Characters/Pairings: René (The Haitian), Noah Bennet/Sandra Bennet
Warnings: Mental trauma
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to Tim Kring, NBC, et al.
A/N: Written for nbc_las for the prompt “Déjà Vû.”
Summary: The Haitian has to do his usual duties.
“The usual.” Noah Bennet’s voice was clipped, and his expression was closed, with a hint of resignation. The usual for him as well.
René walked into the living room, where Sandra sat on the couch, nervously stroking her little lapdog’s fur. She furrowed her brow when she saw him, almost recognizing him, uncertain whether to greet him as a stranger or a friend. Either would have been right.
He stepped forward and placed his hand on her forehead before she could protest; her expression of smothered unease, what she’d been wearing since this afternoon, cleared away.
Her memories rushed at him, the most recent sharp-edged with fear:
Looking in Noah’s desk for some glue and finding a box of bullets. Her gasp of surprise had startled Mr. Muggles, and he’d barked at the drawer as if it were an intruder. Confronting her husband and him urging her to the couch, saying he’d explain everything. Explain why a paper salesman needed ammunition.
René captured the memory and eased it away, taking it from her as he had so many other times over the years. Many, many times since he’d joined the Company at thirteen he’d been asked to use his gift, to suppress unruly abilities and take away memories of things best left unseen. Within him he carried the frightened memories of those specials who’d been captured, examined, found harmless, and released. The recollections of those who’d seen abilities in action and were best silenced in his way. Each memory clear and tinged with terror.
Except for Sandra. She feared when she found what she shouldn’t, but it was always for the best of reasons. René put her memories in a special place in his mind:
--Cracking open Noah’s briefcase that he’d left on the bed to slip in an anniversary card, and seeing names that she shouldn’t know existed.
--Wanting to slip a cheerful note into Noah’s day planner about their son’s football game, only to see entries about “targets” that made her blood run cold.
--Picking up Noah’s sports jacket to get it dry cleaned only to have a gun tumble out of a concealed holster.
--Trying to call the family to dinner, only to overhear a telephone conversation with Noah and his boss Thompson that mentioned their daughter Claire’s name…
Each memory carried a special warmth of home, of family. Different than his life back in Haiti, but still much the same. The love of a mother and wife, dedicated and unflagging, no matter what her family did. René soaked in that warmth for a moment, and pulled his hand away, leaving everything else he could untouched. Sandra blinked up at him, puzzled at his appearance, and shook her head to clear it.
“Heavens, I’m sorry! I was just…” she trailed off, and smiled disarmingly, ruffling up Mr. Muggles’ fur in a characteristic nervous gesture. “You’re one of Noah’s co-workers, right?” The dog looked up at René and sniffed at him with an air of boredom. He’d seen René in the house too often to bother to bark at him.
René only smiled slightly and inclined his head to acknowledge her statement. Noah had walked in at the sound of Sandra’s voice, answering quickly before his wife could ask any more questions.
“Yes, he is. Minor crisis at work, and he was in the area. We’ve got it resolved though,” Noah lied smoothly, crossing over to give Sandra’s hand a quick, reassuring squeeze. “He was just leaving.”
Sandra blinked once and seemed to pull herself together. “Of course! I was… I was going to go get dinner started. Are you sure you can’t stay? We’d love to have you,” she said with a smile.
René shook his head with regret before Noah could shoot him a look, and began to walk to the front door, Noah trailing closely behind.
“Thank you,” Noah said quickly, getting René out of the house before Sandra could ask any more awkward questions that would require him to exercise his ability again. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The door shut, and René quietly walked away from the lit dining room windows, where the two Bennet children were being chivvied into setting the table under their mother’s direction. He had been here so many times; he should warn Noah to be less careless with his secrets.
But as Sandra’s lips moved, most liking questioning her children about their day, turning toward her husband to include him in the conversation as well, René thought it would be difficult to keep anything from her for long. It always had been, for over ten years.
The house disappeared down the street, familiar as home in René’s stolen memories.