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[personal profile] black_hat
Pairing: Adam/Claire



She sparred with Peter over a bowl of cereal.

All right, their argument wasn't that bad. In fact, it wasn't an argument at all. It was a non-fight, and as everyone on the planet knew, that was the worst kind of fight. The stage was set for a confrontation ever since Claire pulled a trick.

It hadn't helped that the phone was gone in the morning, but Claire kept her composure. She had asked that Peter stay in the mansion with her because she wanted to feel safe, and she wanted to spend some time with him. Her dad--both of them--weren't fond of the idea, but Peter pulled it off and agreed that it was for the best for now. She could see that he knew she was upset about Sylar working with her father--both of them.

This was the first step in Peter's apology to her, the one she felt she was owed. Only, there, they still had a small difference of opinion.

"If Nathan's going to hover around this house, he should go fly and get some fresh milk," Claire said, setting a bowl in front of him.

"He's had his head in the clouds lately," Peter said, and then smiled in that sweet unassuming way of his as he rethought about what he said.

Claire half-smiled but was not to be diverted. "I don't think so. I always thought Nathan had his feet on the ground, as long as I've known him. Which isn't very long so I could be wrong."

"Claire," Peter said, and he rose to the bait pretty quickly. She was almost surprised. After Adam, bait-setting had been more complicated and dangerous. "Nathan does care about you. I know he doesn't always seem like it."

"I know he's a good man," Claire said, and she did know it. "But what are they getting you caught up in?"

Peter, to his credit, didn't try to dodge the question. "I know how to handle it. You should be...being a kid. You don't have to be involved in anything heavy right now."

Oh. Kay. "I know Nathan's a good guy, with good intentions," she said, "but some things are bigger than good intentions. If involves, you know, an umbrella of large people, I think it should be open to more than one good person."

"I'm involved," Peter said, and god help her.

"So is Sylar."

"He's trying to change, Claire."

Did Peter miss the look in the man's eyes when he killed? She knew he was being used and there was no one there to protect him. She stood against the old Company's methods, and even if there were good intentions, she couldn't let that continue to happen. Peter was also her main concern. She had to protect him, no matter what cost to herself.

She reached over and squeezed his hand, and their non-fight was over. "You have to watch over Nathan for me, if Sylar's going to be nearby."

"I will," Peter said, and on this, they seemed to be agreed. "I'm off to the hospital. I volunteered to take up some empty spots, and...oh, that's right." He took his phone out of his pocket. "I found this."

"You did?" she asked, her heart pounding in her chest. She took the phone with what she hoped was a steady hand. "I'm sorry, I was distracted."

"It's all right," he said. "Keep it. You can reach me at the hospital down the block if you have any trouble. And Claire?"

She looked up.

"I'm glad you'll be around more," he said. "We didn't have time before."

She smiled at him. "Me too."

Now she'd be able to help her hero.

***

Claire stayed awake, staring at the ceiling and wondering if Adam had gotten caught. She didn't think Peter would try and trick her. But maybe he wasn't the one to find the phone at first.

She didn't want to call Adam, you know, as the first one to call. Apparently he felt the same. With a four hundred year old man, this was where they were at. She closed her eyes and started to drift off.

...Oh, she'd call. She dialed her own number.

"That was a risky and foolhardy move," he said. She bit her lip. "Naturally it worked," he finished, and Claire glowed on the inside. She fiddled with her bedcovers, keeping her cool.

"Were you on the line the whole time?"

"You never remain on the line for the full conversation. You only go halfway. I had hung up after twenty minutes. I assume someone found the phone?"

"Peter."

"Oh. Then, false alarm."

"No, not false alarm. There's a tornado siren going off over here. What did they say?"

"I'd rather have that conversation in person. Careful what you say." Hmm.

"You said, this phone signal was fine, and you could hear me now."

"It is safe. I just want to give you trouble."

She sighed.

"I would like to talk to you in person," he said. "The phone's safe, but your home may not be."

OH.

"My uncle's here, all month, so I won't be able to hang out with you as much."

"Bring him along."

Claire paused. Now who was being risky?

"Let him take you flying or some such nonsense a few times, and then bring him here under some excuse. Say Angela mentioned it off-hand. I'll tidy things up and keep out of sight. He'll see that it's empty and not bother to alert your brother."

"I'm not sure, that's entirely..."

"I am," he said. "I've met Peter."

"You know," Claire began, "I think he will come with me. Peter is nice to everyone because he has faith in everyone. I think it's brave, and I'm sure you'll agree."

More than one way to have a swordfight.

"Yes," Adam agreed cheerfully, something hidden under his words as always. It was stupid, not to give an inch of real feeling, but she would do the same. She doesn't give too much feeling to him: only one time, with her monster confession, and even that was not close to her heart. So, his censure wasn't offensive as it should have been.

"Things are going to happen very busy from now on," Claire said, after awhile.

"You know what has helped me in the past? A period of silent mediation to take the edge off. How about we try it now?"

"...Okay," Claire said, trying to be agreeable.

She didn't want to speak softly with Adam. She wanted a fight to take her mind off things (to be able to fight against something), but he was being so soothing. He didn't have to care about her, you know, it wasn't...important, she decided. Not vital.

She closed her eyes anyway, just to be quiet and go along with it, more to refuse to yield on principle. Deep down, she was disappointed, and she watched the clock, frustrated.

It was half an hour of silence. Oh my god. She didn't want to be the first one to break the silence though. What could he possibly be getting out of this? He--

...

She whispered. "Are you...deliberately spiking up the cell phone bill?"

The silence on the other line took on another type of character: a cat who ate the canary. "You see, it works. I do feel better."

"YOU," she hissed, angry! "YOU B--BITCH," she changed it at the last moment, thank god, but it lost a lot of its luster there.

"Goodnight, love. Sleep well."

"Wait, this outting is something my uncle will enjoy, right, and uh, be able to talk about the next day?"

"I'm not going to hurt your dear uncle Peter."

She was doubtful.

"I promise. Take that as you will." And he hung up, leaving the phone to buzz in her ear. She clicked it off, stewing about the phone trick until she fell asleep.

***

Claire did trust Peter, a thousand times over. When she suggested some flying sessions, he was all for it.

They flew over a slice of the ocean along the beach, and it was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. 'Some such nonsense' indeed. Claire hoped her memories would keep, and the more that happened, the more she wanted to make that were nice. She didn't mind it when Peter took her to a dinner and a movie. They laughed together, and Claire started to forget how dismissive he had been about Sylar, Nathan. Well, almost forgot.

Still, she could see what he was doing: trying to make her feel like a normal girl. That was why, she felt bad when she asked him to go to the extra Company building. She said, it was just between them, and Angela said it was empty. Why not go check it out? She hoped Adam was handling things.

"That's a good idea. I might as well see the full extent of mom and dad's work."

...And she had shot at his father. Claire wrestled that demon and put it aside. "That's the way to look at it. It'll help us get some perspective."

"And this formula Nathan is looking for."

Claire filed it away, but she considered it one of Angela's unfulfilled schemes. Peter himself took her to the Company building, and she was pleased to see that it was empty. He wandered around, seeing the tables, the rooms ready for experiments, and Claire felt--she didn't like seeing him hurt. Turns out, she didn't have to see him do it for long.

He went into one room, and Claire moved on, down the maze, knowing it well. She kept going, step by step. She went to find Adam.

Claire did smell something good coming out of the control room, and when she opened the door, she stopped short at the sight of him lounging in a chair with cheese pizza in his hand.

"You ordered pizza."

"Don't act so surprised. I told you I was going to. Do you want some?"

"I thought you were kidding," she protested. Her first question was about to be 'where'd you get the money' but of course. He had pick-pocketed the prisoners. Epic Ethics Fail.

"I remembered the tip," he said.

"What did the person say about being asked to deliver pizza to a building that could be straight out of a horror movie?"

Adam seemed confused. On purpose. "It's a desolute building in the middle of the woods," Claire explained. "He or she had to ask some questions."

"I haven't gotten around to answering him. I will in an hour."

Claire gasped, looking at the monitors to see a lone poor delivery boy in a cell.

"That time, I was kidding. See the difference," he said, smirking.

"No, you were being a jerk each time," she said. "How are you that consistent?"

"I've always been dependable like that. Thank you, Claire. I see you've brought your famous sandwiches."

She clutched them tightly in her hand. "For the others."

He nodded. "How did you get rid of the pizza guy?" she asked.

"Spoke his language. He's not from America originally, and we had a great chat about his culture. I know both the language and culture quite intimately."

"You know more languages than just English and Japanese?"

"Let me demonstrate." And he did, speaking a very pretty sounding phrase at her.

"You said something mean, didn't you? Points for originality."

There was that cat-canary smile again, though it was different this time. A more cynical, sullen smile, something Claire couldn't figure out. "I just can't fool you."

She put the sandwiches near him, knowing that despite how much he talked to fill up the air, there was a stronger communication in actions, and looked into the monitor showing the room with the dying bodyswitcher, questioningly.

"The body can't maintain under the stress. The problem is solving itself."

"I'll give him something to eat in a few minutes," Claire said.

"By all means, prolong his suffering."

"Being humane won't prolong it," Claire said firmly and went to sit in the chair near the back. "It doesn't hurt to do some small things now."

He smiled rather viciously now.

"Okay, I'm going to ask: why are you in a snit?"

That solved that smiling problem. "What snit?" Except now he seemed to be holding back laughter.

"The one you're in."

"I'd have many reasons to be in one, if I was."

"You'd have many excuses, yeah."

"I was wondering to myself about you. If you'd feed me false information by staging a conversation with your family for me to hear and believe. Besides, even if you did not, it's telling that you'd betray them to such an extent. I'm wondering when you'll do the same-"

Claire smiled at him, and he blinked at her, surprised. "You know--I'm not going to go through this with you. Did you miss the part where I was betrayed first? Now, you're going to add your knife to the collection in my back, and go ahead, cause I can and will take it. I know enough to stop them. No matter who they are, letting this continue is wrong," she said, and knew she could stop them.

"I did miss that part, actually, in between the sudden fumbling of hiding the phone and running the sink at full blast."

She flushed but kept meeting his gaze.

"You could have stated the context without all the rest," he continued. "The first betrayal makes a world of difference."

"Well, now you know," she said, raising an eyebrow.

"And now you know that your share in the Company is the entire Company. Angela left it all to you."

Her mouth dropped open. "Why?" was all she could ask.

"To stir up controversy, as well as have everyone question her motives," he said, shrugging. "That's Angela. Or, that was Angela."

She was quiet, absorbing this information, and found that difficult to do. Really, all she knew was absolute disgust which was very similiar to absolute terror. She heard him typing something, of all things, and looked at his back. She had really said too much. She did credit herself with his return to form and survival of the whole ordeal, hording the credit closer to her heart than anything else, and she didn't think she could. He was old and had survived bigger ordeals--imprisonment, wars, ecetera. She had known that from the get-go, but she was just nursing some credit privately--not so much now. She didn't need for him to know that factoid.

"How much does gas guzzling cost these days?" She tilted her head in confusion. "I'm going to take a roadtrip to a place called Coyote Sands."

"Doesn't sound like the best spot for relaxing vacation."

"I'll take a vacation after I go there. It's where the heart of the Company lies, unbeknownest to anyone else but you and I."

"So you told me, and now you'll have to kill me. And afterwards, I'll go to Coyote Sands and stop the heart from...you know."

"Somehow, I knew we had the same motivation."

Because she had blathered. Yeah, yeah. "Something at this place will shut down the Company?"

"Yes. For now." How ominous. "Them handling it will only end in a disaster."

"Anyone handling it right now would be a disaster," she said pointedly.

"Don't be so hard on yourself, Claire."

"We'll leave in a few days. I'll think of what to tell Peter."

"Best hurry. I could leave without you and do more than stop the heart unless you're present."

"You can wait a few days."

"As you wish," he said, and she stood up and grabbed the sandwiches. She looked at the monitor one more time, hesitating. Her original offer to the bodyswitcher would have saved his life. Why did he have to refuse her? What had she done wrong?

"As hard as it is to accept, there's nothing you can do about it. Trust me, if there was a solution, I'd have thought of it," he said, studying her. She didn't want to be that transparent: that she needed to not have the blame. He was letting her off.

Taking the burden. And that wasn't fair.

"He did try-."

"Claire," he said, softly, and she looked away.

"I'm going to leave them a sandwich." Which sounded stupid, on the scale of it, but she was going to do it even if it was stupid because she felt it was right. How she was perceived (something she always struggled with) didn't matter. At all. "Watch my back?"

"Of course." She took out a sandwich and placed it on the side of the monitor.

"For later. We'll talk again and get a plan going. In a few weeks, Peter will send me home. I'll be on a flight by myself."

"Not by yourself. With me." She raised an eyebrow. "I'm using the IDs of our guests to my--our advantage."

"With the Company computer?"

"With good old fashion forgery."

"A classic," Claire nodded, accepting the terms. She was at the door when he did something dreaded. He put his hand on hers, stopping her from opening the door.

"Claire. Don't think of their betrayal as personal. Put yourself in their shoes so you can understand."

"I don't want to-."

"For your survival, have a sense of perspective. They belive they are right, and...they're people; it's their nature."

Claire stiffened, and thought if he comforted her in a sappy way, she'd go crazy on him.

"I'm not people. When I stab you, I'll stab you in the front."

She stepped closer. He prepared himself.

"That's thoughtful of you. Kinda."

He raised an eyebrow. Looked down, away. She leaned in a little closer--and at the sight of his lips, something jolted through her, and she pulled away, unsure of what she had been doing. Okay, kind of a lie. It was her jab to get him on track again.

"I'm always thoughtful," he said. With an edge.

With Adam, where you thought you would end up would never be where you ended up in reality. It was fascinating, though, and something she hated to think she understood.

"I'll make sure to return the favor," Claire said. He let her open the door, easy persona back in place, and Claire did her humane duty, trying not to think on this situation--on how unfair life truly was for other people as well...

Bfore leaving to find Peter asleep.

Adam must have also, for good measure, gassed him. Nice. She was honestly furious again. She went in and woke him up, asking him what happened. "Did you trigger something?" she asked.

"I guess I did," he admitted. She gave him a syringe of her blood for good measure, herself, just in case. She knew, at the ease at which he bought it, that he needed to be protected more than ever.

She'd be saving him: saving alot of people for once. And that was the important thing.

***

Then two days later, the world fell apart.

Claire woke up to an empty house. Feeling strange, she looked around for signs of life: an empty bowl, missing keys, and she couldn't find anything that would have put her at ease. His keys were still on the counter. She called the hospital and was told Peter hadn't checked in that morning. Puzzled, she took a risk and called Adam.

Who didn't answer. That was it. She managed to get up there within an hour this time, breaking speeding rules. She didn't like it when she walked in and saw it all dark except for some red generator lights. And she didn't like where she found him.

In a cell. Locked in. He was at the glass instantly when he saw her but still had the gall to be casual about it.

"What happened?" she gripped when he was out.

"I slept, woke up, and did a few laps around the room, was considering going to sleep again," he said curtly and was moving down the hall at lightening speed. She ran to keep up.

"Adam."

"The door also went on autolock, something that only engages when the whole Company is in danger. Someone sounded an alarm."

"Why didn't you call me?"

He didn't answer but tossed her phone over his shoulder, and she scrambled to catch it. Battery dead. Dammit, Adam.

"What do you think is going on?"

"This emergency is unprecedented. Your guess is as good as mine."

"No, it isn't. Tell me what you think."

"Goverment. Either that, or an extraterrestrial invasion. One is more likely than the other."

"Nathan," she said, putting it together and feeling a surge of blinding fear, anger, and indignation--a personal, overwheling feeling that was close to hatred. Or was. She didn't want to know right now.

"The signal linked up to this building too. It needs to be shut down."

That was when the alarm started to sound, and she flinched and nearly stumbled. Adam didn't stop but reached back with his hand. She took his quickly and let him lead her along. It was obvious what was happening before he even struggled to turn on the screens and shut down the levels throughout the building. Claire couldn't breathe as she saw the soldiers on the monitor, entering the door in the same way they'd come in during a movie. She couldn't even think it was real.

"Well. To his credit, I did not see this coming. Your father has played an unexpected--if not idiotic--hand," Adam said, amazingly calm. "Wait here."

He was gone, out the door. Claire wanted to lean against the console, slump into a dead faint, but she wouldn't allow herself to. When he appeared again, her eyes were steely and her back straight. She hid the surprise at the fact that he was in a different jacket now, with two wallets in his hand and Davis's bag over his shoulder. She understood what he was going to try to do. And she didn't like it. It wasn't safe.

"I-," she said, about to come up with perfect plan or direction.

"Listen very carefully. We're going to get you in the duct system and you're going to wait. I've hidden Davis's car in the storage lot right across from where you turned off the highway."

He had? Claire opened her mouth, but he went on, writing down something a card while talking.

"It's in Unit a23. You're going to wait until they search and when there aren't as many, you'll follow the duct system out. Keep going left and use the knife to get past the outside vent. Don't," and here, he looked as if he was visualizing it, and smirked. "Don't drop the vent on the ground.Walk--don't run-- to the car, and hide. Don't go home. Use his credit cards. Do you understand?"

"Wait. I don't...this isn't a good plan. Playing dead would even be a better one."

"They'll dissect me right here," he said. "Won't work."

"Then come with me."

"I can't fit in the duct system." And he shoved the bag and wallet into her hands, head tilted as if he was trying to figure her out as quickly as he could. As if she was something quite mysterious.

"No. I'm not leaving you. There has to be a way out."

"There is, for you. I can handle myself. In fact, I'll use this to my advantage."

"I can distract them, you know I can, and you'll get away." His eyes studied her as if he were tempted, and she was ready to push more. Then he forced himself to look away.

"Don't you understand what they'll do to you? They'd only believe you were an agent if you were Special."

She held back an angry retort. "I don't care, I can take it. I want to be the one rather than you risking being found out," she said, scared that she meant it, but she did. "You'll get me out."

"I knew you wouldn't be persuaded any other way," he sighed, seeming to not want to let her words linger in the air. She noticed but was distracted when he held up the tracking chip. Digging through the bag, he took out a knife and undid his shirt.

"Um, hello, now's not the time for, for whatever you're doing," she hissed.

"I'm going to put the tracking chip in my shoulder for you to find me." he said, raising an eyebrow despite the situation at hand. He pulled the knife across his skin and with her watching, pushing the chip in. "Only if it's in your control. Ironically, that's the only time you'll obey. But all your worry is for naught. I'll meet up with you here in two weeks."

He took her hand and placed the card in her palm, curling up her fingers for her. Her breath caught a little, overwhelmed by the gesture. "...And if you don't show up?"

"The tracker is in the bag."

"If it comes down to that, I'll find you. I won't stop until I do," she promised.

"As long as you can use the tracking device, I believe you."

Claire adjusted the bag and then saw his sword lying against the console. She picked it up. "I'll keep this safe for you."

"Hurry," he said before she could really turn around and see his expression. She was pushed towards the center of the room. She hurried to stand on the chair to reach the ceiling, but to her surprise, he lifted her himself. She managed to move the duct aside and climbed in. She maneuvered around to speak to him but he was gone.

***

It took them a day before most of the government officials left. The soldiers. Army guys. Claire didn't dare make a sound.

She had grown paranoid about her cell phone--in the dark small tunnel that was almost making her claustophobic, she waited until no one was in the romm. slowly reached around and turned off the phone. For a tense moment, she heard it beep off. After that, nothing, and no one heard. She waited, drifting in and out of consciousness--her fear high, but when she was afraid, she got defensive. This much she knew about herself, and she had to clench and unclench her hands and try to calm down. Finally, she took a deep breath, knowing that if she didn't start moving, she wasn't going to.

Claire moved one arm in front of the other, barely breathing. She had to pick up the bag and move it slightly a head of her so it didn't make a sound. Same with the sword. When she finally hit the vent to the outside, she used the knife to unscrew it. Just some screws stood between her and freedom. The screws were rusted, and she kept at it for hours. Her hands didn't get sore after all. Finally, they yielded and she carefully held on to the vent, not wanting it to clang to the ground.

Claire listened for anyone guarding this side of the building, and she heard voices. But they remained at the front of the building. Then she went entirely on autopilot. She just started to walk. Claire didn't know how she didn't burst into a frantic run, but she didn't. She walked the distance, far away from the road that was being travelled on, without tiring.

When she got to the point where she was to cross the street, she walked further down and found a service station to act like she was coming from that direction. She imagined that she looked like she'd been through hell, so she got a bottle of water out of a vending machine quickly and splashed some water on her face and hair. She waited and pulled her hair up in a ponytail. Grabbing the keys, she ambled towards where the car was. She was trying to stop herself from running, and during it, she had a distinct Adam voice in the back of her head, a sardonic 'don't lose your head, that's the only thing you can't risk losing'.

She walked, got in the car (which was a huge SUV, thank you Adam, nothing else would have gone with her short legs), and drove it out of the lot. She squeezed the steering wheel to keep her hands from shaking. She looked at the card, registered the address. It was still in that state of New York, so that was a plus.

He had said two weeks, and had written down a time, but she was going to go now. She had nowhere else to go. She had no idea who else was taken down. She needed to get to that place and wait and they'd figure something out. He was Adam, he'd have an idea after he talked to the right people involved with this crime.

Claire just had to hang on until they met up again. She had faith in him.

Or at leat his ability to connive.

***

A week in a motel had made Claire stircrazy. She tormented herself with visions of her in the future begging on the street and living in motels for the rest of her unnatural life because her looks, barring her from being an agent, might bar her from most other things.

It seemed more true than anything else: that lack of uncertainty. However, this future was better than envisioning the present. She was afraid for her family. She didn't try the phone yet, and she didn't know if it would be tracked. She had had to go into a service station: grab a map, stock up on gasoline for the drive. In each motel, she picked them based on the person behind the main desk. She'd only approach if they were a girl, or an old man. Anyone else would wonder why a girl her age was driving alone, and it'd draw the wrong attention. Sometimes she slept in the SUV.

She didn't mind spending excess amount of chips and unimportant items: Claire was still mad at Davis, and yes, she was willing to spend. But it only made it worse. She knew she should turn on the phone. She wanted to turn on the phone, to see if Peter called, but she couldn't--somehow--do it. The further away Peter was, the less likely she had to know the truth about his situation. Their situation. If she was away from her family, maybe, for now, they could be safe. Claire still knew it was luck that her mother and little brother were out that day when Sylar came by.

If she was away from them, yes, they were safe. She was certainly a danger to everyone else she was around.

Each night, she thought about Adam. Despite her wanting to think about anything but, her mind kept turning to him, and wondering where he was. It was just now that she realized it, but Claire felt...empathy for him. She hadn't really seen anyone for a long time, not after this power. Hadn't connected with anyone. Peter would be the exception to this rule, and after Sylar, she had almost blinked out Peter too. But with Adam, she was worried about him. He had mentioned what they would do to her. What would they do to him if he was caught?

Claire made it to the address on the card and got a motel a mile away. She was a week early, and she thought about all the things they were getting behind on. She'd make a point to tell him off about it. For the rest of the week, in the small dark hotel, hiding from the world, this was how Claire endured the time alone: being still in the bed, hoping the world didn't end, and imagining what she'd say when she saw him again.

***

Adam never appeared.

The meeting place was the most...country was the word...place ever, and she assumed no one would check for them there. Claire waited all day: she kept moving from table to table, playing a variation of musical chairs. She looked out the window. Walked around the building. Badgered the waitress, asking if anyone had left a message for her. Peeked under the tables for a coded note. After awhile, she had to leave to avoid suspicion...or because the manager had threatened to kick her out after she had breathed on the glass to see if a message had been left on the window (like in the movies). And no, there wasn't a message.

Claire rushed to her room and grabbed the tracking device. She hadn't wanted to give away her position, earlier, but now she had to know where he was. She turned it on as Meredith had shown her months ago--and the screen remained blank. Claire frowned and turned the device over and over in her hands. She noticed that the screw was undone in the back. She picked at the side panel with her nails and opened it to see what was....tangled wires and a whole piece of equipment missing.

Claire sat there on the bed with the tracker in her hands and felt as if her safety net had snapped from underneath her. Her link to him was broken. She couldn't believe it, and kept turning the black box in her hands. She replayed his words to her in her head.

The only way he could get her to leave was to give her hope of finding him again. Adam was too methodical; he'd know this tracker was useless. He had given her a chance to escape herself...something threatened to twist so hard inside of her that she would break, and after taking calming breaths, she knew he had:

Given her the slip.

This was the acceptable interpretation. Nothing else would fit. If he thought this would beat her--if anyone thought this would beat her, goverment included, they were wrong.

That night, Claire dreamt of him being tortured again and again, and she couldn't accept the kind of pain it gave her. She couldn't live with it. She was up the next day and travelling. Her plan was to get a working tracker from her house. Claire was sure her dad had something lying around. On the way, driving in the middle of nowhere with heat beating down inside the car, she knew it was a long shot. She had realized how dumb she had been. Why would an electronic chip work with being in the human body? Sure, she had seen it on tv, but now, thinking it through, she wasn't too impressed with herself.

In fact, it was...pretty stupid. She'd told herself off mentally several times during the road trip.

But it only made her more determined to find him, and it was a lead. She had a list in her head, and she was going to cross off every option. A little further along--in the middle of nowhere--Peter's phone turned itself on and beeped at her impatiently. Needless to say, she was freaked out. She thought the phone would signal the arrival of every agent in the world to encircle her. She pulled over to the side of the road, waiting for her worst fears to come true. It was the same way it was in the duct system: as it always was.

'Peter Petrelli?' was texted on the screen from someone called rebel.

'Who's asking?'

'I need your help to save the world. Go here, Charlie Paterson, needs your help'.

To her surprise, he (or she) started to give her an address.

'wait, I'm not Peter. I'm Claire' and then she stopped, not knowing who she was talking to.

'Claire Bennet?' Well, never mind then.

'Yes. Can you find people? Through phone signals?'

'Something like that.' Her first impulse was to ask for Adam but while she was typing this very request, she paused, shocking at what her fingers had done, and deleted.

'Is Peter all right? I need to know.'

'He was free. It listed him as a fugitive in the database.'

She breathed a sigh of relief and then...she had a gamble here. She could ask about Adam, possibly getting deeper in trouble. If he was still around, being hurt. She'd prefer if he was free, making a comfy home in a nuclear factory, casually bathing in green radioactivity...(now, what did her mind just do?)

'Thank you, and I need to find someone else,' Claire typed quickly, to avoid the issue. Adam was dangerous too; he was a priority. 'Someone who got caught. Please help me'

'What's the person's name?'

'Look for Adam Monroe. He was captured two weeks ago'

'I'll get back with you in an hour, once Paterson is safe. Keep moving'

"In an hour," she muttered. "I hope I can trust you, Rebel."

***

Claire was still in the back of the SUV, holding on to the phone and trying to keep focused. She hoped Adam was alive to be found. She now had gruesome of his head literally on a pole somewhere because it had been longer than an hour. The phone beeped again.

'You said he was captured'

Claire squinted. 'Is he uncaptured?' Upon examination, that sounded smartass and she deleted her text. Adam would be smoother about this. 'I was under the impression he was, worst case scenario. He was going to try and avoid them though'

'Avoid them? This is Monroe, r? Please confirm.'

Her mouth went dry, and her heart started to speed up again. Oh please, let her not have made a mistake. 'It is.'

'He was in Washington, D.C. With the suits.'

'What was his background? His disguise to b there?' Because she was curious. Very.

'Claimed to b from French-speaking country'

'France?'

'Canada.' Claire blinked. That she couldn't see. Adam was sneaky 'eh?'. Confirmed.

'K, I can go up and kick him back into play' Claire texted, relieved and mad at the same time. She was confused about how that could be but she didn't want to dwell on it. 'We could work something out since he's already on the inside.'

'? This is Monroe, right?'

'Yes, it's Adam Monroe,' Claire texted, brow furrowing. What was the problem? Just give him to her already.

'A kid with nuclear power was caught two days ago. I read Monroe's files. It's strange, there were two files, one with more information than the other one, and his name was different in one, but it was the same guy. Then. I saw Monroe was trying to get access into that building, just after and...I assumed he had to be stopped.'

'Wait, what happened?' she texted furiously.

'I tipped them off that he was a Special.'

All the blood rushed from her face. She sat bolt up. 'No. No, you didn't, please tell me'

'I thought he was v. dangerous. Was I wrong?'

She thought she heard some pleading underneath that text, and she took a deep breath and tried to control her emotions like Adam had said to. No one except Nathan could have been prepared for this situation. What was it called? A sense of perspective?

'I can see why you did it, but he was my responsibility. There was another option, and.' She took another deep breath and plunged. 'Those files are questionable.'

'How?'

'I'd have to explain in person, but I can see why and even with the files being messy, you made the best call b/c this affects everyone. Where is he now?'

'I'd have to track him again, but he's in a high security building now'

'Can you help me get him out?'

There was a few minutes of blank screen. Her eyes seemed to hurt at the intensity of her stare though she knew that couldn't be. 'I can't. For one person...there are too many others out there. It'd be a risk. The security is top.'

She wasn't about to give up. 'What if I balanced it out? Made it worth your while?"

'It's more than that. An onslaught of people escaping would be suspicious. But their computer is like talking in a foreign language. I couldn't begin without taking a risk...but..."

Claire waited.

'Along with that file, there was something else that surfaced up. A code to the computer. But it has to be entered manually in that building, which is the problem."

'Then I can do that.'

'How?'

'Security is for living people, not dead ones'

A longer pause and she closed her eyes, praying if there was someone listening. Maybe she could at least get where he was: if Rebel wouldn't help her, then-

'All right. We'll try it. I do have a program in mind that can help me'. Wow. Claire was surprised. 'I can't get a teleporter for you at the moment though.'

'How about a speedster?' Claire asked. 'I happen to know one that'd be happy to help me.'

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