Summary: (PeterClaire) There are three reasons Claire Bennet should not love Peter Petrelli.
Notes: My very first Heroes fic. Reviews would be very much appreciated. I'll even give you some virtual cake and ice cream!
Warning: Non-AU. Nathan is still Claire's father.
There are three reasons Claire Bennet should not love Peter Petrelli.
Number one is the most simple: she has no indication that he feels the same way about her. However, what 17 year old girl has ever been stopped by that? Claire wonders if there have been any. If there have been, then they have her admiration, for she can't seem to stop this, no matter how hard she tries.
Number two is more complicated: He's ten years older than she. Even if she had some indication that he harbored romantic feelings toward her -- which she doesn't -- the age difference between them is ridiculous.
Number three is the most complicated. In fact, it's ridiculously complicated, and Claire hates to even think of it. As much as it pains her, however, it's still true. He's her father's brother. And not adopted, foster, or step. He's related by blood. Blood that flows through her veins.
The three of these combined form the trifecta of reasons Claire Bennet should not love Peter Petrelli. She reminds herself of them many, many times throughout the day. So many times, she's afraid to count them, for fear that she will discover new numbers not previously known to man.
He's her uncle. Her God damn uncle, and she all she wants to do is kiss the living daylights out of him. What is wrong with her? She feels sick when she thinks of him in those terms, but that's what she has to do when she's around him. She bites her lip, avoids his eyes, thinks of her father.
Thanks to whoever makes the seating arrangements at the Petrelli household, she has to sit directly across from him every night. That's what she's doing right now, eating dinner with the Petrelli family -- with her family, technically.
"Claire," Dear Lord, even his voice disturbs her, smoky and clear and deep and urgent. She longs to close her eyes to savor it. Instead, she mentally stores it away to relive during one of her moonlit walks through the gardens.
She turns to face Peter and feels an unwanted yet inevitable jump in her stomach when her gaze collides with his.
He takes a hand and pushes back the hair that is constantly falling into his face as he asks her some fluff question about her college applications, but it only falls back into place again. It should annoy her; instead, she finds it endearing. She longs to reach out and smooth it back. In fact, she wants to do more than that; she wants to run her fingers through it. She wants desperately to moan as his lips torture hers, and his hands tangle in her hair. She wants them together, kissing, touching, gasping for a decent amount of oxygen, but not wanting to separate long enough to attain it.
Scenes such as this fill her dreams.
Claire realizes she hasn't answered, and the family is looking at her expectantly. She provides some light, lame excuse for having her head in the clouds, and tells him what he wants to know.
She immediately removes her eyes from him when she finishes speaking; she can't stand to have them there for long. She's afraid he'll guess what is wrong with her. He already knows that it's something, but she can't even imagine his reaction if he knew what.
It was the previous night, or morning, really -- somewhere in the neighborhood of one a.m. -- and Claire was walking through the gardens in the back yard on her way to her favorite spot. She visualized the stone bench in the middle of the square of lush green grass, ten by ten feet or so, surrounded on all sides by tall, well kept bushes, but the border lined with bright flowers. As she reached the spot that she visited nearly every night, however, she found that she wasn't alone. A lone figure stood on the opposite side of the entrance, gazing up at the stars.
Claire recognized Peter immediately. Something told her that she would have known it was him, even if she was blindfolded. She could sense when he was near her, a quickening of her heart -- both nervousness and anticipation -- told everything there was to know.
As Claire spun around quietly, intending to leave without being noticed, a single word stopped her.
The word was soft, and it didn't even startle her.
She turned back around without a sound, walking over to join him. She stopped a couple feet away, figuring it to be an appropriate distance. They stood there for a few seconds before he spoke.
"What's wrong?" Peter was blunt, but kind, moving his dark gaze from the stars to her, his eyes warm and caring.
Claire felt the perfunctory shiver roll over her at the contact, but luckily the night was cool so she could blame it on the weather if need be.
"Nothing," she replied softly. She couldn't bring herself to look at him. She looked at the stars, then the flowers, then the stars again, anywhere but at him. The intimacy that the atmosphere was creating in her head was undeniable. Claire did not know how much it would take for her to lose all sanity and restraint, and just let it all go and do something she would regret.
"Claire," He reprimanded gently, and reached out to touch her chin with a finger, guiding her head toward him, forcing their gazes to finally meet. The expression in his was unreadable, but Claire didn't think she was strong enough to disguise her own.
She forced breath into her constricted lungs. She couldn't do this, couldn't be near him. Especially not alone, not like this.
"I said nothing," She whispered harshly, turning and fleeing from him. She felt like a complete idiot for not handling the situation better. However, a small part of her was just glad to have escaped the encounter without making a horrible, stupid mistake by revealing to him everything she needed to keep hidden.
The ghost of his finger resting gently under her chin stayed with her the rest of the night, and she relived the moment over and over again for nearly three hours until exhaustion took its toll, and she fell asleep.
Claire knows that he'll ask again; he is too caring not to. And then he'll offer his help.
The only problem is he cannot help her. Not with this.
Thank God, dinner is finally over, and Claire excuses herself as soon as she deems appropriate. On her way out she mentions to Heidi that she has things to do on her computer and a book she wants to finish, providing herself with reasonable excuses not to emerge from her room the rest of the night. She only does this because Peter mentioned staying for the rest of the evening, and she isn't masochistic enough to want to be around him more than necessary.
It's cooler outside tonight.
The moon and stars shine brightly in contrast with the inky black sky, and Claire slowly walks around her secluded section of the garden. She hugs her pajama shirt, a relatively thin tee, closer to her body in hopes that it will keep her warm.
She thinks of everything when she's out here. She thinks of her powers, her adoptive family back in Texas, her biological mother who is probably in Mexico at the moment. But most of all, she thinks of Peter.
She thinks of how he saved her at Homecoming, how kind he is, how amazingly wonderful he is. She thinks of how she feels when she's around him, and then berates herself and lists the reasons she shouldn't feel that way over and over again. It's a vicious circle, one that is repeated numerous times before she gives up, going back to her bedroom to dream. Claire figures that since she doesn't allow herself to indulge in daydreams when she's conscious, she has to make up for all the lost time in her sleep. She's had sweet, romantic dreams, and she's had dreams that make her blush to think that it was her subconscious that actually conjured them.
It's wrong, wrong, so wrong. She knows it. She hates herself for it.
And then there's one innocent glance, one accidental touch, and right and wrong meld together into a sweet, tantalizing blur where nothing holds credence except the overpowering intensity of her feelings.
Claire senses him seconds before she hears the soft padding of his footsteps on the grass. She wants to turn and flee, but knows that it won't help anything. Instead, she takes a deep breath, wrapping her arms even tighter around herself as she hears him progressing even closer.
Finally, he reaches her, stops a few inches from her right side.
Minutes pass, and a shiver makes its way up and down Claire's spine, and she tells herself its merely a result of the coolness of the night. She ignores the fact that she has to concentrate on breathing regularly, and her heart is beating two times as fast as it should.
"Claire," Peter begins, whispering even though they are far enough from the house they would probably have to yell to be heard. "I-"
"I'm sorry I ran off last night," She interrupts.
"That's okay. I was just saying...I'm concerned about you." He says, and -- damn it -- Claire knows that he is expecting eye contact. She hates that his eyes seem to have so much power over her, but they do.
Still, she forces herself to look at him.
Dear God, the sensation seems to get stronger every time.
Before she even realizes what she's doing, Claire reaches out to tuck the stray piece of his hair back into its place. Immediately, her eyes grow large, and she draws her hand back, realizing what she has done.
"Sorry," She says immediately, looking down at the ground.
"That's okay; it annoys me too," Peter jokes, and she looks back up at him, forcing a laugh. He saw nothing odd about the gesture, and she is relieved.
"So...about last night. I didn't mean to pry. I just wanted to see if I could help you," He explains with that caring look he always has.
Damn him for being so sweet.
"Thanks, but you can't," She smiles, thankful for the thought, but needing her space desperately. She needs the whole thing to be over, so he will stop searching her out like this. It's one thing to keep yourself in control in front of a bunch of people; it's a whole different story when you're alone in the moonlight in a secluded, romantic setting.
Claire feels the tension mounting inside her. One of them needs to leave, or she's going to explode. Soon.
"Are you sure? I could at least try."
"You just can't, okay?!" Her voice is still quiet, but laced with urgency and desperation.
He's hurt now, and she hates that she's the one who caused it.
"You're cold," He observes, and removes his jacket.
Oh, no...he can't do this. Claire reaches for it, but Peter ignores her, motioning for her to turn around.
Against every bit of her good judgment, she does.
Seconds become days, years, eons, as he slips the jacket sleeves slowly up her arms. His fingers trail lightly along the path as he goes, and Claire shivers harshly. She tries to control her breathing, but she can't, sucking in deep, harsh breaths. God, how long does it take to put on a jacket, she wonders idly. She doesn't actually comprehend the thought, though, as all one hundred percent of her being is focused on the hands that are now gently lifting her hair from the collar of the jacket. As the night air mingled with his breath hits the back of her neck, Claire feels the hairs there stand up straight.
She feels tears spring to her eyes; she's not crying, but there's an emotion overwhelming her so much she can't help the reaction. Yet at the same time she has the most fierce desire to spin around and kiss him. Peter drops her hair back into place, reaching in to get a strand that he missed. In the process, his fingers brush against the side of her neck, near her ear. Claire immediately lets out a shuddering breath she could have sworn she had released minutes before. She closes her eyes against the overwhelming sensations, holding back the tears that threaten to spill over.
"Done," His voice is rough, quiet.
It makes Claire shiver, and this time, she doesn't lie to herself that it's from the cold.
His hands are resting on her shoulders, but they drop when she slowly turns around.
Claire manages to open her eyes, only to find Peter's staring right back at her. His gaze is so intense, she can do nothing. She feels naked, exposed, like he can see everything about her. Her vision is still slightly blurred from unshed tears, and she blinks.
Peter's hand immediately moves to her cheek, wiping the slight wetness away. But he doesn't remove his hand. Claire trembles. There isn't a coherent thought in her head. She doesn't think about wanting to kiss Peter or the reasons she shouldn't do just that. She thinks nothing; she can only feel.
She feels the burning of his hand on her cheek. She feels his gaze boring into hers. She feels her lungs constrict, her whole body shaking in anticipation.
She should say something; she should break this spell. The thought floats around the dense fog that is her brain.
She moves her mouth a little. Words don't come out, but it's enough to break Peter's self-control, and in an instant, his mouth covers her own.
There is no exquisite slowness. Raw need and emotion are poured into the kiss. Their lips devour each other hungrily, desperately, primally. Peters other hand comes up to join the first, and he grips her so tightly he might be in danger of crushing her, and Claire's arms wrap around him so tightly she might be in danger of suffocating him.
They both let out noises that sound suspiciously like groans, finally having a weight the size of the world removed from their shoulders. His tongue slips into the warm, moist heaven of her mouth, and he releases a shuddering sigh. He rakes his teeth against her bottom lip, and she moans, giving back one hundred percent. Her hands migrate to his head, and his hair is as soft as she always imagined. She's too preoccupied to notice, however, and simply runs her fingers through it, memorizing the shape of his skull and every tiny hair.
His hands move, albeit a little roughly, to her waist, and he pulls her closer, until they are so completely melded together, they could be one person. The delicious tango of tongues and lips continues for what could be minutes or hours, until both are gasping desperately for breath, making a valiant effort to savor the kiss as long as possible. Finally, their lips break apart, but their bodies remain pressed together as if there is some force that will never let them part. Their cheeks are suspiciously wet, tears shed by both in the midst of the intense passion.
There are reasons why Claire Bennet should not love Peter Petrelli; they are the same reasons why Peter Petrelli should not love Claire Bennet. And yet, heart-felt declarations of the emotion are made from both sides.
Neither knows what is going to happen the next day or the day after that. They only know that they will not be facing it alone.