Facing The Victim's Family


claire4_icon.gif curtis_icon.gif

Scene Title Facing The Victim's Family
Synopsis Claire learns exactly who Ashley really is.
Date February 25, 2011

Coco's Boxing Gym

The gym is fairly empty today, but then, it's a weekday and most people are at work right now. So the crowd is small, only a few people scattered around the establishment. A couple of people working at the weight lifting machines as a pair, spotting for eachother and such, and Curtis, emerging from the locker room out into the main room, heading towards one of the stair stepper machines. He's got a towel around his neck, and a water bottle in one hand as he makes his way slowly through the machines to one of the several machines set up. He glances up and over to one of the TV's, and the news playing across it before he turns his gaze back around the gym, then steps up onto the machine and begins to tap buttons, programming it for his workout. A slow breath is taken in, and then let out as it begins and he starts to climb non existent stairs, while watching the hate mongering on the news as people shout in favor of, and against, evolved rights and treatment. He shakes hsi head and offers a soft sigh before turning his eyes out the windows in front of him, watching people come, and go about their daily lives.

Sometimes when life drags you down, you just got to hit something.

That's exactly what Claire Bennet is doing at this moment. Her fight form is pretty sloppy but she's not really worried about it. Her long brown hair is pulled up on the back of her head, making her look severe. A pair of dark gray sweats keep her legs warm, but she's wearing a black tank top in the chilly gym. Despite the temperature, her skin is damp with sweat, a hint that's she been in the gym for a bit.

Her hands are wrapped for what's she's doing to keep knuckles from getting scraped, something she's never had to think about before. Taking a deep breath, her right hand shoots out from where she's had it held in a defensive position, follows by the other. They connect solidly with the long bag handing from the ceiling. Thump. Thump. It barely moves under the assault.

She grimaces and flexes her fingers, not use to the sensation that comes from the impact. Mainly her back to the rest of the gym, until the half shouted words of correspondents on the TV catches her attention. A frown writes itself across her youthful features, which are now in perfect silhouette to the rest of the room.

Curtis continues his workout, the stepper speeding up, the steps getting more and more resistant so he has to work harder to push them down, but in the end, this thing doesn't have the power to make Curtis Autumn strain very much at all. He moves rythmically, just losing himself in the pattern of step and step, step and step, listening to the news as he watches people outside of the window.

After a few minutes a comment is made on the TV that has him turning and his voice booming through the gym to get the attention of someone working here. "Can we please change the damn channel? Don't come here to listen to politics!" It's a command, said in a voice used to being obeyed, and a voice that Claire may find familiar, though they did not fight that many actual battles together, onlyn a couple here and there, and Ash was never much of a talker, or a shouter during a fight.

He turns his eyes back in front, only to sigh as the routine on the stepper comes to an end and he's barely broken a sweat. He steps down off of it, picking up his towel and water bottle as he turns and begins to make his way towards the punching bags. That's something he can set his own pace on. But he stops cold when he sees just who is over there at the bags. His jaw clenches, mixed emotions and reactions flooding him. First and foremost anger, fury at Claire for having killed his grandfather. But following that is stuff from their time in Messiah. She saved his life from the Institute… no… she didn't, but she thought she was, and so did he at the time. Really it was just keeping him from discovering his original life again but… He pauses, his forhead creasing. Such conflicts are not common for him, but they do happen, it comes from living your life completely as a different person. He begins to walk that way, slowly though, the powerful ex terrorist's steps are measured and even, his back straight.

It's a voice she remembers from when she drunk him under the table, recognition is instant. Turning around, however, is a touch hesitant. She was a lone wolf in Messiah, keeping away from everyone, not allowing herself to get close anyone. Claire doesn't know what kind of impression that might have left on the others. It was a potential friendship she let fall through the cracks, like so much in her life.

Finally, curiosity has the ex-cheerleader finally turning to see Ash coming right at her. A flicker of surprise, but then Claire offers a nervous smile. "Hey, Ash." The name spoken a touch nervously, shy with the way her blue eyes flick away a little and down. "I… didn't know anyone I knew hung out here."

Curtis never was very sure about Claire. She did the drinking thing, hung out a couple fo times, and then seemingly cut the rest of Messiah out of everything in her life. It's not something that sat well with Ash at the time. He was hesitant. She saved his life, brought liquor, made friends, then distanced everyone and it made him nervous. But there was a war to be fought at that time, and he couldn't concern himself with one person's feelings.

Curtis' features are tense as he looks Claire over while he approaches. He stops a half dozen feet away, within striking distance, but outside of her personal space, and he breathes in slowly. He carries himself differently than he used to. More precise, more military. It's really the only way to describe it. His hands remain at his sides, his back ramrod straight as he eyes the little woman who has caused so much trouble in this city. "Claire…" He utters softly, eyes darting around the gym, then up to the punching bag, and back down, nostrils flaring slightly as he takes in a deep breath.

"Yours is a pretty well known face to be hanging about in public places like this…" He's tense, his words are clipped, though not rudely so, just showing the tension running through him.

His comment has her glancing around, before she ducks her head a bit and turns her back on him. "I know…" Claire comments a little blandly. Her shoulder seems to shift down wards for a moment, before he hands come up again as she faces the bag. "I've been hanging out in Center Stage… People haven't really cared there." Two hit, land solid on the punching bag.

She glances over her shoulder at him, giving him a sad smile, "I don't know if the dark hair color it throwing them off, or if they just really don't care." Looking back to the bag she sighs softly, "I put on a good show for them in the ring." Since Claire can take a hell of a beating and keep going. Or… did.

Claire's stomach twists with the sick feeling of loss again, her hands lowering a little before she brings them up and gives the bag another good couple of punches. Another glance is sent his way, her head tilting a little. "You seem to be doing well, all things considered. Arn't you wanted as well?" A brows raises in a questioning way. "Moab and all."

Alert eyes watch the young woman as she looks around and thend ucks her head. "You're not supposed to be out in public are you? Quite the risk then if that's so." He lifts his water bottle up to his lips, taking a swig from it before lowering it and crossing his arms. His left cheek twitches a bit, a muscle tensing in it. "No one at Center Stage cares who you are. I was still fighting there when I was with Messiah, right up until the very end." The very end being the 8th. It was the end of alot of things. "I would imagine you do. Not many people could actually beat you. You'd wear them down over time until they were exhausted."

He lifts a hand up, running his palm across his military short hair, then drops it back down to his side, the other unfolding from across his chest. "Well? I wouldn't say that, though I'm not dead which is better than the alternative." He pulls in a breath, then lets it out, his eyes focusing on her. "I was, not any longer. Strange set of circumstances that. YOu ever woken up before only to realize your whole life is a lie?" He cocks an eyebrow at her, his feet settling apart in a half fighting stance. He never was one to avoid confrontation, or run from it. As himself, or as Ash. He's just preparing for it in case it comes. He avoided getting ripped apart by Griffin, and has avoided trouble up until now with those he's met from before, but Claire … is different. Shotgun barbie herself.

"A little tired of hiding all the time, I guess." Claire offers after a moment, hands dropping to her side. "Doesn't always keep you safe… so why not try and live a little?" It's a sort of defeatist way of looking at things, but she's had some crappy luck of late. Her turns to consider him, fingers rubbing over sore knuckles. Her head tilts a little to one side, brows dipping down. It's an odd question.

"Sort of?" Claire doesn't sound completely certain. "I mean… growing up my life was a pretty big lie." Looking down at her hands, she starts to work the tape off them slowly. "But not so much my whole life." Lips press tight together before she adds, "My life in general is full of lies and backstabbing." She almost sounds tired of it. "But… I mean… how did you get out of being wanted?" That's got her curious. She knows how she got off it once, could he have done something simular?

Curtis nods his head a little bit at the mention of hiding. "It got very old. But necessary. There was a war to be fought…" he talks as if the war is over, though for him maybe it is. At least, that war. "And you're pretty sloppy there. You know, if you'd have bothered coming to one of the dozens of classes I held to teach people how to fight you wouldn't be so sloppy." HIs voice still holds a solid not of tension, despite his attempts to speak in a casual manner, and his body is still tense, stiff and almost rigid. He shifts from one foot to the other, feet still spread in a ready stance. Curtis has been trained all his life to look for the little details. Be alert, be aware. And watch for the little things. Like someone who heals almost instantly from any wound rubbing her knuckles and … having wrapped them in the first place.

His eyes lift from her knuckles, up to her features. "Life is lies and backstabbing, the only trick is to keep it to as minimal a level as possible." His lips press together though at the question tossed his way, the skin around his eyes tightening, crinkling a little bit in concentration.

"That's not really a story fit for the middle of a gym." He says simply as he takes a few steps towards a different punching bag, then seems to change his mind as he glances to the locker room. The gym was supposed to be relaxing, not stressful. He eyes the door, then looks back over to Claire, conflict clear in his eyes, though what he's conflicted about is certainly not clear.

"Yeah, well… I can't seem to go a few days without it." The words murmured softly as the tape is slowly pulled off. It's evident as the tape comes off that, Claire didn't think to tape up her knuckles before. Skin rubbed raw, no doubt her punching the bag hurt. There is a flicker of sadness, thumb brushing over them, before she starts on the other.

Something he says finally sinks in and she smiles a bit, looking at the bag in front of her. "Yeah… well, I've never had much use for it." Before goes unspoken. Claire glances at him, now watching him thoughtfully. "Maybe I should risk the lessons, cause I agree… I suck at this." The bag is given a bit of an amused push.

Claire's smile fades instantly, gaze dropping back to her hands as she finally gets the last of the tape off. "Messiah…" She starts and trails off as if trying to decide what to say, finally she nods. "Know what, you are right. Stuff like that is not meant for the middle of gyms. I should get out of here anyhow, before someone who does care who I am shows up."

Curtis realizes instantly that Claire has lost her powers, that or there's a negator in the room that can concentrate on a single person. There's been alot of that lately though. People losing their powers, or having them switched with other people's. His teeth grind against themselves slowly as he tries his damndest not to feel bad for her. He's been without his powers before, knows how it feels to go from something super human, to just… normal. He looks to the door, then back and his jaw clenches, teeth grinding a little more. "Tell you what… I'll hit the locker room, you do the same, and we'll go somewhere else, discuss how you lost your power, and why I'm not being hunted anymore." He turns and without waiting for a response, moves to the locker room door and pulls i topen. He slips inside, and is gone for a few minutes. When he comes back out he's showered, his hair still wet. He's got a pair of jeans on, a ribbed sweater, deep blue, almost black, and a long coat on, not his long woolen coat he wore as Ash, but something akin to a duster. He walks towards the front door, staying in easy visibility of the locker room doors, and then heads outside, standing outside of the front windows where he can be seen.

There was a hesitation as Claire watched him leave for the locker room, brows lifted a little. Then after a moment longer she disappeared into the women's locker room herself. It, of course, takes a little more time to get ready. But eventually, she shows up again.

Dark hair is damp laying loose and close to her head and clinging to her neck a little. Gone is her desire to wearing up in a ponytail all the time. Claire seems almost uncertain as she slowly approaches him with a gym bag over her shoulder, a little guarded. It's been awhile after all. Her clothing is also jeans, but she also has on a white turtle neck, under her thick dark blue winter jacket. Nothing fancy.

"Where were you thinking?" Claire asks as she exits the gym, giving him a bit of a lop sided smile.

Curtis has his gym bag as well, resting on his back, slung over one shoulder. He's toying with his fingers, fidgeting with them before he pulls a zippo out of his pocket and begins to flick it closed, and then open, repeating the gesture constantly. He stands, silent and mostly still in the chill air of New York winter. His breath mists in the air as he waits on the small little Claire to make her way out of the gym. When he hears the door open he pushes away from the building and begins to walk through the parking lot.

His head turns, gaze cast over his shoulder towards the source of the question, eyes glancing at Claire, and then at her attire. His lips purse a little bit as he walks through the parking lot, and comes to a stop at a big black beast of a car. Old 60's muscle. It's painted black, with silver stripes across the length and the hood. The stripes are edged in a lime green. He pulls out his keys and hits a button. Old car, new tricks. The locks pops and the headlights flash. "Hop in." He opens his door, and slides into the driver's seat, closing it behind him and tossing his bag over into the back. Inside the car has bench seats, not individual ones. He slides the key into the ignition, turns it, and then waits for her to join him if she decides to do so.

Claire follows him as he walk, not really saying anything to him. Happy for the moment to sink into her thoughts as she watches him. Something is different about him, but she can't put her finger on it. Not yet, but a part of her knows it has something to do with his new life of freedom.

She can't help but be a little jealous of that.

Again there is hesitation in Claire, her head glances down the street in the direction of where she's staying lately. But she is curious what happened to an old teammate, so she finds herself easing into the sporty car and shutting herself in. "I like the car," she muses softly, settling her bag at her feet and easing into the seat, hand seeking the seat belt without a thought.

As she hooks it in, she comments, "So you noticed…" The comment probably about the look of her hands, raw as the knuckles are with one showing the signs of being skinned. The fact, that they are not instantly healing.

Curtis leans back, then puts the car into gear, pausing to put his seat belt on when he hears the click of her own, a soft grunt from him, irritation at seat belts and the fact that they're the law now. He puts the car into reverse, and pulls out of the parking stall, turns the wheel, and pulls out onto the street, the afternoon sun forcing him to reach for the sun glasses on the dash board and slip them on. "We can go somewhere and pick up something to eat or… well… anywhere, though not too public all things considered. Could head to my place." He is still tense though. Ash wouldn't hesitate at killing women in a combat situation, neither would Curtis, but this is not a combat situation, and if he attacked her, she would not heal from it. Though he's plenty angry enough to attack her, he's keeping it in check. That's one of the big differences between the two people that occupy his brain. Ash was an uncontrolled psychopath. Curtis, is controlled and in charge of himself, though still a borderline psychopath with his years of training and brainwashing as a Marine.

"I did. Saw them wrapped, thought it was weird, figured maybe it was just to cover up your power in case someone saw you tear your knuckles up and then saw them heal. Then noticed you rubbing them which meant you were actually in pain. So when did it happen?" His voice has a hard edge to it, but not cold like before. He also speaks differently, and has different mannerisms. Ash swore like a sailor, and though Curtis does sometimes, it's nothing like then. "Seems alot has changed since I fell off the map."

"Yeah." Yeah a lot changed. The young woman in the seat next to him, even acts different. She looks more sad then angry at the world. Doesn't seem as hard as she use too, less certain. Maybe even a little scared. The Claire he knew in Messiah would have just walked away, uninterested in anyone knowing her problems or hearing others. Yet here she was in his car, almost as if seeking companionship in an old colleague.

"I've only been like this a… week at most," Claire starts softly, her head turned to look out her side of the car, pain etched in the furrow of her brow. "I was in the dome and I got caught up in things. The Institute picked me up. Don't know why they let me go, but…" She finally looks his direction, shoulders lifting in a slow shrug. "Took away my ability permanently."

She looks away sharply, to hide a sudden glistening in her eyes, "Maybe they hope like this I'll just get myself killed." Claire swallows back the pain that not having her ability causes. "I got enough enemies out there."

She's quiet for a moment, before she shakes her head a little, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. "Wherever you think is best." Claire doesn't have a reason not to trust him and his choice of places.

And the man that she knew in Messiah, wouldn't have given two shits about her personal problems. They've both changed, alot, though she's not become an entirely new person, or old person, depending on how you look at what has happened to him. He continues to drive, though when she gives her reply of whereever his eyes close for a second or two in irritation. They open quickly enough and he starts on a path that will take them to a safehouse he has. Safer that way.

"Curious…" he murmurs, though his jaw tightens at the mention of the institute, not anger but… something… crossing his face. "They let you go because they have a purpose for you. Otherwise you'd be dead or still being kept a hold of." He turns, blowing a red light after looking around to make sure there's no cop around, the roar of the engine loud for those few seconds, then settles back down as he drives. "You've made quite a few of your enemies on your own. All of Messiah did. But you were doing that well before Messiah, which means you've got more than most."

Claire doesn't vocalize an agreement, but she doesn't protest it either. "Yeah, I don't know. Plenty that want to kill me that's for sure. They fixed me even." Which still confuses her. "The Institute, I mean." Realizing that it might not have made sense. "Cured me and made sure I wouldn't die from the everyday cold. Which almost happened once… a while ago."

Arms fold unconsciously over the ex-regenerator's chest. "But… maybe they let me go cause I helped save a little girl's life. A girl in their care." Shoulders give a small shrug. "Still doesn't make complete sense…" Yet at the same time it does considering who runs it, but she doesn't vocalize it.

"Of course, I'm still wanted," she points out focusing on him, brows lifting a little. "You… how did you end up so lucky?"

Curtis blinks and turns his head slowly, an eyebrow sliding upwards at her comment about dying from the common cold. "Weakens your immune system enough to allow other sicknesses to get at you? Or … waylays your ability enough to allow things to actually kill you?" He furrows his brows, then shrugs his shoulders, shifting his coat around on him. He glances over to her as she talks about the institute, and why she was let go and such, staying quiet at first.

"The directors of the insitute seem to have a rather far reaching agenda, something well beyond what we can comprehend. They are doing things that make no sense now. I honestly think they might have some kind of connection to the future. Maybe they have a time traveler or something. It's the only thing I can think of that makes sense. Make small adjustments in the past to stop future situations from coming to pass."

"Lucky? I didn't end up lucky." He pauses, letting the silence trail on for several blocks. "On the 8th… I ended up where the worst of the citizens got it. They were roaming the streets like a zombie horde, killing anyone and everything that they could lay hands on. I was there doing what I could to stop it, when I came across a woman and her children running. I rescued them from some … zombies… only to have Frontline bust into the corner store with me, they'd come in there to help, but one was wounded, the other was Spalding. We ended up fighting side by side, sent the mother and her kids to the roof while we waited for air evac to come get them. We got pushed to the roof before we finished off the last of them. Then the mother turned on a hand radio… and Rupert's message hit me. Turned on Spalding. We had a fight for the ages. At the end of it we were both laying on the street bleeding out. An Institute chopper retrieved me." He pauses then, letting the Claire absorb what he's said. And yes, he said retrieved, not captured, if she would notice the word difference.

"My ability gone, normally would kill me." Claire explains softly, gaze on the dash, or staring through it. "I didn't have much of an immune system, but they did something that strengthened what I did have. Or that's what they told me."

"I— " She starts and then stops looking a little lost. "I was locked up by my friends on the 8th to make sure I didn't end up a zombie." Claire glances over at Ash, brows tipping down for a moment. "They had to have a telepath fix me, Rupert…" She trails off, looking away and shaking her head slowly. "Rupert had me so messed up, I wasn't me… and… I broke." Her voice catches eyes closing for a brief moment.

When Claire talks again her voice is thick with emotions, "Sorry. I haven't talked much about it." It was an embarrassing time for her.

Curtis looks slightly confused by that statement, but he shrugs, dismissing it and not pressing for answers or information on it. He lets out a low sigh, a bit of tension forced out in the action before he turns the car, pulling it up into a parking lot of an old run down apartment building. He glides the car to it's parking spot and slides it in, stopping and turning the key off. "Rupert fucked with alot of us. He took away what little control I still had at that time. Turned me into the monster I always knew I was. I attacked someone who had just helped me save a woman and her children. Not something I'll forget any time soon." He pauses, then pushes his door open and climbs out, moving towards the building, though he stops to press the lock button once she's gotten out as well, then he's on towards the building, the man's stride slow, but still eating ground fairly quickly, as it's large.

"We all should have been locked up for the 8th. Every one of us. Everyone should have stayed off the streets. We'd have lost a lot less people that way. The Ferrymen, us, Cardinal's people. Everyone should have remained… absent." He pauses as he searches for that word, then smiles a bit and shakes his head before opening the front door to the building and gesturing for her to proceed him inside.

Getting out, she has to hurry a bit to catch up with him. "I agree there, but I think a lot of the damage was diverted. It would have been a lot worse." Ducking past him into the lobby, Claire pauses to wait for him, eyes roaming the area cautiously. "Not saying that it was great, but it could have been a lot worse."

She continues to follow him, moving where he guides her. "So… you said retrieved?" Yes, Claire did catch that, though it took some time to sink in. "What…?" She sounds a little confused , glancing at him suspiciously.

Curtis' Safehouse

Curtis doesn't speak again until he has led the way up the apartment building to the apartment. He unlocks it and pushes the door open, the old wood creaking slightly as he pushes on it, the hinges squeaking. "This isn't my apartment, but my normal apartment is on Roosevelt Island, and I'm pretty sure you don't pass muster to get on there by car." He flashes a tight smile over hsi shoulder to her and then steps inside.

"And yes, retrieved." He pauses as he walks over to one of the two couches in the sparse living room and plops his heavy weight down onto it, the couch creaking in protest. "Found alot of things out about myself recently. Like… Ashley williams is a man that died from a traffic accident…" He pauses, his eyes roaming around the room, then settling on Claire. If anyone in the world can understand his memory and life problems, it's Claire Bennet, with the lie that made up most of her young life.

"I was going to say. A nice car like that and a place like this?" Claire looks a touch amused as she paces about the place a little, eyes skimming over things. "Doesn't fit." Booted feet scuff lightly on the flooring as she turns a little.

Claire doesn't sit, but stands there, finally facing him and watching as he relaxes on that couch. Arms wrap around herself as if cold, or maybe just feeling uncomfortable. "So… Ashley isn't your real name?" She states the obvious, but she wants to make sure she heard that correctly.

"The car has been mine since I turned fifteen. A gift from my grandfather. My father wasn't much of a macho guy, more of the geek type. Nothing wrong with it, just didn't fit me too well as a caretaker. My grandfather did alot of that for me, though he also shaped my life to his whims." He stretches hsi legs out in front of him, then rolls to his feet to pull his duster off, tossing it to the side and taking a seat again.

His head shakes slowly to the question. "No, it's not. Ashley Williams was a man who had a horrible life until a traffic accident killed him shortly before I was inserted into Moab with his life imprinted into my mind, and my own life was removed so there wouldn't be any conflict…" He breathes in slowly, then lets it out in a sigh. "But then… you know what it's like to have your mind totally fucked… so do I, but you more so. I heard about just how much work Rupert did on your head."

Brows lower with a touch of confusion. Who's been talking? But then Claire's expression becomes pained, her gaze averting from Curtis to look anywhere but him. Self conscious if anything. "He really did a number on me. He pushed me in directions he needed me, got me to believe what he wanted me too. Sometimes I still wonder how much was me.. how much was him manipulating me." Suppressed anger makes her voices strained as she talks.

"When my memories started to heal from my time in Madagascar, the truth and the suggestions started to clash… and… I had a complete mental break down." Claire slowly turns away from Ashley, moving towards a window. She doesn't stand directly in front of it, but just to one side. "Richard had to lock me away until they could get someone to fix me." She finally glances at Curtis, giving him a small humorless smile. "Not completely fixed, of course. Probably never will be."

Curtis sits on the couch, not moving from it, though he does shift around a bit, crossing his legs at the ankels and sliding his hands up behind his head and lacing his fingers together. He listens intently, nodding his head in a slight dip forwards when she finishes. "Probably not. But that's why they're called scars. YOu might not bear any on your body, but you bear plenty on your mind." He rolls his shoulders and leans forwards, resting his elbows on his knees. "I really hope Rupert is actually dead. I heard he got killed, but then… we killed a guy that looked just like him… so … who knows if he's even dead or not." He frowns, and then looks out the window before pushing up and to his feet. He walks to the window and looks out on the street outside. "Cardinal…" He murmurs, then lets a slight chuckle sound before he turns and leans back against the wall. "I'm working for Redbird now. Supposed to be a bodyguard for Cardinal, but he's not taking to the idea. But it is … very strange, how many people have such an interest in little Claire Bennet… don't you think?" An eyebrow slides upwards, arching slowly, real curiosity in his eyes.

The question gets a brief scoff of laughter, her head shaking a little. "Richard is my friend, one of the closest I have… he was only concerned for my well-being… Him and my dad. I am far from any sort of important beyond that." Claire looks at him as if she's really said the funniest thing, amusement curving her lips upward.

"I'm just a girl who wanted a normal life, but screwed up her chances." The smile fades away and she shrugs. "So.. if your name isn't Ashley… Ash." Brows lift with expectation of an answer, studying him again from where he leans against the wall on the other side of the window. The light through the window, casting half of her face in shadow. "Then what is your name?"

Curtis turns his head back towards her, that eyebrow still lifted upwards at her, even after her statement about being friends. He doesn't try to dissuade her of her opinion, but he does look somewhat amused by it. His cheeks puff outwards and he turns, stepping away from the window and back to the couch, where he takes a seat, settling down once again. He leans back, his eyes on the former regenerator standing a few feet away from him. "USMC Lieutenait Curtis.. Sebastian… Autumn… the second." He pulls his gaze up, and centers it on Claire's eyes, watching them and her face, but mostly her eyes to see how she reacts to his name. It's a name that she can't possibly not recognize, well everything but the second part, since she took out his grandfather with a suicide bomb, or… what would have been a suicide bomb for almost anyone else.

It take a moment for the name to really click and he sees it in her eyes. Surprise and fear, her face paling as she seems to straighten where she stands. Tip of her tongue touches suddenly dry lips and her head turns a little as she flashes a glance to the door. "I… I should go," she manages to choke out, her throat seeming to tighten a little.

Swallowing visibly, Claire's arms unwind as if expecting something, even as her feet shift sideways to make her way towards the door. She remembers Ash— Curtis and his viciousness. In her mind she is very much a dead woman, cause he knows she's vulnerable now.

"Look… I didn't… I wasn't…" Claire doesn't even know what to say to defend herself, she can only think to flee the apartment and get as far away as she can. Fast.

Curtis watches the reaction on the young woman's face, studies it really. He remains in place though, his hands on his stomach, in easy view. He doesn't have a weapon in his hands, though that doesn't mean there's not one very close. But then, Ash never really /needed/ weapons to do his killing. Just made it a hell of alot easier.

He watches as she starts to sidle towards the door, amusement flashing across his face as she does so. She should know very well that if it came down to that he'd be able to run her down with no difficulty. But the fact remains, that he hasn't hurt her. "Claire, if I was intending to kill you, don't you think I'd have done it? If I was still Ash… I would have. I'd have snapped your neck in my car, and dumped you in a dumpster in some dingy alley somewhere. But I didn't." His jaw tightens a little bit, but this does explain his tension the whole night, the way he talked and the jaw clenches and everything earlier in the night, and even through to now. "You didn't, you weren't what? Awful different killing someone when it affects you directly isn't it? When you have to face down someone you've hurt because of your actions. I can't imagine facing the family's of the people I killed as Ash. Hell, I can't imagine facing the family's of all the people I've killed in my career as a Marine doing spec ops." He doesn't rise to his feet, and doesn't make any threatening motions or gestures, but he also doesn't seem like he's going to stop Claire from running if she decides to do so. "Leave if you feel you need to. But I haven't killed you, let alone hurt you, despite the anger that welled up in me when I saw you at the gym."

Her hand is on the door knob as he speaks, it still her hand, even if her knuckles are white where she grips the metal. Claire's back is to him and it stays there, a stiffness is written across those shoulders. "Sure you're not just playing with me, before you do?" She's scared and she doesn't hide it, voice shakes with it even as she snaps out those words. Her head turns towards him, as if to send a glance over her shoulder, but she can't make herself look at him.

But in that profile, he can see guilt and even despair, mixed with the fear. But then he face turns away, head dipping down and it leans against the door frame for a moment. "I'm sorry will never cut it…" She murmurs, hand finally twisting the door knob and it opens a fraction. "But I am… Rupert…" Claire trails off wondering how silly it would seem blaming it on someone else… even if what she says next is true. "Rupert convinces me that Autumn was the reason I was in Madagascar, why my life and those of my friends were ruined by it. Why we had to do this… Messiah. He had nothing to do with it…"

Her hand releases the handle and slides up to grip the edge of the door and open it wider. "When my memories came back… It broke me… I-I hated myself." She doesn't look back at him, only moves to slide through the door and leave.

Curtis snorts softly at that question, giving a rather clear reply to it. "When was Ash ever one to partake in something like that? Sure, I'd have done it to RUpert, toyed with him, after everything he did. But torture is not something I like. I've done it in extreme circumstances on missions. But very very rarely, and it's something I thouroughly detest. Toying with you would be akin to torturing you. And why on earth would I kill you in an apartment leased under my name when I could have killed you in the car and just dumped you?" He shakes his head slowly. "It's impractical."

"Rupert was a man of machevelian schemes. I have no idea why he would have wanted my grandfather dead. As far as I know he had nothing to do with why you were in Madagascar. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am." He rises from the couch, the piece of furniture creaking as he relieves it of his weight. "Messiah would have happened, with or without Rupert. Different name, different people, maybe the same name and the same people. Doesn't matter. It would have happened. A new group was bound to arise. Rupert saw that fact and worked towards it happening to round everyone up. Just like I warned Peter he was doing. I actually told Peter that it was what Rupert was doing, way before the split and everything went bad. Back when I walked out on that meeting. Peter came to me and I told him what was going to happen. And it did. Rupert was that good. It didn't matter that one person, two people, even half the people, suspected him. He was that good." He doesn't take any steps, standing there in the living room, arms crossed voer his chest.

"You gonna run again Claire? And just keep running? I've not hurt you. I've not even threatened you. I've kept myself under control. I wanted to see your reaction to what I had to say, to the knowledge of who I am and what you did. You do seem remorseful. Maybe not for killing General Autumn, but you do seem to regret having done it under RUpert's influence. Maybe you'd have done it anyway, maybe not… but we'll never know." He turns and walks into the kitchen area. "Now, you can come back in here, close the door, and we can continue to talk, or you can run away from someone who is offering you a hand to hold on to, despite the past."

"I wouldn't have." It's spoken so softly about her reasoning for killing Autumn, he probably doesn't even hear it. Claire is half out the door when he asks her to come back in. She stands there for a long moment, before she look back at him, with a despairing look. The young woman looks on the verge of all out crying.

"I'm sorry. I-I can't…" stay. Claire can stay and face Curtis knowing what she did and how it directly effected him. "I can't do this right now. I just can't…" There are too many emotions sapping her of the strength to face the family member of a victim.

She doesn't stay, in fact one moment she's in the doorway and the next she's gone, afraid he'll force her to stay. Running away from the pain and guilt that makes her sick enough to the stomach that Claire'll have to stop and throw up in the alley next to the apartment building.

Curtis listens to the pounding of feet as she runs away, and he sighs, shaking his head slowly. "We've caused so much pain… will we ever be able to live with ourselves? We called ourselves Messiah, saviors, but did we really do any good? Or did we only make things worse? I suppose.. history will tell the truth." He puts the bottle of whiskey that he had pulled down back up, and retrieves his coat from the couch. Might as well head back to his apartment.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License