shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Push Nick)
[personal profile] shallowness
Title: Magnetic North
Author: shallowness
Fandom: Push
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairing: Nick, Cassie, Kira, Cassie’s mom, Emily Hu, Wo Chiang.
Summary: Kira didn’t Push everything out of Nick’s mind. Cassie starts seeing him beside her in her visions again.

Disclaimer: None of the named characters are mine, and I make no profit from this fan-written fiction.
Author's Note: Futurefic. 2,050 words. With thanks to aphrodite_mine for the beta. All mistakes are mine.

Magnetic North: shallowness

This time, Nick doesn't look at Kira when he tells her that he's leaving her. That's how she knows. She doesn't try to talk to him or make him believe there’s a fire when there isn’t one. She suspects he’s carrying a note somewhere saying that he wants to break up with her or not to trust her.

She’s still standing after the door closes behind him, hearing nothing but the electronic hum of the hotel room. Kira knows that he doesn't remember Cassie. She Pushed her clean out of his mind, but Kira finds herself part-blaming the other girl, even now.

Kira didn't even ask him where he was going, Nick thinks. But it's not like he would have known what to say. Planning is not something he does much; if he does, he takes precautions.

He's been waking up from dreams of maze-like buildings and cities for weeks while Kira slept at his side. He stopped getting up and going back to sleep in front of the TV, because he didn't want to talk about the dreams or to give her an excuse to Push him. Instead, he would stay in bed and take the time to look at her with no need to hide his feelings.

In the daytime, he talked less and less with her. Their conversations had deteriorated into fights, a tussle of wills about everything that didn’t matter because he suspected the worst about what she’d been doing over the things that did. At some point, even fighting became too much effort and making up didn’t repair anything. He knew he had to go away from her.

Up until now, he's had the sense that he's gone through this before, the silences, the suspicions, everything he’s felt.

Up until now.

The cab driver asks him where he's headed.

“The airport,” Nick says.

Cassie had a vision a few months ago and, instead of drawing it, she cried. She learned to cry quietly when she was a kid, always pretending that the tears weren't running down her cheeks.

But her mom always knew.

“You saw it too,” Cassie stated, not asking.

Nick looks up at the Departures screen, feeling as if a wave has carried him here.

One place name catches his eye. He shouldn't feel this drawn to someplace where he nearly got killed, someplace where he nearly saw Kira die. He should make a fresh start someplace where he’s not known. The more random, the better. But this is where he came closest to making a home for himself.

It’s a split-second decision to run in the crazy direction.

He scans the screen for the details of the flight.

“Hong Kong? Yes, I’ve seen it.” Cassie’s mom confirmed.

“Do you know when?” Cassie asked, wiping away the tears. Her mother’s visions had been patchy after what Division put her through and Cassie was the more reliable Watcher. But sometimes her mom pinpointed things that Cassie couldn’t grasp. As it was, their conversations were a mix of the past, present and future. Talking to other people sometimes felt like reverting to tic-tac-toe after playing chess with a drunken grand master.

“Not right yet, I think,” her mom said.

“You could come too,” Cassie said. “You should see the people you knew there.”

Regret and loss flitted across her mother’s face. It was strange, but Cassie saw more shadows there now than in the early days after their reunion, when there was so much blankness and confusion. Cassie hadn’t realized that, after the rescue, she’d be the care-giver, the one who would always look ahead for trouble. Now she’d seen a vision that offered her something else.

“I should. I might yet, but maybe what we both need is for me to stay behind and prove I’m okay on my own.”

It was permission. It was what Cassie needed to hear.

Cassie got to Hong Kong as quickly as she could, finding an apartment by pointing a finger on the map and wandering until she saw a sign. The place was clean, the decor was over the top. She wore the smile of someone who thought she’d imagined rather than remembered this place for the first few days.

There were shops selling everything that anyone could want within walking distance, one of them selling flowers. She was old enough to buy alcohol, but she didn’t need it for the visions.

She would have stood out in this district, even if she didn’t spend so much time drawing in her notebook, but Cassie made an effort to speak and learn Cantonese – more than the swearwords she’d learned once to irritate Nick. It was nice to discover the city, to walk and not run. Sure, there was trouble ahead according to some of her visions, but her notebook had drawings of her standing beside Nick when that trouble came, and so she made her preparations.

She found her way to Emily Hu’s. Emily had stayed, but Hook and Pinky were long gone. Emily seemed wary until Cassie handed her the notebook. Emily just opened the first page, and Sniffed. Her wariness disappeared.

“Is there anything I should know about in here?” she asked, patting the notebook with her gloved hand.

“You send me some clients that you think I’d be better at helping than you,” Cassie told her.

Emily smiled and nodded.

They came. They looked at her with doubt. It was the red streaks in her hair that she’d got one day for old times’ sake. They didn’t make her look like a wise woman or whatever Emily had sworn she’d be. Cassie didn’t give their doubts time to grow. She held their hands, palm up, and lied if she got no visions. Like always, she made more than enough to get by.

Although Emily sent her clients who could speak good English, Cassie went to the boathouse when she could to see Wo Chiang and to practice her Cantonese. At first, he chuckled at her mistakes, but one day she told him about her mother. The swearwords came in handy when she described what Division did.

His adrenaline depleted, Nick sleeps on the plane. He is on a street, a long one, filled with people. But they don’t matter. There’s a figure ahead of him, and he has to follow her. She has blonde hair streaked with colors that seem to change all the time. Dream logic tells him that if he catches up with her, sees her face, he’ll know who she is.

He’s almost there. He reaches out and falls.

He wakes up with a jolt and runs his hand across his eyes. The business man sitting next to him has earphones on and ignores him. Stretching in his seat, it occurs to Nick that if it was so important to catch up with this girl, he should have used his powers, but it was like he didn’t even remember them. The thought takes him back to Kira and what she did, and he grimaces.

The knock on the door is loud enough to break through Cassie’s concentration as she glares at a flash card. She flings it down and gets up, glad of the reprieve from written Cantonese.

She opens the door to Wo Chiang. She knew he’d come to her apartment one day, even though she never told him where she lived.

“Your mother says it’s today,” the giant says in English. “She says you will know what to do.” Cassie keeps her face blank, but her stomach flip-flops. She’s been wearing this top most days since coming to Hong Kong, until it almost became a meaningless uniform.

She thanks him, but doesn’t invite him in.

She leaves soon after, wondering and hoping about which visions will come true.

Nick told Kira a lot of things. At first, his words were his way of trying to get her back on an even keel after Carver. He thought they could find happiness, if not normalcy. So he told her about himself, about what she’d missed. She told him in hesitant bursts about what she thought she remembered. Talking about things was how he thought they’d work through everything and build their future.

Now, he’s the one who knows he has gaps because Kira Pushed what he shared with her out of his mind. He’s had long hours of raging that she would do that after what she’d been through. Long hours when he’d wait for daylight and for the nightmare she’d made of his life to continue. When she was awake, he snapped about things that didn’t really matter, but never lost all his control, afraid that if he did, she’d Push him some more.

Even before he grew afraid of what Kira could do, Nick didn’t tell her everything, not when they first met, not in Hong Kong and not after. Not about everything he did in Hong Kong – he was vague about when his powers grew stronger, so he remembers that they spiked then, but he has no idea why. He knows he didn’t take the drugs that made Kira so powerful.

He didn’t tell Kira everything about what he remembers of his father, and she never thought to Push him out of Nick’s mind.

Cassie takes her place.

“Any rubbish?” the attendant asks. Nick drops a folded card into the plastic bag she’s holding. He was paranoid enough to write himself a warning about Kira.

“Did you have a good flight, sir?”

“Yeah, great,” Nick replies. As he follows the instructions before landing, he’s thinking about the dream, why he was so sure that the stranger was familiar – her image is fading, all he remembers is that he had to catch up with her – and wondering if it means that the nightmares have gone. Is this going to be a recurring dream?

“Are you coming back for business or pleasure, sir?” the guy looking over his passport asks.

“Uh, both,” Nick lies, giving a big, fake grin to ward off trouble. The truth is, he hasn’t thought about what exactly he’s going to do when he steps out of the airport.

It’s just another wave of travelers carrying or pulling cases in Arrivals. The boy tying a bandana around his head, an old man with an eye-patch – all like she expected. Nick himself is the first shock, although he shouldn’t be. Cassie knew he’d lost weight, but the gauntness of his face is still a surprise, and there are shadows there. She doesn’t expect him to recognize her, not after the last time and whatever extra Kira did to him. But she knows he’ll come to her.

Nick sees the people waiting behind the temporary barrier. He’s looking out for someone in a suit with a vibe that screams Division. He sees none and no-one he knows. There are drivers holding up names and nearly everyone else is leaning forward, looking for family and friends.

He stops.

There’s a young woman staring at him. Not Division, but standing like she’s sure of her ground. She’s a blonde but with red streaks and her eyes seem to be daring him. She’s holding a lotus flower in her hands. She extends it towards him.

Nick had told Kira about how he first met Cassie. More than once, almost as if he were explaining himself. She made him forget it along with the fish market and the shrine.

Nick is looking at her, not like he recognizes her, but like he believes she can help him. It’s not an expression Cassie’s seen in a vision; it’s an expression she saw once in the back room of a shrine. She feels the tears form in her eyes.

“Take the damn flower,” she says.

He steps towards her and grasps it.

“I’m Cassie Holmes,” she says. Although the tears have started running down her cheeks, her voice is steady. She’s not a kid, but she still cries quietly. “I don’t think you remember me, but we used to know each other. I gave you a flower like this one before. I’m a Watcher and I know what you can do, Nick.”

“Say I believe you, Cassie Holmes.” The familiar shape of the name on his lips surprises him. “Wanna tell me what comes next?”

Feedback is always welcome.


shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)

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