Title: "Confessions of Three Inebriated Souls"
Characters: Noah, Peter/Claire, Nathan
Summary: Noah Bennet finds out the hard way why it's not a good idea to let a Petrelli – any Petrelli – near alcohol.
Spoilers: Spoilers for Season 1
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, just borrowing. All NBC's and Tim Kring's. Please don't sue!
LJ Disclaimer: Situations depicted in this story are entirely fictional and should not be taken to promote any illegal or morally ambiguous activities.
Author's Notes: Written in response to a fic prompt at pairelove. Prompt #5. Peter and Claire's relationship from the POV of Zach, West, or Noah. I chose Noah.
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Confessions of Three Inebriated Souls
Confession One: Nathan Petrelli
10:03PM "Let's Get the Party Started"
When he thinks of his horrible, horrible night later, he acknowledges that part of it must have, on some level, been attributed to his horrible judgment (or lack thereof).
It's Claire bear's 21st birthday shindig (as they say in Texas, god he misses those simpler times) and her two fathers have conjured up a celebration they hope she'll never forget. It's lucky Nathan's got more money than God, because the end result of their long, awkward conversation a few months back is a party for Claire to end all parties.
At first when Nathan had suggested it, Noah thought he'd been joking. "Let's go big." he'd said and obviously 'big' in Noah-speak was completely unrelated to 'big' in the Petrelli vocabulary. He'd imagined at most a suitably cool club booked out at Claire's express approval, with maybe a guest list populated by people who he'd itch to incarcerate if they ever put a finger on his precious daughter.
But no. Just, no. Nathan's idea of big wasn't just big, it was BIG, enormous, gigantic and every variant of the word known to man and Noah. "Let's go big. I'm thinking a boat, we'll cruise out to Staten Island, we'll invite her friends, maybe some friends of the family. What do you think?"
He'd thought, okay, a cruise. That's fine. Of course, it meant that anyone who boarded wouldn't be able to get off in a hurry (except aforementioned co-father of Claire and his annoyingly straight laced brother, who Noah secretly did like a hell of a lot more than Nathan) but if Claire likes the idea, he's willing to put up with a night of brash and inebriated college kids. That's just the kind of dad Noah likes to think he is. He remembers to bring a taser or two he's got lying around.
So, okay, a cruise. Claire's ecstatic and jubilant when he tells her of their idea, jumping into his arms. The irony isn't lost on him, but probably is on everyone else. When he'd cracked that joke about Noah and the Ark, Claire had stared blankly, blinking round emerald eyes. "Er, whatever dad."
Anyway, back to the present and his lack of good judgment. The party/celebration/shindig/whatever is well and truly under way, people of all ages (but mostly in their twenties) are carousing with legally obtained alcohol and Noah's feeling sorry for himself for setting off the over 40 alarm wherever he goes. So when he sees Nathan Petrelli – co-dad of their precious Claire – he's relieved, more so because he's the first non-college aged kid that he's seen in the past hour.
He sits down at the bar, orders a gin and tonic. He's surprised to see Nathan with drooping shoulders, hunched over a nearly empty Scotch. "Are you … all right?" It's awkward because they're men and men simply do not talk about being all right. But the poor man looked so forlorn, he couldn't help it. In retrospect, yes, Noah has atrocious judgment when it comes to Petrellis and would've served his own interests infinitely better if he'd just kept his mouth shut.
"Am I all right?" Nathan spits, downs the rest of his glass. He's got the glassy eyed look of someone who's exactly three glasses short of passing out, which surprises Noah because he's never seen Nathan being less than fully in control. It doesn't ring any alarm bells though.
Stupid, stupid Noah Bennet.
"Am I all right? I'm fucking not all right." He's spitting daggers at the bartender who eyes him warily. "One more!" He barks at the unfortunate man, and Noah can't help but give the poor man a sympathetic look.
"I think there's something going on between them." Nathan blurts – or Noah thinks he blurts, because with the speedy arrival of his next Scotch he's now only two glasses short of total collapse and his words are getting mangled together in a way New York Congressman's words should never be mangled together.
"Them, them, I saw them together; it makes me sick."
Besides the fact that Nathan's not letting Noah get a word in edgewise, he has no idea what the poor inebriated soul is talking about. His first instinct is that he's probably talking about Heidi, in which case Noah really doesn't want to know. Not ever.
"It's sick. It's really sick. He's my brother for fuck's sake." The poor man continues to mutter a string of curses. Noah sudden forms a very awkward picture of Heidi and Peter (???) and really, Noah's not the person who Nathan should be talking to about this sort of thing. Maybe he should send Sandra over?
Yes, that's probably better. He quickly finishes his gin and tonic, pats Nathan on the back in a comforting, manly way, and gets the hell out of dodge before he can hear anything else.
Confession Two: Peter Petrelli
11.19PM "Don't Wait", Dashboard Confessional
After that conversation with Nathan, Noah's seriously considering bailing altogether, notwithstanding he's on a cruise and short of jumping off into the Hudson he's pretty much stuck there until they dock for the night. He's sure if he'd seriously requested, Peter would have flown him off because the younger Petrelli is just that kind of man even if he has a suspected tendency to kiss his brother's wife; it's one of the reasons why he's always trusted Peter to take care of Claire when Noah's not around.
But Noah stays, resolute, determined to be where his daughter wants him to be even if he hasn't seen hide nor hair of her since she'd kissed him on the cheek and run off with her little friends earlier that night.
He's relieved when he spots Peter hiding in the remotest corner of the boat, skulking in a booth half hidden in shadow. The poor man doesn't look like he's enjoying the festivities any more than Noah is. It's comforting to find someone else on this godforsaken ark who isn't a hormonal post-teen let loose with legally obtained alcohol.
On closer inspection it might be more accurate to say Peter's less not enjoying the festivities and more enjoying them too much.
He's slumped so far down and over he's almost making out with the table. "What's going on Peter?" He slides into the opposite side of the booth.
"Oh you know …" The rest of the words are lost as Noah's apparently incapable of understanding gibberish.
"I kissed her." Peter blurts, then in true Petrelli fashion downs the rest of his schooner. Stares dreamily through the glass as though transfixed by the light filtering through it and Noah's pretty sure Peter has reached at least the state of inebriation his older brother had been in over an hour ago. Except he's obviously not an angry drunk, just a dreamy, whimsical, unfocused drunk with a tendency to talk in a language not known to man.
What in god's green earth is up with these Petrellis? "Er … That's good?" He takes his glasses off, wipes them carefully. Noah has absolutely no idea what to say next.
Which doesn't appear to be a problem for Peter as the younger man continues to ramble. He's getting an itchy, prickling sensation that he's going to hear something he really doesn't want to hear, ever.
"I kissed her today. I've been wanting to do it for so long." Peter mutters, tries drinking from his empty glass and pouts when he discovers – rather belatedly – it empty. Before Noah can stop him a couple of bottles of beer zoom towards them from the nearby bar straight into Peter's outstretched hands.
Noah covers his eyes and hopes no one saw that or at the very least, they're drunk enough to not believe it the next morning. He can't believe Peter – ever reliable, sensible, Peter Petrelli – just used telekinesis in a room full of hyper-excited college kids to get alcohol.
"Mohinder, I've waited so long to kiss her. I've wanted to do it for so long. I've wanted to … kiss …" Noah's either finally slipping into his dotage because he thinks he just heard Peter calling him Mohinder which, let's face it, he has absolutely no similarities with whatsoever. Besides both being 'normal', he and Mohinder weren't at all alike, to state more than the obvious "… wanted to kiss, and do all sorts of things … you know." Peter leans in, whispering conspiratorially. "You know. I'm so glad you don't judge me. Thank you. You're a true friend."
He claps his hand over Noah's squeezing them emotionally. Noah can't help grimacing and ever so carefully sliding his hand away because this? Is making him uncomfortable. Really, seriously, uncomfortable. Uncomfortable 'like whoa' as Claire would say.
And it's also more than slightly ridiculous, because – can't Peter read his mind? Read that he's not Mohinder, has never been and never will be the Indian geneticist?
"I'm not Mohind –"
"She's got such beautiful hair, you know? Sometimes I just want to run my fingers through it, it's so … so golden. Soft, like spun silk, gleaming in the sunlight." Peter sighs breathlessly while Noah frowns, not sure whether he's more discomforted by being mistaken for Mohinder or seeing this overly emotional side of Peter. "It's kind of like your mango chicken curry you made last week. That was really nice. Golden curry, just like her hair. Makes me want to write a poem."
Noah almost chokes, which Peter apparently interprets as 'I want to hear more about this mango chicken curry hair' poem.
"Her lips, her eyes, her hair, her soul. She's got such gorgeous eyes, deep you know? So green." Suddenly it clicks and Noah realizes Peter's clearly not talking about Heidi, which makes him glad for Nathan.
But then who is he talking about? "Who –"
"And she's got such a strong spirit. But no one will ever understand." Peter concludes sadly, taking another swig from the bottle. "It's not like that with us, but no one'll ever understand." There's some more nonsense about sunflowers and rays and sunbeams and eyes the color of moist algae and honest to god if he doesn't get the hell out of there now Noah will turn into a woman just listening to this crap.
He doesn't even apologize for leaving, just slides out of the booth, stands up. Doesn't really care whether Peter's even capable of hearing him. "I'll see you around Peter. And er, maybe you shouldn't fly home tonight."
Confession Three: Claire Bennet
11.54PM "Stolen", Dashboard Confessional
It's almost midnight and Noah's had enough. Between the obnoxious music, Nathan and Peter's drunken ramblings and kids gyrating against each other which apparently is 'dancing' these days, Noah's feeling positively prehistoric. Not to mention irritated he had to sit through not one but two drunken confessions, of quite what he still doesn't really know and doesn't ever want to find out.
So now he's carefully negotiating the sea of drunken bodies, trying valiantly to not see anything he shouldn't be seeing, but it's hard with all the impromptu make out sessions and if Noah catches anyone doing that with Claire no one, not even God, will be able to stop him from exercising his wrath.
The boat/ship/whatever is going to dock back at the wharf at midnight which is in precisely 6 minutes; 6 minutes that can never come soon enough and so he wants to quickly find Claire and make sure she's ready to hop off this god damn love boat on time.
He finds his darling daughter in a rather surprising place, sitting outside on the deck in the shadows, red bull and vodka in her tiny hand. Noah resists to urge to yank it away from her, remembers it's all legal with the drinking now and so resolutely sticks his hands in his pockets.
He zips his jacket up; it's more bracing outside than he'd thought but Claire doesn't seem to mind. She's staring dreamily at the moon and Noah decides he likes it, likes seeing her as a fully fledged woman for the first time. Doesn't forget the girl she used to be though, for which he's glad. "Having a good time Claire bear?"
She turns and gives him a tired, callow smile. "Hey dad." Rolls her eyes as he sits carefully next to her. "Relax, it's almost over."
He's just the wrong side of embarrassed for being so transparent, but at least it's his daughter and not a complete stranger. "Sorry. The music is just so – loud."
"Hmmm." She sighs distantly, takes a sip. Stares vaguely up at him and at this proximity he notices her eyes, slightly glazed and he can't help but moan inwardly. It's going to be his third conversation with an inebriated person and the last two experiences hadn't exactly filled him with joy and warmth.
But this is his daughter and so he listens, rather patiently, for what's to come. "I've got a secret dad." She whispers, leans in further. "Promise not to tell mom?"
"Oh?" He's relieved it's not going to be one of those uncomfortable conversations. She's his Claire bear and he's always been glad she can tell him anything. "I promise."
She giggles, a small, drunken giggle. "This secret's huge." She stretches her small arms, as far as they can go, emphasizing her point. "Huge dad, freaking huge. You promise not to tell?"
He promises solemnly; enough to satisfy her.
"I kissed a boy today."
His own reply is a quirk of his eyebrow. The last boy she'd told him about was an oddity, he'd been an engineering major which didn't seem like Claire's type at all.
"I've crushed on him for so long, and I thought he didn't feel the same way." She sighs dreamily. "But he does."
"That's … nice." What else can a father say? And is there ever a good time to mention safe sex?
"He does and we kissed and it was so wonderful." She giggles, obviously replaying the moment in her mind, which makes him squirm in his seat. "He's a wonderful man dad."
She cocks her head to the side, smile still evident. "Yeah, he's a little older – only 10 years – but we're so meant to be."
"10 years?" Noah squeaks.
"But that's not the issue."
She's missing his sarcasm, which unsettles him. "No, but it's a secret."
"And why is that?"
"Because." She stands suddenly as the crew starts preparing for passengers to disembark.
"Because?" He prompts, because now he is curious.
"Hmmm." He thinks she's going to elaborate – sometime – but doesn't. Instead she saunters over to the railing, steadying herself. Turns back, her face serious. "Dad?"
"What is it Claire? You can tell me anything."
There's a dramatic pause. "Do you like mango chicken curry?"
Noah almost spits his beer out. What is it with Petrellis and mango chicken curry? Had Peter force fed Mohinder's curry to his daughter or something? And how come Mohinder had never made him any curry?
He's careful to keep his voice even. "I don't know Claire, I haven't had it in a long time."
"I think I'm going to make some, for tomorrow night." She's twirling her hair now, watching as the gangplank to the wharf is being lowered carefully. Smiles a secret little smile to herself. "It's Peter's favorite." She adds, apropos of nothing.
Noah's eyes widen, a flurry of images and words colliding and exploding into an unpleasant thought in his mind.
… "Them, them, I saw them together; it makes me sick." …
… "I kissed her today. I've been wanting to do it for so long." …
… "It's kind of like your mango chicken curry you made last week. That was really nice. Golden, just like her."…
… "I kissed a boy today." …
… "He's a little older – only 10 years – but we're so meant to be." …
Oh god. Oh, dear, sweet, Jesus Christ our Lord in Heaven. That's probably just a coincidence, surely, just a … coincidence. Right? Is he right? Because if he's wrong, it means that …
It means, it means …
He really doesn't want to know what the fuck it means.
Noah Bennet swore from then on he'd never drink again. More accurately, he swore he'd never let anyone with the remotest connection to the Petrelli family drink again, at least not enough to go into confessionals that almost gave him a heart attack. Not while he's around.