Disclaimer: The only thing here that is mine is the character of Theodora “Thea” Frost (she’s named for my late dog, Teddy, who was a traditional empath and the poet Robert Frost.) I don't get paid for this; I'm just a fan having fun.
Rating: PG-PG 13 mostly due to language and subject matter
Characters: Claude, Bennet, Thea, mentions of other characters
Note: I wrote this starting the morning of 4/16/07 and finished this part early 4/17/07
Spoilers: Heroes season one thru “.07%”
Warnings: (this chapter only) there is an abusive situation and a suicide attempt.
Crossing Paths 1 of ?
11 years ago
Bennet and Claude were on assignment to
“OK. Read me the case file again, Claude.”
“Brett Charbonneau, 22 years old, brown ‘air, brown eyes, 6 foot 1. Undeclared major, plays for the
“Great! If he decides to bolt, we’re screwed.”
“Not necessarily. It says here he has a weakness for beer and birds, or as Thompson put it ’babes.’”
“So we comb the bars?”
“Thompson said there’s a pub right on campus.”
“Well, that makes it a bit easier. I wonder if he can run if he’s drunk.”
“Let’s hope we don’t have to find out firsthand.”
Bennet parked the car in the visitor’s lot. Paper salesmen at a college, wasn’t all that unusual a sight, and these two 30-something men were dressed well enough to be mistaken for professors, but it was highly unlikely that anyone would take them for students. The college campus was small by the usual standards, but it was still large enough to hide on special young man from the two agents. So, it took some time before Claude and Bennet were able to locate exactly where the pub was, and as luck would have it, it hadn’t opened yet.
“Let’s split up,” Bennet suggested, “we’ll be less conspicuous that way.”
“I could disappear,” Claude offered.
“I’d rather save that in case Brett bolts.”
“I’ll take the pub then.”
“I’ll try that theater, the
“Well, mate, good luck. One of us is bound to spot ‘im.”
And the two men went to their posts. Claude found himself a quiet little corner table in the café that adjoined the pub. He and Bennet had already eaten before they’d arrived on campus, so all Claude ordered was a soda, while he sat down and waited for the pub to open. Claude glanced around the room, with students scattered here and there, studying and reading, when he noticed, in the corner exactly opposite his, a 20-something young woman, sitting by herself. She had shoulder length brown hair and hazel eyes, nothing particularly stunning about her and Claude might have ignored her if not for two things: one she was deliberately sitting by herself, and two she kept shuffling cards and laying them out on a cloth on her table. Claude had finished his soda, and decided to use the trash can near her to ditch the empty cup, thus getting a better look at what she was doing. He’d almost convinced himself she was playing a solitaire variant when he saw the deck she had; it was a tarot deck. At any other college, Claude wouldn’t have paid any attention to this fact, but this was St. Anselm’s, a college run by Benedictine monks. While the monks were generally a friendly bunch, they didn’t tend to look kindly on activities such as this. Claude recalled in the meeting he and Bennet had attended, before coming up here, that there had been an incident at this college some years back where some male students, who were playing Dungeons and Dragons, had found themselves the unexpected recipients of an exorcism. So quietly, Claude approached the young woman and asked her, “Do the monks know you’re doing this?”
“What they don’t see, won’t hurt me.”
Claude had to smile at the cryptic answer. While he wasn’t normally one to believe in such things as tarot, Claude had found himself a bit more open-minded between his own talent and those of others. Being as the pub still wasn’t open, and Claude was sick of watching sports on the widescreen TV, Claude decided to find out more about this seer. For all he knew, she might be able to help him and Bennet get to Brett. “Do you read for others, or just read for yourself?”
“I could give you a reading if you like.”
Claude took the seat opposite her. “OK. How much?”
“For you, free.”
Claude thought the lack of charge was a bit odd, so he asked, “Have you been reading long?”
“Just since the summer.”
Claude chalked the lack of charge up to the woman’s lack of experience. He wanted more info and also to make a bit of small talk while she shuffled so he asked, “What’s your name?”
“Thea. Theodora Frost. I’m a Nursing major.”
“I’m Claude.” Claude didn’t feel like telling Thea any more than that because he wished to see exactly how good she was.
Thea finished shuffling the cards and laid them out in a large, intricate pattern on the cloth. Being this close, Claude could see the design on the reading cloth. Its design was Egyptian and featured a large portrait of a deity he recognized as Anubis. Once the cards were all laid out, Thea began her reading.
“You’re here on business, yourself and a good friend,” Thea began.
Claude quietly waited and listened.
“You’re both a long way from home.”
Claude couldn’t help but smile. His accent alone would have told Thea that.
“Your friend is not from the same place as you, though. He’s from
Claude stopped smiling but tried to keep his expression blank otherwise.
“You’re here about a student. The student is not what he seems and neither are you for that matter. The student is a young man, and he’s fast, too fast. And you, you can just disappear.”
At this point Claude was certain he’d have to inform Bennet about Thea. He was keeping his expression neutral, but inwardly memorizing details about Thea. He was wondering exactly what he and Bennet should tell Thompson, who, no doubt, would probably change their single “bad and tag” operation to a double one.
“Your beliefs will be tested and you will wind up with a secret, one you thought you would never have to hide, one which will put not only your job, but your life, in jeopardy, and a friend closest to you, will betray you, the same friend you’re here with today. This will happen in about 4 years, watch your back, Claude.”
Another secret? Claude didn’t have any other major secrets besides his talent and his and Bennet’s cover as paper salesmen. Bennet betraying him was something that Claude thought would never come to pass. It was at that moment Claude decided that Thea had been just lucky before and that the rest of what she’d told him was blind guesses. He was trying to think of a way to quietly and politely make an exit when his cell phone rang; Bennet was calling him. So he told Thea, “Thanks for the reading. I need to take this call,“ and he quietly exited the café, and took the call.
“Claude, I’ve found Brett. He’s down at the
“Couple minutes at most,” Claude replied, already trying to forget his rather odd experience. He quickly joined his partner and they secured Brett with nearly no trouble. They’d had to tranq him, but no one paid the two men carrying the unconscious jock any heed. Brett had a habit of passing out drunk, and bad things didn’t happen here.
5 years later
7 years ago
Claude was invisible and shot, several times. He was afraid to even breathe, as it might give him away. He’d done his best to make it look like he’d fallen off the bridge, before going completely invisible, even going so far as to make it look like he’d lost control of his ability. Bennet, his former partner, a man whom Claude had thought of as a good friend, some one he could trust, was the one who had shot him. Claude reflected, as he tried to focus on anything but the pain, that Thea had been right after all and probably was another like himself, one of the special. But Thea was not the person he’d hidden, or “buried” as Bennet had put it; that was entirely someone else. Claude waited painfully for Bennet to leave. Claude was just starting to wish that he’d gotten a longer reading from Thea, and wondering how he’d survive this mess, when Bennet finally got back in the car and left. Claude was starting to fear that the secret he’d been shot for would be one he would take to his grave, and an early grave at that. Claude fought to remain conscious and invisible. He’d almost passed out when a Lincoln Town-car pulled up on the bridge, and a distinguished gentleman, who bore a resemblance to a slightly younger Santa Claus, stepped out. In a distinguished voice he told the driver, “Stay here,” then called out, “Claude, show yourself!”
Slowly and painfully Claude de-cloaked and called out weakly, “I’m here, Mr. Linderman.”
Linderman walked over to Claude, knelt down, placed his hand over Claude, and closed his eyes.
Claude stopped bleeding and felt the pain leave him as his wounds healed.
“This is the last time I can aid you. You’re on your own from here on out.”
Claude looked hurt by Linderman’s words, but nodded assent quietly.
“For what it’s worth, good luck to you.” And Linderman got back in the car and left.
Claude stood quietly for a few moments and re-cloaked. Then he began walking, as he had a long trip ahead of him. He intended to put as much distance between himself and
1 year later
6 years ago
Claude was invisible nearly all the time now and had seen a good bit of the “lower 48” over the past year, while hiding. As near as he was able to tell, Primatech assumed he was dead and no one was looking for him. Even still, he continued to hide. His hair had grown out and he’d stopped shaving. He didn’t see much point in messing too much with either, given that no one could see him. Besides, too much shaving irritated his face. He’d stolen himself new clothes, mostly earth toned, and burnt his old bloodied ones. Eventually, Claude found himself in Hew Hampshire. He’d been avoiding some of the major cities, for the time being, so, when he found himself in the small suburban town of
These days, he normally ignored other people and their problems. After all, it was getting involved that had led to his present situation. The more he was around people, the less Claude liked them. Being invisible, he saw things about folks that others never would, and it disgusted him. So when it was evident Thea was having severe problems with her live-in boyfriend, one might have expected Claude would ignore this too, however, there was something about this situation that Claude just couldn’t ignore. For one, he felt he still owed Thea for trying to warn him, even if he’d ignored the warning. Also, Claude just couldn’t shake the feeling there was something wrong with the whole relationship.
The more fights Claude overheard, the more he became convinced that Thea’s now ex-boyfriend was manipulating her with abnormal means. The fact that the young man had cheated on Thea and then had the audacity to not only break up with her, but to also keep toying with her as well as refusing to move out, made Claude furious. It was one thing to steal. He did it to survive. What this young “special” was doing was torture, and Claude was determined to put a stop to it.
He’d had some hypnotic suggestion and subliminal message training back when he’d been with Primatech. Claude snuck into the apartment, intending to break the young man’s hold over Thea. He was pleased to notice, that although the creep hadn’t moved out, at least he’s stopped sharing Thea’s bed. So, quietly and invisibly, Claude crept into her room, and tried every trick he could think of to free Thea. He noticed that when she was alone, she was a totally different person than when her ex was about. He tried to buoy that, but it didn’t work. Frustrated, Claude decided to wake the sleeping seer, hoping it would break the unholy trance. Claude shook Thea’s mattress violently, nearly tossing her to the floor. She woke and rather than tell her ex to leave first thing, she began to rearrange her room.
Thea’s ex showed up so quietly that he startled Thea and she screamed. But rather than apologize for the sneaky intrusion, he put his hand over Thea’s mouth. Claude resisted the urge to belt the guy and waited to see what Thea would do. Claude was pleased, when Thea pushed her ex away, angrily demanding, “What the hell are you doing?!?”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m rearranging! What the hell’s it look like I’m doing?!?”
“What the hell’s it matter? You’re supposed to be leaving and it’s my room anyway, so either help me or get the hell outta my way!”
Thea’s ex stormed off and Claude smiled smugly in approval. Claude didn’t return to Thea’s apartment for a week after that, during which time, her ex moved out. Claude didn’t care for the conversations he overheard during that week, as it appeared Thea’s ex was still trying to string her along with lines like “Maybe some day we’ll patch this all up.” He breathed a sigh of relief when the guy finally split and he saw Thea showing signs of her former confidence. She’d even dyed her now short hair a vibrant ruby red. Given the drama was now over, Claude figured he’d check on Thea one last time before moving on to another town. His visit couldn’t have been timelier.
Thea got in late that day. She’d gone to a festival some distance away and had her car break down. To make matters worse, she’d had trouble getting a tow even with her auto club and she’d found out her ex had likely hooked up with the same girl he’d cheated on her with. Claude was a bit apprehensive when Thea told her mother over the phone that she planned to confront her ex on this and thus break ties with him for good.
At first, it looked like Thea had it all under control, but the longer she was on the phone with her ex, the more Claude saw Thea start to lose her confidence. Claude even snagged one of the other phones so he could listen in, and he didn’t like what he heard one bit. He had heard Thea hang up her phone and was just hanging up his handset when he saw Thea rush by him, headed for the bathroom, eyes full of tears and a sharp steak knife in hand. She plugged her tub, quickly filled it and climbed in.
Realizing what she was about to do, and forgetting the fact that he was supposed to be hiding, Claude raced after Thea, yelling out, “NO!”
Thea had already cut her forearms deeply several times but looked at where she’d heard the voice come from but, between Claude’s gift and he tear obscured vision, she saw no one, but wondered aloud, “Anubis?”
Claude recognized the name. If Thea wanted to believe an Egyptian deity had come to see her, he wasn’t about to argue. It was much easier than the truth. Ironically, Claude recalled that Anubis was referred to as “the hidden one,” on occasion. So taking on the role he’d been handed, Claude approached the tub. He was no MD, but given what A&P knowledge he did posses, Claude knew that if he didn’t do something soon, Thea wouldn’t make it. So he shut off the water, and unstopped the tub. Then he pulled Thea out, talking to her all the while, “Thea, it’s not your time. You are better than this. He’s not worthy of you and certainly not worth your life. Now, you’re gonna get out of here, and ring your mum and get some help!” Unfortunately, there were no bandages in the bathroom, but Claude did recall a pile of cloth strips in the kitchen. He guided Thea there and quickly and tightly bound her arms to stop the bleeding. He’d noted the water in the tub had already gone opaque and wondered how much blood she’d lost. He also feared she may have nerve or tendon damage, but at least now she would live. Anyone else, he might have left to their own devices, but Claude not only felt some debt to Thea, but also disliked the fact that another of their kind had had a hand in bringing Thea to her current state. “Bloody hell,” Claude thought, “If Primatech doesn’t hunt us all down, we’re gonna wind up doing each other in! Fantastic bloody future, that is!” When Claude was certain Thea could move on her own, and she’d called her mum, he let go of her, going to her room to think. He began to wonder if Thea could see him, after all. It was disturbing to Claude, to say the least that Thea seemed to keep glancing right at him as she raced around packing an overnight bag, waiting for her parents to arrive. Just in case, Claude pulled one of two Anubis leather masks from the wall and put it on. He turned around just in time to see Thea looking right at him.
“Anubis?” she asked again.
Claude just nodded silently.
“Why are you here?”
“I told you, it is not your time. Go with your mum, when she arrives, get healed, get help.”
Any further exchange was interrupted by the arrival of Thea’s mum. Claude didn’t see Thea again for a week. When she returned she looked much better, and seemed stronger. Once Thea had settled in, Claude left the building, intending to move elsewhere. He thought he saw Thea watching him go, but as she didn’t follow he figured all was well. He really didn’t want company right now, not even hers, though he was pleased to see he’d managed some good without getting too involved.
Claude’s smile of satisfaction faded, however, when he noticed a Primatech Paper company vehicle just up the road parked at a business card maker’s lot. He relaxed, just a bit, when he saw two former associates from Primatech walking Thea’s ex out to the vehicle and drive away. He wasn’t sure what would happen to the creep, but wasn’t about to wait around to find out. He hitched himself a ride on an outbound tractor trailer truck from the nearby Wal-Mart and eventually made his way to