2007-04-14: Hanging Up The Cape

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Drake_icon.gif

Summary: Drake and Claire finally get to patch things up, and Drake lays it all out on the line.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2007

Hanging Up The Cape

John F Kennedy High's Library

Rrrrriiiiing!

With the final bell ringing loudly to announce the end of classes, Drake is sluggishly making his way towards the library so that he can do a make up test, before he gets an incomplete. He missed the last two days of classes for reasons unknown, and has finally came back. He's practically mister doom-and-gloom, having not been his cheery, rambunctious self. He was practically a ghost during lunch, where instead of hanging out with his friends on the soccer team, he was tucked behind the equipment shed, scribbling in a notebook, and taking the hour for himself.

As he pushes through the double doors, he wanders to the librarian and collects the paperwork, then heads over to a table and starts to work away, his pen flowing freely across the paper despite the lack of interest that is in his eyes. It's been a week now since the last time he's spoken with Claire, and so far, he has yet to call, or send a text.

Tucked away in a corner of the library, Claire is seated at a table with half a dozen books laid out, open, before her. Each is marked with brightly coloured post-it notes in several pages, with little abbreviations on the post-its that are apparently some type of Claire-code that only makes sense to her. There's an iPod on the table, a long white cord attaching it to the earphones stuck into her ears. Leaning forward with her chin supported by her hand, Claire is flipping through one of the books and writing notes in a very absent way, her purple pen tapping against the book as she reads. 'Bored' would be a good way to put it. It's only when she hears the bell that she snaps back to attention, but she doesn't immediately look up from the table, occupying herself first with gathering up the books.

Incidentally, she also hasn't called or written in the last week, and has made a point of more or less avoiding Drake and his friends at school for this past week. It isn't difficult, in a school this size.

Working his way through the calculus, Drake gets hung up on a problem, quietly sighing to himself, and inwardly wishing he actually did go to class so that he could have figured out this part. With a roll of his eyes, he puts down a guess after tapping away in his calculator unsuccessfully. Leaning backwards in his chair with a soft breath, he turns his head slightly as he catches sight of movement in his peripheral vision. Spying Claire, he pauses for a moment, then glances back to his test. Back to Claire, back to test. He keeps sliding his gaze from one to the other, before finally rising up and abandoning his paper to head in her direction.

With her MP3 player still piping music to her ears and an armful of books, most belonging to this very library, Claire is preoccupied as she heads away from the table. It's really rather unfortunate, because if she were paying more attention, she might see Drake before he gets as close as he does. Not that he really gets particularly close to her before she stops dead in her tracks and jerks her head up, surprised enough to let the topmost book slide off the pile and clatter to the floor with a dull thud. Sylar's made her jump. With her free hand, she pulls the earphones from her ears and offers Drake something of a sheepish, fleeting smile tempered by anxiety. "Hey…"

Leaning over, Drake picks up the book off the ground, even taking his time to examine it to make sure it's not broken. Anything to distract him from looking into her eyes for the moment. When he finally does, he lets out a soft breath, holding it out to her. "Hey.." Blowing a bit of blonde from his eyes, he stubs his foot against the ground, biting on his bottom lip. ".. I've.. really missed you." He says in a soft whisper, swallowing in his throat tightly.

"Thanks." Taking the book and setting it carefully back atop the pile, Claire falls silent for a few seconds, watching him closely. There is no lingering resentment in her eyes, but there is some hesitation borne of obstinance, and her stubborn nature disallows her to be quick to respond. Nothing about her demeanor suggests that she doubts his sincerity, however, and despite her reluctance, she eventually speaks. "Yeah." Eloquent, isn't she? "I… missed you, too."

Nodding his head slowly, Drake rocks a bit on the balls of his feet, softly saying. ".. I'm really sorry for everything. I've been doing a lot of thinking." He swallows a bit dryly, before shifting his eyes about the library, as if to ensure their privacy. "Claire.." There is that dramatic pause which catches him, practically freezing him in place as he wrings his hands together.

The silence, the dramatic pauses, they're all beginning to make Claire even more nervous than she already was. She had thought, before this last pause, that she couldn't possibly feel more awkward around someone she knows quite so well. She was wrong, and she really does not like it. Having had enough, she sets the books down on the nearest table; instantly, now that her hands are free, she closes the distance between them and hugs him tightly, her hands linked behind his neck.

Blinking his eyes a few times, Drake lets out a hard breath. As he was about to finish his thought, he finds Claire suddenly hugging him in a death grip. Sliding his own arms around her, he gives her a clinging crush of his own, burying his face against her ear as he lets out a breath. "Claire. I love you." He finally gets it out, the nerve, the guts. It was perhaps the hardest thing he's ever had to admit in his life, but, he promised to be honest, and honest he is being.

While on one level she might have been expecting that, it still takes her by surprise, and Claire isn't entirely certain what she ought to be doing, at first. Her voice is caught in her throat, and if he could see her face, he might notice a slight frown on her face. "Drake…" She squeezes him tighter for a second, then pulls away, tipping her head back slightly to look him in the eyes. There's colour in her cheeks, a faint pink tinge that proves she certainly heard him, at least, and was touched by what he said. "I don't know what to say." There is no negative connotation to her tone, however; she smiles warmly, her eyes darting away in a self-conscious manner.

"Don't say anything." Drake says with a soft, trembling breath. He gives her another squeeze, before letting her go, allowing his fingers to slide away from her arms. "Sorry if it's.. awkward, or embarrassing, but.. I just had to get it out." One weight off his shoulders, time for another. "I'm also ..walking away from the hero thing." He says with a slight shake of his head. "I need to go back to being a normal sixteen year old again. I can't really live some kind of fairy tale anymore.." His voice trails off softly as he speaks, sliding his hands into his pockets.

"You're walking away from it?" Claire makes little effort to disguise the optimism in her tone, and she looks back to him with a reluctant sort of approval. She lets out a breath, unaware that she had been holding it in the first place. A smile flashes across her face, fleeting and anxious. "Good. I want this to be normal, too." That is to say, she doesn't want most of their time together to be spent trying to escape an evil psychopath. "I…" The corner of her mouth twitches in a faint smile, again. "I really want to be normal. I mean, with everything that keeps happening, it— it isn't a fairy tale, for me. It's a nightmare."

"Yeah.. it's been a nightmare for me also." Drake says as he bites his bottom lip for a moment, before shrugging his shoulders slightly. "Then, lets be normal. Let's go out for pizza, watch a movie, and just hang out together, without everything else hanging over our heads. It's what I really want with you. Honestly." His smile tugs against his lips, showing how pure his words are, and how much he is enjoying this moment of clearing up, and clarity. "Still wanna meet my mom? He asks.

Once she's stacked the books properly again and scooped them back up into one arm, Claire slips her hand into Drake's with a brighter smile. "I guess I could do that," she replies, her tone teasing now as she begins to lead him out of the library. She is so very willing to leave all of the not-so-normal things behind that she doesn't say another word about them. They're there, in the back of her mind, nagging at her - but she's going to ignore them, at least for the afternoon. "I'm good with parents. They like me." The books prove to be somewhat of an issue, and she shifts them towards Drake slightly. "Think you could carry some of these? I have this essay to write for History to catch up for everything I missed since January, and /apparently/ a lot of things happened in the 20th century, because these books are huge."

Snagging up his backpack from his own table as they pass it, Drake slips it over his free shoulder, then reaches out to take the books from her, allowing them to cradle against his hip. With his other hand, he squeezes her fingers tightly together as he gives her hip a bit of a bump. "I wish I was good with parents. I may need some practice before talking to your dad again." He looks amused, reflecting for a moment back on Noah and that awkward situation. "I think maybe the schools are just putting bigger font in the books to make the page size larger. I'm sure nothing real important has happened."

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