Rebuilding a Life


elisabeth_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title Rebuilding a Life
Synopsis Elisabeth has checked into Niki's financial situation and brings good news.
Date December 5, 2008

St. Luke's Hospital

Although it's still relatively early (visiting hours have just begun), Elisabeth takes the opportunity to come back by and see Niki. She wasn't able to come yesterday, though she did call and let the other woman know she hadn't forgotten her. When she steps in today, it's with a bit of a smile - an uncertain one because she's not sure of Niki's state of mind, but still, a smile. She's wearing a pair of fleece pants with a T-shirt and her fleece zip-up, with her left arm still in the sling beneath it, though now castless. Her face is healing up quite nicely. "Morning," she greets.

Niki's in bed, and looks more bored than anything. She brightens when she sees Elisabeth. "Hey there…" she says, offering greeting to the other woman. "How are you?"

Elisabeth nods easily. "Doing pretty good," she replies with a bit of a smile. "I finally got my butt into gear, figured out what the heck I'm doing with my life, and well…. I'm going back to my old job. At least… assuming they'll have me," she laughs. "And I've got some good news for YOU, too."

Niki looks curious at that. "What's that?" she asks, tilting her head a bit curiously.

"What's what?" Elisabeth teases. "My old job or your good news?" She grins. "Well, the good news is that I've tracked down at least some of the things you needed to know. The other driver's insurance is covering absolutely everything for your hospital stay. I think a lawyer must have gotten involved on your behalf, because that's a little unusual according to the hospital, but there's been no quibbling over the billing, so you're squared away. In addition, you do still have a bank account in California — I contacted a bank executive out there and explained the situation, so all you have to do when you get out is go to a local bank here and give them the guy's phone number and an ID and whatnot, they'll transfer your account to a local one and get you set up. There's not much there — a couple thousand dollars, maybe just enough for first and last month's rent for a deposit on an apartment," she says. "But if you have enough to cover that, I'll float you a small loan for food and clothes and whatnot if you need it, and I'm reasonably sure that you'll be able to find a job within two months. It'll give you a little breathing space."

Niki looks relieved. "Good. Thank you so much for looking into it for me." The offer of the loan seems to surprise her a bit, though, and she frowns, just a bit. "Not to sound ungrateful…but that sounds a little too good to be true. I barely know you."

Elisabeth shrugs and says gently, "It's not a big loan, Niki. A couple thousand dollars so you don't starve to death while you're looking for work. I'm not rich or anything, but when my mother died a couple years ago, I got a little life insurance money. I can manage that much. And besides… how the hell else are you gonna manage?" Sure, there's Jessica, but the alter ego doesn't want anyone to know about her, right?

Niki smiles, though it's a little forced. "Believe me, to me, a couple thousand dollars is a lot of money. I appreciate it, I really do. According to the doctors, I should be able to go soon…there's no long-term damage that they can tell."

Elisabeth smiles a bit. "It's a lot of money, but you know…. my mom would like that I'm using some of it to help someone who doesn't have anyone. And it's not charity," she says mock-sternly. "You'll pay it back when you can, as you can. It really is a loan. Call it…. I don't know. Call it my welcome back to the land of the living present or something."

She laughs. "Yes, I will. I'm not a deadbeat, I promise. I really do appreciate this, Elisabeth. You'll have to come over once I get a place and let me make dinner for you."

Elisabeth grins at Niki. "I'd like that. And I kind of figured out you weren't a deadbeat." Anyone who'd strip to feed their kid is someone who is NOT a deadbeat, though she can't say that because she's not supposed to know anything. "I'm glad to hear they'll be letting you out soon."

Niki smiles. "So, what's going on in the outside world? I've missed two years. And they don't have the TV in here hooked up…guess they didn't figure the comatose woman would need it. What have I missed?"

Elisabeth blows out a breath and raises her eyebrows. "Well….. a *lot*. Most of it's … pretty damn unbelievable." She pauses, trying to figure out how to explain the last two years in a way that won't trigger Niki's memories first thing. But Jessica had to have taken this part into account, so… "The biggest thing you missed — I think it happened not too long after your accident — was an explosion in the middle of Manhattan that decimated Midtown and some surrounding blocks. Afterward, it started coming out that a certain segment of the world's population actually has … well, superpowers." She rolls her eyes. "I know, it sounds insane, but it's true… there's been a huge hullaballoo for two years about making new laws dealing with getting all the people with powers to register them with the government and of course it immediately sparked powered people versus non-powered people hatreds and all kinds of crap. So… when you step out there, it's going to be a very different world than the one you fell asleep in." She grimaces. "You're sort of Rip Van Winkle here."

Niki looks…well…disbelieving. "Superpowers. Like in comic books?" Micah used to read them quite a bit. "You've got to be putting me on." She looks like she's waiting for a punchline that she can't figure out.

Elisabeth shakes her head. "Nope. Just like in comic books." She looks dead serious. "It's all over the news and there are people running for President on pro- and anti-Evolved — that's what they're calling them — platforms and everything! Task forces to deal with Evolved criminals, rumors of Evolved prisoners being used for experiments, all kinds of stuff is going on out there. It's like we all woke up the day after the bomb in a comic book world. And it's not really gotten any better since then."

Niki blinks. "I'm…you're serious, aren't you? That's got to be really bizarre. Are there a lot of these people? Do you know any of them?" It's certainly the most interesting topic she's come across since waking up.

"It's…. kind of strange, that's for sure." Liz smiles a little bit. "There do seem to be a lot of them, although the numbers are not stable. A lot of people are against the Registration — honestly in my personal opinion, it's no better than Hitler requiring the Jews to register themselves in Germany before World War II. I mean… yeah, I think Evolved criminals should have to be registered because if they're using their abilities for crime, people should know. But the average person, I don't think they change much with or without powers." She shrugs. "But now we're getting into the politics that have made the situation so huge, too," she grins. "Estimates are that for every registered Evolved out there, there are at least four unregistered ones. So…"

Niki looks quite curious. "That's really…wow. I'm going to have a lot to catch up on. And here I thought things were complicated before. You're not just pulling my leg, are you?"

Elisabeth shakes her head, her expression amused. "Nope. I'll bring you a newspaper tomorrow. Or heck, ask the nurses. I'm sure they'll tell you about it if you ask. It's a strange new world out there, Niki. Being Evolved is the new gay. You've got people in and out of the closet, there's all kinds of 'hey, should they be allowed in the military, how do we jail them, do they have different rules to live by, are they abominations in the eyes of God' …. all KINDS of arguments out there now."

Niki nods. "It sounds complicated." She shakes her head. "But not something I have to worry about."

Elisabeth nods. "Definitely not." Or so Jessica would have Niki believe. *sigh* She hopes that if Niki ever tweaks to the truth, she'll forgive Liz for lying to her like this. "At least, only in the sense that you'll have to decide how you're going to handle running into people who are. I don't think you'll have any trouble though," she grins. "You're from California, the 'accept anything' state, right?"

Niki smiles back. "That's right. Plus, I've never been one for worrying too much about what people think about me. I had my stint of that from close-minded people already."

Elisabeth smiles. "Good. That'll serve you well in this town these days," she tells Niki. "I should let you rest, though. Do you need anything? I can stop back by this afternoon, if you'd like. Bring some books or something?"

Niki considers. "I could probably use something to wear to go home in, if you wouldn't mind me borrowing something? The clothes I was in probably got ruined in the accident."

"Not at all," Elisabeth replies with a grin. "I already had in mind to bring some of those as soon as you let me know they were letting you loose." She moves to stand. "Anything else? Nothing to kill what time you have left here?"

Niki laughs. "Well, hopefully, they'll be letting me out tomorrow. I'll have to get a motel room or something while I hunt for a place."

Elisabeth nods. "I think there are some places available in my building, actually. But I'm not sure you'll want to be in there —- It's certainly not the most expensive part of town, but it's not cheap. And if you're looking for cheap, I know a couple other places we can look. I'll bring the names and stuff with me when I bring your clothes this afternoon. Okay?"

Niki nods. "Yeah, but unless I can find a place and get all the paperwork done in a day, I still need a place to work out of. And thanks." she smiles. "You've been a godsend."

Elisabeth smiles, hiding the pang that Niki's gratitude gives her. "Not really. But I'll remind you of that someday when you're mad at me," she replies lightly. "See you later."

December 5th: Just a Little Nip
December 5th: In Their Footsteps
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