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Spoilers: Up to The Hard Part

Thanks to: Yahtzee, for beta-reading.


Brothers and Sisters

I.

When Mohinder finds out he had a sister he never knew, he feels oddly cheated, as if he had lost a race before it ever began. When he finds out he was born to save his sister's life and arrived too late, something in him settles. It makes sense now; this constant wandering through labyrinths to seek out genetic anomalies. They're his siblings, lost; and now at last he has a chance to retrieve them, help them, and maybe win that race after all.

II.

The morning after Jessica died, Niki gets up early as usual to be first in the bathroom. They both learned a long time ago they'd better be ready and dressed before Dad ever woke up, and Jessica always takes longer, so Niki is careful to be first. She sits on the toilet, feels the relief and thinks Jess is probably using those additional minutes to sleep some more, lazybones, and it's only then she remembers.

Looking in the mirror, she starts to cry.

III.

Kimiko and Hiro are both good, respectful children, and when their father says he'll take Hiro along on his trip to America, Kimiko does not argue, even though she is six, not four, and thus would be the better choice. But she starts the game of faces again; their competition to see which one of them can make the most outrageous grimace while they all kneel around the table when their parents aren't looking. The trick is to get back to normal in time, of course, as their father must never catch them at it. A little voice inside Kimiko tells her she's better at this because she's older, and besides, her father always looks at Hiro first. Her father is bound to catch Hiro at it.

She feels guilty and tells Hiro they have to stop the game, or their faces will remain like that forever and ever. He believes her and looks frightened and just a little bit thrilled.

IV.

When you're eleven years old and your mother gets pregnant, you're bound to find this embarrassing. Among other reasons because you're old enough to realize this means your parents still have sex, which is just weird. In Nathan's case, he realizes a bit more than that, because he can count. Peter arrives nine months and ten days after his father's heart attack – which they must never, ever, call anything else -, and he can make the connection to his mother's uncharacteristic behaviour towards his father afterwards. So Peter, in effect, is the result of a bribe. Or maybe he's a long term stratagem, his mother's way to ensure the heart attack doesn't happen again, one more method to tie his father to survival.

Maybe that's why his father doesn't really like to look at the baby once it is there, concludes Nathan, and finds himself in the nursery, reading Winnie the Pooh out loud because someone really should.

V.

After being told that Claire is adopted, Lyle goes through a period of wondering whether he is, too, and whether his parents are just waiting to tell him. This actually lasts until he finds out she's invulnerable, because that pretty much settles it. Lyle doesn't have any special abilities.

He's not jealous of Claire, but he does resent her a little for having told Zach instead of him. Then he is made to forget this until all hell breaks loose, and then he wonders whether maybe at some point he was jealous of Claire, massively jealous, and his father made him forget that, too.

VI.

Claire has nearly finished packing when the boy shows up. One of Nathan's sons, she doesn't know which one, and she doesn't want to know. They're not her family, they never will be. Nathan is a liar, and if Peter can't see that, he's blind. The boy looks at her, all dark eyes and dark hair, like the rest of the Petrellis, and asks: "Can you help me find my brother?"

He probably thinks she's the new nanny. There is a lot Claire could say, and the anger in her is hot enough to burn. "Please?" the boy asks.

Ten more minutes in this house, but that's it, Claire decides, grabs his hand, a little unkindly, and starts to help him look.