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Disclaimer: The only thing here that is mine is the character of Brenna McAlister and her dog Buddy.  I don't get paid for this; I'm just a fan having fun. 

Rating: PG mostly due to language and most kids might freak at some of the subject matter


Characters: Claude, Brenna (original) Buddy (original) also some mentioning of Claude’s pigeons, Peter, Simone,  Isaac, HRG, and the Haitian

Note:  I wrote this late on February 19 early February 20, 2007.  This is connected with my last fic “On the Run”.

Spoilers: Possibly for episodes 16 and on, could be alternate reality.  I based it off some info from interviews and what I’ve seen of Claude in episodes 12-16.

 

 

Still Running

 

                Brenna frowned as she scrutinized the vision of Simone on the roof of the Deveaux Building.  “Wait,” she began, “I don’t think it’s the present or even the future.”  Her eyes were far away, but she was able to make them focus.  “Now, I’m sure, it’s the past.  I can see you there, Claude, waiting for her and Isaac to leave.  Sometimes it takes more effort for me to get the time frame…”  Brenna’s voice broke off as she saw multiple images and scenes flood her vision.  It was enough to make almost anyone dizzy, even Brenna.  She shook her head, trying to get her bearings, and waited for her eyes to refocus on the here and now.  That done, Brenna dashed back into her dad’s bedroom, frantically searching for something.

                Claude was puzzled by this behavior, even though he’d only just met this woman.  “What is it?  What’s wrong?  What exactly are you looking for?”

                “My tarot cards.”

                “What for?”

                Brenna kept searching as she answered Claude,” I started getting flooded with a jumble of images after I got enough of a look to see that you were up on that roof.  It’s all mixed up, like trying to watch 5 movies at once in fast forward.  The cards help me sort things out when they get all jumbled up like that.  I haven’t needed them so much lately.  Usually I just see stuff and can make sense on my own.”

                Claude still looked a bit puzzled, but he also looked curious.  “You didn’t need them earlier, when you were seeing stuff for me,” he ventured.

                “Like I said, I don’t always need them.  In the beginning, when I first started to see , it was all jumbled up and I found that by sorting the cards I was able to sort what I had seen.’  Brenna went over to the bed and reached a hand under the pillow.  From the condition of the bedding, it was obvious she’d been sleeping in it.  “There!” she cried triumphantly as she pulled her hand out and a small bag with it.

                “You sleep with your cards?” Claude asked, giving Brenna an incredulous look.

                “I never know when I might need them,” she replied then noticed the look he was giving her.  “What?”

                “You shouldn’t need them at all.  They’re what, your talisman?  There’s no magic in them y’know.  It’s all you: you seeing me.  What does that tell you?  You didn’t have your cards on you when you saw me upstairs.”

                “Like I said, I’m needing them less and less lately.  I just need them on the rare occasion, like now, when it’s gotten all jumbled.”

                Claude folded his arms across his chest and quietly waited while Brenna laid out a cloth on the coffee table and shuffled the deck.  Brenna laid the cards out in a 5 card hose shoe pattern.  The cards were, from left to right: the 9 of Pentacles, Death, the Hermit, the Queen of Cups, and the 5 of Cups.  When Claude saw the Death card, he remarked,”Oh Death.  Please don’t tell me someone’s gonna die.”

                “No.  That’s not the traditional meaning for that card,” Brenna began, but her voice trailed off as she looked at the cards.  She saw briefly what she had seen before, the duo on the roof with Claude and the pigeons.  The next image was Simone, shot and bleeding, with Isaac nearby holding a smoking gun, and another man was there holding Simone’s collapsed form.  He was young with dark hair and the front locks kept falling in his face.  Brenna figured he must be Peter Petrelli.  Then Brenna saw herself and Claude where they were now, but the view was from an external perspective.  Her view flashed again, and she saw the two of them again, only this time they were in Brenna’s apartment.  Then, the last thing she saw was Peter, alone and obviously upset, up on the roof, feeding the pigeons.  Slowly, Brenna’s vision returned to the present.

                “What did you see?”  Claude asked her, once he was sure she’d come out of it.

                “Simone’s been shot.  I think Isaac-,” she began but Claude cut her off.

                “Bloody wanker!  I knew he was trouble, and a traitor, but even I didn’t think he would stoop that low!”

                “I think it was an accident.  There was another man in the room with them.  He was holding Simone.  He’s young with dark hair and these forelocks that just keep getting in his face.”

                “That would be Peter.”

                “I thought as much.”

                “Is he,” Claude began, sounding a bit anxious, but then he detached himself as he continued, his voice devoid of any concern, “is Peter alive?”

                “Yes.  He was holding Simone, and uninjured.  The last thing I saw was him up on the roof feeding the pigeons.”

                “What else did you see?”

                “I saw you and me here, and also in my apartment.”

                When Brenna mentioned her apartment, Claude’s face gained a look of surprise followed by a flash of recognition.  He looked at Brenna, studying her, scrutinizing her.   Then he said, “I think I’ve seen you before.  That brown is your natural colour, isn’t it, but you sometimes change it don’t you?”

                “Yes. Why?

                “You ever have it red?  And by red I don’t mean an orange or a copper.  I mean red, like the lorries the firemen use, or a like stop light, or a cardinal.”

                “Yes.  I used to.”  Brenna was puzzled.  She wasn’t sure where Claude was going with this.

                “Your flat-apartment, it’s behind a post office, isn’t it?”

                “It is.  Why?”

                “Take me there.”

                Brenna shrugged, but decided the best way to find out what Claude wanted, was to do as he’d asked.  So she confined Buddy to kitchen, and she and Claude left via the garage.  As the duo got into Brenna’s Dodge Neon, Brenna closed the garage with her remote that was mounted on her car’s visor.  Claude was quiet for the 20 minute ride that it took to reach Brenna’s apartment.  It wasn’t until they were inside her apartment that Claude finally spoke.  “Lock the door.”

                “I was gonna do that anyway.”

                While Brenna was dead bolting the door and putting the chain up, Claude was having a look around.  Claude also made it a point to look out the windows, too.  Though he saw no sign of HRG or the Haitian, Claude still looked nervous.  “Brenna, I need you to take off your shirt, so I can see your shoulders.”

                Brenna was puzzled but could tell because of how Claude had said it that he had a very good reason.  She briefly recalled having seen Claude, in an earlier vision, get injected by a gun-like object in his right shoulder, near his neck.  She shed her blouse, saying as she did so, “You could have done this back at my parents’.”

                “That’s not why I had you bring me here.  Something else occurred to me after we’d arrived here.”

                Brenna had gotten her blouse off and she now was wearing just a bra tank.  “Will this suffice?”

                “It’ll do,” Claude replied as he walked over to take a closer look.  “This scar here on your left shoulder, how did you get that?”

                “I got hit by a car in the early ‘90’s.  I was leaving my job at a grocery store, and this woman in a Nissan Pathfinder wasn’t paying attention.  She was messing with something on her floorboards and didn’t see me, so she wound up side-swiping me.  I wound up with a sprained left shoulder, some cuts where that scar is, and some road rash on my left knee.”

                Claude frowned a bit because it didn’t exactly look like what he’d feared it might be.  The possibility existed that it might still be what he’d though, so he pressed on.  “You ever go missing but couldn’t recall where you’d been?”

                “No.”

                “You ever wake up with a massive killer headache?”

                “Usually about once a month, I get one.  Sometimes I get one after I’ve tried to see too hard why?”

                “How long have you been getting the headaches?”

                “They started in ’96.”

                “Was that when you got hit?”

                “No.   The car hit me much earlier.  It was like in ’91, or 92.”

                Claude paused, deep in thought, and considering his options.  He wondered how much Brenna knew, and how much he should tell her.  True, Claude was not the trusting sort, and he tended to avoid almost everyone, but Brenna had proven an ally, at the very least.   She had had more than ample opportunity to betray him and hadn’t done so.  If anything, she was going out of her way to help him, and they barely knew each other.  Claude adjusted his shirt, exposing his right shoulder, and the odd double line scar that was there.  “Look here.  D’you see it?”

                Brenna took a look, and realized that the gun-like object she’d seen in her vision must have caused it.  “You were looking for a mark like that on me, weren’t you?”

                “Yes.  The way it works is you disappear off the face of the earth for a few days, then wake up with a killer headache, a hole in your memory, and that souvenir.  That’s what those people who showed up at your parents’ do, and those who work with them.  Then they track you like bloody animals, if you’re one of the lucky ones.”

                Brenna could hear the venom in Claude’s voice as he gave her the explanation, even if she hadn’t been able to sense it.  “You were worried they might have gotten to me.”  It was a statement not a question.

                “I couldn’t help wondering if they’d just been tracking me or if they were tracking you as well.”

                “I don’t think they have a clue about me, beyond that exchange I had with that Bennet creep.  Why did you bring me here, Claude?”

                “I needed to see myself, so I could be sure.  I’ve been here before.”

                “When?”

                “Almost 7 years ago.  I was hiding in the attic mostly.  No one bothered me up there.  I did occasionally come down into the flats though.”

                “And I’m sure you can see I’m still a lousy house keeper,” Brenna offered, not sure where Claude was going.  He didn’t strike her as the sort who liked to reminisce.

                “Lousy according to whom?  Parents who barely acknowledge you?  Or to that sorry excuse of human being who dared call himself your boyfriend, once?”

                Brenna was speechless, and her face had gone white.  She opened her mouth as if to say something, but was unable to.

                Claude continued.  “I was here.  I know what went on, and I could hear the fights up in the attic.  I saw the way he toyed with you,and then abandoned you, once he’d no further use.  I dunno what he said to you on the phone after he’d left, but whatever it was you’re better off without him.”

                Brenna was still speechless, and her face was ghostly white.

                Quietly, Claude approached her.  “I’m right, aren’t I?”  Gently, he took her hands, and turned them over so he could see her scars that crossed her forearms.  “Mind telling me where you got these from, if I’m not?”

                “I-,“ she began, her voice faltering, but she swallowed hard and began again.  “That was you?!?”

                “Who’d you think pulled you out of the tub and bandaged your arms until someone could bring you to hospital?”

                “I thought I was going insane.  I didn’t know what to think.  I had thought I was alone here.  I didn’t see you then.”  It was then that Brenna was able to place his voice and accent.  He’d spoken to her when he’d rescued her all those years ago.

                “Of course you didn’t!  I was invisible.”  Claude had to grin a bit at that, but the grin faded as another thought occurred to him.  “You can see me, now.  Were you able to see then?”

                “Not as well. Just about everyone would tell me I was crazy, him included.  The only time that one gave me any credit for my talents was if it was of use to him.”

                “So that’s why you keep the cards.  You still doubt yourself.  That’s probably why you haven’t been able to get those lottery numbers like you’d mentioned earlier.”  When Claude said lottery, he noticed that Brenna briefly looked away.  “What is it?”

                “I actually can pick numbers.”

                “So why are you living in a place like this?  Why are you watching your parents’ dog while they go on holiday?”  Claude realized the answer just as he was finishing asking the question.  “You gave it to them, didn’t you?  Why?”

                “I figured a small win; enough for them to retire on and take a trip or two would prove to them what I could do.”

                “It didn’t work did it?”

                “No.”

                “So why didn’t you see your own numbers and get a big win for yourself?”

                “This is gonna sound strange, “she began.

                “Stranger than and invisible man talking to a seer? I doubt it.”

                “I was waiting for you,” she replied simply.  The she noticed Claude’s expression, and said, “No not for sappy stuff.  I told you I had dreams and visions concerning you.  I showed you that drawing I’d done.  I got the impression you were going to need my help.  Think about it.  Those creeps tracked you all the way here from New York.  What better way to stay hidden than with the help of someone who can see several steps ahead of where they’re going.  I should be able to pull that off at least.”

                “And if you fail they’ll grab you, and tag you.  They might not even let you go.   And even if they do, what they do to you messes up your gift, makes it difficult to get control again.  Did you think of that?”

                “I owe you one.”

                “You don’t owe me anything.”

                “If they catch you, it won’t help anyone.  Who’s gonna stop the explosion then?”

                It was Claude’s turn to be speechless for a moment.  “You’ve seen it?”

                “You’re part of the solution for that, just as I’m part of the solution for your current problem.”

                Claude paused, considering.  From a purely logical standpoint he could see that Brenna was right.  Although he preferred solitude, and just the company of the pigeons, Claude realized he was gonna need this seer’s help.  “All right, but you’re gonna have to listen to me, and no taking unnecessary risks.”

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_samarra
Feb. 23rd, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Continue, please. I like this, want to know what happens next! :)
bigbadwolfeboro
Feb. 23rd, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
If I get inspired again I will. Something just clicked after I watched "Unexpected." (and also after "Distractions," which is how I wrote the prequel to this bit).
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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