Written for 13fears challenge community on LJ. Prompt is Fear of Nudity. Warning for incest implications and UST.
Once Claire Bennet had 'settled' into her grandmother's home, she'd gotten quite comfortable. Of course, she'd been nervous the first couple of days - sleeping in a new house and living in another region of the country beyond the only home she'd ever known.
It wasn't until Peter came around that she'd started to feel more at home. He had even abandoned his apartment for the first few nights, staying with Angela while Claire settled in. She was sure he was just being protective, and there was that possibility she was leaving for Paris.
She'd have to get comfortable with a new place all over again.
When she began working on this bomb problem with her newly discovered uncle, she'd realized that among all these new people in her life, Peter was the one who made her feel the safest.
But after waking up and walking dazedly into the upstairs bathroom, her comfort zone with Peter had finally been tested.
"Oh my God! I'm sorry!" Claire exclaimed, shutting the door just as quickly as she had opened it. However, she still hadn't been fast enough to get an eye-full of the most incredible (Holy God, but wrong) view she'd ever seen.
There he was -- standing outside of the shower just drying off. His mildly tanned skin was a subtle contrast against her grandmother's light blue bath towels. As he dried off his hair, the muscles on his arm and chest had tensed - accentuating his lean and healthy body. Dark, wet strands of his unkempt hair blanketed over his eyes as he met her gaze with surprise.
Claire waited outside the closed bathroom door trembling. She couldn't get that image out of her head. She had just seen Peter completely nude. She swallowed hard, chastising herself when she realized that it hadn't been a bad thing.
"It's alright; I'm just finishing up," Peter said, a little too nonchalantly for her taste. Was she the only sick one here? She had to admit to finding Peter attractive, and despite their relation, she still had some hero-worship feelings from when she first met him. After learning he was her uncle, she had to reluctantly put those feelings aside.
He suddenly opened the door, and she squeaked in surprise. He looked down at her flushed face, and then he gave her one of his classic crooked smiles.
'Oh God, don't smile, please don't freaking smile,' she thought.
"Why not?" he asked her, and she gave him a sour look.
Pointing a rude finger at him, she ordered, "You, turn the telepathy off, right now."
"Why?" he asked, and she knew he was teasing her.
Sighing, Claire answered, "Hello? Because that was really embarrassing, and I certainly don't want you to know what I'm thinking right now."
Peter shrugged. "Claire, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens." He paused and rolled his eyes, giving her a grin. He bent down and whispered in her ear, "There are worse things to get upset about than seeing me naked."
She raised an eyebrow at him, challenging him with a daring look. She didn't appreciate the flirtation at this point. It was in poor taste, and Claire felt he had to pay for it.
"Oh really? Well excuse me for being a bit... more modest than you, Mr. --" She paused and just had to look down at his towel-wearing state, making the situation even worse. "Mr. Pants-less! Whatever happened to common decency? Can't you be a little bit disturbed by this? Jeez, you're so weird and laid-back about stuff sometimes."
"Hey, you're the one who walked in on me. I don't see how I have the problem here," Peter retorted with a lazy grin.
Claire's face really turned red, but he guessed it was from the anger. "I had just woken up! Plus, you didn't lock the door!" She pouted. "Lyle always did."
"Well, I don't usually lock the door. Get used to it." Peter started to walk away, but Claire was clearly not done with the conversation.
"What? That's so bizarre. Don't you care about privacy?"
Peter shrugged again, and then said, "We're all family here so I'm not bothered by it."
Claire gaped at him, unable to process his logic. 'Family or not, do you really not care if people walk in on you?' Then she suddenly got assaulted by visions of all the Petrelli family members walking around the house naked, sitting down to a steak dinner like it was the most normal thing in the world.
What was she getting herself into?
She crossed her arms and stared at Peter's form as he retreated into his bedroom. Before he went into the doorway, he turned around and said to her, "I'm going to need the bathroom again when you're done." He rubbed his prickly jaw thoughtfully and said, "I think I'm getting a shadow."
She pursed her lips, rolled her eyes and then retreated into the bathroom.
'Oh,' she thought, 'Peter Petrelli, you're going to pay for that attitude.'
After her shower, Claire had it all figured out. She wrapped herself in a short towel that still covered her body. She felt the end of the towel barely reach over the middle of her thigh. Up top, the towel was loosely wrapped around her breasts, just giving her the right amount of cleavage. She dried her hair, letting the wet strands blanket over her chest. Looking at herself in the mirror approvingly, she couldn't imagine how this image wouldn't agitate him just a little.
She sauntered down to his room, and she slapped her hand on the door frame and leaned into it. She looked down at Peter, who was drawing in his sketchbook again. He looked up from his engaging picture and then he gaped. Claire beamed brightly at him.
In a sing-song voice she bubbled, "Bathroom's all yours."
Claire saw Peter swallow uncomfortably, but the best part was that he couldn't keep his eyes off her. He furrowed his brow slightly and told her, "We do have bigger towels, you know."
Claire shrugged nonchalantly. "I like to use the smaller ones." She turned around and started to walk back toward her room. She lifted her chin and added, "Get used to it."
Bothered by her presence, Peter got up and watched her as she disappeared into her own bedroom. Slowly, he meandered back into the bathroom with Claire's half-naked image still accosting his brain.
It'd been very hard concentrating on shaving after that.
While shaving, he had plenty of time to pontificate, and he supposed that maybe Claire had been right. She'd obviously been bothered by his nakedness, and he had been just a little nervous upon seeing hers. And he didn't even get to see everything - although the towel left the good parts for his imagination.
And Claire was not the person his imagination should indulge in.
He slammed the razor down into the sink and washed off the remaining shaving cream. He wiped his face with a towel quickly, and then charged down to her room. He knocked on the door impatiently, and she responded with a "come in".
He had no idea that she was certainly not ready to entertain visitors.
"Gah! Claire!" Peter yelled out, quickly shutting her door and then retreating behind it. "I thought you were dressed," he murmured, his heart racing at the sight of her. He got the full view of her backside, her strong legs, and her lean back. Her damp blond hair dangled over her sun-kissed skin, and as she turned around to greet him, he caught glimpse of one of her perky, youthful breasts from the side. What was even worse, there was an evil, mischievous glint in her eyes.
He had been so set up.
She opened the door, and thankfully, she was wrapped in a long robe, fully covering the parts that would tempt his imagination.
"What's wrong?" she asked innocently, and he returned her grin with an exasperated look.
"You made your point."
"What point?" she asked, and he didn't appreciate the game she was playing. He supposed he deserved it though, since he started it.
"I'll lock the doors from now on," he said. Claire smiled widely. He sounded just like a scolded child. It was entirely too cute, and she tried not to enjoy it so much.
She walked over to him and leaned against the door. Her eyes sparkled and then she responded to him, "You know Peter, you're half-right about there being worse things in life to worry about."
"Oh? Why only half-right?" Peter asked.
"Well, without the small things, how are we going to appreciate the parts of life that aren't monumentally bad? Even the little stresses in life are worth living through. It shows that even people like us can have a sense of normalcy."
"And... you realized all of this just by seeing me buck-naked?" Peter joked.
"Among other things." Claire threw him a wicked look and then put her hand on his chest, pushing him lightly out of her room. She met his gaze, giving him a seductive smile. And that tempting look in her eyes was the last thing he saw before the door completely closed.
He just wished it was easier to abandon the moral high ground because he would have loved to discover what those 'other things' were.