Author: Emmay, lotusunset
Pairing/Characters:Topher/Bennett, Paul/Mellie, Ensemble
Summary: Clyde calculated that 3% of the scenarios didn't end in the remote wiping technology destroying civilization. But that doesn't mean there was a happily ever after.
Spoilers: Season 2
Disclaimer: Joss is Boss, I'm only borrowing his toys for a little while. :)
Notes: This starts towards the end of 2x11 and then deviates from canon a bit. I'm trying my very hardest to change things up enough that it won't seem like a boring novelization yet still keep some canon in tact. I'll stop blabbering before these notes get longer than the fic, now. =D
"He's in love with you," Dr. Saunders said, leaning against the wall. Bennett whipped around to see the other woman.
"I'm sorry?" the programmer asked, confused.
"Claire, Claire Saunders. I was the house doctor," She introduced herself to the stranger, "I used to be number one…"
"..Oh, I see. Yes, Topher mentioned there'd been…Its nice to meet you," Bennett trailed on for a moment, then offered a smile.
"Is that Caroline?"
"Do you really think you're going to be able to get her back?" Dr. Saunders asked.
"I'm confident of it," Bennett replied, "Do you really think he likes me?" She changed the subject.
"I didn't say likes," Claire grinned, moving a little closer in.
"He's remarkable," Bennett said almost dreamily.
"Honestly, I didn't think he was capable of admitting the existence of another human being, let alone loving one," Claire explained, her gaze turned towards the ceiling, "I think you're the remarkable one," She looked back at her and smiled. Bennett returned it with the tiniest hint of blush on her face. There was a pause.
"I couldn't find that dewey pen for you but I-" He stopped mid-sentence, an expression of extreme shock washing over him as Claire pulled out a gun. It was aimed at Bennett's head. Bennett froze, staring at the gun, too scared to move.
The gun shook in Claire's hand as she tried to pull the trigger. There was something in her head that was telling her to kill Bennett, that Bennett needed to die and that it was her job to do it. Knowing it had never been there before, Claire fought it. She fought it hard. She didn't know anything about Bennett, other than she was supposed to kill her. There was no rhyme or reason for it, just Bennett needed to die. But Claire knew out of the three people standing in this room, Bennett was the least deserving of death. In the doctor's eyes, the one most deserving of that fate was standing behind the intended target, looking just as horrified as she was.
"Claire, put the gun down," Topher said slowly and quietly. She didn't listen of course, and only moved her hand, now aiming the gun at Topher's head. He swallowed hard, dropping the pen he was holding and raising his hands in front of himself, as if that'd be a good defense.
She abruptly aimed the gun back at Bennett. The genius started shaking a little, breathing hard, her eyes darting all over the place, searching for some way out of this. Claire went back and forth. It was programmed, how could she fight the program, why fight the program? Maybe there was a reason Bennett should die, she just didn't know. She didn't need to know.
"This isn't you, Saunders, put it down," Topher repeated, too terrified to move any more, fearing it'd get either him or Bennett shot. Bennett, however, spotted the disruptor laying out on the desk. She remembered that Claire had active architecture. If she dared to, it'd be possible to grab it and turn it on. Now she just had to weigh her options. Just telling the doctor to put the gun down obviously wasn't working but as long as they didn't make any sudden movements, she seemed too conflicted to actually pull the trigger. But how long would that actually last? Claire would have to compose herself enough to shoot eventually. And that'd only end in one or possibly two geniuses with bullets in their brains.
Bennett took a few more seconds to decide what to do but ultimately she reached for the disruptor. Her sudden movement caused Claire to fire the gun. Bennett could almost feel it rush right past her, barely missing. It hit Topher instead. He made a painful sound and stumbled backwards into the wall, crashing into a computer monitor or two. It only phased Bennett for a moment as she clicked the disruptor on, the soft hum filling the air. In the few seconds it took for the disruptor's full effects to come into play, Bennett ducked a little and tried to glance behind her to get a look at Topher. As Dr. Saunders started to feel the searing migraine, her gun moved downwards a little and she fired again, trying to aim at Bennett but instead, it hit Topher again. He slumped to the floor with a yelp of pain. Soon after, Claire also fell unceremoniously, her nose bleeding. After she was sure Saunders was down for good, Bennett turned the disruptor off and threw it back on the desk before she rushed to Topher's side, still shaking like a leaf.
"Topher? Are you…?" She asked stupidly, her voice wavering and cracking. His breathing was shallow and labored and he was bleeding quite a bit but he was definitely still there, as evidenced by the lopsided smile he gave her. He opened and closed his mouth a few times as he tried to speak. For once, however, nothing was coming out. Except for a pained grunt.
"Don't talk, you don't have to," Bennett said softly.
Ivy rushed into the lab, panic clearly written on her features. She looked from Bennett and Topher to Saunders who was unconscious and still holding the gun. She was too shocked to actually ask what happened but then her instincts as a doctor kicked in and she grabbed the blanket off the couch. She kneeled down beside Topher and bunched the blanket up, using it to apply pressure to his wounds.
"Claire did this?" Ivy asked finally, Bennett nodded, pushing Ivy's hand away from the blanket, taking over for her.
"Get her out of here, lock her up. I can handle this, I can…handle this," Bennett muttered, her gaze glossing over a little as she held the blanket to Topher's chest the best she could. Topher put his hand over hers to help or to encourage and comfort her but Bennett wasn't exactly sure of which. Ivy went over to Saunders and started trying to drag her out of the lab. Paul, Mellie and Echo were next to appear.
"What the hell just happened?" Paul asked, Mellie hid behind him a little, not wanting to see the damage done. Echo immediately crossed the room and squatted down by Topher and Bennett.
"I-I don't, she, she almost shot me and-" Bennett stumbled over her words.
"Had to be a sleeper, " Echo commented.
"Rossum must have gotten to her months ago," Paul added, easily picking Claire up and carrying her out of the room.
"We need to get him downstairs, "Echo said sternly, looking up at Bennett, "We'll probably need a surgeon too."
"That's- It isn't my specialty, " Bennett replied.
"And even if it was, your expertise is needed elsewhere, Ms. Halverson," Adelle said as she entered the lab. She was stone faced but the look in her eyes spoke her true emotions as they landed on Topher. She rubbed her temple a little.
"I-I," The other programmer stuttered before she simply nodded and looked away.
"Echo, Mellie, run downstairs and get a stretcher," Adelle ordered them. The two bolted out of the lab and took the elevator down. Once they were gone, Adelle took a few more steps into the room.
"Hestia, we could, we could quickly construct a build with the surgeon skill set, merge it with the personality she already has at the moment, " Bennett explained, her words running into each other. Adelle gave her a look before she realized Hestia must have been Mellie's code name while she had been in D.C.
"You mean November?" Adelle questioned, just to confirm it, "How long would it take?"
"Seven minutes at most, I suspect, with Ivy's help," Bennett replied, looking up at Topher's assistant.
"Get on it," Adelle said. Ivy nodded and started bringing up the imprint construction program. Bennett stood up and went to help Ivy. Adelle took Bennett's place in holding the blanket to Topher's bleeding chest. By some sort of miracle, he was still semi-conscious.
While Paul was taking Dr. Saunders to one of the holding rooms, Boyd intercepted them.
"You came back?" Paul asked, confused.
"Didn't feel right leaving," Boyd replied with a forced smile and a small grunt of pain, "What happened to Claire?"
"She was a sleeper. Shot Topher twice, I think," Paul explained. An expression of shock spread over the larger man's face.
"I can take her, lock her up. You should go help everyone else, I'm sure they need you," Boyd said, practically tearing Claire out of Paul's arms before he could really protest. Paul headed back up towards the lab just in time to see Mellie and Echo bring the stretcher up.
"These are the best surgeon prints in the system," Ivy said to Bennett as she furiously typed as fast as she could with one hand (which was shockingly fast, actually.)
"Do you have a field medic imprint?" Bennett questioned. She seemed to have recovered a little bit from the initial trauma.
"I'll stick it in there too," Ivy said, tracking down the file and sticking it in the builder.
"That should do it, put it on a wedge and get it in the chair," Bennett ordered, still focused as she paused to adjust her glasses.
"Is that Caroline?" Paul asked as he started to help Echo and Adelle get Topher on the stretcher.
"No," Bennett said.
"We need a surgeon, Mr. Ballard," Adelle said.
"So what, you're going to stick another imprint into Echo?" He asked.
"No, Echo needs to accompany us to Tuscon. Unless you'd like to volunteer your brain, Mellie is going to be our new house doctor," She explained, Paul gave her a hurt and slightly angry expression. He would have fought her more but considering Topher's life was on the line, he decided to drop it.
"Don't worry," Mellie said with a smile "I'll still be here. They're just modifying the program."
"Mr. Ballard, help Echo take Topher downstairs," Adelle said. Ivy shoved the wedge in the chair and then led Mellie over to it, motioning for her to sit down, "The new doctor will be down shortly," she added. Paul and Echo picked up the stretcher and started to head out of the lab. Topher stopped them, however. He reached out and grabbed Bennett's arm. She whipped around to look down at him immediately and swallowed hard. She was suddenly shaking again as their eyes met.
"Finish it…Finish the wedge, " He started, his voice scarcely above a whisper. Bennett leaned in a little closer to hear him better, "Fix it…save the world."
"I will, I'll fix it," Bennett replied, her voice squeaking.
"Promise?" Topher asked.
"Anything," Bennett assured him. He smiled at her, finally slipping into unconsciousness as Echo and Paul carried him away. Bennett turned away from everyone, squeezing her eyes together and biting her lip. She refused to cry even though she felt the uncomfortable tingle that typically signaled tears were about to be shed. There was also a strange, unfamiliar pain in her chest as she started to taste a bit of blood in her mouth. The genius sat down at the desk and started to work on the Caroline wedge again. She needed to keep a promise.
The imprint chair raised back up and Mellie immediately bolted out of it, now unable to remember a time when she hadn't been an expert doctor.
"Come on, we need to hurry," Ivy said, leading Mellie out of the lab and into the elevator so they could get to work on saving Topher while Bennett kept working on the wedge. She paused for a second, finding it difficult to concentrate on her task.
"Focus, you need to do this, focus, you promised, you promised," She muttered to herself, closing her eyes and rubbing her temple for a moment before she started to piece things back together again.
"Are you alright, Ms. Halverson?" Adelle asked, her voice cool, masking her unease.
"Considering I had a gun pointed at my head and that Topher-" Her voice cracked, "might die, I think I'm fine." She was trying for sarcasm but it really didn't come off that way at all.
"I understand this has been a less than pleasant experience for you and you will be compensated for it, I'll make sure of it," Ms. Dewitt assured her. Bennett just looked up and gave the other woman a little glare. As far as Bennett was concerned, just making it out of this alive would be more than enough.
Suddenly, there was the sound of a loud explosion as the lights started to flicker. Men started to fall in from above and run throughout the house, searching for any signs of life. Echo and Paul managed to fight a good portion of them off but a few snuck off into the shadows.
"We've been breached, "Adelle commented with urgency. When the window in front of her was shattered she sighed, "Damn, I just had that replaced."
"Go get Echo, I've completed the wedge, " Bennett said, ignoring what was going on around her. The loss of most electricity had barely even phased her. With just a nod, Adelle left in a hurry to send the active upstairs to receive one last personality.
Bennett took the wedge and shoved it in the chair. It took her a few moments to figure out what exactly to do; this was an unfamiliar lab and she was reasonably not in the right frame of mind at the moment.
"You're sure you fixed it?" Echo asked as she entered the room and sat down in the chair. Bennett gave her a look, furrowing her brows.
"Are you doubting my abilities?" Bennett spat, "I fixed it. There shouldn't be one memory out of place." She moved around the chair to the computer and typed some things in before pressing enter. Echo adjusted herself as the chair lowered itself down and the blue glow filled the room. Bennett watched with a scowl. Coming face to face with Caroline again just wasn't something Bennett wanted to do. She looked up at the ceiling and down to the floor and then around the room itself. In a more normal situation she would have been closely examining Topher's lab, seeing exactly how he put everything together, to take note of all his advancements and to just admire his technology. But instead she was was wondering why it was taking so long for the imprint to take. It never seemed like it took this long.
A hit man appeared in the doorway. Bennett's eyes widened as she stiffened. He pointed the gun at her and she stood still, looking very much like a deer stuck in headlights. She waited to be shot, mentally preparing herself for the moment the bullet pierced her flesh but it never came. Instead, he just hit her in the head with the butt of his gun, effectively knocking her out. Before he could enter the room further, however, Boyd appeared behind him and snapped his neck. He walked over to the chair and placed his hand over Echo's as Caroline's memories continued to flow into her head. Of course, it was a deceptive gesture but it was one he needed to make. He stepped to the side, and inconspicuously dropped something into the wastebasket. Then he went to make sure Bennett was okay. She was supposed to be dead but perhaps the fact that she wasn't was a good thing. Maybe things could still work out to his advantage. He had a new plan for the Halverson girl.