Teacher Dear


claude_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title Teacher Dear
Synopsis In the middle of another assignment, Elle discovers Claude spying on her. She isn't terribly receptive.
Date January 13, 2008

NYC - A residential block

It's a quiet afternoon in this part of the city - cloudy, but bright. The silence and chilliness seem to make every detail clearer, every sound sharper. The soft padding beneath the boots of a slim, blonde woman, for instance, her form wrapped in a snug jacket with its hood down. There is a large handbag looped over her shoulder, and there is an expression of nonchalant resolve on her face; she seems to know where she's going. She also seems to be completely alone, following the sidewalk beneath lines of brownstone apartments as they fade into the distance on both sides of the street. It's a dilapidated neighborhood, but one that fades into the background. There is far worse in New York.

Alone? Not quite. Someone else has joined Elle on her walk. Claude, very much invisible, makes his way along the sidewalk opposite of the Company agent's, hands in the pockets of his sufficiently slept-in coat and his eyes darting back and forth between the road and Elle's back. His face, too, shows determination to get where he's going. Which is wherever she is going - or at least until it's too risky for him to follow. He might have Phoenix to thank for a bed (and a renewed sense of purpose), but that does not mean he's cut his old ties just yet.

There's no way to tell how long he's been tailing her, with the near-silent way he's drawing his breaths in and matching her gait to boot. If there's anything he knows how to do - being sarcastic not included - it is this. Sadly, even years of training and plenty more years of experience don't allow for intangibility. A poorly calculated step sends a discarded, crumpled up can flying forward with a series of metal scrapes over the ground. The unseen part-time stalker halts mid-step, cursing under his breath as he turns his head and lets his eyes lock onto Elle, brow creasing with contemplation.

The bumping draws Elle's attention with a jerk, seeing as how there aren't many that things around here to cause it, and the agent turns her eyes just in time to catch the can cascading by. Immediately she narrows her eyes, slowing her gait almost to a stop and inadvertently letting her gaze brush right over the spot where the invisible Claude is standing. Probably, she is expecting to see some kind of animal darting away; though she sees nothing, she remains faintly suspicious.

Better to be safe than sorry, as always. One of her hands tucks itself out of sight behind her lump of an oversized purse; the other she lets swing loosely at her side as she starts in an abrupt, cautious diagonal across the empty street. Investigation time.

Definitely Not the desired result, there. The invisible man promptly steps sideways and onto the street with barely more than the faint thuds of his footsteps and a ruffle of clothing when he looks over his shoulder. The option to run definitely crosses his mind, and his muscles tense as he starts in a slow circle around the spot he was standing. And, eventually, around Elle. But maybe, just maybe he doesn't have to run. Stubbornly, he explores this option instead.

"Elle. Still sharp as ever." His voice sounds from somewhere halfway behind her, now, wryly amused.

That /voice/. It's been a while since Elle's heard it, though recognition is instant in coming. The agent lets a little smile creep onto her face, though the look in her eyes is still baffled; she isn't sure where to look, stepping onto the opposite sidewalk only to half-turn her head, and then the rest of her body. Nonetheless, the tone in her voice is one of amusement as she shoulders her handbag into a more secure grip. "Claaaude. You aren't exactly subtle yourself." A pause, and then: "Why don't you come out so we can talk face-to-face?"

Perhaps overconfidently for someone who's just been caught red-handed, Claude just laughs. He keeps moving, eyes fixed on Elle's face. "Still so funny, too. Such wit." Though his pigheaded sarcasm makes up most of his tone, there's certainly some bitterness in there as well. No doubt something to do with when he last saw Elle. Or rather, when Elle last saw him.

Mild frustration grits Elle's jaw, though she shows none of the beginnings of electricity just yet. Likely, she doesn't want to lose the man before the conversation has even started. "You're not very smart, are you? Following people who have been looking for you." she demands into the empty air, giving up on trying to constantly rotate to face the voice in favor of standing quite still.

"Didn't anyone ever teach you?" Claude's voice continues from yet another direction, in a tone of voice that would almost sound sympathetic if it wasn't for the snark. "'Keep your friends close…'" He starts, but leaves it hanging as he stops in his tracks somewhere half a dozen yards to the side of Elle, watching her closely.

But keep your enemies closer. Yeah, yeah, Elle's heard it. The woman transfers her gaze around the scene in small, focused, agitated movements, but otherwise does not move. She can feel the eyes on her, and it's vaguely unsettling. Not to mention irritating. "Don't preach, Claude. Just me, or the entire Company? That's a /great/ way to get yourself caught." Like now. Well. kind of.

Aw, but preaching is what Claude does best! At least the look of mild disappointment on his face can't be seen by anyone else at the moment. "Ha!" He stays put. "I know it's hard to believe, Elle, but you and your Company are not the center of everyone's universe. I've got better things to do than keep a grudge." This is not only not true, but his voice easily gives that away. "Besides, I like to think that I'm doing quite well, still out of my cell after all these months."

"Only because you aren't high enough on the list to be a /priority/. Don't flatter yourself. We've caught better than you, and you know it." Elle's reply is followed by a quick, thoughtless bite at her bottom lip, the look in her eyes tense. She is tempted to take a step forward, but that might turn out to be a step /away/ from Claude rather than towards him. Which would be unintentionally comical. So she refrains. "What do you want, Claude? Or are you just so lonely for conversation this is your only option?"

Claude is, once again, grateful for his ability. Without it, Elle would be able to see him tense as well. "I don't want anything, Elle." He answers, matter-of-factly. Briefly he ponders flickering into visibility, but he too refrains. "I just like to keep an eye on any potential threats. Good to know you still fall under that category." He scoffs, and with that he simply turns and walks.

Oh, no. Elle isn't interested in losing Claude as easily as she had lost Adam. Mentally focusing on the spot where she guesses she had heard his voice last, she sends a long chain of lightning ~crackling~ from her open palm after the general direction of Claude's retreating back, advancing herself once she has fired. "You know, Claude, you didn't have to come back to figure /that/ out."

Apparently he did. Claude barely even sees the lightning coming, turning just in time to have the very far end of it hit him squarely in the shoulder. After muscles painfully contract and a wave of pain is sent through his body, the invisible man sinks reluctantly to the ground, hands clenched to fists in an attempt to keep from crying out. Not to mention in his best attempts to stay invisible. Once he musters the energy to get back to his feet, he stumbles for the nearest wall as quietly as he can, gritting his teeth all the while. For once, he strategically refrains from a witty remark.

It's a good thing for Claude that he can stay so quiet, because Elle is covering the ground in front of her at a determined tempo, her fingertips uplifted at waist level with another twitching ball of electricity - just in case. Because of the lack of a cry, she actually isn't sure whether she scored a hit or not. This frustrates her. To say the least. "C'mon. Where /are/ you—" she half-hisses, half-speaks aloud, kicking aside a deformed milk carton with one foot. If he looks up at her face, he'll notice that the blonde's mouth is in a grim line; she is both angry and eager to see something. Anything.

The urge to say something lingers so strongly on Claude's mind. The look on Elle's face only angers him more. Her dedication to something so— no. There's a time for teaching lessons, and this is definitely not it. After struggling to make his way to a sidewalk as quietly as he can (luckily, the crackling of the elecricity at least gives him SOME leeway), he picks up the can that started this whole ordeal. Ir disappears upon his touch, but only briefly, reappearing as it's flung exactly in the direction Elle is not looking. Ker-clank.

The bait works perfectly, or nearly so. Elle can't help but reflexively snap her head backwards towards that noise, but when she looks back again - hell. "I don't have /time/ to play these games with you, Claude," she snarls to apparently nothing. It's true! If she spends time covering every inch of ground in pursuit, she might let her first target get away. Which would mean a double loss. She might as well be looking for a dropped contact. Looking more coldly furious than ever, she snaps her hand shut, the glowing blue inside going out with it. Though not before a few more lengthy, searching strides are taken, kicking at a few more things in the process. "You're an overdue package, invisible-man. I'll get you another time. I promise."

There is no response. Claude stays right where he is, slumping against a wall as his eyes trail Elle's movements. He manages a weak grin, and nods. Sure. Another time. For now, class dismissed.

January 13th: Betrayal In Three Acts
January 14th: To Die At Sea
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