2008-01-19: When Family Matters

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif

Summary: Claire meets with her father to talk. It all goes wrong when they cut to the chase.

Date It Happened: January 19th, 2008

When Family Matters


Kirby Plaza

The hour has turned into evening, the shorter hours of winter making this come sooner, the clouds overhead eagerly blotting out the last remaining traces of sunlight until there was nothing left except the black above. Light pollution from Manhattan shows the contours of clouds but otherwise, there are no stars out tonight.

Kirby Plaza.

The red sculpture is lit up for the evening, but the square is empty, devoid of people save for, on occasion, the random passerby cutting through on their way home, or somewhere else. There is one person lingering, though, pacing back and forth slowly and seemingly relaxed. Dressed entirely in black, as this makes for more discreet flying - a black coat button shut, dark slacks visible and polished shoes on his feet. A navy blue shirt's collar can be seen where the coat opens a fraction. No suit and tie. He's not playing Senator right now.

His pacing comes to a halt, observing the landmark of significence. No, not the twisted red statue, but a point on the ground people walk by every day. Are there still burn marks from when Peter had begun to go nuclear? Before Nathan had swept him up into the sky, rescuing Peter from a fate at the hands of the girl he's asked to meet tonight. Lost in thought, Logan almost misses her approach.

Time has passed since the fateful last meeting with Sylar. Claire has, since then, become decidedly more quiet. She's done what her adoptive father has asked her, to the most precise detail. The teenager has come home when she's supposed to, stayed purposefully and painfully average, and refused candy from all passing strangers.

The person who rang on her cellphone, however, was no stranger.

When she quietly slips out of the cab, the blonde Bennet passes a large chunk of her allowance to him. She, too, wears a lot of black, but it's broken by a bright white scarf, denim jeans, and white piping on the hip-length trench coat she wears. Her hair is pulled back from her face by a thick black earmuff/headband sort of thing, leaving her curls to dance about her face in the frigid Manhattan breeze as she plunges her hands into her front coat pockets and watches the man drive off.

And then she turns towards Kirby Plaza and begins walking, looking for that spark of the familiar form that brought her here.

Slowly, foot steps begin to echo as Claire heads into the plaza. It's empty enough for it to catch Logan's attention, head lifting and turning on his heel. He keeps a hand in the generous pocket of his trench coat, but the other one lifts, showing his palm in a still wave and a fleeting smile. Not so unlike Nathan, as he closes the distance between them for a few paces, the flat soles of his shoes making quieter noise against the pavement. He's clean shaven, hair combed, very much the politician in the media if not for what he's wearing. "Did you get here okay?" he asks.

"Yeah," Claire offers in reply, shoulders shrugging a little. "Mom gave me a little static going out the door, but I told her I was studying at a friend's house." She tilts her head a little to the side, looking at Nathan with a little bit of curiosity painting itself on her features. Her feet twist a little, boot heels clicking together with the nervous grace of Dorothy herself. "So what's up? Your message didn't really say a whole lot."

"Family matters," Logan says, with a twist of a smile, although it fades again. He doesn't pace, as much as he wants to, strangely restless tonight, and to show it would be telling. And if there's anything that Nathan is when around his daughter, it's guarded, closed off, or so is Logan's perception of such an interaction. There's a light if continual and icy breeze that slithers through the plaza, ruffling hair and clothes, making the lapels of his coat flap a little. "Peter's been missing. I've tried," read: Heidi's tried, "to get a hold of him but there's nothing. He hasn't said anything to you, has he?"

"What do you mean, Peter's missing?" Claire's eyes widen, and her lips set into a horrified, straight line. "I mean, no. He didn't say anything to me, but I guess he and Dad had a fight because I'm not supposed to be talking to him." When her blue eyes regain their usual diameter, the regenerating girl bites her lips for a second as she thinks. "Do… Do you think he went to the future again?" she finally asks, leaning forward and whispering.

Logan shakes his head a little, but not in denial. The idea casts a look of true worry, in fact, concern for this variable rippling over his features in the form of a frown tugging at his mouth and a line appearing between his eyebrows, before smoothing out again. Not concern for Peter's safety. But for his own. "I don't know. I wouldn't put it past him," he says, words clipped with disdain for his younger brother. "Don't worry about it, I thought I'd ask while we're here. That's not why I asked you here."

He steps away from her, both hands now emerging from his pockets. There is a slight heaviness to one side, fabric pulling from something hidden in his pocket, but it's not so obvious as to be a distraction. He turns away, searching out the space, and then points. "Do you remember it, Claire?" he asks, casting a glance at her over his shoulder. "That night. I want to know something. How close were you to pulling the trigger?"

Claire blinks in confusion as her head rears back, her forehead erupting into a deeply furrowed field. And then there's a bewildered shake of that head, sending blonde curls dancing about her darkly clad shoulders as she fights a nearly sneering curl of her upper lip from forming. "What?" Her question is not to be mistaken for ignorance. She knows precisely what Nathan is asking her, but she is so shocked that he'd actually ask her that nothing else seems to be an even remotely appropriate response.

"Shooting Peter in the head," Logan clarifies, as if it needs clarification. He turns back towards her, pivoting with his head tilted back as if he could identify, through the clouds, where Peter had finally gone nuclear. "It would have been me or you, Claire. Never mind Peter. You'd have sold a piece of your soul to save New York but in the end, it was me. Not just physically, you understand, because those scars heal, as you well know. But there's only so much your blood can do." And his gaze drops to meet her's. It's not angry, or sad, or any real emotion. The analytical nothingness is a mask Nathan never got the hang of. For all his lying and political game face, he could never really achieve a shark-stare. Logan can. "But it can do enough."

Under that stare, Claire takes a step back and has to consciously force her breathing to remain at its typical depth and speed. She can't help but retreat that few inches, trying to claim more space. "I don't understand why it matters now," she finally manages to spit out, white knit-glove wrapped hands emerging from her pockets so she can wrap her arms about herself protectively. "It's over and done with. We don't have to talk about this. Why are we?"

There we go, a flicker of anger at her dismissal of the topic. One that means everything. Logan's head rears up a little as he regards her, mouth setting a line, before he nods. "Cutting to the chase," he says. "You get that from me. Sort of." His hand dips back into his pocket, withdrawing what at first appears to be a shotgun, although it becomes clear that the barrel has been sawed short. Good for hunting when in wooded areas, or, alternatively, concealing in more urban settings. There's no other explanation from Logan, no answer to her question, swinging the weapon up to balance in both hands, aiming for the girl's chest. The detonating sound of the bullet being fired fills the air.

A shotgun.

There's nothing in the world that could have prepared Claire for this moment of betrayal. Paralyzed not so much by fear — she is the unstoppable regenerator after all — as she is by the deep, searing pain of the hurt delivered her by her father. Things had been getting better. They were supposed to start talking. Even the feeling of the bullet piercing her chest and exploding out of her back cannot compare to the feeling of her biological father ripping her heart asunder.

At least, not to this teenage girl.

The shot easily catcher her off-guard and lands squarely upon its mark, sending Claire's slender, slight form flying backwards about a foot before she lands on the ground with a sick crack. There's a cough, wet and stifled, that shakes her body after that, her back arching upwards and hands splaying on the sidewalk as if to grab ahold of it in her agony. God, that hurts. Why couldn't he just 'kill' her in that first shot? Lips are colored pink by the blood already frothing up, her body taking precious moments before it starts kicking in to heal.

The sawed-off barrel swings, pointed at the ground, as Logan approaches. The blood has already made her dark jacket darker, the white scarf wrapped about her throat suddenly splotched with red. These details he takes in with a casual sweep of his gaze, emptying the shotgun of its spent shell with a jerking movement.

Chnk-CHNK.

For a moment, he points the weapon again, considering wounding her further, to slow down the process. It's not really a hard decision to make for someone like him. It's practical. The trigger is pulled. The bullet cracks cement beneath her, passing through her torso, collapsing a lung. A quick glance around before the weapon is pocketed, other hand going into his other pocket and extracting plastic seals. He crouches, reaching for her wrists to loop the seals around them, to tighten and bind. Eye contact isn't made, focused on his task.

Claire cries out this time, air escaping her lung in more places than it's supposed to. It's everything she can do to keep consciousness, and her body convulses several times as that perforated lung flattens inside after a few valiant efforts to draw air. She's losing a lot of blood though gaping holes. Yet, somehow, her icy blue gaze finally tears itself from the starless sky to settle on the man who is doing this to her. The one who had promised that he wasn't only using her for her blood. He swore.

He lied.

Tears leak out from the corners of her eyes, just as much from the unsubsiding pain as from this dark violation. When she finally manages words, they're choked by blood and other bits of flesh trying to escape through her esophagus. "Why?"

Her wrists are bound together, not enough to disturb circulation, but it certainly cuts into skin. This task done, Logan stays crouched beside her, as if admiring a job well done before he finally meets her gaze. His hand drifts up to touch her face, a paternal gesture, pushing strands of blonde hair back, a thumb brushing away a track of tears. "We all have to pay the price for a better world, Claire," he says, without kindness. "Consider this your contribution."

He grips the fabric of her jacket, using that to haul her up, getting to his feet and dragging her similarly. His arms tighten around her so that she won't collapse, or perhaps even run away. "You're gonna make us all proud," Logan murmurs against her hair, and a moment later, the ground is no longer beneath their feet, the cold rush of wind around them making a tunnel as they lift up into the night sky.

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