Summary: Peter and Claire discover they're related, but in a different way.
Spoilers: through Distractions.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Tim Kring et al.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to kallie_kat for the beta!
A/N: Just pretend that Peter wasn't in a coma for several weeks; he just passed out for a few hours, then went back to New York with Nathan. Claire is 17 in this story.
A/N 2: Dialog borrowed from the episode "The Fix" using transcripts from Shadow Anthology
Get caught up: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
They had only been on the road for fifteen minutes when Claire turned wide, panicked eyes to Peter. "I can't do this."
"You can't do what?" Peter asked, glancing away from the road briefly to look at her.
"Meet my bio-mom," Claire clarified. "I need more time. Please don't make me do this yet."
Peter frowned. "How much time to you need? I mean, we can probably wait until tomorrow, if you want."
Claire vigorously nodded her head. "Yes, tomorrow would be great. I just need some more time to figure out what I'm going to say."
Peter thought about it. He had figured that they would need to find a motel to stay in tonight anyway, so they could just do that sooner rather than later.
"Okay, we can find a place to stay for tonight and discuss what you'll say to Meredith tomorrow. Sound good?" Peter proposed.
"Yes, thank you!" Claire exclaimed. She leaned over as far as she could with her seat belt on and hugged Peter, or at least his arm.
"Why don't you keep your eye on signs for motels, in that case?" Peter suggested.
It turned out that there weren't any motels along the way, but when they got to Kermit they found a couple. Peter got them a room with two double beds at the Kermit Inn. He apologized to Claire for only getting the one room, but it was all they had left.
Since they hadn't eaten at the diner in Midland, Claire suggested they grab a bite to eat at the pizza place across the street
"So how did you find your mom?" Peter asked, after they placed their order.
"Well, I asked the Haitian if he knew anything, and while he didn't have any info about my bio-dad, he said my dad had told him that my mom died in a fire."
"She didn't really die," Claire said. "Obviously. Just one more lie my dad has told over the years."
Peter reached across the table to cover one of Claire's hands, in sympathy.
"My friend Zach went online and looked up fires around the time I was adopted. He found a newspaper article that mentioned a woman, Meredith Gordon, and her 18-month old baby girl who died in a fire," Claire told him.
"So she thought you were dead too," Peter guessed.
"Yep. I started calling everyone in Kermit with the last name Gordon, hoping to find a relative who could tell me about my mom, and maybe who my dad was. You can imagine my surprise when I found my mom alive."
"I bet she was just as surprised," Peter said.
"Yeah, she sounded a little shell-shocked." Claire paused when their food arrived. "I wonder how she survived the fire. Do you think she can heal, like me?"
"It's possible," Peter agreed. "I haven't heard about two people having the same ability, yet, but I guess it wouldn't be far off for a parent and child to share the same trait."
"It would certainly make it easier to ask her about it," Claire said. "It's not exactly an easy topic to bring up."
"Tell me about it," Peter laughed. "Every time I tried to tell my brother, Nathan, that I thought I could fly he'd shut me up as fast as he could."
"You can fly?" Claire asked in wide-eyed admiration.
"Not really," Peter admitted. "I did a couple of times, when I was around Nathan. He can fly."
"That's so cool."
"Yeah, I think that's why I wanted it to be me so badly," Peter said.
"But if you can do what he can do, then you can fly, too," Claire reminded him.
"With some practice, yeah, I will," Peter agreed.
The easy conversation continued throughout their meal. When they finished eating they returned to the hotel. Claire flipped through the cable channels on the TV, but didn't find anything she wanted to watch, while Peter returned a call from his brother. Claire tried not to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to.
"Is everything okay?" she asked when Peter finally hung up.
"Yeah, it will be," Peter said. "He's not happy about me being here, with you."
Claire frowned. "Because of what happened before?"
"Partly. He's worried that I have some kind of Hero complex, especially when it comes to you." Peter sighed. "Simone also told him that I was helping you to run away. Nathan's running for Congress, so he's worried about how this will look to the press if they find out."
"Who's Simone?" Claire quietly asked.
"My girlfriend," Peter automatically replied. "No, make that my ex-girlfriend."
He missed Claire's small frown, then smile, as he spoke.
"You have a girlfriend?"
"Not anymore." Peter kicked off his shoes and stretched out on the bed he'd chosen, looking up at the dirty ceiling. "She didn't understand why I had to come when you called. She said that if I came here that we were over. And here I am."
Claire slid out of her shoes and moved to sit next to Peter on his bed. "I'm sorry," she apologized.
Peter sat up. "Hey, it's not your fault." He brushed Claire's hair away from her face, his fingers unconsciously caressing her cheek. "Me and Simone, we were pretty new anyway. We just got together a few days before the first time I came here. I hate to admit it, but I was her rebound guy."
"I'm sure that's not true," Claire said, capturing Peter's hand as he started to withdraw it.
"No, it is. She slept with me the same day she broke up with Isaac." Peter's cheeks flushed as he realized he'd just told this teenager he'd had sex with Simone on their first date, and it wasn't even really a date.
Claire was blushing herself as she mumbled, "Oh."
Rather than focus on Peter's sex life, she latched on to the other name he'd mentioned. "Isaac, why does that name sound familiar?"
"I think I may have mentioned him when you came to see me in, um, jail. He's an artist who can paint the future," Peter said, grateful for the change in topic.
"He's the one that showed you where to find me," Claire remembered. "Did he convince you to come now?"
"Yeah. He did a painting of us driving into Kermit," Peter admitted.
"Cool. So he's your ex's ex?" Claire asked, her forehead scrunched in confusion.
"Heh, yeah. It's kind of complicated."
"Sounds like it," Claire agreed.
"So, uh, do you have a boyfriend?" Peter asked, hating how nervous he felt just asking the question. Just because he thought she was cute didn't mean that anything could happen between them. She was still in high school, for one thing.
"Nope, no boyfriend," Claire said. "I'm kind of a social pariah since I crashed the quarterback's car, with us in it."
"What? Why would you do that?" Peter asked in alarm.
Claire shrugged. "He tried to rape me. He didn't. He killed me before he got that far."
"Oh, Claire," Peter said, sympathetically. Before he could stop himself, he reached out and pulled her into a hug.
She returned his embrace, taking comfort in his solid form, knowing he knew what it was like to die. "A branch punctured the base of my skull. I woke up on the autopsy table after they removed it. I had to hold my skin together from where they'd cut me open." She was surprised to find that she was crying.
"Hey, hey, don't cry," Peter soothed her. He pulled back enough to brush the tears from her cheeks. "It's over and you're safe."
"I know," Claire said, squeezing his shoulders. "I feel safe with you. More than anyone else. I trust you."
Peter smiled. "I trust you, too."
"I know that we barely know each other, but I feel like I could tell you anything," Claire admitted, blushing faintly.
"I know what you mean," Peter said. "It feels like I've known you forever."
He leaned forward to brush a kiss against Claire's cheek, just as she turned her head to say something, causing the corners of their mouths to brush instead. Peter froze, afraid of having crossed a line of impropriety. But he didn't pull away.
Meeting his beautiful brown eyes, Claire tilted her head a bit more and gently pressed her lips to his. At first Peter just sat there, too surprised to move. Her lips were soft and moist against his, and a moment later he was kissing her back.
Peter drew one hand up to wrap in her luscious hair, the other sliding around her waist, pulling her closer. One of Claire's hands was teasing the hair at the back of his neck as the other held his face.
Continued here... (Don't hurt me.)