claire_icon.gif gillian4_icon.gif

Scene Title Wreckage
Synopsis Two broken people meet again among the graveyard of old wreckage. They have a few things in common and even where they don't, they have a common understanding.
Date September 13, 2010

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain - first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

At low tide, some of the closer ships can be reached - not without getting soaked, but such is the price of daring. Never mind that the rotting metal and splintered wood are the stuff of nightmares for any germophobe, definite hazards to the unwary. The more distant ships are distant indeed, beyond the reach of all but the most bold - and are all but submerged besides.

The sunken wrecks make soft creaking sounds as the water laps up around them, shifting with the wind and the changing tides. As the sun sets the shadows grow, with a orange glow hanging along the edge of the horizon to say farewell to the day.

The graveyard may be a place of discarded pasts and lost fortunes, but it isn't completely empty of life. Besides the birds hanging in the water and among the wrecks, besides the fish that somehow repopulated after the harsh extra long winter, there's a young woman sitting near the edge of the current waterline, pulled down to reveal some of he hulking skeletons of the past.

But Gillian isn't here to mourn the past, but is preoccupied with something else, a little quieter and difficult to vocalize. It's as if one of those ships were her life. And if they were, it'd be like the ship had been built, named, the route was planned, and then everything just fell apart before it ever set sail. Her eyes shift down from the boat she's selected to look at, to something in her hand. A small shaped piece, carved into a design that should snap into place. A piece of a puzzle.

With a word on the back that makes her wonder the same thing she often wonders when presented with a mystery. Why.

At first it sounds like the ocean breeze sliding over the long grasses along the beach, the way they dryly rustle as they bend, blades rubbing against each other. The first clue that something is wrong is the sudden flutter of black winged birds as they are startled from their search for insects in the tall grasses, their distressed calls filling the air with their sharp sounds. Then it's the sound of a gun cocking, followed by the familiar scent of blood as the breeze shifts in Gillian's direction.

Behind her, with an AK-47 pistol clutched in both hands and aimed at the augmenter, Claire Bennet stands, feet slightly apart eyes seem almost devoid of life. The tangy scent of blood coming from her black jean pants that show the sign of being stabbed through. A fine spattering of red covers her face and her dark brown hair is a mess, silk strands dyes a dark brown, blow lightly across her nose.

"What do you what?" The question is growled out in a rough voice, eyes red rimmed still. Seems despite the intervention of Messiah's ladies, Claire is still not completely stable.

Staten Island may not be a safe place, but Gillian doesn't expect AK-47s waved at her when she goes out. Even with everything else, it wasn't on the list of things she thought she would have to experience today. On habit, her hands go up, even one clutching a puzzle piece that makes her ask questions she knows won't be answered. At least until she recognizes the dark haired young woman behind the weapon. Dark hair and young may be in doubt, though. The bloody mess, the weapon. None is what people want to see. Even with people they know.

Perhaps especially not with people they know.

"Hey, Claire, it's me." In the setting sun, the red in her hair can be seen. A bright and shiny red, that looks unlike how it once had. Before the Institute had her, at least. "Gillian. I don't want anything, I— didn't expect to see you here. Or anyone really. If you're here to be alone, I was pretty much doing the same." Moving her hand down finally, just one, she shoves the puzzle away.

"Do— are you okay?"

The barrel of the pistol, dips down as Claire recognizes the woman, now that she can see her face. Confusion flits across the ex-cheerleaders face and she's silent for a long stretch of time. The barrels lowers a little more, before she offers a soft, "You — colored your hair."

May not be the most common thing or someone to say, especially when she's holding a gun at the redhead. The barrel falls to point straight at the ground, confusion still on Claire's face, her blue eyed gaze roams over the other woman's features. Finally says, "hey," in greeting to Gillian.

Eyelids start to blink and Claire looks around her slowly. "I-" Words fail her as her brain for a moment refuses her coherent thought. "I was remembering." She sounds almost lost, gaze slowly shifting back to Gillian. "All of the — I remember." Her lip threatens to tremble, teeth catching the lower lip and holding it steady.

"You did too," Gillian says with a small grin, relaxing despite the mood. There's no dimples on her cheeks, no humor, but she can still grin a little. Just a little. Almost makes her look mischevious. There's no mischief here, though. "Had to try to look a little different cause of what happened. You know, with the whole kidnapping and nevermind your government service and help in Antarctica and Argentina, you're going to get locked up for the rest of your life like the power battery you are."

That's how she sees it, even if she says it in one of those shruggy shoulders way.

"Bad things to remember, I take it?" Everyone seems to have bad memories these days. Terrible things. Lifetimes of terrible things in a handful of months, in a couple years.

"After bad stuff happens I always would write journal entries about it, just to get it out of my head and onto paper, but— sometimes that doesn't work. Never really leaves, you know."

Not the past, not the future.

"Yeah…" The word is soft and breathy, eyes dropping away from Gillian to the sand ground, the AK hangs limply at her side now. "Gregor —" she starts but the words catch in Claire's throat. Eyes close as she tries to think past the horrific images that keep crowding her brain, making her relive the past horrors.

"The… memories are coming back." Watery eyes lifts to Gillian finally. "When… we were down in the hospital, they — they started to come back." Fingers dark with blood lining the creases, move to catch at a length of dark hair and tuck it behind her ear, then hand stays just behind her ear for a time.

"No one understands… they… don't understand. It was easier when I didn't remember." It's almost not coherent when she is murmuring, eyes widening just a little. "All I did — what — he — what he did to me. I don't want to remember it anymore." A single tear slides down her cheek, mingling with the blood that speckles her face. Slowly, Claire sinks to her knees in the sand. The words she uttered, she spoke to Melissa and Ling. "The pain helps, but it doesn't last." Looking down at her pants, fingers play across the sliced fabric.

"Gregor's the one who made me feel more like a thing than a person— he used my ability to make himself… different more quickly. I guess he was jealous of Monster Doctor One," Gillian says, walking over to settle down next to her, sinking down to the same level. The blood smell gets stronger the closer that she gets, but she doesn't speak against the self-destructive habits. After all, some advice she doesn't give. If it's the ones she doesn't listen to herself.

"Maybe you shouldn't have forgotten," she says quietly, looking down at her left hand a little, and the marks that she placed on herself while testing the sharpness of the weapon she'd forged. No one ever asked how long she'd been trying to cut her arm open. No one needs to know that she'd actually been cutting herself for days before they found her. The blood had been old and new. She'd only managed to cut that deeply when the noises started that evening…

"Some things just shouldn't be forgotten. If you have to live through them, then… they're yours. To do with what you will." Like the scars she still shows, the black handprint near her heart, and the tattoo she's gotten back.

Blood lined fingers, nails dark with blood under them, reach out to touch the scars on Gillian's wrists, she'll see Claire staring at them. "I envy this." It's hard to believe that anyone would envy something like scars. "I know what happened to me. I — I remember how he carved me up like so much meat, but you can't tell."

Blue eyes lift from the wrist to look at Gillian, eyes sad and lost. "Maybe if I had the scars, people could understand." Claire sniffles, the hand moving to wipe at her noses with the side of her hand. "There is nothing but the memories of what happen. The memories and…" Her head dips down and Claire picks up a pair of heat warped tags, bloodied much like the woman. "..these."

Tears slide down her cheeks, cutting paths through the blood and falling tinted from her chin. "I tried to save him. We both burned, but I lived. He lays with all those poor babies. Eternal protector or their tiny souls." As cryptic as it sounds, Claire is speaking the truth. "I watched them burn too. Tiny infants, killed because they were special.

"It hurts so bad to remember."

Scars are memories, same as tattoos. Burdens to bear and reminders of things that came before. Damage done, and damage done upon. "You should ask Peter how he kept his scar after he got cut up. I know his power worked differently, I had it for a while, back during Pinehearst and the power swapping guy." When his power went to her, Gabriel's power went to him, and Gabriel was stuck being a power battery pack. No one was happy, but it gave her some understanding.

"I think I had your ability, with the regeneration, and I'm guessing that's what he had too. And he still managed to have a scar. And I liked him better with it, too. This new Peter just looks silly with a farm growing on his face."

Apparently not a fan of beards, at least not on him.

Leaning closer a bit, she looks at the dog tags, reminded of Antarctica, and a man who fell down into the breaking ice. She tried to grab onto the strap of his backpack, but it came off, and she wasn't even able to tell his sister how he died in person.

"I'm sorry," she says instead, reaching closer over now, to touch the tags. "But you remember him now, right? Whoever these belonged to?"

"Donald Dixon. I… always knew how he died." Claire's voice is so soft, words and eyes haunted by a remembered past. "But… I never remembered. I knew there was babies and that he burned, but… but now I remember the feel of out flesh burning away, the sensation of it cracking and splitting and his screams." Her gaze shifts out to all those dead boats, but she doesn't really see them, face of the past staring at her. "I remember the fear in his eyes, they way they said… 'I don't want to die.' "

The words trail off and the regenerator falls silent. "Peter?" Her mind finally latching on to the mention of her uncle, a pained look crosses her features, eyes blinking rapidly as if coming out of a haze. "I — He doesn't really talk to me, avoids me." Legs bend, folding to bring knees up to be clasped around her knees. "He's too busy for his family, I think. Melissa told him I was there, but… nothing. " There is a beat, before she says, "I miss everyone. I can't go back, tho.""

"He does that doesn't he— the avoiding thing," Gillian says quietly, still looking at the dog tags, and knowing that the memory doesn't make what she experienced any easier, in this case. It's hard to believe something has a purpose when it hurts as much as it does. Death, in many forms— some people live through it, especially people like her. Some people should never have to.

"He's a jack-ass right now," she adds on, letting her hand drop away, and looking on into the water, with the sun splaying across it.

"Do you need a place to stay? I've been staying at the Garden, like you were when I helped you dye your hair. You could probably stay there too. I know it's not where you want to be, but… It's a place. And I'm stuck there for a while."

"I've… been staying at the barracks." Claire lets the tags drop back to lay on her chest, her words bland and exhausted of emotion. "I haven't' wanted to go back since… since the memorial. I tried to stay at the Library again, but… " She snapped one night and made a mess of it.

"A different place might be nice. Friendlier faces." Claire glances at Gillian, mouth ticking up in a small smile that has no emotion behind it. "Messiah is full of monsters. It's where I belong." The smile slides away as she talks. "Madagascar made me a monster and in November I am going to kill an innocent man while he begs." Eyes drift away, only to snap back to the other woman again. "And I liked it. I — I started to like the killing in Madagascar, but… then I forgot… now…" She doesn't have to voice her though there. She remembers.

Messiah is made of monsters.

"Maybe there's no difference between monsters and angels. We're all capable of both," Gillian says quietly, leaning forward a bit to touch the damp and dirty ground with her fingers. Did anyone have a good vision of November? Claire saw herself killing an innocent man, she saw…

"What you saw may not be what you think it was, too. You only saw what, a minute? You don't know how it started, or how it ended— but I guess you know how you felt while it was going on." And that could make someone feel like a monster, especially as described. "What you saw doesn't have to happen how you saw it. The ability that was used to make those— what you see you can change, I'm pretty sure. What we had to do in our countries, what you went through in Madagascar, the monster you see yourself becoming— you don't have to be it. I know I'm not going to let what I saw happen the same way."

"I already changed it." Claire says softly, watching Gillian with the damp earth. "I got rid of the knife I used." Left in a puddle of her own blood in the Library, when Melissa and Ling took her away from there. "It was a gift from Bones, he gave it to me as a present." A bit more genuine of a smile touches her lips. "A… courting gift."

Eyes drop away to her bloodied knees. "I miss my friends," she admits quietly. "Talking to Liz… I haven't even seen Cardinal alive since he blew up." The tears threaten her eyes again, hand lifting to rub the heel of one hand against one eye. "Miss my dad…" She gives a huff of a chuckle. "I know he'll give me that… that look he gets when he is disappointed in me, but I still miss him."

There is a sniff from Claire, her head turning to look at Gillian, she seems so much younger, her brows tilted up a little. "You ever see him?" There is a touch of hope there as she asks. "Could… could you tell him… tell him I'm sorry?"

Of all the things that could make Claire break down. It wasn't the horrors of Madagascar, it isn't the looming November date, it's her father that makes the tears suddenly well up in her tired eyes. "I missed his birthday. All he wanted for it was — to see me." The words catch and break, with intense sorrow. With a soft sob, Claire buries her face in her hands and starts to cry.

Claire Bennet is proof that being immortal, doesn't mean you can't be broken.

"I haven't seen him since the day after I was pulled out of the Institute," Gillian admits, glancing over and understanding the whole 'missing of friends' thing. There's a lot of people she misses, now that she's been through something that pulled her away from the people she cared most about. And those people who pulled away all on their own. "But I might be able to ask him to come visit me somewhere and you can be there too— two birds, one stone. Or I guess two girls, one shadow in this case."

Cause this stone isn't a stone.

"So, Bones huh? I remember him a bit. Pretty good looking— I mean I know you and Magnes had a thing going on, and he's a sweet kid, but he's got this thing where he's not really anyone's type." Even when he tries so very hard to be.

"Anyone else you got your eyes on, or are you focusing on 'Claire-time' now?"

It takes a few minutes for Claire to gather her wits about her, breathing hitching in those little gasps of air that comes with crying. "There isn't anyone. Everyone in Messiah is pretty… for themselves." She swallows and gives a sniff. Knees are drawn tighter to her chest and shoulders give a small shrug. "I just… can't seem to care about getting close to any guys. No one — I just —" There is a soft sigh again, "It isn't appealing to me."

Tip of her tongue wets her lips as she turns thoughtful, "Cardinal doesn't want to be seen around me, I think. I'm suppose to be deep undercover. He might get a little upset to if he's seen with me." Claire shakes her head and lets her eyes slide shut. "I dunno," she whispers, sorrow making her words heavy on her tongue.

"Oh please. Deep undercover is a bunch of crap," Gillian says with a shake of her head, reaching down to pick up a small rock in the mud. It makes her hand dirtier, but it gives her something to throw. The rock bounces away, thudding into the water and causing ripples to pull shadow and light across the surface much like the shifting tides and wind might have disrupted it. But this disruption is her own.

"Cardinal showed up at the triage after the Institute and visited me. Peter's the one he went to to get healed and I helped. I think if you need to see him, and if you want to see him— anything about cover and need to keep secret is a load of crap. We all have parts to play, and Messiah and Card and even the Ferry, they all worked together for something. There's no reason you couldn't be meeting with both of us at once, without people thinking anything of it."

Except the people who make up such excuses.

"And men make things too complicated, anyway." Except that's why she keeps falling into it. Anything uncomplicated would be boring in the end, right?

"Yeah… I can believe men complicate things." Claire says with a touch of amusement, her mood lightening just a touch. "I… still don't have clear memories of Magnes, but… some of them are there." Her nose scrunches a bit with a slow shake of her head. "I… still don't know what I was thinking with him."

Hands move to brush at the tears on her face, "I feel somewhat, like I've been failing Cardinal… a lot of the information we get, we don't get til last minute." Sighing heavily Claire's head drops forward to rest on her knees, no tears this time. It's more of a case of the young woman being exhausted.

Silence fills the air between them, but then there is a soft. "Thank you, Gillian." Her head turns on her knee, making her hair bunch up funny, but it allows her to look at the woman. "For listening… not… treating me like…" Her eyes go distant as she tries to think of the right words. "…for not judging me a horrible person for how I am feeling. For just being a friend and listening."

"Magnes is loving, almost so much so that you find something to love in yourself when you might not have otherwise. Could be, right then, you needed to be loved. No matter what. I think anyone could understand that." Gillian says, not judging the girl for her relationship. After all she knew Magnes longer than most anyone, and one thing he's always been good at is near obsessive love. Even when unreasonable.

"And I get what you're going through, somewhat at least— not fully… but…" she raises up her left hand again, to show off the scars. "I wanted to die, before anyone could ever use me again, like the monsters in that hospital. Messiah may seem like monsters, but I know they were, and they became worse because of my ability. All my ability does is make things worse, in the end. It can do some good, but it never outbalances the bad."

She could go on and on, but she doesn't, and instead moves to stand up, offering the hand down as if to help lift the younger woman to her feet.

"And maybe you have a clue already. The visions. See if you can find out what the others saw, you could find something you don't expect in them. I know what Peter saw…" There's a pause, and she's looking away, despite offering the hand. "And since I know he'd never tell, even if you managed to get him to stop avoiding you… he saw me dying in his arms— with a bunch of nails sticking in me. And the government showing up, shooting us both while he asked for help." It's not something she's told. "And I saw something involving him too. I don't know why, but he was chasing me, and I was terrified of him— and it looked like he didn't recognize me, or care. I didn't tell him he was carrying a nail gun, like the ones you'd find at a construction site. Maybe there's a clue there, and in what others in Messiah saw."

There is hesitation, before a hand lifts to take Gillian's and Claire is helped to her feet, her other hand clutching the AK-47 pistol, since she has no plans to leave it behind. She loves her new pistols, her new babies.

Brows dip down as she listens to the combination of Gillian and her uncle's visions. "I…" Claire falls silent, concern etches her features. "Yeah — that doesn't sound like Peter, just like — I would never have thought I would kill an innocent man." Something damns on the regenerator. "I'll… talk to some of the others and see what they say." There is a touch of purpose dawning on her face, but then it slowly falls again. "If they will talk to me."

"I feel that way about everyone too sometimes," Gillian says, glancing at the gun, and then instead of just pulling away with her offered hand, she's pulling herself closer, to wrap an arm around the smaller ex-cheerleader with dark hair and light eyes. "The world sucks, and all of us are just surviving— but we're surviving together. Even when we feel more alone than ever."

There's a pause, and she laughs at her own words a bit, as she pulls back. The half hug won't last long, and it has nothing to do with the blood on the girl or the weapons in her hand. In fact her left hand doesn't pull away, until she gives one last squeeze.

"I need to stop trying to sound like I'm thirty or something— the kids at the Lighthouse always make me feel ten years older." Or worse… Even if she likes it. "Let's get back to the Garden before you need that. The patrols make this whole island more dangerous than ever."

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