Anything For Him


curtis0_icon.gif matt_icon.gif claire0_icon.gif

Scene Title Anything for Him
Synopsis Matt Parkman would do anything to make the world a better place for his son.
Date November 8, 2011

Burnt Toast Diner

"Hey, Andy, I'm going on break watch the front." The kitchen at the Burnt Toast Diner is cramped, but the staff are like a small family. For Andy, the welcome here as a transplant from out of state was warm and easy. The people in Midland Texas are easy to let someone like Andy into their fold. It's easy to blend in here, easy to relax, easy to forget for a moment that the world isn't on fire beyond this small town's borders. Easy to forget this is all predicated on a lie.

As Andy finishes drying some dishes, he looks out the window from the kitchen into the diner. The phone in his pocket vibrates the moment his eyes settle on Claire — Sandra — and she's unwrapping a brown paper package that Noah Bennet handed her. Distractedly, Andy pulls the phone out and flips it open. A text message.

(Caller Blocked)
Tango Oscar Oscar

Andy's brows tense, the code call for assignment override. He looks up at Sandra, then the phone buzzes in his hand again.

(Caller Blocked)
Oscar Mike Victor Victor

For a moment he's forced to consider the code, trying to recall the more obscure four-call codes from his mission briefing. Then it hits him, hand-off, DHS. Andy closes the phone, then throws it into the deep fryer with a sizzle and a pop. As he steps out of the doorway, towel still in hand, he sees Sandra behind the counter with a roll of cash in one hand, below them a pair of ID cards. Sandra flips to the card, looks at it for a moment, then tucks it away in her backpack along with the money.

When she stands up, she sees Andy there, watching her. Immediately, she closes the distance between them and fires off an abrupt, "Let's elope." The words hit Andy like a sack of bricks, his already reeling mind struggles to process her urgency.

"What?" Exasperated, still in-character but slipping, Andy looks baffled. Sandra steps up close, rises up on her toes and curls her fingers around the straps of Andy's apron.

"Let's elope," Sandra urges. "Right now, run away. I'm thinking Vegas. We'll pack our bags. Get hitched tonight. Take off, see the world. What do you think?" Her request is practically breathless in its enthusiasm, but there's more fear driving the choice than hope. Andy can see it in her eyes, he's seen that look before.

But, it's nervous laughter that bubbles up from Andy. "I think you're crazy," comes a little quick, but it works. She relaxes some, fingers unwind just a little from the straps of his apron.

"Maybe," Sandra explains with a crooked smile, one brow raised slowly. Andy levels her a look, playfully questioning her assertion in the way he might if things were different, if this weren't a lie. If she could remember Ash as him, and not a vague, faceless figure in her peripheral memories. "Probably," Sandra corrects.

"But I've got my reasons," Sandra insists, "and I promise I'll tell you everything." That much has a pit of anxiety twisting in Andy's stomach. His neck tenses, jaw sets. There's earnesty in her words there, she genuinely cares. "Will you do it? For me?"

"I'll do anything for you," Andy reassures her, leaning in to deliver a small kiss. "Let me get my things." Also, perhaps, let him figure out exactly what any of this means for himself, what the next day, week, month could be. Everything has been thrown upside down and back again.

"Okay," is Sandra's small response as Andy circles back to the kitchen, one hand sweeping over the top of his head. Sandra smiles at his back, grabs the coffee carafe from beside her and checks the customers at the counter for refills.

"Coffee? Coffee?" Sandra moves toward a customer reading the menu who pushes their cup forward. Andy missed him, was distracted by the money and the ID, distracted by the text message, by Sandra. "Can I get something for you, sir?" Sandra asks with a chipper smile.

But as the menu comes down, so do the curtains on this act. Matt Parkman stares up at her with brows furrowed and lips downturned into a regretful frown. "I don't know, Claire," he asks as if this were a casual meeting. "What's good?"

Her smile fades.


There is no covering what she thinks of Matt Parkman, Claire doesn’t want to even try. It flashes in her eyes, though it is quickly replaced by worry. She fights the urge to look over her shoulder to see where Andy is. She doesn’t want to draw his attention…. Or worry him. Or draw Parkman’s attention to a possible liability. Giving someone like Parkman leverage is a bitch to deal with. “What are you doing here?” Her voice lowers, as she asks that question.

No use in running. She glances around the diner, with a sudden awareness that she hasn’t used in a few months. A mug is retrieved and set on the counter next to the telepaths, coffee poured as if nothing is wrong. “More importantly… what do you what?” She knows she is a known terrorist… but she’ll still make him say it.

Ash, no Curtis. Curtis has ever been the good soldier. Ash does what he feels is right. Sometimes that does not involve pretty things. But Curtis always did what he was told. Both of them exist inside one head now. Both people. Both men. Both histories. Both feelings. Curtis wants to do as he's told. Ash wants to do what's right and make sure Claire stays safe. And that's the argument that's going on in the kitchen. Not aloud, just in his mind. However Andy is getting together his things. Which doesn't consist of much. His apron is untied and taken off, hung up on it's hook, and he grabs his coat, shrugging it on, hands checking the coat. Checking the weapons hidden within it. Guns would be a bit too much, but carbon fiber knives, lightweight, sewn into the jacket itself if they should ever be needed. He checks their weight inside the hem of the jacket. Balanced for throwing, but with a small but functional hilt so they can be used for stabbing without risking his own hands.

"Hand her off to DHS. Make sure she's safe. Break her heart." He sighs and leans his head forwards, resting his forehead against the cool steel of a shelf for a second or two. Enough to center his focus. No. He'll get her out of here first. She wants to run off anyway. It wouldn't look suspicious to just grab her and go. So he pulls in a deep breath, and plasters the big easy smile he's been wearing the last couple months onto his face, and steps out of the kitchen.

And sees Claire talking to Matt Parkman. Andy's eyes go wide at the sight. He knew a DHS agent would be along. But he didn't expect them to already be here. And he sure as hell didn't expect it to be Matt Parkman. The last time Curtis/Ash/Andy saw Parkman he was launching 40mm grenades and throwing hand grenades at the man trying to kill him. In another life. A lifetime ago. But only a year ago. He stops there, in plain sight, but also not intruding on the conversation. It's too late. His smile fades.

Andy,” Matt’s expression is a steely one, there’s a hint of distrust, a hint of distaste, but nothing like what happened at Messiah’s headquarters just over a year ago now. Matt looks back to Claire, brows furrowed.

Claire, I need you to do exactly as I say, okay? Your life may be in danger. Matt’s mental voice rings out in her mind. I know you’re the “invincible” girl, but — please. Something weird is going on, and I need to make sure you’re close.

“Claire,” Matt indicates, standing up off of his stool. Four more patrons from the diner also stand at the same time, plain-clothes DoEA officers. “I’m under orders to take you back to New York, to your father.” Matt’s attention shifts to Andy, inscrutable in intent, then back to Claire. “You can come along quietly, or I can make you. I’d rather not have to do that.”

Andy? Agent Autumn, is it these days? Curtis feels Parkman’s voice in his mind. I gave stand-down orders to the Institute. You’re relieved. At the very least Parkman seems unwilling to be the one to break Andy’s cover, even if the distaste he feels is palpable.

There is a moment of defiance that plays across her face, Claire has been fighting against people like Matt for so long, her first instinct is to fight it. Why should I believe you? her face seems to say. However, it isn’t about just her anymore, as the telepath looks past her; she can’t help but turn to look behind her.

Andy. Her stomach sinks. It was a nice dream while it lasted. A normal life is something she always wanted. Even a family. The defiance bleeds out of her, replaced with sorrow and… regret.

Fine. Claire thinks Parkman’s way. //Just… // let her say goodbye.

“Hey…” She says to her fiance, moving away from Matt. She gives Andy an apologetic smile, moving to gently touch his arm, “Change of plans. I—” She glances over her shoulder, towards Matt, “I need to go away for a few days.” A lie. Chances of her coming back, were slim, but she didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise. “Family matter,” is added lamely. ‘Sandra’ sounds less than then thrilled about that idea.

Andy adopts a confused expression, though it's not much of a deception, he is confused. His eyes track from Claire over to Matt and then settling somewhere between them so he can watch them both. A hand lifts, fingers brushing against his forehead, then pushing up over his short cut hair as he takes a couple of slow steps towards the pair, responding within his own head to Matt. Parkman. Lieutenant Autumn. There's extra emphasis on his rank. Apparently Curtis does not really care for the title of agent one little bit.

He looks over as Claire approaches, and he offers her an easy smile as she puts her hand on his arm. He lifts one of his much bigger hands to rest it on the back of hers. "Well that's fine. I've got vacation days saved up. I'll come with." He winks at her, glancing back towards Matt. I want to make sure she gets brought in safely Parkman. Even for her the world is dangerous. Maybe more so for her. Considering the number of people that have tried to take Claire over the years. He looks between Matt and Claire a moment.

“Is this your father?” He asks Claire, moving towards Matt with his hand outstretched. “So nice to meet Sandra’s father finally.” He looks between Claire and Matt then with that same easy smile on his face. “When do we leave?”

Matt about pales when “Andy” pulls the father card. His expression first says I'm not old enough to be her father! Promptly followed by the self-realization that he is, in fact, that old. Parkman looks to his side, grimaces, then squares his attention on Claire again.

You don't have much choice. Matt echoes in Claire’s mind, even as he turns a suspicious look to Andy finally. There's a smile that doesn't reach his eyes, one hand taking Andy’s offered one with an uncertain shake.

“Matthew,” comes quietly, followed by an askance look at Claire, then back to Andy.

I don't see why you're keeping up the ruse, Lieutenant, she's going to find out sooner or later.

Then, stepping away from the bar Matt gives a dismissive nod to the other agents, who reluctantly file outside. “I have a car waiting,” Matt indicates in a hushed voice. “For…” he eyes Claire, then her handler.

We've for a ten minute car ride to the airfield, then we’re taking a teleporter back to New York. I won't turn down a security detail. Andy can feel Matt’s reluctance. He remembers the last time they met well, too, and is wary around Andy the way someone might be a large, unfamiliar dog; uncertain if it intends to bite or not.

“Goodness no, Andy!” ‘Sandra’ has to force it, but she gives a short laugh. “No, this gentleman works for my father. He ain’t my father.”

Andy’s offer, doesn’t surprise her, but it does have the former regenerator a little panicked. Think Claire… think! She doesn’t want him to end up in danger. No matter how the telepath colors it… She doesn’t trust him.

“I really don’t think it is a good idea, you goin’ to meet my father. He… might not take the news well,” Claire says sheepishly, holding up the hand with the engagement ring on it. Eye drop to look at his chest, unable to look him in the eyes. She might get emotional if she does. “I….” She sighs, wondering if she should just tell him. Finally, fingers are lightly placed on his chest to keep him from moving. A lame attempt to stop him.

“Look…. Stay here.” safe “When I get back… then, I’ll tell you everything. About me… about… my father.” Now she looks up at him with sad smile, “Okay?”

Honestly? I don't know why either Parkman. I've been a bit scrambled the past year. Take a peek inside and you'll know why. Andy/Curtis/Ash actually invites Matt to poke around a little bit in the jumbled mess that is his mind. He stands a moment as telepathic messages shoot around like pinballs. He stands with his hands at his sides, his attention shifting from Matt, back to Claire, then back to Matt, his chest swelling with a deep inhale, and then an equally heavy exhale.

His hands reach out and they take Claire's gently, engulfing them really. "I know Claire." He murmurs to her, his voice gone soft, keeping it a private conversation. Sure Matt can listen in psychically but the rest of the agents can't without being obvious about it. "And you and I both know you're not coming back here. I'm going to go with you. And I'm going to make sure you're safe. That's all I was supposed to do. Make sure you were safe. Maybe when this is all done we'll both get the chance to tell the truth. And I hope you won't hate me for it." He looks up at Matt then, his eyes hard, jaw clenched for a second or two. He raises a brow at the telepath. "Don't worry Parkman. I'll behave."

And of course the fun of having a telepath hooked into your mind is you can snark at them in stereo. I have no reason to kill you this time. We're on the same side. Right? He keeps his brow raised at the man as he looks back to Claire. "I really do hope I get the chance to tell you everything. And this?" He taps his finger on the ring he gave her. "That is something real." He'll try to walk outside to the vehicle with her, but if she pulls away from him he won't stop her. He'll be the good little soldier and soldier on, walk out to the car and get in.

With the other agents stepping outside, Matt offers a level took to Curtis after he drops his mask. His attention shifts to Claire, then he parts his jacket and gently rests his hand on the holstered sidearm. “Take a minute,” he affords the pair, making it seem as though he was offering some small measure of kindness, when what he really needed was a distraction to do something far more delicate.

As Matt steps away to let Curtis’ bombshell fall on Claire’s mind, his own thoughts sift through Curtis’ open book. What’ve you Matt’s brows furrow, his mind digs deeper. What… the hell did they do to you? Matt’s eyes flick from side to side, searching, scanning, reviewing things that Curtis can’t see or feel. His brows pinch together, head tilts to the side. He feels something, looks to the windows, then back to Curtis. Slowly, Matt’s expression shifts to one of bewilderment. He turns, putting his back to Claire and Curtis and watching them in their muted reflections in the diner windows.

What in God’s name happened to you, Autumn? The last word, that surname is delivered with the incredulous uptick of someone who isn’t sure of what is real. But Matt leaves that puzzle there, for now as the revelation behind him plays itself out.

Hearing her real name pass through the lips of the man she loved, send a chill right through her — like getting hit with a bucket of ice water; it makes her freeze in place when he tries to guide her out, fingers sliding out of his. Claire can only watch him walk away, eyes widening at the revelation.

He knows.

Parkman can probably tell the moment the weak mental manipulation crumples, when she finds that loose thread and gives it a tug…. a gasp escaped Claire’s lips, a hand covering her mouth…. In that moment the telepath is forgotten as she rushes after Andy… No.. “Curtis!?” So many questions swirled around in her head. The big one is ”Why?” Every question in her head started with it. Why was he here? Why hadn’t she even remembered who he was?

So many questions.

Even though he said he would explain later, Claire’s face shows the war of emotions going on within her, colored with the growing feeling of betrayal. So what she does next, might come as a surprise.

Curtis finds his access to the car blocked by a fiercely determined woman. Before he can react, Claire’s hands reach up and grab each side of his face, pulling him into a kiss — Hope your not watching Parkman, cause it is a rather heated one. Knowing that they were in a precarious situation, the young blonde doesn’t linger, only taking a moment to touch her forehead to his, even if she has to stand on the tip of her toes to do so.

“I’m holding you to that promise,” She whispers.

Curtis offers a slow nod to Matt, a thankful nod for giving them a moment. "Thank you Parkman." His voice a rough timbre before turning his head slowly to bring Claire back into focus. He watches her as she stands in front of the car, a small smile playing across the soldier's lips. It takes him a moment to register that she called him Curtis, a few slow blinks from him, confusion and then surprise on his features. "Well damn."

He's expecting to get slapped, or punched. Hit in some form or fashion. Not… kissed. He blinks slowly, eyes widening when she pulls him down to kiss her. Once Curtis realizes what’s happening he kisses her back, fiercely, and he doesn't let go right away. He bends his head forwards, even then she probably has to stand on her tippy toes.

"Why? Because I cared about you. When I was assigned to protect you they told me your memories had been suppressed for your safety. And not to mention our past. I wanted to come and protect you. Though I didn't expect well… everything else that happened." There's an amused smile from the soldier.

"We were part of something once. We were friends." Andy smiles, a gentle sad sort of smile, the expression definitely reaching his eyes. "We shared shots together on your twenty first birthday." A low chuckle leaves him. "That was a lifetime ago. And we were both very different people. Me quite literally." Ash/Curtis breathes deep, taking in a breath slowly, then lets it out again. "And if I had the chance to keep you safe I was going to damn well do it."

He straightens up, letting her go. "We'll talk more later. I'm pretty sure Parkman will be done rooting around in my mind for proof I'm not going to try to kill him this time." He glances Matt's way with an eyebrow raised at the man. "How tight a schedule Matt? If you guys are collecting her in a hurry I'm guessing something is going down. If we can stop off somewhere I can bring my Horizon suit with." There's a soft laugh, that rumbles deeper until it's a full throated laugh and he shakes his head. The sheer craziness of all of this having gotten to him just a touch.

Horizon what— Matt jerks his head around at the mention of a suit of Horizon Armor. His brows furrow, expression twisted into a look of uncertainty. Lips parted, he considers for a moment what he's about to say. Then, with a brief look outside Parkman looks to Claire, then to Curtis.

“Yeah,” Matt offers with an unsteadiness that Claire has never seen. But then, something like a plan gives him more confidence.

“Yeah, bring the armor.

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