Puzzles and Pretty Girls


niki_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Puzzles and Pretty Girls
Synopsis It's not a real date until someone's running away.
Date October 12, 2008


The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

Out, finally, for just a little bit of freedom. Her first, really, in a long time. Niki Sanders is headed down the sidewalk. She's dressed in a women's business suit, and looks out of place in this lower-income section of the city. But right now, she's checking out the apartment buildings there, looking at them curiously.

Also out of place is Sylar, dressed neatly in a button-down and slacks, although a more casual jacket is pulled over to stave away the cold weather. He emerges from an apartment building, one that's particularly rundown, his expression stony. Whatever was happening inside did not go the way he wanted it to go, apparently. There is bruising across the bridge of his nose, like perhaps it's been broken in the recent week, and his hands find the pockets of his jacket as he stands still on the sidewalk, uncaring of the foot traffic forced to go around him, as he casts a glance this way and that, as if deciding what to do next, or looking for possible places to wait. It's then his gaze catches that of Sanders, walking in his direction, and he freezes, unabashedly watching.

And…she doesn't try to arrest him. She doesn't react in the "hey, didn't I see you in a bar" kind of way. Instead, her gaze sweeps right over him. There's no more note given to him at the moment than anyone else on the sidewalk, as she looks to the apartment building still. She takes out a small notepad, jotting something down.

This won't be the first time the same woman has dismissed him. It will, in fact, be the second. Sylar just keeps watching as he gaze slips from him as if he were nothing, her attention on the buildings that line the mildly wrecked street. His foot steps can be heard, should she be listening, as he walks on up to her at a casual stroll. He knows he needs to let sleeping dogs lie, but he doesn't like letting mysteries rest either. "Small world," he announces once close enough — testing the water.

She looks back over to him as he comments. Of course, she has an easy explanation for why he might know her, and the reverse isn't true; Jessica must know him. Maybe he frequents the club. She offers a smile, and looks right at him now, but there's still no recognition in her eyes. "Hi there. Do I…know you?" With any luck, Jessica doesn't know him well.

He doesn't just come to a halt in front of her — Sylar has to circle around her, just once, studying her in an almost invasive manner. If anyone were to witness, it might seem like the tall, broody-looking man is harassing the well-to-do blonde woman, but his expression is benign, and he does keep his distance. "Not exactly," he says, in a low voice. "But I think we run in the same circles. Why don't you recognise me?" He's figured out that there's something about this woman that must be strange, especially from the way Buckley had spoken of her — and Sylar doesn't believe for a second she's not who he thought she was. There's just a piece of the puzzle he's not finding.

Niki blinks in surprise at the circling, and turns to keep facing him as he circles her. Indeed, it's a missing piece of a puzzle. "I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about." She'll fall back on the most common lie. The easiest. "Maybe you know my twin sister? Jessica?" She's assuming that has to be the answer, after all.

A plausible lie, some twins are just that identical. It's just hard to swallow, along with the spoonful of being wrong if in fact that's the case. Sylar's circle comes to a halt. Studying, a tense silence. Then he comes to the conclusion that sits with him better. "You're lying."

She frowns. "Excuse me?" She says, sounding a little offended. But not as offended as she ought to sound if she were not, in fact, lying. "I have no idea who you are. I'm sorry."

Now there are a few instances in Sylar's life where people's memories have gone very conveniently missing. It's a conclusion that's easily come to, one slightly easier to understand than the idea of identical twins. His mouth twitches in a smirk, interest peaked, but who knows for how long. "So I suppose you don't remember the raid on Primatech," he says, giving that word a slant of cynicism. "Or that little Mexican stand-off at the night club." He tosses these at her, almost experimentally.

Niki's not that good at schooling her reactions. The Primatech one tags her; she looks surprised and then tries to hide it. But the nightclub one, oddly enough, seems to just prompt confusion, like she honestly doesn't know. "What do you know about that?" She's more suspicious now. He wasn't on the list of the ones who made off with Bishop.

The first one lands, at least, but it's dangerous waters. Still, the honest, open confusion is enough to not send Sylar running in the other direction. His smile deepens, although it's not by any means a friendly grin. A smirk, if anything. "Now why would I go and spill that to a woman who doesn't even remember my face?" he asks her, a little airily, and diverts. "What did they do to you? Did they clean out your memories like they do everyone else, or is it something else?"

Niki frowns. Now she's decidedly warier. She shifts her position a bit, a little like, oh, she might be putting herself in a position where she could pull a gun that might be in a concealable holster. "If you know anything about that night, that means you're a criminal at the very least." Oh, if she only knew.

Well she's not the same woman, that's for certain. A twin, no, Sylar still doesn't believe that, but— he just doesn't know. Most frustrating. "Here I got the impression I was on the same side as you," he says, a little coldly. If he latches onto the way she shifts her position, he doesn't make a move. And as for his claim… Well no, not exactly the same sides, but certainly enough that she wouldn't peg him as a criminal. "I'm hurt, Jessica." That had been the name yelled her way.

The blonde smirks just a little at that. Wrong mark. "Told you, you knew my sister. And if you're on the same side as me…well, let's say I haven't seen you around the cafeteria. Who are you?"

Twitch. Sylar's jaw clenches, his patience beginning to ebb away, a visible reaction. "Your sister. Must be hell at the dinner table," he says, voice gaining a harsh edge to it, showing his teeth between the words before he reins in his temper. There's a pause, and when he speaks up again, that near-growl is gone. "I'm a friend of Dr. Odessa Knutson's," he says. Such a sheltered little thing, only those on the inside (one way or another) would know her name.

She seems to be surprised at that, then. And she does relax. There's less inclination to go for the gun. "Oh." She cautiously offers her hand out. "Niki Sanders."

Niki. Jessica. Okay. Sylar politely accepts her hand automatically. "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Sanders," he says, his other hand coming around to clasp hers in both before withdrawing. "There must have been some kind of misunderstanding. Are you prepared to enlighten me now?"

She smiles. "It's… complicated. What is it you do for the Company, Mr…?" The prompt there? That's for a name.

"You could say I'm in Human Relations," Sylar says with an unstoppable smirk, and that prompt there? Is ignored. And he doesn't make an attempt to cover it. He's back to pacing, making a slower circle around her. "You sound as though you're on the case of the raid. Made any headway?" A conversational tone, as if they really were standing 'round the water cooler. "Looking for Bishop?"

She does notice the lack of name, and it sets her back on edge a bit. But he has information he shouldn't have if he's not inside. "Yes. They'd moved since the last place we had information on." She confirms her own status in that part. "And you? What do they have you on?"

"I'm looking for Bishop too," he says, "but my target is Monroe. When did you get confirmation on their move? What date?" He doesn't ask where, not yet, just when, perhaps not wanting to give himself away utterly just yet, though there is only so long this act can last. Still, there's no uncertainty in his voice, there hasn't been from the start. "I was given a location but it would be nice to know if it's useless."

The blonde nods. "And I'm sure you understand that I can't give information out without knowing who I'm giving it to. Since you declined to give me your name." Yes, she noticed.

"Is that so," Sylar says, shifting his weight a little in a sort of restless gesture. He even tsk's once, briefly looking away as if this is such a hassle. "That's a pity. I thought we were getting along well." His hand raises, and suddenly, a monumental, invisible pressure seems to squeeze around Niki's shoulders, her upper arms, her chest, her upper back, and while she's not picked completely off the street, she's dragged up to her toes. "Sylar," he says, clearly, loudly, making sure she hears it. "My name is Sylar. Make this the last time you don't recall me."

Niki gasps as she feels herself suddenly hauled upwards…not enough to pull her off the ground, but still, decidedly not comfy. She looks shocked, and she of course TRIES to pull out the gun that's in her holster. But whether she's successful or not is another story. THAT name, she knows, though.

Sylar allows her to go for her weapon, her arms given little leeway but perhaps enough to do that, the pressure more focused on her shoulders than the rest of both limbs. "Ah ah ah." He's promptly stepping forward, uncaring as to the fact that her legs are left free, and wrapping a hand about her hand — but mostly the weapon it holds. Which suddenly starts to feel very, very cold, his fingers almost glowing an icy blue, and he keeps his eyes trained on her's.

Niki gasps again as the metal begins to freeze. But she seems free to move her legs, and she reflexively kicks out at him as he approaches. Hard.

Oh he expected some kicks. He can take it. Pretty girls always kick. But this pretty girl knows how to kick. Sylar gives a grunt when the powerful kick connects, promptly sending him flying back against the pavement, landing at a roll which produces another groan. The telekinesis promptly lets go of the woman as soon as he lands, leaving her free with an iced over gun in her hand, as the killer already starts to get to his feet regardless of bruises and, frankly, a little shock.

Niki wasn't expecting it either, to be honest. She looks at Sylar in stunned surprise…and then the frozen gun. She's not willing to risk trying to shoot it, so she does what she feels the smartest thing. She throws the gun at his head, and turns to run.

Well there's a tactic. Sylar's reflexes have been honed over the past few years of confrontations, fights, beatings — and he only has a split second to duck when the frosted weapon is pitched at him. As a result, it glances off his skull, enough to make his head ring for a few moments before he shakes it, and staggers to his feet, the blonde woman already several feet in the direction she wants to go. With a grunt, he picks up the sidearm, looking it over, before slipping it into his pocket. Then? He extends a hand, and Niki will find herself suddenly shoved with telekinetic force, in an effort to make her faceplant, essentially, Sylar already striding in brisk, long paces.

She's certainly not expecting that. Plus, heels. Niki finds herself getting tossed forward, and OOF! Down she goes to the ground with a thump. She's going to try to scramble up, and keep running. Oh, and shouting! That helps too. "HELP!"

Even the streets of bomb-wrecked Bronx will respond to that cry. Sylar casts a suddenly wary glance around but he doesn't stop, expression shifting back into that stoic mask that only barely contains the thrill of being the powerful one. "Shhhh," he says, somehow hissing out the sound loudly, in between her call for help. His hand moves, telekinetically catching her ankle for a moment, just to trip her up again. She's strong, that much is clear — but he's not going to open her head here. There are other uses for her. "Ms. Sanders. I want you to tell Buckley something. If not, then I can just kill you."

She looks back at him as she gets toppled back to the ground. She reaches out to the side, hand closing around the pole of a parking meter. For support, really. "What?" she asks, clearly not trusting him.

His hand lowers as she gives him her attention, Sylar's gaze hard as he comes to a halt before her. "Tell him we work best when we work together," he says, sweetly. "He wants the firefly. Peter Petrelli may be out of the equation and you can tell him that's well played, sir, but I still like a challenge."

She looks back, and listens. She nods. As long as he wants her to be messenger girl, it keeps her alive. "I'll pass it on." she scowls back.

"The more I know, the more he'll get from me," Sylar says, in final tones, then gives her a more wolfish grin. "Now run along, Niki."

The blonde looks back at him rather like he is the wolf, and she's Little Red Riding Hood. Finally she gets up, and not-quite-runs away. Gogogogo.

Sylar's fingers flex out and then into fists at his side. Letting them go is a hard habit to get into it, after all. Sylar backs up a few more steps, simply watching Niki not-quite-run, before turning his back and moving on back down the street to return to what he was doing. Watching and waiting.

October 12th: St. Luke Blues
October 12th: Agent
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