Ten Minutes for Memories


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Scene Title Ten Minutes for Memories
Synopsis Claire and Curtis have a hurried conversation about their past, and possible future.
Date November 8, 2011

Burnt Toast Diner

Midland, Texas

After the brief reunion outside of the Burnt Toast Diner Matt, Claire and Curtis pile into the car with Matt in the driver’s seat. A surprising show of trust from the telepath, letting both of them sit behind him. The other agents get in another vehicle and before long there’s asphalt running beneath the tires. With Matt pointedly not paying attention to the two of them. Giving them both a little privacy at least during the ride to the teleporter.

Curtis spends the first few moments in the car settling in with a slightly dazed expression on his face. “Well that was… sudden.” He admits, a bemused chuckle leaving him with a heavy exhale as well. He lifts a hand, rubbing it over his hair, which he’s allowed to grow out a bit again with playing the role of Andy. More like his hair was as Ash now. Though his face is absent the scars that marred it. The ones he earned in the bowels of Pinehearst with Adam’s crew.

“I’m sorry for the deception. I am. And now I know what you meant when you said your father would whisk you away. I was worried the Institute would step in if I tried to make you remember.” Worried they might do something drastic that he’d have to stop. “Why am I keeping silent on things in my head. Not like Matty boy isn’t probably listening. I was worried I’d have to step in and try to stop them if they did something drastic.”

Since the realization that everything over the last few months was a lie… Claire has been silent listening, an annoyed glare sent to the back of Parkmen’s head. “I… “ she sighs softly, finally taking her eyes off the telepath, “I only remember bits and pieces… But… I remember you, but our life past — before you showed up at the diner, begging for a job.” the young woman’s brows furrow a little. “It’s coming back in bits and pieces.” Not the first time she has had that happen.

She looks away slowly, gaze going to the passing scenery. Fingers idly play with the ring on her finger. “The Institute…” she whispers softly. The name was familiar, “They were the ones that took me… chan… “ He glances at Parkman out of the corner of her eye, going silent. “I always wondered why they let me go.”

Her gaze finally goes to the ring, doubt flicking across her features.

Curtis sits and he listens. He’s good for that. Not talking and just letting other people talk. He leans back in his seat a little bit, letting Claire have her space. He glances to Parkman a couple times as well, but there’s really nothing to do about it. It just… is. So he sits while she looks at the ring and he can see the doubt on her features, his lips pulling into a small frown. He understands her doubt. He gets it. He gets it well. There’s some further silence from him after she goes quiet, until he reaches out with one hand to gently take hers if she’ll allow it.

“I can understand your doubt. Really. Remember… two different people up here?” He taps the side of his head a couple of times. “Half the time when I take actions I question whether or not it’s Ash taking those actions or Curtis. Is that something I would have done before my assignment as Ash? That includes feelings. It’s… the strangest damn thing. To have regret for something, but have that regret for two entirely different reasons. Or to be at war with myself over something. Am I happy about something? Angry? Why am I both? When your mind gets messed with you question everything.”

He sighs softly, leaning back, letting her hand go if she allowed him to take it in the first place. “You doubt whether I was sincere. You doubt whether it’s something you’d have done if you could remember. All I can tell you is that it was sincere. And I don’t know if it’s something you’d have done if you had your memories. I can’t answer that. Only you can. And if you decide it’s not? I will understand. Probably more than almost anyone else can.” He offers Claire an attempt at a reassuring smile, then turns his head to look out the window at the passing terrain.

“It sounds like a tough way to live,” Claire admits softly, “having to wrangle two people in your head all of the time.”

He can take heart, that her fingers tangle with his, gripping tight; almost like a lifeline. Claire watches him for a moment, brows furrowed in thought…. searching…. for…. “You promised to train me to protect myself.” Fingers move to rub at the side of her face. “You — “ She falls silent, moving to hold the hand palm up, fingers trace of over a faint scar.

A small smile touches her lips at a memory, maybe remembering that conversation finally, pieces of the the memory manipulation falls away, chip by chip.

“I guess when all this is done, we’ll just have to figure out if…” they are still compatible? No… “if we want to come back here.” Her shifts a little to indicate the world outside. “You have to survive my father first,” she comments blandly, “and not the one I thought would come whisk me away. I never thought my real father would look for me.”
Curtis slants a smile across the seat at her, the corner of his mouth pulling upwards. “It is. But you’ve lived with broken memories before. You’re dealing with them now. So you at least understand. And… I understand what you’re going through too.” He does seem to take some comfort in her letting him take her hand, and even twining her fingers with his like that. He smiles at it, the sight of her much smaller hand in his, and the scar that she shows on her palm.

“What was that knife? The one you found in the basement? You mentioned that a friend gave it to you. I never asked about it. Figured it was personal and you’d tell me eventually.” His thumb rubs across the scar on her palm. “I did promise to train you to protect yourself. And I guess I broke that promise. I got assigned to Frontline. And I accepted the assignment. Because of what you said. Frontline 01-06. And there was so much chaos. I thought the war was over. I was wrong. So wrong.”

There’s a long sigh from the soldier turned terrorist turned soldier again. “Beginning to think it’s never going to be over. There’s always some new evil. Real or perceived. There’s always some new atrocity to combat.” His head shakes just a little bit, though he does turn to look at her, his eyes studying her face for a few moments, that linger and turn into more than a few, burning up some of the little time they have left before they get to the teleporter. “Your father but not your father? Or… this world we live in is so very strange now.” He huffs out a brief and tired laugh.

“I wasn’t sure how long the protection would be for. Weeks. Months. Years. When weeks turned into a month. And that went on further I didn’t know if I might be there for years. Giving you that ring when your memories weren’t right was selfish of me. I’m sorry.”

Leaving her hand in his, maybe thinking of it as a lifeline; Claire’s brows furrow in thought. “I… I don't remember much about the knife. Just that it meant something… at one point.” she shakes her head a little dismissing it.

“My father… my /biological/ father,” Claire watches out the window as she talk, forehead tipped against the window, “is the President of the United States. The father that raised me… “ talking about the one father she feels she really had. “…he is that guy that shows up in my section all the time. The one wearing the glasses and who glares at you all the time?”

Claire turns that sad smile towards Curtis, “He’s my Daddy.”

She looks like she might say more, but she feels the change of their speed and glances out the window to see if they have reached their destination, her fingers tightening in his.

Curtis looks about to say more as well, but the vehicle starts to slow, and he tips his head forwards just a touch as if bowing his head. “Later. We’ll catch up later.” He promises to Claire in a soft tone as the vehicle pulls to a stop and everything gets just a little bit crazy.

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