Chapter 30:

Welcome to the final chapter of the first ever Claire/Oliver fic on fanfiction dot net.


Claire's POV:

She takes a step towards me, and I freeze – or, at least I freeze even more than I was already, barely even breathing. Something in her expression screams anger, but there's an even greater part that seems to give me the impression that she's disappointed, that she feels let down by me being here. Did she expect it to be Oliver here to kill her, or was it just the fact that it is a lowly human who is able to get past her guards?

And then, finally, there's sorrow. "Oh Claire," she says, her voice far softer than I would ever have expected when I have arrived to kill her. "You weren't strong enough, were you? I put my trust in the wrong person completely, didn't I? You succumbed to his power, and you did everything I hoped you wouldn't do."

What is she talking about? What does she mean, that I wasn't strong enough to defeat Oliver? I've done nothing wrong, and I've not been controlled by anyone! This is everything I want to do.

"No, Claire, it isn't," she whispers softly, and I realise that I have spoken aloud. "You were never born to try and do this, and you wouldn't have done it if I hadn't…you need to see for yourself. Open your eyes, Claire and see!" as she speaks, her eyes bore into mine, their colour changing to an intense silver. She's trying to use her power to scare me, I'm sure she is—

It's as sudden as this. I go from knowing nothing other than my mission and that Oliver needs me, to remembering things I didn't know before: Amelie taking me into her office, blasting me with the same power I've just received a hit of, and…oh god…I remember.

She inclines her head slowly, to be looking directly into my eyes, and there's something about her that seems scared; she's not sure if this will work, perhaps, or maybe it's because I'm her last resort in a problem she cannot solve.

"You are going to be under my control until I remove this block in your mind from you," she says. "You will not be aware of it, and nobody will be able to tell. You are to infiltrate Oliver's forces, to become Protected by him, and you are to find out his plans. When you do, you will report your findings to me immediately, and then you will come here—if it arouses suspicion to not do as he asks, pretend that it was impossible. But you will do this for me, Claire, if you are strong enough."

And then she lets me go.

I wasn't strong enough.

"I…I…oh God!" I whisper, tears streaming down my face, because I remember everything I've done: I've shot Eve, I've blown up the City Hall, I've…killed that many children! And, along with all that, I…I burned down the Glass House, and killed Sam along with it. It was me who killed Sam, not an accident – his final injury may have been accidental, but I would have killed him somehow or other, even if the roof hadn't done it for me, and if anything, that's the most sickening act I've done. He is – was – the most truly innocent, good man in this entire town…and I destroyed him. I did what Oliver wanted me to do, and ended up committing some of the most truly despicable acts – all because I couldn't control myself enough to fight off his influence.

Thinking back, I almost enjoyed his touch, and I most certainly enjoyed being with him…oh God, it's making me feel sick, I can't believe…I did all that. It's almost as though I was entirely controlled by him, given whatever he said, I did. I even…Shane!

"You let Shane out," is the first thing I manage to whisper, the answer coming to me instantly. I don't know why I know this, or even how, but it makes sense; she wouldn't have wanted Shane to go down for something I caused, even if he did kill him, because it would be my 'reward' for fighting whatever control Oliver tried to put on me.

She smiles, and yet it isn't the smile that I remember from my first few days in the Glass House; it's cold, isolated and doesn't reach her eyes. She detests me – I can see it in the way that she holds herself – and there isn't anything I can do about it. I don't blame her, in all honesty. I despise myself, wish I had been strong enough to fight him off…but I wasn't. And I can't take it back.

"Congratulations," she replies, her voice laden with sarcasm and contains an icy undercurrent that seems to reverberate with her power. "You have finally seen what abhorrent things you have done…you have destroyed almost every part of my town…and you have killed, for no reason whatsoever, the most important man in my life. You destroyed my reason to live, Claire, and all I wanted you to do was to tell me that Oliver was planning this! I told you to do that! And yet you let yourself be taken in by Oliver, let yourself be controlled and destroyed, until you stand here, before me!" she's lost any composure by the end, and yet I cannot dare to move – if I do, I know she'll kill me. The wild, feral look I see in some vampires' eyes is in hers, right now, and she wants to kill me, for Sam.

I want her to kill me, too.

"I'm so, so, sorry!" I blurt out, tears rolling down my cheeks. "I didn't…I hate myself so much, for not being strong enough! All I ever wanted was to be a scientist! I didn't want vampires or politics or anything here, and…and I've failed everyone. I've killed so many people, and I didn't realise it, and if I could kill myself, I would. Amelie, words cannot describe how I feel, and just…please. End it for me; kill me," I'm begging by the end for her to end my life now, here, as painlessly as possible. If not, I fear the cage—

—I fear death by burning.

Her eyes smoulder, and it's not the icy coldness I'm used to seeing; she's not just this cold, isolated figure – she's able to burn when she's angry, something more dangerous and fear-inducing than fire, and it's now that I realise Oliver has underestimated Amelie. He thought that she would be destroyed by Sam's death, which she has, in part. Yet the rest of her wants to live on for Sam, and when I would have thought she would want to find who did it, I suppose she knew it was me all along.

She doesn't answer my request though, and after a few moments, turns away from me with a contemptuous glance. I'm half inclined to stab myself with the stake, when one of her guards zooms forwards from a hidden location and takes it from me, before then grasping my hands behind my back. It isn't tight enough to hurt me, yet it's enough for me to understand that there is no forgiveness for me, and that I'm a prisoner now – and prisoners will be treated as badly as Amelie desires. Prisoners who kill the Founder's lover, well, I suppose they'll be tortured before death, forced to endure hours of pain at her pleasure, before death becomes a godsend.

Whatever happens, I can only pray that it'll be quick and relatively painless.


Amelie's POV:

Did he really think he would be able to get away with it? Did he really consider it prudent to send a girl into his battles against me, tainting her soul, all so he could avoid detection? If he believes that I could ever have considered him not to be a part of the bombing of the City Hall – or even, I suppose, as early as Brandon's death – then he is more of an idiot than I had originally valued him as, for he was always on the top of the list. There is nobody else in Morganville who would dare try and destroy the town and my residents, and I always knew that Oliver would never get his hands dirty – he always utilises the things he possesses, and Claire would always have been part of it.

I could forgive her. She didn't know what she was doing; he controlled her, forced her to do many unforgivable acts…but I cannot. She could have fought, fought as Samuel did for many years, and she is strong enough to have fought Oliver off – I wouldn't have set her this mission, if I didn't know it. Yet she succumbed, and not only did she destroy my town physically – again, something I could potentially forgive – but she crushed its spirit, firstly with the children and secondly, most notably, by destroying the one man who I have loved, the only vampire who the town's humans could tolerate.

With Sam's death, the well-being of this town perished also, and that is something that cannot be forgotten. It is something that means I cannot forgive and forget, as I possibly may have managed to do otherwise, citing the fact that she was weak – with Sam's death, I cannot…I cannot allow such a thing to go unpunished. The murderer of my lover cannot be allowed to roam free.

There's a knock at the door, and I find my reverie interrupted with it; evidently, the next stage of the proceedings is to begin, a series of events that I found necessary to implement when it became clear that Claire was unstoppable. I had hoped…I had hoped that the final weapon in my armoury, a piece unknown to either of them, would be enough to stop her, to get her to leave town and never return – if that had happened, I would not have stopped her. I would have allowed her to leave, citing the control she was under as reason enough – and it would have been with Shane.

"Enter," I call, turning away from the corner in which Claire stands, and drifting ever so slightly towards the door.

The entrance to the room is soon filled with the figure of Oliver, his expression unreadable as he walks into the room; there seems to be a level of apprehension tangible on his face, as well as a shock – shock at seeing me alive, I presume.

"Amelie, you wished to see me?" he questions, standing stock still in a position equidistant between myself and the door. There's more than apprehension and shock…now he is closer to me, I can smell it.

Fear.

"That is indeed correct, Oliver; I do have a reason to speak with you," I begin in my usual manner, moving to sit down on the chair before me. I do not offer Oliver a seat, and this ought to be his first inclination that something is, indeed, very wrong. No matter our differences, I am always polite and courteous enough to offer him a place on which to seat himself. "And you may not find it exactly to your liking." I offer him a small, secretive smile at this point – warning sign two. He does not often get a smile from me, particularly one so…wicked. "You see…I have recently discovered something that I had believed to be correct for a long while, now, is true. Would you like to give me your opinion on what I could have discovered?" torment, ah, what a beautiful thing it is. He cannot run, and yet even someone as obtuse as Oliver must know that this cannot be a meeting for his promotion.

He gulps, and I find myself relishing his anguish; he is so focused on me, that he has not even recognised that Claire is here. If my reasoning and investigative work is correct, he has fallen in love with her – an emotion I never considered Oliver able to fathom, much less use - and there is no conceivable manner by which he could hide his reaction to seeing her here, in, my home, when he is being arrested. "Ah, I…I cannot say that I have any possibilities in mind, Amelie," he tries to avoid answering it, though we both know exactly what I want. "You have so many desires and can discover almost anything in this town, so how am I to know what the great discovery of the Founder is this time?" there's almost a hint that he doesn't think I know everything he's been behind, these past months, with his mention that I can know almost all of what occurs in my town.

That's his downfall, the moment I decide that I have no desire to continue this charade of skirting around the point.

"Wrong," I say clearly, my voice hard and cold. "You are wrong, Oliver, and you are aware of it. In all honesty, it rather amuses me, how blind you think I am, how unable you believe me to be in order to see past your little games, and discover what you have been doing, I knew that I would have to keep an eye on you…so I enlisted someone, without their knowledge. Turn to your left, Oliver, and discover whose presence in your company would allow me to know whether or not you were to be a problem for me."

It's with a vindictive relish that I watch Oliver turn slowly to his left, his back stiffening as he recognises Claire's scent, yet tries his best to conceal the change in his manner. Gone is the slightly more relaxed stance, the one that assured me he felt he would not be caught out for his actions; in its place is someone who is trying to hide his sudden edge of desperation, for if Claire is here, there must be the correct understanding forming in his mind that he has been discovered, and that his 'secret' planning has never been a secret.

"You…Claire," he murmurs her name almost inaudibly, his voice cracking with this one word. Immediately, he turns back to face me, a worried expression on his face that indicates he understands everything without me having to explain – the complete opposite to his accomplice, I may add. "You know," he states simply, watching me as I fold my hands upon one another.

"Naturally, Oliver; did you take me for some sort of sentimental fool, who would allow you to remain in Morganville unsupervised, merely for times prior to your attempted assassination attempt of myself?" I shoot back instantly, my eyes narrowing. "I have known from the beginning about your assassination plans for myself, and even the details of your actions to destroy Morganville, though I, regrettably, did nothing to stop them. I knew that it would lead to this final moment, Oliver, and that is what I have been counting on since you killed my Samuel."

He takes a step backwards as I move to a standing position, ready to attack – or so he thinks. "No, no, it was her!" he points his finger in Claire's direction – a girl who has passed out without any vampire noticing, it seems – though it will make no difference.

"You are the one who planned it, Oliver; she was merely your pawn, something I allowed to happen," I continue, deciding to inform him of everything before Claire is awoken to hear her punishment. "You see, I deigned it prudent to utilise everything I had in my control – and that included Claire. Before you even considered to use her, I had placed her under my compulsion, so that she would go about her normal life, yet if you desired her assistance, she would comply. She was supposed to come directly to me and inform me of your plans…yet I fear that the compelled side of her, when under your control, was tainted by feelings for yourself."

The corner of his mouth twitches, something he shouldn't be doing, because he should be scared now, fearful that I shall order his head to be removed, as he did with Charles I. "And that has merely proven that I win once again," he surprises me by saying, "for my compulsion was stronger than your own. And Claire is not yours, is she? She is mine."

In response to this, I pick up a book from the table, and throw it to Oliver. "If she is so strongly yours, then why is everything she has ever done – under your compulsion, which she was supposed to forget – written in here?" my smile is greater than his disappointment, something I take pride in. "When she slumbered, her unconscious mind wrote this, for it was my secondary control in order to gain the information I needed; after I saw the way that you could control her, I became much more secure, given that I had this – written, tangible proof that these events have occurred. You have lost, Oliver; the game is finally over.

"White beats black, after all."

With these words, my guards spring through the door, grabbing Oliver and throwing him to the ground, causing the book to roll in the opposite direction, the spine getting damaged. Books cannot be treated with such contempt – it is not befitting – yet I am more amused by the capture of my enemy; he does not try to escape, but the look on his face as he is bound with silver chains and controlled by three of my strongest men is something that forces a cold, hard laugh from my throat.

"You'll regret this," he promises me, yet I shake my head, suddenly free from the sadistic, yet manic amusement that spread over me.

"No, you will regret both standing against me, and murdering my Samuel," I reply in a cold, carefully detached tone, snapping my fingers for Carter, who is holding Claire, to awaken her. "It is time for sentencing, Oliver. Normally, your presence is required on this side of the panel, yet your actions have rendered you unfit for the job. Therefore, it is down to myself to reveal what shall happen."

I can hear Claire's lips moving, no sound coming out of her throat, and the general idea I get is, kill me, kill me now, please, though I could be mistaken. And she is greatly mistaken that I would be kind enough to allow her something as easy as death, or at least instantly. Oliver, on the other hand, seems strangely calm, almost as though he accepts his fate.

"You are both sentenced to reside in the prison," I announce, to the shock of both the prisoners and my guards, yet a smile spreads across my face that silences all murmuring. In many, many years, I have not been as cruel as I am today, and there is only one reason for it: Samuel. He didn't deserve to die the way he did. I will seek revenge and justice for him.

"That's it?" Oliver finds himself questioning me, yet silences himself when I shake my head.

"You shall reside in a four metres by seven metres cell, lined with silver and a ring of fire, to prevent escape attempts. No entertainment facilities shall be provided, and nothing but the barest of nutrition shall be provided for the pair of you. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part of this; you shall be sharing a jail cell, Oliver for the rest of your darling Claire's life, when you shall be offered the chance to leave this Earth in disgrace."

Only when I finish speaking do I understand that they comprehend the gravity of the situation – and Claire is the first to react. Whereas Oliver seems almost happy at this punishment, she is kicking and screaming and begging me to do anything but that, citing that she cannot live with Oliver, that she hates him. This real Claire hates him with all her being – yet the other side of her doesn't; it yearns to be with him, to feel his touch on her skin, feelings that I have for my lover that can never be fulfilled.

"Take them," I order the guards, sitting down in my seat once again as both Oliver and Claire are removed from my sight. It seems too easy, almost. Then again, sometimes, the worst, most heinous crimes are solved in the simplest of measures, with the most creative – yet apparently easy – punishments.


Claire's POV:

I have a fate worse than death.

At least death would mean that I didn't have to spend the rest of my human life with Oliver – and with the cruelness of Amelie, I can definitely see her turning me into a vampire to prolong my suffering – because I don't know if I can deal with this. I hate him, despise him for destroying my life, even though it seems that he almost…he almost seemed attractive to me, when he controlled me. Thinking back, every part of me was subjective to his will, and therefore whatever he wanted, went.

He wanted me, so I wanted him.

One of Amelie's guards, someone I don't think I've ever seen before, is dragging me down corridors I don't recognise, not hurting me but not being exactly gentle, either. Oliver is behind me, actually being dragged rather than just accepting it, and I feel a wave of disgust for the man, wondering why power could be as important to him as a human's life and freedom. Why did he have to desire more power than he deserved?

Why did he have to use me to try and get said power?

The guard takes me through this door that seems to shimmer slightly – a portal, I can tell – and on the other side is a jail; it's chillier than the house, and I can't help but shiver as we advance towards what is literally a home within a cell. I can see beds in one corner, a partition to create a new room that must be the bathroom, and a small seating area with two chairs and a table. That's it. This is where I have to live out the rest of my life – a prison cell in a deathly quiet area, the front of the area covered in silver coated bars that show that it has been designed for vampire captivity, as well as possibly human.

"In you go," he says to me, pushing me through so hard that I stumble right to the far side of the cell, falling onto the lower of the two bunks. I can't help but cry out, more out of shock than anything else, yet there is no reaction from my captor, who immediately goes to help the other two by throwing Oliver through the cell door.

As soon as the grey haired vampire is in the cell, the opening closes to become one unending wall of bars, the opening where the door swings invisible to my eyes. With this, the three servants of Amelie turn back towards the door they came through, ignoring the words that I find issuing from my lips without being consciously aware of it – "please take me back; I didn't mean it; please, please, please, you can't leave me here, I beg you!"

Nothing works. I didn't ever expect it to, but when the portal closes and the only light is from an weak artificial source – one single light bulb, hanging above our heads, as well as a window on the wall furthest from me now, though the blinds are closed. I won't be able to have it open, I know, but it…the fact that the sun is out there and I can't ever have it again…it drives me wild.

Almost without me realising it, the tears begin to stream down my face, and I slide from the bunk to the stone floor, not even caring about the cold. This is my home, this…this disgusting place, completely devoid of happiness, with the most horrendous vampire there is, and I can't do anything about it. I can't go back to the days that centred around happiness, with me and Eve and Michael and Shane, days that were infrequent and barely had time to occur, yet mean everything to me, now.

"Don't cry, Claire," I hear Oliver saying to me, and I suddenly become aware of the fact that he's sitting right next to me. Oliver, the most uncaring vampire of them all, in my opinion, is sitting next to me, sounding genuinely concerned that I'm crying. "It doesn't change anything…we're still in this together, after all."

And that angers me enough to wipe the tears from my eyes and get to my feet, turning back around to look at him as though he's absolutely stupid. "Are you on the vampire equivalent of crack, or something?" I demand of him. "I hate you! I hated you before your little hocus-pocus with my mind, and I despise you now…because it's you who put me here, not Amelie or anyone! Your actions…and what you made me do…they're why I'm here now. So don't you dare act as if you care about me and my feelings."

He moves to a standing position himself, his eyes almost seeming to give me the impression that he is hurt by my words. "But…but I thought that we had something, Claire, something that was greater than power or victory," he whispers, and my only feeling is revulsion. He thinks I am attracted to him as he is to me, and that now we are together in this cell, I will agree to be with him, just to be with someone.

"Let me put this very clearly." I find myself yelling, though it most certainly isn't on purpose, "if you ever come near me in that sort of manner, I will…I will do something to try and kill you, and I'll definitely have the window open twenty four seven. Do you understand? I will do anything to get—" and that's when it hits me, midway through a sentence, that I won't ever be leaving here, and yet there is a vampire.

A vampire who doesn't seem to be getting much blood, it will seem, and I bet part of the plotting of that is so that Oliver bites me for his nutrition – something it seems that he won't be concerned about, given that I can recall all those…all those bites, the ones that occurred after he kissed me, and made me his.

"Yes?" he questions, evidently not caring about the death threats and more about the fact that I stopped in the middle of a sentence.

"You can do it," I say, my voice suddenly a whisper. "You can kill me, end this suffering for me now. You can do it! It's not like you've ever had an issue with killing people; this ends my suffering, and means yours is less as well! Do it. Kill me. Please," I plead with him, but I can tell instantly that it isn't enough. He isn't ever going to kill me, even to end this punishment – even if he loves me. Evidently, he doesn't 'love me' enough to let me die.

"No, I can't," he replies, his voice filled with anguish as he moves across the room to place his hands on the silver bars; there's a sizzling noise as the flesh begins to burn, but he seems to be doing it on purpose – and I don't know why. "There isn't a chance that I can do that, Claire. I'm sorry. Truly, I am."

He isn't. He doesn't want me to die, because he doesn't want to be alone, so even when he's been caught out for trying to take the town, he is unable to be kind and helpful.

There isn't anything for me to do but sit down and cry until the tears run dry, because what else am I to do? I despise the man, and yet I cannot die, and even as he makes himself more and more thirsty by causing injury to his flesh, he seems able to resist my blood.

He won't help me.

~x~

After the sun sets, Oliver opens the blind, and I stare out at the moon, but it doesn't comfort me. It's something that I used to love to see, but Morganville has tainted that for me.

Already, I feel myself turning into nothing more than a shadow, someone forgotten and undesired, besides by those whose attentions I do not desire. Oliver has attempted to begin conversations with me, yet I have resisted the urge to speak, merely continuing to stare at the wall and recite the periodic table in my head.

And then, to interrupt the mundane nature of prison life, there's a noise at the cell wall: Amelie. She's here.

Her expression is much like the one that was on her face the last time I saw her, yet there's also an element of sorrow, as though she seems apologetic for her decision. Perhaps…perhaps she's here to remove me, to allow me to live out my punishment – something I will accept, if this is the case – completely on the opposite end of the building.

"I am here to inform you of two things," Amelie says, her eyes focused on me. I get the feeling that she's here to speak to me, so I stand up from the bunk and walk across to the bars, my eyes locked into hers, trying to pass across the message, "I'm sorry, for everything." I don't know if it works. "Firstly, Mr Collins and Mr…Michael have made a full recovery, though I presume that there was never the intention to hurt them—"

"Thank God," I whisper, interrupting Amelie because it's a relief to know that they're safe. "Um, sorry," I add on the end, as her face seems to portray a certain anger at her being interrupted.

"Secondly," she continues, "Miss Rosser has returned to consciousness; it transpires that the doctors did not inform you that they had put her into a chemical coma in order to aid her healing. She will make a recovery, though it may not return her to her former glory."

"I…thank you," I whisper, realising this is what I need. Now that my friends are definitely safe, I know that I didn't harm everything that I could have. There is part of my life that exists, still, and perhaps they'll even be allowed to visit—no, wait, I forgot. I almost killed Eve, knocked Shane out and was a bitch to Michael before then drugging him. They'll all hate me, even if they're aware I was controlled.

She smiles, and it's slightly less vindictive and sinister than earlier – but not much. There's an element of it being rueful, of her almost feeling sorry for me. "And I have a gift for you, Claire." she speaks as if I have not spoken whatsoever, yet her hand reaches into her pocket for a handkerchief bound object.

I take it from her through the bars and unwrap it, already having an idea in my mind about what to do with it. On the other side of the room, I can sense Oliver becoming more alert, as though he has only just realised Amelie's presence, and he can tell what the object is, I'm certain of it. He begins to speak, yet Amelie's gaze turns to him, and it's one that is filled with such cold, incomparable fury, that he soon silences himself.

The object: a silver knife, sharper than anything I have ever seen before, deadly in even my inexperienced hands…or perhaps not so inexperienced. I have killed hundreds.

Amelie's eyes lock onto mine, and they're filled with sadness now, something that I never expected. "You could have been great for this town," she says softly, "there are things in motion that require a brain such as yours…yet this is not to be. This knife is a gift, Claire, and I…I trust that you will do with it what you want. Goodbye."

Her hand reaches out to touch my face softly before she's gone, whirling away into the darkness; one second she is with me, the next she has gone.

And she's left me a knife.

I look over at Oliver, who seems studiously ignoring me and the object in my possession, and sigh, wondering whether or not I do it.

What do I do?


AN2: congratulations! You've made it to the end of Devil's Lair!

So, this was a bit of a shock, or not?

The ending is designed for you to decide: does she kill herself? Does she kill Oliver, then herself, or just Oliver? Or does she not use it?

[I have my ending, yet you all may consider it differently.]

I'd appreciate it if you didn't favourite without reviewing, on this final chapter. Thanks