I'm BACK! Haha! Miss me? I wrote this story during the almost unbearable hiatus. It's not my best work, but I thought I'd post it anyway. This is NOT an alternate universe Paire story! So, if you have a problem with an incest story, then don't read this. I don't want any crap about writing this story, so don't waste your breath. Or, finger...strength...or...whatever. ANYWHO! Read and Review, lovahs!

Noah glanced over at his daughter as he drove. She had been completely silent since they left New York.

She had put up quite a fight, and he had been forced to drag her, kicking and screaming, to the car.

She had pleaded with him, saying; "But Peter won't be able to find me when he comes back!"

Noah had taken a deep breath, and then said what he felt she needed to hear before she got her hopes up.

"Claire-bear, Peter may not come back…"

She had looked at him like he had grown a third eyeball. "Of course he's coming back! Why wouldn't he?"

He looked down at the ground. "Claire, it's a possibility that Peter may not have been strong enough to heal himself after the explosion."

Claire's eyes had widened, and she let out a wail, crumpling to the ground. "Oh God, what if he's dead?"

Noah couldn't believe how attached his daughter had gotten to the younger Petrelli brother in such a short time.

Claire shook her head. "No, we have to stay here. If Peter comes back, I want to be here. Not to mention Nathan…"

Noah shook his head. "Claire, we need to go home. You don't have a say in this. I'm sorry, but I won't let you waste your life waiting for someone who may never come back."

Claire had shot him a hateful glare, and got in the car, slamming the door behind her.

Claire stared out the window as they drove back to Odessa.

She was trying her hardest to hold back the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks, refusing to give her Dad the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

She replayed the events of the past week over and over in her head.

From arriving at Peter's apartment that first night, to pulling the glass out of his head and seeing the color come back to his soulful eyes. From when he gave her the gun, to the look of complete helplessness he had given her at Kirby Plaza, his hands glowing bright red.

She wished she had been able to say goodbye to him. To give him a hug, and tell him she loved him.

Because she did love him. Probably more than a niece should love an uncle.

She couldn't help herself, and a tear rolled down her cheek.

She leaned her head against the window, and spoke in a choked whisper. "I love you…"

Claire brushed her mother and Lyle off when they got home, mumbling about being too tired to talk.

"She's had a rough week." she heard her Dad say as she climbed the stairs to her room, closing and locking the door behind her.

She looked around the room with a sigh. What had once been her favorite place in the world now seemed too pink, too immature.

She took a garbage bag, and shoved all of her stuffed animals into it, shoving it into the closet when she was done.

She threw away all of her cheerleading paraphernalia, except for the bloodstained uniform she had been wearing the night of homecoming.

She couldn't bring herself to throw away something that reminded her of Peter.

She put it on a hanger, hanging it on the back of her door.

She pulled her cell phone out of her purse, and scrolled through the contacts list until she found the number she wanted. It rang a few times, and then the person on the other end answered. "Hello?"

Claire smiled as Zach handed her the pint of ice cream he had brought for her.

She closed the window he had climbed in behind him, and pulled him into a tight hug.

When they parted and he saw the tears in her eyes, he sighed. "What happened, Claire?"

Two hours and a pint of ice cream later, she had told him everything.

Zach opened and closed his mouth a few times, and then simply said "Shit."

Claire nodded, wiping away a tear. "Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. My dad can't seem to understand why I'm so upset. Guess it wouldn't be a good idea to tell him I'm pretty sure I'm in love with my uncle, huh?"

Zach shook his head. "Probably not."

Claire sighed and got to her feet. "You should probably go before someone comes up to check on me. Thanks for listening, Zach."

He pulled her into a hug, before shrugging. "I'm here. Whenever you need me, I'm here."

He climbed out the window, and Claire shut it behind him.

She changed into her pajamas, and climbed into bed, switching off the light. She dreamed of Peter.

Noah had decided not to push for Claire to go back to school, not wishing to put any more strain on their fragile relationship.

Claire was almost completely silent whenever she emerged from her room, which wasn't often.

It had been two months since their return from New York.

Sandra said that it was normal for Claire to grieve for a loved-one, but she had completely changed.

Instead of light, bubbly, cheerful Claire, she ignored everyone, and locked herself in her room with the stereo blaring.

Lyle called her 'emo', whatever that was…

One day, three months after the events at Kirby Plaza, Zach had dragged Claire to the mall, stating that she needed to get out of her house.

Claire was looking in the window of a store, when she could have sworn she saw Peter's reflection in the glass.

She whirled around, but there was no one there.

She collapsed on the floor, sobbing.

Zach had rushed to her, helping her to her feet, and ushering her back to the car.

He shook his head hopelessly as he drove her home.

The next night, Claire was out walking Mr. Muggles.

As she turned a corner, she caught sight of a man leaning against a lamppost. As she got closer, the man stepped out of the shadows.

She gasped, clamping her hand over her mouth. "Nathan…"

After dropping Mr. Muggles off at home, she had told her parents she was going out, and then taken Nathan to a local coffee shop.

She couldn't restrain herself very long, and as soon as the waitress walked away with their order, she blurted it out. "How did you survive?"

Nathan looked down at his hands, which were folded on the table. "Peter shoved me away just as he was about to explode. He must have used some kind of telekinesis to hold me away, because try as I might, I couldn't get back to him."

Claire's eyes filled with tears. "So you survived. Why the hell did it take so long for you to contact me?"

Nathan sighed. "The force of the explosion knocked me out. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital, and had broken just about every bone in my body. Apparently, I landed on someone's car on 38th street. It took me a few months to recuperate. I'm sorry, I got here as soon as I could."

Claire bit her lip. "And… And Peter? What about Peter?"

Nathan swallowed, looking back down at his hands. "I don't know. I've been searching everywhere since I got better. There's… There's no trace of him."

Claire clamped her hand over her mouth to stifle a sob, and Nathan's heart went out to the girl.

"I'm not going to stop looking, Claire. I promise you."

She wiped away the tears that were gliding down her cheeks as the waitress arrived with a cup of coffee for Nathan, and an iced tea for Claire.

They sipped their drinks in silence for a few minutes, and then Claire slammed her glass down on the table, making Nathan jump.

"I'm coming with you."

Nathan's eyebrows rose. "Coming with me where?"

Claire crossed her arms. "To look for Peter. And don't you dare tell me no."

Nathan sighed, rubbing a hand over his eyes. "Claire, I really don't have the energy to battle with your adopted parents over this."

Claire shrugged. "Let me handle them. Will you let me come?"

Nathan gave her a long, hard look, and then slowly nodded. "Okay."

Claire had done what any self-respecting teenager does when asking their parents something: She went to her mom first.

Her mother had listened intently, given her a hug, and told her to go, she would take care of Noah.

Claire had packed two weeks worth of clothes, said goodbye to Zach, and climbed into the passenger seat of Nathan's rented car.

She was gone before Noah returned from work.