He heard her. Crying to Noah that she couldn’t remember. He knew she wouldn’t be able to, but somewhere in his heart there was some crazy notion that somehow she would. That she hadn’t forgotten.
He closed his eyes, his face pained. ‘please remember…Claire please. Please remember.’ He thought, knowing that she wouldn’t. Why couldn’t at least one of them know him? Claire? All those times she’d smiled, laughed…were those times only alive in his own memory? The only person left to know…
He was wishing for the impossible. And he knew it.
Then came the new name for the bear, and Claude could swear something had just stabbed him through the heart. This was so sick and wrong.
"Jenny." Claire mused. It didn’t quite feel right to her. Like the bear was meant to be called something else. But since Claire couldn’t quite remember the name it was really given, she smiled at Noah and went with hit.
"Thanks daddy." she replied with a grin, hugging the bear tightly. "I can’t believe I forgot what I named her. It’s a good thing you remembered." Claire smiled at him fondly.
He tried to smile back wider at her, to encourage her. To anyone else it would look pained and guilty, but Claire believed him readily and it made him feel worse about lying, even if it did bring a small bit of relief to know that she didn’t remember Claude again. That was a hurdle that would come one day. Maybe. If he could push it off as long as possible, though, then he would.
Noah reached out and ruffled her long hair in the way she always pretended to hate. “I’m always here for you, Claire-Bear,” he said a bit more gravely than the situation called for. At least, from her eyes. “I promise.”
Albert sighed, taking a delicate sip of wine while he watched the television. The few employees left at this time of night in his restaurant were just cleaning up. It’d been a wonderful day, a day full of putting good things into people. Making them happy. Making them laugh. Really quite fulfilling. He smiled however, a certain glint in his eye. As if he knew something was coming. Something not quite so…expected. To think his small establishment would be graced with a certain presence was entertaining. At least, to him.
He turned around suddenly, as the bell on the door rang. Signalling that someone had entered. “Ah!” He exclaimed, as if the man in the horn rimmed glasses was an old friend. “I was beginning to worry that you wouldn’t show.” He grinned. “But then again-” He smiled, “Threaten what a Bennet holds dear and the snarling wolf becomes a tame lamb. Remarkable really.”
"I don’t suppose you know who I am…"
Noah looked up the address before he left the campus for the day, going straight there. A fairly reputable restaurant had not been what he was expecting. Whoever got the note… delivered… to Tracy certainly did not know when he would come by. He had told Claude of the meeting beforehand, at least, and Tracy of course also knew.
What could go wrong? Silly question. But his gut was giving him nothing of an indicator as he opened the door and stepped in with an appraising gaze. The man talking to him was not one he recognized. For now. Undoubtably the man that meant to meet with him, though, Noah approached cautiously.
He smiled placatingly. “No, I don’t. It is a shame. You know me, I don’t know you.” He stopped a few feet away, smile slipping. “That message you sent? You could have put it through the mail and I still would have come. The spokeswoman angle was an odd choice,” he bluffed calmly. “Now, do I get a name? Or perhaps an organization. You don’t act as if you’re alone,” Noah commented, glancing about the place briefly. It still looked normal, yes, but now it was suspiciously so and he didn’t like it. He wouldn’t be lured into a false sense of security.
Walter nodded, his brow seeming to set firmly as he did so. “I heard about the explosion…” He said, tilting his head, “Well—” He amended, “We all heard about. In the paper or on the set.” He pursed his lips. “It really, is.” He said, seeming to bear a great deal of heartfelt conviction on the matter. “A tragedy. An unfortunate tragedy.”
He paused a brief second, moving over a file before glancing back at the other man. “A lot of good kids…” He didn’t finish, instead feeling that such a tragedy could have been entirely avoidable. He kept his private thoughts however, exactly that. Private. “As I understand it you got a kid at the school yourself.” He started, “She’s the one that can’t be hurt is that right? What are they calling her, oh yes. The Indestructible Girl.” He nodded, “I guess, as a father,” He said, looking Noah in the eye, “It’s pretty comforting. Knowing that you’re never going to have to worry about getting that phone call.” He said, meaning the phone call that all people fear. Fathers and mothers, parents and friends alike.
Noah watched Walter, giving the man verbal free reign as he went about his spiel. As soon as he hit the first of many poignant pauses, the company man’s posture grew unnoticeably stiffer. The man before him was a politician through and through. Much like Nathan Petrelli, he mingled compassion with insults almost effortlessly.
But the man in front of him was not a Petrelli and would not get the same leeway when talking about Noah’s daughter in such a way. “Nicknames are created to sell newspapers and magazines,” he replied calmly before smiling politely at Walter. “The gas explosion at the school was exactly that. An unfortunate tragedy. However, it is a tragedy that happens across the world every day to other innocent children that nobody hears much about. We are working with the families every day in order to help as much as we can and we are forever sorry for such a… terrible accident.”
"Do you have children, Mr. Booth?" He asked immediately after, cocking his head. "I have two, a daughter and a son. I have learned through both that there are many different kinds of tragic phone calls that you don’t want to ever receive. The fact that one of my child’s situations is more complicated than the other’s does not make my fears as a father any less real than the next.”
"Is that the debate you want to have?" He finished, refolding his hands on his lap calmly. "Because otherwise, I was under the impression that we would be talking more about what your plan is to treat the men and women in this city that my company and the school aims to protect."
Friendly reminder that Noah’s first wife was pregnant when she was killed ✿◕‿◕✿
THIS ISNT FRIENDLY AT ALL
"Because it’s from Uriel Tiembra the III!" She snarled, still struggling against Claude’s hold. By the gods’ and their beards! The man did have an iron grip…
"And it’s Guild business!" She hissed, "So unless you want a visit from the Black Hand-gah!" She growled, trying to roll out from under him. She wasn’t in a good position, she knew. Her only way out of this was either through threatening or cutting a deal. Threatening didn’t seem to be doing much good, so she fell to plan B. She glanced at the both of them, taking in their appearance.
"You’re two cocky empty-heads ain’t ya? Lookin’ for something a bit dangerous by the looks of it, no more than a bit. Very dangerous." She frowned, "Well there’s more than that to go around." She glared at the both of them, "Go stick yourself in the Gremlin’s lair why don’t ya? Or fall through a Gate and never be seen from again?"
"Sounds like someone important…" Claude pursed his lips, partially amused at the ferocity of what Noah and he had just caught. In his experience, anyone that had to tack on some numbers after their name usually felt themselves incredibly important. And a war wasn’t exactly something he felt he or Noah should get involved in.
Before he could say anything more however, she started talking again. Her mode of speech was strange, if anything. He furrowed his brows, Gremlins…sounded dangerous. Gates…Gates. Gates? Gates! “Wait, a gate?” He asked, “A Gate like uh-a hole in the sky?” He asked, suddenly feeling pleased. At last, they were getting somewhere. “A gate,” He turned around slightly, glancing at Noah and nodding. “Portal! Maybe-” He looked back to Wilikin. “Do you know where a gate is? Tell us where it is!”
Noah only smirked pityingly at the woman. If she was going to struggle, he’d like to expedite her outbursts as soon as possible. He and Claude didn’t have all day to listen to the litany of her for-now-useless threats.
"Gates?" He looked to Claude at the same time the other turned and he nodded back. Falling in, never being seen from again? Yes, that all sounded perfectly like a portal. If only some of their terminology would match up for a moment.
Noah watched Wilikin as the wheels practically spun in her head. The two of them were much too obvious in their interests already, he knew. She seemed smart, she would spot that immediately. He cut in immediately after Claude, saying, “You want your bag back?” He slapped a hand on it. “We want to find a Gate. The only way you’re getting out of this is with a trade, Thief.”
"I don’t know who he was—" Tracy glanced at him, everything about her displaying nervousness. She didn’t need this. On top of the daily stress that was her job, now this? The answer was no. She didn’t need it. She bit her lip, trying to remember what he looked like. "He was tall, dark hair and blue eyes…Was wearing a long brown coat….Um— I’m sorry I just—" She pinched the bridge of her nose, mentally cursing herself for giving such a sorry description. She couldn’t remember, and she was fairly close to freaking out.
She suddenly looked up, remembering something. “He was a Special.” She said, “With an ability. A Speedster.” She reached into her purse and pulled out the smiley face on paper with the address that she had been given. Best to come out with all the details. “Someone wants to meet with you he said.” She shook her head suddenly, “I don’t know what to do…” She repeated.
He racked his brain for people with that description that he was aware of enough to come after them, but it was the bare minimum of a profile. “Don’t apologize,” he replied immediately, shaking his head. She truly did not need to.
"Speedster? That’s something," he commented more to himself. That could get him an identity, maybe. And if he couldn’t find out himself, he could go to Robert. It was worth it. Noah frowned, taking the paper from Tracy. The smiley face was creepy — probably their intention.
"You gave me the message. I would say you did what they wanted you to do." He gave in and went with his instincts, putting a hand on Tracy’s shoulder to try to calm her nervous state. "It’s okay." He pressed his lips together for a moment, bemused with the situation. "I’m angry that they went to you to get a message to me, but you’re okay. I’ll… handle it…. I’m sorry this happened."
Claude made a face, turning his own face slightly when she spat, as if avoiding the ball of saliva that shot forth through the air. It didn’t hit him, luckily whoever this woman was, she had some kind of aim. “Sorry squats?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. The woman’s talk was as strange as her garb.
"Right…" He said slowly, "Well you’re not going to get it. And I’m not letting you up till I know I’ve sat all the murderous tendencies out of you." He tightened his hold when she tried to struggle free. It wouldn’t do to let this one escape, there was no telling when she might try to murder one of them again. So anger filled were his eyes he really didn’t doubt that she had the capability to take another life.
"Guild?" He suddenly questioned, noting her tone. It sounded like it was dangerous. "What sort of Guild are you part of?" It’d do a little bit to know who they were offending exactly. Suddenly he nodded, a knowing look to his face. "Oh." He said, "I see how it is. A Thieves Guild is it?"
Noah jerked a bit back but the spittle still hit his shirt. He frowned at it. Beyond that, he didn’t do much more considering that one, the shirt was already dirty, and two, he was more curious to see what the woman would say willingly. “Maybe, but you made a mistake — you threw your loot to me,” he threw back, cocking his head.
She had a lot of confidence that she’d be getting out of here. Nothing about this was set in stone, considering she tried to kill him two minutes ago.
"Guild?" He asked at the same time as Claude. He glanced between her and Claude several times before crossing his arms. Of course there could be no simple thieves here. There was another possible community coming after them, then, if they drew the short stick again. Or, if he did and Claude split.
He turned a suspicious gaze towards the thief. “Why don’t you tell us what valuable contents are in this bag that your Guild wanted?”