Title: Id Versus Superego
Series: Defying Gravity
Characters: Dr. Evram Mintz, Claire Dereux
Spoilers: 1.02-Natural Selection
Summary: Claire finds herself trying to balance her logical mind versus her instinctive feelings. Evram makes that battle so much harder.
It wasn't her scene, this room full of choking smoke and pounding music, scantily clad bodies gyrating and scenting the air with sweat whilst onlookers lost themselves in booze and dreams. Claire wasn't a prude by any means, she was a doctor and had seen every variation of body part the human race could have; the sight of those body parts being bent and posed (and moving) in such ways was something Claire wasn't familiar or comfortable with. There was nothing clinical or emotionally detached about this process, it invited the primitive nature of man to overcome the conscious mind.
It raised the hairs on the back of her neck but still Claire couldn't make herself leave. This was the first time she'd been invited into any group situation since she'd arrived and she was unwilling to released the tentative branch of friendship that the other women of the program had offered. Even if it meant risking her hard-earned credits in an infantile bet that the men had no hope of winning. The case studies on the libido-dampeners were conclusive in the 90th percentile.
"You're staring at him again."
The wry observation whispered into her ear startled Claire so badly that the glass bottle of lager (she'd barely sipped) slipped from her fingers and slammed on the counter. Jen and Zoe glanced over inquisitively but she shrugged off the inadvertent action. "I am not," she replied, turning her head to glare at Paula. They'd become friends early in the program, both of them connected by their own different views of the world compared to that of their colleagues. Paula had strong religious beliefs that the scientists couldn't identify with, and Claire was an eternal optimist whose shiny outlook on life made too many of the others view her as naive.
"I don't blame you, he's cute," Paula supplied, leaning on the bar behind her to gesture for another drink.
"It's not that," Claire denied, turning away from monitoring the debauchery the men were getting up to in hopes of getting it up and focusing on her friend. "It's just...I'm curious."
"Curiosity killed the cat," Paula intoned ominously, ruining it with a girlish giggle on the end.
"He's supposed to be brilliant, his I.Q. is...beyond genius level. He's pioneered procedures I couldn't dream of performing, let alone inventing."
"Sounds like you have a serious case of hero worship going on," Paula observed, her dark eyes sly as she smiled at Claire and gestured past her to the table of men. "Even if the hero is less than heroic at the moment."
Claire glanced over and watched with more than a little fascination as Nadia removed her blouse and made a very bold attempt to seduce Maddox Donner. "There's a woman that knows what she wants."
"And how to get it," Paula agreed with just the smallest note of distaste in her voice. Claire grinned at her and shrugged it off. She didn't begrudge the exotic woman her pursuit, though from the way Zoe rushed past her and Donner hurried to follow it didn't seem like Nadia would be capturing her prey. "Looks like we lost," Paula said as the raucous cheering of the male party broke through the oppressive bass of the sound system. Claire followed her finger and couldn't stifle the laugh that bubbled out at the awe-stricken face of Ajay as he was hoisted in the air.
"Takes a very virile man to beat the drugs," Claire explained as Jen stepped up beside her and joined the conversation.
"Kinda makes you look at him different," Jen added.
As one the ladies tilted their heads just so and studied Ajay's shocked face. He was clearly bewildered but smiling at the attention of his friends. He was easily an attractive man, tall and darkly colored, with a deceptively calm personality. He was the physical embodiment of "still waters run deep", but none of the three felt the urge to stir those waters. It almost seemed like sacrilege to try.
Clearly Nadia felt little compassion for the man, however, as her snide comments continued under her breath as she stormed past the trio of women and headed for the door. It didn't matter that she'd succeeded where a dozen half naked women hadn't; she was still sore that Donner had chased after Zoe and not allowed himself to be captivated by her striptease.
Claire and Paula stifled their laughter and tried for somber faces as the men gathered close to collect their winnings. Jen accepted the jokes and gloating with an easy smile and Claire was happy to let her be the center of attention, slipping back to the bar with nary a glance to follow her.
"Apparently we're continuing the party in a less...naked place," Paula explained as she joined Claire at the bar. "That's includes your favorite doctor, by the way."
"He's not my anything, Paula," Claire replied with a small look of disapproval that lost cohesion almost immediately. She grinned at Paula before continuing, "though I wouldn't mind if he were. Let me run to the restroom and we can catch up with everyone?" She didn't wait for Paula's nod before moving off through the club, weaving her way through the tables with an innate grace that captured the eyes of more than a few club patrons.
She was on her way back to the bar, where Paula waited for her, that it happened. She was so focused on ignoring the people who chose to partake at the tables around the stage that she was caught unprepared when one of those people reached out and grabbed her wrist as she passed by.
"How 'bout a dance, love?"
Claire fought the sneer of disgust that twisted at her mouth and shook her head. "I don't work here."
Despite her attempts to pull her arm from his hold the drunken man was too strong and still insistent. His eyes raked over her form, classically attired and almost prudish in this atmosphere, and leered. "You should. I'll even let you practice on me."
Claire felt the first fluttering of panic in her stomach and her eyes scanned the room to try and find a bouncer. They were supposed to prevent things like this, she thought, but in the dim lights broken by frenetic strobes she wasn't even sure they could see her. She pulled again, her wrist slipping just a bit in the man's sweaty palm, but his fingers tightened at the action and Claire felt the first stirrings of pain. "Let go of me," Claire ordered, trying for strong and confident and dismayed to realize it came out as more of a plea.
"You heard the lady," a voice commanded from just behind her. Claire turned her head and was startled to find Evram Mintz standing there, his eyes locked on the drunken fool refusing to release her. There was something about his stance, about him in general, that just radiated intensity. When Dr. Mintz looked at you, when he spoke to you, you were always sure that he was focused entirely on you.
Claire wondered how it would feel to have all that brooding intensity directed at her.
"She's such a pretty lady, though, I just wanted a dance," the man explained, pouting at them now that it was clear he wasn't going to get his way. His fingers slackened their hold and Claire pulled her wrist free, rubbing the skin harshly as if to dispel the panic that his touch had caused. On stage a dancer appeared and the drunk's attention was immediately captivated, forgetting Claire and Evram instantly.
"You okay?" Evram asked, moving aside so she could move past him in the tight space between the tables.
"Yeah, I'm fine now. Thank you for the assistance," Claire replied, leaning in so that he could hear her over the music.
He smiled at her and explained, "Paula was concerned with how long you were taking. She asked me to see what was taking so long."
Claire looked over at the bar and recognized the devious look on her friend's face. Paula gave her a small wave and looked pointedly at Evram. Claire fought to keep the grin off her face and turned back to Evram. "Still, thanks. You're my hero."
Claire couldn't help but think that maybe she should throw herself into precarious situations more often, as long as he was there to rescue her.