Title: "A Very Petrelli Christmas"
Rating: PG-13 (fictional incest)
Characters: Peter/Claire (canon), Molly POV
Summary: Bored senseless at the Petrelli Christmas dinner, 14 year old Molly Walker stumbles onto something that finally makes her understand the true meaning of Christmas. Cookie dough fights, adolescent boredom, karaoke and dramatic reenactments.
Spoilers: General spoilers for Season 2
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, just borrowing. All NBC's and Tim Kring's. Please don't sue!
Author's Notes: So this is what comes out of my brain after I have a good night's sleep and no work to look forward to for 2 weeks. Not exactly crack!fic, but I sure don't know where it came from. I'm itching to continue to see whether it takes me, but from a different POV.

As always, feedback is love!

"A Very Petrelli Christmas"

by Viv

Molly's blowing her bangs skywards, staring with vacant eyes at the insipid turkey on the table. All she wants to do is eat and get the hell out of dodge but knows from past experience she won't be able to do anything of the sort.

Their Christmases are always so, so boring. She doesn't want anything special for Christmas besides world peace but short of that, knows she should be out there using her powers to find people who could be lost and alone. She enjoys going to the station (she's started calling it "the house" but it freaks Matt out, so she's more careful with her words now) to see the list of missing people, likes when she can actually do something to help bring a little bit of happiness back into someone's life. Most of the people she finds aren't endowed with super abilities and for some odd reason that makes it even more worthwhile for Molly. Sometimes it's sad like when she doesn't feel anyone and knows to direct Matt to look for a body instead of a person, but still. Most people appreciate the certainty of knowledge, even if that certainty is death.

So yeah, all she wants is to be out there, finding lives and connecting people and giving them certainty. She's not a normal 14 year old by any stretch of the imagination; not that Molly cares.

But no. Matt and Mohinder always insist on turning up to this stupid thing, which is pretty stupid in her opinion even though usually Molly's a good girl and respects her elders, especially when it comes to matters of life and death and yeah, she hasn't forgotten how lucky she is to have them in her life.

And don't get her wrong. The people that usually turn up to the Petrelli Christmas dinners aren't stupid. Not at all. She loves them with all her tiny, perfect heart and soul. In fact, they're a lot more entertaining than they are during the holidays. There's usually human flight, telekinesis, mind reading and fights about how someone (usually Peter, but as often as not it's Claire or Maya) getting told off by Nathan or Mohinder about taking unnecessary chances.

But at Christmas, everything miraculously (horribly) turns into whatever alternate universe she's stumbled into. Issues are swept under the carpet for the day, people enjoy turkey and laugh and talk and generally have a really, really boring time. The only thing Molly likes are the presents but still, that's something she can just receive and run; why does she have to stick around to hear them talk and stuff?

Take last year, when Nathan and Mohinder got annoyed with Matt about taking out a mob boss, blatantly using his mind reading and drawing unnecessary attention to his ability. There'd been fireworks – and not in a good way – about that particular episode, and even in their new apartment Molly was able to hear every single word/snarl coming out of Nathan's mouth. But by Christmas things had returned to saccharine abnormality; Nathan and Matt even did a "dramatic reenactment" to entertain the masses of their flight to Odessa to prevent the virus from getting out. Even Nathan slightly throwing his back out and telling Matt, "Jesus Christ, I'm not a fucking teenager any more; what the hell happened to your Subway diet anyway?" couldn't goad Matt into another fight.

Molly's life is so boring sometimes.

Or a few years ago, when a drunk Peter and Hiro (heh) started brawling at Thanksgiving, hollering "you tried to kill me" and "but I didn't mean it!". Molly still doesn't understand what happened to this day. It's pretty frustrating but Matt refuses to clue her in (some dad) but suffice it to say it was awesome and entertaining and she wasn't bored at all.

But by the time Christmas rolled around and they're all seated at the gorgeous but really very hard to eat table (it's glass and marble and she's such a gangly, uncoordinated individual she keeps knocking her elbows against the edge), Peter and Hiro are laughing and getting drunk together. Not even Peter drunkenly slurring 'Like A Virgin' on the karaoke machine (a present from Matt and Mohinder at Molly's instigation) or Hiro doing the moonwalk while Nathan sings his off-key version of 'Thriller' really makes up for her being trapped on the Upper East Side with a bunch of happy, inebriated super powered adults while she could be, you know, having real fun finding people and stuff.

So yeah, hmph. The only people who aren't boring and old are Micah of course, and Claire, who's pretty cool and once admitted to Molly how she sometimes finds these get togethers horrible too (although won't elaborate why). Molly's always felt a special connection to her but hasn't figured out why; maybe it's the whole hero worship/bond thing they share with the people who've saved them. Molly knows no one can possibly be closer than she is to Matt and Mohinder who've both saved her life more than once, except maybe for Peter and Claire who are always, always together but it's like one of those things everyone knows but no one's ever mentioned. Everyone always teases Molly about being the perfect daughter having two dads but no one, no one, says anything about how close Peter and Claire are, or what they've been through together.

"Bored?" It's good she at least has Micah at these things; he gets just as bored as she does and if the Haitian isn't around Molly would bet that hijinks and hilarity would ensue courtesy of her partner in crime. They've always been super good friends and one day Molly thinks it could potentially be interesting to date Micah, but maybe not now. He's way too immature even with his brainiac ways and besides, she's too busy with more important stuff to be doing anything with him at the moment. Besides, he lives in New Orleans with Monica which would be so annoying if they're actually dating.

"What's new." She harrumphs just because she can. To anyone else she's probably whining more than anything else but knows that Micah won't judge; he's probably just as bored as she is.

"Me too." He slumps next to her, putting his head on the table so that his curly black hair is all she's able to see of him. He reminds her of an ostrich with his head in the sand, except maybe that's not such a good image when they're sitting in front of a ginarmous, ridiculously perfect but as yet, uncooked turkey. "Let's do something."

"Like what?"

"Wanna make out?"

She scrunches her nose, frowning. "Um, no."

He shrugs. "Okay." He slumps back down again. "I'm so hungry."

"Stop whining."

Luckily, Claire picks that opportune moment to saunter into the kitchen, checking on the turkey. She looks stunning in a knee length red dress that sets off her golden hair and green eyes to perfection; Molly wants to look just like Claire when she grows up. "What's up, cutie?"

"Bored." She mumbles and bites her tongue. It's not Claire's fault she's bored out of her brain. "When's the food going to be ready?"

Molly's not surprised when Peter comes in a moment later; it's always been like that with those two, ever since Molly can remember. She's surprised no one has made a joke about it yet.

Claire's not fazed by hers and Micah's long faces; her smile rarely dims. "Soon sweetie, soon."

"What's soon?" Peter's fingers go to prod the turkey just because and Claire smacks them away, quick enough to make contact. His hurt expression is so exaggerated Molly has to giggle; she has to cover her mouth to stop outright laughter escaping when he winks at her.

"Don't touch that, I've just done the stuffing."

"But I'm hungry." He whines, but he's smiling so she's smiling.

"Have some cookie dough. Here." She shoves a spatula covered with choc-chip cookie dough into his hands. "Knock yourself out."

"Claire …"

"You sound like Micah."

"Hey!" Micah and Peter both protest.

Claire's smirk is hard to miss. "If you're hungry you should get yourself some food, not go all whiny cry-baby on your poor little niece. It's not flattering in a grown man you know."

"I'm not whiny. Take that back!"

She sticks her tongue out at him. "You going to make me?"

Peter, incredibly, sticks his tongue out back, which Molly thinks is pretty cute, especially when his eyes kind of scrunches closed and it's all cute and everything. Not that she has a crush on her handsome, older friend. Not at all, even if he remembers her birthday and is someone to run to when she fights with Matt and Mohinder about staying out too late at the house. Peter listens patiently to Molly rant about how overprotective her two dads can be and not once has he been condescending about it. And if she's started to notice he's got what girls at school call "dreamy" eyes and shiny, white teeth, well, she only notices because everyone teases him about being the "resident pretty boy".

Peter advances toward Claire. "Remember that's what you wanted."

Her forehead creases in confusion but she's not left waiting for long. He holds the spatula up as her eyes widen, realisation dawning. Molly doesn't know what's coming until he flicks it, cookie dough and all, over Claire's astonished face.

"Oh no you didn't!" She screams, diving for a mixing bowl filled with said dough. Luckily Molly's got a smart head on her shoulders and quickly drags Micah down onto the floor with her.

"We'll want to stay out of this one." She whispers and Micah cannily acknowledges her foresight, but they're both curious to see how it'll turn out from their position under the table.

Peter laughs and it's hearty and long; he hardly ever does it any more. She thinks it's nice to hear; can't understand why he doesn't laugh any more.

Claire's not as transfixed by it as Molly though, strolling to Peter with the bowl in her hands. With one smooth motion she dumps the entire contents of it onto his pretty, dark hair, bringing a sharp gasp from his lungs. "What – ?"

"Serves you right!" She jauntily claims, smearing the rest of it onto his face for good measure.

Peter looks so astonished he doesn't move for a long, fractured moment but when he does, he flips the bowl over his head, smoothing its descent to the floor with telekinesis. He turns to Claire, wide smirk on his face. "You are so going to pay for that."

"Oh, really?" Claire's not as intimidated as Molly would be in her position and she has to admire that.

"Really."

Molly takes one look at Peter's face, knows what's about to go down. She turns to Micah who appears to understand too.

"Can we get outta here?" It's the first good suggestion Micah's come up with all day, so together they crawl on hands and knees and get out of dodge before all cookie dough hell breaks loose.


Sometime later they sneak back into the kitchen, ostensibly to check how the food's going but really to see whether it's possible for Peter or Claire to kill each other by cookie dough (Molly's willing to lay bets Micah's only curious about the former). What they stumble on though isn't anything to do with food; it's something until this moment Molly thinks she's always known but has never realised.

Peter and Claire certainly have run out of cookie dough to wage war with; bits of it cling to their hair and faces and arms and if there'd been a dog in the house he'd be tasting delicious chocolately dough when he licks them both. But that's not what transfixes her and even years later when she finally screws up the courage to mention it to Claire, she knows she'll never be able to dislodge the image that's now burned into her brain.

Peter's arms wrap around Claire's waist, head dipped into the crook of her neck like he's inhaling what he can of her. Even from the side Molly can see how content they are; Claire's head rests against Peter's chest, her fingers secured in his. They both have their eyes closed, their breathing deep and even, oblivious to everything around them.

Claire suddenly whimpers and tears begin trickling down her face; it's a sound so filled with longing even 14 year old Molly can see and feel it for what it is.

"Shhhh." Peter's so calm but his voice's taut like a rubber band stretched to the hilt. "Shhhh, it's okay. It's okay, it's okay; it'll be okay." He keeps murmuring in that soft way of his while Claire sobs quieter still; it's so heartbreaking it makes Molly's eyes well. She doesn't really get what's going on but knows – well – feels somehow how sad Claire is. "I promise it'll be okay."

That seems to stem Claire's tears; she turns to look up at him, eyes full with watery trust. "Promise?"

There's a lull but Molly knows the outcome's never in question. Peter leans in, kisses Claire once, sweetly, fully on the lips; not really the way an uncle usually kisses a niece, but they're not about that any more, even Molly sees that. "I promise." Claire sinks into him once more and as she closes her eyes Molly hears Peter's voice, soft and gentle but strong, oh so strong. "I promise, everything's going to be okay with us. No matter what. I'll always be here."

Everything's said in soft, stilted whispers, but somehow Molly's able to hear every word. "You will."

"I will."

She and Micah retreat out into the hall and stare awkwardly at each other with wide eyes, but Molly knows Micah's cool. He's not going to say anything and neither will she, not for a very long time.

She does realise something though and knows she'll never complain about how dull and boring Christmases can be ever again. Perhaps things are meant to be boring and normal sometimes because in a topsy-turvy world where nothing is as it seems and people can't have who they most desire, it's a comfort to retreat into a fantasy where, if only for one day, things are perfect and normal and yes, boring.

Because then it makes it easier to accept in all the days that aren't Christmas how things are, and perhaps will never be. Perhaps it makes it easier for people like Peter and Claire to bear their burdens, makes it easier to live a life not exactly of their own choosing if they get to spend one day in the whole year where everything's perfect and nice and normal.

Molly shrugs, straightening as she runs a hand through long, straight hair. Maybe she'll find Mohinder and they can sing a song or two on karaoke or maybe challenge Matt to a few guitar hero songs. They're sure to be at least drunk enough by now to make it mildly entertaining, even by Molly's lofty standards.

It is after all, Christmas; and what better way to spend it than with the most important people in her life, laughing as they pretend to live the normal life they don't have for the rest of the year.

Finis