Heroes Fan Fiction ❯ Tea ❯ Tea ( Chapter 1 )

[ A - All Readers ]

`You were really great back there.' His dark eyes had reached into her soul, and he spoke those words with such a genuine feeling. Niki had not been used to such kindness, and she had never met a man that pulsed with such hope on his face when the whole world was collapsing around them.
Not until she met Peter Petrelli.
They had broken them out of jail, saved their lives, and prepared to take them to Texas for their safety. Before they could reach their contacts, they set up camp somewhere deep in a forest many miles from the inmate facility.
While Peter's friend Hiro had stood watch around the area, Peter was going around to all the inmates and checking up on them.
Niki watched him intently, fascinated that such a kind human being still existed in such dark times. When he came to check on her, she noticed he stayed a little bit longer.
“Here, this will keep you warm.” He handed her steaming mug and waited until she slowly lifted her hand to take it. After clutching the mug and inhaling the earthy tea aroma, Niki felt a warm weight wrap around her shoulders as he offered his coat.
“Thanks,” she murmured, sniffing the tea again and then taking a sip. She had never been a fan of tea, but after being in prison, she would drink gallons of it if it were offered. Plus, she felt her muscles aching after that fight. Superhuman strength or not, she still needed nourishment, and she knew her body was lacking in nutrients.
“How is it?” he asked, and she swallowed the hot liquid awkwardly as he asked her. He sat down next to her around the fire pit and watched her with a deep gaze.
“It's good, um, thank you,” she said again. The air was a bit too strange around them, as if the world stilled and prepared to catapult them, and only them, into a whirlwind and unpredictable future.
She was surprised to see a small, relieved smile break the right side of his lips, and then he replied, “Hiro brought the tea leaves from home. It'll give you back your strength.” He paused, and then looked away into the fire. “Although, I'm pretty sure you have a lot of strength to get back, judging from the action I saw back there.”
She couldn't help it, Niki smiled. It was small at first, but Peter had this way about him that evoked unlimited comfort. It'd been a long time since she'd actually smiled.
“It took me a long time to tap into those powers. It's a long story, but I haven't exactly been the best well-behaved “special-freak” in the last year or so.” She felt her own blood grow cold, and as he watched her intently, she looked away at the fire and tried to hold the emotions at bay. There was just so much - too much that would make her cry right now, and she wasn't comfortable with letting loose in front of all these strangers.
And she couldn't allow herself to appear weak. She had promised herself long ago that she wouldn't be like that anymore. She was Niki, and she was strong enough to take control of her life and her emotions.
Silence engulfed them, and Peter was polite enough not to pry. He allowed her to be swallowed by her own thoughts without imposing upon her privacy. Instead he responded lightly, “Maybe someday you can tell me all about yourself. When you're ready.”
Niki looked over at him, and her mouth opened in surprise. “So… does that mean I'm going to see you more? You're not shipping me off to Texas?”
Peter smiled lightly, his eyes peering into her soul. Niki's gaze traced over the harsh scar over his face, and she idly wondered how he got it, and how more beautiful his face might have been without the horrible stain of battle and war.
Peter looked over to his friend Hiro momentarily, and then nodded his head before catching her gaze again. “I've already talked to my friend, and what you did back there was really something and you could help us.” He paused, and he leaned in closer to her, lowering his voice. “Now a lot of these special people have family, but you said you don't. You're strength is incredible, and it's something we could really use.”
Niki didn't say anything, speechless that Peter and Hiro had wanted her. She felt him put his hand on her arm and then he whispered sternly, “We're fighting a war here, and we need all the people we can get to help others like us.” He looked away again, and Niki saw raw pain reflect in his eyes. He pursed his lips, and she knew that his life had been cursed for some time as well - the only difference was he was actually doing something about it. Peter was unwilling to give in to the evils of the present, and he was fighting for a better future.
“I know it's too much to ask of you, and it's up to you what you want to do,” Peter stated, turning to her again. He looked at her, squeezing her arm lightly before saying, “Think about it.”
She stared at him in awe, watching him as he rose to join his friend on watch. As he walked away, he was reluctant to drop his gaze from her, searching her face for some hope that she'd stay and help.
“Peter,” she said, before he could completely disappear. “I'll…I'll think about it.”
Then his smile grew - just for her, and he nodded, turning his heel and slowly walking away.
Niki continued to watch him, studying the shades and angles of his lean body as he moved under the moonlight. She took another sip of tea, and then paused, pensively looking down at the herbs settling at the bottom.
Suddenly, the tea Peter had given her had tasted much sweeter than before.