Title: Apologies For Things We Couldn't Change
Spoilers: Early volume three
Disclaimer: Do not own.
Summary: "What happened, Claire? How did we become these people?"
A/N: This story is told from two alternating points of view starting with Peter's. Claire tells the story forward and Peter tells it backwards.
He takes the turn wide, skidding into a dark alleyway with lots of cover. Even after all this time, Peter still hasn't gotten used to living in the shadows, hunted like a traitor. But that didn't matter; he wasn't giving up fighting the good fight. None of them understood. He did what he had to do; he was going to save them all. He still has something to fight for – even if she no longer believed in it. He's up a fire escape and squeezing in through a broken factory window with her right on his heels. He's got a bad feeling about this; something in her footfalls screams to him that she's more serious about killing him than she's ever been.
How did they get here? When had it become Claire chasing him instead of running by his side?
It was one thing for Nathan to turn against him… but this, this wasn't his Claire. What happened, what turned her into this monster? Why had Nathan done this? To his own daughter even. Was nothing sacred? She should have been protected, cherished. She should have been loved.
"Peter, I know you're here." She shouts out, following him down the long factory floor. The irony of her there, hunting him, carrying the gun he gave her, burns something fierce.
"Do it Claire. You're the only one.""There must be another way.""There is no other way. Shoot me."
They stutter to a dead end, and he turns to her in something close to defeat. He couldn't be the only one fighting for a better future. In the dirty sunlight, she catches his eye, all dark hair and black leather. Not his Claire, he keeps repeating in his head. His girl would never be able to look at him with that much hate in his eyes.
There has to be something he could do. If only he could get a do-over, a mulligan.
If only Peter was here right now, she thinks, staring glumly at the bus in front of her. If Peter was here, he would know how to make everything better. He'd know how to deal with a father that was probably lying to her six ways from Sunday and involved in something way too dangerous. Just being around Peter, had made her feel better, like she wasn't all alone in this world.
"There was just me… and now there's you."
She didn't know why she is suddenly so anxious; Peter is out there waiting for her. She wouldn't be able to help him if she stays where she is. Of course, that wasn't the only reason she wants to see Peter again. Remembering the half-kiss he pressed against the side of her mouth as he wished her luck and bid her goodbye, had buoyed her mood for the past few weeks. God, she hopes Zach is too distracted to see her blush. It's just a silly crush, after all.
Someone like Peter would never go for a silly girl like her. She shakes off the thought. This isn't just about him and her. There's a whole other world out there - a not-small-town, sheltered-by-a-more-than-slightly-shady-father, and so-different-it-hurt world. Now all she has to do was get on this bus and go out and meet it.
I'm doing this, I really am. She moves quickly to get on the bus, before Zach stops her. He's standing there for a minute, nervous hands worrying the handle bars of his bike, before he gathers the words to say a final goodbye to her.
"Look Claire, I know you can't get hurt, but take care of yourself. Ok?" She flings her arms around him in a tight hug. He might not remember all of it, but he's her best friend and now she is probably never going to see him again. I'm not all that good with goodbyes, she thinks getting on the bus.
As she watches the scenery pass by from her bus seat, she touches her cheek, the same spot he kissed, and hopelessly tries to convince herself to forget about it. It was a silly kiss and she was a silly girl.
I have a destiny to fulfill.
There isn't anywhere else he wants to be than by her side at this minute. Too bad, she's already made it clear that she doesn't want to be there.
It's been three months since they're last fight. Three months since she told him that she would kill him the next time she laid eyes on him. Three months of long endless nights, lonely nights. He can't help but hate her for it.
Still, they've been through too much together for him to not give her one last warning. It's easier than he expected to get rid of her driver for the night. A few twenties and the man gladly gives him not only the keys to the car, but the time and place he was supposed to pick Claire up from tonight's function.
He opens the car door for her looking as someone else. He can't help but smirk that she doesn't recognize him (really Claire, you're their top agent); and god, he must be hanging out with Gabriel too much. He gets in the car and drives them away from the hotel before she starts to wise up. If him lowering the privacy window didn't tip her off, the next words coming unwittingly from Peter's mouth certainly did. "You look real beautiful tonight, Sweetheart."
And she did. Like a vision in silk so deep green that it brought out the shine in her eyes and made her look almost pure and innocent again. For a minute he can wish that it he taking her to these silly publicity balls. They used to spin around in giddy circles on the dance floor and sneak sips of champagne when his mother wasn't looking. They would steal out early for ice cream that would drip sticky on fingers. And afterwards, as they laid curled up together on his rumpled couch, he would still be able to taste the mint chocolate chip on her tongue. The memory lie makes him bitter. They haven't been those people in years.
"Join me, Claire," he pleads with her one last time. She won't meet his eyes in the rear view mirror anymore and he wishes more than anything there wasn't so much space between them. "Help me fight for a world where we can be together."
"You know I can't do that, Peter." She stares back at him now, every inch of her hardened with a hated, he's such his mother and brother put there. She probably would have shot him right then and there, had she a gun hidden somewhere underneath that tight green evening gown. "You know I won't."
"Fine." Stupid, silly girl. "Enjoy living with the consequences." It's a little more than a threat. His foot pushes down harder on gas and neither notice how much the car is speeding up, locking in a staring contest, a standoff in the rear view mirror. The speedometer pushes 100 and he breaks the glass of the mirror with his mind. He can't stand to look at her for another second. He teleports away, not caring the slightest that his move sent her car speeding into the side of the building.
"I figured out a way for you to save the world," Peter said, pulling her into one of the dark hollows of the Petrelli mansion's hallways. She's been at the Petrelli household for three days now, and this seems to be the only topic of conversation he wants to share with her. Things will be different when this is over, I know it. From his waistband, he pulled out the weapon that was hidden there and places it in her hand. The metal feels hot from his skin.
"A gun?" She hates the screechy surprised tone of her voice. Stop being such a baby. But she can't help it – there are some things even she isn't ready for. She tries to pull away, but his fingers curl over hers, forcing her to take the gun before it clatters to the ground.
"I can handle Ted, but if I lose it, you're the only one who can get close enough to stop me. Right through the back of the head. You know the spot. Same place you pulled the glass from."
She can't meet her eyes, doesn't want him to see her tears. She couldn't kill him; she has just found him. "My destiny can't be to shoot you. The universe cannot be that lame."
"Claire," he pleads. His hand comes up to gently caress her cheek and wipe away the tears that had leaked from her eyes. "I need you by my side." He whispers into her hair. She wraps her arms around him and hold on tight. With a sigh, she agrees to do what he asks.
There isn't anywhere else she wants to be.
He might now be able to help her learn how to fight, but the least he can do is walk her home. He doesn't mean to stay any longer than that, but there is something about being around this Claire that is so addictive. She's everything he wishes the Claire from his time still was, young and innocent, not to mention completely in love with him.
He misses that the most.
It's all too easy to close his eyes and pretend. And when she leans in for another comforting hug, it's even easier to press his mouth against her upturned one. She makes a squeak of surprise and he uses her open mouth to his advantage. He can taste the inexperience on her tongue, not like his Claire, who kissed as if she knew just how to destroy him. He presses and she gives in with complete trust.
His thoughts go no farther than the here and now, not with Claire striped down to her pale yellow panties, arching into him sinfully, and asking for all the things he's always longed to give her. She begs and moans; and he does the same. No, laying naked and loved in Claire's arms, ruining the future is the furthest thing on his mind.
But then he remembers, as the passion crests and ebbs. And oh does he remember… fuck. You've really done it this time. The consequences are deadly.
As soon as she drifts off to sleep, he pries himself from her arms and redresses. Not his Claire, he thinks, tucking the blankets in around her nude form. He should have remembered.
Fate played its hand. She can hardly imagine the consequences if it hadn't. The world had been saved – just not him.
And now, squeezed between boxes of kitchen appliances and bath towels, she feels like she's running away. But that was essentially what she was doing, wasn't it. She wasn't brave enough to save the world. Peter and Nathan had to do it, and now they were both gone. She curls up tighter against the car door; she can't get the images out of her mind. The two of them exploding in a brilliant blast of light in the night sky, a blast that would have been breathtakingly beautiful if not for the fact that it meant her hero had just died. Her brother kept shooting her angry looks over the dog kennel between them. Even he blames her for this mess.
Maybe she deserved the punishment. She wasn't special; she couldn't help anyone. Stupid defensive power.
Over unpacking boxes at their new California cookie-cutter house, her father warns her that she needs to blend in. There is a long list of rules and she nods her promise to each one of them. "Your mother and Lyle won't want to move again if we can't keep you safe."
She guiltily nods again, even as her mother strongly disagrees. "Let her life her life, Noah."
But she doesn't want to be that girl anymore. She already knows she can't be the cheerleader Peter thought could save the world. She couldn't do what had to be done.
This is what has to be done. Nathan has to be stopped before he let out their secret to the entire world. Both Hiro and Gabriel agreed (and they only thing the two of them agreed on is that Peter has horrible taste in pizza toppings).
He doesn't feel an ounce of regret as Nathan falls to the floor like a broken puppet who just got his strings cut. It's the perfect analogy for the son who never quite manages to step out of the pathway his misguided parents set him on. If only Nathan was stronger, Peter thinks as he rushes down the hallway with Matt and Noah on his heels.
His past self catches up; but then again, he expects nothing less for himself. If only they had all listened when he told them he was meant for greater things. He teleports him and his younger self away somewhere safe. The job wasn't completely finished yet. He won't see the future spoiled another time.
As he hides Peter temporarily, another forbidden thought rushes though him. What if he went to see Claire?
No one would have to know.
She should know by now not to call him. Nathan never has anything good or kind or nice to say to her. It's amazing that he and Peter were even related.
Instead, every week is an awkward twenty-minute conversation, which mainly consisted of her practically pulling teeth to find out how he was holding up. Even checking up on her biological father is seen by him as a sort of crime (probably because it is such a Peter thing to do). She always calls Mondays at four; if he didn't want to talk to her, he shouldn't pick up the phone. There is no way the almighty Petrellis don't have caller ID.
"Why won't you talk to me," she cries angrily to him on the phone one day. "I lost him too."
"Not like I did." Nathan answers mean, resolute, even thought the words are slightly slurred from too much scotch. "You couldn't have loved him the way I did. You hardly knew him." Nathan hangs up the phone. She stares harshly at the phone in her hand, as if she was glaring at him instead. She swears violently in her mind. Then a shocking thought pops into her head: what if Nathan actually knew how she loved Peter. Maybe that was why he never wanted to talk to her. Well, maybe she didn't care if it was wrong. It certainly doesn't feel that way. She slams her phone down on her nightstand.
She doesn't call back.
"Horrible weather we're having, huh," a man standing next to Peter at the Starbucks counter says conversationally as they wait for their coffees.
"Damn shame, really. I heard it's supposed to pour later. Record amounts." Peter replies carefully, not looking over at the taller man. It wouldn't do to blow his cover now.
"Guess that means the game will be rained out," The man shrugs and accepts his coffee. Peter tugs his baseball cap farther over his forehead.
"Here's hoping they don't blow another save. They really need to sweep this series." Peter grabs his coffee, raises it to the other man in something just shy of a toast, and nods a goodbye. Peter leaves the coffee shop nervous. This is not good at all. He makes his way downtown, to the site of the old baseball park. He's been having to look over his shoulder more and more lately. Nathan's got spies everywhere.
"Oh good, you made it safely," Hiro breathes a sigh of relief as Peter makes his way through the hidden door into their new hiding place.
"You need to go over the code again with Gabriel." Peter says with a shake of his head. "I swear he screws it up just to mess with me." That guy is going to get us all killed one day. He collapses onto the threadbare couch next to Hiro, exhausted.
The old 18 inch TV portrayes a grainy picture of the President giving the State of the Union address. But he couldn't make himself care about the horribly old-fashioned technology the way he used to; the idea of seeing Nathan speaking clear as if he was standing right in front of him only makes his fists clench. It is an added bonus that it was hard to tell that the fuzzy picture of the girl next to Nathan is actually Claire. But he knows.
"You know what we need to do." Hiro says resolute as the broadcast wrapped up. Peter nods. He did and he would do it. Someone has to save the world again.
So much for being normal, inconspicuous. It would only figure that just when she wasn't looking, she found another someone just like her. Another boy, one who can fly, one who kind of looks like him if she squints, one who even tastes like him now that she had gotten him to switch to spearmint gum. She jumps and he catches her – another similarity that makes her heart beat a little faster. It almost feels like cheating, but he's dead and they couldn't really be together in the first place.
"We can make a difference, Claire. We can be heroes." West tells her with a kiss, curled up against her on the beach. What was it about saving the world that was such an aphrodisiac for men? In theory, West's words sound wonderful and all those lovely feelings resurface from the first time a boy told them to her.
She closes her eyes and kisses him again. Her hands clench in hair that isn't quite long enough. For a few minutes, as his hand slides against the silky smooth fabric of her cheerleading top, she can forget about everything she's lost and everything she couldn't have.
But then the shit hits the fan – Elle and Mohinder and her father, all causing more trouble than he ever dreamed of. And even as he keeps repeating the words, he doesn't really mean them anymore. Not with the way he can no longer meet her eyes. Maybe he never really believed them.
West walks away and leaves her alone with the world falling down around her again. That's ok, he made a really sucky version of the real thing anyways.
"This isn't right. This isn't working." Peter screams and all the glass around him cracks with the wave of power he releases. Still after all this time, self-control is not one of his strongest points.
"I'm not cleaning that up, you know," is all Gabriel says. That's his brother, always the smartass.
"We need something bigger then. Something that will get their attention?" Hiro says, even the one to keep the team straight on course.
"Bigger than bombing their clinics?"
"Maybe we're just not bombing the right clinic." Peter couldn't listen to Gabriel and Hiro go back and forth anymore. It's wearing on his last nerve. The urge to give up eats at him. What if this really was hopeless?
"I'm getting out of here," Peter replies frustrated. He needs to see her; only she could calm him down. He texts a time and a place to Claire.
He doesn't have to wait long; she always shows up.
She needs him just as much as he needs her.
Lonely and broken, she collapses against the side of the couch. She can't even summon the energy to wipe up the blood he spilled (god, he even put the top of her head back on with a decidedly friendly pat). If only Peter was still alive; he would have protected her. Little girl tears well up in her eyes and she doesn't stop them from overflowing her eyelashes and further blurring her mascara.
The memory of Sylar's gentle fingers poking through her brain summons a haunting chill that no amount of blankets and Mr. Muggles kisses can erase. There is something strange about the whole thing. He hunted her, took her power, and here she is, perfectly fine on the outside. She's still waiting for the rest of her to catch up with her speeding heart rate.
The TV continues blaring from when Sylar had turned it on to distract her. She stared at it without seeing it, before she realizes what it was showing. There was Peter, looking decidedly less dead, standing next to Nathan, who looked decidedly more sober. The wicked significance of it all hits like a punch (or maybe like getting slammed into a wall by a serial killer); she gets to find out Peter's alive right along with the rest of the world. She doesn't even matter enough to him to get a call beforehand.
She's turns away from the TV, too petulant to pay attention to Nathan's speech. Nathan doesn't have anything to say that she wants to hear anyways. So the shot takes her by surprise and she jumps, still skittish from Sylar's attack. Nathan falls to the floor with her hero right there next to him.
Guess Peter couldn't save anyone after all.
Hiro comes to him months later requesting a meeting. "We've got another problem on our hands, friend." Peter has his first vision of the apocalyptic future that night.
They meet in a diner outside of the old Odessa facility. It brings back bad memories for them all, probably the reason Hiro picked this spot in the first place.
"If you think the virus was bad. This is even worse." Hiro stage whispers over his tea.
"Trust me. I know." And with that, the resistance is born.
Ando and Matt were by their sides, but that wouldn't last for long. They are easily swayed to the other side. Nathan is a whole hell of a lot more convincing than Peter could actually be. He knew that from experience. God, Claire… Why?
Their numbers are dwindling and their hopes of stopping Peter's visions are getting dimmer by the moment. Peter is pouring over schematics, trying to find a weakness in the Company's science lab, when Hiro burst in excited.
"I think I found someone who can help us?" Peter turns to the two figures standing in the doorway.
She closes her eyes, opens her arms, and waits to get hit. She just wants to feel again. The next thing she knows, she's tumbling to the ground in familiar arms.
"What are you doing?" Claire yells at him, too angry about the whole thing to be thrilled that it's the first time she's seen him in months. He was dead, and now he's not. It's quite a thing to wrap her head around.
"What are you doing?" Peter yells back just as angry.
"I'm trying to get hit by a train, what does it look like I'm doing." There's something not right, something in his eyes looks harder and angrier than the last time she's seen him, but her lip quivers and he seems to soften, turning right back into that boy she first met in that hallway. The boy she wasn't supposed to have fallen in love with.
She updates him on the garishly horrible events that have led her to attempting to play a twisted game of chicken with the train. She's able to keep it together, but then he hugs her and all thought of pretending to be strong are forgotten. She melts into his arms. He was always super at taking all her problems away.
He walks her home, holding her hand the entire time. And it makes her irrationally giddy. "You don't have to go just yet, do you?" she asks. Hopefully, she doesn't look as pathetic as she fears. He pauses for a minute and his eyes look far away, before he finally agrees. The walk up to her room because Lyle will be home soon, and surely her father's rule about not having boys in the house doesn't apply to Peter.
He's strangely silent about what had happened the past few months, only mumbling about getting lost somewhere without his memory. She switches the subject to something a lot lighter; she didn't want him to leave just because she is super nosy.
But, Peter's not really in the mood to talk. They're cuddled together on her bed, much like they used to at his old apartment. It feels different from those times though. Not that different; Peter's always been super affectionate. His hands start to tangle in her hair, stoking in a very soothing motion, and his mouth pecks kisses alone the line of her cheek.
"Claire, can I? Please?" He's not really asking, but she wouldn't dream of denying him.
"We mustn't speak of this again," he growls against her collarbone with a sharp nip of his teeth. "Promise me."
"Yea," she sighs, tightening her grip on his now short hair. She is putty in his hands. Whatever he wanted, as long as he didn't stop that thing he was doing with his mouth. Oh yea, that thing.
It's funny really. She had resigned herself to not being able to have him…until he kissed her, that is.
He catches a glimpse of Claire as his mother ushers her upstairs. Peter turns to Nathan and asks, "What's Claire doing here?"
"She belongs here. She's part of this family." He stares at Peter harshly, "Stay away from her."
This time, Peter doesn't listen and goes bounding up the stairs to meet her. It feels like it's been forever. Nothing could keep him away now. He knocks on her door practically giddy. She's not as quick to launch herself into his arms this time, but Peter is too focused of her actually there and alive to notice.
"I've missed you so much." He breathes into her ear. Her reply is a lost mumble against his chest. He's certain he's got the gist of it anyways. The stand there a while longer, who knows how long exactly, before he asks her the same question he asked Nathan earlier, "So what brings you back to the humble Petrelli abode?"
"I've agreed to join the Company." She says this like she wants him to be proud. As if he could, with the horrible things they've done. The anger bubbles up and spews like hot lava, an eruption to ruin a lifetime certainly.
"Fuck, Claire. Why?" The vase it thrown towards her bed without him even realizing he did it. Claire doesn't flinch.
"I have to Peter. You can't change my mind on this."
"Please, don't Claire. You're fighting for the wrong side."
"Are you sure? How do you know?"
He is sure and he can't explain it. He just knows.
Claire used to have faith in that.
Waking up alone feels almost as worse as that first night she thought he was gone for good. If not for her state of undress and her sticky slick thighs, she would have believed it to be just an ill-begotten, trauma-laced dream. She's not sore when she gets out of bed. In fact, she can't feel anything at all. Not even the sharp burn of the scalding shower spray.
She waits three days before she tries to call him. She ends up getting Angela instead.
"Peter is a grown man, Claire. It's no longer my job to keep track of him." It feels like there was something hidden behind those words, but she never could tell with her grandmother. Bending the truth to their own liking is a family trait after all. This, Claire now knows intimately.
A week later, she tries again. Nathan picks up the phone this time. "Claire?"
"Nathan? You're alive?" What else had these people neglected to tell her?
"Why are you calling, Claire?"
"I wasn't calling you." No, she learned her lesson well and good the last time. "I'm looking for Peter. He was supposed to call."
"Peter's busy with his own life. He doesn't have time to bother with your problems as well." He said this like her problems didn't matter, like being turned into a high school dissection project by her mortal enemy and immediately afterwards having a one night stand with her uncle were as trivial of complications as deciding how to wear her hair to the semi-formal. This time, Claire hangs up on him.
Peter must never get her messages, or else, he must not care enough to return her calls. Either way, she's left with a helpless sinking feeling. All those things he told her, all those promises he made. They were all lies.
He tries to take on Adam by himself, but the man had gotten way too good at manipulating people over the years. Peter still can't believe he got that poor woman killed. It's not your fault, Peter, Claire's voice says in his head. If only she was here right now.
No, it's better this way. She deserves to stay innocent as long as possible. They had forever to be together.
In the end, it takes Matt, Hiro and Ando helping him to the virus from being spread. They all make a pretty good team. Peter's never felt so important.
"It is done." Hiro says solemnly as he returns from stashing away Adam.
"Until the world needs saving again." Ando agrees, matching Hiro's tone.
"God, I feel like I'm in the ending of a comic book." Matt jokes, shaking his head. "You guys really need to get laid." Peter laughs with the others, ignoring the hollowing feeling the joke leaves.
If only they knew.
Claire doesn't see any of the Petrellis until a year later when Nathan shows up at her graduation. From her parents looks, she can tell he wasn't exactly invited. Shocker.
"What are you doing here?" What, I'm isn't allowed to still be bitter?
"I'm taking you home with me. It's time you learned your place in this family." Now didn't that sound fun? How were he and Peter related again? Maybe she should request a DNA test. She's barely listening to Nathan, but she hears his next words loud and clear. "You're a Petrelli, Claire. You need to start acting like it."
She follows him. It's not like she has many other choices. It's a decision Angela teaches her not to regret.
Now that he knows, not just who he is but of a future so twisted and horrible he never wants to get there, he almost wishes he never opened that box. He's got the weirdest feeling he won't be able to save the world this time. And hell, he's got to find a way to get Caitlin back first.
It's like a checklist of things he needs to accomplish all at once. Things were slipping though his fingers much faster than he could catch them. What he needs is a partner. His first thought is Nathan, but he quickly dismisses that thought. Just look how Nathan reacted the first time Peter tried to warn him the world needed saving. Besides, he didn't want to put his brother's life in danger.
Claire is the next thought that comes to his mind. She'd be perfect; a kindred spirit to save the world with. Not to mention he'd be able to spend some extra time with her. He feels a mix of guilt and worry for how he left things with her.
He tries to get Nathan to tell him where she was. Their old home in Texas burned to the ground after all. He grabs his brother's arm, frustrated, forcing him to stop and look at him. Why doesn't he ever take me seriously? "What about Claire? Where is she? Is she safe?"
"Oh course. I take care of my own, you know that." Peter resists the urge to roll his eyes. Oh did he know. Not that it did any of them any good.
"I need to find her, Nate." I need her help. I need her. Maybe his brother's power is more than flying after all; Peter was convinced the other man always knew what he's thinking. Maybe that's why Nathan denied his request.
"No you don't. Stay away from her, Pete. You need to let her live her life."
So Peter does; because he knows that's what Nathan wants, because he thinks that's what Claire wants. And even though it's not what he wants, he learned the value of suffering in silence a long time ago.
She takes to training very well and in months, she's easily the company's best agent. It's something that makes everyone but Peter proud. There is still a ding in the wall next to her bed from when he threw a vase of fresh flowers after she told him about her enrollment. His disapproval is something she never quite 't this what he wanted; to save the world.
Instead he storms off, only meeting with her in secret sunset rendezvous in out of the way motel rooms. And even then they don't talk, his mouth practically attacking hers every time she walked in the door. It is an addiction neither could let go of.
Still time is not kind to them and their lives away from each other drift farther apart. How did we become these people, Peter? How could we have become enemies?
She still remembers the first time it really hit her. The exact moment she knew she and Peter could never be.
"There's been another bombing at an abilities clinic." Nathan says, walking by her desk. He slaps the daily paper down on her desk and there on the front cover is a large picture of the Mount Abilene clinic in shambles. It's weak, but she can't help but gasp at the atrocity. None of the other bombings have ever been this bad.
"I'm afraid he was killed in the blast. Along with 328 other people waiting in line to have abilities of their own. Do you realize that was our most profitable clinic, Claire?"
And then Nathan says those next fateful words: "I want him dead."
The next thing he knows, he doesn't know anything at all. But he's tied to a chair and covered in blood that can't be his because there isn't a scratch on him. He doesn't know his name, of his background, or hell – even what he had for breakfast the day before. But somehow he knows, he can just feel it, he's missing something other than just his memory.
He walks the docks where he was found, but not even the cool December breeze can take away the empty feeling inside of him. There is something (someone?) he wasn't supposed to forget.
Somewhere between the feeling of wasting away in a life three sizes too small and the almost consuming fear of actually knowing just what he was meant for, he lets Caitlin convince him to open that damned box. There's a picture and a plane ticket, and as they both crumble in his hand, he wonders if he was better off not knowing.
It's a feeling that doesn't leave – not as they fly to Quebec, and especially not as they end up in another world, empty and tortuously crumbling down around them. He's in the middle of wreck and rubble, trying to find answers he's been looking for, but he still feels as lost as ever. He shifts through the debris with despair. A warning notice flutters to the ground, right into a puddle, rendering the paper's ink blurry and almost unreadable. He leans down to pick it up anyways; any clue as to what was going on would be good at this point. The sunlight catches off the dirty water, shiny sparkling like gold grossly misplaced in this horrible nightmarish world. It was probably the wind, but he swears he can hear someone laughing, "I don't know where we're going."
She tugs her newly-dark hair into a smooth bun and pulls on her boots. Peter is still sleeping off his post-orgasm exhaustion on the motel bed across from her. As tired as she is, and as tempting as it might be to climb back into bed with him, she wants to leave before he wakes up. Never again.
His voice catches her right as she was about to leave. Her hand is on the doorknob as he asks, "Why are we doing this, Claire? How did we become these people?"
She doesn't answer, doesn't know what he's asking really. He had started it. They've always been these people, always loving and leaving each other.
"Come with me, Claire. I love you. Help me fight for a world where we can be together."
For all his talk of everlasting love and the wonderful future they could have together, he has nothing to show for it. She no longer believes in that anymore. The words are just pretty lies. Peter wasn't fighting for a better world. His is a helpless fight, one that would never be won. Nathan had taught her that.
"They want you dead," she tells him instead. They both knew who she is referring to. "You come near me again and I'll kill you myself.
She opens the door and leaves him behind. It doesn't hurt. Nothing does anymore.
His breath catches in his throat something awful and his heart beats a wild tattoo in his chest; he hasn't been able to really breathe since he got that first cryptic warning. Of course, actually meeting the cheerleader does nothing to help that.
In a room full of people trying to save the world, no one notices his sheer panic. Them, he can't ignore. Their frantic thoughts, blaming thoughts, seep though the barriers he's never been able to truly control. Then again, they have ever right to blame him for this mess; the whole city is in trouble because he has no self-control.
Speaking of no self-control…
Claire practically glides into the room and her eye catches his. He's never met anyone quite as captivating. She walks over to him with a conspiring look in her eye, not sparing anyone else a second glance. God, she is so so…your niece, Peter. Get a hold of yourself.
"I'm getting you out here," she whispers in his ear, leaning close. She smiles when he jump startled, and continues, "These people are going to drive you so crazy you're going to want to nuke us all."
Bursting out laughing would surely be inappropriate here. But around her…Stop it. She doesn't seem to notice his distress, as she leads him to the exit. Her hand tightened in his and his heart skipped a beat.
"I don't know where we're going," she says giggling, as she drags them further down the hallway faster and faster, until they're running towards the patio doors. She shucks off her heels and starts running hand in hand with him, through the intrigue twists of the Petrelli garden. She turns to him, breathless and still laughing. Her hair is tumbling in erratic curls around her shoulders, falling from the delicate twist his mother had insisted upon earlier. He can't breathe either at the sight of her so beautiful and seemingly glowing in the moonlight.
Wrapped around each other in a tight hug, they fall to the damp grass. The dew wets their backs and its just cold enough for her to curl into him. He presses kisses into her hair and fights the urge to keep his hands from wandering around her back.
He closes his eyes and breathes her in – the honey and spring rain scent would be forever burned into his memory. We're going to get though this, he promises himself. This is what I'm was fighting for, this moment and a forever lifetime of moments just like this one.
Claire chases him down the dark alley, though muddy puddles in an almost single-minded pursuit.
"Peter," she yells out. She is going to catch him; she has too. "I know you're here." She always knew when he is around. Even as all these years had gone by, years that fatally dulled her happy memories of him, he's still a part of her. A dirty, bad, rotten part of her, but a part of her none the less.
She pins him in place with the gun he gave her. She shutters as the memory of him giving it to her flutters over her like the whisper kisses he used to press into her skin. Stop it, Claire. Stay tough.
She hardens, ready to shoot him. But she can't do it without one last goodbye. "I've always loved you, Peter." Nothing she's every said has ever been more true. It still doesn't stop what she needs to do. She keeps her promises.
She pulls the trigger…and then…nothing.