|Our Found Future
Author: Nixi Stasia PM
A story of life; love; betrayal; and loss. After the time machine explosion, Claire survives. They have their whole life's ahead of them, but will it all prove too much?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Claire & H. Layton - Chapters: 7 - Words: 11,140 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 05-19-13 - Published: 02-05-13 - id: 8981085
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Our Found Future
Through every action, there is a consequence. It may not effect you directly, but in some way or another, everything we do- every step we take and everything we say- could change the course of someone's life. It could give them a different career, save them from a life on the streets. Maybe even changing the course of the future.
That morning, nothing at all mattered to Hershel except for the fact, that Claire was coming home. It didn't matter that the shower wouldn't run hot water. Nor did it matter that he couldn't have his morning tea, because there wasn't any milk. It didn't matter that there was plenty of washing and cleaning that needed to be done- though Hershel was sure he'd regret that later.
All that mattered, was that Claire was going to be all right. And within a few minutes, he'd be off to the hospital, to pick her up and take her back home. Then, things would be able to return back to normal.
Though it had only been several weeks since the incident at the Science University, to Hershel, it felt like it had been several years. Each day had been the same. He would get out of the empty bed, from a sleepless night, stumble down to the kitchen and eat what breakfast he could manage, before making his way to the University. He'd trudge through the lectures and classes slowly, paying more attention to the clock than the students and once they were over, he'd mark his students' papers, without reading them thoroughly and only just skimming them for the major detail. Then, once the clock in his office approached three o'clock, he'd jump up from his chair, grab his coat and make his way swiftly to his red car, where he'd drive to the hospital, in time for the visiting hour.
It seemed unfair that out of the twenty-four hours in a day, he could only spend one of them with Claire. Even so, he would spend the other twenty-three thinking about her and praying that she'd be okay (even though he wasn't a man of religion). However, when he arrived at the hospital to see Claire, his thoughts were revived and relieved when he saw how happy he was. Though he wasn't a doctor, he could still see the progress Claire was making was magnificent. Each day, there was more colour in her cheeks, she seemed to have more energy and the sparkle in her eyes had reappeared vibrantly.
Hershel knew that if Claire wouldn't have gotten better this quickly- or at all- he wouldn't have had the strength to get through each day. He didn't even want to contemplate how things would have turned out if Claire hadn't of been so lucky. After all, now that Claire was coming home, there truly was no point.
As Hershel settled the top hat on, just as he had done everyday in the past six weeks- Claire seemed to be happy when she saw him wearing it- and took his jacket, before slipping his jacket over his arms and making his way out of the apartment door. He hurried down the stairs, to the bottom of the building, before nearly slamming the front door behind him in his desperation. Once he was in his car, he drove towards Gressenheller's hospital, drumming his fingers against the steering wheel, irritably.
He sped through the traffic, trying his hardest to keep to the speed limit, before finally reaching the hospital.
Quickly, he stepped out of the car and walked amongst several crowds of people, towards the entrance. Glancing around, he could see that several of the people entering or exiting the hospital, that they were sick. Pale faces, fleshy burns and limps were all the evidence he needed to know that he was the only one going into the hospital for a good reason. He felt pitiful for them, yet he found himself avoiding thinking about him, strangely.
He had always felt for others, but in this case, he didn't find himself not wanting to. Nor was he avoiding the pity because he didn't care, but because he didn't want to be reminded of how things could have been- even though none of the patients there were anywhere near as serious as Claire's injuries had been. Neither did he want to be saddened. He had spent the past six weeks miserable and grieving. Now, he finally had the chance to leave the past month and a half behind him and Claire and him would be able to start all over.
The thought of where they could have been by then if Claire hadn't have been injured so severely in the explosion had been plaguing him everyday. Just the thought of the ring sitting there, when it should have been put to use was enough for him to grit his teeth, in frustration.
He knew he'd have to ask the question as soon as he had the chance.
Claire was home.
It was as if a huge weight sinking down on Hershel's shoulders had finally been lifted. Now, everything seemed to be making sense. Everything, was finally back on track, which was just how they both wanted it to be.
Obviously, Claire wasn't completely better. No one at all would be able to heal completely after coming so close to death, in the space of six weeks. A scar had dug itself to the side of her eye and slightly curled down to her cheek. It was thin, but deep and looked like a tear that was now stuck with the redhead forever. Her leg was also still causing her pain and would be using crutches for at least another fortnight- as well as returning to the hospital every three days for physiotherapy.
To Hershel, it was obvious that Claire still needed rest and plenty of taking care of. As soon as they got home, she headed straight to the sofa and had now spent the last two and a half hours dozing in and out of consciousness. Quickly, Hershel had rung the University explaining that there was no way at all he'd be able to come to work for at least a week. Whilst Claire continued to sleep, he had gone into the bedroom and looked at the ring.
He'd been hoping to take Claire out for dinner that night and propose then, but it was clear that- again- it would have to wait. Besides, he'd waited six weeks. Surely, he could wait another few days?
"That hat really does suit you, Hershel," Claire remarked, sleepily.
Hershel turned around and smiled.
"I hadn't realised you were awake. How are you feeling?" he asked, walking over to the settee.
"I'm better now I'm home," she reassured.
Just as Hershel was just about to sit down beside her, there was a heavy knock at the door, which made them both frown. If anyone ever came to visit, it would be the postman or Clark and Brenda (who they were expecting to visit tomorrow, as were they expecting a visit from Claire's close family) and if so, the knock wouldn't be as violent and loud as it had just been. Claire's eyebrows furrowed. She'd noticed the state of the flat and how much shopping and cleaning needed to be done, but she'd expected Hershel to have at least paid the monthly rent. Still, neither said a thing and Hershel answered the door.
The second Hershel opened the door, three men pushed past appearing in the doorway of the flat. All three of them were bigger than Hershel- height and weight wise- and one was clearly in a higher class than the other two. The one who stood in the middle, who also happened to be the largest, was dressed in a white pinstripe suit and hat. His skin was a deep reddish-purple and he had a black moustache as well as a gold ring pierced to his lip. The other two were still large, but not quite as much as the other man. They were both similar looking and were dressed in baggy jeans and tight, white vest tops. Though both had little hair, one had a blonde quiff and the other had dark brown stubble.
"Oh!" was all Hershel could say, as they barged in, "Can I... Can I help you?"
Immediately, Claire pushed herself up and took hold of her crutches, incase she'd need to stand up.
"Yeah," the middle one grunted. It was hard to tell whether he was just being unpleasant, or whether that was his real voice. "The name's Bostro. We're here to speak to Miss Foley."
"That's me," Claire frowned, using her crutches to get up and stumble over towards the front of the flat, before Hershel could object, "Can I help you?"
"Yeah, we'd like a word in private if that would be all right with ya', Miss," Bostro sniffed, staring around the flat.
"I'm afraid that won't be possible," Hershel spoke up, "Claire's only been home from the hospital a matter of hours; she needs rest and..."
"No, it's fine," Claire interrupted, "If we can just step outside..."
"Doesn't really matter, I suppose," Bostro replied, grudgingly, "The boss didn't say it had to be in private, he just said to get the message across."
"And the message is?" Claire questioned.
"Doctor Hawks says that he's glad you're okay and out of hospital. However, Project Indigo-six-seven-three has been terminated. Also, Mr Hawks will not be joining you and Mr Allen back at the University. He wants no questions asked about this. Neither does he want ya' telling a soul, about what happened that day. Nothing about it, to anyone."
"Bill.." Claire muttered, "Why?"
"Doctor Hawks has... Been given a large... opportunity, you may say," Bostro answered, slowly, "An opportunity that may be ruined if you speak about his... work at the University."
"Excuse me, but what's going on here?" Hershel demanded, "Are you threatening her?"
"Not at all, Mister," Bostro replied, shaking his head, "We mean no harm, as long as she breathes a word to no one."
"About what?" Hershel asked, frowning.
"Well, that would be telling wouldn't it? And haven't I made my point that if she tells anyone, she may not be as lucky as she was before?" Bostro growled.
"Thank you," Claire said, flatly, "But I'd like it if you left our property now."
"Of course, Miss."
With a sarcastic lower of his head and a gesture to the other two men- who'd stayed silent for the visit- to leave, before they made their way out of the flat. Hershel shut the door behind them, as Claire hobbled back towards the settee.
"What was that about?" Hershel asked her.
Claire shook her head, limply. "Nothing, just... What happened that day... Look, you heard them; I can't say."
"Claire, if it means endangering you, I'm not going to tell anyone. In fact, I have the right to know."
Claire hesitated and thought for a moment. After a moment or two, she nodded. "Okay," she said, "Come and sit down."
With a gracious nod, he made his way over and sat beside her. Once Claire had put down her crutches and adjusted herself in a way that helped to ease the pain in her legs and shoulder, she began.
"We've been working on the same project since I began there," Claire began, "You remember how I've never really spoken about what I do at work? Well, that's because I had to sign a contract. We've been sponsored by agencies to work on... the impossible."
Claire took a deep breath and lowered her voice, incase the men were still standing outside. "We've been working on... A time machine."
"Right..." Hershel replied, "Who was sponsoring you?"
"I'm only their assistant, Hershel. I barely knew what we were doing for the first six months. It took that long to gain Bill and Dimitri's trust," she replied, "My guess is that we were being sponsored by the government, or the secret service."
"And, so, you were experimenting on time travel...?"
"Yes. It took a lot of work and a lot of tests, but we finally did it. Or so we thought, anyway. We'd tested it on rats and everything had been fine. We were finally ready to go into the stage of human testing, before sending it to the government.
"The plan was that I would be the one to test the time machine. I would go to ten years in the future, to where Bill and Dimitri would, by this time, have built another time machine- you see, there needs to be two portholes connected for it to work. Anyway, then, they would send me back. And then the future us, would tell the government the time machine was ready and give it to them.
"However, it went wrong. The machine over-rid and, well, exploded. It was that which caused the incident, Hershel." At this point, Claire's eyes had been flodde4d with a tsunami of tears, which were now beginning to fall down the face. "It was our fault, Hershel. So many innocent people lost their lives, when I got to live. Yet, it's my fault they're dead. Why, Hershel? Why?"
Soothingly, Hershel reached forward and pulled her close. "You aren't dead, because you don't deserve it," she murmured into her hair, "It wasn't your fault."
And that was all Claire needed.
AN: So... Yeah, I'm still here. I'm so sorry! And like I said before, after this chapter, things really should start to get moving.
Also, I know Bostro worked for Dimitri and Clive, but about Bostro and the family, I have two theories. One, they were all actors, which is the theory I'll be using for some upcoming fics. And the second theory, they don't care who they work for, they just want the money. So, for this fic, I'll be going with that second theory.
Finally, it would be very much appreciated if you left a quick review. :D