Title: "Dreaming Through The Twilight"
Characters: Peter/Claire, HRG (er, Noah Bennet)
Summary: It's Claire's turn now to take a leap of faith, to help those in need. Set after the explosion.
Spoilers: 1.23 How to Stop An Exploding Man
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, just borrowing. All NBC's and Tim Kring's. Please don't sue!
Author's Notes: My rather garbled reaction fic after watching HTSAM. My take on how things could continue/jump off into Season 2 (of course, I will be wrong, but whatever ...). There's also a note at the end to explain something that, if I put up here, may spoil things for the story.
Feedback is love!
Dreaming Through the Twilight
When I am dead, my dearest
Sing no sad songs for me.
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet.
And if thou wilt remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the sunshine
I shall not feel the rain
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on as if in pain.
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set.
I haply may remember,
And haply may forget.
- Christina Rosetti
"Claire." She stirs, moans in her sleep. The nightmare (or is it a dream? She can't decide) seems as real as anything she's ever been through in her short life, and yet she can't shake it.
Won't, because it's the only thing that ties her to him now. Ties him to her.
She listens for it night after night, almost against her will. She knows it's unhealthy for her to not let go, to wait impatiently for him, but she can't help it. Well and truly can't help it because he's a part of her and she – well, she's a part of him.
Which is why, when she closes her weary eyes every night, she looks forward to dreaming of him.
"Claire." She opens her eyes and he's there, dark eyes the colour of midnight fountains, reaching for the heavens. She'll always remember Peter Petrelli that way, her knight in shining armour. The gentle soul with the heart of gold and a way of coming to her rescue that was positively uncanny.
It's destiny, he would have whispered to her, had they been sitting together like the night before the explosion.
They're not really sitting together because this is just a dream, but somehow, they are. They're sitting side by side in a field of colour, kaleidoscopic colour that paints their reality as it should have been, not what it is. Reds, whites and yellows melt into a field of greens and golds; the sun beats down in gentle waves and the breeze ripples through her golden hair. Through his dark strands, lighting up his entire face. His eyes, the colour of hazel midnight, stares straight into hers.
She nods, takes his hand in hers. She likes it here, wherever 'here' is. She can still be with Peter without worrying about destiny, the world and everything, be free of everything that had weighed her down the last few weeks. Ever since her life had went on a rampage of craziness, she'd been steadily drowning under the weight of the world.
The only thing that had kept her afloat was the thought – no, knowledge – of her heroes. Her dad, and Peter. She could even add Nathan now to that list, although Claire doesn't want to think about her biological father now. She hates the words that ring in her ears whenever she thinks of Nathan, the last words that flew out of her mouth just before she jumped out of the window to freedom, away from him.
He'd proven himself to be a hero worthy of a thousand tales. Peter was right, she thought sadly. His trust in his brother had been right.
She should have known Peter's trust in Nathan hadn't been mistakenly placed. Peter's gift wasn't his ability to absorb other people's powers – his gift was one of love and trust and belief in the goodness of people. His belief was what had enabled Nathan to make the ultimate sacrifice; his belief was what had enabled Nathan to save the world.
"Hey, don't be sad. Don't ever be sad for us." He wipes the tears streaming down her cheek, just as he did that day near the fountain at Kirby Plaza. This time though, both his hands caress her face. They look into each other's eyes, deeply, emerald and hazel ones shining in the sun.
"I can't help it." Claire whispers, placing a hand over one of his still on her cheek. "I didn't even get a chance to know you, or Nathan."
He smiles, a sad, lilting smile that still has his trademark crookedness. "But you did. We met, when we shouldn't have. We had a week together, running around. Trying to save the world." She dips her gaze painfully but he gently forces her face up to his again. "Guess what, Claire? We saved the world."
"But you're not here." She cries and she doesn't know why she has to pretend it doesn't bother her. It bothers her she's not more upset during the daylight hours about this, it bothers her that Peter and Nathan made the ultimate sacrifice and all she could do is grab onto the only father she has ever known and loved and plead with him to take her home. To keep her safe, because her other two heroes were gone and she's only a 16 year old girl and she wants – no needs – someone to keep her safe. To protect her like she ached to be protected; to love her like the little girl she still craved to be.
Not like the girl who had nearly been forced to put a bullet into her uncle's brain. Not like the girl who had almost done it – would have done it – if Nathan hadn't shown up.
That was the thing that haunts Claire, day and night. No matter how much hindsight she applies, no matter how reasonable her choice had been – she knew she would have done it. Killed the man who had saved her life because it was what he would have done.
Killing one man to save millions of lives. The math had been a no brainer, even for someone like her. And she would have done it. The thought of chills her blood, makes her wish for death.
"I am here." He gives her a chaste kiss, their foreheads touching in a gesture of intimacy that leaves her breathless but calm. She doesn't know what's happening or why she keeps dreaming of this or him; she doesn't know which way is up anymore or which is right or wrong, the only thing she knows is what she feels, and what she feels is right.
"You are." She sniffs and looks at him with red-rimmed eyes. He's haloed by the bright light but the glare doesn't hurt her eyes. Instead, it bathes her in a kind of serenity she's never felt before. "Am I dreaming? Is this real?" It's not entirely necessary for her to ask but he winks anyway, something she's never seen him do in real life.
"What's to say what's real and what's not Claire?"
She shrugs, averts his gaze. She becomes entranced by their entwined hands, his fingers laced through hers. She's never held a boy's hands this long and her breath hitches – hitches with the realization that she may never hold Peter's hands again. "I want this to be real."
"Maybe it isn't." He doesn't say it harshly, but just lets it sink in.
"If it's not real, then all this doesn't mean anything!"
"No, it does mean something. You just have to figure it out."
She thought she'd fought her way out of a life full of cryptic puzzles, but here Peter was, introducing yet another one to her. "Figure what out, Peter? I can't – I'm just a girl. I don't understand what –"
He puts a soft finger to lips, hushing her. "You will. You'll find me."
A curtain raises in front of her and her eyes widen, truth plain for her to see. It had been staring blatantly at her and she had been blind to everything but Peter in her dreams. Filling the nightly void with dreams of his sparkling friendship, the wonder that their lives could have been with each other. "I'll find you? But – how?"
He smiles a secretly little smile, tucks his bangs behind his ears. He's 26 but doesn't look it, not without the burdens that had been weighing him down during the time she had known him. She sees the sparkle in his eyes, along with the love, trust, hope and something so much more. Belief. "You'll find me. Because you know."
"I know?" The last shred of truth still eludes her, but she feels like unfurling in slow motion. She knows, she senses, she feels. She feels what's there, or rather – who's there. Someone she cares about deeply, someone she needs to find. "I know."
He smiles again, warmly and serenely. Gets up and brushes pollen and specks of mud and grass off his pristinely tailored pants, grins down at her with fire in his eyes. "I'll be waiting Claire. He needs us."
It was on the tip of Claire's lips, but she knew – somehow she knew. "Nathan's still alive?"
Peter nods, extends a hand to help her up. His hands give hers a tight squeeze and the contact is wonderful and soothing at the same time. "Don't you feel it?" He asks, and the question ignites something in her.
"I do Peter, I do." Instinctively they embrace and it feels so wonderful to be with him. This person who is her uncle and her friend and something else at the same time, something that was so much more.
The future isn't written in stone, but she knows their future. They were destined to meet and destined to find each other. Peter had done his part, and now it was up to her to do hers.
"I know you will Claire." He puts his hands in his pockets, the gesture so casual it almost hurts her to see it as he starts strolling away into the light. "I'll be waiting for you."
Author's Note: So the idea of the prophetic (sort of) dreaming came from Peter's conversation with Charles Devaux in HTSAM. I can't decide whether Charles' power is controlling people's dreams, or even more powerful - he can actually appear and manipulate other people's dreams. As Peter was most definitely around Charles when he started "manifesting", I've fanwanked that he has this power.