Pay's Good


claire_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Pay's Good
Synopsis The years have stretched on since they last saw each other, yet two friends find each other again.
Date April 22, 2015

The Bunker

It was a perfect day for Richard Ray to be visiting Wolfhound’s Bunker. The temperatures were starting to tip over to the warmer side which meant there was a buzzing and chirping in the air from all the insects. Helped along by the mugginess of recent rain showers.

This was also the perfect time for a work out for some, before the evening rush for the bunker’s work out room.

He will hear the soft sound of feminine humming, before a tiny blonde dressed for a work out - Mainly a tank top, leggings and running shoes - comes from around the corner. Fresh from the gym, a few locks of blonde cling to her damp face… a small towel draped over her shoulders. To be honest, she didn’t appear to look too much different then when they last saw each other, maybe a little more matured in that way women do, and… she was blonde again… or at least the last one he saw was brunette. This wasn’t the girl fresh out of her teens anymore, she was a woman well on her way towards thirty.

And, at this moment, Claire Bennet is in her own world.

Probably, evident from the white earbud cords, that disappear into a messy mop of - barely - shoulder length hair, she can’t hear anyone calling her; while having her blue eyes on the ground, keep her from seeing them either…. possibly a tactic to avoid looking at people. To look at them means talking and right now, Claire doesn’t feel like talking. She only wants to get from the Bunker’s workout room to her room in the barracks; without one of the girls stopping her.

If Richard’s reports were detailed enough, this change in her behavior might not be a surprise for him.

In a rather pleasant mood from an earlier conversation, Richard's collected a briefcase from his sedan and he's walking along to find the Major when he's interrupted by that idle humming. It takes a second - but only that - to recognize the woman, a smile cracking wide across his expression.

She might be looking at the ground, but Richard rather figures that his ex-employee has a healthy amount of situational awareness. She's been in combat plenty over the years, after all. He's wagering on that, because he's sweeping his briefcase up into the air to bar her way.

So either she'll stop, or walk into it. Hopefully not the latter, he'd feel like a dick.

Seems his assessment is correct. Brows tick up when something catches Claire’s attention.

Forward movement slows when she spots a pair of shoes, too nice to belong to someone like Avi or Scott. She comes to a complete stop when her eyes finally reach the face of the person before her. Recognition flickers across her features and she is quickly tugs the ear buds out. “Richard?” Claire sounds completely surprised to see him. “I haven’t seen you since….”

Since she was a captive of his alternate self.

Then, suddenly, her expression brightens. The man in front of her gets another look, taking in the suit and all. “Look at you…” Finally, there is a typical Claire smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. “… you look like you are doing well for yourself.” Her head tilts a little to one side, eyes narrowing some. “What brings you all the way out here?”

She halts, and the briefcase swings back to his side. Richard's head cocks a bit to one side, a smile crooking up at one corner of his lips at her reaction to his appearance.

"I'm getting along alright," he replies with a chuckle, "You're looking like you're doing pretty good yourself, it's damn good to see you - oh, we have a contract with Wolfhound." A finger taps the edge of the briefcase, "Just got some paperwork to see to, is all."

"How've you been, Claire?"

“I’m… alright.”

There is a hesitation, like she was debating which word would be the best response. Going with a general blanket word, which could mean anything. “Not wanted. Not hunted. Could be worse,” she comments blandly, though the smile is still there.

“So, a contract?” She moves to change that subject quickly. Her brow raises, a little. “So… you work for that RayTech, I’ve heard thrown around here?” A hand motions, distractedly, towards some of the boxes in the distance; before she catches loose blonde locks to tuck behind her ear, to try and tame it. A little too short for an effective ponytail anymore. “The ones giving us some experimental toys to play with?”

It's a very blanket word, and without the sunglasses he used to wear? There's no hiding that flicker of concern in Richard's eyes - the one that's half-way between wanting to comfort her and wanting to find someone to blame and shank in a dark alley. She knows the one!

"Work for… yeah, I suppose you can say that," he replies with a quick grin, "A man's got to eat, after all, and I suppose I can't complain too much about the position. The pay's good."

There might be a memory of that look, it might be why there is a softening of her features, a little more of the younger woman showing for a moment. A hint of temptation to talk to someone who had once been so close.

But then she is looking away, back over her shoulder, nodding in the direction she is sure he is headed. “I’ll walk with you, a little.” A moment ago, she was trying to get to her room without being stopped, now… she lingers. “Would not want the Major be left waiting too long.” Even for reunions.

There is a possibility that she knows all about that.

“I dunno about the pay, but having a roof over my head and… a purpose is nice, ” Claire slants a glance his way, but doesn’t really look him in the eye. “Not sure some of us are fit for a corporate life.”

"I can't see you in a suit behind a desk, no," Richard admits with a hint of humor weaving through his voice, "You were always more at home in the field, and…"

He lifts his free hand in a casual gesture around the hallway as he walks at an unhurried pace with her, "…this is definitely a purpose I can get behind."

Silence for a few strides, before he says in quieter tones, "I'm sorry I didn't look you up sooner. I kept track of you, though, best I could. All of you."

“Yeah, well… you were not the only guilty party,” Claire replies just as softly in return, eyes on the floor in front of her, hands gripping the towel draped across her shoulder. “What shitty friends we are.” It is an attempt at a joke, but it falls flat. The woman feels guilty, it shows in her downturned expression.

“I… heard….” There was a time that she rehearsed what she’d say if she ever saw, Richard again. In this moment, with him there, she can only say, “I miss her.” There is no doubt who she meant, but her words propel her to add.

“More… I missed you.” Maybe she didn’t realize it until now. “Miss you both.”

There's silence for several moments as that her is mentioned, Richard's gaze dropping briefly to the floor before them. He nods then, just a little, admitting in a voice just a touch rougher, "Me too." Even after all this time.

A sidelong glance, a flash of a smile, "Missed you, too. So, you know, it's probably a good thing that we're both back in New York. We should grab lunch or something sometime, catch up."

There is a brief furrow of brows, as she hesitates a little bit. However, a desire for an old connection wins out. “Yeah….” Claire’s head bobs in agreement, finally turning a genuine smile in Richard’s direction, maybe a little bit of her old mischief. “… I think I’d like that.”

As they approach the door that will lead him to his meeting, Claire slows, drawing out this little reunion, just a little… despite earlier comments. The regenerator is not exactly dressed to see a higher up. . “I… I’m glad I got to see you. I needed this.” She seemed a little more at ease, then moments ago.

She glances at his suit again, it is a source of amusement for her. “I’d… ah… give you a hug, but you seem to be wearing a rather expensive looking suit and I… have been sweating.” She chuckles, giving him an embarrassed look.

The protest makes Richard roll his eyes, reaching his free arm out to wrap 'round her shoulders - sweat or no sweat - and pull her in close for a moment, leaning in to press a kiss against her forehead. "You're always one of my people, Claire," he murmurs to her, "And I've got my peoples' back. Never forget that."

He pulls back, then, moving towards the door and offering back over his shoulder, "I'll have Alia drop my number in your phone. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you too."

There is a moment that Claire might protest the move, but the hug is accepted. Even returned with an arm around his back, but she doesn’t say anything. She really can’t, not at the moment. Her head can only nod in agreement.

“Okay,” she finally manages. “I better get that number. Or I’ll have to hunt you down.” She is only half serious about that. Maybe.

It is a moment that her heart feels a little lighter, that has her running fingers under her eyes when she turns to walk away… brushing away the moisture that threatens her composure. Sometimes, you don’t know you something was missing until you were faced with it again.

As she turns, Richard's pushing open the door… and just loud enough for her to hear, purposefully so, he's offering his greeting to whoever's job it is to keep people out of Hana's office who aren't supposed to be there.

"CEO Richard Ray, I believe I have an appointment?"

He works for that RayTech she's heard about.

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