2008-01-22: Father Knows Best

WARNING: Contains Season 3 material.

Starring:

Arthur_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif

Summary: Claire does her part.

Date It Happened: January 22, 2008

Father Knows Best


Pinehearst Research

No one can ever say that Pinehearst is not without its elaborate facilities. With extensive laboratories, there is more than enough space to accommodate even unwilling patients - comfortable beds behind sheets of glass, lockable medical examination rooms, all of which providing linen and light if not freedom. Claire is in none of these.

The room she finds herself in, has been staying in over the last couple of days, is not fit for these purposes. A cot has been shoved into the corner but otherwise, the expansive room has all the furnishings of a prison cell. A very large one. Concrete walls, ceiling and floor provide little comfort, and the florescent lights that hang in cages high above provide harsh and flickering light.

Claire spent a day, nearly in its entirety, pounding on walls and screaming. Her clothes still bear the marks of her father's betrayal long after skin has healed and forgotten. Today, there was more screaming and self-damage as she tried everything she could to break free. Dislocated shoulders. Broken hands and wrists and elbows and ankles. Everything heals. Nothing stays. Nothing even hurts. Nothing but this perpetual heaviness and pain in her heart.

Eventually, she gives up. At least for now.

Now, she lies on the cot, curled up in a tight little ball. The blanket has become something to snuggle. Her face is entirely buried in the pillow and covered in a mat of blonde curls still caked in blood. This is hell. She has returned to the same sort of hell that the bunker was to her all those months ago. This time, however, it was her biological father who committed her to it. This? This was her reward for trusting him. Quiet sobbing occasionally rises in volume to just barely compete with the buzzing of the florescent lights overhead.

When the door opens, it's not a doctor accompanied by some form of security to check up on her, or someone bringing a tray of food and water and no answers. It's Nathan, or someone who looks very much like him. With a suit and tie, he looks remarkably out of place within the industrial exam room, but enters it all the same, accompanied by a couple of nondescript men. Protection? Perhaps.

The door is not shut behind him as he moves through the room, and outside, in the much less desolate, corporate hallway, is a gurney, half obscured by those standing by the door. The flickering lights above catch on the American flag pin on his lapel, his wedding ring, his cuff links, his family emblem ring. The angle of the lights and their interplay with the shadows, however, hide his eyes.

"Claire," he says, voice echoing thinly through the room, authoritative and demanding of attention. Then, quieter, gentler, "Claire. It's time to go." Freedom? Not quite.

Claire pulls her head up at the sound of the door opening, and it's then that the redness of her eyes becomes abundantly apparent. She sniffles a few times and furiously wipes at her eyes before she fixes Nathan with a deep frown and a stare, as if daring him to stay in the room with her. Noah, t'would seem, has taught her a thing or two about murderous glances. She watches Nathan, and then his two accomplices, and then her eyes slip past them all to look at the bed. Her jaw drops as she looks back to Nathan, incredulous, as she slowly shakes her head. "I don't want to go with you," she spits, voice rasping from likely unheard screaming and crying.

His head tilts a little, regarding her. Whatever remorse he should have, even after all of this, doesn't seem to be there. There are just things more important than the tears of the teenager several feet away from him. There is no room for guilt, at times like these. And that's, really, the whole point.

"You're a smart girl," Logan says, a little flatly. "I think you know by now that your choices have been taken from you. But you have options." There's the sound of additional footsteps, the two men who had accompanied taking a few steps forward, although Logan lifts a hand, which halts them. After a moment, he continues on his way forward - and even offers a hand to her. Hard to say what he expects, or perhaps he's just testing the waters.

Claire, to her credit, doesn't let any more tears fall, even though they threaten to rise up like a rushing torrent behind her eyes. Her lips hold that heart-aching frown, however. She looks at the hand, and then slowly rolls her eyes back to Nathan's face with unveiled and unbridled distrust. This is the man who shot her, after all. "What are you going to do to me?"

One second, two seconds, hand hovering there for a moment, palm open upwards. Then, his hand withdraws. "I'm going to take you to meet some of the family," Logan says, a little wryly. The corner of his mouth turns up a little in a grim smile. "And then you're going to do your part. Then, well. Things can be up for negotiation." He turns from her, now, moving back towards the door, and gives a nod of assent to the two men. They don't exactly snap back a salute, but they respond with military efficiency, moving in on Claire to get her to her feet, to march her out of the room.

"My part? Why do you keep saying that?" As firm hands find their way to her arms and pull her up, Claire resists. To do anything but resist just seems wrong. That would be like letting this vile betrayer win. And while he may be winning, she's not going to make it easy. She's going to make him work for it, damn it.

On the bed, she refuses to extend her legs. Once they've dragged her up onto her feet, Claire shoves her heels against the floor and twists angrily. It's not like she feels any of the bruises forming, anyway. "Get your hands off of me!" Then, to Nathan, "You just wait until Peter finds out about this!" Yell as she might, however, she's little. She is not a hard thing to move, even when she doesn't want to. And she really doesn't want to.

The fight she puts up is vicious, the kind of fight someone who doesn't care if they get hurt makes — which is a rather rare circumstance. Both men are taken by surprise but, ultimately, they knew it would come down to a struggle. A few claw marks later, Claire's arms are locked, twisted behind her, and with pacing certainty, she is pulled out of the exam room and into the light of the hallway. Two more employees move in - not security by any means, but doctors, who exchange glances before helping strap the struggling girl down onto the gurney.

Logan waits patiently a few feet away, watching the process with detached interest. "Peter?" he repeats. "Peter is a little too distracted these days, Claire." Medical, padded cuffs are strapped about her wrists, stretching her arms down the length of the stretcher to lock her in place. Another strap over her chest, her waist, her knees, cuffs around her ankles, as if she were a dangerous psych patient. "Can't see beyond his own nose, or the blood on his hands. I'm not gonna be worrying about him."

A glance to all four Pinehearst employees to confirm that they're done, before Logan turns, and leads the way down the tight hallway, passing by the metal doors of examination rooms, moving deeper into the bowels of Pinehearst Research. Claire is wheeled along behind, strong hands securing her journey.

Bucking against the straps with grunts and angry shrieks, the blonde teenager is undeterred in her beautiful attempt to make this as miserable an experience for everyone involved as humanly possible. The feeling, however, deep inside is something far less rebellious. Her feet slip against the bed, her hands splay along the mattress, and head tilts backwards as she attempts to …do something with her back. All of these things are futile. All of these things feel futile. Despair is beginning to set in. By the time they're halfway down the hall, all that is left is the remnants of her useless straining against restraints and the threat hissed out through her gritted, bared teeth. "I swear, Nathan, you are going to regret this."

"Probably," Logan tosses back as they approach the wide double doors that lead into a completely different wing of facility. He pushes them open easily, afford all six of them entry, although the guards move to stand by the door, leaving the two doctors to maneuver the strapped down Claire into the room, on a trajectory to situate her near a more permanent hospital bed. Not for her, however, it's already occupied, and surrounded by medical machinery.

Logan moves to stand at the foot of the bed, largely ignoring his daughter and the doctors, even as he addresses her with, "Claire. I'd like you to meet your grandfather."

Claire stares at the vegetative body, and then back up to Nathan with a sneer. She stills all her struggling for a moment, saving all of her energy to fix upon the senator a look of such burning fury that it might wither lesser men where they stand. "What kind of sick joke is this?"

"Hello, Claire," Arthur Petrelli says, his voice penetrating both her and Logan's mind directly. The machines around him click and whir, keeping him alive in this room that has slowly turned into a prison just for him. How he longs to get up from this bed, stretch his legs, and get to work on his plans for Pinehearst and the world. Today, he will get to.

"It pains me that we had to meet under these circumstances," he continues, eyes following her as she enters the room and the doctors slowly push her gurney up next to his. One of the doctors immediately set about forcing an IV into her, which is hooked up to a machine that Arthur himself is already connected to by IV. "However, you have something that I need. Your blood."

Logan moves around, at a slow pace, to stand on the other side of Arthur's bed, out of the way of the doctors seeing to his father and his daughter. In a gesture of a doting son, his hand touches Arthur's arm in a show of solidarity and reassurance. He's silent, for now, slipping into the role of supervisor.

As the voice resounds with an omnipresent firmness in her head, Claire's blue eyes shoot open. Her head twists to the body beside her, and it momentarily distracts her from the IV being set up beside her. It isn't until she feels pressure against her arm that she is able to rip her horrified gaze away to look at the doctor next to her. Her whole body bucks again as she tries to move her arm away, tries to break free of her bonds, tries to bite anything that comes to close to her. Teeth snap as they find nothing to catch between them.

"Nathan. Nathan. You said you wouldn't do this." He had told her in Cass's lab that she had a choice in these things. She's trying to give him one last chance to stop this madness. To try to salvage this relationship. Her eyes are desperate — pleading — as they look to her biological father, begging for him to just help her.

"Nathan knows what's best, dear," Arthur says to Claire, his eyes traveling to the ceiling and staying there. The doctor finishes his work, the IV secure in Claire's arm, and he steps over, throwing a switch on the nearby machine. When his son steps over and touches his arm, Arthur's eyes travel to him, and there's a smile in them. He's proud of his boy. He waits, patiently, for the transfusion to start, and for Claire's blood to begin its work.

Logan does afford her one last look as she tries to appeal to her father, but it's fleeting, at best, and as distant as if he were observing her through bars, or a glass window. His attention is instead on Arthur, and talks to him quietly. "We'll have her situated in the exam rooms for now," he tells him, quietly, not really intended for Claire's ears but at this distance, they'll reach all the same. "I think she'll be a valuable asset to us but for now I'd like to keep her way from the labs until management is seen to. Unless you have any other preference."

Blood, as red and true as rubies, slithers through the plastic tubing, processed and drawn from Claire's living body, then pumped through the machines and into Arthur's bloodstream. Unsure of how long it will take, the doctors stand idle once their job is initially complete, keeping an eye on vital signs and the girl strapped to the gurney. However long it will take, they will know when Arthur is up and walking.

Logan moves from Arthur's side, not really approaching Claire as he comes to stand at the foot of both her stretcher and Arthur's bed, hands clasping behind his back with militaristic posture. "Your part," he says, as if the time it took between her asking that question and now had barely taken place. "Your part in building a better future, Claire. Sometimes it takes hard work and vision. Sometimes it takes a sacrifice. This hurts me too, you know." He meets her gaze again as he adds, "You're too valuable. For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

When Claire is initially ignored, she turns her eyes back to the ceiling. There is a residual tension in her shoulders, steel knots under her skin. She does, however, stop fighting. Her head rolls to the side, watching the IV that is raping her veins. The blood that flows freely through it now is regarded with a growing sense of disgust. All of this is because of what is pouring through that tube. Did he ever even care about her?

When Nathan speaks anew, she allows her gaze to shift down to the foot of her bed. Burning cold, and then that rasping voice speaks again: angry and firm, even in its softness. "No, you're not. If you were, you would let me go home."

It doesn't take long for Claire's blood to go into effect. Arthur can slowly feel the sensation of his body returning to him, and it not long after that he sits up, pulling the tube that was keeping him supplied with fresh oxygen out of his throw. He pauses, flexing his fingers, before turning and sliding out of the bed, grabbing a bathrobe near by and wrapping it around himself. "Ah," he says, drawing in a deep breath and turning towards Nathan. "I'm proud of you son," he says, turning his eyes to Claire. "I'm sorry for what has happened to you, Claire. Because you're my granddaughter, I've spared you from losing your ability. There are many people in the world who are after you, and you need your ability to survive." He then turns to Nathan, smiling at his son and placing his hand on his shoulder. "You did good, son. She's all yours, now. Do what you see fit with her. I'm going to go get changed. I have work to do." With that, Arthur turns towards the doublewide doors, stepping through them and leaving Logan and Claire alone.

Logan acknowledges the praise with not a word at first, lifting his head a little in the slightest show of pride, but otherwise, it is accepted gracefully. "Thanks, dad," is finally murmured when the elder of the two Petrellis makes his way out, leaving Logan alone with his daughter and the Pinehearst personnel. A last look to Claire. Do what he sees fit.

Well. Alrighty then.

"I want as many blood samples you think she can handle giving," he says, drawing his gaze away from Claire towards the doctor. "Then put them into storage, they won't need to be tested. Call it insurance. Then she can make her home in the exam room for a little longer until better arrangements are made."

Orders given, the doctors react as appropriate to someone with imagined authority, and without another glance, Logan makes his way for the doors as well, leaving the blonde strapped in place and at the hands of the doctors.

Of all the people Noah ever warned her about. She never thought it would be Nathan.

Claire gasps in horror as she hears her sentence delivered, and she stares at him — again — with a look of disbelief. He can't be serious. But he's walking out. He's walking out like he's serious. There's nothing she can think of to say. No threat great enough to be worthy of this. Claire rails against the visceral, sharp pangs of despair that roll in the core of her being, but watching Nathan disappear behind that wall of doctors who close in on her as though they were straight from a child's nightmare? It's too much. Unfortunately, all she can do is buck against those restraints anew and scream.

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