They had been forced to tell Heidi everything. About their abilities, and about Sylar.
The frail woman had accepted it without comment, simply rolled her chair over to where Claire was seated, and enveloped her hysterical sister-in-law in a hug.
Aside from the fury Peter had unleashed on Sylar, he had been stone-faced and silent since Henry was killed. He had pulled away from Claire, from Nathan and Heidi.
He had locked himself in his study, and would only come out when he had to use the bathroom. On one of these trips, Nathan had snuck in and spotted dozens of empty bottles of alcohol scattered across the desk and floor. He had left Peter to his drinking, unable to imagine the pain he was enduring.
Claire had become extraordinarily thin and pale, and had begun to vomit on a regular basis.
Finally, Heidi had insisted on Claire being examined by the family doctor. When he emerged, his diagnosis was two-fold.
Claire was becoming pale and thin because of her grief. She was refusing to eat anything of real substance, and would only drink water.
She was vomiting, because she was pregnant.
When Claire heard the news, she broke down.
She sobbed into her pillow for hours, ignoring Heidi's imploring her to tell Peter. "I'm just not ready. It's not time. We just lost our little Henry, it's too soon."
Nathan had tried to get her to let him tell Peter, but she had refused. "No. This will only hurt him."
Heidi took Claire's hand in hers. "Claire, he deserves to know. And he needs to know that Henry's death wasn't his fault. He needs to know that you don't blame him."
Claire lifted her head, nodding slowly.
Peter was too sober for his taste.
He had exhausted the alcohol stash he kept in his office, but wouldn't leave to get more.
A soft tapping on the door shook him out of a daze. "Not hungry." he mumbled.
Again, there was tapping on the door. "Just, leave me alone."
There was silence, and then he heard a key turning in the lock. He looked up to see who dared disturb him, and swallowed thickly when he saw Claire.
She looked tired, pale, and thin.
She closed the door behind her, and clicked the lock into place again. She took a few steps toward him, and then stopped. "Peter…"
Her voice wavered, and she stopped, taking a deep breath. "Peter, Henry's death wasn't your fault."
He scoffed. "Yes it was. It was my idea to get away, to leave him with Nathan and Heidi."
Claire shook her head. "But I didn't object. Peter, we needed time alone together. How were we to know that Sylar was still alive, or that he would come after our son?"
Peter looked down at the floor. "I shouldn't have trusted Sylar to make a fair deal. I should've used Hiro's power to stop time, and gotten you and Henry out of there."
Claire crossed to where he was sitting, and knelt down in front of him. "Peter…" She reached up to cup his face, but he pulled away.
The look of hurt in her eyes almost killed him. "Peter, you had a split-second decision to make. You had no idea that Sylar would kill him."
Peter looked down at her. Pain was etched across her face, and the puffiness around her eyes told him that she had done a lot of crying. "I'm so sorry, Claire…"
She shook her head. "I don't blame you, Peter. Stop blaming yourself."
And as if that was all he needed to hear, Peter reached down, and pulled Claire to him in a bone-crushing embrace.
He lifted her onto his lap, and cradled her head against his chest.
They sat there for over an hour, just holding eachother, and then Claire took a deep breath, lifting her head up off of his chest. "There's something I have to tell you."
Peter's forehead wrinkled in concern.
Peter swallowed, pressed a kiss to her mouth, and then pulled her to him once more.
Together, they wept silently.
Eight months later, Claire gave birth to a healthy baby girl they named Isabella Marie Petrelli.
She, like her brother before her, looked like her father. She had his dark head of hair, and his deep, soulful eyes.
Two years later, little Matthew Nathan Petrelli was born. He was the spitting image of his mother, with blonde hair and green eyes.
However, he was born with dead nerve endings in his mouth, and to Claire's delight, had Peter's lopsided smile.
Peter and Claire thanked God every day for their two beautiful children, and that Henry's death had helped them to grow even closer together.
As they watched their children run and play with their Dachshund, Otis, Peter bent down and kissed his wife lovingly. "Thank you."
She raised an eyebrow. "For what?"
He smiled, brushing a thumb across her cheek. "For putting up with me. For giving me three amazing children, even if we only had Henry for a short time. For loving me unconditionally."
Claire wrapped her arms around his neck, tangling one hand in his dark hair. "Ditto."
Their lips met, and Peter wrapped his arms around the woman he loved.
They were interrupted by a loud "Ewwww!" from Isabella, and Matthew giggled.
Peter leaned down, and picked up their son, as Claire lifted Isabella into her arms.
They shifted the children to one arm, and clasped eachother's hand with the other.
As the sun set, the Petrelli family walked into their home, hand in hand.
Well, what did you think? I'd love to hear what you guys thought of the ending, and the story as a whole.
As I said at the beginning, this was my first ever fanfiction, so feedback is much appreciated.
I'm working on a NON-AU Peter/Claire story, occurring post-HTSAEM.
As soon as I can, I'll be posting that on here too.
Thank you for reading and reviewing! It was awesome to have such great readers. -Stella