Assassins by SLynn
Summary: It's time to undo the mistakes of the past.
Spoilers: V2/Set Three Months After 'Powerless'
Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing and will return them all when I'm done, virtually untouched.
Notes: I started this a long time ago and thought, with the new season beginning, now was the time to get it out there... you know, before canon comes along and ruins my thought process. My goal is a chapter a week, but for right now, a two-chapter start. I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1: The Homecoming Queen
"This is a very bad idea."
"It was your idea."
"I know," Matt said, shaking his head with a sigh. "I know. I just didn't think you'd actually agree to it."
"She's not safe here," Peter said, looking out the passenger's window of their rental car.
"Bennet's not going to let anything happen to her," Matt reasoned. "You know that."
"He has no right to keep her this way," Peter said, finally facing him.
"She's seventeen. He's her father…"
"No, he's not," Peter said, evidently tired of this argument. "Nathan is. Nathan didn't even know she was alive until last year. They kidnapped her away from her real family. Nathan has every right to see her and they're…"
"Okay, okay," Matt said, quickly interrupting him. "I know. You're right, I know. It's just the last time I showed up at this family's doorstep…"
"Nothing bad is going to happen," Peter said, opening the door and ready to get it over with. Glancing up in time to see the curtain flutter shut from an upstairs bedroom.
'They know we're here,' he thought back as Matt exited the vehicle.
"We've been sitting across the street for half an hour," Matt returned, not bothering to think it at him as they'd previously agreed to do. "Of course they know we're here."
Peter didn't return an answer, only knocked loudly on the door.
"Oh, dear God," Sandra Bennet exclaimed softly as she looked right past Peter to Matt who, in return, smiled sheepishly.
"What are you doing here?" Noah Bennet said harshly, joining his wife at the door.
"You know why we're here," Peter answered.
"You are not taking my daughter across the country to go live with a man who we don't even know."
"She's not your daughter," Peter said evenly.
"The hell she isn't," Sandra snapped. "I don't care that he's her birth father. Where's he been all this time? Where's her mother been? They gave her up for adoption. We raised her."
Matt shifted, looking at Bennet now and shaking his head.
"How about those adoption papers?" Peter asked, ignoring Sandra and focusing on Bennet instead, having heard the silent exchange.
"What?" Sandra asked. "You need proof? Is that… We have the papers. We…"
"Sandra," Bennet finally said, cutting her off. "Let me handle this."
For a moment it appeared as if she was going to fight him, but instead she only threw one last contemptuous glance at the two intruders before retreating back into the house.
"I'm not letting her go with you," Bennet said in a low voice. "She's safer here, out of the way. I can protect her better…"
"No you can't," Peter returned. "You're only getting her more involved. We know, alright. We know about your little deal with Primatech. Your plans to make her safe."
'I know it was you,' Matt added, startling Bennet by being inside his head.
For a minute he just stood there, uncertain what to do or say next. Ultimately he stood aside, ushering the two men into him home.
"Legally, you have no right…"
"If you want to resort to legalities…" Peter began, but Sandra was back on her feet crossing the room to him.
"Go ahead and try it."
"Sandra," Bennet said again, his face turning red as he spoke. "No one wants that. I'm sure there's something we can work out. That some arrangement can be made, but…"
"She doesn't want to go," Sandra said adamantly.
"No one is going to force Claire to go anywhere she doesn't want to go," Matt said, not wanting to join the argument, but feeling it was necessary to say something. He seemed to be the only one not emotionally invested.
"Well then," Sandra said, "you can leave because she doesn't want to go with you. She doesn't want to leave her family…"
"We're her family, too," Peter said, becoming angrier.
"I knew this was a bad idea," Matt muttered, pulling on Peter's shoulder.
"Where have you been, if that's true? Where's your brother if this is so important to him? If Claire is so important…"
"He couldn't come; he's still recuperating," Peter answered, his voice still terse. "And you know that. He's talked to you, to both of you, enough times…"
"I don't care what he says," Sandra said, coming close to tears now. "Claire is my daughter and…"
"Mom," Claire called out, standing and staring at them from bottom of the staircase. "I want to go."
For a long moment everyone was silent.
"You don't mean that," Sandra said, already sounding defeated.
"Claire," Bennet said, his voice almost a plea.
"I do," Claire returned. "I do mean it. Mom, it's not… I love you but it's not safe for you if I'm still here."
"You're safer with us…"
"I'm not," she interrupted. "I'm really not. Not the way…" Claire trailed off, finally looking at her father's face. "I don't want that kind of protection."
"What about school? What about college? Claire," Sandra tried, knowing it was in vain, "are you just going to walk out…"
"No," Claire said, tears in her eyes now. "Mom, it's not…"
"She can come back whenever she wants to," Peter said, finally softening at the display. "Or you can come see her. No one is going to keep her from you. Really. That's not… That's not what this is about."
"Then what? What is it then?"
"Someone tried to kill my brother," Peter answered. "The wrong people already know that Claire is his daughter. She needs to be protected. She needs better protection than you can give her."
"Who exactly is going to provide this better protection?" Bennet asked.
"I am," Peter said evenly.
No one spoke; the words, the determination behind his voice was all that was really needed. They knew he was serious and that he wouldn't back down. Not from them; not from anyone.
"We'll give you a minute," Matt said, reaching out and tugging on Peter's elbow as he did so.
Reluctantly Peter followed, but refused to get back into the car with Matt. He just stood there, leaning against the door, watching the house. Finally, after several long minutes, Claire appeared, making her way across the street to them with her head down, holding tightly to her bags.
Peter took her luggage and put it into the trunk as Claire slid into the back seat.
"Claire," Peter started to say, catching her eye in the rearview mirror as he sat back in the passenger's seat.
"Let's just go," she said, looking away from him and out the window.
The ride to the airport was silent except for the radio. Matt insisted it be played, if only to drown out the thoughts of the other two passengers. Once they arrived though, Claire seemed to have worked herself into better spirits. She began peppering Peter with questions about New York, her new school, and exactly what was happening to them all.
Peter wouldn't tell her much about the latter, not wanting to discuss it so out in the open, but was happy to supply her with any details she needed about anything else.
Matt mostly kept out of their way and out of the conversation. Claire had nothing to say to him, and he could hardly blame her. It was confounding how connected they all were.
It wasn't until they'd boarded the plane, as Claire took her seat next to Peter, that she even mentioned Nathan.
"How is he really?"
"Better," Peter answered, the tone of his voice giving away the lie.
"I wanted to come sooner," Claire continued. "I really did, it's just…"
"You don't have to explain it," Peter interrupted. "I understand."
"We talked," she said, almost sighing. "After you'd… when you were gone, we talked. Not a lot but…"
Peter took her hand and squeezed it, smiling at her reassuringly.
"I'm glad you're back," Claire said, smiling now as well.
"I'm glad you're coming with us."
The flight was long and uneventful. Once they landed, they picked up their luggage and walked over to the long line of people queued up for taxis.
"Peter," Matt said, shaking his hand. "I'll see you later."
"Thanks for doing this," Peter returned with a nod. "I mean it; you didn't have to come with me. I really appreciate it."
Matt, unused to thanks, just shrugged it off before turning to Claire and then back again to Peter. "Just, be careful."
Peter gave a brief laugh, as if to say 'that's not possible' and before actually turning to go with a simple, "Bye."
Claire gave Matt one last glance, still reserving judgment, but obviously more inclined to like him than before; willing, at least, to be partially guided by Peter's opinion of him.
"We're not getting a cab?" Claire asked, following Peter as he walked towards the terminal's exit.
"No," Peter said, his eyes darting from side-to-side. "Nathan hates cabs."
"He's here?" Claire asked; her attention caught as she too began to scan the crowd.
"No," Peter answered quickly. "But since he hates them, he thinks everyone else does. That's kind of how he is. See," he said, stopping and pointing through the crowd, "he sent the car."
Peter said a few words to the driver, who laughed before opening the door for them and taking Claire's luggage.
The ride was quiet; no radio this time to break through the silence. Claire spent most of it looking out the window and watching the people, the buildings, and the expanse of it all. She couldn't relax. Her nerves felt raw. It was all too new.
Peter, for his part, simply dropped back his head against the seat and slept; perfectly at ease. It was all familiar to him; a small comfort to be home. It was the first time he'd felt relaxed since the start of the trip.
Finally, after what seemed like a longer time than it actually was, the car stopped and as it did Peter's eyes popped open.
"Is this…" Claire began to ask, having never been there before; her last trip she'd only been inside and seen Angela Petrelli's home.
"Yeah," Peter said, getting out of the car now and taking the luggage from the driver. "This is it."
Claire stepped out of the car. Much like her grandmother's residence, the building looked less like a home and much more like a museum. She imagined it was the same inside. And, for the first time, was beginning to regret her decision as it dawned on her that she really did not know these people.
Peter, sensing much of her turmoil, just turned to her and smiled.
"It's going to be fine," he said, patting her on the back as they walked to the door.
Claire smiled back, tentatively, but with the dawning realization that she trusted him. She may not know Peter, or Nathan, very well at all, but she trusted them both.
"Welcome home, Claire."