One Last Dance


ando_icon.gif hiro_icon.gif niki1_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title One Last Dance
Synopsis Ando and Hiro arrive in Las Vegas in search of Peter Petrelli.
Date November 8, 2011

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dial up my number now

Pounding music throbs through the walls of a smoky nightclub, but the rays of sunlight filtering through the windows by the door indicate that it’s, ironically, daytime outside. Outside the club, cars whip by across the Vegas strip, and the jewel of the desert glitters regardless of time of day.

Weaving it through the wire

With a rush of displaced air, Hiro Nakamura and Ando Masahashi appear in the breezeway at the club’s entrance, just past the bouncer. Hiro glances over his shoulder, then gives a nudge to Ando and pushes him forward. Ando takes a step back, eyeing Hiro anxiously. “Hiro,” Ando murmurs, “where are we?” Ando’s look outside comes with an incredulous squint at the traffic.

Switch me on

Vegas,” Hiro admits, begrudgingly. “Don’t get any ideas.” As the two move through the second set of doors into the club floor, Ando’s eyes go wide as a scantily dressed dancer strolls past. The music is louder here, throbbing against the walls, and a waitress slinks past carrying a tray of drinks. Wide-eyed, Ando looks back to Hiro and exasperatedly asks, “This is where we're going to find Peter Petrelli?

Turn me up

Hiro closes his eyes and shakes his head briefly. “No,” Hiro corrects. “This is where we find his girlfriend.” Ando’s brows shoot up to his hairline, and Hiro urges him across the club floor while carefully sliding his sheathed sword off of his shoulder and obscuring it behind his back. They maneuver to a booth near a mirror-walled dance stage, and each take a seat. Hiro leans his sword up against the side of his chair, trying to hide it with his body. Ando doesn’t notice at all, too distracted by being in a strip club.

Don't want it Baudelaire

«And now in the center ring,» a man’s voice calls over speakers, «gentlemen, give it up for the main event, Jessica!» The small morning crowd at the club claps, and Hiro’s expression shifts to one of disappointment and discomfort. Ando’s brows raise even further as Niki Sanders struts out onto the stage as her alter-ego Jessica and whips her hair around, heels clacking on the stage floor.

Just glitter lust

Jaw open and brows raised, Ando looks sharply to Hiro. “Maybe the future’s not so bad?!” Hiro closes his eyes and raises one hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, slouching back against the booth seat, making a grumbling sound. As Niki circles around the pole at the middle of the stage, one hand grips it firmly, and she catches sight of Hiro sitting in the booth. She’s taken aback, momentarily, but then steps right back into the rhythm.

Switch me on

“Don’t let this distract you,” Hiro offers to Ando, though Ando’s attention is rapt at Niki’s performance. Seeing that, Hiro leans forward and rests his elbows on the table and scrubs both hands down his face. There’s a tension in his body, an anxiety, he doesn’t want to be here, but now he has no choice.

Turn me up

Niki prowls across the stage like a lioness, watching Hiro between making eye-contact with the men and women at the front of the stage with dollar bills. She walks up to the front of the stage, bending down to pick up bills folded over the low railing. She mouths a thank you and slowly rises back up, shooting Hiro a glare.

I want to touch you

Ando turns around, briefly looking to Hiro to see if he’s having a great time, but when he notices Hiro’s sunken expression and tension, his smile starts to face and his expression sinks. He looks back to Niki, reconsidering things, then starts to consider what Hiro was talking about. Peter’s girlfriend. His brows furrow, dark eyes search back to Hiro, and all enjoyment is piece by piece stripped away.

You're just made for love

A Short Time Later

Striding over to Ando and Hiro’s booth, draped in a silken black robe, Niki shoots an accusatory look to Hiro. She doesn’t recognize Ando, doesn’t understand what’s happening. Instead, as she takes a seat in the booth and tries to look pleasant, her tone doesn’t match her expression.

“You have one song, two minutes, and $500.” Niki eyes Hiro up and down, briefly glancing at Ando, noticing that he won’t stop staring. Looking back to Hiro, her tone firms. “After that, you're out of here. You got me, Hiro?” Hiro nods, reluctantly, and withdraws a wad of money from his jacket, sliding it across the table to Niki.

As Niki starts to count the money; it's one time she doesn't say thank you. Even when she extorted Logan for cash in exchange for not breaking his arm, she thanked him for it, kept to her rules. But Hiro? She doesn't owe him anything.

Ando chimes in. “It's me, Niki. Ando. Do you remember?” There’s a hopeful smile, and the memories are so much closer to Ando. But Niki, it’s been a literal lifetime since she last saw him. Her brows furrow, expression sours, and she shoots a baleful look to Hiro.

“Is this how you're gonna use your time?” Niki motions to Ando without even regarding him. He's not even worth her annoyance, but she plays it for show. The quicker they get down to business, the quicker she can get the two men out of here and away from the one she's trying to protect. Hiro brandishes a for God’s sake gesture to Ando and leans toward Niki.

“I need to find Peter,” Hiro is direct, firm, trying not to waste her time. “It's important.” But Niki only gives Hiro an accusatory look, followed by a sarcastic smile.

“War's over, General Chow.” Niki slides the roll of money into her robe, drops it into a deep interior pocket. But then, she has another barb to deliver. “We lost, remember? Peter's not interested.” She's not interested in letting Hiro hear it from the man himself.

Hiro persists, leaning in a little closer. “You could talk to him. Tell him it's about stopping Sylar— “ The second that name leaves Hiro’s mouth, Niki lunges forward and grabs him with one hand by the collar and lowers her brows, teeth bared in a snarl.

“You say that name again, and I will break your neck.” Niki doesn’t need super strength to do that, and she’d relish how long that might just take. She doesn't need Jessica to stand up for her anymore. Hiro is tense, staring down at Niki’s arm. It isn’t her strength that he’s afraid of.

Niki lets him go with a shove, and rises up from her seat. It hasn’t been a full song yet, but it has been the limits of her patience. “Do you know where Bennet is?” Hiro pleads as she starts to leave. Niki stops, draws in a deep breath, and looks askance to Hiro with a momentary regret. Anything to get him away from here. Far away.

“As far as I know, he's still rustling cattle in Texas.” Niki watches Hiro give her a reluctant nod of understanding, but turns before she can see Ando waving enthusiastically at her back. As Niki makes her way out of sight and to the bar, rolling her eyes once her back is turned. Hiro rises up from his seat and tucks his sword behind his back and out of sight.

“So, are we going to Texas now?” Ando asks with a purse of his lips to the side. Hiro looks back to where Niki retreated to, out of line of sight, and nods in belated agreement.

“Eventually,” Hiro explains, “but there's someone I need to check in on first.” Hiro looks back to Ando, then reaches out and rests a hand on Ando’s shoulder, and in that instant, they’re gone.

Across the club, Niki finally comes to rest on a stool at the bar. She slouches to one side, rests her elbow on the bartop and looks to the empty stool beside her expectantly, then over to the man behind the bar. “How are the receipts tonight, Marco?”

Marco offers Niki a look, cracking a bit of a smile. “It was a good night, ma’am.” One that ended several hours after what most people would consider night. Vegas is like that, twists your perceptions of time, bends reality, makes it easy to slip away and forget. That's why she came out here. That's why she told him to come find her. Was relieved when he did. This place makes it so much easier to lose yourself. At least for her.

“Good,” Niki offers, remembering the wad of cash in her robe pocket. Marco puts two glasses on the counter in front of her. She picks up one and drinks absently, focused on a distant point far beyond the club, beyond Vegas. As she puts her glass down, the second slides across the countertop of its own volition, just as the air ripples and Peter Petrelli shimmers into visibility in the stool beside her.

“You don't have to be here,” Niki offers, watching Peter pick up the glass and drink. “I told you that I can handle it.” Peter regards Niki over the rim of his glass, suspicion evident in his expression.

“What did he want?” Peter asks with a glance in the direction Niki had come from, then back again.

“What do you think?” Is her sharp retort. “He's still trying to stop an exploding man.” There’s bitterness in Niki’s tone, her eyes leveled squarely on Peter. His own darker eyes avert into his glass, jaw tenses; the silence between the two is impenetrable.

“Hey, Sylar’s “dead”,” is said with mocking sarcasm delivered with utter bluntness. Behind Peter, a television screen shows Sylar’s face in a small photograph amid a montage of fiery destruction from the day Midtown was destroyed.

Niki can tell this is eating Peter alive, and she changes the subject. “I sent him off to Bennet.” Peter twists in his chair, wrings his glass in one hand. There’s a nervous tension in his posture and Niki can see it. She knows he wants to help, that he’s been stewing all this time here in the desert. “Just let him deal,” is more of a plea than anything. If he goes now…

Niki notices the television behind Peter, her brows knitting together with worry. Peter follows her eyeline, sees her expression. He can hear the low volume, knows what’s going on. “Of all days, huh?” There’s a hint of something more comforting there, trying to take the edge off things with humor. It’s falls flat.

“Today is just another day.” Niki blurts out, extending one leg to rise from her stool. Peter presses, conflicted, frustrated. He lashes out at her, even though it’s Hiro he’s frustrated with.

"You lost your son, Niki —"

“It's called letting go!” Niki snaps at Peter, “Maybe you should give it a try. Or would you rather go off with your buddy and fight the pain away?” Getting out, getting away was his idea in the first place. She left her newfound family behind for this. For him. And now he looks like he's ready to jump back into the game. The disappointment is drowned in annoyance, in anger, because it's easier.

Peter recoils, inwardly, but his eyes sweep down to the bartop. To guilt. To the past. “I'm not going anywhere.” He feels he owes her that much. Niki tenses, jaw sets to one side, and circles back to Peter. One hand comes up at the back of his neck, their foreheads touch, and Peter leans to the side, pressing a kiss to her cheek, then her jaw, then her neck. Reassuring touches, reaffirming.

Niki exhales a breath, leans away from Peter as some of her tension eases away and offers him a meager smile, then slips away without a word. He'll follow, or he won't. They know where to find each other. Peter looks to his drink, tips it back and sets the glass down on the bartop. Behind him, a banner at the bottom of the screen on the television reads America Remembers. His expression sours, brows tense, and the television appears to turn off all on its own.

He leaves the bar, but he can never leave that day.

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