2007-09-25: Room for Two

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Zach_icon.gif

Summary: Claire finally tells part of the dark family secret to the only friend she seems to have left.

Date It Happened: September 25, 2007

Room for Two


Queens, NYC — Bennet Home

After school, Claire came almost immediately home. But she didn't come alone. She unlocks the door and then peers inside the foyer. "Mom?" She takes a step inside, allowing her fingers to linger on the edge of the door as she tries to look down the hall and into the kitchen. "You home?"

Silence.

Opening the door wider, Claire's blue eyes are wide as she gestures emphatically 'come in.' "C'mon," she whispers loudly — the volume raised by adrenaline — despite the fact that she seems to have proven that no one's here yet. "I think she and Lyle are gone."

"This is just like Mission Impossible. The original, not the Cruise franchise. Not that there's anything wrong with those."

The words are coming from Zachary, in all of his filming glory. Even though he's following closely behind Claire, trying to keep a low profile, he's got his camera up and filming this entire process. Mostly, well, the back of Claire… 's head. The back of Claire's head.

"Aw, you guys brought the twerp?" Zach drops the camera and hasn't elected to follow Claire's hushed whisper of adrenaline, when it comes to talking about the BFF's little bratty brother. "You couldn't like… sell him? Craig's List is happening right now…"

"Shut that thing off," Claire replies with a small hint of agitation as she looks at the camera, which he already seems to be in the process of doing, pushing her housekey back into the pocket of her jeans. "If Dad finds out I'm bringing people to the house, I'm dead. You shouldn't leave digital evidence." Even if it was her who screwed up with the digital evidence last time. "But, yeah. Mom had him unpacked and everything by the time I got here, so by then it was already too late." Once Zach's inside, Claire turns and carefully latches the door, and then readjusts her backpack on her shoulder before slipping past him. She moves to trot up the stairs, sending her stick-straight blonde ponytail bouncing. "My room's upstairs."

"Sorry." Zach's reluctant with the pulling of the camera down and that's the whole reason why he's turning the camera off. He doesn't really want to get this girl in more trouble than she probably will be getting into in the first place. "Wait. So… your Father's gotten more overprotective since…" He realizes what he's about to say and tucks the camera away with hanging it around his neck by the strap. Focusing back on the subject of Claire's room, he smiles. "You know, if I wasn't me, I'd consider you taking me to your room to be a proposition." Oh, the playful words of homosexual best friend forever! He is gay, right?

"C'mon, before Mom gets home." However, the little comment manages to wrest a smile onto Claire's lips. Her admonition allows her to dodge answering the light banter with any real weight, and it's only a few yards down the upstairs hall that she has to walk before pushing her bedroom door open. "There was a… thing," she confesses once the door opens, finally addressing the matter of her father. "It's kinda why we're here."

"A thing. Which /usually/ tends to translate into juicy gossip. Which, for the record, is the only reason I still hang out with you. Y'know, me being a popular college guy and all." Oh, the self-depricating sarcasm is all over these words as Zach follows the blonde into her bedroom. A good place to be, probably. Of course, the first thing he does is head towards the window to check it. There needs to be a tree out there if he's going to be coming to visit on a regular basis. "So. Let me guess. On top of you being Wonder Girl… your father's really a top secret spy for MI6 and Mr. Muggles is an alien. Am I right or am I right?"

"Mr. Muggles isn't an alien," Claire replies quickly, the truth coming more easily than the next bit that's going to have to come out of her mouth. "And Dad isn't a spy for MI6." It's the Company. Which is probably worse. Not needing to look at her best friend immediately, Claire's brow crinkles a little. Sliding her backpack off of her arm, the blonde tucks it neatly between her comfy chair and the wall. Then she crosses the room to sit tailor-style on the middle of her bed.

It takes her a few moments to be able to look up from the artificially rounded waist that comes from the silver puffed coat-vest that she wears and finally look at Zach again. "There's something you gotta know, Zach, if we're gonna keep hangin' out. But I need to know that you're not going to tell anyone."

"Claire. I've kept your secret forever and I'll continue to keep it forever. Flying Monkeys couldn't pry it from my dead, cold, lips." There's nothing going on that Zach can't handle. Not that he knows what he doesn't know, but he's too busy heading for the arm chair that's off in the corner. So that he can get comfy for the whole spiel of what's going on. What he's been trying to find out since he met up with Claire again.

"I'm all ears. I swear, I won't tell a soul anything you don't want them to know."

Claire's brow doesn't release those deep creases, nor do her lips relinquish their deep frown. She really hopes she's not making a mistake. Her attention is raptly focused on the college boy in front of her, waiting for him to run screaming. "While we were in Texas, some people found out about me. …We had to leave. Which is why we moved to California." And changed their names. "They… they found us there, too. Found me. They made me go with them without telling Mom or Dad and…" Lowering her eyes, the teenaged girl is left to pick at an invisible bit of lint on the cuff of the long-sleeved black knit shirt she wears under her vest. "…and it was really bad."

She takes a moment to collect herself, and then continues without lifting her gaze. "Dad figured it out and came to get me about four or five months ago. And so now we're here and--" She takes another deep breath. "—and I completely understand if you never wanna hang out with me again. But you have to know that knowing me probably isn't going to be any sort of recipe for fantastic." How many more times can she say 'and'? Is that possibly the world's longest run-on sentence? Ponderances for another time; there are more important things to consider.

Listening. That's the most important thing on the agenda right now, since there happens to be some serious words coming from the mouth of Wonder Girl. The fact of the matter is that Zach Moyer is doing his best to pay attention. He ends up on the edge of the seat he's chosen, leaning on his knees as he follows the story. Literally hanging on every one of Claire's words. It's like he's being drawn into a movie or something. He can visualize every single phrase in his mind and there's not a thing anyone can do to stop him. Not that they would.

"So. Let me get this straight." It's hard to read Zach at this moment, since he's doing his acting thing. His expression is plain, as if there's nothing attached to it. No feelings. No nothing. He's just… Zach. "You and the Fam are being hunted by some people that know what you can do. And you're telling me this because you don't want me to what? Be your friend? Be there for you? Do whatever the hell it takes to keep you and the Fam safe from these assholes?" Yes, he just said Assholes. "You can pretty much forget it, if that's what you're waiting for me to say. We've known each other, off and on, for most of our natural lives. Or at least the parts that count. Which means that you're destined to be the heroine and I'm a shoe-in for Plucky Comic Relief." And the Zach Man is flashing a smile. Smiles of doom. Or something.

"I don't know about all of that," Claire manages with a weak smile. It breaks up the creases in the surface of her face, keeping things new and interesting in her distress. "Heroines usually… do something." Then the smile dissipates, sinking back to the depths from whence it came. "There's more people that are… that are like me. They do different things, but… yeah. It's really dangerous, Zach." Her hands run over her face, slender fingers finally finding their way up to her hair and lodging there. "I shouldn't be telling you all this. But I just want someone to know who I am. Someone who doesn't have to pretend they care just because they're family or wanna make me some unbreakable science toy."

"I just want you to be the star of my first film. You're amazing in front of the camera." Zach's always ignoring the severity of situations like this. Which could prove to be bad news later on down the road. But for now, he's handling his business quite well. And working on this whole Plucky Comic Relief angle. "Look. It goes like this. As long as I have a choice, I'm going to be by your side. As long as you want me there, anyway." He shrugs, quite unsure of what may or may not be in store. "So. At the risk of sounding like a bad comic book loser. Let's find them. Let's find the other people that can do what you do and start a club or league or something…"

Claire's reaction is quick. Visceral. Her eyes open wide. "No!" Finally pushing herself off the bed, she makes the way to Zach's perch on the chair in order to grab both of his hands. "You can't tell anybody." Because you don't know who's safe and who's not. Who the company has already gotten to, and who they haven't. Who will uphold your trust, and who will betray you. "I can't risk the wrong people finding out we're here. My family, they've given up everything to try to keep me safe. I don't want to make them give up everything all over again."

If Zach had any uses for quick reflexes and such, he probably would be better at reacting to the reaction from the cheerleader. But alas, he's just a little shaken up by what's taken place. His eyes are a little wide, but he can see that Claire's going through it with this whole thing. "Alright, alright. I won't say a word about anything to anyone and I'll even trash the tape. If that'll make you feel better." Though, there's still a sigh. "I don't think hiding is the way to save the day, but, we gotta' start somewhere, right?"

Hiding is the perfect way to save the day. It's the only way Claire knows she can help. She's not a fighter like Peter or… or anything useful, really. The only thing she can do is make sure she survives and keeps her family out of harm's way as much as she can for her part. Throwing her arms around Zach's neck, she buries her face in his shoulder, ponytail partially obscuring her face. "Thank you."

Blinking. Much ado about blinking. For, you see, Zach never intended to be the confidant. He was just the cameraman, along for the whirlwind adventure and witty remarks. He was just along for the ride! Now, though, he's getting to see that side of Claire that he's only glimpsed before. And his own steel visage is forced to soften in an attempt to bring things down to her level. Arms come up and he can't stop them from wrapping around her in one of those 'it'll be okay' hugs. "Don't mention it."

Claire heaves a deep breath. Maybe Zach wasn't ever supposed to be the confidante. Or maybe he always was, and that's how they met again, hundreds of miles away… in a coffee shop that thousands pass through every day. A cosmic fate of such magnitude that neither could escape it. For now, it's a comforting thought. "You know what I want?" the cheerleader says after a very long moment. "Popcorn. Let's… go get some popcorn."

Zach is not sure if he should be letting this slide so easily. This was a very deep conversation. And yet, the key to surviving such things is to just… live. So without much else to do, he plasters on his usual smile and gives a nod. But there's some skepticism in his eyes. "… It better have extra butter. Or I'm history."

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