Revelations by SLynn
Summary: In the end is the beginning. Sequel to 'Resurrection'.
Spoilers: AU after 'Fallout'
Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing and will return them all when I'm done, virtually untouched.
Chapter 32: Acceptance
They weren't far behind her.
Peter and Nathan had taken only a few minutes to decide a plan. They'd go in after Claire and Matt while everyone else stayed with the helicopter. Micah gave them a radio to call him when they were ready to be picked up, and hopefully they'd all come out again.
If they didn't hear anything in under an hour, Peter wanted them to go north without them.
As they approached the room, both men knew what had happened; they could hear Claire crying from within.
Peter pushed the door opened, greeted by lifeless body of Jenny Yi sprawled out on the couch, her eyes still open and gazing up at the ceiling.
It was clear Matt had succeeded, that Jenny wouldn't be coming back after this, and neither man could find even the smallest bit of remorse for her death; she'd been a monster.
Claire, during all this, hadn't seemed to realize they were even there. She was sitting near the door, holding tightly to Matt's lifeless form, her entire body racked with sobs.
"Claire," Peter said gently, kneeling next to her and touching her lightly on the shoulder, only to find she'd shrugged him off. "It's… It's alright."
"It's going to work," she said, her eyes full of tears. "I just need another minute. It worked before. It's always worked."
"Claire," Nathan tried, stopped abruptly by the hateful look she threw his way.
"There's nothing you can do for him," Peter tried instead, his voice still soft and full of compassion. "I don't think he wants…"
"Why would he want to die?" Claire interrupted angrily. "He can't… After all this, he can't. He can't."
Peter exchanged a glance with Nathan, who shrugged in return, not knowing what to say. Claire, catching the encounter, turned her eyes to Nathan.
"Why are you even here?" she asked, her voice bitter as she lashed out. "You didn't even like him. You hated him. You never trusted him. I don't want you here. Just… just get out. Go away."
"I'm trying to help," Nathan said evenly.
"It's too late for your help," Claire spat back at him. "I don't want it and I don't need it. You can't just decide… you can't…."
"Claire," Peter tried, taking hold of her arm. "Calm down, please."
"No," she shouted, addressing Peter again and once more ripping free of his grasp. "No, I won't. This is his fault. He… He started this and…" Claire's voice faded, exhausted with rage. "It's because of him. It's…"
"Matt knew what was going to happen when he came back," Peter said, quiet but firm. "We both tried…"
"Then you didn't try hard enough," she sobbed, and Peter realized there was no point in arguing with her like this.
Looking back up to his brother, Nathan was far too easy to read. Peter hadn't recalled him ever being so visibly upset by anything before, but Claire had definitely struck a nerve.
"Call Micah," Peter said, tossing him the radio. "Tell him we'll be outside in five minutes."
"I'm not leaving him here," Claire said, her voice still shaky.
"I know," Peter nodded. "We'll take him with us, okay?"
Claire nodded, composing herself best she could, as Peter helped her get shakily to her feet. Nathan had stepped out of the room to make the call, leaving them briefly alone. Peter had no idea what to say or do for her at this point, other than what he was doing now which wasn't much.
"They're on their way," Nathan said, eyes down as he came back in.
"Help me," Peter said, indicating the body. For a moment, Nathan hesitated, almost sure Claire would object. However she either didn't mind or didn't have the energy left to object; she only followed slowly behind them as they carried Matt back outside.
By they time they'd returned to the courtyard, the helicopter was waiting. Mohinder and D.L. hopped quickly out and helped with the effort. Matt was laid in the very back bench, across from where Peter and Claire sat, Nathan opting to move to the middle near Mohinder, Hiro and Lauren.
"Let's go," Peter called to Micah, and within seconds they were airborne again.
No one spoke; the shock was too great.
Micah tried to concentrate on what needed to be done. Peter hadn't given him very clear directions, there was a lot of place north could mean, but he meant to follow them. Secretly glad he had something to do at the moment, something to distract him from another death he didn't want to face.
D.L. kept his focus as well; it was all he could do. He wouldn't break down in front of his son, or in front of anyone else. Matt had been the closest friend he'd had left. He'd have done anything to prevent this, but was frustrated to find he wasn't even given a chance. And now, it was just too late. If Claire hadn't brought him back by now, it was hopeless.
Mohinder had dropped his head into his hands, still not entirely convinced the experience was real. On some level he realized it was just easier to think that, way easier than dealing with the reality of the situation, but it didn't stop him from doing so. He'd rather wake up now, back on the inside, than have this be real. It wasn't fair for it to end this way.
Lauren, the only one there who hadn't known Matt personally, was grieved for them. She knew the loss was devastating, knew what high regard Claire and D.L., that most of them held Matt in, and couldn't imagine what would happen next. She felt that if they staid together, it would be okay. Eventually it would have to be.
Hiro wrung his hands and worried he'd done too little. Already second guessing all of his actions, and how many ways he might have made it different. If he'd only argued harder for Peter to take him with them so that he could stop time and save time. But he hadn't. He felt the most to blame because he'd not taken enough responsibility. He was sorry that so many would suffer from his mistake.
Nathan sat and stared endlessly at the back of the helicopter, his thoughts turning restlessly in his mind. Claire had been right to be so angry with him; he'd deserved that. He only wished he could prove to her that he'd been sincere. He wanted to make this better and there was nothing he could do to bring that around. He'd never deserve her forgiveness.
Peter sat beside Claire tentatively placing an arm around her shoulder; relieved when she didn't pull away. He'd never be able to explain to Claire why Matt had done what he'd done, but he knew it had been right. He'd been in that situation himself, and Matt had simply done the only thing he could to protect her. Matt had died protecting Claire and left Peter behind to do the same.
'Take care of her.'
Those words would haunt his dreams.
Claire, still crying silently, sat next to Peter and held Matt's hand. She couldn't let go, not yet. Her mind had started to process it, to make it real, but she still couldn't let go. Matt had been her closest friend, her advisor and mentor, and her reluctant guardian. She put all her faith in him, had laughed and fought with him, and it was selfish to want him back, but she still couldn't let go.
"I don't want you to leave me," she whispered, prompting Peter to pull her closer.
Claire continued to hold on to him, shaking her head resolutely. Thinking, over and over, that this just couldn't be it. They'd come so far together, farther than they'd both thought possible. She couldn't let him die for her; not again. She wouldn't.
A few hours found them back in Boston.
They had little choice, as there was no where else they could think of to go. Plus, it was familiar and as good of a starting off point as any. It was agreed that they couldn't stay, too many people inside the Order had known that was their previous location, but it would do for a few weeks.
Matt was understandably shaken, as were they all. It took him the rest of the flight to recuperate, both Claire and Peter helping him along, and even longer for him to process the fact that he'd been fully dead for at least half an hour.
While Peter thought everyone would need more time, a few days saw a lot of changes. Everyone appeared mostly optimistic and eager to move on; nearly everyone. Nathan had never gotten over the sting of Claire's comments to him and seemed more downcast than Peter had recalled seeing him before. Matt was also not himself; he was purposefully keeping his distance from the majority of the group, and spending much of his free time at the graves dug earlier that year by D.L. and Hiro.
Claire had seemed to forgive Peter his part in leaving Matt behind, but not Nathan. Peter was fairly certain that Matt had told her himself exactly what he'd done, and how he'd forced them to go along, but it was to no avail. Claire seemed determined to hate him, and Peter could only hope in time she'd learn to change her mind. Nathan might not be his real brother, but he was still the only one he had. And, even if Claire detested the truth, Nathan was her father. Eventually they'd all have to come to terms with their unique arrangement.
Hiro, accompanied by Lauren, on what she claimed would be her last scouting expedition, set off soon after they arrived for a new place to live. They were both familiar enough with the land to have an idea already in mind before they left, and returned a few days later with what sounded like an ideal spot. It was north, far north, but not too far. Upper Maine, to a cluster of deserted houses on a small series of farms, complete with a town nearby.
It being winter already, they had to set out immediately if they wanted to make it before the heavy snows set in. So far the winter had been light, but it wasn't likely to stay that way.
The day before they were to leave, Matt pulled Claire aside for a conversation he didn't want to have, but had to.
"I'm not coming."
Claire looked at him with a bemused smile, not understanding if he was joking or what he else he could possibly mean by that.
"I'm serious, Claire," Matt repeated. "I'm not coming with you. I can't. Not yet."
"Matt," Claire said, shaking her head and still smiling disbelievingly. "You have to come. We're all going. This is… this is what we've wanted."
"I know," he answered her, looking down and shaking his head.
"You don't want to go? Is it because of…"
"It's because of me," Matt interrupted quickly. "This has nothing to do with you or Peter or Nathan or anyone but me, Claire."
"I don't understand," Claire said, her voice suddenly tight. "You're just…"
"I wish I could explain it…" Matt told her. "I… I need some time to figure things out… to figure out this… this thing inside my head."
"We've talked about this," she returned, shaking her head adamantly. "We talked about this already. She's not inside you. She's dead, Matt. I didn't bring her back with you. It's just you."
"I know," Matt agreed, taking hold of her hand and squeezing it gratefully. "I know you did. But that's not what I meant. I know I was confused at first and said and thought things… I know it's not her. It's me."
"What's you? What…"
"I told someone to die and they did, Claire," Matt said without meeting her eyes.
"Not because you wanted to."
"It was still wrong," Matt argued, his voice rising a bit as he spoke. "Don't you see that?"
"I know it was wrong, but…"
"I don't have any control over it," Matt interrupted. "Not yet. And until I do, I can't be around you or anyone I love and care about. It's not worth the risk."
"You'd never hurt any of us."
"I've already been in and out of your heads, altering your memories to suit my needs. I felt justified doing that, I though I needed to, but it doesn't make it right. I planted suggestions and false memories and… and, Claire, I don't want to end up like her."
Claire forced him to look up at her, to look into her eyes; holding them with hers for a long minute.
"You're really going," Claire said defeated. "You're really…"
"I won't be gone forever."
"For how long then?"
"Until I've got it figured out," he sighed.
"At least come with us," Claire argued, her last hope. "Come with us to Maine. You… you won't know where we'll be if you don't."
"If I go with you now, I won't ever leave," Matt said, smiling and shaking his head. "We both know that."
"How are you going to know where we are?" she asked, tears in her eyes as she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him down into a hug.
"Don't worry," he returned, squeezing her back. "I'll find you."
It was late spring and the farm was beautiful. The place had been ideal, with several good size houses situated closely on a patch of farmland. They'd all adjusted quite well to living there and, after three years, saw no reason to leave. Everyone there considered it a home.
"Good morning, Claire," Ben said cheerfully as he stepped into the kitchen. "How are you doing today?"
Ben and his adopted daughter, Rebecca, had arrived during that first year, fitting in with almost everyone immediately.
"I'm good," she said smiling. "How are you?"
"Better if I knew where Rebecca had slipped off to? Have you seen her?"
Claire chuckled and shook her head. "Have you checked the generator shed?"
"Why would she be there?"
"Because she was asking where Micah was," Claire said, "and I think she has a little bit of a crush on him."
"She's only sixteen," he sighed.
"Yeah, sixteen," Claire laughed.
"Oh, well," he said, throwing his hands in the air. "I suppose it could be worse. Micah's a good kid."
"He's almost nineteen," Claire said, still laughing.
"I feel suddenly old," he said, running his hand through his mop of curls. "Should I go and check on them or…"
"Let them be," Claire suggested.
"I'll be off then," he said with a nod. "Don't know where I'm going, but somewhere to pretend I don't know where they're at."
"Good idea," Claire called after them.
"What's a good idea?" Peter asked, coming into the room and kissing her quickly on the cheek.
"Nothing," Claire said dismissively. "Just Ben pretending he doesn't know that Rebecca and Micah are in love."
"You didn't know either?" Claire asked, surprised.
"Or course I did," Peter said with a smile, kissing her again. "I'm just teasing you."
"What have you got planned for today?"
"Hiro, Mohinder and I are going to take a look around the fields. See what needs to be done, same as last year. What about you?"
"I'm going to enjoy the momentary quiet," Claire answered. "And then Lauren, Bethany and I are going to clean out the barns…"
"Sounds fun," Peter interjected.
"It is," Claire commented before continuing, "and then probably do nothing for as long as possible."
"What about Nathan?"
"He's watching Noah," Claire said, pointing out the window to the small field beside the house.
"It looks more like he's getting Lauren to watch Noah," Peter said with a snicker.
Claire watched the three of them from the window for a moment before turning back to Peter.
"Will you be back for lunch?"
"Yeah," he said, moving towards the door. "It should only take the morning."
"Okay," Claire said with a nod.
"Are you okay?" Peter asked before walking out the door.
"Yeah," Claire sighed. "I just… I don't know. I feel a little…"
"Yeah," she agreed. "Nervous. Anxious. I don't know…"
"I'm sure it's fine," Peter said, smiling reassuringly.
"No," she said with a nod. "It is. I know it it's fine. Have a good day. I'll see you for lunch."
"Bye," he said, kissing her again for good measure.
Claire heard the front door shut, and watched with amusement as Noah ran straight out of Nathan's arms, barreling towards Peter yelling, "Daddy!".
Peter caught him easily, throwing him into the air with a laugh, before kissing him, and setting him back down again, making sure to tell him to mind his uncle.
It was rare that she got any alone time like this. Everyone was always in and out of their house, but she didn't really mind it. These were all her friends, and her family, and it wouldn't feel so much like a home if they weren't a part of it.
Claire hadn't thought it would be possible again, this kind of happiness, but here it was. They'd all suffered and sacrificed to get to this point, the people she loved best perhaps the most scarred for it, but it had been worth it. The future still felt uncertain, but it didn't feel hopeless. It wasn't a perfect life, but it was as near to as she'd ever known and she was grateful every day to be in it.
Continuing with her cleaning up of the counter and doing the remainder of the dishes, Claire continued to be uneasy without cause. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling, only different. It was as if something was pulling at her. Or someone. She couldn't quite…
Claire turned suddenly to look out the window, surprised to hear Nathan shout so loudly, as he'd never even raised his voice at the tot before.
Lauren caught here eye and nodded with a smile, indicating that it was alright, but Claire couldn't see either Nathan or Noah now and she didn't like that one bit.
Moving quickly to the foyer to see for herself where they'd gone, the door opened before she got more than halfway there.
"Is this yours?"
Claire was so shocked she could only nod before taking the offered child back into her arms.
"He is," she finally managed, smiling through her tears. "This is Noah. Noah, this is my very good friend, Matt."
"Hi," the boy said shyly, burying his head into the crook of his mother's neck.
"It's nice to meet you, Noah," Matt said warmly.
"I'll take him," Lauren said, coming in and gently leading the child out again. "Come on, Noah."
"That's just…" Matt stammered, shaking his head. "That's, wow. Claire. Wow. How old is he?"
"Almost two," Claire answered, rubbing her hand across her face.
"Two?" Matt asked, looking as awkward as felt. "He's a big kid."
"He's beautiful, Claire. He's…"
"Shut up," Claire laughed, stepping forward and into a hug.
"I've missed you."
"It's alright," she said. "You're home now."