Can Time Heal All Wounds?


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Scene Title Can Time Heal All Wounds?
Synopsis Niki is left grieving after an unexpected video message from her son. Peter once again witnesses her breakdown first-hand.
Date November 5, 2010

Hamilton Heights Apartments - Sanders/Petrelli Residence

Darkness blanketed New York well before night had fallen, due to the heavy clouds overhead weeping rain down upon the City. It makes things smell clean, deceptively so. Gives a false sense of newness. For some, rain is soothing. Many allow it to lull them to sleep.

For others, the chilling rain serves as an apt metaphor. The blonde woman lying on the kitchen floor of the apartment seems to fit in with the more depressing comparisons one can make about rain. She, like the clouds, is weeping. Somewhere in the living room lays a cell phone, the screen cracked, though still functional, from the impact of being thrown against the wall. It could have been in pieces, or embedded in drywall.

The scent of rain can't cover up the lingering scents in the shared Sanders-Petrelli residence. Liquor and vomit being the most prevalent. One likely having caused the other, and having washed it away again. Even the open windows can't dissipate it entirely. Water collects in the low spots around the sink embedded in the kitchen bench, and dampens the living room carpet and curtains.

From her place on the floor, her slender fingers wrapped around the neck of a mostly-empty bottle of Irish whiskey, Niki Sanders can see a her that isn't her in the full-length mirror. The opposite hand is stretched out toward it, fingertips meeting her reflection. "Di'we brin' this on 'im?" she slurs.

"Niki," Jessica responds far more soberly, crouched on the floor on the other side of the mirror and touching fingers with her sister, "we've come too far for this. We've made too much progress. We've almost got him. Linderman—"

"Forget Linderman!" Niki shouts. The breath she inhales through her nose is wet sniffle. "I don't even care about that anymore. I lost my baby again. I lost my boy." She drags herself further into the corner she lays in so she can prop her back up against the wall where the second mirror used to be mounted. She takes a long drink from the bottle in her fist.

"You're drinking us to death," Jessica growls. Her eyes should be narrowed, posture threatening. Instead, those grey-blue orbs are wide, frightened of what Niki might manage to do to the both of them if she doesn't stop her. "How is that going to serve Micah? We have to find D—"

Keys jingling in the hallway, scraping against the deadlock before hitting their mark silence the woman in the mirror. Then, she vanishes, leaving Niki alone with just herself, and presumably her returning roommate.

The door opens hastily enough to indicate that the man coming in heard part of the self-inflicted argument down the hall. When Peter Petrelli sweeps in to the apartment he shares with Niki he looks something like a drowned, bearded rat. His dark hair is swept back from his face, soaked through and through by the cold rain. His black peacoat is beaded with water, tracking dirty mud in as he stops in the doorway, keys still in the door staring into the apartment as his nose rankles.

"Niki," Peter sharply whispers as he leaves the door open, keys hanging out of the lock, and rushes to the kitchen where he can barely see her propped up on the floor with her back against the wall. It isn't until he sees the bottle in her hand that he stops moving, his expression turning from one of worry to one of frustration.

Dark brows furrow, lips downturn into a lopsided frown, and as much as Peter Petrelli wanted to be sympathetic, judgemental replaces it. He just doesn't know any better.

"Niki, what… the hell're you doing?" It's with all the disappointment of a reproachful parent, his tone all but decrying her own drunken state and explaining his disappointment in her.

Surly, Niki squints at Peter until his shape becomes recognisable. "Micah's gone!" she wails, punctuating this declaration with a drunken swing of the hand wrapped around the bottle. Her sobs begin anew, loud and hoarse from having likely been at it for a long time before Peter arrived. "I shou've gone'a China. I shou've tried'a help on tha' stupid mission." Her head thunks back against the wall heavily, a keening whine escaping her slightly parted lips and clenched teeth. "Micah," is her drawn-out and forlorn lamentation.

Guilt crosses Peter's face, guilt that could easily be misinterpreted for his involvement with Rebel, not with his murder of Micah in Midtown on the day he set the city ablaze with nuclear fire. In essence, he'd killed Micah twice. Swallowing tightly, Peter offers a look down to the floor, then lifts his hand to smooth over his mouth, scrubbing at his beard before he shakes his head from side to side and moves towards where Niki sits on the floor.

Crouching at her side, he lifts a hand to carefully brush her bangs back from her face. He can't tell her not to greive, that would be too hypocritical, even for a Petrelli. "C'mon," Peter breathes out the words softly, "let's get you up off the floor." Reaching down to take the bottle, Peter's fingers wind around it carefully as he adds. "I'm gonna' need this if I'm gonna catch up with you, right?"

Drinking buddy humor.

"S'mine," Niki protests half-heartedly, tightening her fingers around the bottle for a moment. She still has the presence of mind to stop when she feels it about to crack, finally relinquishing. "I'm no' finished with it ye'," she warns. When she blinks, her eyes lid heavily and stay that way for a moment too long before she's peering at him again. "It's not your fault, you know."

Only Niki Sanders would seek to reassure Peter that he shouldn't be upset, when she's in the midst of a self-destructive fit of grief and rage. "Nobody… Nobody could'a seen it coming. I didn't do enough'ta protect him. I… I led us to this." Her blonde head shakes, finally allowing Peter to start to drag her to her feet. "I… did all th'wrong things. F'r wha' I thought were th'right… Reasons."

Lifting the bottle up to set it down on the kitchen counter, Peter takes one of Niki's hands in his and slides his arm around her waist, then hooks her arm around his shoulders as a soft yellow-white glow exchanges between the two. Suddenly all that tire and fatigue is gone, and Peter levers himself up into a standing position with superhuman strength easing Niki up off the floor and onto her feet.

"It's not your fault either, Niki. You weren't the one who did that to him, you weren't the one who kidnapped him in the first place. You tried, and…" Peter isn't good at pep talks, not about matters like this, where he still can't quite help himself, where he hasn't taken the steps to find forgiveness, and likely never will.

"C'mon, it's… late. You need to get yourself some sleep. A shower. Something, but not this…" Brown eyes close, and Peter nudges his chin towards the living room, not even going to try and take her further than the sofa if sleep is something she thinks she can manage. "You're not alone now, so no acting like it."

Niki's grumblings are weak at best, having consumed too much alcohol to really continue to come up with a coherent argument for why she deserves to be alone. She settles onto the couch, and then leans heavily against her roommate. "I keep… Failing him. Over and over. Couldn't make enough money. Couldn't keep th'family together. Couldn't protec'im from Linderman…"

Tears flow anew, growing fat in the corners of her eyes before spilling down Niki's cheeks. "Couldn't save 'im from the 'splosion. Couldn't get to the fucking hospi'al on time. Couldn't… stop what was comin'." She turns her face into Peter's shoulder, shaking silently as she gives upon words and settles for sobs.

Dark eyes fall shut, and as Peter feels Niki turning towards him, his arms wrap around her shoulders and one hand comes to the back of her head. There's nothing in his constant sense of guilt that says he can't be sympathetic, even if he is — in some horrible irony — the source of most of her current problems. He can't help but feel responsible for this, but not responsible enough to tell her the truth.

What good would that do?

Swallowing tightly, Peter tightens his embrace around Niki, curling fingers into her hair. Words won't make her pain go away, telling her not to feel terrible won't do anything either. He had feared something terrible was going to happen to Rebel, but this confirmation is all he really needed to know for sure.

Shifting his weight towards Niki, the couch springs groan under Peter and Niki's combined weight, and he just holds her. Nothing to say, no arguments to make. Sometimes, the best way to heal someone is to let the wound heal all on its own.

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