At Any Length


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title At Any Length
Synopsis A father has a responsibility to his offspring, to do anything to protect them, to go to any length to ensure their safety. Doctor Luis and Doctor Brennan push those limits.
Date February 20, 2011




The rhythmic noise of a heart rate monitor implies a certain comfortable calm, a steady and healthy heart beat of a young-looking blonde woman laying on a hospital bed. Plastic bags filled with clear fluid dangle from drip stands at her bedside, adhesive pads attached to her temples and the insides of her elbows monitor heart rate and brain activity. Sleep is shown as a steady wave on one monochrome screen in the matte, white room.




The door to the darkened hospital room opens a crack, allowing a bright column of light from the hallway to spill across the foot of the young woman's bed. Quietly, a tall figure steps in through the doorway, lifting one hand up to sweep a hat from his head, holding it to his chest as he steps inside, then quietly closes the door behind himself. The door clicks shut, and the room once more is bathed only in the ambient glow of monitors and a small, plug-in night-light in one of the wall sockets beside the bed.




Approaching the bedside, the tall gentleman lays his hat down on an empty surgery tray, a pin-striped fedora not quite doctor's equipment. As his hand pulls away from the hat, he takes those last steps into the light of the monitors, square jaw and dark eyes accenting a youthful face only just starting to show the signs of pushing thirty. One leather-gloved hand lifts up, brushing a lock of blonde hair away from the young woman's face, tucking it behind one ear carefully and tenderly. He glances at the monitors, eyes narrowing, then looks back down and reaches up to turn down the dose of one of the chemicals she's being pumped full of.




"Wake up," Richard Cardinal whispers, brushing gloved knuckles against the blonde's cheek. "You and I have some catching up to do, Claire…"




Nine Days Earlier…

The Suresh Center

Roosevelt Island

A fluorescent light flickers and sputters in the ceiling, suspended on crooked hangars where it was dislodged from the ceiling. Windows are blown out all across the top floor, glass litters the tile floor, glittering bright under the slowly strobing flash of the fire alarm lights. Sprinklers on the second floor have soaked everything wet, driplets of water seeming to hang in the air when the fire alarms flash their warning lights, ringing bells and alarms painfully loud.

"This way!" Stumbling to the top of the stairs, the waterlogged form of Doctor Jean-Martin Luis motionins with a trembling hand down a glass littered corridor flanked on one side by a long series of demolished windows. His free hand rests on the shoulder of a taller, younger man coming up the stairs behind him, with a short brunette woman slouched at his side, one arm around his shoulders and legs practically dragging in stumbling cadence behind him. Feverish sweat disappears beneath the water from the sprinklers on her brow, and tangled locks of chestnut colored hair streak down Claire Bennet's forehead.

"Julie," Doctor Brennan hisses as he hobbles down the hall, a shuffling cadence that has his loafer-clad feet not picking up, ploughing glass and sheets of water aside as he walks. "Julie!" The door he's motioned to is on the entrance side of the suresh center, with windows facing the direction of the explosion.

As he hustles down the corridor, Luis' shadow is painted in staccatto rhythm on the wall by the flashing lights, another shadow dancing ephemerally at a different angle from the glow of firelight outside.

One Humanis First agent down, Brennan hasn't plucked up Claire again just yet, letting her move alongside him as fast as she can and when it isn't fast enough, he's back to scooping her up, arm beneath knee and shoulder, gun stuffed into the back of his pants and keeping up with the other Doctor. "Jules!" Because he knows she hates anyone but Liette calling her that and right now any outburst of emotion will help find her. "Jules! It's Dr. Brennan!"

The feel of the cool water soaking into her clothes, sending faint pink down her arms to drip from her dangling hand. Though she is wound free, Claire Bennet's clothes are still bloody from the explosion. Muscles protest the abuse of climbing the stairs. Eyes feel heavier then they should, making it hard to focus on the corridor ahead, rivets of water tracing over her face, droplets gathering in lashes.

She hates this… hates being weak, being helpless. Hates feeling human in a way others do. The only benefit of her ability is not having to feel all this. Claire's jaws clench against the urge to throw up again, but the gesture is a weak one muscles barely wanting to work at all.

Even if she knows her ability will kick in any minute and take it all away again, she'd rather not have to go through it at all. The waiting is torture.

There's no sound or response from Julie at Brennan and Luis' cries for her. The distance down the corridor to her room is a short one, past a water-spattered crash cart that has rolled out into the hall. Luis shoves it aside from where it blocked the door, ratttling the locked door handle. "No— Dieu vous maudisse, porte! Maudit sois-tu droit à Hell!" Slamming the bottom of his fist against the door, Luis clearly loses his collective calm that he may have been holding on to. A trembling, wet and cold hand reaches inside of his jacket, pulling out his proximity card to sweep in front of the door.


The explosion must have damaged the wiring to the electronic locks. "Damnit!" Luis hollars, slamming both of his fists on the door, the flashing fire alarm lights illuminating the expression of rage and helplessness painted across his wrinkled face. "Open, God damn you! Open!"

"Jean!" Brennan's carefully putting Claire down, leaning her against a wall, forcibly moving the Doctor away from the door. "Back away" and not because he's going to shoot the door open. This isn't a movie, some action hero swooping in to save the day, safe from ricochet's. Doesn't help that the handles aren't the round ones, but the levers. Means he can't kick in the door to the side but below and he does that.

"Get away from the door Jules!" A warning in case she's on the other side as he's turning to his side, sweeping his foot back before ramming it against the door. Once, twice, three times, the sound of his foot connecting with the sturdy door. But doors are hollow, and while they have swipe cards for access, they can still be gotten through by various means.

Like Brennan's foot which eventually makes the door give way.

It's hard to explain what it feels like when her ability starts to do it's work. Like a tingling sensation when your limbs have been asleep and start to wake up. Except there is no muscle cramping ache, just a feeling like things are being set right again. Everything hurts still, but the feeling begins to show the signs of dulling to a more tolerable level.

When set down, she leans weakly against the wall with no protest, shoulders slumped and head leaning down. The muscles of her neck still feel weak and barely able to do their job, as Claire turns it to look down the hall to the stairs they took, through wet lengths of dark hair. Then a shift of her head has her considering a blown out window next. She is still thinking about attempting an escape at this point.

Claire presses her hand to the floor and starts attempting to lever herself on her feet. Teeth bite into her lip as she tries not to let loose a pained groan.

The door swings open to collide with the nearby wall noisily, accompanying a dull ache in Brennan's knee from the repeated impacts with the door. Briefly able to see a narrow, demolished window and glass strewn about the hospital room, Brennan's view is obstructed by Luis pushing past and into the doorway, "Julie!" The panicked 'father' calls out in fright.

Sprinklers are spraying down into this room as well, water pooled on the floor in a thin sheet. Julie lays where Luis had last left her, in her hospital bed but peppered with glass in one side of her face, blood running down in pink streaks thanks to the constant shower of cold water spraying down on her fragile looking frame.

"Oh God, oh God no!" Scrambling to the bedside, Luis' feet skid on the wet floor, trembling hands waver near Julie's body but he doesn't dare touch her. "D— Brennan!" Luis howls, turning to the open doorway. "There's syringes in the medical cabinet, we— we need to get a vial of Bennet's blood into her now!" Already headed back for the door, it doesn't look like Luis intends on sticking around just yet. "I need to go get the remnants of Gregor's medication!"

'Stop talking and go" Brennan doesn't bellow, but it's snapped out, picking up Claire again, walking into the room with a bit of a favor to his left side. A day of icing it won't be remiss to keep it from getting worse. But then she's put down again, a chair that was overturn is put right, and beside Julie's bed. There will be time to clean off glass from other surfaces and the bed, likely just move her to another room.

For now, he's going to the cabinet that lines one side of the room, pulling open drawers till he finds what he needs in the form of equipment to take blood samples and is already loping back across the room. Time enough to put on one glove at least, tray tossed to Julie's side and a glance to Claire, waiting till Luis is gone before looking to the brunette.

"I'll help you run. Just do this, please. This girl means everything to him, and even more to her sister." Seems he won't stick her until she gives permission. "But I believe him, when he says, that whatever parasites you have in your blood, can be dealt with. Luis hasn't ever lied to me"

By time the ex-cheerleader is on her feet she's feeling normal again, eyes clear of pain and muscles loosening as the stiffness and pain leaves her. She glances at the window again, but then back at the room where the girl lays prone. Suddenly, Claire isn't thinking about running. The sight of Julie has her feet rooted in place for a second.

"You don't even know if Gregor's meds would still work," she says roughly, moving into the room instead of running for the door. Stopping at the end of the bed, she stares at the girl. "It's been over a years since I got this… there's no telling how much it's mutated since then." Claire doesnt know much about this stuff, but she does know she doesn't want anyone stuck with what she has.

A look goes to Brennan, before she glances down at her sleeve. The look in her eyes says she doesn't feel like she has any choice, as she slowly roll up with damaged fabric. "If you think the risk of seeing her waste away in that much pain is worth it…" Claire looks at the girl for another long moment, then moves towards Brennan, slowly extending her arm. "Just pray those meds work."

"Luis wouldn't risk it on a girl he considers closer than a daughter Claire. Not if he wasn't sure or at least moderately sure." But she's rolling up her sleeve and he gestures to the chair for the girl to sit so that he can do what's asked of him. "When it's done, when we're sure that there's enough and it's working, run. Don't go for the window, just walk out of the door, down the hall, take the west staircase and there's a door at the bottom. Head for the water and take the shore. There's only one boat." Murmured, he's speaking it quietly as he sets about to the procedure of getting blood, filling the vial, and with a second though, he's getting another. Just in case one doens't quite do it.

"Thank you, as a father… thank you for doing this even though it seems to be something you don't want to do" And there it is, two vials of red, possible certainty of life for Julie. The band is undone, tossed away and needle slid out, finishing the procedure even though in a heartbeat it'll be nothing to Claire.

And he's turning to Julie now. Popping vials away from the used needle and goes about to infusing the prone child.

Her head slowly bobs up and down in understanding of what he's saying. "Thank you," she says softly, watching the blood being drawn, in a morbid way trying to imagine the malaria that infests the thick red fluid. "I don't want to be someones science project again. Once was enough." Gregor might be dead, but he still stalks her nightmares.

The regenerator shudders a little, arms crossing to rub at her arms and will the chill away. She glances away as Brennan goes to put the deadly stuff into Julie, Claire can't get herself to watch another victim being made… willingly at that.

Guilt settles heavily on the young woman's shoulders.

The reaction is almost immediate in Julie. Her eyes snap open, pupils dilating and lips parting in a rasping breath. Her lungs rattle wetly as she sucks in a ragged breath, back arching, fingers and toes curling against the intrusion of not just blood, but genetic information directly into her system.

Within seconds, glass is forced out of Julie's forehead and cheek, pushed away by flesh closing shut around bloodied openings. The dark circles around her eyes fade some, the cloudiness of her eyes clears, and by the time her back touches down on the water-soaked bed again, color is starting to returnt o her cheeks.

Trembling now, from the cold instead of anything else, Julie clasps a hand at the center of her chest, breathing in again. This time the breath is clear, dry, though it may be the only part of her that is. Lashes blink away ice cold water, and as she shivers from the chill, wide eyes focus on Doctor Brennan in disbelief.

"Dad?" She isn't confused.

Over the pouring water, blaring alarms and noise downstairs, neither Doctor Brennan nor Claire noticed when Luis Luis came back into the room. Not until Julie makes that weak assertion, and Claire finds a needle driven into the side of her neck. One of the old doctor's hands grasp the right side of her head, and as the plunger is depressed, a clear fluid is pushed directly into Claire's carotid artery.

Brennan needn't see that the label says adynomine to know what it does, because just as Claire's blood was instantaneous in bringing Julie back to health, adynomine quickly turns off Claire's ability entirely, allowing for the ravaging symptoms of an enhanced malaria to buckle her legs, put fluid in her lungs and make her extremities tremble as a cold sweat is hidden by the sprinklers again.

Luis doesn't drop her, instead hooks ana rm around her waist, removing the needle from her neck with brows raised and apology painted on his face. "The prophylactic drugs— aren't for Julie."

About the time she reacts the needle is already in her neck and Claire's caught. There is only a small cry of alarm escapes before she feels those horrible symptoms over coming her again, paining and lethargy overwhelming her. So that out cry ends up a groan of pain, her body slumping back against Luis.

Her world blurs in tears, an accusing look goes to Brennan, before she tries to weakly break the grasp that Luis has on her. "Bastard… let me go!" The words are rough and strained through a throat already raw. Claire tries to jerks away, but muscles don't want to work, betraying her when she needs them most. Her whole body wants nothing more then to just lay down and curl up into a little ball.

Brennan is satisfied with the instant spring of life back into the blonde, the color, her rise to consciousness once again and that she'll be fine once again. At least, for a few months or however long her body will keep Claires ability. When she calls out for her father though, his fingers to her wrist, checking her pulse, about to grab a stethoscope, he looks over his shoulder in time to catch Luis in the act.

Julie's wrist is dropped and he's turning. If he was smart - and cruel - He'd be actually doing the same but with Julie and his own negation. But Brennan is neither cruel and it's not a thought that goes through his own head.

"What are you doing?"

"I am doing whatever it takes!" Luis splutters with a tremble of his hands, relaxing Claire's weight down to the ground, then pulls her back with hands under her arms, letting her sit with her back up against the wall again. "Julie isn't going to need one injection, she's going to need constant infusions of miss Bennet's blood in order for her to sustain herself indefinitely. We are going to need to draw more blood, and then miss Bennet will be allowed to go."

A torn look is afforded to Julie, who stares wide-eyed at her father, watching him throw the syringe he'd injected claire with aside. "The adynomine will last several hours," he instructs to Brennan, "we will need to sustain Claire on the remaining supply of Gregor's drugs until it wears off. Her blood will be removed, stored and kept for emergency purposes only until such a time as I can find a way to cleanse the Malaria from Julie, and hopefully Claire as well."

"Daddy," Julie weakly questions, blue eyes squared on her adoptive father, then down to Claire, up to Brennan and the sprinklers spraying down from the ceiling. "D— Daddy what's— what's going on?"

Luis shares a nervous look to Brennan, not yet moving to Julie out of concern that this may have pushed Brennan too far. "Look me in the eyes," Luis demands, "and tell me you wouldn't do this for your children."

"Dr. Luis is trading your life on that of anothers"

Brennan answers Julie, his fist tightening around the other syringe of blood he's holding, lips thin and brows pulled down and in. It's not often that anyone see's this face on Brennan, but it's there and even Michelle would be wisely silent. "I'd have asked Luis. Like I asked her when you left the room. I'd do everything for my children, even murder"

When Luis moves to Julie's side, Brennan's moving too, quick as a flash and soon Luis feels the same bite that Claire did, that Julie did. Only it's not adynomine, but the second vial of blood taken from Claire, and the contents of it emptied into Luis.

"I'd go through the same hell that they would, just so they wouldn't be alone

From her spot on the floor, Claire's eyes widen as she watches what happens between the two men. She stares at Brennan with a sort of appreciation. Ideally, this would be the perfect time to run and this thought strongly crosses her mind, arms sliding off her lap to press hands to cold floor. But the weakness has her just giving up right away. Chills shudder through her as her body tries on it's own to fight the infection ravaging her body. It tightens already weak muscles, making her groan in pain.

Laying down sounds so much better then escaping.

Claire slumps to one side and lets her cheek press against the cold wet ground. She doesn't even have the energy to brush the dark ropes of water drenched hair from her face, letting her eyes close. Maybe some sleep will make it all go away.

"Hrngh," is the only sound Luis can make as the needle drives into Luis. The old man feebly swats it away after it's far too late, eyes wide and a horrified look on his face. He stumbles back against the wall, realizing what is now flowing thorugh ihs veins. Despite the malarial infection, Luis seems to look healthier as Claire's blood flows through the old man's veins, reinvigorating his frail body, his feeble mind. Clarity shows in Luis' eyes where there has always been a certain fog of dementia, not full-fledged but enough that wear on his mind had put him in a state of muddled uncertainty as opposed to his more clear youth.

"No!" Julie hisses, lunging out of the bed for Brennan, pulling iV tubes out of her arms by the sudden motion, adhesive pads from her brows. She misses the young doctor, body still weak from distance ot her sister as she collapses over the railing, catching herself as she tumbles and smacks her fet on the floor, then slouches down with her back up against the short-circuited EKG and EEG machine.

Fumbling for his jacket pockets, Luis snatches up an orange perscription bottle from his coat, Luis twists off the top and with trembling hands, pops the pills into his mouth, swallowed down with a handful of the water from the sprinklers unintentionally. Luis' expression is livid, but concern for Julie's crumpled form takes all precedence over it as he pushes away from the wall, stumbling towards the fallen girl and stepping over Claire to do it.

Julie misses Brennan, he's already backpedaling, some part of him shocked at what he's just done, another part vindicated. Claire's inevitable slump into unconsciousness is where he's going, kneeling down to gather the young woman in his arms, fingers to her neck then cradle her as Julie is cared for by Luis.

"Better hope that you can find that Cure Luis. Enjoy your time with your surrogate daughter. Know that I'll be watching every single move that you do from here on in, very closely. I didn't join up to torture people or suck up their blood for experiments" Claire's lolling head is shifted to his shoulder, cradling it in the nook there. "I'm taking her to another room. Get the drug she'll need. I suggest you stay the hell away from her" Little drops of wet that coat him fly away on the wings of venom in the good Doctors voice. "And don't think about going near my family, or you'll know something far more fierce than what you did last winter, do you understand me? I'll negate Julie for however long it will take her to die from the Malaria"

Brennan's sharp warning has Luis' eyes locked on the doctor, has horror painted across Julie's face. Sliding his tongue across his lips, the old French neuroscientist swallows audibly and tensely, cradling Julie to his chest, one hand protectively against the back of her head. As Brennan draws Claire out of the infirmary room, there is an expresison of coldness and calculation that draws Luis' mouth down into a frown. His wide lips look frog-like, curly hair matted down to his head, soaked thorugh and thorugh with the water of the sprinklers as he holds Julie's dangerously skinny frame close.

There is no threat back to Doctor Brennan, no retort from the French scientist, only a wheezing breath and tensing of his jaws together. He knows what he has to do in order to protect his child now, knows what lengths he's willing to go through for Julie's safety.

And now, thanks to Claire Bennet's blood, he has the mental clarity to plan.

He knows what must be done.

Present Day

The Institute Arcology

When Claire Bennet's eyes open to see the countenance of Tyler Case staring down at her, there's a guilt-ridden expression on the man's face as he steps back. Claire's brows furrow, fear builds and she reflexively struggles against the restraints binding her arms and legs to the metal framework of the bed.

Cardinal's chin tilts up, dark eyes regarding Claire thoughtfully, carefully. "Easy," is spoken in the same tones someone might to a wild animal. "You'll hurt yourself." Struggling as she does, Claire does just that when she yanks one of her iV tubes out of her arm. Blood beads up where the needle slides out of skin, tearing the hole wide.

It hurts.

It also doesn't stop bleeding.

"As I said. We have a lot to discuss."

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