If You're Not With Us...


claire2_icon.gif knox_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif

Scene Title If You're Not With Us…
Synopsis …you're against us.
Date March 10, 2010

Calvary Cemetery

Even if the sun is directly overhead, it doesn't quite look like mid-day here. Calvary cemetery is always a somber place, a massive expanse of headstones on rolling hills, now bristling up through the blankets of untended snow like grasping fingers. Great leafless trees are frozen by chill winds, some decked with thin icicles that substitute leaves. In a way, this scene is like a macrocosm of the ruins of Midtown, with crumbling stone monuments rising up from snow as much as decaying skyscrapers would; They are both equally as quiet as cemeteries, some more aptly so than others.

It isn't for no reason that Claire Bennet finds herself here, following the only path of footprints to disturb the three foot deep snow that fills the graveyard's grounds. They do not meander, these steps, a pair of footsteps from two different individuals walking single file through the snow. Their progression is purposeful, a knowing progression that winds between headstones, around monuments and between crypts towards newer graves than the ancient stained headstones of centuries past.

From a distance Claire can see the pair of figures on her approach, one kneeling before a swept clean headstone, all dark leather jacket and bright crimson scarf, his watchman's cap of a fabric so dark blue it may as well be black in like kind.

The sentinel at his side is not dressed in mourning colors, but his full length brown overcoat is still buttoned up for warmth. The high collar of the jacket is upturned and buttoned to the top, with a white scarf wound around the face of whomever stands there. Gloves and a tan fedora top out the conspicuous garb of the six foot tall man, looming like a status at the side of Benjamin Washington's kneeling form.

It seems one of them came here to mourn.

Others wouldn't be too happy she came here alone, well… mostly alone, but deep down a part of Claire needed to do this. This was a part of her life, she thought gone and buried, a part of her that she thought could be left behind. It was something she needs to face alone. So she arranged a meeting, though the location was an odd surprise.

There is no sneaking up on either of them, the crunch of snow under her feet would make sure of that, so the blonde cheerleader doesn't even try. Her black leather jacket is zipped up tight to hide the blue sweater underneath, equally black jeans hang loose on her form. As she approached, the young woman, tugs the white and blue striped scarf from around her face, the soft, "Hey.." she offers, her breath turning white on the exhale. Gloved fingers, makes a pass through her long blonde hair that's left to hang loose.

Blue eyes study the standing figure suspiciously, before Claire lets her gaze fall to the headstone, focusing on it for a long moment.

Karl Bishop

October 15, 1979 - December 14, 2008

Flowers laid out in the snow at the grave are cheap looking things wrapped in clear plastic. Looking from the name of Pariah's former etched into the stone and up to Claire on her approach, Knox's expression is a guarded one as he considers the blonde's arrival. The stoic gentleman at his side, visible only as a narrow strip of eyes peers down at Claire silently, folding gloved hands behind his back as he turns his head to regard Knox.

"Hey yourself," Knox offers in a quiet grumble, rising up from where he was crouching in the snow, some of it caked on the knees of his jeans. "I wanted you t'see this before we talk," he motions with a leather-gloved hand towards the grave marker, "so that you put into perspective what they've done to us before we talk. Mel's buried in Jersey… gonna' visit her next week."

Swallowing tensely, Knox looks back down to Karl's headstone, shaking his head. "They did this to us, Claire. Killed Karl, killed how many of us?" Dark eyes move over to the young blonde. "Because we were ahead of our time, fightin' the war before it was on. So what's on your mind, kid? Why'd you wanna' see me?"

Blue eyes flick away from the grave stone, Claire's gaze goes to the snowy ground. What they don't see is the reason she wore the black jacket, the torn shadowy remnants of her leader clinging there listening. "I'm aware of what they did to us Knox. I was there, remember?" She asks, her voice a touch flat as she looks back up at them both slowly. Her chin comes up slightly as she takes takes a deep breath. "I haven't forgotten what we were and what we did."

"What we did before, that was not war. I've seen war, I've been in the middle of it. I've been a prisoner of it." Her eyes drift to the other person, "But I have seen what our government can become, Madagascar is a pretty damn good clue. It could become war if things keep going as they are."

"I have talked to the other, as you asked." Hands tuck into the pockets of her jacket. "EndGame will not join up, at least not right away. We have member that can't risk associating with you all, however, you all have their support and help. There are better ways of doing things then blowing people up to make a statement. I hope we've learned from past mistakes." There is a no nonsense look about the woman, she may have been a cheerleader once, been a teenager once, but so much has changed that has changed her.

"The group I'm in is more about murdering futures, as Richard… use to call it. Intel gathering and the sort. It could be useful, plus we have connections." A small smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "I.. have been in a sense given to you all, as a liaison of sorts. A go-between for both groups." Eyes go to the tombstone again. "Work closely with you all like the good old days.." Eyes drift up to look between them to catch their reactions. "We can easily help each other and be allies if you want."

She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I — know it's probably not exactly what you want to hear, but you can't blame people for being cautious associating with you all." She gives them a small apologetic smile. "But I can assure you.. then it comes down to it, when the moment comes EndGame will be right there."

"Sit on it and spin, basically." Knox offers in return, brows furrowed as he dusts snow off of the knees of his jeans. "I ain't dumb enough to be fooled by that sort've double-talk Claire. They say they got our backs and the minute the heat's on they're out a window. I'm not fallin' for it, and neither're you. One day you'll take a look at your big Library and all your little friends and wonder just when the hammer came down. I ain't waitin' for another Karl or another Melinda. I ain't waitin' for another Norman White. This gets done on our terms, on our turf."

Smoothing his gloved hand over the top of his knit cap, Knox looks up to his tall and silent companion, then back to Claire. "Take one good look around you Claire, you see all them signs about the vaccinations and registrations? You ain't gonna' be able to get cured of the sickness unless you register. I'm willin' to bed that virus came out of a lab, and that it was put here for people like us. Flushing us out of hiding by takin' away our powers an' makin' us sick."

A pointed look goes to the headstone, then back to Claire. "Pariah was an idea of hitting first, before shit got this bad. Now look at where we are, look at the sort've shit we got comin' at us and tell me that playin' snoop is gonna' fix any of it? It ain't." Squaring his jaw, Knox's head shakes side to side slowly. "We ain't Pariah no more, Pariah died with Karl, but what we are is a lot more'n that. We got ourselves a plan, and from the sound of it you ain't on board t'hear it so why don't you—"

"Knox." The voice that comes from the tall man is a deep and grumbling one, as his gloved hand comes up to lay on Knox's shoulder. Tilting his head up to regard Claire beneath the brim of his fedora, Knox's companion offers a growling old man's commentary to the situation. "We can't prove what we think is happening, but if you look at Staten Island, look at the safe zone being formed there, you've got to be able to realize what's about to happen. I'm not going to stand by and let the country I love die silently…"

It's only now that Claire recognizes the grumbling voice, recognizes those tired eyes that is all that a scarf-shrouded and hat-obscured face reveals. Allen Rickham is a far cry from a youthful rebel, but it seems that every army needs its tactician. "You're not against us, Claire. But you're not with us either."

"Where did it get us before when we hit first?" Claire asks them both, a hand waving at the tombstone. "No.. I'm not against you, but PARIAH might be dead…. but that night. The night you told me what was going on Knox. What did I see?" Her brows lift slightly, her words fierce as they are practically hissed out. "I saw what looked like PARIAH.. what sounded like it."

She gives a slightly glare at both of them, "Can you assure me that PARIAH is dead and gone? Cause I sure as hell don't want to go back to that." A hand presses to her chest, a step taken towards them. "I'm not so stupid to not see what is happening and I don't want our country to end up like Madagascar. I was there.. I will forever carry a part of that with me.. till the day I die." Malaria is such a wonderful thing to bring back with you.

Claire the walking biological weapon.

"I'm pretty sure Rebel knows where some of us are and what we're doing." Blonde brows lift slightly as she looks at them. "That many did get deals out of that whole fiasco that my boss didn't survive. Which means you probably know and we're not hiding it from you. This precarious game we're playing. Many do have a lot to lose and need to be completely sure they are giving it up for a good reason. I am literally, one of the only ones that can risk completely helping you." Hands come out of her pockets and she spreads her hands. "But if you didn't know, I got a deal, too. A consolation prize really for getting six months of my memories blow out of my head by a shot gun. I'm risking it, and my pardon to help you again. Because, I didn't go there at the governments insistence like so many of them, I was sent there by Edward Ray and he had been correct about my involvement."

"Besides… " Claire voice is soft, yet carries some in the cemetery. "…having those of EndGame in the system, it has it's advantages. It helps get the proof. Keeps us on top of whats going on. So we don't go blindly. Cause if Rebel wants an Army… many will want the proof before joining."

"This ain't about Rebel." Knox says flatly, "This ain't about whatever he's doing. We're doing this for ourselves, and we got ourselves a man with a plan. You say that you and your friends got stuff to lose, that's fantastic. What about the rest of us, Claire? I can't ever get a job, be in public, without always havin' t'look over my shoulder 'cause I went in to Moab to bust Dean out, and she decides to cozy up to the government and go soft on everyone. Where's that leave me, Claire? Where's that leave all our brothers an' sisters?"

Knox licks his lips, shaking his head as he turns his back to Claire, runs both hands over the top of his cap and then slowly turns back around to face her, having trod a bit through the snow. "We all got more t'lose than comfortable lives. Every one of us born with an ability's got everything to lose now. You wanna worry about blowin' people up, killin' people? Fine, you stay in your little Library and play your games. When it comes down to us versus them, then you can come back to us."

"It's inevitable…" Rickham admits, head tipped down. "The Petrelli administration is going to be the end of us. There's nothing I can do now to help stop it either, not now that Jennifer's dead. We're going to lose one of the few powerful allies we have if we're not careful, and for as much as I've heard people speak ill of the Company… if they fall, we're going to pray for the devil we know when they're gone."

"Let me get this straight." Claire's eyes narrow dangerously at Knox, she looks unhappy. "Because, the rest of them have something to lose…." She sounds like she's trying to understand what Knox is saying. "… and are hesistant, means I'm not willing to give up what I was given?" Her head turns slightly, glancing out of the corner of her eye, expression thoughtful. "Cause, I'm pretty sure I just said… I'm willing to give it all up, to help you all."

"And Knox… I doubt Helena cozied up to the government anymore then I did." Claire's tone is flat, her expression clearly unamused. "Or really any of them. Some of my teammates were drugged and shipped in shipping containers to the rally point. Look past the deals."

Something Rickman says catches her attention finally and she gives him a sharp look. "Wait. What.. are you saying? Isn't that what many of us have wanted? The Company to fall?" Brows crease slightly. "Are you seriously suggesting that keeping the Company alive is a good thing?" It's no secret what Claire thinks of the Company. Even if her grandparents started it.

"It's all or nothing, Claire. You're one of us, or you're not. No fence sitting, no riding the lines, no playing both sides. If you're group doesn't want to play ball with us, then you need to step away from them and come to our side of the fence. We can't risk having people who aren't fully comitted to the idea of putting the whole goddamned government down slipping in and screwing things up. Pariah was killed by a mole, and we can't risk that same thing happening again. Not now, not when everything is so screwed up. The government's probably trying to weasel in eyes and ears everywhere…"

Rickham nods his head slowly in agreement with Knox. "You can't trust anyone anymore, you never know who's on the payroll of the Department of Evolved Affairs, or whatever department is going to be filling the shoes of the Company. Jenn told me once, that she feared that the government's agreement with the Company was going to break apart once they didn't need them any more. You talk about all those experiments in Madagascar, Knox talks to me about Moab…" Rickham's head slowly shakes. "What do you think is going to replace the Company if it falls? Fills that power vacuum?"

Squaring his jaw, Knox shakes his head and looks from the snow up to Claire. "It's only gonna' get worse Claire. You wanna get in, then you get in all the way. No more playing in Midtown, no more playin' librarian."

Studying them for a long moment, lips pressed into a thin line, Claire doesn't hide the fact that the ultimatum they have thrown at her feet has put her in a difficult spot. Eyes drop suddenly to the snowy ground, her brow furrowing. They need someone within the group, she knows this. Elisabeth can do it… can she? Is she good enough?

A part of her wants to consult the shadow on her back, but she can't… he's suppose to be dead. So the ex-cheerleader has to make a decision on her own. Reaching into the neck of her jacket, Claire grips a small gold charm in her fingers, the one Peyton gave her. What she says next, makes her glad Bones isn't there.


It may or may not be a surprise what she says. "I'll — " She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, the air turning white from it. " — cross the fence." Blue eyes lift, but her head doesn't move. "I need time to get my stuff out of the library and to find a place. Break…" Her voice catches some… "… break way." It's a huge sacrifice she's making. Turning her back on Liz and the others, her friends, they would not take it well, might not get what she's doing, but maybe… just maybe… Cardinal will understand what she's doing. Her voices is very soft as she adds.

"I don't want another Madagascar."

Rickham and Knox share a look between each other in silence, both of them men nodding to the other before Knox settles dark eyes back on Claire and offers a more affirmed nod to her. "Take your time, I still gotta clear this with the boss, and you aren't going in on ground level on day one. We're gonna' need to see a commitment from you, something to earn the trust of everyone else. You know how it works, Claire. We ain't slighting you, but this isn't just an open door policy… you gotta' make it."

Offering a look to Rickham, Knox nods his head again and Rickham just starts to walk, crunching through the snow with his shoulders hunched forward and head down, one nod of his head to Claire the closest thing to a farewell he can offer to the young blonde. Knox doesn't leave with Rickham, not right away. Instead, Knox's attention settles on Claire, his expression entirely business without so much as the ghost of a smile.

"Keep this on the down-low for now, Claire. The less people know about us getting together, the better…" There's a touch of one of Knox's hands on Claire's shoulder, a look afforded to Rickham, then back to her, "Just between us, a'right? There's a lot've lives ridin' on this, don't make me regret trustin' you."

"Understandable." Claire says softly, with a short nod of her head. "I'll be waiting. Till I know something, I'm not moving." She smiles a bit, though there is a sadness to it. "You can understand that I'm sure. I don't want to be left flapping in the wind."

The nod is returned to Richman, before she looks back at Knox. "I could say the same to you Knox. Don't make me regret trusting you all, I don't want a repeat of our mistakes." Her hand dips in her pocket and she removes a piece of paper, offering it to Knox held between two gloved fingers.

"By the way, Gillian says call her." A small smile tugs up one corner of her lips, Claire can't help but put a touch of a tease in that. The paper is the woman's number.

Brows furrowed, Knox offers a curious stare downt ot he paper between Claire's fingers, carefully plucking it out and turning it over before tucking it in his jacket pocket. "You know, Claire, that saves me a whole lotta' trouble trackin' her down." Slapping a hand gently on the blonde's back, Knox takes a step away from Claire, tugging down his knit cap over his ears more before nodding towards the gravestone protruding from the snow where they'd been standing.

"Don't forget to say something t'Karl before you leave…" Knox adds, dark eyes flicking to the gracestone once more before settling on Claire's far lighter eyes, "he gets lonely out here." Brows furrowed, Knox turns from Claire and begins making his way through the snow following in Rickham's stride, leaving Claire standing atop the crest of the windswept and snowy hill beneath the leafless bought of a stickbare tree.

In the distance, the island of Manhattan looks much like Calvary Cemetery, a bristling field of concrete headstones decked in snow.

It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

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