Disclaimer: I do not own Peter, Claire, West (bummer) or any other Heroes character, or plot. I am not making money out of this. This only for my own, and hopefully someone elses, enjoyment.
A/N: This is a One-Shot, from West's point of view about Claire's and Peter's relationship. Sort of funny, sort of sad. Hope you enjoy it, and be kind. This is my first Heroes' fanfic.
My daughter, Tina, fell in love. He was a boy she met in her geometry class at Elmwood High. I suppose I reacted the way any overprotective father with a teenager daughter would have reacted. When he came to pick her up for their date, I grilled him on everything from what his parents did for a living to what grades he got last semester. When my embarrassed daughter finally ushered herself and her date out of the door, I told my wife that he wasn't good enough for her. That lazy, incompetent, and arrogant little… Well I guess I should use the word 'boy' here, though I am very tempted to use some other choice phrases. The point is that he would never be good enough for my precious little princess.
My wife just laughed.
"It's just puppy love." She said. "Don't worry about it. In a week or two, she won't even remember his name."
The words should have comforted me. Instead they chilled me to the bone. Puppy love. That is what they called my feelings for Claire too. And even now twenty five years later I have not felt anything even close to those feelings.
I nearly ran her over with my truck, the first time we met. She was still Claire then. I think she goes by Annette now, though I am not really sure. It sometimes gets hard to keep track of all the name changes.
From the moment our eyes met, I was a goner. I didn't know what it meant then, of course. I thought I was just worried about someone so inattentive. I thought I was just curious about the new girl. I thought a lot of things, because at the time I, an experienced and worldly man of seventeen, knew that there was no such thing as love at first sight.
It took less than a day to convince me that I, the experienced and worldly man of seventeen, knew jack. I couldn't close my eyes without seeing her. I wasn't even capable of having a thought that didn't somehow involve the beautiful Claire.
By the time her adopted Dad, convinced her not to take the Company public and left for the last time, our relationship was very well established. And I knew that no matter what happened, my only goal in life was to make sure that she was safe and happy. Of course back then I thought that would involve always staying by her side, maybe eventually marrying her, and having a dozen kids.
My lit teacher in the eight grade decorated his room with cheesy posters. For most of the year I sat next to one that said: "Sometimes the hardest thing in life is letting go." Now with years of experience under my belt I can tell you that the poster should have continued to say: "Especially when it is the right thing to do."
I met him after Nathan Petrelli was killed. Nathan was Claire's biological father. Nathan was Peter's brother. I guess they both needed someone to vent to, or at least a shoulder to cry on. The first time I met him, Claire was sobbing her eyes out, and Peter looked like he was trying hard not to join her.
And in an instant I knew that Claire could never be in love with me. It wasn't anything obvious. They weren't doing anything that an uncle and niece wouldn't do when they were mourning the death of a father and brother. But despite the grief and tears in their eyes, she looked more complete, more whole, than I had ever seen her look before. And even though I had never met Peter before I was willing to bet that the same applied to him.
Just like I had fought against the idea of love at first sight, I fought against the idea that Claire could be in love with Peter. This battle lasted a lot longer than a day. I had so many convincing arguments. They were related: it would be incest. The age difference: almost ten years. And besides shortly after Peter left, Claire told me that she loved me, that she was grateful for my presence. But then I remembered what I had considered to be my only mission in life: Making sure that Claire was safe and happy.
And I knew that try as I might I could never make her happy. You need to be complete to be happy, and Claire could only be complete with Peter. Besides, with all the powers that Peter had, he could definitely make sure that Claire was safe. And that was all that mattered.
I could lie and say that from that point on it was easy. But I won't. Pushing them together, trying to make them realize what I already had was the most painful thing I have ever had to do in my life. There were times when it felt like there was a knife in my heart that was being twisted slowly, and agonizingly. And worse yet: I was the one doing the twisting. At times I wanted to fight Peter, like a lion fights for his mate. Instead I became his friend, and slowly and surely I pushed him towards her.
Claire and I broke up. I was a "nice guy, and a real friend" she said, but she just didn't feel that we were meant to be together. She became my best friend and completing my mission in life became a little easier. I kept setting them up. Inviting both to a picnic, during which I would suddenly remember something terribly important to do which required me to leave them alone in a romantic setting for a long time. Arranging three way phone calls, during which I would have to hang up in the very beginning, leaving the two of them to talk. Eventually everyone could see that they were in love with each other except for them. Whenever I confronted them separately about the attraction they denied it: "Attracted to each other?!" "Now what on earth gave you that idea, West?" "What have you been smoking, West?" "We're related." "It would be incest." "And besides don't you know I'm in love with James/Marshall/Steve/Brad" "I only have eyes for Bambi/Jamie/Anna" they said.
(Oddly enough James and Marshall and Steve and Brad all bore a superficial resemblance to Peter, and by complete coincidence Bambi and Jamie and Anna were all petite blondes.)
It went on for years. And with each day it got easier. I was doing the right thing I would tell myself. He could make her happy and keep her safe, the way I never could. And besides, if I had to lose
her to someone, I may as well lose her to someone as decent as Peter Petrelli, and not to some James or Marshall or Steve or Brad.
Perhaps the most brilliant plan I ever had was to arrange a trip to Vegas and invite Peter and Claire along. They got drunk. We all did. By next morning she was Claire Petrelli, and I was listed as a witness, along with some woman I had never met before. Even though I don't remember the wedding we looked really happy on the wedding photo.
Technically the marriage wasn't valid. They were uncle and niece. A marriage like that would only be legal in France, or maybe some place like Alabama. But it did give them the push they needed to acknowledge that they were in love with each other.
Looking back at it now, I know that we never could have worked. Neither could have James, Marshall, Steve, or Brad. Even twenty five years later Claire hasn't changed in the least. Only her haircut, makeup, and wardrobe let her pass for nineteen instead of sixteen. Peter who absorbed Claire's invulnerability still looks like he is in his mid twenties even though he is older than I am.
They move every few years, so that people don't catch on. I suppose that it must be very hard abandoning the friends and the careers that they establish, but it doesn't seem to bother them too much. Nothing seems to bother them too much. Just a few months ago, I got a cheerful letter from Claire asking me to write out two letters of recommendation. One for John Tins and one for Annette Tins.
Sometimes it still hurts. I have never felt the same passion for another woman. Don't get me wrong. I love my wife. But I am not in love with her. I never was. But Mary is an intelligent and beautiful woman, and after twenty years of marriage, and three children, I do not let myself dwell on what ifs.
But I would not wish my fate on my daughter. Tina deserves better. And I really hope that this 'puppy love' is exactly what my wife thinks it is. The kind that will fade in a week or two. I suppose it would even be all right if it was the kind of love that Peter and Claire have. The brat doesn't deserve her, but I suppose I could live with it if he made my Tina happy. But as I lay down to sleep I sent up a silent prayer that she won't be doomed to my fate. Please God. Don't let her live her life with that kind of pain.