I'm In


claire_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title I'm In
Synopsis Claire tells Helena about Sylar's offer.
Date September 28, 2008

The Hangar

A wrought-iron fence borders several small garden beds and the stone stairs leading up to the house's front door. The house itself is a structure of old stone - not even concrete blocks, but quarried stone — with natural-color wood doors and window frames. The windows on the ground floor are barred.

Inside, the level is divided into only three rooms. The first is the foyer, with polished hardwood flooring, a freestanding coatrack on either side, iron-dark against soft-amber interior walls. The main staircase spirals up from one corner of the foyer, girded by a wrought-iron railing.

To the right from the entrance is the kitchen. The walls just off from white, the floor tiled in dark gray. In the center of the kitchen is a black-topped island, matching the counters that line the room. One wall is dominated by an eminently modern stove framed by an anachronistic brick hearth. Cabinets above the counters have glass doors; the windows above the sink are framed in light-colored curtains, the illumination they let in adding to the expansive atmosphere.

The dining room takes up the back of this floor. The far wall is brick and stone, with a facade of a fireplace mantle in the center. Interior walls have been painted a tone intermediate between amber and ivory, which is also the accent color in the dark rug beneath the long dining table.

So of course Claire would know about the safehouse and the protocols required to get in. PARIAH's been real quiet these days, licking their wounds and rethinking their strategies. That's why at the moment, Helena isn't doing anything right now other than curling up in a chair and writing in a notebook in the living room of the house, window slats drawn to prevent any peeping toms.

When Claire arrives, she's out of breath and… not dressed at all like she usually is. For one thing, those are not her shoes. And Helena would know, because she's borrowed every pair of shoes Claire owns at least once. They're impossibly tall heels and do give the former cheerleader a good few extra inches of height, however. She's also wearing a slinky black dress that was definitely meant for clubbing. And her hair? That's in bouffant of all styles. The girl presses a hand to her chest and feels her heart racing beneath her palm. "We've got trouble."

Helena is surprised when she sees Claire and is just about to start, "My god Claire, your ha — " she clambers out of the seat, the notebook dropped on the endtable next to it. "What is it?" she asks in alarm. "What happened?" She steps up to Claire, reaching forward to put her hands on Claire's upper arms, searching her face.

"Sylar," Claire pants, leaning gratefully into Helena. She may be able to heal, but that run was still a bitch in those heels. "Alexander and I ran into him." Beneath Helena's fingers, Claire's trembling. "Can I sit down?"

Helena lets Claire go, mumbling, "Of course." She moves back to her own seat, sitting down hard. "He didn't kill you. Alexander? Is Alex alright?" she asks, alarmed. "What did he want?"

"We're fine," Claire confirms." She tips her head back and stares at the ceiling. "He figured out where Peter is. The Company has him." There's a venom in her words when she brings that up. She's not happy with that turn of events. "But, he knows how we can bargain to get him back. You see, some of the escapees apparently captured Elle Bishop. The Company, or at least one of their operatives, wants her back. So they're willing to exchange Peter for Elle." She trails off for a moment, taking a deep breath. "And Sylar wants in. He thinks we should work together to retrieve Elle. He says if we don't help him, and he does it himself? He's going to take Peter." She's almost numb as she relays that fact.

Helena's eyes go wide as saucers and are summarily filled with horror. "How did they get him?" she whispers in shock. Shaking her head, "Sylar wants to," she chokes on it a little, "Work with us? To get Peter back? Why would he do something like that? What does he have to gain?"

"I don't know," Claire confesses with a small shake of her head. "I don't think it's safe for PARIAH to align themselves with Sylar. But… But I'm willing to work with him, if it means finding Peter."

"I want Peter back." Helena says bleakly. "But I don't know if he'd want us to pay whatever price Sylar is demanding." She considers. "When we got to level five, there was one cell Sylar wanted to get to first before anyone else's. I'm guessing that Elle Bishop was the electricity bitch they grabbed…? We somehow get her, it gets Sylar to that one person he was trying to get to. He's using us for fodder. Those people who took her…one of them was that woman from Peter's painting, the one eating that guy's arm. Do you think we can do this? Do you think we should?"

"Helena…" Claire sits up and peers at her friend. "I don't have an answer for that. I don't know if we should or shouldn't. Peter's some of the only blood family I've got left that cares about me. I can't just… leave him. If it means risking Sylar, then so be it. But I… genuinely think he wants us to save Peter. He can't do that if he kills the electrokinetic. The deal was living body for living body. And this operative demanded that she be in perfect condition when she's returned."

"Was the same promised for Peter?" Helena asks. "We've all heard about what they do to people in there." Swallowing, "We can't just tell the others, okay we're going to do this. We have to give them a choice. But for me…" she looks up at Claire, her expression, of all things, haunted. "I'm in."

Claire nods solemnly. "He'll be alive. That's the most important thing to me right now. We can worry about fixing him later, if it comes to it." Fixing him… In the realm of possibility for Claire's mind, that just isn't going to be an issue. Peter's the strongest man she knows. There's no way he'll be anything less than… Well… Himself.

"I'll get the word out to the others." Helena says, her voice taking on a steel tone. "I'll give them until end of tomorrow to let me know who's in or not. Do you mind if I mention you and I are doing this? And Claire…if the others say no — I'll do this with you regardless. We'll find a way."

"Go ahead and tell them I'm doing this whether they want to help me or not. They should know that their participation won't change my decision. I don't want anyone to feel as though they have to do this. It's scary stuff." Claire rests her head in one hand and sighs heavily. "You don't have to do this, either. Maybe you should be here… I don't know. I won't tell you no. I'll appreciate your help. Just… give it some thought."

Helena shakes her head. "There's no thinking about it, Claire. I — he's important to me." Helena says, giving other girl a frank look. "If dealing with the boogeyman is what it takes to get him back, then that's what I'll do. We are doing this whether they help us or not." She pauses a moment. "I might be able to get us some help." she says. "One of Peter's former mentors. He's a pretty selfish bastard though, so I can't make promises. But I'll try to convince him too."

"Former mentor?" Claire blinks. "I guess we'll take all the help we can get. Hopefully he'll care about Peter as much as we do." She finally leans back in her chair ahead, head tipped back. "Angela's going to kill me."

Helena shakes her head. "Why do you stay with her? Peter thinks she's dangerous. And the fact that she's letting you go out, if I were her I'd be keeping you locked in your room."

"I snuck out," Claire responds with a quirky smile and a sidelong sort of 'duh' expression to Helena as she tilts her head. "That was not the easiest thing, let me tell you. Jumping from a window still hurts like a bitch."

Helena looks sympathetic. "I don't understand how you don't scream your head off half the time when you do things to yourself. I know you regenerate, but just hearing how people shriek their heads off when they break their leg is bad enough. And I know you've done some crazy things to your body."

"I should make another tape," Claire remarks absently, the look in her eyes sort of blank. "That always helps me cope with my abilities." She shakes off the moment. "It's just something I deal with. Sometimes, I want to scream. But I just remind myself that if I can get through it, it'll all be over soon enough."

Helena watches Claire in silence for a moment. Then, "I worry about you." She shakes her head, hands brushing with a flick against her eyes as she turns her head for a moment. "Sometimes I feel like you're slipping away from us." Helena's not entirely sure what she means herself, but that's the best way she can express it. "But I'll get the word out, see what people say."

"Slipping away?" Claire frowns faintly. "Just because I'm trying to reconcile with my grandmother? Listen, Helena… When I was in Homeland Security custody…" The young woman takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, audibly. "I was trapped in a nightmare. I don't know if it was a vision or a hallucination or what, but… Sylar had killed everyone. Everyone close to me. Eve, Daniel, Alexander, Cameron, you… West. My fathers." Implying both adoptive and biological. "If that's meant to happen, I don't want to be on bad terms with Angela."

Helena shakes her head. "What about your father? Bennet, I mean. If you're so worried about him dying, why won't you reconcile with him?"

"One thing at a time. I'm not quite ready to face those demons yet." At least Claire's honest. "Maybe soon. Baby steps, as they say."

"Alright, alright." Helena holds her hands up in surrender. "I'm going to give everybody til sundown to give me an answer. You might want to ask West yourself. After that, you and I — and whoever else we might trust to take with us, can go see Sylar and tell him we're in. It might take me longer to reach Claude, but I'll try to do it sooner rather than later."

"I'll talk to him," Claire says of West. "You're sure you're going to do this if it ends up just being you and me?" Because that's a scary prospect in and of itself.

Helena can't help it, Hel gets a little angry at that. "Why don't you believe that Peter's important enough to me to do this?"

"Because Sylar's a scary motherfucker!" Green-blue eyes are wide and incredulous. Isn't that enough? "Oh my God." The expression falls off Claire's face and she now gapes at Helena. "You have it bad for my uncle, don't you?"

Helena's expression takes on a strained look. They're going to have this conversation now? "It's not exactly one-sided, Claire." Didn't she hear Peter's last words after he and Sylar went all Tower Inferno?

Claire winces. "I'm… sorry. I wish I could be happy and excited for both of you. It's just… complicated. I'm okay with it." She runs her hands over her hair, smoothing out the updo. "I want to be. If you're both happy, that's what counts. Just… be careful, Hel'."

Helena gives Claire a sidelong look, but then nods. "I'm trying not to be stupid." she says quietly, and then adds, "Of course, since you and I are about to become working buddies with Sylar, we can tack that up to an epic fail, can't we?" She lets out a laugh, a whistling in the dark sort of chuckle.

"That's us," Claire snickers quietly, "epic failures." She stands up slowly and comes around to sit on the arm of Helena's chair so she can wrap an arm around her friend's shoulders. "If you ask me to call you Aunt Hel', I'll break your arm."

Helena lets another laugh, and leans her head on Claire's shoulder. "If I ask you to call me Aunt Hel, you probably should."

September 28th: A Shiny Record of Truth-Telling and Other Such Honest Behavior
September 28th: Things of Value
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