2007-08-25: DF: In The End

Starring:

DFElena_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif DFPeter_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif DFLachlan_icon.gif

Summary: The Saints become temporary custodians of Cass Aldric's dead body.

Dark Future Date: August 25th, 2009

In The End


I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter

— In the End, Linkin Park

Basement Levels, Phoenix Rising Penthouses

A terrible day. One of the worst ever. The only thinking keeping this day from being the worst ever is the small baby held by the larger man he left behind to fly ahead. There's only a small hope, one he doesn't dare say. Peter knows of a death that occured that failed to stick thanks to the blood of a certain young girl. Blood that also healed his brother's radiation burns as if they'd never been. He's never tested the theory, but the worst that would happen… is what's already happened. Running into the secret special entrance invisible, he uses his abilities to get doors open. There's slamming noises, as he's not in full control, especially when he rushes down the hall towards the medical area. Any doors in his way slam open, hitting the walls. But he's not invisible anymore.

He hasn't radioed anyone. He can't bring himself to say it. He's still refusing to believe it. Setting the twisted, bloody and burnt body onto the bed in the medlab, he starts to search through the drawers. They have to have what he needs. Blood transfusion. He's able to keep from breaking down through sheer will and need to do this. Like the body on the bed, he's almost as bloody, clothes burnt in various places, but not a scratch on his skin. Only a desperate look on his face. Frantically he pulls out what he needs, opening the sterile containers without worrying about gloves or even washing his hands. If there's disease or infection, fine. It's better than what's already happened. He's not even worried about pain when he shoves the needle into his arm and waits for the bag to fill.

There was banging. Elena looks up from the comm station as new intel starts filtering in on just how the hell they can track the guys that flew the helicopters that had evacuated Jack and Nathan from the carcass house. But Peter was moving too fast for her to even get a glimpse of it, or even when the elevators shut to go down to medbay. Just what the hell was going on? Checking her sidearm, she stands up. She's not hurrying yet, but she does venture towards the elevators to see which level the person who took it stopped. It stops at the floor where medbay is, and she can't help but frown.

There was a certain smell.

She looks down at the floor and crouches down, fingertips resting gently on globs of what seemed to be dried blood and burnt flesh. She had never been a squeamish person, she's been around hospitals most of her life. If it was an intruder, Davis would've warned her by now.

So she depresses the button, and waits. She walks into the elevators and lets the doors shut on her, before descending on that level. And when they open, she strides, unhurriedly, towards the direction of medbay.

Peter's body is blocking view of the thing on the table when she opens the door. "What's going on?" she demands, the urgency of her tone masking her worry. She takes a step forward and narrows her eyes. The smell. It was atrocious. It smelled like charred meat. Her hand comes up to cover her nose. She does spy a limp hand on the table, and her eyes gravitate towards it. A sinking feeling starts to invade her stomach.

It only takes a moment longer for the second set of elevators to ding open. Eric had been on edge for quite some time, when the videos and the security systems pop on with a fast mover on the way he was up and away from the training room in a flash. The intruder had been ID'd as a friendly, he wasn't as worried…

…at least until he was informed that Peter's first stop was the medbay.

That got him moving fast.

He exits the elevators at a fast run, no weapons in his hands but he already checked them on the way up. His eyes note the red dogs on the floor, the trail leading towards the closed doors at the medbay. He notes Elena there, already asking the question that he wants to ask on her own lips. Part of him relaxes. Whatever has happened it wasn't to her. However that same moment as he crosses the doorway and the smell hits him, that part clenches back up again.

The voice behind him makes him tense up. Peter can't look away from what he's doing. He just can't. The moment he does— if he sees her face—

Keep working. This has to work. He absorbs the abilities of others and that's an aspect of her ability. It has to work. Healing won't fix this— but he'd been told Hiro was dead, truly dead. This has to work. They'll both see his shoulders shake slightly as he takes in a breath, pulling the needle from his arm once the bag is full and moving to the counter to change it over for transfer. That should be the moment they will see what's laying on the bed. At least one person in the room has seen this painting before. Only it's not in the right location. Not even close. One body instead of many. Not outdoors under the cloud covered sky. But the body is twisted the right way, face marred in the same manner with burns and debris. Another big difference comes in the fact that her eyes are no longer blue, but filmed over.

There's no chance he'll hear anything said, not in his current state. His ears have long recovered from the explosion, but that doesn't mean he's not still stuck in that moment. Fix this. He has to fix this. The only place he can find to stick her in his search is her ankle, surprisingly untouched. He hangs the bag so it can drain into her, and immediately goes back to prep another one. How many will it take?

More like how long will someone let him do this before they stop him…

She was almost afraid to see who it was that was on the table. Elena lifts a hand to reach gently to rest on Eric's shoulder. She's going in. And then, she moves forward, walking around the table, and slowly, just to see who it is. When she sees Cass's dead eyes, and the ruined hair, and the dead face it's as if the wind is knocked out of her, as if someone punched her in the stomach. She doesn't do anything to stop Peter. Not yet. She knows what he's trying to do - she was very well familiar with his abilities.

But Cass….

Cass.

They were going to get her out. She doesn't really say anything, or cry, or do much. She's just staring at the body disbelievingly. She doesn't ask what happened. Does it matter? She was dead. Cass was dead.

The shock bleeds over as her eyes glaze. She just stands there, looking at the face staring up at her lifelessly. She felt ill, but she can't throw up. The scream is locked away deep within her body. And all she can do is look and let reality sink in for the moment. She doesn't make a move to stop him. Not yet. Some part of her hoped that Peter's could work. But he had absorbed Claire's ability when she was still a teenager, when she was still developing her powers. He had absorbed it before the ability could develop fully. It wasn't like the regenerative blood Dr. Stan Gifford administered to Eric that had brought him back from the brink of death.

She knew deep down there was no way to get her back.

But she'll let him try.

The painting. The damn painting.

This wasn't suposed to happen. They rescued her, they got her out. They saved her…and this happened? This shouldn't work. This just isn't fair. This isn't how this works. They worked hard, they had plans. It was only a few days until they were going to be gone. They had planned the route already. They had set it up.

She was suposed to live.

She wasn't suposed to end up on a slab like so many others.

Stepping into the room behind Elena, he just reaches up with his hand to set it against Elena's shoulder. His eyes are fixed on the body on the table.

Thats what it is now. A body.

Cass isn't there anymore is she.

He dosn't say a word though. The hand on Elena's shoulder tightens slightly with a grip that tires to be comforting…but somehow, he knows this comfort is an empty one. He tries though…and thats all he can really to do. Offer comfort.

…she's already beyond any other persons help beyond Peter…

It's supposed to work. Peter knows this. The two people in the room also have a pretty good idea what this is— even if, in Eric's case, he wasn't a cold lifeless corpse just yet. Maybe he didn't fly fast enough? No… maybe he waited too long gathering fragments from the scene before the baby was ready to go? Maybe he shouldn't have stopped to heal one woman? Maybe he shouldn't have waited for the baby at all… but…

Why isn't it working?

A small portion of the bag has already dripped away while the world buzzes forward, he could have a second one ready to go before it's finished.

But it's not working. The 'miracle drug' that saved Eric had only needed a small vial, a minor injection— maybe this just requires more. Maybe it needs to work faster.

Pulling the needle from his arm for the second time, he sets the bag down. He could hook her up to a second one. But he doesn't. It has to work. How many will it take?

Now he's wishing he would have asked for more details about that situation. He'd been afraid to with how upset his niece had seemed at the implications that people would use her for that.

The silence is deafening. She should be moving again already. There should be something. Anything.

He takes an unsteady step back towards the supply drawer, probably intending to fill another one… but he stumbles, ends up sitting on his knees on the floor to avoid falling on his face.

Why isn't it working? Why can't he fix this? Why did this all have to fall apart?

As it starts to settle in, he doesn't even attempt to stand back up, leaning forward to press his closed hands against his forehead.

Peter flew ahead to help Cass. Lachlan was content to walk — it was the longest, most tiresome walk he's ever had to endure, made all the worse by his own injuries (for which he had refused treatment and bandaging), aching knee, and the child in his arms. She was finally mulled to sleep sometime along the way, however she'll be fitfully sleeping due to ringing in her ears from the blast. The Scot himself is still suffering hearing damage from the explosions, but it doesn't really matter.

He limps into Phoenix Rising Tower and shuffles toward the medbay, Balthazar following quietly alongside. He looks like he needs medical attention: the left side of his face looks as though it was a little too friendly with a cheese grater, his clothes and the bundle that is Abby is stained with blood and soot, and his left eye is closed with fluid trickling from between the lids. That's not the reason he's going to the medbay, though.

Upon arriving, Lachlan stands quietly in the entrance and observes the scene. He's still numb from it all, and seeing the bags of blood, Peter on the floor, and Elena and Eric, he doesn't need any of them to tell him that it hasn't worked. That's all he needed to know. Silently, he turns to leave again.

She squeezes Eric's hand on her shoulder, but she lets it go after. Now wasn't the time for scientific explanations. If he really wants to know, she'll tell him. But right now, it seems very out of place.

Elena walks over to Cass's body, and looks down at the dead face and the open, unseeing eyes. Despite the marred visage, she leans forward, pressing a quiet kiss on the corpse's forehead before lifting her fingertips to draw her eyelids down shut. Her expression, stragely enough, is calm, and serene - odd considering Cass was like a sister to her. But she knew how to hide her devastated heart pretty well, and today was no exception. She wasn't like Lachlan, or Peter, whose expressions are worn clearly on their faces every time something good or something bad happens. She shifts the bags of blood away, arranging whatever's left of her limbs in a position of repose. She looked uncomfortable. The least she could do is make her body rest properly.

"Lachlan," she says softly. She doesn't turn around to look at him, but she did see his reflection come in from one of the reflective surfaces right in front of her. "….if you're planning to go, please don't leave her here. Not here. She can't be laid to rest here." Not in this tainted earth. Not in this wretched butthole of a country. Cass had been a pure soul. There was no way she was going to let her body touch cursed soil.

She closes her eyes for a few moments, and she moves to pack the blood bags away, storing it in the refrigerated storage just in case. They might need it. Cass might not, but they might later. She then moves to try and find a sheet. "Eric," she says, her voice still that same, quiet tone. "Tell Papa. Leave a message if you have to. He'd want to know."

No this wasn't a time for science. It was too emotional. Too raw. Too painful. He just has to stare in shock as it happens, as Peter fails. Nothing happens. The body remains still, Cass remains dead. The end is still…bad. Still poor.

Its almost in a daze as he walks over to the wall to pull a chair over near Peter. Then he silently reaches down to help Peter up into the chair. Its…more something to do. Something to keep his mind away from what he's seeing. His eyes close before he sucks in a soft breath. He stands and looks towards Elena. "…I'll do it." His voice soft and quiet as well. Not quite unemotional, but…not breaking. Trying to remain…steady. Thats all he can explain it.

Looking towards Lachlan as the big scott comes in he pauses a moment in thought then his eyes close. "Elena is right," He says softly. "…I can get her to scottland if you like." He can do it quickly, painlessly.

…or they can go with the nutella jar. Stylish and functional!

He dosn't leave the room though, not yet. He can't. He can't leave them all away. He can't run away. So he hides it, he'll help now. And later. Later he'll break down.

It didn't work.

There's almost a ringing in his ears as Peter stays knelt down on the floor. That might be because he's trying to crush his forehead with his fists. White noise. Could also be a side effect of bloodloss. He'd done a lot today. His stamina may be increasing steadily as he uses abilities more often, but invisibility, regenerating from death, attempting to stop time, healing, flight and invisibility, and then draining two bags worth of blood… his body hasn't caught up yet. And the tragedy of the situation definitely isn't helping. There's one word that filters through. Only one.

Looking up, he glances towards the door, pale, heartbroken, with tears already streaking down his face that he didn't even feel. Right to Lachlan's retreating form. The man who he failed. There has to be something he can do. He has to fix this.

Has to. And he failed.

Hand on a nearby counter, he forces himself to his feet, and then starts to move towards the door. There's people between him and the door, but that's the only way out.

People are talking. Their voices are a little muffled as though underwater, but that's the hearing damage. He should recover from that within the next few days. The Scot pauses and turns to stare at first Elena and then Eric. He just looks tired and smaller than usual, broken. "Can get 'er ta Scotland just fine m'self," he utters to Eric. "She's no' stayin' here." Rolling his shoulders he adds, "'M gonna go lay Abby down, wash 'er up." And he proceeds to limp off again. It gives him something to do — and that keeps him from focusing on what he's lost.

THUDthudTHUDthudTHUDthudTHUD

The sound of footsteps, one a bit more pronounced than the other. Gene is here. He's been working on his creations for the last 24 hours, preparing for the tough days to come. He is dirty and smells like cleaning agents and oil from working on explosive agents and prepping his machines respectively. His left arm is dripping blood above his forearm and there are light burns all around his left hand.

While he came in just for some bandaids and burn salve, he finds a leaving Lachlan who looks like hell. "What the-" is all he manages to get by as the Scot passes by. He just moves into the medbay, looking around to see…

"That Cass?"

And thus Gene steps right in the path of Peter, who's moving for the door. Elena doesn't have the heart to stop him, considering everyone's in the same page. Lachlan….while the person who knows him best is gone, she knows him well enough that leaving him alone was for the best. Forcing him to ….do anything he doesn't want to do, including sticking around, would only get people hurt, and at present that's the last thing she wants.

She drapes the sheet on Cass's legs, and unfolds the stark, white linen. She nods to Gene as he walks in. "Yeah," she tells him quietly. "It's Cass." She folds the linen up like a blanket, and then further up, to cover her face. Part of her felt ill about how her father was going to react. After Dezi, Nita, Luis, Jack, and now Cass…she was almost tempted to NOT say anything. But her father's a freaking telepath. There's no way she can hide this from him. "You're bleeding." She sees the injury.

Walking to the nearby cabinet, she takes out a medkit, and sets it out on the table. "Let me see." She'll patch him up if Gene'll let her, but she's keeping busy at least. Lachlan'll take Cass to Scotland. She has to figure out how to make it easier on him. Cremation seems the most likely choice.

She exhales a quiet breath. Breaking down wasn't an option. She doesn't know when she'll be able to, but if she can function, that means everyone else can. She has to keep moving. She extends a hand out for Gene, so she could look at the injury better.

Eric…really has nothing else to say. He just nods towards Gene as he walks into the medbay. His eyes close as Elena covers up Cass with that white fabric. No, he won't force anyone to stay. He can hardly stay himself. He /should/ go call Ramon is what he should be doing, however he can't bring himself to walk off when…all this is happening. Lachlan is hurt physically. He should stay to get it patched…but…he knows he won't.

He just remains quiet though, looking away from them all as he moves to try to help Elena cover Cass's body. Get it a out of sight.

As Peter leaves in an emotional wreck, Gene gets a good look of the medical room. The fact that Cass is on a slab, torn up like hell, and not attached to an IV allows Gene to understand the worst has come about: Cass has died soon after Jack's MIA status.

Gene doesn't cry, having steeled himself for the worst when Jack went away. After all, he figured Jack was merely a start. He heard the news about an explosion at the Peace Rally and all that… Just didn't know Cass and Lachlan where involved. As Elena moves to him, Gene glances up toward her as he shows her his wounded limb. "Rough couple of weeks" he replies softly in the understatement of the year.

Peter is gone. As soon as he makes it to the hallway, he disappears from sight, invisibility sliding on seamlessly. There's still a few footsteps heard, but it sounds as if he's going towards his room. Hopefully he will be staying there and not fleeing from the relative safety of the Saints base. Either way, his heart has been broken again, and it may take more than a few bandages to fix it.

"It has," Elena says softly, once everyone leaves the room and Eric moves off to call her father. She inspects the wound. "….it's not too bad," she says simply. "We can get away with not stitching you up." She disinfects the wound gently, and while her fingertips are rougher now, her touch remains light. She dabs a soaked cotton ball to swab away the blood and kill the bacteria there, and looks for some medicated pads and gauze to secure the bind.

"Jack's alive," she murmurs to Gene. "At least, Peter….didn't feel him die when he finally got back to me about the items we found in the Carcass House. If he is, and when we get him back…" She closes her eyes. She didn't want to think about a happy reunion between Jack and Trina mangled by this. But Jack had to know.

"How are you holding up?" she asks. "You've been holed up in the lab most days. Anything I can do to help?" She secures the binding around his arm, and uses metal clips to hold the gauze in place.

The young geek winces as the wound is cleansed, but doesn't really offer any sounds of pain. He just listens for the most part as Elena speaks. He'll nag Pete to heal his arm later. He doubts the nurse will let Gene's wounds be, more so when he likely can heal them without too much trouble. "Letting me have my space is more than enough. Had to work out some stuff, but feel better now. The fact that Pete's going back in time to change things makes it a bit easier to swallow. If we know what needs to be done, should be easy enough to ensure things are set right. Then all of this becomes undone or something and we can ensure a better world. If not, well," Gene shrugs, already figuring that Peter might fail. After all, Gene has no idea that time was already changed once before. "We'll just keep on going. If people can keep faith when placed in concentration camps, the least we can do is hold the line when the going gets tough."

After the clips are put into place, Gene moves his arm a bit to test the wrappings. Seems to hold. "After all, to give into grief and pity would just be selfish. At least it would be for me…" Gene sighs. Is he getting too good at emotional disattachment? The struggle of getting too close vs. apathy is a hard line to maintain. "…I know it's different for the rest of you. Last thing I would want to do is trivialize what the rest of the Saints are dealing with. How about you? I know you were close to Cass. You know if there's anything I can do…" He glances toward Eric, but doesn't say anything to the man quite yet. He seems rather silent, so Gene takes that as a 'not now'. McAlister or Elena will likely visit him, Gene figures. If the man seems to be mopping around a few days later, then Gene will get himself involved. After all, Gene has the heart and the spirit of a Saint (at least if Elena's compliments are true), but he is far from a leader or a counselor.

"You're right of course. When's your newest contraption going to be ready?" Elena asks, keeping her mind on business for now as she lets go of Gene's limb, letting him test it. She slides her hands in her pockets as she inclines her head at him. He's right, of course he's right. She's actually never seen Gene cry through the time the Saints have been active, but he can be pretty good at hiding himself. After all, it's hard to see one's face when he's hold up in one room all the time for most hours.

"No it's not. It's human to grieve, and it's healthy," Elena says simply. "It's not weakness." It took her a really damned long while to learn that. It's just that she's learned how to grief while still maintaining the will to function. "So if you want to, you can, and you should." She reaches up to rest her hand gently on Gene's hair, before pulling away again. "Even if there's no one but God watching." When he asks about her, she shakes her head. "I'll grieve my own way. I….have to figure out how to prepare Cass's body. Lachlan's in no shape to do it right now, and neither is anyone else. We have connections, sadly our line of work puts us really close to the Reaper's dance floor. I think cremation would be best. Send her to Scotland in something easy to carry that Lachlan can hold onto." She glances at the sheet covered body. "It's fitting anyway….Lachlan's not the sort of man who loves easily. He'll be holding onto her forever."

Hatred, jealousy, envy, lust, sorrow, and rage… Most of the darker parts of Gene are kept in his lab, usually rechanneled into something more productive or at least held at bay through a variety of means. The hand rests on his head for a moment, causing him to smirk faintly. After listening to Elena, Gene nods. "Letting yourself utlitize grief and losing yourself to it are two different things. One is properly mourn to get into a better place… The other is refusing to move on." As Elena says her thing on Cass's body, he shakes his head. "Unless he tells you to… Wait for his decision. Put her in an ice box if you have to, but considering their relationship, Lachlan should have the final say in it. If he defers it to you, that's fine, but I know if I was to be married to someone I'd be a little pissed if people were burning up my fiance's corpse."

Gene pauses for a moment. The idea of Cass being a corpse… A soft swallow is given as Gene glances toward the ground. Hopefully, she's with God now, hanging out with her dead mommy and playing Heavenly Bingo, where everyone wins at the same time and get really neat prizes like laser vision.

"Either way, my inventions are doing okay…. Nothing really new, just a bit of the same." After all, exploding RC copters and such are not exactly the cutting edge of killbots. Doesn't mean they won't get the job done though.

"Yeah. I just can't approach him right now," Elena says, glancing at the doorway where Eric, Peter, and Lachlan have gone out in. "Lachlan tends to be very obstinate when it comes to Cass. And that was only when she was temporarily indisposed of. Now that she's….gone….forever….I don't know if he'll even be responsive to anything. I better give him some time. It could be days." She exhales a breath and rakes a hand through her hair. "But yeah, I'll load her up in one of the coolers." She closes her eyes for a moment. Cass. Cass.

She hasn't even asked anyone what happened yet. But now wasn't the time.

When Gene swallows softly, she reaches her arm to wrap around Gene's shoulders, squeezing gently in a half-hug as he looks down on the ground. "That's good. We're going to need them," she says. Her fingers twitch a little, resisting the urge to shake - but the attack passes. She remains steady.

"Come on, I'll put her in the cooler, and then I'll make you some coffee. Though honestly I think you should get some rest. You've been working a lot, hell, you work more than me."

The right arm, the good one, snakes around Elena's waist as a tired effort to return the hug. "It's gunna be okay… If you really want to cry, you can. I might even join you if you really don't want to feel alone. If you want, you can leave Cass with me and I'll make sure she's preserved. You don't have to handle everything because you were the second in command."

Figures the week he goes out on a date is the week that all hell breaks loose. Maybe when people are not quite at the end of the rope he'll bring up the good news. Until then, help the leaving, find the missing, and resolve the problems with the dead.

"Oh it'll be fine. I'm sure of it," Elena says, wrapping both arms loosely around his shoulders when he returns the hug with one arm. She buries her face for a moment on his shoulder - but only for a moment. Even now she finds it in her to smile, no matter how rueful. "You've always been so good to me," is all she says. But she doesn't cry. Maybe when it gets too much she will, but she pulls away from Gene, and flicks a lock of hair from his forehead absently.

"We'll do it together," she says. "Besides….you know me, I have no upper body strength whatsoever." Hell, she cheats with Boost. And Gene's robotic arm probabvly could hold back a stampeding bull if he wanted. She lets go slowly, and turns to head for Cass's body so they can get to preserving it, so she'll be intact, what's left of her, for Lachlan to make a decision.

"I try" is all Gene says with a small smile. For some reason, he gives a sigh as Elena releases him, only giving a glance toward the hair as it moved from his forehead. About two seconds later, it moves down. Sadly, it was due to gravity, not Hairkinesis. Merely nodding to the offer for help, Gene merely moves toward Elena to assist. Gene's arm sadly can't fend off pulls since it supported by his very human spinal cord, but with the help of the leg, it can definte get the slowly decaying body of the coolest book store owner ever (at least to Gene's knowledge).

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