Back To Square One


claire_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title Back to Square One
Synopsis Claire turns to an unlikely ally for help.
Date June 14, 2009

Isaac Mendez's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

There's no rain this afternoon, with the clouds looking like they might just break up soon and allow a glimpse of sunlight to reach the city. Eventually. The more dreary atmosphere is a better fit for the room Hana Gitelman currently stands in, however; it goes with the black and red painting of a nuclear explosion that dominates the floor.

Dressed in her more usual black attire, Hana steps around some of the dust-covered, abandoned canvases, footsteps crisp upon the hard floor. She moves to the blind-covered windows, dark eyes gazing out upon the SoHo cityscape without particularly caring about the view.

It's not every day that Claire swallows her pride to ask for a meeting with one of Noah Bennet's associates. But the situation has changed and she must adapt to her new stage. It was remarkably easy to get the attention of the woman known as Wireless, but that's to be expected when someone like Wireless is actively paying attention to, well, just about everything. She knows when she's being sought after.

With some trepidation, the young woman steps past the windows, dressed in worn jeans with holes in need of patching at the knees, and the red-orange carnelian of a Cornell sweatshirt. The hood is pulled over her head to obscure her appearance, helped out by a pair of large, dark sunglasses. At first, Claire's hand falls on the knob with the intention of pushing the door open, but she thinks better of it. She doesn't suspect she could get actually startle the woman she's here to meet, but it's probably best to announce oneself. Not just out of politeness, but safety's sake. Pale and bruised knuckles raise to knock gingerly on the door to the loft.

Hana would bristle to be called one of Bennet's associates. Fortunately, all she has to do right now is answer that knock. The woman walks back across the loft to its entrance, holding the door open for Claire to enter. "Claire," she greets with a sort of brusque courtesy — though there's nothing courteous about the critical glance the girl receives, even if it also isn't deliberate or conscious. What she sees draws a faint furrow in Hana's brow; she doesn't comment.

Claire nods as she enters the loft, "Lieutenant Gitelman." It's a title she'd heard Noah use once before, and so she uses it now. She descends the steps to the main of the floor, looking down at the painting of the explosion that destroyed Midtown. "Thank you for… meeting with me. I know you didn't have to." She probably didn't want to, either, Claire realises.

Hana twitches at the title used, and gives Claire a peculiar look. The kind reserved for people who have suddenly sprouted a second head. "Don't call me that," she states abruptly, moving away from the now-closed door and into the room at large. "Most people ask to meet for a reason." Such is Hana's logic, spare and simple. She turns to regard the girl. "What do you want, Claire?"

Claire pulls back her hood and perches her sunglasses atop her head. The look she gives Hana is apologetic. "I only meant to be respectful. I won't call you that in the future." Her lips purse as she looks around the room. Anywhere now but at Hana. "I've lost my ability. Arthur Petrelli took it."

Claire looks anywhere but at Hana; Hana looks only at Claire. Dark eyes narrow sharply at the girl's admission, a definite edge of distasteful ire in her expression, her stance. "I see," however, is all the Israeli says. And then she waits, because surely the girl will continue.

"Everything I know…" Claire trails off, taking her lower lip between her teeth for a moment before forcing her eyes up to Hana and continuing. "Everything I've known about how to handle myself out there," she makes a gesture to the world outside the loft at large, "was based on what I could get away with because of my ability. I never really had to worry about a whole lot, you know?" She pauses. She isn't really sure why. Of all people, Hana Gitelman is not one that would have trouble following a conversation.

And she's not patient enough with social graces, in this case, to wait for Claire to catch up. "So you want to learn how to fight without your ability," Hana supplies into the pause. She gets asked to play teacher rather a lot; it's the logical leap.

Claire nods. "Yes, that's right." She presses her lips together once. It's clearly not easy for her to ask for help. "You're the best…" she waves her hand vaguely, not sure what words she's looking for there. Fighter? That word seems too thuggish. So she leaves it at 'best.' "Best I know." She frowns and looks almost pained at her next words, "If Bennet," not my father, but Bennet, "saw something in you, then you're one of the very best." It's not an attempt at flattery — well, maybe it is a little — but an attempt to convey why she's approaching Hana of all the options she has.

Hana's lips twist at the mention of him. "Don't bother with the flattery." Even if that's not what it's meant to be — just don't bother. She points at a spot on the floor; stand there. "Lose the sweatshirt. And the glasses." And Hana herself shrugs out of her own jacket, as well as her immediately-at-hand brace of throwing knives. They're both here; why waste time?

Dark sunglasses and heavy sweatshirt are set aside, leaving Claire in a loose-fitting tanktop. A ponytail holder is procured from the kangaroo pocket of the discarded sweatshirt and used to tie her hair up on top of her head. It's messy, but it will do.

With a quiet huff of air, Claire moves to stand where she was directed to, shaking out her arms a bit. "Do you hate him as much as I do?" She doesn't feel the need to clarify who she's talking about. Hana knows. The way the question is posed is definitely not merely conversational.

Hana doesn't move to stand opposite Claire, as the girl might expect from a lesson in 'handling oneself'; instead she gives her newest student a chance to settle, then steps in close. "That man would stand against the armies of Heaven and Hell, alone, if it meant saving you," she says, with no softness in her voice despite its conversational timbre. It is rather too emotionless in its clipped, curt statements. "He betrayed me three times — and left me to die."

On a different note: "The first thing we're going to go through is what to do in a hold. Then I'll show you how to take a fall." Back to the original subject, just like that.

Hana's words hit Claire hard like a punch square in the gut; perhaps because she knows the truth in them. However, Hana moves on quickly to the reason why the two women have met, and Claire is content to do the same — anything to quickly quell the uneasiness.

With a faint Mona Lisa smile, Claire dives headlong into Hana's instruction. With Wireless' help, she'll prove to That Man, and to anyone else, that she doesn't need protecting.

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