Episode #342

Previously ...
- Claire lamented how little time she is able to spend with Samantha since Diane won custody.
- Katherine rebuffed Nick's efforts to smooth things over. Later, she paid Claire a visit to ask questions about Nick. His stepmother's visit alarmed Ryan.
- Brent found Molly inside the Heritage Clinic. He warned her to get out as quickly as possible and promised that he would fill her in later. But on her way out, Molly came upon a room Tom Clayton's room.
- Little did Molly realize that the man inside the room, awakening from a coma, was her presumed-dead brother, Tim!


Claire Fisher stands in the open doorway, watching as her stepdaughter climbs out of the back seat of Diane Bishop's Lexus. Diane helps the little girl out of the car and then admonishes her not to forget her backpack. Samantha ducks back into the car, grabs her backpack, and breaks into a run toward the house.

Claire bends down and catches Samantha in her arms. Diane follows behind, her heels clomping over the driveway and the front steps.

"How'd the soccer game go?" Claire asks.

"We won. But I didn't get any goals," Samantha tells her.

"That's okay. Did you have fun?"

Samantha nods. "Yeah. And Gretchen Wieners got two goals."

"Good for Gretchen Wieners," Claire says. "I'm very glad that you had fun."

"She kicked butt," Diane adds, smiling proudly at her daughter.

Claire can't resist the opportunity to get a dig in at Diane, no matter how many times she's promised herself that she will be civil. "Turning into a real soccer mom, huh?"

Diane scowls momentarily before turning her attention back to Samantha. "This little piggy needs a bath. The game ran late, so we came straight from the field."

"Run upstairs and put your stuff away," Claire says. "Then you can get ready to take a bath. Your Uncle Ryan and I are making a special dinner tonight."

Samantha looks up hopefully. "Pizza?"

"Not quite, no. But you'll like it."

A frown pulls Samantha's expression downward as she tries to imagine how something that isn't pizza might be good.

"Hurry up," Claire tells her. "I'll be up in a minute."

"Okay, fine."

Before Samantha can dart away, Diane speaks up. "Hey, missy. Aren't we forgetting something?"

"Oh, yeah."

Diane leans down, wraps Samantha in a hug, and plants a kiss on her cheek. "I'll see you Monday."

"Okay," Samantha says. She takes off across the living room and up the stairs, her sandy-colored ponytail flapping behind her.

"Thanks for driving her over," Claire says. "I really wouldn't have minded coming out to the school and watching her game, though."

Diane shakes her head. "That was the last of my time with her for the week. I wanted to spend it alone with her."

Yeah, because it makes a huge difference if I'm sitting in the stands, Claire thinks. It's so typical of Diane to fight for every last bit of attention she can get. But Claire bites her tongue and doesn't force the issue.

"You'll drop her off at school on Monday?" Diane asks, her tone implying that Claire might somehow forget to do it.

"Yes. I will drop her off at school."

"Good." Adjusting her purse on her shoulder, Diane turns. "Then I'll be going. Be good to her."

"I will," Claire says roughly, waiting only a second longer to retreat into the house and close the door. As much as things have improved, that woman still infuriates her.


Molly Fisher stares at the chart rack, trying to ascertain if she's seeing things or not. But she isn't. The name on the file is clear: Tom Clayton.

Brent's warnings to get out of the clinic as quickly as possible dance menacingly through her head, but she cannot pry herself away now. Not when she is so close to finding out--whatever it is that they are trying to find out here. The image of Tim's photograph in Brent's hand flashes across the screen of her mind.

I can't leave, she decides, glancing around cautiously before snatching up the file.

She flips it open and scans hurriedly for some explanation of something. The file's contents make little sense to her, at least without the time to sit down and focus on them; from what she gathers, Clayton's condition has been the same for some time. Slow improvements have led to what appears to be a plateau in his status.

Without even thinking about it, she peeks through the small window in the door. As expected, there is a man lying in the bed. She returns her attention to the patient's file, but an instant later, what she has seen actually registers.


She didn't expect this, and she certainly didn't expect to stumble upon it so easily. But now everything is falling into place for her, though all that puzzle reveals is a new set of questions.

Her hand flies to the doorknob and, surprisingly, it turns. She bursts into the room.

It's him.

"Tom Clayton" is her brother. Tim is here. In the same room as her. But how--

And then comes an even bigger surprise. His head rotates slowly, and his eyes settle on her.


"Jesus." Ryan swallows hard, his heartbeat pounding in his ears despite the silence of the room around him.

"That's what we're dealing with," Nick says, rising from the couch and glaring down at Ryan, who remains seated. "Esposito talked, and even that was enough to send the police to my home. Katherine, meanwhile, is one step away from serving me divorce papers, and you're off playing house with Claire Robbins."

Claire. It's making Ryan nauseous to entertain the idea of her finding out all the details of his past. Nick's making a lot of sense, and a growing dread is spreading through Ryan. He was barely able to maintain his composure when he found Katherine visiting Claire, and seeing Nick has done little to assuage his terror.

"I would think that Ryan Moriani, of all people, would have a vested interest in all of this."

"Of course I do," Ryan says, still seated and glancing up at Nick, whose face is a mask of austerity. Something about the way Nick said his last name just then isn't sitting right with him; his mind is racing, trying desperately to make sense of what he's just learned, to determine a course of action that would effectively sweep this all back underneath the rug.

"Then help me." Nick's tone softens--ever so slightly, but enough for Ryan to recognize the change.

And it terrifies him. He's never seen his father like this. It's too much; he disregards the notion with a slight but literal shake of his head. "I can't," he says, not meeting his father's gaze. "It's--I'm not getting involved with this again. You're out of your mind."

"Am I? Perhaps. But is that what you're going to tell the judge?"

"You're asking me to protect my past of criminal activity by getting back into the midst of all of it. It's the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard."

"I'm asking you to consider all that I've done for you. And decide whether or not that's worth your sacrifice," Nick says, heading toward the door. Ryan stands and follows him there.

"I'm not getting roped into your world again," Ryan says, more to himself than to Nick.

"Esposito's got me roped into this new scheme of his," Nick says, whirling around to face his son. "I don't have a choice, Ryan. If we don't work together to find a way out of it, you could end up regretting this decision for the rest of your life." Nick grimaces and swings the door open, offering a final glance before leaving. "Think about that."

Ryan narrows his gaze but doesn't say anything as Nick leaves his apartment. He isn't really sure what to say, let alone what to suggest they do even if he were to agree to help.


As she climbs the stairs, Claire attempts to leave her encounter with Diane out on the porch. She isn't going to let it encroach for even an instant on what little time she does have with Samantha.

She turns into the second bedroom upstairs, the one that used to be Sarah's. Now Samantha occupies it when she spends time here. Claire and Paula have done their best to make it a real bedroom for the little girl, not simply a guest room with a few extra decorations. However, there is an element missing; without Samantha here all the time, the room is meticulously ordered, missing all those little signs of life. It almost hurts Claire to notice it right now, as if the room is a physical indictment of her shortcomings as a parent.

Samantha isn't in her room, though, and chances are she hasn't taken the initiative to get ready for her bath. Claire enters Travis's room, where Travis is glued to the television screen. Sam stands just behind her, still wearing her backpack, equally as interested in her brother's video game.

"C'mon, let's get you in the tub," Claire says.

Samantha nods but doesn't move.

Claire notices something on the girl's shirt. "What's that spot?"

"We did art at school," Samantha tells her, eyes never straying from the TV. "I got some clay on my t-shirt."

"All the more reason to get cleaned up in the bath," Claire says, even though she can tell she's fighting a losing battle. "Travis, turn that off. Your grandma and grandpa will be home any minute, and Uncle Ryan should be on his way back soon, too. You can set the table."

"But I have to beat this level first!"

Against her better instincts, Claire watches as a version of the Super Mario character, one that is far better animated than the character she remembers, cruises his way across the screen, grabbing all sorts of items and knocking out bad guys left and right. She is surprised by the ease with which Travis moves through the action--until he comes to a dangerous-looking cavern.

As Claire gasps, Travis attempts the jumps, and Mario plummets into the pit.

"How are you supposed to get over that thing?" Claire asks.

"I dunno," Travis says. "It's too hard." He starts the level over and moves quickly back to the same spot, where Mario suffers the same unfortunate fate.

Claire searches the screen, but she can't find the answer she's looking for. "How many tries do you have left?"

Travis shrugs. "A lot. I got a whole bunch of extra lives in the last level." He starts explaining exactly how he did that, but the details go over Claire's head.

"Well, as long as you have so many left," Claire says, "how about giving Mom a try?"

Travis snickers, and Samantha isn't far behind.

"You're not good at this!" Travis says through laughter, as if expecting his mother to realize at any moment just how ludicrous the idea is.

She knows that he is probably right, but she brushes it off with a laugh of her own. "Come on, give me a shot!"

Travis rolls his eyes but hands the controller over anyway. Claire tries to situate her fingers on the panel, but there is nothing natural about it.

"How do I do this?" she asks.

The two kids explain the controls to her, talking over and under each other, possibly even contradicting each other at times. She picks up enough of it to start playing the game, though. And, sure enough, Mario is toast the first time she encounters one of the funny-looking bad guys.

"I can do this!" Claire says, a statement that earns skeptical looks from both children. But she begins the level again, and this time, she gets a little bit further.

"You have to jump earlier," Travis explains. "Before they get so close to you."

Claire wonders if this was a bad idea, but listening to the kids' instructions is too amusing, so she continues playing. The bath and dinner can wait a few minutes.


"My God." Molly's voice sounds strange to her own ears, but she is happy simply to have gotten the words out. Even the act of speaking feels tremendously difficult right now.

From the bed, Tim smiles weakly at her. She closes the door and hurries over to him.

"Tim," she says breathlessly, taking her brother's hand. Not even touching him is making this seem real. "What are they doing to you here? How did you get here?"

He moves his head slowly and takes in the room. "Where are we?"

"In the clinic. In Vermont," she says, but as soon as she has spoken, she realizes that it means nothing to him.

"Why am I ..." He tries to gesture at the bed and at the tubes hooked up to him, but all he really manages to do is lift his hands slightly.

"I don't know." Molly casts a glance backward at the door, as if expecting someone to catch her at any moment. "I don't know what's going on. Tim, we all thought--"

Even though she has grown accustomed to saying that her brother is--was--dead, she suddenly cannot say it. If she says it, maybe it will make this all not real. And now that she has found her brother, she isn't going to lose him again.

She can see him struggling to remember something, but he clearly doesn't. She squeezes his hand. His touch is limp, as if he doesn't even have the energy to react to Molly. She studies his face; she knows this is her brother, but at the same time, she hardly recognizes him. He is a shadow of the man that she remembers: gaunt, pale, almost lifeless.


I've got to get him out of here, she thinks. She doesn't want to alarm him, because she has the feeling that his body might not be able to handle a shock right now. She looks around the room in search of a wheelchair, but there is none to be found.

"I'm going to take you home," she says as calmly as she can. The tubes and wires hooked up to him scream out to her. What if he needs some of them to stay alive?

What if there is really something good going on here, something she just doesn't know about?

She considers the idea for a split-second. Obviously Tim hasn't authorized this, and it is serious enough for Brent to search the place with federal agents. This Doctor Domingo is up to something very strange, and her brother has somehow become an unwitting part of it.

"Where are we?" Tim asks again. His voice is a gravelly whisper, rough and desperate. "Molly ..."

"Stay quiet," she says, forcing a smile. "We'll have plenty of time to talk later." She contemplates the machines and the things hooked up to Tim. This is starting to seem less and less possible ...

Molly turns sharply at the sound of the door being thrown open. An older man in a shirt and tie bursts into the room, his focus searing right into her.

"Step away from the patient," he says. "Now."

Molly considers how hard it would be to defy the man. He doesn't appear particularly strong, or--

An instant later, a much larger man enters the room behind him.

"Step away from my patient," the older man says again, as his goon approaches Molly.


Does Molly stand a chance of getting Tim out of the clinic?
How will Claire takes the news about her husband?
Will Ryan be desperate enough to join Nick?
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