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[personal profile] black_hat
Pairing: Adam/Claire
Warning: slightly underage action (though pg-13)--with all the vamp romances right know I don't mind lol



Adam was a genius.

She'd admit it. They walked out the back, and naturally, of course, they were pursued, but Adam forced her to hook a left around a fence and sneak back to the agents' car. It was a huge leap of faith to get in the van (first!) and have to wait five seconds (a thousand years) for him to get in the van behind her and close the door. They waited, and she was pleased to see there was only a little window that could be shut: they were separated from the driver's seat.

The agents got in the van, giving up the chase--and drove away with them in the back. It was strange and yes, very claustophobic. Claire had huddled into a space, on autopilot, and Adam sat directly across from her--one with the universe. The agents talked about how to catch them, what to do, and Claire had to clench and unclench her fists. Adam was still one with the universe. Claire was concerned about his total lack of--well, any response.

He was unreachable.

The agents turned on the radio. So, she took a chance and got to her feet and kind of wobbled towards him. It was a small van. There shouldn't have been any problems. She tried more dangerous things than this. Adam held up his hands, now reacting in panic, and that made her panic. She started to go down--

And he caught her with his legs, holding up his knees and she just landed on him, and her palm went right--uh to the bridge of his nose. She went bright red.

He lowered her down and caught her, moving her besides him. "What was that?" he hissed.

"...I wanted to see if you were okay," she whispered, mouthed. His nose was bleeding by the way. Heavily for a second. He stared at her and then half-smiled. He pulled her closer and took her hand, something Claire did not understand.

"I'm all right. Are you?"

She paused. "Is this my fault? If...I had taken the Company from Nathan in the beginning...is this my fault?"

"I wouldn't say it couldn't have gone differently," and her heart sank and folded up--, "but it would have happened eventually. You made those decisions with all of your heart, didn't you, with what you knew at the time? It was a meaningful act?"

She forced a nod.

"Then don't think of what if's, Claire. They help no one."

He placed her head against his shoulder, drawing her close to him, and she kind of fell into him. Again.

She stared straight ahead, remembering how frantic and desperate her search for him had truly been. How concerned she had been, and what motivated her to come sit by him right now.

She had felt this consuming intensity.

Too much intensity. Not a good thing at all. The van rolled to a stop and the two agents didn't get out. Her heart was in her throat, and it was the type of situation where you'd freak out just to get the big exposure over with.

Adam squeezed her hand comfortingly. She listened to them discuss where they could be: her ears gave their words a ring of taunting.

"What do we do?" she mouthed.

"Run like hell when if they don't leave," he mouthed back, cheerfully.

She squeezed his hand harder, and he didn't. care. She was about to add nails to the equation when the agents finally got out of the car. She waited, hearing their footfalls across the pavement. Adam stood up with more grace than she had, and she felt like tripping him (she abstained.) He gazed out the window like a predator or something, and then turned to her. "We're in the clear."

She started to her feet. "Stay put," Adam said. "I'm an old hand at this."

What he was an old hand at? Stealing a car. He was in the front seat, jumping the cables just like the movies.

"You would have been a great boyscout, Adam," she commented. "With all of your skills. But can't they trace this car?"

"That's the beauty of it. This Company car? Untraceable for the most part, to escape notice of the government. You'll see what I mean."

"Ironic."

"Very. Now, hold on."

For all his life skills--bad driver. Claire withheld the comment though, enjoying seeing the agents' faces in the rearview mirror as they ran out of the gas-station in shock. It helped distract her from her intentions to leave as soon as she could. He was distracting her, was all, and she couldn't have that right now.

***

Miles away (cities possibly, Claire had lost track), Adam felt safe enough to stop the van.

"Supplies should be near by," he commented. Claire opened her mouth, feeling an opening. "I think we should go our separate ways," he said. She stared at him and then laughed. He tilted his head in confusion.

"I was going to say the same thing, you just beat me to the punch."

"Oh really," Adam said, looked at her. There was a beat of silence. And he shrugged. "Very well. It has been..."

"Intense."

He nodded, on the same page, and she was relieved she didn't have to talk about it. Only, there was a lump in her throat that wasn't there before.

. "I thought you needed a hand with the Company."

"I do need a hand. Your hand. And that's it," Adam said. "I just didn't want to...cut you out," he finished with a smirk. "I won't, for the record. I'll suspend the Company's systems, but I'm not about to destroy one of hte few meaningful organizations in the world. It'll be yours when you want it. You can trust your Rebel-."

"Adam. I'll take your word for it," she said, leaving out the part where she'd never want the Company but things were going all right and with that declaration, they wouldn't, "But the Company is more yours than anyone else's."

He didn't have anything to say to that, so she hurried on, "And you're taking this separation thing well." Forgetting that she wasn't the one who brought it up but it felt as if it was half unsaid the entire time.

Adam raised an eyebrow. "We have quite a while to run into each other again, if we choose to. You were right, Rebel will watch me for the rest of their natural life. I apologize for the previous display but I didn't want to be left behind at Bennet's home. Seemed unwise, wouldn't you say?"

She smirked. "I see your point."

He looked to the side. "It was never my intention to force you against your will. I never force anyone against their will." He paused. "Where's the fun in that?"

"Ha hah," Claire mocked. "Will you be safe, doing this alone?"

"I'll manage. What about you? Where will you go when the government is hunting us?"

"...Washington," she said, and he rolled his eyes.

"Naturally."

"I'll find Nathan there."

"If you're leaving, you should go to your father," he said finally. "Your adoptive father. You'll be safe with him. As well as that uncle of yours."

"I can't trust either of them if they're with Sylar," Claire protested. "I can find Nathan, though, and make a difference there."

"You Petrellis are an odd bunch about protecting your own. Nathan isn't a threat. However, your adoptive father has a better track record of keeping you safe. Sylar won't bother you at the moment. But you know that already, don't you?"

She squared her jaw. "We'll see."

"Your hand?" he inquired.

It wasn't hard to cut off her hand herself but he was stronger than her with a cut.

"You'd better put that on ice," she instructed him.

"This will be a fun drive," he muttered. He watched her for a moment, frowning. "Stay out of trouble, Claire," Adam hedged. "You won't be happy when you are finally in too deep."

She gave him a look. "Right back at you."

"Drive straight to Washington," he sighed. "Don't stray off the course."

"I know. Keep safe yourself."

He studied her, what could almost pass for concern on his face, and he gave her the keys, claiming he could find another car easily enough, and didn't even ask her why. And she had so many reasons. One big one, yes, but there was geniune reasons. She was glad she didn't ask why.

Claire had a feeling that was how mindgames began.

Fifteen hours later, Claire was worried in the back of her head for him, but she kept her emotions under control.

The radio didn't say a word for a hint at there being an issue. Adam was right: she kept under the speed limit and no one noticed the van. It wasn't tracked, even though she tensed every time she saw a police car. If this was the world for Specials, Claire didn't know how that was possible.

She didn't know why she called McKesson. Looking up the phonebook, parked in the shady darkness of a phonebooth, Claire thought she was safe. She called and heard a little girl's voice (having been long unusued), and hung up, satisfied. That was all she did.

That was enought to get her caught.

***

Claire didn't wake up when her door was being forced open until it was too late. She had heard the glass breaking in her sleep, and jerked awake, and someone shot her in the chest with a taser gun.

Her muscles locked, and she could only see the outline of a woman before being drug out and having a cloth shoved in her face. She tried not to breathe, all the while trying to kick at a vulnerable area, but too soon she fell unconscious.

She struggled to wake up but she felt the vague discomfort of a needle in her arm. So, she drifted.

Finally she woke up to see a man across from her--tied up, a good sign--and felt a...discomfort along her body. No pain. She looked down at a cracking sound and saw that her fingers had frozen to the metal. A freezer. She was in a freezer. She pulled and tugged her hand free. What went with it was unnoticed by her, but not by her companion, who winced.

"...Wait," Claire said, and cleared her throat to get her voice back. Her body was still slow, due to the extreme cold. This was not good. "How are you alive?"

"She's been keeping me alive," the agent said, eyeing her with some distrust. "Through your blood. I won't lie, and say we aren't in a situation here."

"I think I could have guessed," Claire said dryly. "What's going on?"

She really looked at him, and he was...at death's door. His eyes were glazed and far away, and he had circles under his eyes and a gaunt face.

"Your blood. She's trying to make a profit for her family. They lost so much, that when she heard the details of your power, she went..."

Claire closed her eyes, panic threatening to overwhelm her. "I'm going to get us out."

"How? She knows the details. The kill spot. I've thought about trying to fake her out, but she's too good. Too smart. There's a camera up there too; don't try and ambush her."

"So, we just give up? Have you tried talking to her?"

The man grinned one of death, and Claire softened towards him. She moved as much as she could to sit beside him, her mind muddled, and this room too small. She was aware enough, this time, to notice, as opposed to her time in Arthur's cell. Five minutes awake was already too long for her. What if this person had children who would take up the role of...oh that was too large. She wasn't Adam, she wasn't...she couldn't. Couldn't.

She controlled her breathing, and tried not to scream.

"We'll talk it out," Claire said, getting close to keep him warm enough. Then she would try and ambush.

She waited, and heard this man dying besides her. She'd have to watch this if it didn't straighten out. A voice over the intercom got her attention.

"Through the slot, I'll hand you two syringes. Take one, fill it, and give it to me. The other one, you'll use for him."

The man groaned, and Claire suppressed a shudder.

"If it's about me sharing blood, I will share. I've always wanted-."

"Bullshit. I've saved twenty-five lives already. Twenty-five!"

And Claire gritted her teeth. "I was prevented from it. I will do it. I've always wanted to," Claire said. She steeled herself. "Let him go, and I'll still do this. Willingly in exchange. He doesn't have to suffer when I can't."

The man looked over at her, but she didn't waver.

"We'll see," the voice said. "For now, do as I say."

Claire bit her lip and grabbed the syringe.

"You're just doing this for money," the man spat.

"You know as well as I do that this blood will never reach the public if we go through the old venue. It'd crash the economy, there'd be overpopulation, or whatever bureatic excuse is availabe. I'm doing the right thing, and I would have taken you with me if you had just thought it through."

"He won't tell," Claire said. "I'm sure you know a way."

"I do. This one."

"I'm going to try something," Claire whispered. "I just...need time to think about what." She stuck the syringe in his arm, and color came back into his face. The pain, however, didn't go away.

***

It went on for two weeks.

Or so Claire thought. She was beginning to wonder how long it'd be cruel to let this man live. She had to fight starvation, thirst, and healing didn't rid him of that pain and sensation of it. Not to mention the freezing locker.

The time here, too, was getting to her. All she'd see for who knows how long were steel walls. She was already feeling a such a deep, dark dread that this was happening, could happen. In her head, she thought there'd be relenting, that she'd be let out when the woman got control of herself, but now she was thinking that this was it for at least ten years.

Then she'd just be left.

Claire was starting to panic, and the man wasn't unkind. He tried to talk to her, ask her some questions unrelated to tracking her, but Claire could barely speak to him. She tried, but hours drained her. She also didn't want to get attached to the point where--in ten years, she'd have kept him here.

She didn't know what to do, and that thought was needling her. They sat close together and endured the ritual of her blood being taken and used (and she couldn't stop it.) It didn't do anyone real good, Claire thought; it wasn't as if she managed to barter herself to save all the Specials that were dying out there and she doubted this woman was saving lives, though she'd like to think so. She understood what Adam had meant about revenge and dreaming about it--looking forward to an out where the woman would make a mistake.

Only: Claire had a feeling this one wouldn't. She didn't want to give up, though, it galled her to give up.

"I'm going to try..." Claire whispered, relenting. "If I kill myself for good, she might let you go."

"I don't..." The man stared at her and forced himself to look away. "She'll kill me." He didn't sound sure. Claire knew his thoughts on the matter.

"If this goes on for much longer, I'm going to have to try. I hope I can take her down before then."

She'd have to stick the needle precisely into that spot, and let her brain go after time. Perhaps after fifteen hours (like clockwork), her brain will have been destroyed enough not to be used. That was the only way out for this man.

The thought was torture. There was this thread of pure panic mixed with numb acceptance. Out of her hands. It was inhuman and unbearable. She didn't think anyone was coming for her, and there was no point in being here. Why didn't she have the courage for that act?

Maybe she was more afraid of death than she would like to admit: yet at least it'd be on her own terms.

Turns out, she didn't have to use the needle. Claire (in a timeless space) suddenly was hit by the pain of being cold. The pain of it. Did somehow, someway, there was some mercy, and she was getting out? She didn't want to die--even when she was going to sacrifice herself, she didn't want to, she was afraid--but she ran towards what she was afraid of, and so she didn't say a word as her body truly started to ache.

She wasn't sure when...where she died, if she did die, but she felt someone shaking her, a needle being pressed into her arm like fire.

"That hurts," she hissed.

"I never claimed to be good at this part. Never had to be, considering the payoff."

She opened her eyes, and couldn't believe it. She thought she was dreaming. "You...came back for me."

"Save the platitudes for later," Adam said, and he was pale too. She looked at what he was holding, and she saw a blood bag, along with a gun. Why was he using that? Then she saw the blood on his collar. "She clipped me before I disarmed her. Barely. She missed wide," he said, with a hint of viciousness. "We're on a bit of a deadline, Claire."

"We need to get him too," Claire said. Adam made a face and stabbed the man's arm. She never even knew his name.

"I'll leave the door open. Grab hold of me."

Claire struggled to her feet but grabbed on to him, and he was real enough. They moved quickly, and she could see that she was being held in an old abandoned Denny's. Claire almost laughed but couldn't really manage it. Outside, the ground was cast in shadows, and she could see that there was an eclipse. She didn't know what was going on, only that maybe her powers were being taken by it. Only that was impossible.

Adam stopped, looking to the left, and she followed his gaze. She could see a young woman with her foot caught in what appeared to be a trap. A nasty beartrap for an animal. Claire wanted...even more, felt that old anger, that rage of being hurt, fill her up--but she turned away.

"Let's go," Claire said.

"You're joking."

"It's more than enough. Leave her for them. She'd want you to kill her at this point," and judging by the woman's expression, Claire knew she was right. Claire pulled on his arm, and he started in the direction of the car, his eyes purely frightening, alight in a way Claire knew was the potential for revenge, for violence.

Because of her power. She could relate to him, it was a self-referential knowledge (innate) and it went--both ways.

"Coward," the woman hissed, and he was gone, hurrying towards the agent, and Claire remembered--gun, two agents, two guns!--and ran as fast as she could, yelling. It was a blur, but she couldn't let Adam get hurt, not him! She pushed her unusued muscles, and jumped in front of him, saw a flash of metallic black, and felt the impact--her vision went, and Claire had the flash of insight that she had been aiming for that spot, deadon--aiming for a headshot.

Then she was back again, in a car, and her mind was putting together pieces of images. Adam put his foot down (an unpale Adam) and she rubbed her neck, rubbed away blood. The agent had missed, and Adam was--

Claire grabbed his hand. She wasn't going to let go if he hit the agent; it wasn't about that. His eyes widened, and he kept his footdown...

Serving away only at the last minute.

He hit the steering wheel with his free hand, and tried to pull free--but she kept her hold, and he let her.

***

The relief of being out was so great that Claire thought she could go crazy from it.

The drive was silent, and she kept her eyes closed in the sun. She felt like crying but couldn't. It was dammed up. She was afraid of falling asleep, of waking up back in there. She knew she'd never forget that man dying over and over again besides her.

This didn't feel--it felt like she escaped the inevitable.

He touched her knee; she jumped, eyes flying open.

"Would you like some fresh air?"

She thought she nodded, she wasn't sure. Adam pulled over, driving through a field, and it was vast and pretty and looked like scenary. This was a dream. She'd wake up in an icy deathtrap feeling like a mouse in a bottle in the middle of the sea.

He opened the door with a blanket in his hands.

"It helps to lessen the confinement by degrees."

Claire let him cover her in the blanket, and found it did kind of help. He opened the back of the van and made himself comfortable on the edge. Claire did the same, though she moved further back. The quiet was nice, and she took in everything. However, it began to scare her, the silence. The unreal feeling. She thought it could go on for too long, and never change.

"You shouldn't have come back. You could have gotten hurt. Why did you, what were you even thinking?"

She heard a click of a lighter. Wow, she had driven him to smoke. "It was an interesting challenge. I haven't worked alone in...well, a century. And to find you before the eclipse was difficult. I couldn't resist."

Twist, twist, twist when the blade inside of her. "...I'm sorry." For more than she could say or apologize for, she just felt sorry. Even for being this way, for being caught. It made her sick. Claire knew it was...this strange loyalty he had that made him rescue her. A very strange loyalty, like she had to him.

"For what?" he asked, his tone lighter. "Being captured does happen. I can't say anything to contrary."

"About that. I lost my powers due to the sun um. Oh forget it, it sounds crazy."

"And true. It's happened before."

"Come on," Claire said. "It has to be anything but the sun. That'd make us plants."

"Correct. It's the shadow on the sun, I believe."

"Ugh. I'll just go with it. What happened to Rebel? Did you tire him out before I went missing?"

"Your timing with your abduction was fortunate. I heard about the eclipse, and wanted to get in contact with you to tell you to prepare. It was only then he noticed you were missing. Apparently his tracking system suffered a collapse," Adam said. "There was no notification on your capture, so he was flying blind with one lone cellphone signal that disappeared into thin air."

"Then how?" Claire asked, murmurring against her warm blanket and trying not to be distracted by the feeling of air on her face.

"I had to find you the old fashioned way, reasoning it out. Whoever it was would buy an unorthodox amount of syringes, and very little places to buy them in the middle of nowhere. I had a stake-out at her supply source, and she wasn't a good enough agent to figure out she was being followed. I, of course, would have found you regardless. But it took a longer time than necessary."

"You found me though. After it happened."

"I trust you won't repeat your mistake."

"No," Claire said bluntly.

"You managed to keep your companion alive without losing your mind. It's going to bother me, you sparing that louse, but it was your revenge to take. Though, personally speaking, she deserved to be roadkill."

"She had a reason."

"They all do," Adam said, looking out over the field. "You know that." She swallowed hard, not knowing why she was fighting it so hard. Or whether it was for herself or him.

"I was really..." She took a deep breath, horrified by what she was about to do. "So...afraid." So, thank you, she meant to say. It got hung up somewhere.

He didn't turn around, and she accepted that though it stung hard. Pretty much, he had done forty years; how ashamed she felt. She shouldn't have admitted that she was afraid, but she felt she had to. After what she had been through herself, she did have to.

Suddenly Adam moved back besides her. He seemed about to stay something else, but, "You also need to thank me for keeping your head on your shoulders," he pointed out, generously. "That shot did a number on you."

"Thank you for saving my neck," she joked, thrilled to be able to say it in a joke."You can have an umbrella of thank you. Covers everything."

Then she made the mistake of looking at him, and thought there was a risk of kissing him. A flatout kiss. Panicked, Claire tried to move away but couldn't; in a few minutes, she'd show a confession, a secret, and he'd crucify her for it. It was driving her mad, to not...

"Cigarette," Adam offered, reading her expression of horror quite well.

Defiant, she took it. "...I feel like I should cough for the first time and I can't."

He was scaring the hell out of her by looking at her like that again!, and she--Defiance!--didn't flinch, as if this happened to her all the time. "You know, I thought you were all lip-service. About sacrificing yourself for me. Even from before, I was wary."

"Aren't you used to that kind of thing?" she jabbed.

"For a cause, an idea, yes. However, you...once again, I don't know whether to call you brave or foolish."

She looked at him, startled and about to get angry, and the pull was instantaneous. She didn't notice who moved first, it seemed as if they both did. He caught her ponytail before her lips met his. "Don't ever do it again," he ordered, letting go off her hair, and the pull followed anyway. The kiss knocked all thought from her head, all the fear and worry, and even though it wasn't her former idea of perfect--it was more consuming than she could have imagined but not in that way that she had pictured. Dangerous, risky (in the unsurvivable sense), but still, it was different, oddly safe at the same time (or at least familiar)--there was a spark, a sense of feeling alive and real that she hadn't felt in months.

It grew and he touched her face, and in steps, followed his lead (which was...he was really--good--, or just followed her instinct, being drawn out as it was. She really--there wasn't a word for this in her vocubulary, but want was close. He felt good to kiss, and she wanted to go further, closer, make contact, though she didn't know how-.

He made a sound against her lips, and she dropped back to reality, though still entangled. "Hmm?" was her method of communication.

His eyes flickered downward. "I wondered where the cigarette was. It'd be ridiculous to be caught on fire, right now, wouldn't it?" She looked down at her hands where yeah, in between her fingers, was exactly a cigarette.

"Oh. Shit. Sorry."

He touched her face, and then looked unsure. Which made her unsure. "Don't be. As always, um. No harm done." He leaned away; she did too. "Where do you want to go?"

"Hmm?" she repeated, to be in the safe, trying to get a footing. This was Adam, and then she realized she must have kissed him to get it out of the way. Exactly. She relaxed and met his eyes.

"Washington or Coyote Sands?" he continued. "I can take you to Washington and return here. There's no point in risking your capture again."

He was going to have a problem letting her go now, oh great.

She thought about it, pushing her emotions aside. "I don't think the government should have the Company's resources. I don't think certain people should have it anymore either. I lost sight of that for a moment, but I..." He waited. "I want to take it from them," she said honestly and he didn't bat an eye. "Let's go to Coyote Sands. Two hands are better," she joked, hoping it didn't fall flat.

"There are unpleasant sights..." Claire looked at him. "Right. Here, you enjoy the coffin nail," he said, handing back the cigarette that she didn't want but at this point, she needed something to feel natural. "I'll drive slowly."

Claire didn't see how that would help anything, but he rolled down the windows and she understood. Knew he was returning the gesture. Claire was unsure. Knew it also didn't have to be anything, that it was something they had to get past--and now they were past it, and she was okay with that.

She didn't feel as frightened anymore.

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