Disclaimer: Situation and characters owned by NBC.

Spoiler: For episode 2.01.

Timeline: Between How to stop an exploding man and Four months later.


Five Uses For The Modern Cell Phone

I. Voicemail

"Hi, Claire, Zach here. Yes, that Zach from High School. Don't know why I'm calling you, really, I mean, we didn't really talk since sixth grade, but for some reason your number is on my mobile on speed dial, and you left me these weird text messages. Is this a prank or something? Anyway. There were some guys here asking whether any of us had heard of you since your house got torched, and I said I hadn't. Since I really don't know what you're on about. But I guess you had a rough year, what with your best friend dying and the house and stuff. Everyone freaks out, that's okay. Just – well, take care of yourself, wherever you are."

"Claire, this is your grandmother. As you are undoubtedly aware, New York City is still intact. It seems that the future can indeed be changed. Are you aware of the price, though? Are you?"

"Claire Bennet? This is Special Agent Audrey Hanson, FBI. Look, maybe I'm crazy, but I think I saw you on a crime scene yesterday. In New York City. The crime scene in question involves the guy who has been stalking you in Texas, Sylar, and later Ted Sprague who is on record for burning down your parents' house was killed by Sylar, so – look, kid, just call me. It will be off the record, I promise. We can meet wherever you want, and I promise I won't try to arrest you. I just don't want another corpse on my conscience."

II. Wi Fi Access

You can get all kind of information via online news services available via your cell phone. The weather reports, for example. Sunny for Odessa, Texas (no kidding), snow for New York City. It's late November there, so that's not so surprising, but Claire knows snow only from tv. She can't imagine what it feels like on the skin. Like ice cream, only less sticky. So cold. So very cold.

The online headlines also say that the recently elected Congressman Nathan Petrelli has resigned for personal reasons, no further explanation given. There is a link to an older story, something about his father committing suicide and his brother trying to, all revealed by N. Petrelli during a campaign speech. There's even a photo of the event, but that's really too tiny to be recognizable on Claire's mobile. It blurs in front of her eyes. It all blurs.

III. Memory Recall

They can track you down via GPS. The last thing Claire does before getting a new mobile, with a new number no one in her old life is familiar with, is go to the list of calls made from her old cell phone. Right there, at the top, is the last number dialled, and not by her. She never saw that number in her life, and yet she knows exactly whom it belongs to, and who dialled it.

"You won't call him, right? We can't trust him. Promise you won't call him, Peter."

"I promise."

She should have suspected something then, because he gave in that easily instead of protesting. But she had divided them in her mind; she had to. It was the other one who was the liar, the betrayer. Peter was her hero who would never lie to her. He wasn't really part of that family, no more than she was. Just by accident. There was nothing connecting him to the other, just as there wasn't for her, only a shared genetic sequence that didn't mean anything.

Claire writes the number down. It's the first one she enters in the address book of her new mobile. But she waits until she's alone until she calls.

IV. Photography

The new mobile is great for making photos. Claire didn't use to, but now she does it all the time. Of Mom and Lyle and Dad, of course, but also of the landscapes they pass through until they arrive in Cobra Verde, California, where Dad found a job for himself and a home for them, he says. All those pixels added together are proof that what she sees does exist. It's hot in California, just as it used to be in Texas, and sometimes she feels like she never moved at all, or only sideways. Being on the road with the Haitian, watching her Dad take a bullet, New York, that house of full of secrets and low voices and the gun in her hand, unfired, watching i them /i take to the sky with tears in her eyes, that all happened to someone else.

Every time she makes her secret calls and hears Nathan's voice she knows it was real, that the Claire who threw herself out of a window still is there. She doesn't just make calls, though. She mails him those snapshots, without explanations. He never asks why. She'd think he doesn't download them, except then she wouldn't have been able to message the pictures anymore after a while; the storage would have been full. So he must look at them. Then he probably deletes them, so she can't count on them being saved elsewhere if one day this new life, too, will have to be left behind.

Still, it's something, Claire supposes. The knowledge that they both have looked at the same things, and neither of them will forget.

V. Ordering Takeout

It's the one time he calls her instead of the other way around. She's busy helping Mom bake cookies, and almost doesn't answer her mobile. Lyle is about to since it's lying on the living room desk, and that's when Claire recalls that nobody else has her new number, almost drops the plate with the cookies in her haste to put them down and gets the phone just in time. Lyle gives her a funny look. He hasn't made friends here yet. When they talked about it, the two of them walking Mr. Muggles to give Mom and Dad some alone time, he said that he doesn't want someone else to get their memory deleted. Claire was about to say Dad didn't do that sort of thing anymore and didn't have the guy who could do it around anymore, either, but then she recalls Zach's message on her voice mail and says "yeah, me too". So now Lyle is understandably confused when Claire excuses herself and takes herself and her mobile upstairs, to her room.

"Did you order pizza for me?" Nathan says without preambles, but then, they never say hello to each other. Nathan's usual opening is some variation of "you shouldn't call", and she doesn't bother with greetings, either. Claire looks at her watch. It's still early afternoon in California, but evening in New York City, so that worked out.

"Yes," she says. There is a short silence on the other end. Then he says, sounding less dead and more irritated than he usually does: "Why?"

"Because," Claire says. "It's New Year's Eve. And you should eat something. And pizza guys delivering on New Year's Eve should get a fat tip, and you can give fat tips. You can make his day when you pay him. You should."

It's one way of saying that the thought of him getting drunk alone in Peter's apartment is something she couldn't stand any longer without doing something about it.

"Don't do it again," Nathan says.

"Did you give him a tip?" Claire insists, and there is another short silence.

"Yes," he says, and hangs up. For the next months, the advertisements from that particular pizza service won't stop coming, all showing up via SMS or email on her cell phone. That must have been one hell of a tip.