Disclaimer: I do not own Heroes nor any of the characters.

AN: This story is set a year after the events in "The Second Coming" and then branches off into its own little AU and as such, they are absolutely not related in any way.

Strands of honey colored hair blew past her face as she giggled merrily, looking every bit the 21-year-old girl she was. Just a young girl having, everyday, run-of-the-mill, completely normal fun.

The roller coaster sped across the track as its captives howled in delight and mock fear. One of the passengers did just that as the wind whipped across her small frame, making her feel as though she were flying through the air. Her thoughts immediately shot to her father, wondering if he still relished the feeling of soaring across the skies, controlling his own path through the clouds and she felt a small pang of jealously, wishing she could know the feeling of complete freedom. But for now, she would relish the feeling of being a normal girl.

A feeling that could never last.

Sunlight danced across the metal rails as a final farewell to the day as it sank from view. Almost immediately the lights of amusement park switched on, filling the night with the air of childishness that could only be attributed to a place like Disneyworld. That feeling, however, vanished at the roller coaster began to groan as though under tremendous amounts of weight. The cars began to slow as the panicked voices of its passengers began to show their alarm.

A sudden lurch and the entire coaster jerked to a harsh stop at one of the attractions highest points. Several screams cut through the night air and it became apparent that the people observing had become aware of their predicament. Claire searched the crowd below until she found light glinting off a familiar pair of glasses. She gave a slight nod, to show that she was fine, and he returned the gesture, though the expression of worry on his face was still apparent.

Claire turned to her younger brother and protectively wrapped an arm around him. He smiled in appreciation of the gesture and squeezed her free hand with his own. Now she really wished she had inherited her father's ability so she could simply scoop up her younger brother and glide safely to the ground.

"It'll be okay, Lyle," she assured him with a confidence she hoped he wouldn't question.

"I know, sis. I'm sure they'll have us moving again in no time," he replied with one of his characteristically boyish smiles. She couldn't help but admire what a great kid he had grown into. He had met all of their family's challenges with the determination of his father and yet managed to keep the warmness of his mother. He was certainly a Bennet, there was no question about that.

A roar of the crowd and a collective gasp of the passengers caused the young pair to turn and see what had caused the commotion. To their horror, they watched as a young man, probably in his early twenties, began to climb out of the car. He nervously surveyed the air below him with his left leg until he found the support of one of the many metal bars. He slowly began his descent as everyone watched in rapture.

Claire glanced down and noticed that several news crews had already arrived and several cameras were pointed in their direction. Without any warning, the cars suddenly jolted into movement as though nothing had happened. Claire covered her mouth in horror as she watched the climbing boy lose his grip as the track rattled with the movement of the cars. The world seemed to go into slow motion as she watched his fingers began to slip from the bar one by one until his last bit of strength was spent. She grabbed her brother and held him close as the boy plummeted to the ground.

Even after the nightmarish night on the roller coaster, life had begun to resume as normal for the Bennet family. Noah had made sure that Claire's last year in college would be a normal and happy one for the family that had gone through so much in the past several years.

So, he had swept them up, moved them across the country, changed their names, and kept a predator's watch on anyone who came close. However, with the recent incident and the media coverage it inspired, he knew their enemies, Claire's enemies, would have noticed. It was just a question of when.

That very question was on his mind as his children raced down the stairs. "Good morning, Claire-bear," he said with a small as he placed a light peck on her forehead.

She beamed up at him underneath her waves of blonde hair, blue eyes sparkling. It still amazed him how much she had matured in the past years. The naïve, young cheerleader had been replaced with a confident young woman with an inner strength nobody her age should possess. But he supposed watching a psycho kill your friend, being tracked down like an animal by your father's company and seeing your uncle and biological father fly off in a mass of nuclear radiation would do that to you.

"Good morning, Daddy," she replied as she grabbed an apple from the bowl on the kitchen table. "We gotta run or we'll be late," she explained as she grabbed her backpack from the chair next to his and dashed for the door, her younger brother on her heels.

Claire sped down the sun parched highway in her Nissan, fiddling with the radio until she found a station she was comfortable with, though she could barely hear the music over the beeping coming from whatever video game Lyle was playing. Normally, she'd be annoyed by that, but today had been a good day. She'd aced her biology test, gotten her psychology paper in on time, had a cute guy buy her a cup of coffee, and still found the time to pick her brother up from high school.

She pulled into the driveway of their house and found herself studying it as though it was the first time. It wasn't as nice as their Costa Verde home, or as homey as their house in Odessa, but it was charming and it was home now.

Her and her brother grabbed their things and headed for the front door and almost immediately Claire knew something was up. She held up an arm in front of Lyle, forcing him to stop. He opened his mouth to protest but stopped when he saw the look on his sister's face. Her young features were twisted in a look of determination and worry. She listened closely but heard no sounds and realized that's what was off.

Both of her parents' cars were in the driveway and at this time of the day her mother should be watching Oprah and preparing dinner. But Claire didn't hear the tv or pots and pans rattling or even her parents talking about their day. It sounded as though the house was completely empty.

With a wave of her hand, she motioned for Lyle to stay behind her and with a finger pressed to her lips, she told him to keep quiet. He nodded his understanding and moved in close against her back as she slowly turned the knob.

The slid open easily and she carefully peered in. Everything looked perfectly normal except for the fact that nobody was in sight. She crept in as quietly as possible, taking great care not to make even the slightest sound. Her stealthiness was thwarted, though, when Lyle bumped into the foyer table. It wasn't a loud sound, but Claire knew it was enough. Without even waiting to see if her instincts were right, she shoved her brother to the floor.

"Get down, now!" Claire screamed as they hit the floor together. Her intuition was spot-on as a flurry of bullets hurtled through the air over their heads.

"Miss Bennet, you need to come with us," a man said calmly behind the gun that was trained on her.

Claire looked up at her enemies as she climbed to her feet. The man who had spoken had Company written all over him. He was rather ordinary looking; average brown hair in a crew cut, thin glasses perched on his equally thin and rather pointed nose and clad in the stereotypical black suit, white shirt, black tie. She decided she'd call him Joe.

Joe was accompanied by an unequally unremarkable woman and despite her current predicament, Claire couldn't help but wonder if the Company was taking it's cues from the Men in Black. She also tried to guess which of them was equipped with more than just a gun.

"Where are my parents?" she asked, trying her hardest to keep her voice from shaking.

"Oh they are right here, Miss Bennet," Joe replied calmly and with a motion of his arm, the chairs her parents were tied to moved into the room seemingly of their own accord, exposing Joe as the talented one in the duo. However, his actions didn't intimidate her. She'd been against a much stronger opponent who also had the gift of telekinesis.

Claire nearly choked on a sob as she took in the frighten forms of her mother, bound and clearly terrified as tears ran freely down the older woman's face. Her father's expression was quite different, his eyes burned with fire behind his trademark glasses and Claire knew if he got loose, the pair from the Company would suffer.

Lyle whimpered from his position at Claire's feet and she managed to give her brother a weak smile, "It's going to be okay, Lyle, just stay down. I'm going to fix this."

He nodded his compliance, though Claire could see the terror in his young eyes. She hated Primatech for putting her family through this. Claire decided she'd had enough and with a deep breath, she walked toward them, every step defined with purpose.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Miss Bennet," Joe replied as he carefully leveled the gun he was holding at her and cocked it.

Claire stopped dead, frozen in fear and without a clue what she should do. She looked to her father and found herself wishing one of them had telepathy. There were two options here: she could continue being the scared little cheerleader and let them take her away from her family or she could put on a brave face and fight.

She decided on the latter as she continued her march towards him. Without hesitation, he fired. The bullet, sailed past her head, and she kept moving. He fired again, this one caught her left shoulder and though she winced, she kept moving. He fired once more and this one missed her completely, sailing past her kneecap and Claire nearly smiled until she heard a sound behind her.

She turned as if she were caught in slow motion, because she knew, without a doubt, what that sound was. The knowledge of it, however, didn't prepare her for the sight her crystal blue eyes took in.

Her little brother was crumpled on the floor, blood already pooling around him and turning his messy brown hair crimson. She rushed to his side and collapsed on the floor next to him, tears already falling from her eyes. She reached out and scooped the boy into her arms, cradling him to her chest as she cried for him. The bullet had ripped through his chest and Claire knew he was already dead.

"I'm so sorry, Lyle. I'm so sorry, this is all my fault," she just kept repeating it over and over as though her apologetic mantra would somehow bring him back. She could hear her mother's sobs behind her and her father screaming in a bloody rage at the bastard who had just killed his son.

Claire knew then that she wouldn't risk her family's safety any longer," Fine, I'll go with you, just don't hurt my parents."

"Claire, no. You don't have to do this," her father protested, but he knew how stubborn his daughter was. "Claire-bear, it's not your fault."

"Yes, it is, Dad, and there's no other option," Claire replied, her voice low and full of resolve. And with that final statement, she walked up to Joe and held up her hands for him to apply the cuffs she knew he was carrying.

"Smart girl," Joe replied as he snapped the metal bracelets in place and grabbed her arm, forcefully leading her out of her once happy home.

Claire sat in the back of the black, unmarked van as it rolled down the highway piloted by Joe's uninteresting and apparently mute female partner. They both seemed oblivious to her, probably because they didn't see her as much of a threat and that infuriated her all the more.

She might not have had a cool power like pyrokinesis, but she was aware of a few tricks she could do with hers and when she spied an 18-wheeler lumbered down the highway in the next lane, she knew she'd found her opportunity.

Wordlessly and quickly, Claire dove from the backseat and grabbed the steering wheel with her bound hands. She knew timing was everything and just hoped she'd got it right as she turned the wheel sharply, sending the van on a collision course with the truck.

"Stupid girl, what are you doing?" Joe screamed and Claire could hear the terror in his voice and it made her smile.

Within moments, the van collided with the truck, reducing it to a flaming ball of twisted metal and blood. The crash didn't damage her as much as she had initially planned, just a broken neck, arm, and a few ribs and several long gashes. A look at her captors and she knew they didn't fair so lucky.

Joe's skull was obviously crushed and shards of his glasses were embedded in his eyeballs and forehead. His partner wasn't in any better shape as her head was twisted at an eerie and unnatural angle.

The sight would have made Claire sick if they hadn't just murdered her brother and taken her away from her family. She knew it wouldn't be long before the cops arrived so she tore her body from the wreckage and ran for her life.

She knew they were only a few miles from her home, but she couldn't go back there and put her family through that again. With her gone, her parents would be safe and the Company would have no reason to keep chasing them.

So, instead of returning home, she decided she'd go to the next town over, get some money and clothes and figure the rest out from there.

After a twenty-three-mile hike, Claire found herself in the small town of Summerville, SC, just north of Charleston, the city they'd been calling home for nearly a year. It was a quaint little place, like a town you'd see in an old movie where kids could still ride their bike to the local ice cream shop and all the businesses were owned by families or little old men.

The only problem which such a charming little town is that a girl covered in blood tends to stand out. And with no money, she knew she'd have to venture into the bank and pray they didn't call the cops on her.

No, she knew they'd call the cops and take her to the hospital as soon as they saw her. She had to figure something out and fast, she realized or she was in real trouble. Luckily, salvation found her as she walked by the local park and spotted a raincoat just lying across one of the benches.

She knew it probably belonged to one of the parents playing with their children in the sandbox or pushing them on the swings, and though Claire hated what she had to do, she didn't have another option. So, she swiftly ran by the bench and snatched the coat, praying nobody saw her.

When she felt she was a safe distance away, she slid the coat and and was happy to see that even though it wasn't very conspicuous, it did cover all of the blood stains. And with her new disguise, she made her way to the bank.

She couldn't have more thankful at that moment, that her father, Nathan Petrelli, had the foresight to set up a rather hefty trust in case anything like this should ever happen. She wasn't exactly sure how hefty the trust was until she gave the teller the account number and saw her eyes widen in shock.

"Okay, Ms. Petrelli, how much did you want to withdraw?" the teller asked kindly.

"Could you please tell me what the balance is?" Claire asked quietly, half because of necessetiy and half because of curiosity.

"Of course, the current balance is $250,000," the teller answered with a knowing smile.

Claire nearly choked. She knew her biological family had money, but her father had actually secreted away a quarter of a million dollars just for her? For the first time, she realized she might actually be able to make it on her own afterall.

"Wow, okay. I would like to withdraw one thousand of that, please," Claire told the lady in her most polite tone.

As Claire stepped out of the bank with $1000 in her pocket, her mind was still spinning in disbelief. There was still a lot of things she had to do, the first of which was to buy some clothes and find a place to stay.

Scalding water cascaded down Claire's golden tresses and tanned skin in the small hotel shower. She watched it swirl in the drain, now stained red. From her blood, from her brother's blood and she broke down.

Images of her young sibling flood her mind a tears pour from her eyes. She has never felt pain so intensely before. So consuming and devouring that it threatened to steal the breath from her lungs. She clutches at her chest as though she's searching for a gaping hole that refuses to close up, but she knows she won't find anything.

She knows she's supposed to be indestructible, but the memories of her brother's bloody young body threaten to tear her in two.

She cries throughout the night, she cries so much she doesn't know if it will ever stop, if her eyes will stop burning and vaguely wonders how her body could possibly produce so many tears.

The only thought that finally stops the flow of tears is the thought of revenge. The Company had taken everything from her over and over again and it was time to do something about it. She wasn't foolish enough to think she could take them by herself, but she knew one man who possibly could. And even though she detested the thought of asking for his help, she knew it was the only way.

The only real problem was that she'd have to venture into the mouth of hell to find him.

A/N: This could be a long one, I'm not sure yet. I've actually had this sitting on my computer for a while now, the first few chapters are mostly done, so updates should be pretty frequent. And please, let me know what you think.

Also, Summerville is an actual place, but not really that small of a town.