Make 'Em Bleed


claire_icon.gif julian_icon.gif

Scene Title Make 'Em Bleed
Synopsis Two drifting PARIAH band together as reality comes crashing down about their heads and make tentative plans for their shaky futures.
Date December 14, 2008

Somewhere in the City

They emerge, this little group of terrorists. Less than there should be. They all knew the way out, after all. The reality that more PARIAH people were killed or apprehended is hitting home, now, as they all start breaking off into ones and twos once they emerge from the underground. One such pair is Claire and Julian, the former following the latter and the latter unsure of where to go. Isabelle had mentioned that they reconvene at her bar, but Julian doesn't picture the group coming together any time soon. He doesn't want to go near anyplace that could count as a point of reference.

It's light out, now, the early morning turning into noon, but it's still cold and in this corner of town, abandoned, ruins surrounding them. Julian fumbles with a plastic pouch of tobacco for a cigarette he'd rolled formerly, lighting up the end of it and taking a deep breath of smoke as they walk, and he decidedly leads for out of midtown. Can't afford to be chased down now.

"You alright?" he asks of the girl walking beside him, pocketing the pouch into his bulky jacket and arms folding about him, shielding himself from the winter cold.

"I'm not sure yet," Claire admits to Julian. She wraps her arms around herself, shivering from the cold she wasn't dressed for when it came time to run. Somewhere along the line, she stashed Caleb somewhere she can retrieve the shotgun later. "How about you? You didn't get hurt or anything?" With the bulk of his coat, it's hard to say, but she's fairly certain she would know if he'd been injured.

She probably would. He'd have cursed a blue streak by now about it if he was injured. "Nah," Julian dismisses, and glances her way. It takes him a while, the wheels working in his brain, grinds shifting into gear, before he registers: she's cold. The tobacco pouch is relocated from his pocket to the one in his jeans, and he shrugs off the leather garment, offering it to her insistently. He still has his scarf and perhaps three other layers of clothing as well. "I think Vance is dead," he says, flatly. It had been niggling at him throughout the trip, and the words come out awkward, unstoppably.

"I think so, too." Claire pulls the coat around her without even a polite protest. It wouldn't do her any good, and she's too cold to look a gift horse in the mouth. "The tremors stopped too abruptly. I… I think Melinda and Karl must be, too. They'd have sent word to us by now if they had made it out."

"Fuck," Julian says, without his usual venom. It sounds resigned. The fact that their leader is dead hasn't quite hit home just yet, but it will. They continue to walk, stepping over gravel and ruin, Julian trailing thick cigarette smoke as they go, the coat he'd lent to the girl holding the same scent in its fibers. "And I suppose they got their hands on a bunch've us too," Julian says at a mutter.

"The young ones," the girl agrees with the suspicion, spoken as though she were somehow terribly older than the kids captured in the raid. "I'm sure the other safehouses are clearing out. I just hope that they're out before the NYPD can come down around their heads, too." Claire shakes her head, a shiver nothing to do with the cold runs through her. "Shit. Shit!" She stops in her tracks and stamps her feet twice in a physical manifestation of the anger in her voice. "Fuck. Julian, what are we going to do?" Blue-green eyes don't quite hold terror, but there's still a healthy dose of fear there.

It was really only a matter of time before their shocked, icy, shared demeanor could break, and Julian is almost relieved that Claire is the one to do it. Forces him to be rational. "I dunno," he says, dully, coming to a stop and turning to face her. Wind whips at them both, blow away the acrid scent coming from his cigarette almost as quickly as it burns. He takes a deep, soothing lungful. "We're tryna save a world that doesn't want to be fuckin' saved. But if y'want practical advice, I'd say we lay low for a while and think carefully before we get up again."

Claire nods shakily. He makes sense, of course. "Okay. But where? The only people I know are people I can't - won't put into the position of harbouring us. Do you have any bright ideas?" She folds her arms over her chest and clenches her jaw. "The kids'll give me up first thing. I'm already on HomeSec's radar since Parkman registered me." She's suddenly losing her composure again, shaking her head in disbelief, wide eyes questioning. "Where the fuck am I gonna go?"

"Shit," Julian agrees, this only just occurring to him. A broody, contemplative silence, and he shakes his head. "Then we're in the same boat, Clairebear. Unless the G-men aren't so smart that they can't put what the kids say with what they know of me. Here's to hopin'. I got enough of a fuckin' target on my back." He takes the time now to sit down on a fallen piece of concrete, high enough that his scuffed shoes almost don't touch the broken ground. "Here, I got a couch you can sleep on. Only you and the better ones know where I live. Karl— " He breaks the sentence off into angry silence. Karl. Leaderless. "There isn't a PARIAH anymore, is there," he says, an abrupt diversion, and a grim one at that.

"Sure there is," Claire snaps. "As long as we're still willing to fight, there's a PARIAH. Even if we don't call it that. It's like I said. We're a symbol. With or without Karl." Though her voice cracks on 'without' and she has to turn her back to hide the tears starting to glint in her eyes. "Fuck them!"

Julian watches Claire, even as she turns away, as if the shape of her back mostly hidden in his jacket would yield something. He wants to be reassuring, but he feels, also, like he's been kicked in the gut. A depressed silence falls. "Well whatever we are," he says, roughly, "we're scattered. We're hurt. We need time before we can start fighting again." And they need a leader, but this, he doesn't put into words, just scowling, the scratch at his mouth pulling when he does. "C'mere."

The young woman turns sharply and moves to sit next to Julian. Her feet don't touch the ground. "Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck." Claire Bennet's never uttered that word so many times in her life, but it's just the only thing that even comes close to scratching the surface of this situation. "First, we lost Cameron. Now Karl. I tried leading…" But that obviously wasn't where she belonged. "What are we gonna do? Oh, fuck."

"We could always do that," Julian points out, almost light-hearted. Well hell, someone has to break the mood, and it would not be the first time he's thrown such a comment her way, at times joking and at other times serious, considering the fact she truly is the only person he knows that could physically stand it. So he does it now, if only to rein in her temper and sadness, and offers a wry, bitter smile along with it. "I'm no leader either. Someone'll step up or we'll all go our separate ways."

"West would kill you," Claire offers by way of refusal without directly refusing, in case he might have been serious. Sometimes, she's tempted to take him up on it. "Just promise me one thing, Jellybean." It's only fair that she tosses the nickname at him if he's going to do the same to her. He did start it, after all.

"I could take West," is the returning bit of banter, but as per usual, the matter is dropped easily. And she gets away with that name by being an attractive brunette woman. And indestructible. It doesn't stop Julian from rolling his eyes a little and paying attention to his cigarette once more which burns away relentless between his fingers. "What's that then?"

"We never go crawling back to Phoenix or the Ferrymen. No matter how bad things get." Claire Bennet has never been more serious about anything in her entire life. "I would rather rot in a prison cell."

"Fuck no!" Julian agrees with enthusiasm. Nothing personal. "What's a guy like me gonna do for them, anyway? They'd get me shuffling around paperwork or somethin'. No, I gotta better things to do." Pause. "What about you, though? What've you got against goin'?"

"I walked away from Helena once. My pride won't let me come crawling back. And I can't lie to her, make her think my ideals are the same as hers. It wouldn't be fair." Claire frowns and looks away with a heavy sigh. She doesn't even go in to her daddy issues concerning the Ferrymen.

A shrug, and Julian nods his understanding even when she looks away. He pitches his mostly finished cigarette to the ground, before swinging his legs over on the other side of the fallen piece of wall. "We should get movin'," he says. "Dunno about you but I didn't make it all this way to get run down by the pigs after trudging a fuckload of miles through sewers." He pushes himself off the ledge of concrete to land on the other side, and offers her a hand to help her over. Not that she needs it, but contact, where he can achieve it, isn't something he passes up. "Y'should at least hide away with me 'til you figure out your next step. Promise I won' even proposition you."

"I don't know. I might take the money," Claire quips as she allows Julian to help her over the wall. She doesn't let go of his hand, enjoying the reassurance as much as he craves the contact. She knows what it means to him. "Not that I'd follow through, but I'd take the money."

"That's why you're not in Phoenix really, ain't it," Julian says, jovially, as they continue moving through the wrecked city, hands amicably joined. "You're secretly too much of a bitch."

"What was your first clue?" Claire shoots Julian a sidelong look. Ah, duh? "Please. I gave up being Miss Congeniality when I discovered I could jump from a grain elevator and just pop myself back into place." She pauses thoughtfully. "Do you have a video camera?"

"What? No," is Julian's immediate answer, before his memory kicks in not a moment later. "Actually. Yes I do. I was gonna sell it." What else do you do with stolen goods. He shrugs a little in a way that communicates 'you know how these things are'. It's not as though any member of PARIAH can point fingers at people being less than moral.

If he didn't already have one, Claire would have suggested they steal one anyway. Every time you point your finger, three more point right back at you. "Cool. I think I'd like to make use of it. If you don't mind playing cameraman? It's so much easier when someone can track than to leave it up to a tripod." Though she doesn't exactly explain what she has in mind.

"I guess I can do that," Julian says. There's the sound of an engine rumbling somewhere, a car, but Julian doesn't take much notice. It's the city. There are cars everywhere. "Why, what're you thinkin', Clairebear?"

"I used to make these videos… I always felt better after I did. I don't know why. Maybe it'll be different, now that the whole world knows about people like us. But I have to try something." She shrugs easily and steps a little closer, keens ears listening to the grumble of the engine, assessing whether or not it stays a non-issue. "You know, it probably wouldn't hurt to come up with some fake names and get a couple of IDs made up, would it?"

Julian is quiet for a moment, deep in thought about something, but he doesn't voice it yet, glancing at her and giving a non-committal nod. "Couldn't hurt. I could come up with some fucktard Irish name and no one would be any the wiser," he says. Pause. He has a question he has to ask. He clears his throat. "Claire? What kinds of videos are these?"

Claire stops, her hand tugging the man to a halt as well so she can stare at him incredulously. "Ew. Not that kind of video." She rolls her eyes and then starts walking again. "I'm not that kind of girl. I was talking about jumping off of skyscrapers and lighting myself on fire and junk."

"Oh. Okay." He manages, even, to not sound disappointed. But he perks up again. "Bet I could suggest int'restin' ways for you t'kill yourself," Julian says, flashing her a smile.

"I bet you could." Claire even gives his hand a squeeze at that. "You run the camera and I'll supply the action. It'll be therapeutic." For her, at least. "Some terribly Irish name, huh? What about me?"

"Danny Doyle, maybe," Julian jests. "Patrick O'Shea. As for you?" Pause, considering. "Something as Southern and sweet as apple pie. Sally-Ann McGee or whatever. Dixie Milton." He likes this game.

"Oh, you're funny," Claire muses with a roll of her eyes. "Do I look like a Sally-Ann or a Dixie? Maybe you're Kieran O'Toole."

"Maybe you're Miss Candy Kane," Julian says, letting go of her hand to give her an almost brotherly shove to the shoulder. "They'll never guess a fuckin' thing."

"Oh, heavens no. Dye my hair red with some blonde highlights and they'll just assume I'm a stripper or a pornstar." Claire shoves Julian back. She wants to smile, and she even almost does. But they lost people tonight and despite all the joking, reality hits home again. Claire falls silent and wraps her arms around her body with a somber expression. "I'll kill every last fucking one of those bastards," she tells her companion without looking away from the road ahead.

Julian hesitates, then puts an arm about around the brunette girl as they walk. Not brotherly, or sleazy, or even a touch between friends - but a hold of solidarity of two people with one very important thing in common. "We'll make 'em bleed," he assures her, gravely, and there's really not much more to be said as they both continue on to figure out the next move from there.

December 14th: Hang Together
December 14th: Breathe Her
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