Title: What Does the Face of a Murderer Look Like?
Summary: Claire takes a look in the mirror and doesn't like what she sees. Post "The Final Battle".
Rating: PG (language)
Disclaimer: Delta State, its characters and all related entities are property of Alphanim and Nelvana Canada. No copyright infringement is intended and no commercial profit was made from this story.
Her head still foggy with sleep, Claire turned off the shower with a quick jerk. A final blast of cold water erupted from the shower head before the stream of water died to a trickle of drips. Claire yelped at the sudden change in temperature and jumped out of the shower, tangling herself in the shower curtain, stumbling over the lip of the tub and falling against the sink.
Momentary stunned, she leaned there a moment and, trying to regain herself, took several deep breaths.
Fuck a duck, that was cold.
She shivered and grabbed her towel of the rack to wrap around herself.
Normally, she wouldn't have had to bother with towels. Normally, it wouldn't matter if she walked through the apartment undressed or not. But while Martin and Luna were back at work, Philip hadn't moved from his place on the couch in the past week. At least, not from what Claire had seen.
Not that she could completely blame him. If Martin had died, she wasn't sure she'd be able to leave the couch either. As much as they all hated to admit it, especially Martin, Philip had cared for Maria and she had cared for him in return. Whatever they thought of rifters, Maria had proven herself. She'd sacrificed herself to save them. She'd been one of the good guys, in the end, just like Brodie had been. And now they were both dead.
Not pleasant thoughts, these were.
Making sure the towel was tightly in place, Claire headed for the bathroom door, stepping over the bed sheet she had used to dart in here. But she briefly caught her reflection out of the corner of her eye and stopped. She blinked at the girl in the fogged up mirror, wet blue hair plastered against her scalded red neck and cheeks, her chest and breasts raising and falling with each breath.
She patted her red skin gently, wincing slightly at the heat still there. The water had been too hot, as usual. Bad for the skin and bad for the hair, made even worse by the fact that she'd spent all morning diving in sea water. And all afternoon lying out in the sun with James, while David and Thomas dived. They had played crib, a game that Claire continually proven to have no head for. She'd gotten skunked twice and the only reason it hadn't been three times, was because Thomas and David had come up and Claire had to get supper going. They were going to have fish …
Claire shock her head sharply, bring herself back to reality. She was NOT on a boat. She was in the bathroom, in her apartment. She'd just had just woken up, had a shower, and in a few hours she would be going to work, at a club, where she was a DJ. She hadn't been diving. She hadn't been diving since before she lost her memory. And as for the crib game, she didn't even know such as game existed, let alone that she was bad at it. At least, she hadn't known until the memory had surfaced.
Ever since Poland, her memories had briefly, but steadily, been returning and she suspected the same was true for her friends. Even though no one said any such thing, she still saw how Philip would suddenly jerk like he was having a recog even though he wasn't touching anything. Or how Luna would trail off in mid sentence. Or how Martin talked in his sleep. Claire wondered if she talked in her sleep. She hoped not. There were some things she wasn't ready to discuss, not even with Martin.
Back when this had all began, when she had woken up in a strange apartment with strangers who, like herself, couldn't remember anything of their past, she had started a diary. In it she had recorded every memory, past or present, she could recall. In those first few months, she was so afraid of losing those few memories she had, that she had recorder every thing, right down to how she had cooked her eggs for breakfast.
That fervor had slowed over time and Claire no longer feared losing her memories. The diary had been abandoned for weeks. It was obvious to her now that her memories weren't going anywhere. In fact, she wouldn't mind losing a few forever.
Most of Claire's recent additions to her memory were pleasant memories and that made them all the worse. There was nothing unpleasant about lying on the deck of a boat, playing a game with a friend, even if you were losing, except… except Claire knew that things could never be like that again. There was nothing unpleasant about a memory of how Claire and David would sneak below deck and steal some time for themselves, except that when the memory was over, Claire would remember that David was dead and he would never kiss her on the neck ever again. There was nothing unpleasant about sitting around, sharing a beer at your favorite pub, except that Claire now realized now one of those friends was not only a murderer, but a murderer that walked free this very moment. That was most troubling realization of all.
What Claire remembered of that day, the day David died, were still cloudy and jumbled in her mind. The only clear memory was that of herself watching as Thomas held David under. David struggled, fought for his life, as the bubbles rose from his lips, until there were no more bubbles. And then David stopped struggling and went all together still. Thomas let go of David and David began to sink under the weight of his scuba gear.
And then Thomas came back to the boat and took of his mask and Claire knew. She knew beyond any shadow of a doubt who had killed David. And still…
"Why?" Claire asked her reflection, "Why aren't you in jail, you bastard?"
It was a question that Claire had been asking herself since the events of Poland. It was a question that Claire had been trying to answer for the past two weeks, going over and over it in her head. And it was a question Claire did not like the answer she had come up with.
Meeting Thomas again for the first time had been an experience. He'd been such a charmer. And kind. And understanding. Being with him had been comforting, right when she needed him the most.
Could you tell someone was a murderer by looking at them? No, of course not. She hadn't suspected a thing. Even Martin suspected the man of only being a stalker.
Claire gave her reflection a serious study, evaluating her hair, her eyes, her scalded skin gradually returning to normal. Who was the face looking back at her? Was this the face of a woman who had stood by and done nothing, as her lover was drowned before her eyes? Was this the face of a woman who didn't go to the police, a woman who let a murderer walk free? Was this the face of a murderer?
It scared her to answer, "I don't know."