Warnings: AU. Paire-cest (not that I write any non-Paire Heroes fics)You have been warned. Not nice to West ( I don't like him.) Slight, slight spoilers. OOC
Pairings: Paire 'natch.
Author's Note: This is a Valentine's fic. It doubles as a birthday present for Lauren (pairegal) Various stuff.
Disclaimer: I do not own Heroes or any of the characters. If I did Peter and Claire would be unrelated and together in the couple-y way, so obviously not mine. Oh the poem isn't mine either, I found it online.
It was February thirteenth, tomorrow was Valentine's Day but Claire couldn't care less. She knew that Valentine's Day was nothing more than a commercial holiday to raise candy and jewelry sales.
The whole school seemed to disagree. Everything was festooned with hearts and flowers and all sorts of other lovey-dovey crap. There was to be a Valentine's Dance on Friday, the fifteenth. West had asked Claire to go with him she had turned him down none to politely. She wasn't interested, especially considering his stalker-y tendencies. He probably thought she hadn't noticed, but she had. Ever since Sylar had come after her she had become more observant, though she still had blonde moments.
There was only one person she wanted to spend the love holiday with and that wasn't going to happen because he was dead. She still had trouble believing that after four months of nothing. Nothing except calls to and from Nathan that yielded no information. Nathan didn't know what happened to Peter after the explosion.
Claire opened her locker pulling her out of her Petrelli reverie. Inside her locker was a single white rose and a small white box. The box was glossy and seemed to shimmer in the hallways florescent lighting. She opened the box and laying on the cotton batting, was a silver locket.
The locket was a four picture one. There was a picture of Peter, one of herself, one of Noah and one of Nathan. Two Peterelli's and two Bennet's. Inside was a business card that read: To: Claire and From: An Admirer. If she hadn't seen the pictures she would have thought the "Admirer" was West. The pictures proved it couldn't be, Claire had never told West about her Petrelli family. Very few people knew about her Petrelli family.
Claire clasped the locket around her neck and took the rose with her to class suddenly not hating Valentine's Day as much. Luckily for her West had missed school today, she didn't have to worry about him bothering her.
Everytime she went to her locker there was a rose and a new gift. Sometimes it was practical, sometimes it wasn't and sometimes it was chocolate. Every gift came with the same to and from. As the day progressed her curiosity consumed her and she couldn't concentrate in her classes. Who was "An Admirer"? Was it The Haitian? She seriously doubted that and she didn't want it to be him. But he was one of the few people who knew about her Petrelli family. Her family knew, The Haitian knew and The Petrelli's knew. Who else could it be?
School was over for the day. She got into the car Nathan had bought for her after she had accidentally let her other car be stolen, by leaving the keys in it and leaving the doors unlocked. A blonde moment undoubtedly.
When she got home she noticed a large garment box and four roses, bringing her total to a dozen. The box was wrapped in sparkly purple valentine's paper. There was a long envelope placed on the box, but not taped to it. Claire picked it up and slipped her finger under the flap and opened it, pulling out a card. The card was made of heavy stock, the colour of French vanilla coffeemate. There was a border of hearts and flowers which surrounded a love poem:
The first time we met, I could see,
That you and I, were meant to be.
Your eyes were so gentle, your smile so true,
When you first held my hand, I just knew.
Now the time has gone by, through laughter and tears,
These days I shall cherish, for years upon years.
Those memories we have, shall never fade,
For those are the steps, that we have made.
That was the past, the future is near,
I anxiously wait, for what will appear.
New homes, more laughter, and children so dear,
Everything will be wonderful, as long as you're near.
- Cristy Smith -
Her eyes teared up as she read the poem. It was beautiful. She opened the card and inside was a letter in the same text as all the to's and from's of the gifts.
Inside the box is another gift, but I want you to refrain for opening it until tomorrow There are instructions, or rather information that shouldn't be read until tomorrow or it won't make much sense.
I know that things haven't been easy for you lately. Going from Texas, to New York and then to California can't be easy.
Tomorrow all will be revealed. I hope you like the surprise.
Her admirer knew about her moving and how hard her life had been. She was now even more curious to who it may be.
After her alarm woke her unceremoniously from a very nice dream about Peter. A very un-niece-like dream, but it was very pleasant. She took a long shower and then returned to her room wrapped only in a towel. She dressed in a blue jean skirt and an off-the shoulder light pink top. Her blonde hair flowed freely curling just a bit. She sat on her floor and opened the large garment box. Inside was a beautiful green dress that matched her eyes, it was long and flowy and made of the softest fabric imaginable. There was even a pair of matching shoes that were the strappy kind she loved. She hung the dress up and read the letter that had been in he box.
I imagine that you're reading this before school. I knew you couldn't resist for long. Thank you for actually waiting until today to open it. Yes I know you waited until today. My secret.
Do you like the dress? You have no idea how hard it is to shop for a girl. At least from my POV.
More surprises are in store for today. The dress is for the tonight. You're going to the Valentine's Dance. I will be there to pick you up at seven, be ready.
Happy Valentine's Day Claire.
'Maybe Valentine's Day isn't so bad after-all,' thought Claire as she placed the letter with the others she had received. She put on her new locket and headed downstairs with a bit of a bounce in her step.
"Good morning mom," said Claire giving Sandra a kiss on the cheek.
"My, my you're sure in a good mood this morning," said Sandra. "Isn't she Mr. Muggles? Yes she is." Claire thought that was annoying, but nothing was going to dampen her spirits.
"Good morning honey," said Noah.
"Good morning dad," said Claire, giving Noah a kiss on the cheek as well.
"You got a package," said Noah pointing to a long white box on the counter top. Claire removed the lid and gasped inside were the most beautiful, however unusual roses she had ever seen. The were the colour of the rainbow each one of them. (1)
"I got roses," said Claire pulling out the bouquet. "Look at these. Aren't they beautiful?"
"Those a quite unusual," remarked Sandra.
"I love them," said Claire pulling down a vase. She filled the vase with lukewarm water and took them into the main room, so they could get sunlight. She called, "I'm gonna go. I don't want to be late." She pulled on a pair of trainers and left without waiting for any goodbyes.
She walked straight to her locker, hoping for a note from her admirer. When she opened her locker she was surprised, inside was a bouquet of red roses, with baby's breath. There was small card nestled within. To: Claire and From: An Admirer. I thought you might like a traditional Valentine's Day bouquet. 'I didn't think about it, but I'm not objecting,' thought Claire pulling the bouquet out of her locker, deciding to take it with her to her classes.
Noah smiled at Claire's obvious happiness. She had been down lately. She was doing better than she had been four months prior when Peter and Nathan Petrelli had blown up in the New York skyline. Nathan had miraculously survived and wasn't physically scarred, but mentally and emotionally... that was a different story. Claire said he wasn't doing to well.
Noah thought back to a week ago, when he received the most unlikely visitor at Copy Kingdom. Peter Petrelli was alive and had sought him out. He looked exactly the same, except his hair was cut.
"Hello, Mr..." Peter trailed off, not knowing what name Noah was using.
"Butler," said Noah relived that Peter hadn't called him 'Mr. Bennet.'
"Butler," said Peter. "Do you have a few minutes?"
"Of course," answered Noah. After taking too much crap from his manager, he had threatened him and now the manager let him make his own schedule. Effective, though not the smartest move.
"Thank you," said Peter. Noah wondered briefly how Peter was so polite while still being a Petrelli. He led Peter to a quiet, secluded area so they could talk openly.
"I thought you were dead," state Noah bluntly.
"If it wasn't for Claire I would be," said Peter point-blank.
"Have you talked to her yet?" asked Noah. He suspected he hadn't, because he was sure Claire would have mentioned it if he had.
"No. I've only seen my mother and Nathan," answered Peter. "Claire is why I'm here."
"You're not taking my little girl away from me," said Noah stiffening.
"I have no intention of taking Claire from you," Peter nearly snapped. He was relived when Noah relaxed his posture.
"Then what?" asked Noah.
"I want to talk to her, more than anything but I'm not sure I should," said Peter his shoulders slumping a bit.
"Why not? I'm sure she'd be more than delighted to see you," said Noah, knowing that Claire would be ecstatic if she saw Peter.
"She has a new life," said Peter, he then added bitterly, "A boyfriend, I don't want to turn her world upside down." Noah noticed how bitter Peter sounded when talking about Claire's "boyfriend," he found it odd by wrote it off as Peter not thinking anyone was good enough for his niece.
"New life, yes but you're family. Exceptions can be made. As for a boyfriend, she doesn't actually have one. There's this guy named West, he wants to be her boyfriend, but stalking the girl you want isn't the way to win her affections," said Noah growling slightly when talking about West.
"Stalking her?" growled Peter. If he ever got a hold of West... well West would have pain, lots of pain. "Did he do anything to her?"
"Not that I know of," answered Noah, surprised at Peter's anger. He thought Peter might be angrier about it than he was. "He just annoys her a lot and refused to help her take down the company."
"She tried to take down the company?" asked Peter, suddenly feeling a surge of pride for his niece.
"She threatened Elle Bishop. It was quite interesting," said Noah.
"Threatened Elle Bishop, I'm sure she deserved it," said Peter running a hand through his hair.
"You know Elle?" asked Noah.
"The company had me prisoner. I used her to escape," said Peter not wanting to talk about it.
"She threatened Claire. If Claire hadn't threatened her I would have," stated Noah.
"I bet," agreed Peter. "I would have too."
"Why are you here?" asked Noah suddenly changing the subject.
"I came to see Claire, but haven't worked up the nerve to do it yet," admitted Peter. He felt like he was in High School afraid to talk to the head cheerleader. "I have an idea, but I wanted to run it by you, before I implemented it."
"What?" asked Noah.
"I want to talk her to her school's Valentine's Dance," answered Peter. Noah didn't understand why Claire's twenty-something Uncle wanted to go to a High School dance with her.
"Why?" asked Noah.
"To see if I can make her smile something other than her sad little smile," answered Peter.
"I think she'll really smile if you just see her," Noah pointed out.
"She saved my life," said Peter, "Twice. If I hadn't met her the night I first fought Sylar I'd be dead."
"Her gift..." Noah trailed off.
Peter nodded and continued, "She told me that I was her hero, but honestly she's my hero... heroine... whatever," Peter shook his head, "I want to do something special for her."
"What do you have in mind?" asked Noah.
"An admirer, but not the secret kind," said Peter.
"Since you're not revealing yourself doesn't that make you a secret admirer?" asked Noah.
"Technically. Secret admirer implies love of a lover not of a niece," said Peter. "I love her as my niece, not as a lover." A little voice popped up in the back of Peter's head, "You lie!" He crushed the little voice and waited for Noah's reaction.
"All right. Tell me everything," said Noah. Peter proceeded to do just that. He laid out his plan step for step. Noah was unconvinced at first and somewhat uncomfortable, but in the end he relented.
Noah doesn't know why he agreed. Maybe it was Peter's innocent earnest or was it because how happy t would make Claire. He now knew it was for Claire.
"What time do you have to be at work?" asked Sandra pulling Noah out of his reverie.
"I have today off," answered Noah.
"You had yesterday off," said Sandra remembering all the romantic things Noah had done for her in honour of Valentine's Day.
"I got both days off," said Noah.
"Do you have plans?" asked Sandra.
"Just to spend the day with you," said Noah. "But I have got to tell you something." Then he proceeded to tell her all about Peter's Valentine plan. Sandra thought it was usually romantic for an uncle to a niece, but thought it was sweet all the same.
Claire went to cheerleading practice, but wasn't really paying attention. She was thinking about "AA (An admirer)." Luckily being a cheerleader running the same cheers all week required little brain power. She cared enough to not get hurt. She'd have a hell of a time trying to explain her super healing powers if she got hurt. That was not something she wanted to risk. Noah hadn't even wanted her to join the cheerleading squad. Being the centre of attention like that rendered being invisible impossible. She fought tooth an nail, figuratively, to convince Noah to let her cheer. She loved to cheer.
SEVEN THAT EVENING...
At exactly seven the doorbell rang. Noah was the first person to the door so he answered it.
"Hello Mr. Butler. I am here to pick up Claire," said a blonde man dressed as a chauffeur.
"Did he send you?" asked Noah.
"I was sent by Mr. Simon," answered the driver. Mr. Simon was the code that meant it was Peter.
"Of course. I'll just..." he never finished because just then Claire descended the stairs. She wore a long green strapless dress with an empire waist and silver accents. Her hair was in a French twist with a few tendrils curling around her face. She also wore the locket she had received the previous day. Her make-up was light, almost non-existent. Every bit of skin exposed was covered with glitter, light but noticeable, when the glitter caught the light she shimmered like the stars. If she looked this beautiful for a regular school dance, she was going to break all records for her prom and eventual wedding day. She wasn't his little girl anymore, she was a woman. "You look beautiful."
"Thank you dad," smiled Claire. She hoped "AA" would feel the same way.
"Pictures," said Sandra running into the room. For once she didn't have Mr. Muggles ensconced in her arms, but he did trail at her feet. She took pictures until Noah made her stop, he didn't want Claire to be too late for the dance. The driver offered his arm and led her to the limousine parked in front of her split-level house.
The driver opened the rear door and helped her in. She didn't notice Peter, he was iinvisible. He dropped the invisibility once she was safely in the car and softly said, "Claire." He didn't want to startle her too much.
"Peter..." she whispered almost reverently completely gobsmacked he was alive. Before Peter could say anything more Claire launched herself at him tears streaming down her face. She had never been so happy, and was thankful her mascara was waterproof. With her full weight thrown at him unexpectedly he was knocked back onto the seat. Their noses were mere centimetre's apart. If either of them moved their lips would touch. Peter forced himself to think of unsexy things so Claire wouldn't know what her proximity was doing to him. He knew he shouldn't feel this way about her, but he couldn't stop himself, he tried god, how he had tried.
"Glad to see me?" asked Peter smiling his adorable lopsided grin.
"How long?" asked Claire still laying on top of him.
"Not long or I don't think long. I had amnesia," he answered and tried to wriggle his way out from underneath her. He moved a certain way or she had which cause him to groan, but it wasn't a groan of pain. Fortunately for Peter Claire had misinterpreted it as pain and swiftly climbed off him muttering apologies.
"I'm sorry Peter," said Claire again.
"It's okay," said Peter. "Don't worry about it."
"I'll do my best," said Claire quietly.
"Are you ready for the dance?" asked Peter.
"Are you 'An Admirer'?" asked Claire quite sure that he was.
"Yes," admitted Peter. "Is that all right?"
"It's fine," said Claire. "Why?"
"I was nervous about seeing you," said Peter sheepishly.
"Why would you be nervous?" asked Claire.
"I thought that my showing up in your new life would destroy all the progress you had made," answered Peter, "I didn't want to turn your whole world upside down."
"Progress Peter? I've been faking it. It's hard to be invisible, to pretend to be no one," said Claire. She didn't tell him that she had been dying a little each day he was gone. It was wrong she knew that, but you can't stop your heart.
"It's not hard to be invisible," said Peter grasping her wrist and turning them invisible. He was trying to inject some levity into the seriousness they had stumbled into. He turned his invisibility off, but didn't release her wrist. Her skin was so warm and soft, like flower petals.
"Peter," said Claire smacking him in the chest though she was grateful for the levity. "You know what I meant."
"I couldn't resist," said Peter laughing. Claire laughed right along with him.
"Mr. Petrelli we have arrived," said the driver.
"Thank you Geoffrey," said Peter. "You ready?"
"Yeah I'm ready," smiled Claire. "All the girls are going to hate me tonight."
"Why's that?" asked Peter helping her out of the car.
"Because you're hot Peter Petrelli," stated Calire.
"And they'll hate you because?" asked Peter confused. He really didn't understand how teenage girl minds worked.
"Because you're with me," said Claire.
"I see," said Peter. "Let's go make a bunch of girls hate you." He put on his lopsided grin and led her to the double doors of the school. The girls were going to hate her tonight. Claire giggled softly as they entered the gym, all eyes were on them, many green with envy.
"Told you so," murmured Claire quietly.
"I'm not used to all this attention. Nathan is the attention drawer," murmured Peter just as quietly.
"It'll be okay," said Claire reassuring him.
"Who's this?" asked West. Claire managed to keep her groan inside, she had really grown to dislike West.
"Peter Petrelli, Claire's date," said Peter not missing a beat. He kept his growl internal knowing that this boy was West.
"Where's your date West?" asked Claire.
"Bathroom," he answered. 'Probably to get away from you,' thought Claire. Peter had to keep from laughing she had projected that thought rather loudly. "Petrelli? Any relation to Nathan Petrelli?"
"Brother," stated Peter.
"I have family in New York that voted for him," said West as though he thought that would impress Peter.
"How nice," said Peter and he walked away with Claire on his arm.
"You didn't tell him that we're related," whispered Claire, she was happy that he hadn't but was curious as to why not.
"He didn't/doesn't need to know," Peter whispered back.
"Then are you just my date tonight?" asked Claire. She certainly could live with that.
"If that's fine with you," said Peter. "Let's pretend."
"Pretend? I can do that," said Claire as Peter pulled her into a slow dance. Tonight they weren't Uncle and Niece, they were just Peter and Claire. They both silently wished it wasn't just pretend, but it was and that's what hurt worst of all.
(1)These are real roses. I've seen a picture of them. They're quite beautiful.