Title: When the Music Stops We Talk in Tongues
Fandom: Heroes (Peter/Claire)
Rating: R
Prompt: Divided, but with half a heart for jd_nomad .
Word Count: 2,047 words
Beta: Thank you so much Maddie!
Summary: "Claire, I want you…and if this is the only way I can have you, then well…" The first time it happens, she doesn't really mean it at all.

He was telling her about his latest patient, something about an angry wife and a misused staple gun, but it was hard to concentrate on the actual words in the stiffing California heat. The room was hot, even for her, and she opened her window to try and get a cross-breeze.

She yanks her top over her head and wiggles out of her jeans, all while inserting pithy little comments here and there to let him know she was still listening. It was so hot and he'd never have to know, she told herself, lying back on her bed.

The tone of his voice floated over her, like being pleasantly drugged into complacency. She unclasped her bra, and unconsciously ran her hand over the side of her breast, where the underwire had dug in a little. It felt so good, her hands and his voice. And without even realizing it, her eyes closed and her hand drifted from the side of her breast

The next time it happens, it's not an accident.

Neither is the time after that.

"Claire?" He sounded worried.

"No, keep going," she pleads, he voice coming out a lot breathier than she would have liked, but she just needing to hear his voice some more. Nothing compares to the way it just floats over her, warming her up and making her feel more invincible than her silly power ever could.

When they hang up later, her hand drifts between her thighs and she fingers herself to two fantastic orgasms, before drifting off to bed.

She wasn't thinking about him. Not at all.

Sometimes, as there comfortable silences get longer and longer, she gets the feeling that he can't help it either.

She wonders if he feels it too. That electric spark she couldn't control, the one that made her back arch and her toes curl every time he said her name just so.

Maybe, just maybe, he thought of her too. As his hands ran down his chest, as he toyed with the button on his jeans, before pulling them down to enjoy the pleasure that rested in the palm of his hand. But surely, he didn't think of her too when light exploded across his vision.

No. It was only her that was so desperate.

Or maybe…

One night, when he doesn't call, she slips naked between cool sheets and tried to masturbate thinking of the football captain, and then Brad Pitt, like every other normal girl her age.

It doesn't work and she goes to bed frustrated.

She tests him the next time he calls. She needs to know.

"We went dress shopping today. For prom, you know." He interested, just like he always is, and she forces herself to stick to the plan. "And I'm kinda undecided between these two. Do you think you could give me your opinion?" Oh course, he agrees. He is Peter, after all.

"Well, one is black, silky. With this really pretty beaded lace detail around my collarbone. " She pauses a second to let him imagine it. "The only problem is it's a little short, you know, falling around my upper thighs…I was hoping for something long and fancy." She says. She catches herself twirling a piece of hair around her finger and makes herself to stop. She feels like a fool, when all she wants to be beautiful and sexy for him.

"The other one is longer and red this time, which May says makes my eyes really pop. Although, she's probably lying." She laughs bitterly and when he does too, she brightens a bit inside.

"My father would never let me wear it though. I can just hear him now – That's indecent, Claire-Bear. It barely covers your breasts." She thinks she has her father spot on, but by the sound of his breath, now deeper and ragged, he probably wasn't paying enough attention to congratulate her.

"So what do you think? Red or Black?"

His voice sounds strangled when he answered.

She goes wistful for a minute, even with the feeling of victory buzzing around inside of her, he's still much too far away. "I wish you were here so I could try them on for you."

If only she was on a date with him instead of going alone to her lousy prom – only kids got excited about prom.

According to May, the best way to get a guy who's too shy to do anything about the fact that he likes you is to just go for it. But Brittney tells her the guy isn't worth it. "Just buy a vibrator. They're better in bed and you don't have to listen to their sports metaphors afterwards." Claire just laughed, blushing bright red. She couldn't…could she?

But phone call after phone call of not knowing how he felt at her finally

She bought a quiet model – no use in getting caught, after all – but she knows he'll still be able to hear it. She waits until she's good and ready, until she can feel how damp her panties were, until she couldn't wait a moment longer.

She turns it on, brings it between her legs, and just sighs. It feels so so good. And so so dangerous, but that was only part of the charm.

"Claire," he moans loud suddenly.

It's the first time he doesn't hang up before he comes.

I love you, she whispers to the dial tone every time.

"Claire, we shouldn't be doing this." It's the first thing he's said in a while.

"So, you're doing it too?" She always had the suspicion. Or maybe it was her own desperate need pushing the action onto him.

"Yes." He sounds do damned, so guilty, that it physically hurts. She curled up into herself and pulled a quilt around her bare form. She wished it was him hugging her.

She stays silent for a minute, before the words finally burst out of her like a religious conviction. "There is nothing wrong with it. It's not like we're really doing anything. It's not like you're really here." The last part comes out angrier then she would have liked.

"That's the problem, Claire. I want to be."

She gasps sharply and all she hears in return is the dial tone.

She replays it in her head every night before bed. He hasn't called in weeks and its all her fault.

She tries calling him after that, but all she gets is his voicemail. Until one day, the phone rings just as she is about to leave for cheer practice

It's him on the line. She'll get yelled at for missing practice, but oh will it be worth it.

"I'll always love you." She can barely make him out though the static and the angry noises of fighting in the background.

"Always?" It's so girlishly hopeful of her, but after weeks of silence, of dead-end dial tones, she needs to hear it again.

"Always. Nothing will change that." He hung up on her again seconds later, not giving her enough time to respond. The words, And I'll always love you, clog up in her throat.

She wishes she could tell him.

Just once.

In her dreams, he holds her and kisses her and they laugh about all this pointless drama.

When she's awake, the phone that doesn't ring just laughs at her.

They don't speak until two weeks later when he calls back. He sounds exhausted, beaten down by the world, but when she asks him about it, he insists that its nothing. She's already come so close to ruining this thing they have between them that she doesn't push. She hates that they've resorted to lying to each other.

So she sits in the kitchen, watching her mother cook dinner, as they talk about insignificant things: her horrible English teacher, Nathan's latest political scam. They continue like this for weeks, the tension thick in every hidden word as the unsaid still hangs between them.

And as soon as he hangs up, she's rushing upstairs. She replays his voice in her head as naughty fingers reach between legs to find the place that makes her body sing out. She tries imagining someone else,

It's just one more thing she's lying about.

She tries to tell herself that that these silly little phone calls are enough. As much as she wants to tell him, these phone calls are her only connection to him. She can't lose them too.

A silly love songs on the radio makes her burst into tears when her mother isn't looking. That will never be them.

She can't take it anymore, she can't. She never really understood the hype of love before. But being away from him makes her feel like half her heart is tone out. No one could be star-crossed like they are, she thinks hiding under her covers. It's an exercise in futility.

She tries to pretend she's not crying the next time he calls.

"Peter, I…"

"Claire, please…don't." he interrupts. The sound of his voice, all rough and gravely, only makes her sob harder.

Was he crying too?

A week later, he changes the game again.

It was about time.

"Are you alone?"

"Yes."

"In your bedroom?"

"Yes." There's an urgency in his voice that she doesn't question. It's not that he hasn't earned her trust time and time again.

"Lock the door." He waits for her to confirm the action and she waits, practically buzzing with anticipation. "Now take off your clothes."

She hurries out of her jeans and tee-shirt so fast that she struggles with her balance. The phone pressed between her shoulder and ear falls to the ground. He's laughing lightly when she picks the phone back up. She would pout, tell him to stop, but he sounds so free and she can't bare to be the one makes that feeling go away.

"Claire, I want you…and if this is the only way I can have you, then well…" He wanders off, distracted as if it wasn't the right thing to say. Even now, it's like they're a thin stand of thread between them.

"No, no…this is good," She rushes to reassure him. And then a little more timid. "Will you start?"

She can hear him swallow nervously, before he begins with a sort-of question. "Touch your breasts."

He's not very good at this and it's comforting in a way. She doesn't want to think about him practicing this with anyone else but her. She lays down on the bed and follows his instructions. It's nothing but their harsh breath echoing in the receiver for a few moments before she decides she was going to have to take over. Maybe all of those romance novels she had snuck from her mother would finally come in useful.

"You're touching my breasts." His breath hitches sharply over the phone. Just this and he's coming undone. She wishes he wasn't so far away. "They're soft and warm, just about a handful. You're caressing them with bare fingers, and squeezing lightly." She mimics the action she is describing to him and this time she's the one giving a quiet moan.

"I bet your hands would feel so much better than mine. You've got calluses on your fingers; I remember them from when you took my hand the first time we met."

"God, Claire." She loves the way only he can make her name sound like that. Maybe now, with everything out in the open for once, she'd actually be able to tell him.

Lifetimes will go by, and the reasons that they kept apart will change.

But, he'll still say her name the same way.

A hundred years from then, she would pick up her phone – a long-ago antique that her friends at work tease her about – just to hear the breathy way he says her name over the line. It's always the most wonderful thing she's ever heard.

That is, until she hears it from him in person.