Wish to Forget, Remember to Learn


claire_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Wish to Forget, Remember to Learn
Synopsis Helena approaches Claire about a conversation she had with Peter.
Date September 11, 2008

Condemned Tenement - Boiler Room

Every run-down apartment complex has one. An enormous cavern of a room filled with furnaces, boilers, pipes, conduits, and all other imaginable forms of arcane technology required to keep the inhabitants comfortable and paying rent on time. Unlike most of the abandoned structures in the city, the utilities still seem to be operating here. The furnace is burning, keeping the building at a comfortable temperature. The lights are on. There are carefully tended valves and levers labeled 'GAS'. Locked cages separate the utilities into sections, preventing casual urban explorers from causing too much trouble.

Artwork is heavy stuff. Especially Peter's. Claire has moved all of the paint out of the boiler room at this point, to an empty room. She's sitting on an empty milk crate with her head in her hands, studying the graffiti on the walls. Even she isn't sure why, but it seemed like the place to be.

"Hey Claire, they told me that - " regardless of who they are, and regardless of what Helena was going to say when she walked in, she stops dead and stares at the walls. "Woah." The scene makes her want to shy away her eyes, and yet there's something savage about it that makes it difficult to look away from. Quietly, she moves over to Claire and holds off on a shudder. "Peter did this?"

"Yeah," Claire responds without looking away from the wall. "He does this sort of thing. A lot." She sighs and runs her fingers through her hair. "Did you need something, Hel'?"

"Yeah." Helena lacks a place to sit, so instead she crouches next to Claire. "I'm worried about you. You're angry all the time and everyone's noticing and I just want to make sure you're okay."

For a long moment, Claire has no response. "Yeah, you're right." She shrugs and looks over. "…My jeans. Those are my favourite jeans."

Helena looks down. "Don't worry, I won't wear them out." she promises, and then says, "If you're not gonna talk about it, I can't make you. But I do have something to say - about other people's pants."

"I don't know what to say about-" Claire's cut off when Helena makes that mention. "I was angry. I'm sorry I said it. I just… It was uncalled for. There's no excuse for it. I'm sorry."

Helena shrugs. "I like Peter. Kind of a lot, actually. But I'm not jumping into anyone's pants and PARIAH and its goals come first. Thanks for saying you're sorry. But if I hear about you calling yourself useless again, I'm going to come down and yank out all your hair. You'll grow it back, so you won't look like a scrawny chicken for too long." She shakes her head. "Anyone who thinks you're useless is an idiot, Claire."

"I couldn't save him," Claire mutters. "It's my fault." She states it like a fact. "I should have been able to do more, but I couldn't. He only needed me to do one thing and I couldn't do that."

"Who?" Helena asks, though tries to keep her tone gentle despite her curiousity. "What happened?" she asks. She almost reaches out to take Claire's hands, but then withdraws hers, placing them on her knees.

"It… It doesn't matter. The past is the past. It's just-" Claire frowns. "I was trusted to take care of something once. It shouldn't have been difficult. It was something I should have been able to do. I couldn't do it, and people died because of my failure."

"If the past is the past, why aren't you learning from it instead of dwelling on it?" Helena points out gently. "It must be hard to think about consequences like that, but you have a world of second chances here with us. I'm not saying dismiss it, but you need to be able to look ahead with who you have here, now. And we all look out for each other."

"I'm haunted," Claire admits. "I… don't know how to move on. I sometimes wish I could just forget it all. But I can't." She inhales through her nose deeply, not quite a sniffle. She rubs her hand under her nose and then shakes her hair out. "I hate everything that I am. Everything I was and everything I've become."

"You can't do anything about what's done. Because that's what it is. Done." And then Helena does reach for Claire's hands, looking up at her. "But you have a choice about who you are now, and who you're going to be. And there's a lot of people here who love you. West, Peter, me, even Cam." Even your dad, but Helena doesn't verbalize that. "I know you can't flick a switch and make everything good, but…" she smiles faintly, "It can be better, if you let yourself be open, you know? It'll be alright."

"Maybe. Maybe it'll be better." Claire smiles faintly. "Thanks, Hel'." She pulls herself up to stand and then hugs her friend. "And Hel'? We should talk about Peter sometime. Later." She withdraws and heads for the door before the blonde can.

September 11th: Not as Planned

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
Not Much of a Gift

September 11th: Deception
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