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" & "Distractions" using transcripts from Shadow Anthology
Get caught up: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
It didn't take long to find Meredith's home in the trailer park. Claire took Peter's hand in hers as they approached the door, hoping he didn't mind how sweaty her palm was. As much as she loved Sandra Bennet, Claire was about to meet the woman who had given birth to her.
Peter gave her a reassuring squeeze of the hand. Claire looked at him, thanks in her eyes, and she knocked on the door with her free hand.
A blonde woman in her late 30s opened the door. She looks at Claire for a long moment, then asked, "Claire?"
Claire nodded and Meredith stepped out and pulled her into a hug.
"Mom," Claire whispered, hugging Meredith back tightly.
Peter stepped back, keeping a respectful distance as mother and daughter were reunited.
Meredith finally stepped back and noticed Peter for the first time. She wiped tears from her eyes to get a better look at this young man who looked vaguely familiar.
"I'm sorry, where are my manners? Please, come in," she said to both of them.
With a hand at Claire's back, Peter followed her and Meredith into the trailer. Peter and Claire sat on the small couch, while Meredith sat on a chair near Claire after handing out glasses of water.
"Claire, you didn't tell me you had a boyfriend," Meredith said, to break the ice.
"Oh, Peter's not my boyfriend," Claire quickly said, wishing that he was. "He's just a friend. A very good friend."
"Peter, if you don't mind me saying so, you look very familiar. What did you say your last name was?" Meredith asked.
"I'm sorry, I didn't properly introduce myself. It's Petrelli, Peter Petrelli," he said.
Meredith dropped the water glass she was about to take a drink from. "D-did you say Petrelli?" she asked nervously.
Claire frowned at Meredith's reaction. She exchanged a look with Peter, who said, "Yes, Petrelli. Does that mean something to you?"
Meredith swallowed nervously and stood to find a cigarette. She fumbled with a lighter she kept around for when guests were over, turning her back to light it with her fingers instead. She inhaled deeply, letting the tobacco help soothe her nerves.
"I knew a Petrelli once," she admitted, turning back to the pair on the couch. "He was on leave from the Navy, a little over sixteen years ago."
"Nathan," Peter quietly said, the pieces slowly falling in to place. "My older brother, Nathan, he would have been in the Navy around that time." He turned to Claire. "My brother is your father."
"What? But you... and I'm... How is this possible?" Claire babbled, feeling lost with all of this new information. Peter, her Peter, the man she was rapidly falling for, was her uncle? No, it wasn't possible.
"That's right, his name was Nathan," Meredith confirmed. "He swept me off my feet, he did. He just had this confidence about him. Like nothing could get in his way and the world should bow before him. Don't know what he saw in me, but we took a fancy to each other right away. After he found out that I was knock-- was pregnant, he asked me to marry him. He had to go back on duty though before it could happen and then the fire happened, and, well, you know the rest."
"Did you know about this?" Clare asked, her voice hard as she turned on Peter. "When you saved me, did you know we were related?"
"No! God no," Peter said, taking her hands in his. "I never knew anything about this. I was only ten at the time. I hardly ever saw Nathan when I was a kid because he was off at college and then in the Navy. I kinda remember him coming home for a little while around then, and he was really sad, but they never told me why."
Peter felt his stomach twist with guilt and sadness. Sadness that his brother had to go through believing that he'd lost a fiancée and a daughter. And guilt for being sexually attracted to his niece. He thanked God that they hadn't made love the previous night, as much as he had wanted to. The kissing was bad enough, but at least that's all that it had been.
Sitting again, Meredith asked, "If you two didn't know about each other, then how did you meet?"
Claire interrupted Peter before he could tell Meredith about Homecoming. "Wait." She stood and moved to Meredith's kitchen. "Before we tell you that story, there's something you need to see." She grabbed a large knife and before Meredith could finish protesting, she slashed her arm.
"Just wait," she told Meredith, who had moved to stop her. Before she had finished speaking, the wound began to heal. "Please say something."
Meredith took it all in, realizing that Claire was special, like her. Smiling, she held out a fist and when she opened her hand, a ball of fire appeared. She closed her hand to snuff out the flame. "Some family."
Peter had come over during the exchange, to make sure that Meredith didn't react aversely to Claire's healing. Out of curiosity, he opened a fist and a small flame did appear for a moment before going out.
"How did you do that?" Meredith asked in awe. "I've never met anyone else who could produce fire."
"I'm some kind of mimic," Peter admitted. "When I'm around people with abilities, I can do what they do."
"And Nathan, does that mean he can do something too?" Meredith asked, guessing that he could.
"He can fly," Peter told her.
"That doesn't surprise me," Meredith said with a small smile. "He certainly knew how to sweep me off my feet."
"Is that how you survived?" Claire asked, bringing them back to Meredith's ability.
"Yeah," Meredith confirmed. "I didn't start that fire, mind you, but it didn't hurt me. I'm guessing since you can heal, that's how you survived?"
"I guess," Claire said. "I only found out about being able to heal about six months ago, but I suppose that it was there all along."
"Me too," Peter said. "I only started notice things about me and Nathan having abilities about six months ago."
"Is that when y'all met?" Meredith asked.
"No, that was just a few weeks ago," Claire said. "Peter saved me at Homecoming. I was supposed to be the Queen."
"That's wonderful," Meredith said. "Wait; supposed to?"
"There was this man, Sylar," Claire started, then got choked up.
Peter took over the story. "Sylar's been hunting people with abilities. He kills them and somehow takes their abilities. He was after Claire that night."
"But he killed Jackie instead," Claire picked up the narrative again. "She had told the cops that she had saved a man from a fire, when it had really been me. Sylar saw the article about her and thought she was me. He killed her, but before he did she told me to run."
"How did you know to be there?" Meredith asked Peter.
"There's this artist I know in New York, Isaac. He can paint the future. He painted me saving Claire at Homecoming. Oh, and there was this Japanese guy who came to me from the future and told me to Save the Cheerleader to Save the World."
"It's like some kind of comic book come to life," Meredith mused.
'Or a Shakespearean tragedy,' Peter thought, looking at Claire.