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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Survive
Synopsis Taken by the Institute, Claire Bennet is simultaneously made aware of one of their greatest secrets and released into the world, changed.
Date February 21, 2011




When Claire Bennet's eyes open to see the countenance of Tyler Case staring down at her, there's a guilt-ridden expression on the man's face as he steps back. Claire's brows furrow, fear builds and she reflexively struggles against the restraints binding her arms and legs to the metal framework of the bed.

Cardinal's chin tilts up, dark eyes regarding Claire thoughtfully, carefully. "Easy," is spoken in the same tones someone might to a wild animal. "You'll hurt yourself." Struggling as she does, Claire does just that when she yanks one of her iV tubes out of her arm. Blood beads up where the needle slides out of skin, tearing the hole wide.

It hurts.

It also doesn't stop bleeding.

"As I said. We have a lot to discuss."





The hiss of a hydraulic hinge accompanies the opening of an infirmary door. Groggy, heavy-lidded eyes slowly open to the glow of fluorescent ceiling lights, one flickering erratically. The walls are a pitted gray, not the hospital white that Claire last recalls on that fiery night at the Suresh Center. Concrete has a texture all its own, forboding and unwelcomed. The plastic of a respirator covers her mouth and nose, feeds oxygen in to a tired body. Claire Bennet aches from head to toe, muscles burn and the sensation of a fever is an unwelcomed addition to a world of discomfort.

Blue eyes find Doctor Jean-Martin Luis' figure ambling in to her new accomodations, carrying a white plastic tray with what smells like fresh cooked ham and fried potatos. Silverware gleams under the fluorescent lights, and the soft beep of an EKG shows the brief unsteadiness in the brunette's heartbeat.

"Oh," Luis hesitates a little ways from the bed, "oh my, you're awake already? I must have turned the sedatives down lower than I'd imagined." A broad and uneasy smile crosses Doctor Luis' lips as he raises the tray of food, the smell of which reminds Claire that it feels like she hasn't eaten anything for days.

"Corned beef hash," Luis excitedly notes with a raise of his brows, "if of course your first instinct isnt' to leap out of that bed and strangle me with your IV cord."

She's thinking about it.

Evident by the way brows furrow over angry blue eyes, sunken and and bruised looking from her illness. Her cheeks might have reddened if they were not already colored from the fever. Shoulder's twitch and roll up some, head lifting, but just that tightening of muscles and minimal effort gets a soft groan.

Fingers instead of seeking his neck, moves to try and pull the respirator off her face. "Bastard," she croaks out from a throat dried out from the force-fed oxygen. Tongue sticking to the roof of her mouth. "No better…." Words catch sharp in her throat, making her cough before continuing. "No better then Gregor."

"That is a bold accusation, miss Bennet, without proof of my… misdeeds?" Moving to the side of the bed, Luis lays the tray of food down on a swiveling bedside table, bringing it over across Claire's lap. "If I were Doctor Gregor, you'd be in several pieces disassembled in a laboratory somewhere, or quite possibly grafted onto a variety of other incomprehensible but genius scenarios."

Lowering a hand to the side of the bed, Doctor Luis presses one of the control buttons, gently raising the bed's back up to elevate Claire so that she will have an easier time eating. "You'll be happy to know that you're quite free to go, once you're strong enough to. You've been under heavy sedation the last several days, while you suffered out the worst stages of the malarial infection and the drugs ran its course."

Luis lifts a plastic cup of water off of the edge of the food tray, setting it closer to Claire, then reaches into his jacket pocket and withdraws a small pill bottle, unscrewing the cap and shaking out two capsules that he lays next to the cup. "These will boost your antibodies, important for the recovery process."

Claire acts like someone abused too many times. She watches his every movement suspiciously, body as tense as it can in it's condition, as if waiting for something bad to happen. There is no way of hiding her fear, the increase of her heartbeat comes through clear as a beep on a monitor.

"Days?" It finally sinks in what he says, brows furrowing. "I thought —" She trails off, eyes moving to the water. She wants it, but doesn't move. "I thought the negation only works for a few hours?" An accusing look flickers his direction. "You kept me negated all this time?"

Almost reluctantly, her need for water overrides her caution. Fingers tremble as they reach for the cup, making the water slosh a little as it's picked up. The first sip is cautious, the next is taken greedily.

"No," Luis quietly explains, clearing his throat and looking down to the meal. "You should eat, take your medicine, and… we can go over the particulars of what has happened once you're on a stronger footing." Moving from the bedside, Doctor Luis takes a stool from the edge of the windowless, concrete room and drags it over with a scuff of the metal feet on the floor.

Perching himself atop it, the old man folds hia hands at his knees, posture slouched as he regards Clare with thoughtful consideration. "You helped save my Julie," Luis begins in a quiet voice, "were it not for the infusion of your blood, she… might be dead now. I know that might not be much comfort to you, especially considering that you don't know her. But… she is the only thing I have left."

A reluctant smile crosses Luis' lips, but it never reaches his eyes.


Tyler Case.

The face is unmistakable from the files at Redbird, from the cruel legacy he carved on this city at the hands of Edward Ray. While Richard Cardinal once called Tyler Case his friend, it is hard to find anything other than fear in his presence, a man who can with a thought strip a person's ability from them. A transition that, for Claire Bennet, would be the death of her.

"Take your time…" Tyler's voice is calm, warning, one hand held out in a peace-offering to Claire. "We have you on adynomine to make sure that there weren't any complications. But you don't show any signs of fever, and this clean room we've kept you in has protected you from microbial intrusions." Reaching up and over to one of Claire's IV drips, Tyler twists one knob until it cuts off the flow of adynomine.

"It was an older, weaker dilution of the drug that has a reduced effect on regenerators. You should feel your ability coming back any moment now." Lifting up a hand to brush over his chin, there's a hesitance on Tyler's face as he prepares to ask the most dangerous of questions.

"Do you know who I am?"

For a long moment she can only stare at the seeping blood, a touch of panic in her eyes… at least till he explains things. Then he can see the regenerator relax a little, that posture doesn't last long when her gaze cuts back to the man in the room. Like a cornered cat, she straightens a little, her jaw tightening.

The question gets a look of uncertainty.

The face is familiar and her mouth opens, lips parting slightly to say the name the name Tyler Case. However, something stops her. Mouth pressing tight. A remembered conversation a couple of months old, has her eyes widening a little at him with realization.


His name is spoken with surprise, eyes roaming over his face and figure as if trying to figure out if she is right about it. "Liz…" Of course, she told Claire about the alternate Cardinal. The pair close, even if the regenerator has been keeping her distance. Something she always does with the people she cares about.

There is a blink, brows furrowing. "You're really him?" She says it as if she really doesn't want to believe it.

"Mostly," is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek answer. "I… wasn't sure if you'd been around Redbird to hear what I'd told Elisabeth, wasn't sure who she'd tell." There's some measure of disappointment in Cardinal's borrowed face, and it's met with a laugh and a slow shake of his head. "You know it's petty, but I actually am kind of disappointed I didn't get to surprise you with that." Wasting no time, Cardinal moves to the foot of Claire's bed, settling down on the edge, one foot toe down on the floor to keep his balance, the other leg bent.

"Doctor Luis told me what you did for Julie. That… really was selfless of you. I'm glad there's still that girl I know in there somewhere… glad that the world hasn't totally turned you inside out." The yet on the end of Cardinal's words is both unspoken and rueful.

"How're you feeling?" Claire's body answers Cardinal's question, and the answer is pin-prickly, with a needling sensation moving up and down her arms and legs, followed by a flush of warmth that comes with the return of her ability from times of negation.

It's out of instinct that, Claires feet shift away from Cardinal sits on the bed. It's unconscious, like someone would react to a stranger getting into your personal space. There is no comment on saving Julies life, a part of Claire is wishing she had jsut run away when she had the chance. "I'm…" There is a pause as she seems to assess the situation, "..fine." Her head dips down a bit, a sort of discomfort showing in her face.

She really isn't sure what to think of the man on the end of the bed, for now… she tries not to associate him with the man that belongs in the present. "You said about…" She starts, but stops when she becomes aware that her hair is blonde again. Her head angling a bit to give it a confused look, fingers grabbing a lock of it. "I'm blonde." It's an obvious statement, but there is enough of a perplexed look to show that this wasn't expected. One doesn't change hair colors in such a short time.

"What did you do to me?" There is a bit of an accusation there from the ex-cheerleader.

"Nothing that you won't recover from," Cardinal explains with a wring of gloved hands together. "Doctor Zimmerman had to use his ability on you, and… there was some considerations made to put you back to, ah— factory settings," he explains with air quotes curling his fingers. "Blonde is your natural state, so it's where you were put back to. Right now what you need to focus on is that you're safe, and that I'm not going to let anything happen to you, okay?"

Arching one of his dark brows, Cardinal's lips creep up into a hesitant smile, and he slides off of the corner of the bed, kicking out a paid of slippers from beneath it as he does. "Come on, get yourself unhooked and slip those on." He turns, hands tucking into the pockets of his slacks, jaw set.

"I want to show you something."


There is silence from Claire at first, eyes drifting down to the food in front of her and then to the pills. The tip of her tongue touches her dry lips, which gets a bit of a grimace. "Yet, she'll have to live with a deadly parasite in her blood," she murmurs with a voice heavy with guilt, before finally reaching for the pills. They get studied where they are held between her fingers, but if it'll help ease some of what she's feeling…

The pills go into her mouth followed by a long drink of water. Amazing how good something as bland as water will taste when thirsty.

Brushing the lingering moisture from her lips, she finally focuses on the food. "Are you sure it's really worth the risk?" Claire doesn't feel so. "Especially since…" She trails off motioning at the doctor himself, who she blearly remembers being infected as well. She hides the flutter of satisfaction there. Serves him right really.

"A disease can be cured," Luis asserts, with some level of selfish assurance. "Death, despite some folly to the contraty, cannot be so easily brushed aside. My Julie… I would no sooner condemn her — and by proxy her sister — to death than I would you, Claire. I have been under explicit orders to ensure that no harm comes to you. We had to move you out of the Suresh Center once we had you stable. You're currently at an Institute Facility— " Luis grimaces, "elsewheres. Just outside the city."

"There are some… things that I will need to discuss with you, however, things that I have unfortunately had no choice in the matter of." Swallowing dryly, Luis' brows furrow as he rises up off of the stool, pacing around the foot of Claire's bed. "My superiors performed a… procedure, on you without my consent." Tired, old eyes narrow, and Luis looks up to medical charts clipped beside x-rays on a light board, then over his shoulder to Clsire.

"They stripped you of your ability," Luis explains with a solemn, heavy tone of voice. "Permanently."

Fingers pause in the action of reaching for the fork, eyes snapping over to the doctor with a look of panic. "What?!" It's amazing, as sick as she is, that her face could get any paler. Digits curl slowly into a weak fist, nails pressing into the flesh of her palm, and it drops away from the food. The news making her stomach churn in ways that would make it hazardous to eat.

"Wh— why?" Her head slowly shakes back an forth, her pulse jumping on the monitor. "They… they can't do that!" It's a weak protest, they can very well do what they want. Technically, she's at their mercy. No wonder Claire has stayed sick so long. "My body can't fight off infection without it. I died the last time I didn't have it." She may often put on a brave face, but she can feel the tears threatening to blur her vision, a prickling behind her eyes.

Regret crosses Luis' face, shoulders slacking and expression souring some. "I wasn't told why, the order came from the administration above me, I had no authority to prevent it. But… this is the same administration that demanded that no harm come to you, so— I'm left with a certain level of doubt as to the necessity of the procedure." Sliding his hands into the pockets of his lab coat, Luis withdraws that pill bottle again, rattling it.

"I've taken your incomplete immune system into consideration, and while you were under I performed a treatment to enhance your immune systems, along with vaccinating you against a host of infectious diseases. We have a… brilliant virologist working for us, and she was able to produce tailored infections designed to acclimate your body's growing immune system. This, coupled with chemical therapy, ensures your ability to lead a normal and functional life."

Luis sets the pill bottle down on the tray next to the food. "I've done all I can for you, and you're done with the treatment. You'll need to finish this perscription of medication as per the instructions on the label…" Luis' brows furrow his eyes avoid Claire's. "But… you're free to go when you feel well enough to. I'll need to have someone escort you out, of course."

Claire stares at him in pure and open disbelief.

"But…" She trails off looking at the bottle on the tray, looking suddenly confused. She's always wanted to be normal, to live a normal life. There is a trill of excitement through her at the thought of being able to have a life like everyone else, but then there is a sudden heavy weight of reality.

She's normal.

What does she do? She'll be useless now to Cardinal and Liz. She looks worried as you looks at Luis again, almost… sad. As much as you want something, when you finally get it, you find that maybe you were not right about it. The question comes unbidden, voice small and nervous.

"What am I going to do now?"


Slippered feet scuff across a tiled floor, the walls here are sterile and white with a high gloss to them, made of interlocking square panels of some sort of plastic. Lights are recessed in the ceiling overhead, providing a bright but not irritating illumination to the corridor. Adjusting the lapels of his suit jacket, Cardinal waits until the sound of Claire's slippered feet catch up to him, and then he chooses to walk at her side down the hallway.

"There's a storm coming, Claire…" It's said with as much certainty as Cardinal has ever used, that same cadence of speech, even if in a different voice. "There's a chance that the world as we know it will come crashing to a bitter end, and in the event of that happening, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't have a failsafe by which I would protect the future."

As they walk, there is an emptiness to these corridors. Decoration only comes once they reach a door at the end of the hall, marked with a large, black letter E. "I've devoted two lifetimes to the notion that humanity is worth saving, that the world can be saved. But up until recently I'd gone about it all wrong. But I am only human, Claire, even with whatever powers I have."

Cardinal turns, withdrawing a proximity card from his jacket to hold up to the door, which begins to slowly grind open on hydraulic hinges. "I told you once that I'd never let anything happen to you like what happened in Madagascar. In my absence, they let that monster take you…" Cardinal's dark eyes avert to the floor, and the card is put back in his coat. "Never again."

This all feels so surreal to her as she shuffles down the corridor with a man claiming to be a future version of the people she trusts the most in this world. Her expression continues to be confused, eyes cast to the tiled floor, arms moving to wrap around herself . Brows stay furrowed deeply as he speaks. She listens for those little things that make it him.

As the door starts to open her gaze slowly lifts to watch it, then Cardinal with confusing. "Monster? Gabriel?" As far as she knew he was suppose to be changing some. There was a sort of uneasy truce between the two. Too much bad between them to make her completely comfortable around him. "No… Sylar." Remembering suddenly there are two of the same man, but a difference in personalities. It gets confusing at times. "Who…. who let him…" she trails off not completing that thought.

"So… you're going to lock me away?" Claire asks bitterly, looking away suddenly, fingers tucking blonde hair behind her ear. "I am wanted after all." Not that she was in her right mind when she went after Autumn. "Is that your plan for protecting me? Because, I'm not sure you can keep me protected from Sylar all the time if you let me go."

"Sylar?" Cardinal lets out a snort, "please." As the doors widen further, brighter lights than the one in the hall cause Claire to squint against the illumination. "There's worse monsters out there…" a guilty expression crosses his face, and as Cardinal looks towards the opening doors, his lips sag into a frown, "darker devils, the devils you know…"

Turning for the doorway, he leads Claire towards the bright, simulated sunlight of an enclosed ecology, a large forested park similar to one two levels up in the arcology. Here, tall trees grow up towards the light of artificial sun lamps, bright green grass grows in artificial terrain, and breezily dressed men and women walk in the serenity of an enclosed natural environment.

Walking out onto the balcony that overlooks the park, Cardinal's brows furrow, dark eyes turn to regard Claire. "Locking you away would mean it's a punishment…" He leans against the railing, curling his fingers around the smooth metal, motioning with a jut of his chin for Claire to look out over the people down here. "This is an alternative, Claire. This is a place where I can know for certain you'll be safe, and no harm will come to you…"


Doctor Luis isn't sure how to answer Claire's question, exhaling a resigned sigh as he walks to her bedside again, looking down to the bottle of pills, then back up to her. "Normal isn't a dirty word, Claire. You'll still show up as SLC-expressive on tests, but… your ability itself is gone. I… am not the best man to be looking for that sort of adice from.

The old doctor stares down at his feet, then looks up to Claire with a quiet certainty that does little to mask his resignation. "You do what any person does in this world, when faced with its cold, harsh realities…" Luis' lips sag into a frown, and his eyes search Claire's for understanding, for some shred of resonance.

"You survive."


Among the people down in the park, one turns to look up to Claire and Cardinal, a wild-haired woman with dark eyes, holding a small scottish terrier in her lap. She curls her fingers into the fur, smiling up to Claire before pressing her nose back down into the fur at the top of the dog's head. Claire Bennet doesn't recognize Kaitlyn Dooley, but she does recognize the woman waving a greeting to her.

"Claire!" It's an excited, warm greeting from the raven-haired woman approaching across the grass below, bare feet treading through the damp blades. A smile spreads across the prophet's lips, and as Eve Mas squares her always energetic eyes on Claire Bennet, Cardinal lifts up a hand to settle on Claire's shoulder.

Cardinal turns, listening as Eve calls out for Claire, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips as the gravity of the situation sets in on her. Dozens of people, if not more, in the park and beyond in adjoining corridors. How many there could be, how many of them were already released from the Institute?

Did they ever leave?

"You'll be in good company."

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