One Last Thing


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Scene Title One Last Thing
Synopsis Tending to Clara's injuries leaves one final task for the time-displaced visitors to 1945 to handle…
Date April 30, 1945

That the smell of damp rain has not left the air is something of a comfort, it fosters a sense of mental continuity. It was raining when she lost consciousness, and perhaps that it's raining when she awakens, Clara Francis will not be in such stark confusion about her placement in the world. Though given her surroundings, there may still be some cognitive dissonance.

Oil lanterns stave off the darkness that night's approach had afforded the kitchen of a small cottage now being used as a makeshift shelter for survivors of the Dachau liberation while waiting to be moved to more permanent residence. It is the only empty room in which to contain her, and laid out on the wooden slab table where meals were prepared just two hours ago, the unconscious blonde may find some disappointment with sharing the same space as something butchered.

There is no humor in the irony to the gaunt Frenchman looking over her either.

Starkly lit by the flickering lantern, Francois Allegre's face looks entirely cadaverous, not unlike some very pretty analogue to Emile Danko's sunken eye sockets and high cheekbones. He would not find the comparison flattering. By contrast, Odessa Knutson's rain-soaked form wrapped in an itchy gray blanket looks like a child that has just come in from being lost. Her makeup smeared hours ago, dark and runny streaks down her cheeks worn into her skin. Her hair has taken a touch of curl to it from the dampness in the air and the rain, tangled and unkempt tresses clinging cold to clammy cheeks.

To her credit, Daphne Millbrook looks better off, with dreadlocked hair swept back from her brow, a little tangled and disheveled, but better worse for wear than she was on first coming here, all thanks to the weary looking French doctor looming beside her. The odd man out in the room is the square-jawed American who too looks like he'd just wandered his way in from the rain. Clutching a tin mug of coffee in one hand, he's not drinking on his approach, but rather settling the cup down with a clink in front of Francois. "«You should reconsider…»" he states with an angle of his head towards the blue-eyed doctor, "«there's a great world of opportunities that could be waiting for you in America.»"

The shadow of the lantern light makes Marcus Raith's eyepatch look like a hollow socket, haunting in quality against the pale quality of his eyes. "«I can't force your hand, but… people like you,»" his one eye narrows, "«the world always has need of special people.»"

Marcus' gloved hand moves away from the tin cup, and his head turns to view Clara Francis' prone form on the table, the way her chest barely rises and falls, the rattling wheeze of breathing that she's only just barely started up again.

"«Think about it, at least…»"

Dessau, Germany

April 30, 1945

Picking up and gripping the offered drink with a kind of numb-fingered caution for all that it's a warm day in Germany, Francois is watching the American man with a cagey kind of awareness, as if frightened of what an outright no will bring him — despite words of how Marcus can't force his hand. The hollows beneath his cheekbones deep a little along a jaw clench, before he lets his gaze fall on the prone figure of Clara, and he brings steaming coffee to his mouth with the same reluctant determination a child gives medicine. This much caffeine and the pouring out its excess energy into the healing of others has left him unfocused, mildly jittery, and his fever hasn't lessened.

But he's on his feet, and wields the power of fixing human flesh. As Marcus says, the world always has need for special people. Setting the cup aside, the slight shake to his hands only apparent when the tin rattles briefly on the wood, before he briskly wipes his hands down the front of his jacket. "Ah non. «I thank you for the offer,»" he says, in his voice that seems as unchanged in 2010 as much as his health is so drastically different. "«But I did not fight for my country and Europe only to leave it so soon.»"

Darting an uncertain glance to Daphne, Francois shuffles forward to study Clara's face. "«What happened to her?»" he asks of the other French speakers.

The speedster is antsy, pacing around the small kitchen as she waits for Clara to awaken or for something to make sense. She glances from Marcus to Francois but bites her lip from saying "He does go to America," since she's trying to keep the fact she knows Francois in the future to herself — she isn't sure what it would do to him, but she isn't willing to risk it. She turns a sharp u-turn to pace in the other direction, before exhaling with exasperation.

At Francois' question, Daphne shakes her head. "«I don't know. I just found them outside. Do you know?»" her eyes turn to Odessa, other questions, important questions flashing unspoken as well — is Hiro here? How are we getting back to 2010? Daphne, now that she is no longer in fear for her very life. "«Will she be all right?»" This is addressed once more to Francois, spinning back toward him in an impatient whirl.

"Je ne sais pas," Odessa murmurs absently from where she stands, blanket clutched tightly around her shivering form. Her eyes are unfocused as she stares at Clara, and seemingly through her and the table she rests on. "«I don't know if it was that man,»" a significant look is exchanged with Daphne before she goes back to her blank stare toward Clara, "«or if she was too close to the building when it began to fall. I wasn't close enough to see.»"

"«She is bleeding into her lungs,»" Marcus states dryly, wrapping that gray blanket around himself and folding his arms in its relative warmth and dryness, "«I found her lying in the street in the midst of the Red advance on Berlin. She would have died, but— I don't know. I'm amazed she's survived this long.»" That may well be a small miracle that is never fully understood, outside of the realm of Clara's own quantum-locking, reflexive or not. Whether her body had protected her from a slow, agonizing death or Marcus is wrong about his assessment, the Devil in that detail may never come to light.

Looking up to Francois, then over to Odessa and Daphne, Marcus starts to move away from the table and towards the door. "«The Lieutenant watching this barrack mentioned a Jap that was captured spying on the village,»" he looks over his shoulder to the two women after passing by them, "«I'll go check on him, see if it's your friend, or if they've just put a bullet in him yet.»"

Marcus offers nothing else, save for a nod of his head, before he steps out of the kitchen, boots clunking with each stride that carries him away.

As much as the significance as to what news Marcus has received might be for the two women, Francois is focused on gently nudging back the collar of Clara's shirt aside to expose her throat — the gesture is tender and cautious. His rough palm goes to press over where her struggling pulse thrums, and though he won't be the prettiest sight to wake up to right now, he'll be a kind one. His own eyes shut halfway, at that familiar feeling of giving away a piece of himself as healing warm begins to ease through the dying woman's frame.

His other hand goes to press flat on the table to support his own weight, shoulder blades pressing up and making angles in his jacket as he leans. Broken bones begin to knit together beneath flesh and muscle, deeper healing invisible until, beneath sallow light, her bruising begins to dim in a slow drain of colour, but only after her deeper injuries begin to seal shut.

"Why didn't you say so!" Daphne says in irritation and in English at the mention of a Jap being brought in by the lieutenant. "If … if they just executed him because we're standing around, everything is ruined!" Daphne all but explodes at Marcus' announcement. She is in every way a foil to the quiet and cautiousness of the Frenchman tending to Clara as she all but bursts at the seams and follows at Marcus' heels. "If he's going to get shot, I can get him away but I need to know these things. He's our only chance to get home unless you know someone else in Nineteen Forty-freaking-Five that can do what he can do!" She'll follow Marcus if he allows it. Perhaps even if he doesn't, though it's hard to follow someone in a blur of speed without overtaking them.

When Marcus mentions a Jap, Odessa's head snaps up abruptly. "Stay," she instruct Daphne firmly, one hand out toward the other blonde even if she can't stop her physically or with her own ability. And equally firmly she informs Marcus, "I'm coming with you." Her own heels click staccato on the hard floor, though her movements are sort of weaving. She needs medical attention herself, but she's refusing to allow for it. Not until their situation is a secure one. "Stay with her," she tells Daphne again. "And with him." The look she gives is a warning one. Something is going on here. Keep them safe.

It's an irritable little crink of Marcus' neck that accompanies his slow turn around towards the sound of Daphne and Odessa's voices. "You," he points a gloved hand at Odessa, brows furrowed, "come. You…" he looks past Odessa to Daphne, "stay here." It's bias due to familiarity, but he at least understands how Odessa's ability works now. "Do not talk, do not interject, let me handle things. If he is dead, he is dead."

With that nugget of grim uncertainty, Marcus is turning for the ground floor room converted into a makeshift mess hall where Francois and Daphne were eating earlier, blanket slung off of his shoulders with a pull of one hand, thrown over a nearby table as he walks, expecting Odessa to keep up behind him — or alternately make time to catch up.

While all of this is going on, Francois is engaged in an argument all of his own, an argument of ligaments and tendons, cracked bones and broken arteries, perforated lungs and severed nerve endings. While she didn't look it on the outside, Clara Francis was broken into pieces on the inside, like a delicate glass chalice smashed inside of an unscatched cloth sack.

The wheezing, sharp inhalation of breath that she gives comes with a fish-like opening of her mouth and eyes, back arching, fingers curling in the air and leg muscles tightening. It's like the first fresh breath of a newborn baby, without the keening wail of its first noises afterward. Clara exhales deeply as her body slouches back to the table, moments before a look of panicked confusion crosses her face under revelation of oil lamps, tired-eyed Frenchmen of startlingly familiar countenance, and the sounds of raised voices muffled in her ears.

"I— feel sick," is not the best first impression, but to her credit at least she does not act on that feeling. Francois just got these new boots.

A glance back to Daphne urges the resident English-speaker to deal with this part, Francois attempting a wan smile to Clara as opposed to the French-spoken reassurances on the tip of his tongue. His hand has since shifted from her neck, but does come down on her wrist, that continual flow of healing energy ebbing away various pains and complaints. She's repaired to working order, if not perfect order, not so longer after her reedy gasp of breath. "«You will be alright,»" he utters, more for himself and Daphne than her.

Backing up, Francois goes to sit down — a hand goes out to the angled chair, but either his balance is compromised or the last of his energy gives in, it's hard to immediately tell, as he simply drops, chair skittering back when he knocks into it, elbows connecting heavily with the floor and a grunt of shock and complaint sounds at the back of his throat.

Brows knitting together fiercely when she is pointed at and told to Stay — like a dog — Daphne's mouth opens to protest, but then Marcus is saying the same. Granted, with Odessa going, her power might not be necessary, and it would be safer for Odessa to freeze time if an execution was about to take place than for Daphne to speed in and save the man she hopes is Hiro Nakamura.

Her eyes narrowed, she snaps, "Fine," in English to the two as they leave the room, before turning to see Clara announcing yet again that she feels sick. "Clara!" she exclaims, a sudden blur and rustle as she moves the few feet in a split second, to grab the other's hand. "You're going to be okay. We're… Francois!" Daphne reaches to try to catch him, but is too late, her focus diverted between two points. She kneels beside him, reaching to steady him with worry in her eyes. "«Are you all right? Do you want to go lie down, or a drink of water?»" She wants to help, needs to help, and feels trapped by the commands of Marcus and Odessa to stay to help Francois and Clara — something she isn't sure she knows how to do.

Odessa's nodding an assurance of sorts over her shoulder at Daphne before hurrying after Marcus. She opts to keep the blanket wrapped around herself, both for the warmth and for the image it presents of a frightened young woman. Not that it's a stretch to appear frightened - she is - but if the soldiers see her as a thing to take pity on… perhaps it will work in her favour.

"I trust you can get one little Japanese man a reprieve from the firing squad, if you're so adept at kissing Nazi posterior," Odessa quips. "He had better not be dead. Or I'll find some way to go back in time and kill him myself."

Funny she should say that, about killing Hiro. Somewhere or somewhen just a little to the left of here, she did just that. Some events of historical importance are just too monumental to prevent; That's what Edward Ray would say. What that says about the life expectancy of Hiro Nakamura has yet to be written, but the preface isn't looking so good.

Running a gloved hand through his rain-slicked hair, Marcus has no words for Odessa, and perhaps that is in the hopes that she doesn't talk for the remainder of their journey up to the battalion commander's tent. The creak and clack of the door to the cottage opening and closing is their farewell.

"D— Daphne" is Clara's greeting, stammered and whispery, confused and frightened, her body trembling from what feels like an electrical current running through her nerves, the after-shock tingle of Francois miraculous ability revitalizing the body. Rolling onto her side, she gives an uncomfortable whine, looking down wide-eyed to Francois, throat tight and lips parched despite all the rain she was exposed to.

"Wh— who— " words are hard, and Clara struggles with them as her head swims and her stomach turns. Slouching onto her back again, she exhales a shaky breath and focuses her attention up at the ceiling, unable to do anything to help Francois, she settles on doing everything to help herself for the moment.

For all that his skin tone was already next to ghostly, it's gone a clammier shade in the last few moments, between healing, between collapsing, fishbelly damp and grey-pale. Despite this chillier connotation, he's warm to touch. "Un moment," Francois mutters, eyes closing against the light as if it were overly bright, a hand up to rub up the side of his face and over his eyes. More words, almost inaudible to Daphne, however, although clarity returns halfway in; "«… again, I have done it. Over done it. Ah, me.»" There is some coherency, at least, for all that when he does open his eyes, he doesn't quite focus on Daphne.

"Go," Francois says. English, somehow, plucked from the smattered trivial keywords he's collected. "«Help me sit, and tend to her, if it pleases you.»"

"«Poor Doctor,»" Daphne says affectionately, and stoops to help him up to the chair, brows furrowed in worry for both of her companions now rather than anger at the two who just left to go find their other compatriot from the future. "«Rest. You have done so much. Thank you for everything. Always and forever.»" It's a strange way of saying thanks, but Daphne feels she owes her thanks to the Frenchman in so many times and places now. She brushes her hand over his damp forehead and frowns, moving to get a cup of water from a pitcher nearby.

Bringing it to him, she presses it into his hand, and then turns to Clara, eyes wide as she looks at the other blonde. "«Clara, here is Francois. He helped you,»" she says in her sometimes clumsy French. She doesn't know if the name means anything to Clara, if the other will remember it from the future. In English, she shakes her head, running a hand through her dreadlocked hair. "We're in 1945 Germany. I think Hiro threw us here to save us from that man that was attacking Odessa and him. Odessa and some guy went to go see if … if they can find Hiro." She frowns at the thought of it being too late.

"No… we're not that— that's ridiculous." Clara notes with a sense of nervous incredulity, though the grave confusion of her surroundings and she's pretty sure she saw a guy with an eyepatch at some point is not helping the weak tone of her dismissal. She smiles, Clara certainly does, and it comes with a babbled bit of laughter and one shaky, long-fingered hand curling over her mouth to muffle the noise. Clara's brows screw up, brown eyes slant to look towards Francois slouched in the chair, and then as she moves her hands away her words take on a slightly more ragged quality.

"Do— either of you have— have a cigarette?" It's pleadingly asked, because right now Clara Francis is not above begging to get anything that could keep her from emotionally or physically collapsing any further than she already has. Sure, she quit six years ago — perceptively — but this is deserved.

"Ci— " she clears her throat of the wet sound in the back of it, tastes like copper, "cigarette or some hard alcohol?" That much is a joke; she doesn't speak French, just crazy. She's fluent in crazy.

Francois doesn't speak English, but he does speak some crazy. You have to be able to translate that, from where he comes from. His hands palm over his shaven head, fingernails seeking out ghost itches for all that he's not longer riddled with vermin. Incidentally, cigarette is a French word. "«She should ask the Americans,»" he murmurs into the heels of his palms, hands busy supporting his head, elbows against his knees and back curved lazily.

"Um." Daphne says helpfully and heads to a cupboard, nosing around until she finds a bottle of bourbon. There's always alcohol! She pours some into a cup, then brings it to Clara. It can't really hurt and Francois didn't say no. "It is ridiculous, but… but he's a temporal manipulator, remember? And some guy was attacking him and I think his power surged and we got flung… here. Why Germany, I have no clue, but here we are. And we need to find him to get out."

She doesn't tell Clara that it's possible Hiro got shot already. She isn't ready to deal with that possibility herself. "«Francois, is there anything you need? Do you want to go lie down?»" she asks, her dark eyes soft as she studies him, deciding Clara is well enough if she's asking to smoke.

It's strange that for all Clara had been worried about moving from the dull ache of broken bones that lingers vestigial in her nervous system, the pain isn't there anymore, just the ghost of it. When she sits up on the table and it doesn't fully feel like someone is sliding a knife between her ribs, Clara paws at her stomach, then up one side, feeling at the thin shirt she's been left in, eyes angling around the kitchen until she sees her arctic weather jacket lair draped over one of the chairs. It's warmer here, raining, it lends some credence to Daphne's fantastical story.

Licking at her lips, Clara swings one leg over the side of the table, then another, staring at Francois wide-eyed, a ghost of a memory of a glimpse she had seen in Antarctica, but never in motion. Swallowing roughly, Clara rubs at her throat, looking to Daphne as she mumbles, "Tell— tell him thank you. I— I-I don't…" even have the words to finish that sentence.

Clara isn't the first person to look at him quite that way, and Francois isn't so much as used to it as he is distracted. His head does lift at Clara's words, the owlish eyes set into his thin features hopping from speedster to quantum timestopper. "De rien," he tells her, allowing a smile to struggle across his face. It's nothing. No, it's not, clearly — but if Francois healed people for their thanks, no one would get anything done. Dragging his attention back to Daphne, he braces his hands against the edges of his seat, draws his spine up a little. "Oui, «I need sleep. I am glad you've found your friends,»" he adds, almost as if to indicate that yes, he's paying attention.

"«Let me get you in bed.»" Awkward French might be amusing in another situation when he wasn't ready to pass out. Daphne offers her shoulder to help boost him to a standing position, before casting a glance at Clara. "Sit and rest. I'll get you something to eat while we wait for Odessa and the pirate." She didn't catch his name. In another reversal of sorts, she assists Francois in walking instead of the other way around, as she leads him to a room with a cot in it so he can sleep.

Nodding her head once, Clara leans forward and rests her head in her hands, fingers raked up into her hair and eyes fixed on the floor. While Daphne is raising Francois up to help walk him to a place where he can lie down, Clara's mind is trying to acclimate to the dissonance of actually being somewhere in what is presumably Europe by all of the French being spoken and the second World War. The prospects of that ring with grim certainty in the back of Clara's mind, and as she rakes her fingernails lightly through her scalp and rainsoaked hair, her eyes focus on the floor vacantly.

Shuffling feet move around her, Daphne and Francois performing an awkward, lumbering dance away from the kitchen. There's some confusion still left in her, as she turns her head to the side to try and follow them with her eyes, but they've already passed out of her peripheral vision. Instead, something closer comes into a slow, lazy focus; her own reflection in the glass of one of the windows.

She still feels sick.

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