Disclaimer: I don't Heroes, and the fundamental concept of this story was inspired by rain and leaves' "Four Months Later" and is used with his permission
Feedback: I'd like it, trust me
AN: Updates on this may not be that frequent, but I wanted to get this up before the next series begins and I need to start accommodating its plotlines in here, so I hope you like what I've done so far; work will begin in earnest once I've completed my other Paire AU 'Seeds of the Future', with maybe a chapter or two up before that
AN 2: This begins at the very end of "Four Months Later…" when Peter is discovered by Ricky and the others in the box, but rapidly diverges into AU from that point onwards
A Leap to Safety
As he blinked his eyes open, he only registered three things about his surroundings.
Firstly, he was dressed only in a pair of trousers and a necklace of some sort was hanging around his neck.
Secondly, he was currently chained in a box for reasons that he couldn't remember.
Thirdly, three men were currently looking at him in a manner that made it clear that they didn't have his best interests at heart, holding torches and standing at a large square opening. He could vaguely make out rain and a few other metal boxes that looked like the one he was currently in behind them, but the men currently dominated his vision.
"What's that?" one of them said, breaking into his train of thought. It was only then that he realised that they'd been speaking for a while now; actually, he was fairly certain that it was hearing their voices that had woken him up.
"What the hell are you doing here?" one of them said, a distinct accent to his voice that he was sure he should recognise but couldn't immediately identify, as the three of them walked closer to him. "Where are the iPods?"
"You heard the man!" another of the men yelled at him, as he shifted his position to look at the new arrivals more effectively. "How did yous get in here?"
As he looked at the men before him in shock, his mind desperately raced to try and recall what had happened to put him in this position…
Only to realise that he couldn't.
He had no idea where he was, he had no idea what had happened to him, and he was currently being confronted by three men who had just as little idea about the situation as he did and were clearly less interested in simply talking about the situation,
Whatever put me in this position, he thought to himself as he tried to fight through his current panic to come up with a plan of some kind, is it too much to hope that it'll get me out of it as well... preferably before something bad happens?
"Maybe this'll jog your memory!" a third man said, stepping forward from behind the other two with a baseball bat in his hand.
As the man advanced towards him, clearly preparing to attack him with the bat, all he could do at that moment was wish more than anything that he was somewhere, anywhere, other than here…
Then, after no more time than it took for him to blink, he was no longer inside the metal box. Instead he was sprawled on the floor of a comfortable-looking room, the walls and the bed in a tasteful shade of green. A young woman sat on the bed in the middle of the room, staring out of a nearby window, her long blond hair the only indication of her gender from where he was currently lying as her back was to him.
Then she turned around, revealing a face that he could have sworn he'd seen somewhere before- a face that somehow warmed his heart and sent a comforting feeling through his entire body- and eyes that automatically widened in shock at the sight before her.
"What the… Peter?" she said, her voice low as she stared in shock at him.
As he stared back at her, he paused for a moment, sensing something flickering in the back of his mind about the woman before him, something where only moments before there had been nothing…
Then it hit him.
Her name; he knew it was hers as certainly as he'd known that he was in a metal box only moments before.
"Claire?" he asked, looking at her uncertainly as he spoke.
Claire couldn't believe it.
Only a few minutes ago she'd been talking to Nathan about how she had been missing Peter, and now, here he was, half-naked- and he looked good like that, a traitorous part of her mind thought- and with a new short haircut, looking at her like he'd never seen her before in her life.
"You're alive…" she whispered, reaching out with one hand, shaking constantly as she moved closer and closer to him, partly terrified that she'd reach him and he'd vanish. "You're alive… I knew it… I knew you couldn't be dead…"
Then her fingers touched his skin- his warm, living, and most of all real skin- and the last remnants of Claire's restraint snapped; leaping off the bed, she hugged Peter tightly, sobbing with joy into his shoulder as he slowly raised his arms to hug her back.
"It's OK, Claire…" he said soothingly into her ear, the same voice she'd heard in her dreams ever since he'd told her that he hadn't known he was going to heal when he'd fallen off a building to save her life. "It's OK…"
After a few moments, when Claire finally felt herself regain at least some control over herself, she pulled back from Peter, only for her eyes to widen in shock as his lips met hers in a deep, passionate kiss.
For a moment, Claire was too stunned to think about what had just happened- she even briefly contemplated the possibility that it hadn't happened and this was just another dream-, but then she allowed herself to briefly surrender to what she'd wanted since almost the moment she first saw him, kissing him back with all the passion and longing that she'd tried to deny ever since she first saw the picture of him standing beside her father- his brother- all those long months ago...
Then reality took over, and she forced herself to pull away from him, staring resolutely into his eyes even as she tried to ignore the confused, hurt expression on his face as he stared at her.
"What happened to you?" she asked, forcing herself to focus on the immediate matter at hand rather than what had just taken place between them (A traitorous part of her mind asked her if she really wanted to know what had happened that would convince him to give her what she'd wanted from him practically since they met, but she forced that thought aside; she had to know what had happened to him). "I mean, the last time I saw you you were... were..."
As she took in the confused expression on his face, her voice trailed off, looking uncertainly at Peter as he raised one hand to his lips, his eyes briefly flicking to her own before he met her gaze once again.
"We... we don't kiss, do we?" he said, a slightly inquiring tone in his voice.
Of all the things she'd expected Peter to say if he'd ever returned to her after that nightmarish confrontation in Kirby Plaza, that statement certainly hadn't been anywhere near the top of the list...
"Uh... excuse me?" she asked, looking at him in confusion. "Peter, are you all...?"
Then her traitorous eyes flicked downwards to steal a glance at his chest- God, for a man who didn't give the impression he worked out much he looked good-, and her eyes fell on the golden symbol around his neck.
The same symbol as the one that had been worn by the man she'd only ever known as the Haitian.
"Oh my God..." Claire whispered, reaching out to take the symbol on her right hand, looking at it for a few seconds before she looked sorrowfully up at Peter. "You... you don't remember, do you?"
At those two simple words, Claire was simultaneously filled with joy, frustration, and self-loathing almost instantaneously.
Here she was, with her thought-to-be-dead uncle now miraculously alive again, and all she could think about was that he didn't know about the fact that she was his niece?
Not only was she now extremely annoyed at the Haitian for erasing Peter's memories and leaving her in this situation, she was also annoyed at herself for actually allowing herself to think about the possibilities of this situation in the first place.
So much for any hope that my life would get easier now... she mused to herself, as, with no real idea what else she could do, she settled for simply wrapping her arms around Peter in another hug.
"It's OK, Peter..." she said, trying to be as reassuring as she could through her own confusion. "You'll be fine now... you just... just need some time..."
That was always the problem in their relationship, wasn't it? No matter how much she had wanted to spend time with him, there had always been something going on- commonly Sylar-related; another reason not to like that head-slashing sicko- to stop them from ever really taking time to spend together without having to deal with Sylar in some way or another; if it wasn't the near-imminent destruction of New York approaching and them racing agaisnt time to try and get Peter and Ted out of the city, than it was Peter being nearly accused of Jackie's murder and forced to stay in prison...
They'd had to give up so much potential time with just each other to deal with one crisis after another; would there ever be enough time for Claire to sort out how she felt about him?
And, on a more personal level... would whatever the Haitian had done to him be sorted out before she gave into temptation and did something that she knew Peter would hate her for once he remembered who he was?
AN 3: To clarify in advance for anyone wondering why Peter's memories weren't restored when he came in contact with Claire like they were when he met Adam, given that he was able to heal from being shot in "Kindred" and yet retained his amnesia, I'm assuming that Claire's ability to heal isn't as powerful as Adam's, due to Adam's body having had more 'opportunities' to heal itself over the years and hence having become 'better' at repairing more subtle injuries such as the damaged brain tissue caused by the use of the Haitian's powers. As a result, Claire's ability to heal can't restore Peter's memories because the damage is too subtle for her ability to register that there's an injury in the first place, but Adam's more advanced power is able to do so.