Did You Know Allen Rickham?


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Scene Title Did You Know Allen Rickham?
Synopsis Peter Petrelli arrives at the home of Nicole Nichols, the bringer of bad news. A hero has been lost.
Date November 8, 2010

Solstice Condominiums - Nicole Nichols' Home

"Sissy, it's one-thirty and this is like— Message number seven. Please just call me and tell me you're okay. Or text me. I don't even care. Just let me know. And for fuck's sake, stay the fuck inside or I swear I will—" Nicole Nichols sighs heavily into her BlackBerry. "Just call me, okay? I love you." The little red button is pushed to end the call. The television is on, tuned into CNN where Randi Kaye is talking about the riots in New York from the safety of a studio.

The end of the world is yet again being televised.

It's a sobering account of events. Solstice Condominiums must feel like the eye of the hurricane at the moment, with its relative distance from the madness that started on Roosevelt Island and has begun to spread out elsewheres. The news coverage is just now showing four square blocks of Queens on fire, smoke rising up in a choking plume into the air. Sporadic violence out in the Bronx far north of Manhattan too. How many times are they going to show the same shot of Mayor Lockheart arriving via helicopter to the home offices of the FBI in Manhattan?

When the broadcast switches over, it's showing live footage of Miller Field on Staten Island, a reporter with her hair whipping around has view of a Chinook helicopter landing behind her, matte black with the words FRONTLINE stenciled along the side. From the back ramp, three figures in matte black body armor and visored helmets are marching out to meet members of the National Guard, US Army and local law enforcement.

Across the bottom of the screen, the ticker is explaining about an explosion in Atlantic City, just over the river.

Right about then, there's a knock on Nicole's door.

Outside and in the light of the hallway, Peter Petrelli is tiredly looking at the watch on his wrist, faceplace cracked and digital display showing the time as too long after noon to be good. He hasn't slept now going on three days, and Claire's ability is the only thing keeping his body from breaking down. His mind, well, he's working on that.

Unshowered, dried blood crusted in his beard and hair disheveled, his dark jeans hide the fact that his legs were soaked from the knees down in someone's blood less than a day ago. Bullet holes in his shirt have no wounds beneath them, and his tanktop is tattered and frayed. His jacket, shoulder torn to reveal threads, looks like it's seen better days too.

"Miss Nichols?" He sounds a little nervous. For good reason.

The knock on the door doesn't register right away over the sound of the television. When it does, Nicole's brows furrow and she picks the remote up off the coffee table to press mute, dropping it back down onto the cushions of the couch on her way over to the door. She peers out the peep hole in her door before she opens it up to the man in the hallway.

She was half-expecting Robert Caliban. "Peter Petrelli?" Nicole is surprised to say the least to see the brother of her political rival on her doorstep, especially considering he's a wanted terrorist. The fact that he's speckled in blood doesn't make it any less disconcerting. "Perhaps you should… come inside." She opens the door wider and gestures inside her home.

Being recognized, these days, is a detriment. Being the brother of the President, the unpopular brother of an unpopular president who also happens to be a building-demolishing terrorist has its drawbacks. When the door is opened, when Nicole Nichols allows Peter entry into her home, his mind is spinning with the possibilities of who she must be. But where he found her name, it has a certain amount of default trust for her.

"I'm…" Peter's voice is smaller than even he is, and when he looks down the hall on hearing a condo door open, he reluctantly steps inside to avoid being noticed. "I'm sorry I had to come by, it— Christ I know it's bad timing to, I…" Brown eyes angle up to Nicole, all the while Peter's expression is a crooked frown.

"I'm here on someone's behalf. I— " He looks to the television, eyes wide on seeing the actual carnage for the first time today. His breath is stolen from him, and the look he spares Nicole is one of surprise, grief and regret.

He was saying something, right?

"We've met," Nicole offers in a quiet voice, realising he probably doesn't remember. And it seems more polite than just making it sound like his celebrity proceeds him. "Some… benefit thing years ago. I was just barely out of university." One fist clenches at the woman's side, and her eyes fall shut briefly, giving herself a moment to think while Peter takes the same moment to absorb the full scale of the mayhem engulfing New York.

Even hanging around the house, Nicole is dressed as though she's ready to go into work, a sharp black suit with a silk blouse beneath in a shade of electric blue. It brings out the highlights in her hair, and the too-bright colour of her eyes from her ability. Her shoulders sink, one corner of her mouth pulling a little tight. "Here on behalf of who? What's… going on?"

Her eyes go wide as her mind leaps to one conclusion, fearing the absolute worst thing she can imagine off the top of her head. "Is… Is it my sister? Is she okay?" Colette Nichols is known - by Nicole at least - to consort with suspected terrorists, after all. It's not a particularly difficult connection to make.

"I'm— " Peter looks a little taken aback, apologetic that he's both unable to provide Nicole with information about her sister, and also the bearer of bad news. "No, I… I'm sorry." He can't quite be surprised that he'd forgotten her, his life before the bomb feels so much like a blur now, but even that feels like an excuse. He wasn't exactly close to a lot of people in his brother's social circle.

"I… I came here because I found your name in Allen's possessions." Reaching into his jacket, Peter withdraws a crumpled piece of paper, a handwritten note jotting down an address and condo number. "All it says is your name and this address. I— I didn't know who else to go to." There's a worried, tense look that sweeps Peter from head to toe.

"Did— Did you know Allen Rickham?" Peter is only talking about him in the past-tense.

It's both a relief and a further worry that Peter doesn't have news of Colette. But in this case, new news may be good news. Nicole can only hope. But somehow things seem to go from worst case scenario to… well, something even worse than that.

Nicole takes in a deep breath. She hears what's being said, processes it, understands it, and simply rejects it. Hard soled black pumps click on the wood floors as Nicole steps from the grey area between living area and kitchen, heading for the refrigerator. Her chest is already rising and falling heavily. "Could I get you a drink?" she asks with a forced smile that doesn't reach her eyes.

Her eyes tell a completely different story.

"Allen and I are good friends." That smile doesn't falter as Nicole procures two bottles of water from the fridge. She lets out a huff of something that was meant to resemble laughter, but could just as well being the wind knocked from her sails. "I helped him win against your brother. … Sorry." Because it seems like she should apologise for her role in helping to defeat Nathan in the election. Even if it proved futile.

Pulling herself up onto a stool at the kitchen island, Nicole twists open her water bottle, setting the other one across from her for Peter to take, should he want it. "We, ah, spoke not too long ago." Well, he spoke, and she did a lot of yelling and screaming. "He was well." Her smile quivers a little. It's so damn insistent. Like if it starts to falter, she'll have to accept the truth.

"Allen's fine." It's part statement, part demand, and part plea. Nicole swallows a lump forming in her throat, and blinks as her eyes start to prickle, her smile tightening.

Cracks in her mask.

Peter's expression tells Nicole what's going on long before he can find the words to it. He whispers something, sharply, and lifts his free hand up to rub at his forehead. The offer of a drink goes ignored, simply because he's not even sure if he heard Nicole correctly, with everything racing in his mind. "I… Allen's gone," is the most blunt way to explain anything. Peter has fallen a long way from the bedside manner of his hospice nurse days.

"He— he died last night, I…" Peter unfolds the crumpled note in his hands, and pulls out a large gold band, Allen's wedding ring, one he'd stopped wearing after he first hooked up with Rebel and his group for fear of destroying it on accident. It's nicked, scuffed, big enough for two of Nicole's fingers to fit in.

"This was all he had on him. I… I know he had a wife and a son, but— I don't know how to find them, or…" Peter wets his lips, finally looking up to Nicole as he holds out the ring towards her between his fingers. "I'm— I'm sorry."

Nicole manages to hold fast to her denial until she lies eyes on Allen's ring. "Oh no…" One hand comes up to cover her mouth dropped open. She forgets how to breathe for the space of several seconds. Finally she gasps and shakes her head insistently. "No. There must be some mistake. Allen is… He's special. He can- He can- There's this thing… This thing that he does. He- He turns into solid metal. He can't- He's-

"He's indestructible."

Fingers come up and grab fistfuls of dark and blue hair. Tears finally fall down Nicole's cheeks. Her lips press together in an effort to suppress the mournful sound that tries to escape her throat. When she reaches to brace one hand on the counter and cover her trembling mouth again, the hair that was in her hands is left standing on end as though someone rubbed a balloon over it.

"How?" It's the first step in acceptance. Nicole meets Peter's eyes, even if he perhaps doesn't want to do the same. "Where is he? What happened to him? I want to see him."

Peter's fingers curl around the untaken ring, curling it against the padding of his fingerless glove. He's silent, for a long time, just standing there with his head bowed and brows furrowed, knowing that he should be aware of how to react, how to comfort her, but there's so much anger inside of him right now that he can't hear that empathic voice trying to get out.

"He's… Electricity, it— it messes wit him, I knew about his ability. We— we were friends, or— I guess as close as people in our line of work could be." The line of work part is unintentionally more tongue-in-cheek than Peter intended for it to be. "He— he was electrocuted, it— it's hard to explain. He was already hurt and it… I'm sorry, Nicole. I'm— I'm so sorry."

Unable to look at anything but his feet, Peter's words are murmured to his shoes. "Allen died fighting for what he believed in," is a good enough lie, no one deserves to die a pawn, and Allen Rickham's memory can at least be saved in small measure. "It happened in Midtown, we— we were trying to stop what's happening now. We failed."

Peter failed.


Electricity. There's some possible irony in here somewhere. Taking her time listening, digesting, and forcing herself to stay mostly composed for the blow she's just been dealt, Nicole finally holds out her hand for Allen's ring. "My name was in his pocket?" she asks somewhat numbly.

When she receives the ring, she folds it up in her hand. "I guess… I guess that was his way of finally replying to my unanswered question." What that is, however, she doesn't tell Peter. Nicole always did promise to keep Allen's greatest secrets. "I'll make sure that his wife gets this."

Nicole feels sick. She forces another smile, this one more genuine in its sorrow. "Allen was a great man. The greatest man I have ever known." She never intended to have to eulogise him, as much as this is one in this sense. "He wanted to make the world better." She sniffles quietly, covering it with the backs of her fingers pressed under her nose briefly.

"Who did this to him?"

Sylar is the name on Peter's lips, but too unfair to attribute given the circumstances and too unbelievable to explain.

"I didn't see it happen," isn't a lie, but it is an omission of second-hand truth. "I just know it did, I'm— I'm sorry." Unable to leave that as a parting note, Peter instead takes a step closer to Nicole, finally looking up to her now that she has that ring, and understanding more — even if in small part — of why Allen may have had her address on his person.

"He was a good person, and he was fighting for what he believed in. I know— I know the media's painting him— us as terrorists, but it's not the truth. Not— the whole truth, anyway. I'm… you knew him better than I did, you probably knew him before he became as angry as he was. But even in the short time I knew Allen, I knew he wasn't a violent person at heart."

A truth which made last night even more difficult to deal with.

"I'm… I'm sorry for all of this, for— having to tell you," and as Peter looks away, a sighs lips out his nose. "I couldn't just… not tell anyone. I didn't want him to be forgotten."

It's hard to swallow, that she doesn't have a name to blame for her loss. Someone to curse. Someone to hunt down for what's been stolen from her. "If… If you ever find out, I'd like to know." Spoken innocently enough with her soft voice and quivering lips. Nicole takes the ring between her fingers, running her thumb along its surface with a fondness betrayed by her eyes. A current transfers from her fingertips, transfers to the gold band and creates a circuit, a web of blue sparks dancing in the negative space of the ring.

"Did he… Is there anything left of him in Midtown to collect?" Presumably once the rioting ceases. Nicole's fingers close around the ring again, the clenched fist coming to rest against her chest. "I know his family would appreciate having something to bury. Or… put in an urn, at least." It's only half true. Their closure is only secondary to Nicole's need for it.

"There's some people waiting for everything to stop burning, it's safer in Midtown right now anyway, less people, less buildings still capable of burning." Peter's eyes flick to the television, showing footage of Queens ablaze again. His hands curl into fists, flex open, then seem agitatedly unable to be still, much as Peter is unable to as he starts to pace the room like a caged tiger. "Since… I know you were close, I'll see what I can do to get the ashes brought here, someone else had the same idea too. But none of us knew how to find his family."

Slowly, Peter looks back up and over to Nicole, brows furrowed. He deftly avoids that question about revealing the killer to her, not now anyway, probably not ever. Truth, in this instance, would hurt even more than the lie has.

"Are… you going to be okay?" The worry is honest, surprisingly enough. "I… have friends out there in the city I still need to find, people I have to make sure are safe." Wetting his lips again, Peter looks to the television, anxiously. "But— "

He doesn't look like he's willing to leave, not until she invites him to.

Is she going to be okay? The simple answer may be eventually. The immediate answer is no. Right now, Nicole feels like she will never be anything definable as okay ever again. "I would appreciate that. Having his ashes brought here." The pad of her thumb wipes away another stray round of tears.

"You have other things you need to attend to than worry about some…" Her words trail off, fall flat. She can't think up a suitable word, or insult, to downplay her importance. To downplay the importance of her well-being. "Go," Nicole insists, albeit gently. There's a small gesture toward the door, but she doesn't cross to it to show him out.

"You know," she murmurs before he can take that invitation, one last thought she needs to put words to. "Allen was my hero. When you say you don't want him to be forgotten… Don't worry." Nicole's head shakes, and despite her grief, she smiles. The memories of better times, happier times, more optimistic times with Allen Rickham are still a bright spot she can cherish in these moments.

"I could never."

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