell up in her eyes and dribble down her cheeks.

"O— " Her voice cracks, "Oh God, p— please don't— " she croaks out a tiny little sound similar to a whimper. "God, please don't do this to me."

Nicole isn't entirely unused to seeing her windows lit up from the outside when she knows she left her lights off. Anyone who wanted to get the drop on her would have left them that way, rather than risk turning one on. But all of them? Colette, what a waste of electricity! Nicole stares down at her hands, little crackles and pops of blue between her knuckles. Then again, she's a worse drain than the lights are.

Outside the door, the keys jingle in the lock before it turns to allow Nicole admission. Slightly wobbly on spindly stilettos and dressed in her party dress with no coat, she drops her purse and her keys by the front door, scurrying into the condo quickly with a shove of the door to close it behind her. "Sissy!" she greets jovially, holding out her arms to wrap the other girl in a big hug before planting a kiss on her mouth.

Which is about the time Nicole realises a couple of things. One, that her sister is carrying a gun. Two, that there is someone else in her home. With a giggle, and wiping her lips with the pad of her thumb, Nicole looks at Melissa. "Uh, hi!" Turning back to Colette, her brows hike in a quizzical expression. "What's eating you? And since when did you own a gun?" There's no scolding. After all, Nicole carries one in her purse, too.

Melissa grimaces with disgust at the name of Danko's organization. "I've heard about him. One of my friends doesn't like him either. I've never met the guy though, I don't think. No idea what he looks like. I ever see him though, I promise I'll make sure he doesn't hurt anyone ever again."

Then she's looking over to Nicole, smiling faintly. "Know we've never met, but….glad to see you alive and well," she says with a vaguely amused tone.

The gun is clenched tighter in Colette's hand at the embrace, cheeks flushing red at the greeting of a kiss, and Colette keeps the LED pinched in her hands as she squirms back on the stool, dark brows raised and where horror once was there is relief. Swinging an arm out Colette lays the handgun down on the counter without adjusting the safety and throws her arms around Nicole's shoulders from her seat on the stooltop.

Immediately breaking down into a blubbering exchange of tears and sobs, Colette buries her face in her sister's neck, not really noticing the smell of alcohol on her or the stink of cigarettes, the latter is much more common than the former. Reaching up to lace the fingers of her free hand through the back of Nicole's hair, Colette breathes out another hiccuped sob before turning her tear-dampened cheek over and pressing a kiss to Nicole's neck, nuzzling her nose there and then slowly disengaging.

At least she has the presence of mind not to slap her sister.

"I— thought— thought you were dead." Colette breathes out in a shuddering sob after the word, reaching up to wipe at her eyes with the back of her black hoodie, smudging makeup running down her cheeks again. Swallowing noisily, green eyes flick up to her sister… she's drunk isn't she?

Huffing out another breath, Colette looks over to Melissa' brows raised and lips tightly pressed together, almost laughing awkwardly as tears dribble down her cheeks again. She'd panicked over little more than a confusing encounter, but she's still going to need moral support for the talking to Nicole is going to get.

Maybe she's going to need to add one more name to that list she mentioned to Ygraine and Melissa earlier.

Nicole laughs in her own light-hearted and confused manner as Colette expresses her relief that the older Nichols girl isn't dead. It's the echoed sentiment of how Melissa greeted her. That's a strange thing to hear. "Silly goof," Nicole chides, "Didn't you get the photo? I was just at the club!"

Older sister strokes younger's hair until she pulls away. "Oh my gosh," she starts, "Desperado is a hoot! You and your girlfriend should come with me next time!" Dark brows furrow, eyes lower and the expression turns to one of consternation. "No, wait. You're underage!" That deep thought disappears and Nicole simply laughs it off. "Well, in a couple of years when you can drink, you and your girlfriend should come with me! It will be the best time ever!"

Nicole finally leans back and starts brushing tears from Colette's face with care. "What has gotten into you, sweetie? I sent you a text to let you know I was going to go out tonight." Not like when Colette disappears for weeks.

Melissa leans against a wall, arms folding over her chest. For the moment it seems as though she's content to let the sisters chat. Colette's look to her has her smiling reassuringly, however.

Anger now more so than relief laces through Colette's features as she reaches for the phone in her lap. Flipping it open, the girl holds up the picture that was sent to her phone, brandishing the glowing screen in Nicole's face before slamming the phone down on the kitchen island. "That was Emile Danko!" She practically screams at the top of her lungs, voice cracking and face turning red, shoulders heaving and tears welling up in her eyes again. The dark-haired teen breathes in a shuddering breath, and between Else's blood-spraying, white-eyed, sybillic rantings and now this, the young girl's been pulled thin today.

"He— " She grabs the phone again, waving it at Nicole to make a point, "This is the guy who burned down Joseph's church! Humanis First!" Her voice raises, frenzy, paic, anger, all the things that Danko probably wanted her to feel, that sense that she can't ever be safe again.

"He could've killed you…" That part comes out far less than angry, more pleading and terrified. A helpless look goes to Melissa, teeth worrying at Colette's lower lip before she looks back to Nicole. "He could've killed me." Introductions will come next, because eventually, Colette's going to need to sober Nicole up if the conversation doesn't, and explain some things to her.

The amount of anger does make the smile run away from Nicole's face and quell the laughter. The explanation even more so. Nicole sits down on the second stool at the kitchen island heavily. "Holy shit," she whispers. "Sissy, I am so sorry," she starts, shaking her head frantically. "I had no idea. I swear. He said his name was William Henrickson and he… He looked at me and he saw you." Their familial resemblance is strong. It's not surprising anyone who knows one Nichols girl would peg the other as her sister. "He knew your name, he knew your face, he knew your ability, he…

"He was… so unassuming. And he talked to me like the people you hang out with talk to me when they don't really want me to know what's going on." Like when John Logan or Robert Caliban talk of owed favours. Nicole hides her face in one hand, smudging her eyeliner and flaking her mascara slightly. "I am so sorry. Oh, fuck."

Melissa pushes away from the wall to start towards the sisters. "Hey…let's just all calm down for a bit, okay? Colette…your sister is fine. Look, she's here, safe. And now she knows who this Danko guy is so she can be prepared next time." She looks to Nicole then. "And maybe to be a little bit more paranoid…which is a shame. We shouldn't have to be paranoid all the time," she murmurs.

Green eyes divert to Melissa and Colette furrows her brows, offering a subtle nod of agreement. She's glad she brought Melissa here, otherwise she might have just spun herself out of control like she's often wont to do emotionally. Reaching out and resting a hand on Nicole's shoulder, giving it a squeeze, Colette leans in, pressing her nose to Nicole's shoulder in a gentle show of affection before teeth toy with her lower lip in thought. The young girl nods her head a few times, slowly, and then very carefully extricates herself from the stool she's on, settling one foot down on the floor, then the other creakingly slow. She favors her right leg, reaches for her cane and takes a couple of steps to stand in front of Nicole.

"Nicole…" Colette's voice is a little croaking in quality, as she turns to the side and waves a hand towards Melissa. "This— this is my friend Melissa. We… work together. It's my fault— about Danko— about— " Colette reaches up and rakes thin fingers through her hair, green eyes angled back to her sister. "I should've warned you about him a long time ago, and— and I've been keeping all this— this shit from you."

Leaning in to wrap one arm around Nicole's shoulders, Colette presses a kiss to her sister's temple and then leans back, resting her heels down on the floor again. "Melissa's totally right though and— and I'm so sorry. He— he was trying to send some sick message or something, I— I don't even know. I gotta start keeping you in the loop… I— " she looks at Melissa, uncertainly, then back to Nicole. "I gotta bring you in."

Nicole wraps her arms around Colette just as soon as she's close enough for her to do so. A small nod is given in Melissa's direction by way of greeting before she simply buries her face against Colette's shoulder. She focuses simply on breathing and listening for the moment.

Finally, the elder Nichols lifts her head and asks, "Bring me into what?"

Melissa touches Colette's shoulder lightly, the one not taken up by Nicole. The look she gives Colette clearly says 'be careful', but she doesn't try to stop any explanation as she takes a few steps away to sit down.

"It can wait until you're sober…" Colette breathes out the words against her sister's cheek, head resting on Nicole's and one arm around her. Having just heard today that a little girl lost her twin sister to the virus, it's hard for Colette not to feel some burning empathetic need to reaffirm her relationship with Nicole, to smooth over their ruffled feathers and get a start back on the right foot again. They've both had their turn of keeping secrets from the other, and both times it wound up in tears and unfortunate tragedy. It might be time now to just come clean.

"Melissa…" One word can have a lot of texture, and Colette's tone of voice is somewhere between thankful and apologetic, a layered mix of both. "I— Th— thanks for— I would've gone insane without your help. I— I owe you, big time." There's a weak and weary smile from the teenager, and she looks to Nicole with a hesitant smile, closing her eyes and resting her forehead against Nicole's.

When she finally leans away, there's a look to the clock on the wall, just before midnight now. Colette exhales a breath, bringing a hand up to her face and wiping at smudged makeup. "It's— late. Probably better if you don't risk curfew again… You can stay here tonight, the couch is comfortable, and you can catch a taxi back to Summer Meadows in the morning. I'll— get you some blankets, sis keeps the temperature stupid low because of her ability."

Dark brows lift, Colette offers a weary smile, and lacing her fingers between Nicole's on one hand, Colette just gives a little squeeze. "Tomorrow, we've got a lot to talk about, and— " Colette's green eyes dart over to Melissa. "Whenever you need a favor, anything— " She's earned more than Colette's trust tonight, "all you gotta' do is say the word."

Nicole nods weakly, reluctantly withdrawing when her sister is doing so. In recent weeks, their roles have been reversed and older has needed to lean upon younger far more. Maybe it's something to do with the way the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Colette receives a sharp look when she mentions that Nicole even has an ability in front of Melissa. It isn't so much that she doesn't trust her sister's judgement as it is that she feels that she's the one who should be telling others about her ability. "You can turn up the thermostat," she murmurs, sliding off the stool and moving over to the sink, plugging it before she flips on the faucet, letting the water run and fill up half the granite basin.

Turning so she can rest her back against the counter, Nicole offers Melissa a smile. "You can sleep in Colette's room. I put a space heater in there since she gets cold at night. Colette can sleep in my room." The tap is flipped off via a slightly awkward hand reached behind her, but Nicole doesn't make any move to utilise the water she's drawn just yet.

Melissa glances between them for a moment then smiles and shakes her head. "No, I'll head home. Got a puppy who is no doubt scratching at the door to be let out. Thanks though. I appreciate the offer."

A noise erupts in the back of Colette's throat at Melissa's decision to go home, nervously eyeing the clock before turning to look back at the blonde. Normally she'd help Melissa get back home, but the last thing she wants to do is leave Nicole alone after running in to Danko. Huffing out a sharp breath, the brunette moves across the floor with a clomp of her boots, coming over to Melissa and laying a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently. "Hey— just— be careful okay? Don't get nailed by the cops, they might not be out as much 'cause of the snow, just— just please be careful. I dunno what I'd do if something happened to you 'cause I dragged you out here. I just— I didn't know what to expect."

Turning to look at Nicole by the sink, Colette arches one dark brow and then looks back to Melissa, smiling faintly. "She's, ah, gotta— " Colette waggles her fingers in the air, "it's pretty cool to watch. Um— " Shaking her head, she awkwardly lifts her hand off of Mel's shoulder. "Seriously. If— if you ever need me for anything at all, just— just call. And fuck, be careful…"

Though Colette isn't looking her direction to see it, Nicole is shooting her little sister another look. Melissa doesn't need to know what that sink of water is for. Though that look isn't anywhere close to being cast at the blonde. She's certainly not at fault here. "If you get picked up, you tell them to call me and I'll handle it," she assures her. "Be careful, though."

Melissa smiles. "I'll be fine. I promise. And you don't owe me jack. This is what I do, darlin'." Someone apparently has watched Serenity entirely too much. "But if you need anything, either of you, give me a call, hmm? I mean it. And Nicole? Don't beat your sister up too much. She's just had a stressful day. Go easy on her, hmm?" she suggests, moving towards the door.

Awkward glances back over her shoulder towards Nicole come with a lopsided smile as Colette carries herself with a limping progression towards the front door of the condo behind Melissa. Leading her to the door, Colette's quiet the whole while, stealing furtive glances out the windows she passes, waiting to see one particular man's terrifying and cadaverous face staring back in through the glass at her like in her nightmares. At the door, she quietly unlocks it and brings it open, revealing the heavily falling snow and white-laden streets. Colette smiles, nodding once, and looks out to the desolate and carless roads dusted with several inches of snow.

"Thanks…" Colette says in a hushed breath, brows up and head tilted down humbly, "for everything, today." There's a glance over her shoulder, and then back to Melissa as she lets the blonde out and onto the icy stoop of the condo. "I appreciate— "

All the lights flicker in the apartment and there's a loud fzzt from the kitchen.

"Everything…" Colette adds with a twitch of her brow, cracking an awkward smile as the lights in the apartment wink back on. "Thanks— again." When she shuts the door, there's a weary sigh behind it, and Melissa can see the light by the front door flicker twice more from a power surge, blue lights sparking at the kitchen window at the front of the condo.

They're definitely related.

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