In the Heat of the Moment

The Heroes find themselves being drawn together, and begin to understand how they are all connected… and how Peter just may need Claire more than he thinks.

Disclaimer: Heroes copyright NBC

Chapter 1: The Lies We Keep

"Can you keep a secret, Claire?" The Haitian repeated.

Claire gave a brisk nod. His hands… his hands that were encased over her mouth had a distinct smell to them… what was it… and then it hit her.

Zach.

He smelled like Zach's cologne.

"Good," The Haitian brought his mouth right next to her ear, so close his breath tickled her neck. "My ability is not permanent. The day will come when the fate of the world rests in your hands. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"

Claire nodded again. Please leave… the more she smelled Zach's scent, the more revolted she was becoming. This man had attacked Zach, and Lyle, and dear lord, her own mother, all masterminded by her father.

"Your father is not to know of our secret." He finally released her. "If it is found out, your friend, and your family will be killed. Understand?"

"Yes," She replied, "Who are you?"

"Your father will be home soon. You are to act as if you remember nothing." He walked toward her, "for now, you will sleep."

Xxx

Nathan Petrelli hated hospitals. It was one of those places where he wasn't in charge, and where he couldn't get answers he wanted. One thing he liked about the poles was that they were concrete. Numbers didn't lie. In hospitals there were too many risks, too many uncertainties, and Nathan couldn't deal with that. However, a hospital room was where fate found him, sitting in a chair next to a bed where his brother lay. Coma they were saying, due to a massive blow to his head. Peter's diagnosis was uncertain, and the staff all encouraged Nathan to talk to Peter. They said Peter could hear his voice.

But talk about what? Nathan wondered. Sit here and read him the newspaper? There was a swift knock on the door, and a nurse stuck her head in the room, "Can I get you anything, Mr. Petrelli?"

Yeah, first flight out of here…

"No thank you," Nathan said, flashing his best political smile. He fidgeted in the straight back chair and rested one leg on the other, bringing his arms forward and clasped. He stared at Peter, looking for any sign of life. Are you in there, Pete?

The nurse smiled as well, and made her way into the room, her shoes squeaking obnoxiously on the bleached hospital floor. She checked Peter's vitals and then turned to Nathan. "Has the doctor been in to see you?"

Nathan shook his head, "No."

The nurse frowned and checked Peter's chart. "Yes, I see notes here. Well, it's been three days, and standard procedure is that we start thinking about a feeding tube."

"Feeding tube," Nathan replied, resting his head on hand. Saying the words made his stomach hurt. His little brother in a coma, and now they were going to shove a tube down his throat? The catheter they had put it was bad enough. "Miss, my brother is twenty-nine years old."

The nurse gave a compassionate smile and said, "I understand, Mr. Petrelli, but he's going to need nourishment, and in his present state, he can't eat on his own." She paused, "A lot of family members get nervous when they hear the words. It doesn't mean we've given up hope. You shouldn't either. Peter does have brain activity. It's a good sign."

"What form do I have to sign?" Nathan asked.

Xxx

Claire awoke with a start. It was no longer night, the sun was bright and shining, even the birds were chirping. It was nothing like the way Claire felt; sad and scared. What did her father have to do with all of this?

Why did he have her brother and Zach's memories erased?

And he was going to do it to her, too.

I can't trust him. All this time I thought I could, he's my father, and he's responsible for all of this….

Jackie.

Was he somehow connected with her death? She wasn't sure she could stomach the truth. I have no to get out of here…

"Claire! Rise and shine or you'll be late for school!" Her mother's voice drifted up the stairs.

It was like a normal day to her. And Zach and Lyle, too. But how could she treat this day as normal when she knew the truth? How could she go on living the lie to protect them? It was difficult and easy all at the same time. She would simply smile and nod at her parents and the occasional peer, and continue her front as a normal Union Wells Cheerleader that would one day save mankind.