Time to Have it Out


curtis_icon.gif claire_icon.gif

Scene Title Time to Have it Out
Synopsis A mini ball of anger storms into Curtis's room.
Date March 7, 2018

The Bunker

This is a rather spartan room. There is a mattress on the floor in the corner of the room, as well as a footlocker beneath a fold out table. The biggest sign of comfort is a sturdy well built chair that sits at the desk. The only other thing that decorates the room is newspaper clippings that have been put up on the wall. They're about the operations Wolfhound has undertaken and the criminals they've brought to justice.

This morning Claire would have found that envelope with the newspaper wrapped knife and the note in it. This morning was forever ago for the man sitting in his room. Though now he’s not sitting, he’s pacing. He’s pacing hard. He’s barefoot, dressed in thin black sweatpants and a black tank top to go with it. He’s pacing, back and forth the soft whisper of bare feet on concrete constantly. He’s tense, but not tense in a ready to do violence sort of way. In every respect he resembles an animal in a cage. A cage that it knows well. It doesn’t need to test the boundaries of the cage because it knows them. And it’s comfortable in it’s cage, but it’s still a cage. The hard banging on the door brings a moment of surprise, a slight narrowing of the eyes before he calls out. “It’s unlocked.” Then he resumes his pacing, walking the length of the room, then back. It’s not a big room.

The door opens on a tiny blonde woman, looking very pissed… There is a storm of emotions falling off this woman, and there was no need for someone like Huruma to feel it. Blue eyes seem to snap with anger as she steps in and kicks the door shut behind her. It vibrates a little with the impact. There is no doubt, people are going to hear that. Hopefully, no one saw her enter the room, because… that is how rumors start.

However, Claire isn’t concerned about that. Distance is closed between her and Curtis, but instead of throwing arms around around his neck and kissing him like her dark-haired clone might have; fingers reach out to take hold of his shirt, she’s stronger then her size suggests, as she pull on it roughly, pulling her up on her tiptoes at the same time.

The most alarming is when he feels the cool bone blade press against his neck. Claire had been carrying it, flipped backwards, with the length of it pressed against her arm. Now the edge pressed against his skin, a wrong move could cut him.

The action brings her painfully, close. The woman’s gaze does not falter or fall from his. “You are going to tell me everything,” Claire hisses, like an angry cat, through clenched teeth. “About her… about you. We can’t function as a unit if the ghost of a dead woman hangs over us both.” She watches him, seeing if her understands.

“Do you even know what this knife means to me?” Horror seems to war with the anger that fills her eyes. “What this symbolizes??”

There's always that moment. Every single time. All through the war, and here at the Bunker. There's always that moment when he first sees Claire that his eyes flicker to her hair. And there's always that moment where he's crushed because it's not dark. The moments were longer back during the war. They're fleeting now. He knows now. But still he checks, automatically. Stranger things have happened than the dead coming back to life in this world. It's been years and he still checks.

hen he sees the look on the little regenerator's face and he sighs, knowing this is not going to be a happy visit, or even a cold visit. No this is going to be an angry visit. His shirt is grabbed, but they both know she couldn't pull him down if he wasn't willing to allow it, despite her being stronger than she looks. He also knows that this is not a friendly embrace at all. He is slightly surprised by the press of the bone knife against his throat. He doesn't speak, also doesn't tilt his head to the side quizzically, one of Ash's traits that head tilt. He does quirk a single brow upwards at her, but waits. He's quiet as she makes her demands. It's the demand he expected, but the one he also hoped she wouldn't make. To be fair he's been expecting it for a long time. And dreading it for a long time.

He can't move his head to nod for fear of slicing his neck on what he knows for a fact is a very very sharp knife. "When she found out who I am. When she realized what she… you had done to my grandfather she was scared. Of me. She didn't have your powers. She was scared I'd hurt her in revenge. She wanted me to understand why. So she invited me to the library. She showed me the room. Soaked in your blood. And she found the knife there. She told me what had been done to you in that room, what Rupert had done to you. She told me that knife had been a gift from a very good friend. But we…. never got around to talking about who it was or what the story behind the knife was. I just know that it meant a great deal to her." Curtis’s voice is trying to stay calm, but there's no disguising the still raw edge of pain there. "Are you really sure you want to know everything Claire? I might not bear my burden with grace but I damn well bear it."

“You bear it, fucking, poorly.” Claire spits back, letting him go with a little shove. “And cause of that, you are going to get one of us killed one day.” The knife is used to point at him as she says it. “And your goddamn team needs to be able to trust you… and that means orders when they make no sense… especially when it comes to me and my safety. I am not her.”

Eyes drop to the knife in her hand, she almost looks haunted. “She didn’t even scratch the surface.” Claire admits roughly. “Rupert was only the last straw on the camel's back.” She approaches him, the knife held, up but only so he could look at it again. “This knife. Is a reminder when I lost my freaking mind. My biggest failure. I was broken so completely… Rupert’s… trigger only started the chain reaction that ended with my trying to destroy myself.“

The knife trembles a little in her hands, “Before that day, I had been a part of Operation Apollo.” The words are hollow and distant as she speaks. “I spent… it felt like ages being disected.. Having all my organs removed so that they could grow again.” Blue eyes are wide as she looks at him again… finally… “He liked me being awake to watch it… to… feel it, until my body would die.” Taking a step back, she closes her eyes, shaking her head. “A shotgun blast to my head, erased all that… but then… in a single moment I suddenly remembered it all. The guilt he planted in my mind reacted.

“And I wanted nothing more then to destroy myself… completely.” Her words drop to a whisper now “To destroy the monster I had become.”

"I will never follow orders that make no sense." Curtis states in a firm and concrete tone. He meant what he said months ago at the party. "If my superior cannot explain the necessity of orders to me then they are not necessary. I will /always/ question stupid fucking decisions and stupid fucking orders. And French's orders were fucking stupid Claire. /He/ was going to get people killed. The ONLY person I put at risk was myself. You were going over the side of that damn regardless of what I did. Had I not been there it would have been on top of you even sooner. So you're fucking welcome for that. Blind fucking obedience is what put the world the way it is RIGHT FUCKING NOW. This is where blind fucking obedience gets you."

He gestures around himself at the brick room he's in. "Before blind obedience I was an officer, with a streak of successful commands and strikes and operations. I was on the fast track to real rank. Then I blindly obeyed my fucking grandfather and …" Curtis throws his hands up. Thus has followed his life. "You know where blind fucking orders lead? Blind fucking orders lead to me killing innocent people. To me MURDERING my best friend and mentor. Michael fucking Spalding. Remember him Claire? We shot at him. A lot when we were in Messiah. I got my memories back and guess what. Turns out I beat my best friend to death with my bare fucking hands." His voice is a roar at this point. There's no waaaaay this isn't being heard elsewhere. "So I will NEVER again blindly obey someone. EVER."

Then all at once the heat and anger and fury seems to go out of him, his shoulders slump and fall, and his head tips forwards, a heavy breath pulled in, then let out in a long sigh. He listens then, as Claire speaks, talking of operation Apollo and what Rupert did to her. It's the talk of destroying herself that finally has him lifting his head. He understands that. He understands that oh so well.

"I was lost, and broken after getting my life back. Old loves, both mine and Ash's were gone. Old friends, both mine and Ash's were gone. The feelings are so twisted up that I couldn't untangle them. I couldn't. So I didn't. I pushed it all aside. Then came her. And she connected both of the broken halves of me. Ash and Curtis. I have both lives in my head. The memories of both lives. The experiences. The minds. The memories. The urges and drives. I am two people Claire. Broome did not remove Ash when he put Curtis back in this body. I am a monster too. Turned into that by other people’s hands. I understand utterly and completely the desire to destroy yourself."

Curtis walks over towards the table, then takes a knee and pulls out the foot locker there. He opens the foot locker, pushing aside the remnants of both of his lives, and pulls out the wooden box. He pops the cover and pulls out a little circle of cheap gold. "This saved me. The Institute gave me an assignment. Protect you. You'd had your memory wiped." He shakes his head slowly. "She. She'd had her memory… covered up. Not wiped. It was fragile at best. I wasn't allowed to tell her who I was or it'd destroy the cover. I don't know why she was hidden away. But she was. I spent months as Andy. And she was Sandra. She was a waitress. I was a diner cook."

Which explains the cheap gold of the ring. "It's all a diner cook would have been able to afford. I think, for the first time in my life since I stepped into the Institute's hands at my grandfather's request, I was happy." He tucks the ring back into the box, then puts it away in the footlocker again. "I know you know we were engaged. I know we haven't talked about it because of the sheer… strangeness. It made us both uncomfortable." He breathes in deep, then lets it out in a long exhale.

There is no backing down when he’s yelling at her. No cringing or shying away; in fact, Claire looks ready for this back and forth, but something stops her. Her mouth opens and then closes again. It isn’t that she’s giving up or saying he’s right. Claire is still unsure how to handle the teams loose canon. Unlike her clone, all she has known is this angry man.

How do you get someone like that to trust again.

It turns her own blind anger and throws water on it, leaving it to smolder there and letting her see what she missed. “You…need help, Ash… I mean,” she sighs, “I mean Curtis.” Ash was who he was when she last saw him, the slip up still happens now and then.

Turning away, she moves to put distance between them. “You need someone to talk to about her. To… to try and work through this… this… fury.” Cause the fact remains, “ You won’t begin to heal this divide that is destroying you, until you can fully accept that she is dead and I am a completely different person.” Turning back, she gives him a sad smile, “And I can’t be her for you.”

Curtis can't help it. When Claire says he needs help he laughs. Not a harsh laugh, or a sad laugh, a genuine laugh of amusement. He tilts his head back and lets out a long sigh, waiting until she finishes with her little slip up. "I'm both Claire. Utterly and completely both. Ash is in here. I just keep him leashed. Because he is violent. A beast. You all had no idea what you had in your midst in Messiah. Ash would have done ANYTHING that Peter thought was necessary for the cause. Peter could have asked anything of him. Rupert certainly didn't realize what he had on his hands. Or maybe he did and wasn't allowed to mess with me too much. He might have known the truth.”

“But really… doesn't everyone in this bunker need help? Some to a greater degree than others. Some to a much greater degree than others. Yes I need help. But there is no one out there that can help me. Broome is dead. There's a positively ID'd body. He is the only person I've ever heard of with his ability. And at this point after all this time I'm not sure even he could disentangle Ash from Curtis." He pulls in a slow breath again, trying to keep himself calm and level. Trying to stay away from the rage, and the sorrow both. Not that he's being terribly successful at it. "Did you ever get help? Dealing with what happened to you in that room? With what was done to you?"

"I know she's dead Claire. She melted. In my arms. She died there. And then she fucking… melted. I know she's dead. And I know you're a mostly different person. You can't say completely different. She had your memories. Your personality. She was you. You two diverged at whatever point… she was created. Judging by the testimonies and stories I'm sure she was a clone of duplicate of some kind, and not an imposter. I know she's gone. And I know you’re not her. It doesn't stop it from hurting every fucking time I see your face. But I know you're not her. And there is no working through his fury Claire. Ash is a freaking… generator of it. You saw… during the war. You know what he does when I let him loose."

There were times during that war that Curtis/Ash would go running off on his own, and the others would catch up to find whole squads of men brutally slain, usually by knife. Sometimes by hand. And inevitably they'd find a blood soaked Ash prowling nearby, looking for more enemies. "Ash is an entire person Claire. And he's so angry. It took me awhile to cage him up after the Institute put me back in my body. He was a mindless beast for awhile, after finding out that his entire life was gone. He was a real person though. He is a real person. He's gotten better. But he's a predator that needs to kill. These hunts we go on. They sate him. I have no idea what I'm going to do when we run out of people to hunt."

Listening, Claire isn’t looking at him. She can’t. The anger is there when he laughs at her assessment, but she doesn’t react on it. She listens to him, a surprised glace at the mention of how her clone melted, face paleing. When all is said and done, she is quiet for a long time - staring at the knife in her hands. Sliding a thumb along the blade, she feels it part the skin and muscles. Remembers the sensation of doing it over and over. This time though… it wouldn’t heal.

She looks at the thumb as a line of red, slides along the curves, almost fascinated. However, she blinks, letting the hand drop away.

“I still stand by what I said.”

The words are softly spoken. Turning, Claire slaps the knife against his chest with the blade flat so as not to hurt him, and holds it there, until he hopefully takes it. “Keep it,” Claire states firmly, finally meeting his eyes again. “You can find that peace again, Curtis, but you just don’t seem ready for it yet. You have to want it before you can beat it.” She gives a soft, huffed chuckle. “Of course, you might like Ash ruling you.”

Curtis tips his head forwards in a slow nod at the surprise and paling skin when he describes how her clone died. Curtis doesn't take the knife when it's pressed against his chest, he just stands there, his eyes falling to look at that hand and the knife. "Why do you think I gave it to you Claire? It wasn't all altruism. If it was altruism I would have given it to you ages ago. I'm /trying/ to let go. I've been trying to let go for a long time. Every single morning I pull that knife out and debate on whether to give it to you or not. This morning I finally was able to make the decision to give it to you. I'm not sorry that it took me so long. But it is your knife." He's not going to step away, he doesn't want it to fall and break, but he is not going to take it from her.

"I /am/ Ash Claire. And I'm Curtis. I … I know that doesn't make sense. I'm both, and I'm seperate. It's… so fucking twisted." There's a dry chuckle from Curtis, his eyes lifting up to meet Claire's. His gaze has been settled on her hand and the knife. "Please take the knife Claire. It brings me nothing but pain. And there is no ruling. It's… unexplainable really. And I don't believe there's peace. Not for me. Hell not for people like us." There's a sad little smile on Curtis's face at that statement, his eyes casting back down. "If you really do want to know everything… come back. And we can talk. And it's not just the loss of her. It's the loss of everything. Everything and every one that Ash has ever loved is gone. Almost everyone and everything Curtis has ever loved is gone. I'm not sure there's any coming back from that. Not twice over."

Fingers are white, as they clutch tight to the handle of the knife, feeling how the bone has warmed to her hand, yet bites. It falls away from his chest, like a dead thing to hang lifeless at her side. “Your right it doesn’t make sense, cause I don’t live that.” The knife is flipped around so the the blade rest against her arm again, and she sighs, “I do want to know. I want to be an ear, as your teammate. As your friend. If not me, someone else that doesn’t remind you of her.”

Running fingers over the cut, still feeling edges to the wound; she is thoughtful. Her healing is not instant anymore, but she can feel her ability working, sluggishly.

It seems she is planning to leave, as she shifts towards the door. “For what it is worth, you are a good soldier. Good at what you do.”

“Just…” Claire sighs, “Try to remember that Francois has been around longer than anyone. He has more experience of anyone.” A brow arches slightly, “I trust him, with my life. Sometimes, trust is all a team has on the battlefield. I need to trust my teammates.” She points at him with the knife, not threatening.

"I know it doesn't make sense. Makes it really hard to explain. Imagine though, if for some reason you suddenly gained all your clone's memories. But also had yours. You'd have both lives split off from the point of duplication. Your personality would be different from hers. Different experiences. Then imagine that split off point was earlier. Like she lives her life without powers, and you lived your life with powers. And then you gained both memories and lives. Everyone memory. Every friend. And then you had both. Two entirely seperate lives. But both still you. I'm even a step further. Two entirely different people. It.. I don't understand it. And I am it."

He laughs, a sad and sarcastic sort of laugh, his head shaking slowly. "A psychiatrist isn't going to be able to help me with this. A telepath maybe? Maybe. But I doubt it. It's…" Curtis' broad shoulders lift in a slow shrug. "I'll tell you then. Now, or later. Up to you. Or in bits and pieces. I'll tell you. I won't tell other people about it though. It's not… it’s not for them. For others.” Curtis shakes his head slowly to the talk of Francois. “Those were bad calls he made Claire. They were. And I will argue that to the grave. Lucille would be dead right now if she had tried to close with that mimic. If you don’t feel you can trust me in the field I understand. Put in a complaint to Hana. I wouldn’t be angry, or upset with you.”

Claire pauses at the door, hand on the handle to go out, she stands there for a moment considering his final words to her. Finally, she turns the handle and holds it there. Looking back at him, she offers him a thin, somewhat sad smile, “You know I won’t do that. However, if Hana or Francois ask me about you. I won’t lie. This team… Hana…. means too much to me, even if you and I have more history.” There is almost an apology in the look she casts his way, “I won’t risk any lives if I think you are a liability.” That is a promise.

“We’ll talk again…” about his Claire. Her smile softens a little, “I told you I’d be your ear. All the other stuff won’t change that.” It’s an odd sort of offering of friendship, but it’s all she has for him right now. She finally opens the door to step out and get on with her evening. “Have a good evening, Curtis.”

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