Title: Blood and Tears

Author: SG1SamFan

Character(s): Zach, Claire

Pairing: Clach

Word Count: 374

Spoilers: Up to episode 1.14 "Distractions".

Rating: K

Summary: "My heart is unraveling like a ball of string, a little more gone with each turn of the hard rubber tires." Set two months after "Déjà Vu", but can stand alone. Claire POV. Clach. AU.

Disclaimer: I do not own Heroes or its characters and receive no profit from this story.

Archive: Please ask me first.

A/N: This is part two in my set of four companion pieces. Next up: "A Hero's Note", set between "Déjà Vu" and "Blood and Tears".

Peter Petrelli dozes next to me in the chilly backseat of a New York City taxi. I still can't believe I'm here, but I guess with the way my life's been lately, I should be getting used to this kind of thing.

Through Peter's window, I watch the skyscrapers rise like monsters from the sea of gray.

I'm here to meet with people who are... like me. People who want to show me my "destiny". I know I should be happy. But I'm not. My heart is unraveling like a ball of string, a little more gone with each turn of the hard rubber tires. I don't know what hurts worse: leaving behind my family, or leaving behind the only friend in the world I can trust.

As if on cue, my phone comes alive with Zach's familiar ringtone. I close my eyes against the ragged inhale that burns my lungs. The writing must be wearing off the "ignore" button by now, but I can't talk to Zach, no matter how much I want to. If I talk to him, I'll lose my resolve to do what everyone expects of me.

If I talk to him, I'll jump out of this taxi, yank my broken bones back into place, run home and throw my arms around him, and…and...

And what? Kiss him?

The funny thing is, before the mind-wipe, I thing he might have kissed me back. But now... I don't know what he'd do.

And I may never know... because I might never see Zach again.

My breath catches in my lungs.

I might never see Zach again.

Oh, God.

Tears prick my eyes.

At the sound of my shuddering breath, Peter's eyelids flutter open. He asks what's wrong, and I force my best cheerleader smile. "Nothing," I reply. What I mean is, You're family but you're not Zach and god how I miss him and he's the best friend I've ever had and I think I'm–...

But I don't say that. I don't say any of that. I just turn away toward my window and let myself slump against the icy vinyl seat. Like blood from a wound, silent teardrops slick my cheeks.

But this is one wound I can't heal.

A/N 2.0: I will reply to all reviews, constructive criticism and praise alike. Even a few words—just a thumbs up or a thumbs down—would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!