Title: Happily Ever After
Author: Aurora Ciel
Rating: R for implied sexual activities
Characters/Pairing: Peter/Claire
Summary: It didn't go at all the way she had planned it.
Warnings: Canon incest
Spoilers: Season 3 (and speculation from Volume 4 previews)
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Tim Kring and NBC.
Author's Note: This is something I would love to see done in the next Season. I'm sure all Paire fans would agree.

- - - - -

Since she was six years old, Claire Bennet had it all planned out.

While most of her friends were busy watching Arthur and eating Play-Doh, Claire spent her days locked in her bedroom planning out Barbie's wedding to Ken. For hours she would work on her doll's hair, making sure it looked just right—washing and brushing and styling it, then finally select the perfect white gown.

Sometimes it was a simple white sundress, others were lacy and covered in ruffles, but her favorite one was Barbie Cinderella's wedding dress. Claire wanted her dress to be just like that. Except for the puffy sleeves. Maybe there would be sparkles. And bows. Lots and lots of bows. And don't forget the tiara.

With all of Barbie and Ken's friends seated in makeshift church pews, Claire would walk her little doll down the aisle towards a perfectly styled Ken. Claire herself would perform the service, making sure no one would dare to stand up to oppose the marriage. After all of that was finished, she would throw some rice into the air and then start all over again.

In middle school Claire turned her attention to wedding locations. After deep deliberation and numerous discussions with her girlfriends at the lunch table, she'd decided the best location would be on the beaches of Hawaii. White and yellow lilies would scatter the sand and hang from every chair and archway. Candlelit lanterns would light the aisle to the altar that was just at shore. Of course, the sun would be setting as they said their "I do's".

It was brought to her attention how difficult it would be to walk in the sand, so Claire had to make some thoughtful alterations to her plan. Instead of being on the beach, there would be a wooden platform built on the beach so she wouldn't have to worry about her dress dragging in the sand.

And of course, she wouldn't even have to worry about bugs. It was her wedding, she just wasn't going to deal with them. Besides, her dad could come up with a scheme if needed anyway.

It wasn't until high school and meeting Jackie Wilcox that Claire even remotely considered her honeymoon. As a child, she didn't understand what that really alluded to and when she got a little bit older, she knew the older version of herself would know what to do.

But after reading honeymoon horror stories in Jackie's Cosmopolitans, Claire for the first time had to really take into account what would transpire on her wedding night.

Of course they would stay in some luxury hotel in Hawaii, preferably a suite. Did hotels still have honeymoon suites? Surely some did.

Her thoroughly buffed-out husband would carry her over the threshold to their suite—no honeymoon suite—no penthouse honeymoon suite. Candles would be lit all over the room, their combined scents creating a deliciously romantic aroma. Rose petals would be artfully sprinkled on the king sized bed in the center of the room. Maybe it would even be on a pedestal. With a canopy. And fluffy white pillows. Lots of pillows.

Their room would have a balcony with the best view in the hotel, overlooking the ocean as it swept up against the white shores. The fresh smell of salt water would drift into the room, along with the crashing of the waves, overwhelming their senses until they felt they were one with the ocean.

Her groom would lead her to the balcony where there was a large Jacuzzi already bubbling for them. It too would be surrounded by rose petals, of course. And a bottle of champagne would be chilling on the side.

After relaxing in the Jacuzzi for a bit and enjoying the fresh night air, Claire would sneak into the bathroom to change into a tasteful silk teddy. White, of course. Maybe she'd even get some thigh-high stockings and a pair of white stilettos.

When she'd emerge, her new husband would be so amazed by the look of her that it would take him a few moments to collect himself before he would sweep her into his arms and carry her to their large wedding bed, carefully settling her into the feather pillows. The blankets would be soft and expensive—Egyptian Cotton, or something classy like that. Soft music would be playing in the background—maybe classical piano with some violins and cellos. He would later tell her that he'd paid some famous composer to write this song for her, a symbol of their love for one another.

As he'd lean over her, kissing her softly, she wouldn't feel any fear. She wouldn't have any experience in this, but she'd love him so completely that she wouldn't be worried about making mistakes or anything like that. He would be slow and gentle, taking his time to kiss every inch of her body before even considering taking the next step to becoming one.

It would hurt, of course; she knew there would be no way to avoid it. Jackie had once told her that sometimes the hymen could be broken before by physical activities so Claire would try her hardest during cheerleading practice to constantly stretch out her thighs and inner muscles, just to ease things along. She highly doubted that it would do much help, but she figured it was worth a shot. She'd just have to brace herself for the pain and hope that it faded quickly enough.

They would make sweet love into the early hours of the morning, not even bothering to turn on the fan over them to cool themselves after. Her groom would simply open one of the large bay windows and the ocean breeze would cool them. It would be the best night of Claire's life. One she would never forget.

It didn't go at all the way she had planned it.

It didn't hurt at all. She couldn't feel pain anymore, after all. She could feel the intrusion he made, a slight stretching and then a significant shift as he could suddenly press forward with ease. Claire couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that she couldn't feel the pain that came from offering up her innocence to the man of her dreams.

And yet, she had to be thankful that she had indeed worked so hard to stretch out her nether regions. Having to deal with her hymen repairing itself every night would've been quite a hassle.

She didn't wear a wedding dress. She wasn't even wearing a dress. Or white. The both of them were wearing travel-worn jeans and t-shirts, the same clothing they'd been wearing for the past few days. But that didn't matter really. They were both so eager for the skin to skin contact that neither of them even noticed his lack of a tuxedo or her lack of lingerie. Her simple blue bra and underwear set stolen from the rack at Wal-Mart went unnoticed as they were practically ripped from her body.

There was no king sized bed with rose petals and a canopy. No honeymoon suite or balcony overlooking the beaches of Hawaii. Instead, they were in an old grungy motel room where they'd been forced into hiding a few days ago. The only thing scattering the blankets were a few moth balls and various holes from cigarette burns. Their view was of the run down parking lot; no beaches to be seen either, although there were plenty of puddles outside from the steady rainfall.

There were no candlelit lanterns, unless you considered the lone flickering light bulb in the corner of the room. Instead of sand from the beach, there was a bit of dirt on the ground that stained the tips of the bed sheets. No flowers around, either. But those weren't necessary. Claire wasn't nearly as shallow or high maintenance as she once was. The three years since they'd discovered their abilities changed all that for her.

He didn't have soft music playing in the background for her. The only sounds she could hear were the occasional cars driving past the street and the whistle of the wind passing over manholes and the pitter patter of the rainfall. She found the silence strangely calming.

The only thing even slightly resembling a Jacuzzi was the shower stall in the bathroom. But the showerhead was covered in grime and only a thin stream of cold water dribbled out of it.

No bubbling champagne, either. He'd surprised her with a pack of her favorite brand of Root Beer that afternoon. She'd been so excited she nearly choked trying to drink the first one down so quickly. The remaining bottles sat on the faded plastic table near the window. She never was a fan of champagne, anyway.

The bed wasn't on a pedestal. It wasn't covered with fluffy down pillows or Egyptian Cotton. The pillows were lumpy and the sheets were scratchy and the mattress was hard. Still, it was warm and sturdy—almost comfortable in its own way. By some miracle it had managed not to fall apart from the force of his thrusts as he pounded into her, unable to contain his passion and lust for her.

- - - - -

Afterwards, however, is much more than Claire could've ever imagined. Her hair is a mess and clinging to her sweaty face, she hasn't had a decent shower in weeks and she's sure she has bags under her eyes; yet, in his arms, she feels like the most beautiful woman in the world.

He holds her close and rubs her back slowly, trailing his calloused fingertips along her spine. She shivers and snuggles in closer to bare chest. Even though she's become very familiar with it through the night, she still can't believe how muscular it is. His entire body is covered in a lean layer of muscle—not quite the beefy way she'd imagined when she was younger, but she's come to appreciate the skinny guys more than the jocks anyway.

A soft kiss pressed to her hair brings a smile to her face. Claire closes her eyes and lays in content silence for a moment before whispering, "I love you, Peter."

He tips her chin up and touches his lips to hers softly, "I love you, too, Claire."

As she moves to roll onto her side, she pulls him along with her so his chest is pressed up against her back. The hand resting on her waist clasps hers. Peter brings his legs up so they're tucked behind hers, the thin layer of coarse hair covering them tickling her slightly.

She can tell by the steady rhythm of his breathing that he's fallen asleep and she's almost there, too. But she glances down at her left hand and pauses to look at her ring finger. There's no ring there—there never will be, never can be—but the faint light of the moon rests on it and it's enough for her.

They don't say any vows, either. Probably never will. But they don't need vows or rings or any kind of fancy ceremony to know that their love is true and real and right. No matter what anybody says.

Their vows are the experiences they go through together, the ways they protect each other and stay strong for each other, the promises they make to each other. Their rings are their stolen glances, their whispered confessions, their hidden kisses.

It isn't perfect. They're always hiding from someone or something. They're constantly on the run and sometimes that takes its toll on their relationship. But they know that they love each other, that it was more than mere coincidence that brought the two of them together.

The life Claire leads isn't easy or normal or a fairytale in anyway. She's not some damsel in distress princess and he's no knight in shining armor. But she has Peter Petrelli in her life, for as long as she lives.

And that's more of a happy ending than she could ever ask for.

- - - - -

Author's Note: Well that actually took me a long time to crank out. No excuses this time. But then I watched the new episode of Heroes (oh my god!) and was immediately inspired. I'm really hoping for some Paire this season! So far it looks good!

Review please!!