Rating: R (Dark themes, incest)
Characters: Peter/Claire, Peter/Candice
Summary: "That's their relationship; parasitic, symbiotic; deadly need that transcends good and evil. Maybe Peter crosses over when he starts desiring her, needing and wanting the illusion she offers."
Spoilers: Assumes knowledge to 1.18 Parasite
Disclaimer: Nothing mine, just borrowing. All NBC's and Tim Kring's. Please don't sue!
Author's Notes: Yes, you read right. Peter/Candice, who haven't actually met. And Peter/Claire who are related. Needless to say this is one dark fic and it's a slight departure for me. It's weird and dark but go on, give it a go!
Feedback (especially for this fic): is love. ;-)
Peter can't decide whether angels or devils are riding by his side.
It's well past midnight and he's lying awake, thinking about his destiny. Thinks about what he's done to get where he's now, where he's been. Who he's hurt. What he's become. Nothing like the handsome stranger, knight in shining armour charging on his brilliant white steed to save the world.
Gone is the day he saved the cheerleader, saved the world. Dreams disintegrating as ashes in the wind. Dry particles of sand melting into nothingness at his feet as its washed away by rising tide.
He turns, reaches out to run a hand over soft milky skin next to his. Hears her muted breathing in the witching hours of the night, the penumbra between night and day. Dark and light, capturing his sleep, refusing to release its hostage.
He's wide awake, unable to see past her face; unable to forget, like he's seeing the ghost of his future, past, present. All jumbled together in a kaleidoscopic whole. Wants to sink into oblivion but doesn't ever want to forget. No, he never wants to forget.
Her smile, golden hair, sparkling green eyes. Eyes that remind him of a warm summer's breeze, gentle rolling hills and sunlight that stretches into eternity. Hair that rains down over sun-kissed shoulders, smile that sets his heart alight.
He wants her, has always wanted her, will always want her. Has wanted her forever and before he knew of her, because he can't forget what he's always known.
She stirs; coal dark eyes bore into his. She's not asleep now as she was just a moment ago, his world crumbling about him, forbidden forever to enter paradise with sins still crushing his soul.
She places a finger over murmuring lips. He kisses it, just as he's kissed every inch of her face, her body. He uses it to forget the other her, his perfect other. The vision that beckons him on, a ghost of a dream that whittles down into perfect wisps of nothingness.
She draws closer to him. Props her head up with her hand, whispering in that seductive lilt she masters with an air of confident abandon. "Do you want me to do it?" Whispers so softly her words float on air in heavy stillness.
Stillness and silence that taunts him because she's the only one who knows. Knows what his dark, secret desire is, desire that sets his mind racing and heart sinking. Because it's wrong, and sick, and every part of him knows it.
Except the part that matters most, the part that spurs him on.
He slithers until he's pressed against her tightly, snakes an arm around her body. Runs his hands over that milky white skin, so pale compared to the golden hue he worships from a distance.
"Yes." His eyes no longer scream with sickness, that sinking feeling that knows what he's about to do is wrong. So very, very wrong. He doesn't know now and he doesn't care. It's what he needs and Candice is the only one that's capable of giving it to him.
She smiles that taunting, half-broken smile he sees every time this happens. She offers herself like a drug and he inhales every time. It's a dangerous game of cat and mouse, or cat and cat, because they're both doing the same thing. Using the other, reasons best left unshared beyond moments of fractured reality.
He watches, riveted, as raven dark hair melts into golden waves, cascading over now bronzed shoulders. Can't bring himself to touch her until the transformation's complete, the last piece of the complex puzzle that forms perfection.
The perfection of his dream, the dream of his life, unravelling before his eyes. Something like Claire's eyes stare back at him and it's only then that he can relax. Sigh as she draws him tenderly to her, trails butterfly kisses down the lines on his face that don't quite exist. It's only then he's able to breathe, sinking deep into blissful oblivion.
He's home and it's warm, and bright, and he's finally able to sleep. For now.
Theirs is a relationship of convenience, they both know that. He's a shadow of the man he was, the gentle wayward soul that needed to be someone. There's nothing left of him in the way he thrusts into the woman writhing underneath, sun-kissed skin and dangerous, emerald eyes staring daggers up at him. He wants her, but she isn't his. Has her, but knows illusion is a pale imitation of reality.
Reality is what he truly craves. A drug of such high potency, the taking of it will be his undoing.
And so he waits for that day, passes the time with that other her. He likes her now; he can safely acknowledge that much. He's grateful, as if it absolves him of what he's doing, using her to feed his parched desires. But he reasons he does the same for her when she needs it. They both need it, crave it so much it torments them, illusion so blinding they mistake it for heaven when it's really hell.
She works for the enemy, he knows that. Knows more than he cares to about her, as she does him. Knows she's a straight vodka girl, or tequila shots when her temper strikes. Knows she loves freshly washed sheets, revels in simple pleasures of the hearth and home she's missed from her lonely childhood. Loves pasta with an abandon hard to fathom, secretly enjoys witty discourse that belies her beauty.
Her beauty is something hard to miss, but he doesn't miss it for a second.
Sometimes they pretend they're just like everyone else, smiles up at him with something like warmth. It's hard to forget then who she is, and who she isn't.
Sometimes she looks at him with anger hard to dismiss, not disguising her hate for giving her what she wants and needs. Hates him for always being there, a reminder of her living, breathing sins.
Knows that so clearly; it's what he sees when he looks at her.
And yet they continue to descend into the vortex together, darkness and desperation riveting as it smothers his skin. He loves the feeling of being inside her, inside the reality that's his dream that's his reality, an infinite circle that has no end, because it never begins.
The first time they meet, they recognise mutual need. Innate desires that cannot die, refusing to be quelled, illicit tension funnelling through holes in their souls that are running on empty. Empty shells that used to be people, living a lie that's unending and fresh.
The first time he tears her clothes off, he doesn't even bother to ask. Sees her thoughts as easily as she shifts faces and realities, knows what they both want and there's no need to ask. She knows that he knows that she knows. There's something intoxicating about the night.
When he enters her, she doesn't hide her release, enjoyment. Their screams of ecstasy create a cacophony of languishing obsession and he can't believe he's doing this, being Judas to his cause. He's come full circle because this time he's not the martyr, no, not this time. His thirty pieces of silver comes in the guise of a sleek, raven haired temptress, beauty that walks through night and cloudless climes. No more than a girl, slender and lithe; all milky smooth skin, creamy cheeks and rosy, blood red lips.
Lips that he attacks because he needs to feel something, anything, everything. Needs to feel something smash against his own, because that's the only way to quench unquenchable thirst.
Thirst for a girl he can never have, because she's his niece and it's wrong. So very, very wrong. That's the moment he knows he can never go back. Never become the man he's meant to be, because the man he is now can never shed his hunger for her. Can never discard the ache that's insinuated into every sinew of his body, courses through his veins; his heart reeks from the stench of it. Claire is everything that's happy and golden and right in his world, and he can never have her, because it's wrong. He's wrong, and he can't be fixed.
And yet he does have her, but not her. The first time Candice does it, it startles him. Not because of what she can do. No, he's seen enough to not bat an eye. It's that the transformation is so complete, transmogrification from dark to light so eerie that it blinds him. Not until he looks deep into those eyes, green mirrors that reflect his sins, that he can tell the difference. She isn't Claire, doesn't feel like her. But God, she's the closest thing he can get to his golden haired angel, because he's a man and weak and driven by what he wants but can't have. Driven by what he can have, so he takes it when it's offered, offered willingly by a woman that demands the favour in return.
That's their relationship, parasitic, symbiotic; deadly need that transcends good and evil. Maybe Peter crosses over when he starts desiring her, needing and wanting the illusion she offers. Crosses from light to dark, crouches in shame at what he's about to become.
It doesn't water down the ecstasy they share in snatched moments. Always afterward, he finds her looking at him, and something like twisted need and adoration passes between them. As if in that moment of glorious freefall, their destinies, wants and needs entwine and it connects them in a way he's never felt before.
Always before, he's wanted this with his green eyed cheerleader, but life's dealt him another hand. He wants it now, if not quite loves it, with the dark eyed minx that's inexplicably ensconced in his life.
But all the time, he waits, watches, wants the daughter of his brother through smoke and mirrors of haze and desire. His only hope now is that no one will ever discover the depths to which he's sinking.
The day he brings Candice home with him to Sunday brunch, is the day his friendship with Claire ends.
He knows what it'll do to them, yet he does it anyway. Does it because he needs to sever that tie before it's too late, too late to save what's left of his sanity. Doesn't feel shame that it's not even about saving his soul, because it's too late for that. Far too late, because he knows after he leaves his brother's house with Candice, they'll go straight back to his apartment. Back to his bed and he'll make love to her, as Claire, because it's all he can do now to keep the lid of his reality from blowing up in his face.
Odd too, he wants his family to meet Candice. She's disjointed and devilish and someone his family can truly appreciate. He spends most every waking moment with her now, their twisted bond so deep it scares him. Scares and excites him in a way he's never felt before; the loss of control so strangely exhilarating. He's rushing towards destruction and he's never felt freer in his life.
Her looks, too, complement his family's. When he sees his mother and Heidi welcome her, he sees a wealth of dark eyed, pale beauties against a backdrop of light. Only Claire stands out, sunflower in a bed of jasmine.
The moment Peter enters the room pulling Candice along with him, he dies inside a little. Dies as the thousand seeds of what might have been dies in Claire, sees her shock, curiosity, hurt, then finally, inevitably, her rage.
Rage, because they're losing a part of themselves, something they can never recover. They've only talked once about their mutual lust, love, hunger, thirst, ache, longing, or whatever word that fits their eternal connection. He knows he's hers and she's his, but they can never be in this life. They're related and the knowledge makes it sick and wrong, yet feels so right. She was young in the beginning but she isn't so young now. They'd hoped with the passage of time it would pass, but it hasn't. And now they know it never will, because how can something eternal be ravaged by time?
His girl, his darling girl, always had a temper on her. Runs in the family, and the moment he realises that it makes him sick again to be thinking about her this way. This way or that way or whatever way he thinks about her, because it's always the same. Self-loathing and sweetness congeal in a heady mix of deep, damp desire fermenting in darkness.
His intimacy with Claire, the part that keeps him sane, stops that day and he regrets it every second he spends away from her. Regrets it every second he spends with Candice pretending to be her, the mistress of illusion no match for blinding reality. He sees her face everywhere and nowhere, at the back of his eyelids when he closes his eyes; her face is scorched and burned into his brain.
He wishes someone would just tear it out. Then he wouldn't have to be this way, be the broken man he is.
One day, his wish almost comes true. He finds a truth then, a truth that surprises him and frankly he can't believe he's still capable of being surprised. But he is and the feeling is fresh and new and suddenly a new dreamscape opens up to him.
Candice is there, and she's tending his wounds. They're large and deep and he's screaming and screaming in agony. Knows he'll survive because they didn't have time to sever brain from spinal cord, not this time. Knows dimly that he owes that to her. She, always a loyal foot soldier, silent and unyielding and staunch in the belief that she's doing what she wants, and damn the consequences. Uses her power to get what she wants because at the end of all things, the end always justifies the means.
But she's there with him, gently washing away the blood. Giving up her life, what she believes in, for him. When the film of pain recedes he sees her silhouette, haloed by light. Truth pierces through him then, as sharp and painful as those deep, dark orbs that shine daily up at him.
She loves him, in that strange, convoluted way they've come to know each other. She's giving up her allegiance for him and rather than scare him, he revels in it. Finds it comforting that someone is relying on him for their soul; refreshing and clean that she's there, needing him for him, and not for what he can do.
He reaches, brings her face down to his. Stares deeply into her eyes, and she knows. They share a beginning that's shaky and wonderful but bright, oh so very, very bright.
And his story should end there, but it doesn't. His life realigns again, a star in a cosmos that comes full circle.
How many circles there are, he doesn't know. But he's rounding the bend again, a bend that's really a bend that affords no choice because it's not a life he can choose. There's no road less travelled; there's only one road.
Nathan calls in a frenzy and it startles him, because his brother never panics. He's a former Marine and Congressman turned Senator and he doesn't scare easily. But he's panicking now because Claire's missing and they can't find her, has been missing for days and there's something about this that doesn't feel right. His brother calls it fatherly instinct and he has to stem the rising tide of bile that erupts from his throat, because he's reminded anew of the wound; it's as fresh and deep as the moment he realises that he's her uncle and she's his niece. It's the moment his world crashes around him, a life that's only just been resurrected from the brink.
But it's Claire, and so he goes. He taps into their old, forbidden connection and knows without doubt where she is.
But not what she's done, and the moment he lays eyes on her, desire reels him in again. Time has no meaning in eternity.
He finds her literally in a pool of her own blood, eyes blank. Doesn't respond when he frantically retrieves her from the pool of red that almost engulfs her. Red that drips off when he fishes her limp form out of the bathtub.
He knows she's not dead. Her healing assures his mind of that; her low, steady breathing assures his body. Isn't worried as much by the blood than seeing her like this, broken and battered by a life that neither of them chose. He imagines how many times she had to slice herself to form this much blood, and shudders. Knife shearing soft skin and bone to the quick, digging into soft butter.
He runs a hand over her arms, turns her wrists over. As expected they're smooth and flawless, just as they always are. Claire doesn't scar but he knows now that isn't true. Her scars are there, just like his, lurking and writhing just underneath her skin.
She thinks no one knows what it's like, but Peter does. Has always known, because he feels the same way. Knows how his body heals but his heart doesn't, never has and never will. Feels the old ache and pain course through him at the sight of her, vulnerable, needing him the way he needs her.
"Claire." His breath warms her skin, enough to revive her spirit. "Why?"
Her breathing stills, her eyes, the colour of algae, stares in accusation. "You know why. You've always known why."
He did, but he didn't. Didn't want to see it because it would've broken the last barrier he'd erected, the last in a long line of defences he'd conjured up against this day. His sanity knows their feelings are wrong, evil, bad and every variant of the word. Knows if they do this, he's damning her soul along with his. And he can't do that to her, not when she's bright and golden and all lightly dusted freckles that reminds him of innocent times.
Their connection simmers and crackles in the air, it's everywhere and nowhere. He admits it now, it's always been there. From the first instant they laid eyes on each other, from the split second he collided with her. The careful lilt of his voice as he smiles down at her, assuring her of happier times after high school. Strange to know now how ironic those words were, because this is life for her after high school, and it's a life in hell.
But he can't deny it, that truth that belies all things. He feels it coursing through them when they happen to meet, feels it shooting from her eyes and body and smile that always seems too bright to be real. She's suffering like he's suffering and he left her there, alone. To rot and burn in the illicit desire they share. And it almost shatters her into a thousand glittering pieces, his golden haired angel, light of his world.
She's indestructible but she's made of glass. The irony doesn't escape him.
He places her, gently, reverently, on the bed. The bed that he'd helped her buy in bygone, hopeful days. Sits softly and stares mutely down as she gazes up at him with those glorious green eyes, eyes he's been missing for so long.
"Claire." He makes himself say the words, intones it almost like a prayer. He needs to be forgiven for what he's about to do. "We can't do this. It's wrong."
"No it's not. We need this. Peter, I can't do this anymore. I need you." It's her shattered reply and he doesn't have the strength nor stamina to resist any more.
He's a non-practicing Roman Catholic, hasn't been to church for years, not since his father's funeral. But now he sits and stares silently down at her, gazes at the temple he's about to defile.
Our father, who art in heaven …
He reaches out to graze hands against soft, tanned skin. Runs his hand up her thigh, unbuttons her blood soaked jeans. Peels them off as she watches, eyes keen and bright in the darkness. He doesn't miss the desire, hunger, flaming of passion that she unleashes and god, it spurs him on. He's excited and there's no need to hide it, not anymore. Not from her. They share what's consuming them, but they don't care because they need it so much it hurts.
She shifts, readies herself for what's to come. She's no innocent flower but this is different. They're satiating a need that's driven them to this point, driven them down a path that began with good intentions, destiny at the point of no return.
Hallowed be thy name …
The moment their lips meet is the moment he knows he's farewelling gates of pearl. Reality fractures as he loses himself to passion, senses recoiling from overload. He's tearing her clothes off and she's raking soft hands over his bare chest, and somewhere along the way he's stripped of his pants. Their hands are everywhere until he doesn't know where he ends and she begins. Perhaps they never ended and began, they just are.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done …
And then it doesn't matter, because they're one and nothing matters anymore beside the heavenly bliss of being inside her. No longer wanting but having her, wanted and needed in turn. It is his dream come true, that he's in hell.
On Earth as it is in Heaven …
He thrusts and they're rocking against each other, sweat and desperation mingling into rivulets of desire. She moans and cries and its ambrosia to his senses, spurs him into her harder and harder and the entire room seems to be shaking. She rocks against him as if trying to get him deeper, wanting him to be in her like he's always wanted to be.
Give us this day our daily bread …
He takes her time and time again that night, doesn't worry about the morning. What their actions will lead them to, what the consequences will be. He forgets Nathan's face as he spreads her legs wider and she wraps them around him, all the while looking up at him with those glorious, beseeching eyes.
Their eyes never leave each other through the night.
And forgive us our trespasses …
Need and loathing compounds triple-fold by the looks she shoots him, darkness and daring and suddenly, it's like looking into another woman's eyes. Murky, shadowy eyes of his raven haired temptress, waiting for him back at their apartment.
But then he forgets, because he's with Claire and nothing else matters.
As we forgive those who trespass against us …
Their heat crescendos; they're composing an illicit symphony only they can hear. Haunting, dramatic, desperate need fuelled by unearthly desires coalescing into a single pinpoint in time when they'll finally be satisfied, when they'll finally be where they belong.
And lead us not into temptation …
She spurs him on, his name coming in ragged, desperate gasps out of cherry red lips. He responds in kind, enjoys her name rolling off his tongue, need and want inverted into forbidden passion, youth and innocence stripped of all heavenly adornment.
But deliver us from evil …
They climax and crest the into ecstasy one after another, or perhaps together, he can't tell. They lie satiated in each other's arms. Knows that it's wrong, but it's right, because Peter and Claire always are, always will be, have always been.
He says a silent prayer, begs forgiveness from that other woman. Knows how cruelly he's used her, but can't bring himself to leave perfection in hell.
He's done with wanting and needing but not having. He's come full circle, knows now whether angels or devils are riding by his side. He's made his bed and he's lying in it, but he's lying it in with Claire.
His story ends some years later with a gentle knock on the door in Paris. He answers it with Claire by his side, because they're just about to head out into the night.
A girl stands on the doorstep, hair the colour of jet, skin milky and soft and pale as a newly risen moon. He senses a familiarity in those dark, haunting eyes.
Claire sees it too because he sees it. Or maybe he sees it because she does, it's all the same to him.
"I'm looking for Peter Petrelli." Her voice is deep, stronger than her slenderness suggests. There's a lilt there that jogs his memory; he grasps the thoughts running riot through his mind and weaves them into a coherent whole.
He knows her and she knows him. Full circle, the way it's always been. "Yes, that's me."
She looks up at him with wide, imploring eyes. He draws closer, looking deep into hidden depths. "My mom said to look for you if anything happened to her. If – anything happened, I was to look for you. She said you'd protect me."
A broken, wilted, flower of youth. It's Claire who replies, shrewd and intelligent. She knows how it feels. "Why sweetie?"
"She said, she said –" So scared, so frightened, so alone. He knows only too well what that feels like. But in the moment of truth, her dark eyes meet his, rises to the challenge, dares him to refuse. "She said to go to my real dad. That he'd look after me." She pauses, swallows down fear coating her insides. Asks with tremulous voice. "Are you going to look after me?"
He only needs a split second to respond. Silently he and Claire part to let her into their home.
And that's where his story ends and hers begins.