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[personal profile] black_hat
Pairing: Adam/Claire



Daphne looked at her, shifting from foot to foot. Understandably freaked out. But she was here because she owed Claire, and Claire was calling in this favor regardless.

"I can try first, instead of you," she said nervously. "Breaking and entering is kinda my thing."

"Breaking out is more key here," Claire said, and then winced at her own harshness. "This makes Fort Knox look like a playpen." She put a hand on Daphne's shoulder. "You've done more than enough." But you can't go in because you can die, only Claire didn't want to point it out. From here on, she was the capable party, and she wasn't going to give that up.

Instead, she slipped Daphne a note quietly, hoping not to attract Rebel's attention. Daphne was quick, and put it in her pocket. It was a note to Peter. She didn't want Peter to come here, now, which is why she didn't want Rebel to involve him, even though it was mentioned. Peter was too important, and too precious a person to her.

But someone needed to save Adam if she failed today.

"I'm going to do run now. This is something that slows down my ability." With Daphne watching, she stuck the syringe in her arm and pulled. "It's a poison". The same thing Adam used with the bodyswitcher.

"Um." Daphne shifted from foot to foot again. "I like how casual you are about it?"

Casual--nice hint at making her feel awkward about how anti-normal this was. Claire decided to ignore her then. The original plan was for Daphne to bring her body (with a knife in that stop) to the door, but Daphne wouldn't do that kind of killing for some reason. And then, thinking it through, they might not bring her body in unless the soldiers are the ones doing the killing. So, as frustrating as it had been, it worked out.

"This will make sure I'll be dead," she said, all business. "We act like we are snooping, and you run while they shoot at me. Are you ready?"

Daphne swallowed hard and nodded. "As ready as I will be." Daphne grabbed her and in a moment, they were in front of the government holding facility, and it didn't take long for them to be noticed.

"Stop, or you will be shot."

"Don't stop," Claire said, running along side Daphne at a normal speed. She already felt both the workings of the stuff, and her heart started to hurt.

"You don't have to tell me twice," Daphne said. "And here they come."

There was a volley of shots, and Claire leapt behind Daphne to block any stray ones. She got six shots. And for the record--it felt like she had been torn in two in her hed, her mind loose--some feeling even when there wasn't pain. Six shots. She remembered being read something from her mother once--a kid's book. Six shots-that's as much as two threes. She hit the ground.

"Claire!"

"Go!" she screamed, and Daphne left her. She looked at the sky, and she was dying quickly. Painfully, with her side just gone, but quickly. The world was coming apart. They'd have to bring her inside, she knew it. She.

Woke up, gasping, in the dark. The dark. A grave? She almost freaked out but calmed herself down--in a way of speaking. She felt along the edges of the box--yes, it was a box. She could see a sliver of light, so that was where she'd start. This box was metal. She stretched out and her foot--okay, bare foot--they must have had time to strip her. She gritted her teeth, kept her cool. She knew that was a possibility.

She pushed, and the light widened. She was on a morgue table, one of the ones the slid out, and she began to slowly--move. Her heart was beating in her ears, and she moved, inch by inch, until she was out. The room was dark. Thank god. She searched for a sheet, or something.

In the room, something beeped, and she leapt a foot in the air. What was that? It was her phone, she was sure of it. Peter's phone. Rebel had promised he'd mess up the electronics where they couldn't see whose it was, and it was in a plastic bag. She unzipped it and saw the text.

'Claire? You okay?'

She looked around and saw the green light of the camera. 'A little stiff but kicking,' she typed back Rebel didn't seem to appreciate the humor.

'I kept them from locking the drawer. I thought you were really dead.'

'I told you I could,' Claire typed back, initially frustrated with his lack of faith in her abilities.

'It was five hours.'

Now, she felt bad. 'I'm sorry. But it worked, and so, you know where Adam is?'

'Yes. You'll have to sneak down several halls though.'

Claire looked around and saw an uniform, small enough for her to...inhabit it. It'd do. She stepped around the corner and dressed quickly, putting on the uniform.

There was a small portable metal cart in the corner, with a large space underneath it. She had an idea. She quickly threw a white sheet over it, avoiding looking at the mess of the dissected Special to the right. The rage--that was going on? Was immense. Immense. She put some heavy looking (and actually heavy) equipment on top of it. While Rebel was distracted by her actions, she slipped a scalpel in the pocket of the coat.

Just in case.

'I'll hide underneath this, and you can maybe misdirect someone to take me half of the way. Would that work better?'

'It's a plan'

It was a plan that made her afraid all over again, though she owned it. She heard the heavy boots.

"Damn," the man grunted. "This is heavy." She'd definitely blame the equipment for that remark. She was still, hardly breathing, as the wheels began to squeak and they rolled down the hall to her destination.

She wondered if being this zen about it was normal. (They can't hurt me, they can't hurt me: she told herself)

For what seemed like a trek around the equator, they finally stopped. "And now I'm running over here again. It's worse than being on the field."

Claire waited as his footsteps faded, and then snuck out of the table underneath. This was the door.

'Is it all clear inside?' She should text faster.

'Yes'

And then she walked into hell. Or what would be hell for them.

"What the HELL is this?" she asked, to no one.

'A sensory deprivation tank'

This profound horror shot through her as if she was struck by lightning. They had stuck him in there, without thought of....she needed to get him out.

'This might not be the right-'

"No," Claire said, fighting back tears. She needed to get this done, now. "This is the right one. Tell me what to do. Please."

'I'm looking up the code, hold on'

In her mind, she thought he wouldn't be able to find it. That it was too encrypted or it was a locked-for-good-don't-bother-with-the-code...she put her hand on the tank, She had gotten him into this, by trying to help him, and she might not be able to get him out.

'Here is the code, type it as I give it to you. It shuts down in sequences'

She typed it in, careful, and heard the latch on the door unlock. She opened it up and saw him there, and...

Despite the gentleness the situation called for, she grabbed his shoulders and just pulled him out. He gasped, and struggled, and she held him closely, not caring if he hit her or not. "Adam, Adam," she said, repeated, until he had calmed down. "You're okay, now, you're okay."

He was ice in her arms, his skin freezing. He stilled, by force of will, and gazed up at her. In complete shock.

"You look surprised to see me," Claire said, trying to lighten this up.

"What...what are you doing here?" he asked, managing to be demure about her holding him with a soaking wet robe covering him. It was an admirable trait.

"I'd say I was here to rescue you, but we aren't out of the danger yet. This is a mid-rescue," she said, helping him stand up.

"Oh good. I'm awake to see the results of it," he quipped, getting his balance. "But you got in. By yourself," he said, slowly. "You're...that's--."

"Lucky?"

"I was going for amazing. There's more to you than I thought, Claire Bennet," he said, and well, she had to divert that.

"I had help," she said, holding up the phone. "I...I sorta promised him I'd try and upload something into their computer. If I could," she added significantly.

"Did he now?" Adam said, with a strange smile she couldn't decipher. Claire stared at him, sensing something, but she moved on

"It's a big deal, for us to do this, but...." She stepped closer. "If you need to get out, he'll let us."

Adam was pale, and his eyes still unfocused. She didn't like seeing him this way, but she couldn't help but admire that he stood up and thought it through, calculating in his way. "It's been so much trouble getting in here," he commented, putting on his cool persona. "I think the least we can do is give them a parting gift. Now...are there others like us here?"

Rebel texted, and she read the words. Unbelievable.

"Yes," she said, trying to be composed. "Rows and rows of people like us."

He grinned at her, steadyfast. "Then we'll get ourselves a distraction."

***

They had made it to the room without detection. It was a scene right out of a horror movie.

Claire expected Adam to gloat, about how right he was about the world or some such evil monologue, but he didn't. Studying him, she could see he wasn't thrilled. This--she didn't know why she was angry, or confused, about it, or why she wanted to say something comforting. (And there was nothing comforting to say.)

"Let's rouse them," Adam said, ran a hand through his hair, and Rebel instantly texted him.

'Are you organizing an escape?'

Adam looked at her. Claire suddenly recalled the word 'distraction' and she, by no means, confused it with escape.

'Not exactly.' he texted and then spoke outloud, looking at the cameras knowingly.

"It's not out of the question. We could get them back to health, with our blood," she told him, insistent. She didn't want to leave them behind, and he gave her a forboding look. Claire tilted her head, trying to think through it. He had to have some reason.

'Could you do that?' Rebel texted anxiously.

"Could," Adam said, cagey.

'Then you can lead them all out'

"You see, the thing with that..." It was hard for him to be the person to say it, because of who he was. Claire understood, and she looked over all the bodies (all the people) forlornly.

"Because one of us could kill one of them," she said. "If that got out, public opinion would be against us even more. More people like us would die."

"That's what would happen," Adam said, solemnly. Even he lost some of his light in the midst of this place. "I don't believe bullets would be used against them at this stage. Tranquilizers and stun guns would be the choice if these are prisoners. They know they are powerless. Make sure the message is clear."

'This idea, though-'

"I suggested it first. In the hallway," Claire said, taking the bullet. Adam met her eyes, and it was understood. She had to be the one to say it, or it wouldn't be taken seriously. Only, she hoped it was the right idea. Only, she hoped it was the right thing to do. "We can get the virus in the systems and free everyone in the long run," she bit out.

After a moment, Rebel agreed. "Thank you," Adam whispered. She was going to tell him how gross this was--to make sure he knew what she thought, how much she was giving up for him again--but something in his face stopped her. The 'thank you' even threw her. "I know how this is. I know what this is," he said.

"I know what this is too. There's not even a point in saving people, here," she said. "I don't know if I can do it."

"Let me do it."

When they were all up, waking up and slowly panicking, Claire resolved to let Adam be the one to lie to them all. She knew this was a cheat, pure and simple, to let someone else do it. So, she couldn't help but stand by him as he did it, acting like a shell-shocked survivor which wasn't much of an act. She didn't know, his oratory prowess was as good as ever, but in between his lines urging them to join together and manage to get out of this (or halfway through the hall, as it was), Claire promised she'd come back for them if this fell through--whatever Rebel had in mind. If Rebel messed up, she'd go to the press and make this stop herself. Or find another way.

Or...

"How many of you are telekinetic?" Claire asked, forcing the words out. She was surprised at how her words sounded firm. She didn't know how she was doing it, only she was, because she had to.

In that instant, Adam knew what she was going to do, and he smiled, shook his head, and stepped back. Claire knew he always smiled when he was betrayed. Five people raised their hands.

"I'm going to give you all your powers back, fullstop," Claire said. "I can do that. I can't control what you'll do, no more than I can control what those men with the guns will do. But I'm going to give you a choice on whether you want to sink to their level or not. Whether you are your power, like they think, or whether you're a person. Telekinetics, you'll guard us and keep the bullets away."

Claire turned to Adam, expecting him to be there, but instead she caught a glimpse of the door behind her closing.

***

Claire led the way, down the hall, willing to take a bullet first if this was how it was going to go.

In her hand, she had a gun. Loaded. But she wasn't going to fire it. It wouldn't matter if she didn't have the same temptation as the others, and well--she would be tempted. They moved down the halls, and the soldiers swarmed as one in front of them--and her throat almost closed up. Bullets wouldn't kill her but the fear of them seemed close as she could come.

She took one step in front of another, and the crowd followed, people at her heels. There was a sharp sound and someone pulled on her, even though she didn't need help. Something did get through. Definitely not a dart, and Claire fell backwards, and the--insanity of being shot at, and she thought she heard a second bullet but she didn't know where that went.

There was a moment in time where the crowd seemed to shift, and something about to spill over, and she had a hard time getting up because the bullet went into her lung and that usually took awhile to get past. And she had to stand up and be out in the front.

She--

Someone pulled her up by her collar--something she didn't appreciate--didn't they think she could choke, and so she didn't look at the person in question. She merely nodded a quick thank you, brushed their hand away and kept moving to the front again. At the sight of her, everyone calmed down, or...were too past panic to really be panicking.

"It's this way," she said, as loudly as she could, and moved, one foot again in front of the other (bullet still in lung, what a mess). She hoped it was this way. People were being pushed away, buffeted away by their telekinetics, and then she reached the main threshold, the large metal doors with large metal cars. One car threatened to move--hovered above the ground, and she didn't blink.

Kept moving, and the car didn't toss itself into the air--the person didn't toss it into the air. The main garage doors were forced open and people started to stream by her. Claire stopped, and let them, and got lost in the masses--turning back down the hallway in search of Adam.

She had gone all the way in here, so...she'd leave with him, even if she had to knock him out and drag him along.

The bullet in her lung was uncomfortable. She panted, and hid (not praying but something close) as soldiers rushed by, missing her.

"Damn it, Adam, where are you?"

"You mean 'where are we'?"

She bit her lip to hold back the shriek. She turned slowly, and well, there he was. She didn't know when he had shown up.

"I didn't think you'd still be around," she said.

"I was curious to see what happened. I know where the database is," he said, very casually. "If you'd still like to try for it."

Claire nodded. "Need help with the bullet?"

Oh for. "I'm kind of missing..." He handed her a long knife and turned around. She saw that his shirt was bloody and had a hole in it. From a bullet. "...or not."

Getting the bullet out was a trick but she finally let it fall to the ground. Adam walked foward when he heard the metallic sound on the ground. She was forced to kind of follow.
They made it to a room where Adam motioned for her to get behind him. Much to her dismay. She was the one doing the rescuing. Adam followed the directions on the phone.

"Wait and be steady," he whispered. "There's only one guard there now."

She waited, and in a flash, he was already running and taking a bullet. Without her. She quickly followed, seeing the cigarette and lighter on the ground where he had dropped it after Adam had ambushed him.

"Now, we're going to have a discussion," Adam said. "You're going to let us in that door."

And they went back and forth, Adam wheedling and the soldier denying, and Claire was...thinking they could be there for a year, an distinct possibility. She looked at the lighter. She picked it up and started her hand on fire.

Both men looked up, and she stuck her hand in the soldier's face, smiling pleasantly. "Open. The door," she said.

"..Y-yes," he stammered, and it seemed she could use her freak-status to some use after all. Adam was staring at her in a way that was--she tried to extinguish her hand. Adam took her hand, and patted it out, and she kept her eyes on that soldier.

"There, that wasn't so bad," Adam said kindly. "But this will be."

And he knocked the man out brutally and took items off his belts. Weapons that she didn't know about. He turned to say something--

"I know, I know," Claire said. "Let's keep going."

"Actually, I was going to change," he said, slyly, and she turned around and waited, ignoring--everything until Adam was in the soldier's gear and opening the door.

The computer room was vasty and immediately, but Adam went right for it.

"I'll guard the door," Claire said, to be useful. Adam turned around and ....locked the door. He smirked at her, and she smirked at him, until Rebel texted them to hurry it up.

"All right, all right," Adam said. "What do I type in?"

Claire swallowed hard and waited, wondering if they'd get trapped in here. "Got it," Adam said, and she looked at the screen, saw it waver.

"We...actually did it," she said. Adam stayed at the screen, looking at something. "Adam?"

"We now need to get out," he told her. "No need for concern, I have a plan in mind."

"What do we do?" she asked. "Are you going to pretend to be a soldier and 'capture' me? I don't think that trick will work twice."

"You're right," he said. "There will be a fire, a very common accident." He held up the spray he had taken from the soldier. "The lighter, if you will."

She handed it to him. "Stay behind me. I'll get us out."

"Let me help you," she said. He took a deep breath and handed her a black club, another weapon.

"Don't attack if you don't have to," he said. "Come along."

She followed him down the halls, and Rebel texted. "Ah, yes, they are gathering but we don't have their attention yet."

Claire gave him a look, watching as he took the chairs along the hall and just---turned it into an inferno. "Move quickly. Or we'll be smothered. Do you trust me?"

She took his hand. And they ran, the flames not bothering them and the siren going on and on in the background. The soldiers that tried to corner them were kept back, but a few lunged forward. One ran right at Adam, in the chaos, and in a panic--a possessive, protective streak running through her-- Claire struck, hitting him with the club. She thought about everything, all this--this atrocity--and hit him, again and again.

Adam stopped her from hitting the solder a third time. Claire blinked, and her mind started to come back to her. The boykidwhatever-soldier was in a panic, burning, and Claire didn't know what to do. And Adam stopped. She thought she was hallucinating when he tried to help the guy, even though he said no killing. It'd be the 'accidental' fire that killed the soldier,

“Roll, you need to roll, oh for god’s sake,” he ordered, and then he pushed the boy against the wall, snuffing the fire out with his hands. “There, you’re good to go now.”

“Tha-.”

Adam knocked him out, and took her hand again, pulling her along, and somehow they both avoided the stream of uniforms that sped by down a closer corridor. She let him lead her, and she was expecting...a way out, not another door. She followed him in to see a boy strapped to a table. He was out of it and pale, his face streaked with sweat.

"I found him through the computer," Adam said, handing her the phone and beginning to unstrap him.

Then it clicked. Nuke boy.

The phone beeped. 'Claire. Claire', Rebel's electronic warning went off, like that scene from a videogame that Lyle used to play all the time before he decided it was lame. Zelda. That glowing light with a voice 'listen'. She didn't have to listen, she could see with her eyes the problem that was unfolding as Adam stuck the shot in the nuclear boy's arm, waking him up and giving him full access to his powers.

Powers that could kill over a wide radius if pushed. After seeing Adam weak and in need of help, she had forgotten herself and what he was. Only, she didn't think he was going to do something. She trusted herself enough now to know when he was going to do something. But Rebel didn't know, and that was a problem.

'Claire'.

She knew the next order coming. To distract him, to possibly knock him and the kid (around her age, and Claire thought of him as a kid) out. She walked towards him as he was putting up the syringe, and grabbed both his arms to get his attention.

"He can't stay here with his ability," Adam said. "It's out of the question."

"He'd be used as a weapon," Claire supplied, and Rebel sighed mechanically, something she did not know was possible.

"Claire," Adam said, noticing the boy coming to. "This is Luke."

"Is there a last name with that?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Campbell," Adam said grudgingly. "You see," he said to Luke. "I told you I'd get you out."

"Man," Luke said, looking at Adam in awe. "That was righteous."

What was righteous? Claire questioned. What was going on?

"Help him to his feet," Adam said, nodding to Luke, and Luke looked at her expectantly--and she could tell this was the type of person who would play very weak to make her hold him up. She sighed, knowing she would--he could die, like most people do, and so she helped him up and put an arm around him. They'd have to run down the hall and she'd have to shield him. Luke leaned against her.

"Now," Adam said, watching Claire's disgusted expression with no little amount of enjoyment, "Luke, emit some radiation. Just the slightest amount," he added, at Claire's look. "We're going to clear the way and get someone's attention."

"But she--uh."

"She's like me." Claire

They walked down the hall as one, Luke's hands glowing, and the soldiers got the picture pretty quickly. They turned corner after corner until one of them stepped out in front of the group, ordering a cease fire. He was older, clearly a leader, and his eyes were steel, looking at Adam with great dislike.

"Alan," Adam said. "My friend. I knew you'd be where I was. How long did it take you to get transfered here? That looks like a new suit, nice touch by th-"

The man clenched his jaw. "What do I need to do?"

"Get me out of here. I think that's pretty obvious."

"I think it's pretty obvious I can't do that."

"Then I won't be able to give you what you want, either," Adam said and shrugged. "I can stand down, and let you take us in if you want. But you'll never get the chance to see me again. We both know that."

"...Come on. I know a way."

Claire was at a complete loss. Rebel was quiet, still, she assumed blocking the cameras. This was a mess. But she went with it, trusting that it'd be okay. "The trucks are all shut down, except for Dock A. I won't be searched."

Adam nodded, and they all followed the soldier to the dock, all the while listening to him tell the others to stand down. What a risk he was taking. What was going on? It was tense, and Claire hopped in the back of the soldier's truck along with Luke and Adam. They were going to drive out of here. Claire held down her panic, and listened as the soldier was stopped at the gate.

"There's a high alert, sir," she heard a voice say. "No one is authorized to-."

"Here's my rank," the soldier said, identifying himself. "Do you want to explain to DHS how you held me up?"

Soon enough, they were moving again, and Claire shut her eyes. Luke was next to her, in silence--for a few minutes.

"Wow," Luke whispered. "Can you believe this?"

"What, the government roundup or that we are escaping after fighting the army?" Claire asked.

"All of it. You can heal too, right?"

Claire nodded, making the fatal mistake of being friendly. She looked back at Adam, who was still pale, and tried to catch his eyes to be comforting. Instead, Adam was frowning, as if seeing something he didn't much like.

She realized what he was looking at after she smelt the burning skin. Luke was touching the back of Claire's neck. "Whoa," he muttered, entranced, and Claire was going to be mature and sit there, calmly, and-

Adam reached back and moved Luke's hand away roughly. "Enough. Of that," he said. Claire felt a little...better, and she looked at the ceiling of the truck, showing a little bit of her shoulder. It worked. Luke touched her other shoulder. Since Adam had pushed Luke away before, she decided this meant it was okay to squeeze his finger--a little violently. Luke howled. Adam didn't say a word, or acknowledge it.

"What's going on back there?" the soldier asked.

"Keep driving," Adam said, and there was a silence. Claire didn't know where they were going. She felt completely out of control, and she wondered--

"WHAT IN THE-." The soldier yelled and they all flew to the edge of the truck as the man pumped the brake.

Claire looked out to see the dust storm outside. As if someone was running in front of the truck at sonic speed and stirring up dirt on purpose. Daphne.

"Stop," Claire said. "That's for us."

Adam grabbed her shoulder, looking for an answer, but she had a few questions herself. "It's okay," Claire said. "She'll get us away quickly."

Luke had already jumped out of the truck, seeing the blonde woman for the first time. He threw up his hands. "Freaking. Epic."

"Take Adam and Luke away from here," Claire said, "Then come back for me." Adam opened his mouth to protest. But by then, Daphne had already done what she said. She heard the soldier getting out behind her. Claire didn't want to show fear--she wouldn't. She turned to face him instead.

"What does he have over you?" Claire asked.. He shifted, seeming as if he wasn't about to answer...

"My daughter," the man said. "She suffered head trauma which has left her...hardly there. He told me he knew someone who could heal her, but he wouldn't let me know who it was unless I helped him."

She felt as if someone had reached into her chest and twisted her heart up. She struggled to get her composure.

"Do you have a knife and a bottle, a container of some sort?" she asked. He stared at her, his eyes widening.

"You."

"Do it before she comes back, or it won't happen."

He hurried, emptying a water bottle in the trashcan and taking out his knife. He watched her slit her arm, watched the blood fill the bottle.

"Give this to her in a syringe," Claire said. "I know how...freakish it sounds, but it'll heal her."

"That man." He paused. "He's dangerous. Since I have this, I can catch him again. You could get that...girl to go back and hand him over."

Claire...couldn't. He deserved it, but she couldn't. Whenever she got the chance, she couldn't...let him go. He was hers. "I'll handle him."

"Be careful," the man said. "And...and thank you. I owe you more than you'll ever know. If you need anything...get caught, my name is Alan McKesson. Ask for me."

Claire was a little overwhelmed by the gesture. Satisfied. Elated. She had helped him when Adam hadn't. Claire smiled and heard Daphne speeding along the way. In a blink, Claire was by her car again. Adam's expression was neutral, and so was hers.

"Rebel said for you guys to wait until morning before trying to leave the state, so he can clear it. And I have so many people to move even further away. So, I'll see you in the morning."

It appeared Daphne had been recruited, more to Rebel's favor than Claire. But she was tired and burnt.

"Okay. In the morning."

After Daphne left them in the dust next to the rental car, she watched the woman's progress, and then Claire turned around. She was about to say something, she thought, and she didn't know what. Now that the momentary threat was over, she felt like screaming, fighting, crying, or demanding a reaction. What she saw shut her down. She saw that he had shut down: that his mask of constant invincibility had just folded to the floor.

He was staring off into space. Claire didn’t…she wanted to hurt him, but she held back. Fine, he didn't have to know that she knew.

"We should go," she said. He nodded, looking tired, and actually got into the passenger's seat. It was then she knew she was in deep trouble. She calmly got into the car and started the engine, letting it go slowly down the paved road. There was silence as they passed under the streetlights. She listened to him, just his pressence, and it was just so heavy. Claire didn't want to show care, not really. She didn't know what to do, she...had to say something.

“I would have never stopped looking for you,” she said, her voice soft but the words were to cut him. It was the truth, that was the hell of it. He couldn't just....stare into space now.

“I know,” Adam said, and she looked at him out of the corner of her eye. Then he cleared his throat. “This time, it was in my favor, you chasing after me.”

Claire was kind of glad he was being himself. She supposed if he could make remarks, he would be okay.

Yeah.

***

The drive to the motel was quiet.

She turned calmly in front of the flickering light of the sign. "I'll take care of the room," she said. Adam seemed to come to.

"No," he said. "No, it's fine." He touched her face lightly, and got himself together, and went in to book a room, an entirely new person. She was planning to fight with him about anything, planning on it being the one room, but turns out, he had gotten two rooms. She watched him open his room and slip inside without a word.

She did have him where she wanted him again, that was for sure. She must be...crazy to let him stay with her now. If he had known what she had done for him--Claire thought he wouldn't care but she wanted him to care. Even if it was him being...hurt for it, she didn't know. She was the one in control here, now. She always helped him, and that made her the better person, even if he was too broken to realize it.

She went to the car and got the swords.

"It's unlocked," he called. She walked in and saw him--still staring off into space.

"You can, you know, use this to officially flay me. As a stress release," Claire said. While she could take her anger out on him at the same time. Adam looked at the blade a moment, sliding his thumb across it (tempted), but he looked at her and then put it aside.

He shook his head. "That's thoughtful of you. But unnecessary." She tilted her head. "There's the carpet to consider," he said, in a way that was backtracking. She was disappointed to say the least.

"I don't understand what happened," Adam remarked, as if what had happened was a joke, and he ran a hand through his hair. "Things were going smoothly. I had them eating out of the palm of my hand, and then, within a course of an hour, everything went out of my control. I can't see where the road veered, I..."

Oh.

Claire turned around and crossed her arms. She knew if he didn't know why he lost his control, it'd drive him crazy. He wouldn't stop thinking about it until a) he went crazy or b) he figured it out. b) was most likely, though a) was imminent. She wanted to be the one to tell him

"I have something you might find..." His eyes sharpened and he showed all four hundred plus years in an instant. Her breath caught a little, and she fought to meet his gaze. She had to reassure herself. What was he going to do, kill her? She straightened her back and maintained herself.

"What?" he prompted. "What might I find...amusing?"

"I was going for revelant," Claire whispered and then increased the volume of her voice. "I went to meet up with you and I didn't find you there. You know this, seeing as you were somewhere else." He stared at her, his hand barely moving to run his fingers along the side of the chair. "I checked the tracker. No need to go into that. I assumed the worst-."

"Let me stop you there," Adam said. He was piecing it together very well now. "I've walked this earth long before your bloodline was even forming, long before this vile little government was created. I survived wars, plagues, riots, conspiracies, natural disasters. And you assume the worst. Why is that?"

Claire flushed. Was it because the first time she met him he was buried alive? Among the other things that had happened. No, now that she thought about it. As always, she knew he was capable, that's what made him dangerous. The reason was something entirely...

"Well?" he asked, sharply. She had to be the one in this room to take the plunge with being mature emotionally. As bizarre as that was.

"It's because I was worried about you," Claire said. "I assumed the worst because I didn't want you to be in the worst scenario. You know?"

He kept his expression blank. He drummed his fingers some more. It was as if she had just thrown a grenade. Which she might have.

"I suppose I do. And? The rest?"

"Rebel contacted me, and I asked him if he could find an Adam that was captured two weeks ago. He found you, found the file, and acted on it."

"The file?"

"Yes, there were two files out there."

"Since you told him my name..."

They stared at each other. Then he laughed. "What a mistake. My apologies, somtimes I forget you're seventeen."

"Don't worry, it happens. I forget you're four hundred all the time. You don't act like it, you know."

"At seventeen, you have to live up to all these expectations...occassionally falling short."

"I'd think at four hundred, the expectations would lie on you...sometimes falling short."

"You--." He clenched his jaw.

"So," Claire said. "How about those swords now?"

Apparently--yes was the answer. The carpet problem was solved by using the bathtub to slice one another. It wasn't as...whatever it was, without moving around, but she, after fighting with the government and having the last couple of weeks be pure hell and ADAM, she felt better. Clearer. She sliced him up with extra ferosity.

He told her to wait for him for a moment, and she heard the door shut. Claire looked around at the blood that was everywhere again, and she knew...he was too broken to know better...right?. He came back with a syringe from the Company bag and a bottle of alcohol. She looked at him.

"You're going to inject alcohol into your veins?" she teased.

"I thought you'd need it."

"I wouldn't say no," Claire said, tired. "I could stand to get drunk right now."

He smiled. "Not without nullifying your powers," he said, holding up the syringe which she now saw as filled with a fluid.

"I'll...pass on that, thanks," she said. As if she'd let him nullify her powers.

He frowned and put the bottle aside. He took a cloth and ran it under the sink. He settled down next to the bathtub with it in his hands. It was against her being in the first place, letting someone help her, but in this situation...no. "I can do it."

"Naturally, you are seventeen," he said, on the snarky side.

He was quiet as she washed her face. He drummed his fingers along the side of the tub. "You know, you can ask me anything," he said. "Anything that's on your mind."

"I, for once, just want to be told something. I hate to have to ask questions about every little thing. It's just...just stupid."

"It's not a problem," Adam said, stiffly. "I know you always ask tough questions. I enjoy it."

"Okay," Claire said, willing to hit him hard. "If I had dug you up...without knowing what I knew, let's say, about the virus, or your past. If it just seemed like a Company experiment gone bad...what would you have done?"

"...Done."

"You know what I mean."

"I do." He paused, thinking it through. This was a clear challenge. "Would I know that you're a Petrelli?"

She tensed. "Sure, fire away. Don't hold back, I know this is your thing."

Adam stared at her, then smiled.

"First, I would have had you hide me. Gotten you back to the states. Then I would have gotten caught but in a different way. Let your father get a glimpse of me and you. Whichever father, but preferrably Bennet. After he'd ask and you'd lie, you'd become a threat. He'd mark you down as untrustworthy, as would Angela. I'd find something to frame you with, eventually, a small biological threat that never took place--perhaps a nuclear threat. Or maybe tempt Angela into making a move, and you defend me foolishly, killing an agent or two in your efforts to protect me. The end result would have been you locked up for your own good.

Then I'd break you out and you'd be in my thraw, willingly taking vengeance on your family. Then be willing to do anything for me."

Claire gaped at him. "...preferrably....preferrably! And what makes you think I would have fallen for that?"

"But that's with me not having known you. I don't see how this is a bad intention anyway. It's best to know the truth about your situation from the beginning."

"What truth?"

"Eventually, either way, a protective father or uncle will not feel good about leaving you alone in this world. I suspect they'd kill you, or in some form, lock you up. In the end, after not minding you that much, I didn't want the lesson to be so scarring. You'll learn."

She stared at him, and then tried to stand up. Tried but she was at a disadvantage. He held her shoulders, and she got angry, trying to kick at him.

"I can do this all day," he said. "I realize you can too, so it's just a matter of which of us gets bored first."

"But I have Rebel on my side now!" Claire threatened. "So go ahead and do something. Without me, he'd make sure you're locked up!"

"You see, I do know you now. You always find a way to blackmail me into staying with you."

She stopped kicking. "...You're delusional!--I'm trying to protect you! It's obviously needed!"

"Yes, yes, keeping me safe from Sylar, Angela, your fathers, Peter, and now...Rebel. I'm sensing a pattern, don't you? In fact, I can see it going on forever. You'll always have my past to hang over me, isn't that so?"

His words hit her like a bolt of lightning. She didn't know what to say. It wasn't true, not really.

"I know I was supposed to speak of our mutual use of each other outloud. Lucky for you, I don't mind," he said. "But you could just ask me to stay with you without all the dramatics."

She pursed her lips, and narrowed her eyes.

"Or not," he said. "That works for me too. I was never fond of being alone myself." He touched her hair, and she--instead of pulling away like he (and her) expected--looked up at him, asking.

"I don't understand," Claire said. "You gave me your word you'd never stab me in the back."

"I've kept it," he said, acting legitmately confused.

"McKesson told me you were holding information over his head about a healer," she said bluntly.

"I'd never hand you in," he told her. "I wouldn't want you to go through what I went through for forty years."

"Oh but, preferrably, that would have been your plan if I hadn't known better."

"Like I said, I know you now," he told her, shrugging. "You wouldn't have accepted another answer."

"McKesson offered me the chance, you know, when he told me you were bargaining with me."

Adam raised an eyebrow, staring at her. "After you believed I betrayed you in such a way, you didn't turn on me."

Claire looked at the ceiling, hiding her expression.

"I'm going to do something rare, and explain my plans to you."

"Just stop. It doesn't matter," she said, controlling herself. "I guess I only want to blackmail you some more, I'm sure you know how addictive that is."

"I had another leverage initially," he said, ignoring her, and she didn't want to look interested. "The formula," he said, the words coming slow as if this was a far more painful revelation than any wound, as if he was putting himself out there. He was. The one that Peter was looking for.

"You have it," she said, smiling to herself. "What a surprise. How long?"

"Since our encounter with Arthur. I stashed it away for leverage against Angela, in case she still found my existence too trying. When I was taken by our Federal friends, they believed I was agent, a non-special one. However, eventually, they'd figure out the bloodtests. I decided to seize the moment myself and revealed myself to two people. One was McKesson, who...as I'm sure you know, now, was in need of assistance."

"The other?"

He smiled at her. "With him, I did offer the formula, holding it over his head. My two associates didn't know about each other, so if one fell through, I still had an out. Then, there was your Rebel."

"Wait, you knew about him before?" Claire asked, furrowing her brow.

"Some captured Specials had given up the secret that someone named Rebel had texted them. It was a big mystery, how someone could be able to do this, but I had seen a similar power before. I decided to be more effective in my help of my kind--."

"You were helping us. Really."

Adam actually looked disturbed she thought otherwise. "What else would I be doing?"

"...I guess nothing else," she admitted, a bit of belief there. He looked much too satisfied.

"I wanted to get Rebel's attention. I used my McKesson friend to get a file out on me outside the impressive--firewall that was put up, just for Rebel. I also put out a code I had found. Something that might make them interested in me. Naturally, they'd contact me and blackmail me, a common fashion as of late."

"Let me get this straight. You wanted him to blackmail you?"

"To be of use to them," Adam said. She thought about it.

"And I'm sure that power of their doesn't hurt your interest," she said. Adam nodded without much shame.

"It is one of the best ones I've seen in a century. But my name was false. You told him my old name, the one with much more colorful offenses, and it was like you said. I was turned in."

He waited for her to ask a question but she wasan't going to. She waited, outwaiting him.

"...At the time, I found Luke. They wanted to send him off as a weapon. I wanted to stop it. My plan was to stop all of it. I...wanted..." He looked away for a moment. "I do want things to be better. I always do."

"I know," Claire said. He looked at her in that way again. She looked at her hands, hating her weird feelings, and him for doing it. "Go on," she prompted, harshly.

"With McKesson, I meant myself. I was the one who could heal the girl. You were never involved on the bargaining table."

"But the thing is, he could have done more digging out of desperation and found me, after you pointed out a possibility. Despite everything, there's still documentation-"

"It wouldn't have happened because I wouldn't have let it. You weren't even supposed to be near any of this, mind you. I sent you into hiding."

She didn't want to--

"But if he had of--," she said instead.

"I'd have gotten you out. Or did you not believe that when you said it?"

Claire thought about it--and still did. "...I would have given myself up, you know, if it helped-"

"Don't say ridiculous things like that," he said, fiercely. Her breath caught. "Of all the ways to get control, you don't have to choose one that gets you in hell."

She should deny this. But.

"If it helps," he said, "I did send you a message. You had left before. Get your Rebel to check it."

"I...I don't have to," she said. She didn't want to know. He seemed frustrated and tired, and he had been locked in a tank. With him, she always seemed to remember.

"Claire," he said, something sharp in his tone. "I would tell you if I was going to use you. I would have no qualms about you knowing."

And that: sold her.

"I'm sorry," she said. He waited. "For you getting caught."

He waved it away, standing up. "I'm tired myself. This ordeal turned out to be unpleasant. You're right. Rebel would get me if something happened to you. So feel free to use the syringe and calm yourself."

"I'm okay, really," Claire began.

"It was horrific," he said bluntly, staring at her. She looked down at the cloth in her hand. "Do you want to go another round? Find more ways to kill me? I'm willing." As if killing was their reset button. (...It kinda was.)

Then she stood up, healed, with the syringe and the bottle.

"Can you use the syringe? It wouldn't hurt you?"

"As long as it's in bits and doses." He was hesitant. "I won't be fighting you with the syringe in me."

She smiled at him, just to be mean and scare him, but he didn't buy it.

"No," she said. "It's just you should probably have a drink yourself. It's been an interesting couple of years, I'm sure."

He laughed. Adam took the syringe, did it half way, and offered it back. "I have another bottle in there. Get some rest."

"You do the same. I believe you, by the way. It wouldn't matter, but for the record-"

"It does," he said easily, and she wanted to hit him.

"I hope you know how hard that is to say," Claire said, and didn't stay to watch his expression or response.

She fled the room, going into hers quickly. She set the syringe down, and the bottle, and just planned on emptying both in the morning.

Was Adam going to turn her over as a bargaining chip? Probablymaybe.....she didn't know. At this point, he would tell her, probably to show how much she wouldn't hurt him.

Deep down, she couldn't...accept he'd take a bullet for her. For too many reasons, to name, and the thing is, he would get her out just to show he could, and that--that made her have a fury of hate for him, despite whatever else she felt for him.

Was she, in truth, blackmailing him? With a lump forming in her throat...definitely. She couldn't let him go.

But his game didn't work that well for one reason. She didn't need him; to Claire, it was the other way around, and Claire...wouldn't need him for anything.

And yet somehow she was okay with this situation. Wow. On second thought, she used the syringe and took a few sips, grimacing as it burnt down her throat. The alcohol didn't make her feel better necessarily, but her mind began to drift away from all these things lately.

She stared at the wall that divided them in contemplative silence, drinking and letting herself fade and be numb for tomorrow. Eventually she drifted off into sleep.



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