The Fall

By Denise (kdsch123)

Rating: PG
Pairing: Peter/Claire, Nathan

Acknowledgements: I acknowledge that I own nothing – Heroes is owned by NBC, the shows producers and creative staff.

Summary: Always in motion, is the future….

Spoilers: For "Fallout", general for Season one, otherwise. And I don't know that this is what will happen, but I think it would be wonderful if it did.

"I see you in a dream,
You turn and start to go,
I call to you once more
Guess that I'm takin' the fall

It's a lie...
(I don't believe it's so)
It's a lie…
Our love couldn't go wrong
How could I know I was only dreaming
And now, now that you're gone
I will go on really believing
I take the fall…"
"The Fall" by ELO

"Gone?" Claire gripped the edge of the desk and shook her head. She could still feel the grip of the Haitian man that her father had sent to wipe her memory on her, and the only person she would let herself trust was…GONE. The world as Claire Bennett knew it had stopped making any kind of sense and she shook her head, frowning at the deputy. "Gone?" She clutched her hastily packed backpack and tried to not panic.

"He was released, Miss. There was no reason to hold him anymore. And there were some loudmouth suits in here makin' sure we cut him loose P.D.Q." The sheriff's deputy at the desk looked at her. "You okay?"

"I'm fine." Claire closed her eyes. "Do y'all know where they went?"

"No, ma'am." The deputy shook his head. "You don't look good. Lemme get some Coke or something for you."

"No, thank you." Claire smiled, remembering her mother's constant nagging about manners. "I'll go. I just wanted to thank him again...he saved my life."

"A hero." The deputy nodded. "Gotcha." He winked at her and Claired turned toward the door of the sheriff's office, walking slowly, trying to think. She walked through the doors and out into the evening, and sat down on the steps, to take a breath.

"Miss…" A brown uniformed deputy came out of the building behind her. "Were you looking for Peter Petrelli? I heard you asking about him."

"Was that his last name?" Claire asked, standing. "Yes. I was looking for him."

"Took him to General. Collapsed on the steps here. Right there where you're standing at, as a matter of fact." The deputy nodded. "Looked pretty bad. Hope he makes it." Claire looked toward the hospital, and without meaning to, started to cry. The deputy shook his head. "Listen, I'm off duty, but I'll drive you there. It's a mile and a bit and it's getting dark."

"I don't want to trouble you." Claire said, sniffling, and the deputy smiled.

"Ain't no trouble. Come on." He walked her down the steps. "I'm parked over here."

At the hospital, Claire thanked the deputy and went in. She asked the volunteers at the information desk about Peter and was directed to the Intensive Care unit. Hands sweating, Claire pushed the button on the elevator, looking around nervously. It was hard to know who to trust, and where she was safe now. The elevator opened, and a tall man, with dark hair and a square jaw walked off, talking into his cellphone with in short, clipped bursts. He didn't see her at first, and nearly knocked her over.

"Excuse me." Claire said, too upset to care about being polite, and he turned, fixing his small, dark eyes on her. He moved the phone away from his ear and smiled apologetically. The smile was practiced, and made Claire think of the alligators at the zoo. A tall alligator in a designer suit.

"I'm very sorry, Miss." He turned back to the phone. "No, Heidi, we don't know anything more than what I said. No, Mom shouldn't be here…." He walked away, his expensive shoes striking against the tile floor of the hospital lobby like thunder. Claire got on the elevator, pushing the button for the second floor. When the doors opened, she walked down the hall, trying to be casual, but wanting to run. The Haitian had told her to find Peter and stay with him, and Claire wanted to be there should her father come, to confront him about Lyle and Zach and to protect Peter's memories as much as she could. Pushing through the door to the SICU, Claire found Peter's glass fronted room, bigger than his cell, but more terrifying. Machines and monitors beeped, and he was slight and almost invisible against the white sheets, his dark hair providing the contrast needed to show he was there at all.

"Oh my god." Claire gasped, shaking her head. "No." She went to the bed, and blinked back tears, a cold feeling wrapping around her. "Peter." Claire took his hand, pulling a chair over to sit right beside his bed. "I'm here. You said you healed because of me…I'm going to sit right here with you until you're better. I can save your life now. You're like this because of me…and I'm sorry…"

"….I'm sorry…." Claire, in her red and white cheerleading uniform shook her head in horror, as his hands started to glow. She turned, looking back, and then running away, a cop in a Los Angeles Police Department uniform grabbing her by the hand and pulling her further away. Claire screamed, but Peter couldn't hear her, just saw her as she tried to run back to him, the police officer not letting her go. "Peter!!!"

In nursing school, Peter had been taught that patients that are in a coma can hear what's going on around them. As a hospice nurse, Peter didn't doubt that for a second, and given his experiences with Simone's father before he died, if he had doubted, he didn't anymore. He could feel a small hand in his, another that pushed the hair from his face, and he knew the owner of the hands was speaking to him, but he couldn't hear them. All he could hear was the desperate scream of a girl he'd risked his life to save, struggling again in his dream to save him, just when he thought she'd abandon him. The owner of the hands came into a dreamy focus in his mind, and Peter heard her voice, over the hum and beeps of the monitors. Claire.

There was also the absence of his brother's energy in the room. Apparently Nathan had left, and Peter let himself relax a little, feeling clearer than he had in awhile. With Claire's hand in his, he could feel a flow of something, like waves of gentle and warm water flowing into him. Still not able to talk, or open his eyes, Peter took inventory of the iv tubes and equipment that were keeping him alive. That was no longer strictly true, though, was it? No, it wasn't. They had brought in the big guns here, but that wasn't unexpected, since he was under 25. Had he been aware of anything at all really before Claire arrived? Peter didn't remember, but he was pretty sure he didn't. He willed his hand to close around hers, but it didn't happen. Damn. Peter wanted to give her some clue that he knew she was there, a sign to not give up on him now. That dream was too real, the pain at her walking away too powerful. If she walked away now, it would kill him for sure.

"…you're all I've got right now…my hero…Peter…I'm going to save you this time…." Peter heard Claire's voice, soft and sad, like it was coming to him over a great distance. Someone came into the room, and Peter heard Claire respond that she was his friend and then Nathan's voice, piercing the blackness Peter was in with acerbic clarity.

"…his friend? Look, my brother hasn't been in your little slice of Texas for longer than 48 hours. How does he know you?" Nathan's voice was tense, brittle and Peter knew his brother was worried. If he could have smiled, Peter would have, because seeing Claire in the room when he got back from where ever it was he'd gone had to have been a shock, and the look on Nathan's face had to have been priceless.

"He saved me." Claire replied simply, softly, but not letting go of Peter's hand and not backing down. "He came to Texas to save me, he said." Peter could smell her now, the scent of a properly cared for young girl, fabric softener and an innocent fragrance Peter would never associate with anyone other than Claire again. And despite her fragile appearance, she was made of stronger stuff, and Peter wondered again what her destiny could possibly be that he had come to this to save her. Maybe if just to irritate Nathan, it was worth it. "I think if I stay with him now, he'll get better on his own."

"Right. Listen, I don't know how he found you, but you need to go. This is private family business and you don't belong here…" Nathan's voice was clipped and curt, and Peter felt Claire's hand tighten again on his. "It's not good. His chance of surviving this is slim to none."

Geez, thanks, Nathan. Peter thought, wanting to shake his head at his brother's words.

"You can't make me go. And, you shouldn't say that." Claire replied, and Peter heard her sit down again, both of her hands on his. "What if he can hear you?"

"He can't." There was a scraping sound, the metal of another chair being drawn over to the other side of the bed. "Peter saved you?"

"Yes." Claire replied. "Someone tried to kill me, and Peter stopped them. He fell off a building to stop them."

"He didn't fly?" Nathan asked sarcastically,ignoring Claire's sharp intake of air at the question and Peter wanted to punch him. Hard. His hand closed around Claire's for a second, and she gasped again, this time with surprise.

"He squeezed my hand." She said, her voice seeming to squeak with delight, and Peter felt Nathan take his other hand. "He heard you…Say something else." Claire prodded Nathan, who cleared his throat uncomfortably. "If it was my brother like this, I'd have a lot to say…"

"You in there, Pete?" Nathan was close, leaning down near Peter's ear. "Wake up, okay. Let's start with that." Nathan looked up, and Peter heard him speak to Claire. "Anything?"

"No." She sighed. "He did try to squeeze my hand, I promise. Peter? I'm not leaving…I'm staying, as long as you need me…"

Peter focused, and closed his hand around hers, and felt her other hand close over his. He heard Nathan sob, and felt tears on his hand from where Claire had drawn it up to her face.

"If you are staying with him, I need to know who you are." Nathan asked, and Claire nodded. "What's your name?"

"Claire Bennett." Peter could feel her trembling.

"Well, Claire Bennett, if anyone asks, you know my brother your whole life. How old are you?" Freaking Nathan, Peter thought, always looking to keep the spin going his way. Claire hesitated, lowering Peter's hand back to the bed but not letting go.

"I'm seventeen." Claire replied, revolted. "Why?"

"From right now, until Peter's up and I have him on a plane to New York, you're 20. Got it?" Nathan asked her and Peter felt his brother sit back down, not letting go of his hand. "Can you be 20?" Peter saw Claire's face in his mind. Yeah, she could be twenty, someday. Right now, even the idea that she was only 17 seemed a bit of a stretch.

"Sure." Claire agreed, sitting back down. "If I tell people I'm 20, you'll let me stay with him?"

"Yes." Nathan said, and then cleared his throat. "What does he think you can do?"

"Do?" Claire asked, and Peter was proud of the note of annoyance in her voice. You go, Claire. "Don't know what you mean."

"He thinks I can fly, he thought he could fly…" Nathan groaned. "I'm really not very patient right now, Claire. What can you do?"

"I heal.." Claire said, her voice soft. "When Peter fell from the roof, I went to him and he got better, but not enough…"

Nathan stood, the metal of the chair scraping on the floor again. "Let's hope this time he's right." He let go of Peter's hand. "I have some calls to make. My mother will want to know he responded at all." Nathan left, and Peter heard him say thank you to Claire before he left, the door closing behind him. She sighed, resting her cheek against Peter's hand.

"….I'm sorry…." Claire, in her red and white cheerleading uniform shook her head in horror, as his hands started to glow. She turned, looking back, and then running away, a cop in a Los Angeles Police Department uniform grabbing her by the hand and pulling her further away. Claire screamed, but Peter couldn't hear her, just saw her as she tried to run back to him, the police officer not letting her go. "Peter!!! She broke away from the cop, pushing him out of the way, dodging three others who tried to stop her, including Issac, who had let Simone sink to the ground, weeping. "NO!" She pulled her arm free of Issac's grip. "I can do this..he needs me…"

"Claire! Stay back! You can't help him this time…it's too dangerous…" Nathan's voice came from behind Peter, but she set her jaw and ran into Peter's arms, pressing her face into his coat. Peter could smell her, that soft powdery fragrance and fabric softener, and he closed his arms around her, even as he wished with all his heart and soul that she was anywhere else safe. Even if that meant not holding her again.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying. I can help. Let me save you this time, Peter…" Her voice was soft in his ear, hovering on the borderline of waking and dreams…Peter?

Peter sank into more pleasant dreams, sure that somehow, Claire's presence in his hospital room was the reason things would be different when push finally came to shove, and he kept his hand around hers. Claire was his lifeline now, literally.

"Peter?" Claire asked, noticing the change in his breathing, and pressing his hand to her cheek, she smiled. "I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying. Let me save you this time…."