2007-02-25: Persuasive Measures

Starring:

Noah_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif

Special Guest Star: It's a MYSTERY!

Summary: Noah is a man of complex morals. This more or less proves it.

Date It Happened: February 25th, 2007

Persuasive Measures


Butler Residence - Costa Verde, California

Two thirty in the morning should be a deep sleep cycle for most people. Noah Bennet has no idea if that applies to the teenager sleeping in his daughter's bedroom. Or whether or not it is in fact his daughter. Silent feet carry him to her door, to listen outside. Then into her room, eyes already adjusted to the dark. Moving very carefully, very slowly he goes to sit on the edge of Claire's bed. His left hand reaches for hers, the one that was burned earlier today. His right hand, hanging over the side of the bed, holds a Company issue gun. Noah reaches for her hand with a firm grip, and squeezes.

One thing Claire is not is especially perceptive; Noah's presence goes mostly unnoticed even as he sits on the bed, though she stirs just slightly, murmuring as she shifts her weight. It isn't until his hand grips hers that she can really be said to wake, and her eyes flutter open slowly, slowly… she sits up, a frown marking her brow. "Dad?" A quick glance to the clock tells her the hour, which does little to settle her racing heart. "What is it? What's wrong?"

Noah smiles faintly. It may be her, and he would hate to terrify his own daughter. With increasing pressure, he rubs his thumb over her knuckles and the back of her hand, where he hopes he remembers her burning it. "Oh, I've just been thinking about things," Noah says. He presses harder with his thumb. "You know I worry about you."

Oh, he's spot-on with where he's applying pressure. Claire is doing her model best not to make it obvious by chewing on her lower lip, but the pressure keeps increasing, too, and it's clearly having an effect. "I know," she replies, sounding dismissive, trying to smile reassuringly. She falls short when her smile is cut off by a sudden, fleeting wince. "You shouldn't worry. Buuut you're going to anyway."

What faint light there is reflects off of Noah's lenses, his eyes searching her face and body language carefully. He relaxes the pressure, letting her think it's done. "I know this hasn't been easy on you," Noah says, and suddenly squeezes her hand again. "On any of you," he adds, and shifts his weight on the bed, leaning on her hand briefly.

This time, the pressure is such that there's a hiss of pain from Claire - one that she instantly regrets, hoping it goes unnoticed. She tries to pull her hand away, though it's more of a reflex than anything. Sitting up a bit straighter on the bed, Claire sucks in a breath, steeling herself against the pain. "Don't worry," she reiterates, shaking her head. A perceptive person might notice a change in intonation. "I know you're just doing what you have to do."

"That's right," Noah says with an almost fatherly smile. "I'm just doing what I have to do." If the room is too dark to see, the click sound as he raises his right hand should suitably indicate what he's holding. "Where is my daughter?"

"Dad?!" In the low light of the room, Claire's eyes widen as she searches for the source of the click. A speck of light glinting off the metal handgun is enough. She jerks her hand away, too, trying to scurry back from the man holding the gun. "What are you doing?" She sounds genuinely spooked by this turn of events, and a flick of her eyes to the door suggests that she just might be thinking of bolting. "I'm right *here*."

"Try it," Noah says, his manner entirely changed. There is a cold rage in his voice, and he snaps the gun up, pointing it directly at her. "Or I'll blow off one of your knees. Something that wouldn't inconvenience Claire for more than a few seconds." Contempt and anger laces his voice. "Did you people really think I'd fall for this twice?"

"Fall for what?" The longer this goes on, the more frightened Claire is beginning to seem, her breathing shallow, heart beating so hard and fast it feel like it might burst. "W-what are you talking about?" Her hands are gripping the bedsheets now, her eyes transfixed on Noah. Everything still gives the impression of being Claire: the voice, the physique, the terrified look on her face. "You're scaring me."

"I've had my daughter shot once to protect this family, and I will do it again," Noah says fiercely, eyes wide. Noah stands up slowly and grips the gun with both hands in a shooter's stance. "Claire honey, if you wake up in a few moments I will spend the next few years making this up to you. You've got five seconds."

Five, four, three… two… there's an audible sigh of frustration from Claire, her demeanor shifting, though the fear doesn't completely fade. "Where do you think she is?" She makes no attempt to move from the bed. "We have her where we can keep an eye on her." There's a faint smirk that appears on her face then, turning up one corner of her mouth in a mischievous way. "We've been fooling you for months."

Noah tenses, his spine straightening. He knew, he knew but he didn't entirely believe. But that's not his baby lying in bed in front of him. "Where is she!" Noah's voice roars, and rage is written across his face. There is no barking, no lights turning on and hurried footsteps from a worried wife or mother. The house is silent.

Well, that's certainly unsettling. Deep down, some part of Claire was hoping that she could rely on the other occupants to dissuade Noah from being quite so dramatic. Because she was expecting this moment from the first step she set inside the house. Still, the bellow from Noah takes her aback, and she sits stunned for a few seconds, hesitating. "Telling you," she says, her voice breaking on the first word, "wouldn't make it much of a challenge, would it?"

The silenced pistol still makes enough sound to be heard. Fluffs of stuffing and shredded fabric puff up from the bed as the pistol spits out two shots, one on either side of the bed. "You really don't want to know how far I'll go to find her."

"Try me, tiger," faux-Claire says, a wicked smirk flashing across her face in an instant of sudden bravado. Sure, the shots both made the girl flinch, even eliciting a quick sound of surprise. But for every threat Noah gives her, she's likely heard twice as many from the Company. "You wouldn't kill me. Not when I'm your best shot at finding her right now."

"Oh, I have no intention of killing you," Noah says, and there is an element of the predator in his smile. Noah keeps the gun in one hand as he approaches the bed, his left hand free.

"Riiight." Claire seems unimpressed by this turn of events, though it's difficult to tell what's going on behind the brave facade. She hasn't even bothered to drop the illusion of being his daughter, just to add insult to injury. This is about where she finally does attempt to get up from the bed, moving quickly to get to her feet, provided he doesn't stop her before she can.

Noah doesn't hesitate, though there is an internal wince as he swings his arm to bring the butt of the gun down with force at the head of what appears to be his daughter. "My wife will kill me if I get blood on the carpet, so I'd rather not shoot you just yet."

Sleeping is one thing. Faux-Claire has perfected her control over her power to the point where she can fall into a deep sleep without worrying about her appearance changing. Unconsciousness, however, is a different matter entirely. When the butt of the pistol makes contact with her head, there's a hollow sound followed by a *thud* as the girl falls to the floor. Instantly, things change: after several seconds, Claire is no more, and in her place, there's a young man. He can't be more than twenty-five, if that. There's an unhealed burn on one hand, the other marked with a slash across the palm. And he's lying on the floor of Claire Bennet's bedroom, out cold.

Noah straightens up and frowns, breathing a bit heavily. "That's disturbing," Noah says to no one in particular. He sets about tying up the young man, realizing the uncertainty of that with someone who is apparently a shapeshifter. At least it's not Candice.

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