Title: Summer's End
Characters/Pairings: Peter/Claire
Rating: PG-13 / T
Category: AH, Canon
Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: No copyright intended, written for fun not profit.

Summary: They spend every summer together, away for the family, away from the duties and obligations, and most important, away from the rules.

Comment: Inspired by the Foo Fighter's song Summer's End. Written for my dear friend, capeofstorm. Thanks to my amazing beta caffeinified.

Early morning without warning
Woke me with a scare
I had that dream again
That the sun was dead

Peter woke up with a scare. Despite it being winter, he suddenly felt very hot. His breathing was hard and quick and he immediately looked around fiercely, searching for the light switch. He turned on the light and looked at the clock. It was 4 a.m.

He decided to get out of bed and stand on the balcony for a while, letting the winter air brush over his sweaty skin. His heart rate slowly returned back to normal, and yet he was still upset. For the last couple of years he has been having these dreams about Claire dying and this year was no different. What was interesting though was that these dreams only occurred during winter time. He chuckled softly and thought that this was probably because during winter his sun was away and he spent the night alone.

It all began four years ago, when the whole Petrelli family went on vacation together. It was a most absurd idea, but Nathan insisted since he wanted to show the press and the public that he was a family man. Claire had been living with her biological family then, because she was attending the NYU. So, she got to go along, too.

At first everything was fine. As much as you can call a Petrelli family vacation fine. Once a day there had to go out together in public, but otherwise everyone was doing what they wanted. Nathan spent his time with Heidi and their kids since he otherwise spent most of his time in the office nowadays. Angela went to lunches with her friends and associates and was not much seen at their beach house. So, that only left Peter and Claire.

And Peter and Claire spent their time well. They had fun. They went swimming a lot, listed to music, walked into town, played games, cooked together and made a mess every time, cause somehow the food never ended up on the table. They forgot about everything else, about all the problems, the world saving, the never-ending complications and rules.

It was one of these food fights that changed everything. Somehow, no one was sure how, they both ended up covered with chocolate and flour. A dangerous combination. Peter tried to clean Claire's face when their laughter suddenly stopped and tension filled the air. They kept staring into each other's eyes, their breaths becoming quicker. And when all common sense left them, Peter leaned in and kissed her. Their tongues started a dangerous dance and their bodies melted into each other. The kiss was slow at first, but then all the restrained passion surfaced and their kiss became deeper and intensified. They didn't stop until they had to come up for air. Fortunately, no one entered the kitchen at that moment, because no one would be able to explain what happened.

Battling with their emotions and with logic they tried to stay apart as much as possible. Their family didn't notice. It was not that they hadn't had feelings for each other before, there had been a connection since they day they met. Claire told herself it was only a silly crush and Peter tried to convince himself he was only trying to be protective and take care of her.

Unfortunately, luck was not on their site and when Peter walked into Claire having a shower the next evening, all restraint and reserve left their minds. At first they tried to fight it and just get it out of their system, but it didn't work. Until they finally accepted that although this was an unfortunate situation, it was real.

Their lives changed abruptly. Having an incestuous affair was wrong and stupid, but having an incestuous affair and a brother/dad for a congressman and a mother/grandmother for a socialite was even worse. So they came up with a plan.

Every summer they would meet somewhere and spend it together. During the summer they would be a couple, they would be together, have no worries and just enjoy life. But when the summer ended, they would return to their 'normal' lives and pretend to be uncle and niece, a nurse and a student, friends and family. They would not touch, they would not kiss, and they would not make love during autumn, winter and spring.

And every winter Peter would have these dreams about Claire dying. It was stupid really, to be scared for a girl who was immortal. And yet in his dreams she somehow always managed to get killed and leave him alone in this cold and cruel world. Cause to him, the world was only beautiful during the summer.

Make me warm or take me home
Its so cold in here
Can't we meet somewhere
Is it winter there?
Is it winter there?
This winter

They both spent their days alone. They never dated anyone, cause really it wouldn't do any good. Their family was worried sometimes, but they were masters at pretending and so no one saw behind their fa├žade, no one noticed their loneliness and their hurt. Occasionally they would bring a date to the family dinner, to appear normal in front of them, but somehow these relationships never worked out. Because neither Peter nor Claire were even in them.

Both wished it could be summer all the time, and that they could be together. But unfortunately the world didn't function that way. They wanted to cross the line so many times, the longing was great and the winter was long, but they fought it, because summers are better then nothing. And they would do it this way, because they couldn't survive without each other. So they would take what they could get.

They lay in their separate beds each night, thinking about the other, each longing for the other's touch and wondering when the winter would be over. They tried to keep themselves as busy as possible, so the time would pass quicker and they could be together again soon.

Meet me in the summertime
We can move the air
Sweet Virginia countryside
I will meet you there

Golden lips and cherry wine
Moonshine in your hair
Just keep staring at the sun
Pray for summer's end

But every year the summer would come and every year they would meet somewhere warm and sunny. Because they associated the warmth with each other and in the honor of their beginning, they kept the summers to themselves.

Some days they would spend in bed, trying to erase all the lonely nights they had spent alone during the winter. Other days they would walk around, have moonlight dates and candlelit dinners. They would take up the role of a fresh couple one year, the next year they would be engaged and the next year newlyweds. They pretended and lived in their dream. Because only this way they could be happy, only this way they could survive.

They both knew that some day they would be able to spend eternity together. No one would know they were related, no one would recognize them anymore, because they were destined to spent eternity walking on this earth. But they would be together, and therefore, it was all worth it. And so they often prayed for the summer's end, when they wouldn't only be together during the summers, when they wouldn't need to hide their relationship and their love for each other. And so they waited and kept their summers until then.

Come on over brave my storm
Oceans overhead
Come inside, my friend
Getting bad out there

Every moment we have stolen
All we have to share
No one wanted them
But you know I did
You know I did
This moment

If someone realized they had something special, no one ever said anything. And they couldn't bother really, because the truth was, they loved each other and would not give it up. But nobody ever indicated anything, possibly because they didn't want to notice or actually didn't notice. But they both knew how they would react if the matter ever came up. But the Petrelli family was good at pretending.

Every summer, all their problems and issues would disappear, and all that mattered was them. They both lived for these moments, these three months a year, when they would disappear from the face of the earth and meet somewhere. The world had taken so much from them and with these months, they took something back.

Meet me in the summertime
We can move the air
Meet me in the summertime
I will meet you there