Not Goodbye


cardinal_icon.gif niki2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Goodbye
Synopsis Niki's attempt to clean out her desk without the boss catching her doesn't work out. It turns out to not be as bad as she thought it would be. Cardinal passes on a message from a mutual acquaintance and offers his well wishes.
Date January 18, 2010

Redbird Security

There's a sharp, professional feel to the main lobby of the building. The carpet is a deep maroon underfoot, the walls an off-white cream that doesn't glare too brightly beneath the recessed lighting in the ceiling. Half a dozen chairs upholstered in a sandy light brown sit against one wall beneath a painting, a print of a Thomas Brill that shows the ruins of Midtown covered in vines and greenery as seen from the rooftop of the Deveaux building. The receptionist's station takes up almost an entire wall on the right side of the lobby, guarding the hallway that leads back into the building's offices. Behind and above the desk, the logo for Redbird Security Solutions hangs on the wall in glossy black.

The central hall continues the same carpet and wall colors to a number of doors. There are four offices, a restroom done in shades of blue and pale sand tones, and a comfortable employee lounge with attached kitchenette. An open doorway in the main lobby reveals a flight of upward stairs, and there's a locked door at the end of the central hall that guards the basement steps.

After getting back from coffee, Cardinal walks through the front door and into the lobby; shrugging out of his jacket once he's in the warmth of the building, he flashes a quick smile to Joanna as he pauses beside the desk. "Hey, Jo," he greets, "Any messages?" He's not in his suit, for once, so presumably he's off-duty. Of course, he lives right upstairs, so he'll likely be in proper work outfit in no time.

"Miss Hawk is here," Jo informs Cardinal a little nervously. In retrospect, he realises the Cadillac was parked outside. "And she's been—" Her explanation is cut short as the door to the basement is heard opening, and Niki emerges. She carried the ubiquitous clean-out-your-desk style box in her arms, with a long black case danging from her fingers beneath it.

For once, she looks like she's struggling with the weight. Or perhaps it's just awkward. "Richard." The brunette woman stops in her tracks, readjusting her hold on the box.

A step over to the hallway leading to the basement door, and Cardinal arches a brow slightly. "Niki," he greets mildly, "Need any help carrying that out to your car?"

With a bit of a grudging sigh, Niki nods. "Please. Ammo is heavy." Is she cleaning out her gun locker? Looks like it. "Didn't think you'd be here. The help would be… appreciated."

"I've got it," Cardinal steps over, reaching out to slide his arms under the box; lifting it up in his arms with a heavy grunt, shifting the weight against his chest. "And I do work here, you know. I'm here more often'n not, now that Peyton's on… vacation."

"I thought you'd be at the library," is the woman's quiet admission. Niki jogs ahead of Cardinal, tugging her hat further down on her head and putting on a large pair of aviators. She moves to hold the door open and then dig her keys out of her coat pocket so she can unlock her trunk, which is already half loaded with guns and ammunition. Obscurely packaged, of course.

"Mm." The heavy box cradled in against his chest, Cardinal steps out the door while she holds it, walking over in the direction of the Cadillac. A glance back over his shoulder, and he notes, "I was just at coffee with Liz. I hope you can find what it is you're looking for, Niki."

Niki offers Cardinal a weak smile and a shake of her head. "I have no idea if I will or not. But there's gotta be something better out there for me than this, even if it's not what I'm looking for." The case - Jessica's most beloved sniper rifle - is settled carefully in the trunk, space cleared for the box. "I'm not sure if what I'm looking for is even out there to be found, but… I gotta try."

"I can understand that," Cardinal says; shifting his grip on the box as she clears space for it, he sets it into that cleared space and straightens, pressing one hand against his neck as he cracks it. A faint, tired smile's offered over to her, "You've got Niklaus's address if you need it, right?"

Niki nods her head. "Yeah. Barbie and I are supposed to meet up with him in the next day or two." Once she's sure his hands are clear, and that her keys are back in her pocket, she slams the trunk. "If it makes you feel better, I'll probably actually miss it around here." She cracks a small smirk at that, her brows visible as they raise over the frames of her sunglasses.

Cardinal leans against the trunk as it's closed, a smile crooking up at one corner of his lips. "We're here if you ever need us, Niki," he says quietly, "I know we've had our disagreements - me, you, and Jessica - but you'll always be one of my people. You need help, we're just a phone-call away."

"Thanks." Niki casts a look toward the building, not that the man can see it behind her mirrored shades. "I… think I have everything. You wanna talk for a bit? I'm sure you have… things to say." She winces at her own inarticulateness. Niki never was very good with goodbyes.

"It's not goodbye," Cardinal says quietly, one brow arching slightly upwards, "Just… be careful. Things're about to get really fucking bad. The 'N10 is going to make a comeback big time, they've got the hunter robots now…" There's a pause, "Nakamura wants to meet with you, by the way. Up to you if you want to do a job for him, I'm not going to suggest either way."

Niki slides her glasses down her nose so Cardinal can see the dubious and slightly incredulous look she gives him. "Nakamura wants to meet with me? What's the matter? He can't find his usual errand boy?" What she means by that isn't clear. "When and where?" She presses her finger against the bridge between the lenses, pushing the aviators back into place. She may as well hear Hiro out before she goes into retirement.

"The twenty-third," is the date offered, "The castle, in Central Park." Cardinal's arms fold over his chest, and he brings one shoulder up in a slight shrug, "He said he wanted something broken. I told him that your power'd been… switched, but he didn't seem to mind."

Belvedere. Niki snorts. It's somehow fitting that she should meet the time and space manipulator in the place she and Gina's boyfriend were accosted by someone who seems to share Hiro's penchant for appearing from mid-air. "He wants something broken? I'll be sure to bring a fuckin' baseball bat."

"Maybe he really needs some popcorn popped," Cardinal suggests, his lips twitching in the slightest of smiles, "Like I said… it's up to you. You're free'n clear as far as I'm concerned."

"I'll go," Niki murmurs with a shrug. "I'll see what he wants. I think I'm more than capable of telling him to go to hell if it comes to it. But maybe I won't want to." There's something about the way she says it that suggests she's scheming.

"Just be careful," warns Cardinal once more, although the focus is different now, "There were two Hiro Nakamuras… and I think, maybe, that he killed the other one. He's not the adventurer that Mendez used to write about anymore." A push off from the trunk, and he offers one gloved hand over. "Be well, Niki."

Niki's palm is warm in Cardinal's hand. Warmer than it should be. Some things do change. "Take care of yourself, Richard. And take care of Liz." She smiles. It's genuine. "She'll take care of you."

Cardinal clasps her hand firmly, and he offers her a tired smile. "I know. Give my best to your family," he says quietly, "I've given a lot to make sure that you could all get together again. See you around, Niki. Jess. Gina." The three acknowledged, he steps away from her, heading back towards the building.

"Thanks for everything."

Niki lingers outside for a couple minutes before she finally climbs into her vintage Caddy and pulls away from the curb.

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