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Come What May
Characters: Peter and Claire, others in the Petrelli Mansion?
Date and Time: Late afternoon, early July
Location: The Petrelli Mansion
About: Puppies and poodles!
Rating: PG

It was day two of an unknown number of Claire Bennet's stay at the Petrelli mansion. She had walked in all doe eyes and curls, claiming to be Nathan's daughter, unaware of the bombshell she had just dropped on the entire Petrelli family. Needless to say Nathan's reaction was less than ideal, and Heidi hadn't even been told the entire truth yet. She had been told Claire was a relative, something like a long lost cousin's daughter or something like that. Of course the white lie made Peter cringe, but he bit his tongue. He understood Nathan needed time to process her sudden, and rather unexpected appearance, in every sense of the word.

But Peter was reverberating for a totally different reason--she was literally the girl of his dreams (or dream, if you want to be specific). When he first saw her, you could've come up behind him and knocked him over with a feather. For a moment, her arrival couldn't have been more of a blessing, and he just stood there, happy as a clam. Her familiarity was instant, and the emotions that had been confined to the space of his subconscious suddenly flooded to front of his awareness.

And then just like that, the glass that was his bliss, shattered into a million pieces never to be repaired. She was his niece. The word resounded in his head like a death sentence, and he was left to agonize over all that he had fabricated her to be.

Since that moment, the mansion had never seemed so small. Every time he turned the corner, she was there, gracing the hall with her presence. The more he tried to avoid her, the more he saw her, the farther that nail was driven. It was getting to the point that he just wanted to stay secluded to his room and wait until she whisped away. But she was so captivating, so charismatic, he couldn't help but pulled to her. As much as he wanted to turn away was as much as he wanted to move towards her.

His inner turmoil wasn' t going to end any time soon, either, as he padded down the hall from the guest room that had been claimed as his own, to fetch a snack from the downstairs. He had just reached the top of the curved staircase, and who did he spy? A pretty blonde girl with bright eyes, just about to make her ascent. Oy vey.

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Claire was sure that she had just made the biggest mistake in her life in coming to New York and looking for the man that she thought was her biological father. Nathan Petrelli was shocked to see her and he wasn't really welcoming her with open arms. Instead he seemed to be hiding her right out in the open. He told his wife that she was a relative and the loose, kind of cold term hurt. She knew that his wife would be shocked to the know the truth but still, to be so casually dismissed was striking deep within her. She didn't even want to stay in the mansion but they insisted that she did but every hour was like torture as everyone seemed to be avoiding her.

Even Peter. The first moment that she saw him she was struck breathless by his presence. Every time he walked near her, she swore that she felt her system go on high alert and she was almost more aware of his body than she was her own. She was aware of every breath, every time his eyes flickered over her and every movement that he made. Like she waited with abated breath for him to touch her but he never did, instead he seemed uncomfortable around her. So she tried not to look at him too much but she often found herself sliding glances at him out of the corner of her eye.

But he was her uncle, right? Except that she wasn't feeling that family connection, it was a connection of something else entirely. He was the only one she felt connected to. Nathan, she felt nothing to him even if he was supposed to be her father. He was another stranger to her and she didn't feel anything more for him than she would feel for someone random on the street. She was beginning to wonder if perhaps a mistake had been made, that perhaps there was someone else that Meredith had been involved with at the time and maybe he was her father.

It was on her mind as she got to the top of the stairs and was about to start down but then her system was suddenly on high alert. She knew without looking up that she would find the handsome face with puppy eyes looking up at her. So when she did look up, she wasn't surprised to find Peter staring up at her but it was still like a little kick to the stomach. Biting her lip a little, she starts down the stairs as she wonders if he will bolt before she got the chance to say hello to him.

He had been so absorbed in his own reaction to her that Claire's feelings toward the situation had been a bit obscured. But as his feelings took up permanent residence in his head, she became more substantial. The discomfort was always on her face, usually masked by a smile and the will to be a polite guest. Nathan hadn't been exactly with cordial, and while Heidi had no aversion to her and was her usual inviting self, the fact remained that a stranger roamed her home. Peter wasn't much use in making her comfortable either, he knew, because he tended to avoid her.

Of course it had nothing to do with his supposed relation to her, at least not in its essence. In all respects he should have been rather interested in her, a pretty girl in his presence. But it was like he was in high school again, too afraid to talk to the pretty girl that sat in front of him in class. Too afraid to talk to his own niece. Sighing softly at this realization, he started down the stairs, hand grazing the railing as he moved. She had yet to move, obviously letting him pass before heading up.

"Hi Claire," he said softly, tipping his head in a nod and giving her a bit of a smile. "Are you hanging in there?" She practically shrunk in his presence, and it was hard not to frown. Was their family really that frightening, him included? Sure, his mother was scary, but Claire hadn't even met her yet... Hopefully she wouldn't for quite some time. If she was Nathan's daughter, it would be best to let her acclimate to the family dynamic in baby steps.

"If it helps any, Heidi makes a mean lasagna... so at least the food'll be good?" he smirked, chewing on his lip.

There were a lot of times that she wanted to talk to Peter, to follow him and demand to know why it was that he kept rushing away from her. Or maybe it was just her own self consciousness causing her to imagine that he was ducking out of her presence every time that she was around though with as big as the place was, they still kept running into each other all the time. He didn't just leave the place like Nathan did and she wondered if it was normal for the oldest Petrelli to be gone all hours like that or if it was just because she was there.

When Peter decided to actually speak to her, she blinked a little before ducking her head just a bit. Glancing at him through her long lashes, she brushed her fingers lightly against the side of her face to pull back a blond curl to tuck behind her ear. "Yeah." She murmured a little, shrugging as she glanced over her shoulder and then back at him as she caught him frowning but she didn't know why. It made her worry as she felt her tummy give a little flip as she wondered what was on his mind.

"Um, actually, I think coming here was a mistake." She admitted, shifting her weight as she cocked her hips to the side, "I'm going to see if I can find a hotel or something that I can go to." Then maybe she would arrange to fly back home. "I think I've caused a lot of tension by coming here." She shrugs a bit, clearing her throat as she felt suddenly sheepish about the idea.

Oh right, that was why he was too afraid to talk to her. Everything she did made his breath catch, and everything that he found dazzling was all subconscious and natural on her part. It was frustrating to be around her, to watch her brush her hair from her face, to see the way she looked at him through her eyelashes. It was when she did things like that that tore him apart and made him curse the heavens. Her looks, her charm, her relation to him would've been no big deal, if she hadn't been the one he had seen a few weeks before in his dream.

The dream all made sense now, from her beauty to the way he felt about her. Those protective tendrils were already reaching for her, and that anger had already welled up towards his brother. Strange, how all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to mirror the reality. Stranger still, how Peter didn't seem disturbed at all by the notion. It was natural to him for some reason that he knew ahead of time what was going to happen, and how he was going to feel about it.

But nothing in his dream had prepared him for the blow that she dealt him. "What?" he asked in unmasked surprise, his heart sinking to his stomach. He didn't want her to leave! "No, Claire," he shook his head. "Look, I'm sorry we're... not what you expected," he frowned and looked down, pushing his bangs away from his eyes. "Usually we're a lot more inviting, but you just kind of, dropped in, you know?"

Ugh, but it was coming out all wrong. He was placing the blame for everyone's tension on her, and that was not what needed to be said. Peter needed to say, 'Claire, you have to stay because you belong in my life one way or another. Stay. I'll make Nathan warm up. I'll follow your shadow. Just stay.'

How could she admit that it was also just a little hard to hard to be around him at times. Like the times when his bangs fell in front of his face because a lot of the times she just wanted to reach over and brush them out of his face. Or when he did manage to give her his shy smile and she found herself almost breathless which wasn't good because then she had a hard time speaking. She was sure that he thought that she was some kind of simpleton because she felt like a nervous schoolgirl whose tongue kept getting tied around him. Then she remembered that she was a school girl and she was nervous, and there had to be something wrong with her because she was attracted to the man who was supposed to be her uncle.

When he seemed so surprised to hear that she wanted to leave, she blinked a little at him as he stumbled over his words. At his last comment, she winced a little bit as she looked away and bit her lip. Then she frowned, glancing back at him, "I didn't mean to make everyone so...I just wanted to see who...I should have just called but I didn't think Nathan would see me and I just wanted to see him for myself." Her shoulders slumped a little as she fidgeted just a little.

"Look, it's no big deal. I just...don't feel right staying here." She nodded once more as she tried to remind herself just to be calm. "I think it would just be better for everyone if I went to stay somewhere else, I shouldn't make you guys awkward in your own home and then you wouldn't need to duck out all the time. Heidi is going to start really not liking me if Nathan doesn't come home." She shrugs a little bit.

"I'm sorry," he replied sincerely. "If you don't think Nathan is your father... we can find out," he offered, swallowing. It was a big offer, but it was doable. This was Nathan's home, the DNA was abundant. Sure, he could've just went up to his brother and explained what was going on and asked for a hair clipping, but he felt this was something Claire needed to do privately; one shock through the Petrelli home was enough. "They have those tests you can mail in now, y'know? Let's do that."

He turned away from her and focused his attention on the lasagna that needed to be assembled when she asked if he had noticed anything strange. Yes, he had noticed plenty of things, with Nathan too, but he kept quiet. Suddenly, her hesitance to open up to him made sense. She had things she wasn't ready to share and so did he.


Several weeks later, the results for the paternity test arrived. There was a knock at the door and a slim manila envelope handed to him, which he had to sign off. The entire operation had been easier than he would have guessed, having managed to find several strands of Nathan's hair in an old coat he wore. After they were sealed up with Claire's long blonde strands, the kit was sent off and they were left to wait.

He held the envelope as if it was a prized possession, fingers clasped around it delicately as he read the return address. The urge to call for the small blonde was large, but Heidi was home. So he climbed the stairs to the second floor, wandering down the hall until he reached her room and gave a light knock. "Claire, it's here..."

Claire looked at Peter in surprise as he offered to help her find out whether Nathan was her father or not. She had thought that he wouldn't buy it, that she was being dramatic but it seemed that he thought there was a chance that she was right. She smiled a little more as she considered his idea, nodding her head, "Okay, let's."

She noticed the way that he didn't answer her but she didn't press. If he wasn't family, he probably wasn't different like her. She would need some other answers first before she could find some of the main ones. So she remained silent, holding her cards to her chest as she moved to help.


The more time that she spent in the Petrelli house, the more sure she was of two things. One, she wasn't a Petrelli and two, if she was...she was going to hell. It was pure torture being near Peter, all because she found herself attracted to him more and more. She adored the way his bangs fell in front of his eyes, she adored his crooked little smile and she liked the way that he was around her. Gentle, sweet and almost like he was scared of breaking her. There were plenty of times that she wanted to tell him that he didn't have to worry but she never could say the words.

But it was also torture because she couldn't touch him, she had to maintain her distance because she felt like she was being watched all the time. She had met Angela and truthfully, the woman intimidated her a bit. So she did tend to stick to her room more or she went out. She did a lot of reading which was what she was doing when the knock on her door came. Her stomach fluttered a it as she heard Peter's voice floating through the door and she hurried to let him in. "What?" Her eyes dropped to the envelope and she was almost breathless, "When did it get here?"

Claire had become such a fixture in his life, it was strange to think she had been around less than two months. She was lovely, in many ways he adored openly and in many ways he couldn't. She had this great way of making him smile, something he felt he did so rarely these days when his head was constantly spinning, trying to figure out what exactly was happening to him. But she always managed to center him, to calm him and bring him back to the present. She was more than a probable niece, she was a close friend.

He ached often to share what he felt for her, and sometimes he saw something in her eyes too that made him have to bite his tongue. It was like she was waiting for him to say something, and the pained look she got in her eyes when he hesitated killed him. But even still, he was glad she was in his life, no matter the type of relationship.

Smiling softly when she opened the door, it felt as though someone had taken the weight of his stress from his mind. "It just got here," he replied and entered the room, shutting the door behind him. The room was neatly decorated, with a young girl's touch here and there that multiplied the longer she stayed. "Open it," he directed, shoving the envelope in her direction as he took a seat in the desk chair.

Peter was the only person keeping her sane in the Petrelli house. A lot of the times she felt there was something crawling under her skin, something that made her uncomfortable and like she might scream at any moment but one look from him usually quieted the urge. It was almost like he knew what she was feeling at times and so he tried to calm her before she did something foolish. She wanted to know what was going on with her too but Peter had a way of making everything a little fuzzier when he was around, she was often distracted by watching him whenever she thought no one was watching. She didn't want to get caught ogling a man that could be her uncle. She was sure that was illegal in New York.

She wanted to open up to him, there was so much she wanted to tell him but she could never find the words. It hurt sometimes because there were times when it looked like he wanted to tell her something and she found herself breathless with anticipation but he never said anything. She didn't know what she was waiting for but she felt like she was waiting something.

As he entered her room, she was oh-so aware of him. Almost too much, like being aware of herself but in a different body. Her tongue peeked out, wetting her lips as she took the envelope in her hands and then promptly moved to shove it back into his hands instead. "No, please...can you do it?" She wanted to watch his face.

Edited at 2009-02-16 05:45 am (UTC)

Since they had both agreed to tell Nathan the truth, they broke the news when he returned from the office after dinner that evening. The dinner itself had been awkward enough, with only Heidi and the boys, and no Nathan to anchor things in some semblance of normalcy. Walking into his office, catching him mid-phone call had been uncomfortable, while the pair of them stood there and he watched them, absently speaking into the earpiece. Finally he ended the call, and Peter dove into the situation.

He had listened at the very least, with his lips pressed to steepled fingers while he mulled things over. In the end he conceded that he could not force Claire to stay and she could do what she wished. However, he did express his feelings toward her need to tell her parents her plan, and gave Peter a meaningful look that made him shift uncomfortably. Just as they were leaving the office, Nathan pulled him back and they had a heart to heart about Claire's best interest, and Peter could only swear on his life that she would be taken care of. Pampered, if that's what it took to make Nathan happy.

She was eager to leave after that, and he helped her collect her things and pile them into his car in the driveway. The drive to place to his was short, but long in the sense that they barely spoke. Maybe it was the sudden way they had come together, or the situation itself, or maybe both, but the space between them had been thick with silence. Finally he pulled into his designated space and shut the car off.

"You alright?" he finally asked, looking over at her as he pulled the key from the ignition. "Are you sure you just don't want me to buy you a plane ticket back home?" He was worried this was too much for her; hell, too much for him. He had been expecting her answer, and so he simply nodded when she declined and got out of the car, moving to the back seat to pull out her duffel bag and one small box of things she had managed to collect in her room.

Thankfully his place was only on the second floor, so the trek was short. Setting the box on the floor in front of the door he pulled out his keys and unlocked the door, shoving the door open and nudging the box inside with his foot before he caught the light switch.

"Well, here it is," he sighed.

Claire felt ten times more awkward at supper time, especially since she knew now that she didn't have a blood tie to the family who had been dancing around her as she tried to find some truth. She was relieved when dinner was done but at the same time she felt more apprehensive because she knew that she would have to face Nathan then; she would have to tell him that she made a mistake about thinking he was her father. Or well, that someone had been mistaken in telling her that he was.

She figured he had to be relieved to know that he didn't have an eighteen year old daughter suddenly hanging around. When he told her that she needed to tell her parents her plan, she caught the way that he looked at Peter and she felt herself blush just a little while praying that Nathan didn't notice. Knowing him, he did. As Nathan and Peter talked, she went back to her room to pack things up so that they would be easier to put in Peter's car.

Part of her wondered what Nathan had said to Peter because suddenly he was quiet and withdrawn. She felt nervous and unsure of herself, a different sort of feeling from just earlier that afternoon when they had kissed in her bedroom. She bit her bottom lip as he finally asked if she was okay and she shrugged a little bit, "I'm fine." She started, then paused as he offered to fly her back home, her green eyes darting to him as she frowned faintly. "No. Being in New York is the best plan for me at the moment."

Before he could argue, she got out of the car and watched as he grabbed her stuff. She moved to take the bag from him, shifting the straps over her arm as she followed him into the apartment. When they got to his apartment, she entered his apartment while glancing around. "It's nice." She nodded, dropping her duffel bag before sighing and looking at him, "Look, Peter, if you want...I can stay at a hotel."

Maybe she did have a plan if she wanted to stay in New York, at least he hoped she did. He accepted her determination with a simple nod. It made sense he supposed, the city could function quite easily as the central point of the country. It was a good place to start.

As he moved into his now lit kitchen, he set the box of belongings next to the breakfast bar and looked back at her. She was hesitating in the doorway, and he paused at her question. "No, no," he shook his head. "You are more than welcome to stay here. You can have my room, I'm fine on the sofa." Peter smiled. "I'd rather you stay here anyway," he continued, so I can keep an eye on you, he kept to himself. It wasn't that he wanted to keep an eye on her because he didn't trust her, but to moreso make Nathan happy. No doubt his brother would be calling to check in every now and then, and Peter didn't want her safety (or unsafety, for that matter) hanging over his head.

"Well c'mon in, make yourself at home. i can give you the grand tour. Or if you don't want to be in, we could go get some ice cream or something," he shrugged and leaned against the breakfast bar, watching her. Already he was a bit perplexed as how to handle her.

Claire wasn't entirely sure that she had a plan, she just knew that she had to get back in touch with Meredith and find her next clue that would lead her to her real father. Once again he had no name and he had no face, just another blur in her mind and an ache in her chest. She wanted to know the man who had helped to create her, she wanted to know if he was special like her and where she might have gotten this ability from.

Since it seemed he wasn't going to let her leave, she shut the door quietly behind her and moved to join her in the kitchen as she started to undo her jacket. "No." She shook her head, "I'm the guest and I'm smaller than you, I should take the couch. It won't bother me as much." She didn't want him to be sore or get a bad back because of her. Then she smiled a little as he assured her that he wanted her there with him which was nice to hear.

"No, I'm fine." She looked around while hanging her jacket over the back of a chair. "Unless you need to go get things from a store?" After all, she didn't know how much food he had in the apartment and if he would want to get more.

Peter felt the functioning of his brain slow to the viscosity of mud as he tried to follow what she was saying, but his mind and eyes were intent on noticing and focusing all alertness on the movement of her tongue. His stomach curled in envy of the muscle that got to grace her lips without so much as a hesitation, and he was again struck with the extreme urge to push a forceful kiss against her lips, to finally claim her.

His physical want was intense, and he suddenly felt a bit guilty as he tried to place the reasoning for it. Peter had come across many attractive women in his day, and yet none had stirred within him this amount of longing. It was as if he and Claire shared some deeper connection, but they hardly even knew each other. He couldn't even blame the lust that was bordering on animalistic on a wanting to know her more completely than he already did.

It was all just very raw, driven by something he couldn't place.

And it was driving him nuts.

He watched as her tongue danced across her lips and reigned in the twitching of his hands and arms to reach out towards her face, to pull her for a kiss. Instead he allowed himself to lean in towards her again, and his ache was somewhat quelled. At least then his need wasn't such a distant dream when she was so close, and he got to fully experience the scent, the aura around her. It was heady, but focusing on her cleared his head and he smirked to himself at the way her cheeks flooded red, he hoped because of his proximity.

"Honey Bunches of Oats," he replied in a breath, his fist going to support his jaw, feeling the heat of his own breath reflected back to him. "How was your shower?" he asked, but was really looking at the complexity of her eyes, the flecks of pigmentation. He wanted to tell her they were beautiful, but he didn't want to push the tentative line that the tension already threatened to break.

Peter worried about how they were going to live in the same space, crossing paths, indefinitely. His sanity wouldn't last long. This need, want, was too primal.

Claire knew that she had to have some kind of control, she was innocent and not used to controlling herself but there was no excuse for not being able to focus. She needed to prove to him that she wasn't some young girl that couldn't control her emotions, her hormones or her young body. He was probably used to women after all, mature women that knew exactly how to act and what to say. She was aware of the fact that she was quite a bit younger than him and so she felt that she had to compensate for her youth somehow.

So she tried to remember to breath, blushing just a bit as she watched him smirk just a bit when she stumbled over asking about the cereal. She was embarrassed, she wished that she could be more smooth than she was but he was terribly distracting as he watched her mouth. She could feel his eyes on her and when he leaned closer, it was wreaking more havoc on her system. She could almost feel his warm breath on her skin and she craved it more, she wanted to hear and feel it catch as she pulled him closer.

Focus, Claire!

She got over scolding herself just a bit, clearing her throat a little before offering a small smile, "It was good, nice and warm." Then she glanced down at herself before straightening, needing just a bit of space between them as she tucked a curl behind the delicate shell of an ear. "Speaking of which, I should probably get dressed."

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