A Little More Herself


claire_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title A Little More Herself
Synopsis Elisabeth check up on Claire for the first time since Matt Parkman tried to fix the ex-cheerleader, who seems a little more herself.
Date October 29, 2010

Redbird Security: Claire's Apartment

Although Claire's been remaining in the apartment set aside for her at Redbird, Elisabeth figures now's as good a time as any to check in on her. She's dressed in her work clothes, black on black, her blonde hair loose instead of braided. As she lets herself in, though, she's carrying a covered dish of breakfast for the regenerator — she picked up french toast and sausage, coffee, and juice on her way up. "Claire?" she calls softly as she enters, trying not to wake the girl if she's still sleeping.

"I'm here." Comes the rough and gravely response from Claire, sitting on the edge of her bed. Shoulders are curled forward in a slump and eyes are ringed in red, obviously she's been doing some crying. More evidence to the fact comes from the way she runs a finger across a closed eye. Her hair still look like she just rolled out of bed, hanging loose around her shoulders and tangled in places.

Glancing over at Liz, she climbs to her feet and straightens the clothes she's in, which are all rumpled and despite all the rest, she looks wore out and exhausted. "Hi." It's offered sheepishly, a hint of a smile tugging up a corner of her mouth. "I — ah — was just thinking about a shower." A glance down at herself, hands tugging idly at a wrinkle in her shirt, she adds, "Finally."
Endgame> Elisabeth hugs.

Elisabeth sets the take-out tray of drinks and the container of food on the counter and makes her way toward the girl. Stopping in front of her, the blonde tilts her head to study the younger woman. "You look like hell, sweetheart," she observes mildly. And stinky girl or not, Liz reaches out to draw her into a tight hug. "I'm sorry," she whispers.

Looping arms loosely around the other woman, Claire returns the hug, if only so that her friend doesn't have to see her squeeze eyes shut to stop the tears from threatening to fall again. "I am the one that should be sorry." Her voice is strained with the effort not to cry again.

"I had a mission and I failed it," she starts with a sigh, pulling away once she knows she's not going to get the other woman's shoulder damp. "Really badly. Didn't help that they wouldn't tell us anything til we were on the mission, but even then… a it was like…. all I cared about was Messiah." Sitting heavily on the bed, Claire runs her hands over her face wearily. "He really got to me good."

"No," Elisabeth says in a soft, stern voice. "No you didn't. We failed you, Claire." She holds the girl tightly and then releases her to join her on the edge of the bed. "It's what he does. And we didn't realize until it was too late that his power was just flat-out going to fuck everything. He's gotten to everyone up to and including Rebel, kiddo." Liz reaches out and touches her shoulder. "Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone has … soft spots, and things that will make them act and react in predictable ways. He's a master at manipulation. Do not blame yourself for this." If anything, Liz is angry at herself for not insisting harder that Richard extract Claire far, far sooner. "This is not your fault."

"Then why can't I shake the feeling?" Claire grumbles eyes cast down to stare and her hands as they hang limply in her lap. "I mean… I knew him before. I knew what he was." There is a pained looked, when she finally forces herself to look at Liz. "But… I totally bought into the whole idea that he lost his ability cause of the flu.

"I killed your boss… I argued with Richard. Tried to attack him and my father to get away." Cheeks color a little as she adds, "Made a huge mess of the library." She seems very embarrassed about that. "None of that was me and yet I clearly remember doing it. I remember feeling and wanting to do those things."

Hands cover her cheeks as they redden further, feeling the heat against her palms. "I was even going to try to seduce Richard in an attempted to get away, before he showed up with Parkman. God, Liz… Rupert really fucked with my head."

Liz wraps an arm around Claire's shoulder and rests her head atop the brunette hair. "Claire…. everything in life is a choice. You made the choice to go ahead and go undercover, and none of us knew all the risks involved. It sucks, sweetheart. Majorly. But in the end, you're okay. And that's what matters." She smiles a little. "I personally think Rupert messed you up bad if you want the Nerfherder," she teases lightly. There are apparently no hard feelings.

"I would have done anything, short of killing someone to get out of here." Claire admits, sounding like a kid who has done bad things and knows it, sheepish. "Even at that, I attacked my own father." Leaning against the other woman, she has to bite her lip to stop it from trembling.

"It all went down hill when I saw Gregor and saw what he had become. It — hit a switch somewhere and I just — started to remember all of it." Head resting on the other's shoulder she sighs softly. "I hurt a lot of people, even Magnes. I should apologize to him, but I don't know how he'd react to me having my memories. I think it's better he doesn't know."

"I think you should spend your time worrying about you, Claire," Elisabeth says quietly. "Just…. let's just deal with what's going on in your head, and then we'll worry about the rest. Alright?" She moves to tip the younger woman's face upward, kissing her forehead gently. "We all fucked up on this. Richard and I sent you in there and we let you get mindraped." Her own guilt on the matter is huge. "It's going to be a long time before I feel like I can make that up to you," she admits quietly. "There is not one single thing that you did — up to and including killing Autumn, Claire — that was your fault. The hardest part of being manipulated like you were is understanding and accepting that fact."

"Easier said then done." The younger woman grouses softly, eyes closing against the kiss on her forehead. "It is good to be back though." Claire gives Elisabeth a bit more of a smile, even if the sadness is still there. "I really missed you guys.

"I just… didn't feel right there. Not being able to see you all. It was " trailing off, Claire considers her words. " it was lonely. At least til Rupert start messing with me, then it seems like at times I didn't care about anything."

Then sounding a bit more like herself, Claire says with a crooked smile. "All those guys around me and I just didn't care."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Well…. you need to start caring. There are a lot of things shifting around here, lady. And I need you." She rests her head atop Claire's again and murmurs, "I need you to make sure I don't get dead in a week. Cuz Richard said yes, and some of you people gotta be all psychologically stable enough to be aunts and uncles to our kids in a couple years, you know. November 8th is coming, life's about to get interesting in the Chinese proverb sense of the word, and I'm gonna be traveling back and forth to Annapolis again this week."

The mention of the 8th gets a grimace out of Claire, but it is quickly brushed aside for some other news. "Wait? Said yes?" Pulling away, Claire gives Elisabeth a confused look. "Kids? What?" Someone is severely out of the loop and it shows.

"What? Did you purpose to him?" Claire's expression is one of amusement. "You two settling down?"

"FFfft," Elisabeth retorts. "Settling down? Nah. We're…." She considers. "We're gonna be Mr. & Mrs. Smith…. just not with the wedding rings and minivan." She snickers. "Although… the minivan scene I could totally see us doing that. Can't you?" she demands on a laugh. "But …. I told him I wanted to have a baby and he said yes. That he hopes 'they' have my looks."

There's a pause and Liz kisses Claire's head. "It's…. that possibility is the thing I keep fighting for, I guess. The hope that it represents. So… get on board my train, girl."

"I've always been on your train." Claire says with her own chuckle, wrapping arms around the blonde and gives her a hug. "Yours and Richards. I just got waylaid. I'm back and I'll be there to help, I imagine even when you all are gone and your kids have great-grandkids.

"I'm glad one of us is getting to do that." The possibility of the regenerator getting to do what Liz is planning, is something that may very well be out of her reach. Claire rests her head against on her friends shoulder. "I'll be there," she reaffirms softly.

Elisabeth hugs her tightly, her expression pensive in spite of the teasing tone. The blonde isn't even sure she'll be there, quite frankly. But she's doing her best to keep a little faith in the idea that while the future's not excessively bright, it exists. And somewhere, somehow, it has to get better. Even if it looks like the Terminator's world first.

"I always hoped you wouldn't remember Madagascar," Elisabeth finally says quietly. "I didn't want you to have to live with those images." Claire's already seen so much. "For whatever it is worth to you, Claire… you are one of the most amazing people I've ever met." She moves now, scooting away to look at the girl. "You're not perfect. No one is. This wasn't the first time someone fucked with you, it may not be the last." She shrugs a little. "Yank yourself up by those bootstraps. Take advantage of me, of Richard… we're here, okay? Hell, talk to Niki. If anyone can understand sorrow and outrage, she can. I can't promise things'll be rosy, but I can promise we aren't going anywhere."

"Yeah…" Claire says, hands in her lap. "The nightmares will take time to fade, if they ever do, but… I'll get through it." There is no real confidence in those words, but she says them anyway, needing that reassurance. "One day at a time. Right?"

There is a short moment of silence from the former blonde before she adds, "And thank you. For getting me out of there, for not leaving me there to deal with whatever it was that Rupert had planned for Messiah."

Elisabeth continues to hug her. "Fuck," she sighs roughly. "Claire, if I'd had my way, you'd have been out weeks ago." Her tone is hard. That's between her and Richard — they're the ones who have to live with it. "The nightmares do fade. I promise." She'd know. They might not ever go away exactly, but they do fade. Or worse things happen and shove them into a less important space. "He's using Messiah as a scapegoat. He's working for Mitchell, undermining Evos by making sure that Messiah is taking credit for all kinds of horribile things that will scare the American populace into putting us all in camps." She sighs and drops a kiss. "We'll be addressing that, but only after we find a way to at least mitigate what's happening next week."

"Well, let me know where you need me." Claire looks worried though, she doesn't know what happened inside her head. If she's even fixed. "Or… " at htat thought she reluctantly adds, "Or not… I got rid of Bones' knife, but I don't know if it was Rupert that will cause me to do what I did."

Brows furrow a bit in thought and she swallows, back the bile that the memory of the vision causes. "I feel, fairly certain I wouldn't just outright do something like that, without being forced… but… I'm still willing to help, if you all feel I'm good for it."

Elisabeth tilts her head and says quietly, "You never told me exactly what you were going to do. What you saw." Claire's vision has been one of those she didn't hear. Richard has kept whatever confidence he may havev been given. "I don't know if you're entirely fixed up, but I would …. assume that to mostly be the case. On the eighth, though, how about we try to keep you somewhere else. We know what the source of the riot is… we're working on stopping it."

"I kill an innocent man as he begs for his life." Claire says it with such a neutral expression, as if trying not to show any emotion towards it, but she can't hide her disgust at, "And I was enjoying it." Which might be why Richard held if back from Liz.

"So I agree. Maybe lock me up here that day." Claire isn't exactly happy with the idea, but she understands the necessity. "Or somewhere."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "We'll see what happens, kiddo," she says quietly. "Definitely sounds like the responses of people infected by Carmichael's suggestions." She seems to hold no ill will on the matter. "We'll just have to make sure that you don't have access to the broadcast if we can't stop it." She hugs Claire tightly. Might be something I can just encase you in a sound bubble so you can't hear the trigger phrase," she says with a smile. "Don't jump the gun, okay?"

Pushing off the bed, Liz tells Claire quietly, "Have some breakfast. It should still be warm. I have to fly out this morning for DC to get a new Frontline recruit started on Horizon training, so I'll be in and out. Assuming all hell doesn't break loose, Richard's promised me a real date Sunday night." She smiles faintly. "If you need me, I have my cell on me at all times, so feel free to call or text. If I'm in Annapolis, I can be home in an hour and a half."

There is a slow nod of Claire's head as she listens, returning that hug briefly, before letting Liz get up. "A date? On Halloween? Make sure you dress up as something sexy." Again the old Claire shines through for just a moment, a mischievous smile on her lips. "Playboy bunny always works. Though you might not get to go out on that date." She jokes lightly.

The smile fades a little, and Claire feels the need to say, "I'm sure everything will be fine. Just go be a soldier, I'll see you when you get back." Maybe it's just as much for her as Elisabeth.

Tilting her head, Liz simply smiles. "I'll just be myself. It's my birthday, and I'm something else most of the time lately." She shrugs. "Richard has instructed me that if I tempt the Fates to move up their timetable of Hellishness one more time, he'll turn me over his knee," she admits on a laugh. "So I'm actually trying just to assume Sunday's gonna be business as usual except for the date."

"And he considers that a threat?" Brows lift as she gives Liz a matter of fact look, before Claire chuckles. "Enjoy the date either way, who knows the next time you'll be able to get one. I expect to hear about it, though, if it's anything special." She points out with a smile, as she moves to get up from the bed and check out the food that was brought to her.

Elisabeth laughs and lets herself out, taunting softly, "No you don't — you always plug your ears and lalala when it gets mentioned." She waggles her brows and heads out for Washington.

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