2008-05-18: Come Together

Starring:

Angela_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif Noah_icon.gif

Summary: Claire gets a long overdue visit from her biological grandmother.

Date It Happened: May 18th, 2008

Come Together


Bennet Home

Queens, New York

Smooth tires nevertheless crunch over remnants of gravel in the driveway of the Bennet household, belonging to a sleek black vehicle that isn't often seen in this part of the city. Or, as it happens, ever, insofar as this residence is concerned.

It's a Petrelli town car.

Into the dusky evening, stirred faintly by a pleasant breeze, Angela Petrelli steps out after the door is opened for her by the driver. The matriarch marches to the front step, holding primly onto an over-the-shoulder handbag and looking as bold as ever in a black skirt and black-and-white houndstooth jacket and pearls.

Unannounced, she rings the doorbell.

"I got it, Mom!"

The rolling thunder of footsteps on the stairs announces that Angela isn't going to have to be waiting on that front step for long. Sock-clad feet unceremoniously dash down the steps and, without so much as a peep out the side panels, the door flies wide open. And then there is a blink of surprise.

Claire Bennet, in her ponytail, bright yellow tank top and black yoga pants, was clearly not expecting the woman who stands on the other side of the portal. Her entire face contorts into an expression of obvious confusion: blue eyes narrowing and forehead crinkling. "A-angela?" Her head rears back, sending that ponytail dancing. Then her head shifts a few degrees down and to the side, looking at her biological grandmother askance. "What are you doing here?"

But Angela was expecting Claire. On the appearance of her granddaughter, the woman on the doorstep appears quite contented, a pleased smile spreading over red-painted lips marked by lines of age. "Hello Claire," she says pleasantly, unruffled by Claire's surprise and confusion; her own demeanour is quite the opposite, calm, collected, sure. "A grandmother can't visit her granddaughter?"

"That depends," Claire replies simply, moving to look past the Patrelli matriarch in a mark of suspicion. Betrayal cuts deep, you see, and the sting of it is still very, very fresh. Once she confirms for herself that she doesn't see anyone behind Angela, she looks up at her grandmother with the frown of all-seriousness, entirely unswayed by that collected, perfected smile that the elder woman wears. "Are you by yourself?"

"Only the driver." Angela glances briefly in the direction of the car she left behind, which sits, an unmoving, gleaming beast, in the driveway. "I told him to wait," she says with an air of casual dismissal. Her smile broadens for Claire, seeming truly fond, but she becomes more somber after a moment. She knows the nature of distrust all too well. "I just want to talk."

Claire looks up at her grandmother for a moment that seems forever long. Awkwardness helps with that time-distortion. After that moment, which in reality is barely a few breaths in length, the blonde pulls the door back. "Okay." Leaving the door hanging open, she then moves to make her way towards the living room.

Attitude? Check.

Precise strides on classic black pumps carry Claire's grandmother into the Bennet home, where she stops in the foyer to look around. Noah's nowhere and sight, nor is Mrs. Bennet or the boy, though Angela has her suspicions as she glances up the stairs. No matter; she's spending time with her granddaughter no matter what. Whisking into the living room, she takes a seat for herself — the white loveseat, rather than the more quaintly designed chairs. Details. "Why don't you start by telling me how you've been," she prompts. Good-naturedly? Why, yes, Angela Petrelli is being quite kind. "It's been quite a while since we've caught up, Claire. You're growing up to be quite the young woman now."

Crossing her arms, Claire takes her time in sitting down in one of the chairs. "I'm fine," she offers in a display of obstinence. "Still trying to recover from weeks of failing all of my classes because of an unexpected vacation to play lab rat, but you know how that goes." Her eyes roll upwards, her caustic smile opening to release her sarcastic laugh. "Oh, that's right. You don't." Her face falls flat. "If you're here to apologize for Nathan, I really don't wanna hear it."

Angela is unperturbed, save to gain a glimmer of sympathy in her dark eyes. "I'm not here to apologize for Nathan; he can apologize himself when the time comes." And the time will come, her resolute words seem to say between the lines. She folds her legs one over the other. The woman leans ahead, regarding the teenager oh-so-intently. "I understand more than you think, Claire. I was a prisoner of Pinehearst as well, after you. In part, that's why I'm here."

You know, when your grandmother talks in mysterious cliff-hangers, it makes it difficult to trusther. But Angela managed to say something right, evidenced by the upwards prick of one of Claire's sculpted blonde eyebrows. Her arms stay crossed, her torse stays right where it is, and her heels bounce against the floor once as her chin tucks a little. "I'm listening."

"What Pinehearst is doing goes beyond trying to use you for their gain," Angela is prompt to explain for once. Her tone is matter-of-fact and cutting, bearing exactly no love for the organization she speaks of. "My … husband — your grandfather — is intent on making everyone like us. Special. If he were to succeed, the consequences would change the world." The matriarch leans further ahead, a hand reaching out to Claire, for her knee, the fond look in her eye heightened by something more dire. Serious, intense, and unwavering. "That can't happen. To prevent it, this family must come together."

"Claire's suffered /enough/. They stole her blood… She doesn't need you stealing what little life she has here in New York." A stern voice interjects itself into the conversation, coming from the back door area. If the driver was supposed to warn Angela is Noah's car was in sight, he failed, more due to Noah's caution rather than the driver's negligence. Noah strides in, dressed in his suit, equipped with his suitcase and a rather large amount of sarcasm. "I'm glad you decided to stop by, Angela… If I knew you were coming, I'd bake a cake."

Family coming together? That's highly amusing, considering that it wasn't all /that/ long ago that Angela was trying to ship Claire off to friggin' France. After staring at the hand that finds its way onto her knee, the young woman looks back up to her grandmother. "I…"

Totally got interrupted by the timely intervention of her father! Claire's blonde head whips around to look past Angela so she can settle her gaze on her father. "Dad!" A glance down to Angela, and then the Bennet girl is pushing herself onto her feet and taking a step back. Um. Yeah. This just got ten times more awkward.

In the midst of clutching Claire's knee intently, Angela looks up to see Noah. Her grip loosens, and she sits back at the girl stands up. She resumes a poised position and clasps her hands over her own knee. There is a dark glare for the man for his timing, but it's only marginally hostile. "Good evening, Noah," she greets, her pleasantry more feigned than it had been with Claire. "No one is stealing anyone," she states, matter-of-fact rather than defensive in the slightest. "Quite the opposite, in fact. This family needs to function like a family for what's to come. That means you, too, Noah."

"Considering that I'm protecting my daughter, I think I am doing my proper family function," Noah states as he makes his way toward the two woman, standing next to Claire. The position is more supportive rather than defensive, a couple of feet between the two. Despite being closer to Claire, his full attention is upon his employer. Only TWO things will make Noah disobey his boss. First, Noah will defend his family at all costs. Second, the desire to kill the man that threatens his family at all costs.

"After Pinehearst and if she wants it, we can begin 'family time' as you want. But if you truly care for Claire, you won't force her into these battles."

"If you think I'm planning on sending Claire to war, you're mistaken." Angela rises from her seat, joining the ranks of the standing. "Not all battles are on the front lines. And as I see it," the woman looks pointedly to Claire, "Claire is a young woman. She's capable of making her own decisions."

"Talking about her helping against Pinehearst… I doubt that you'll be asking her to assist by going to class on a regular basis and lead a faintly normal life," Noah states. While Angela is willing to let Claire decide, Noah is seemingly not in the same place. Surprise surprise on that one.

Have you ever felt like you just got kicked out of the shotgun slot that you were riding around in and shoved in the back seat with your five-year old cousin? That about sums up how Claire's feeling now as she goes from important participant in this conversation to subject matter.

For a couple of rounds of the back and forth, she tries to figure out what exactly to say. It isn't until she grows so frustrated with the situation that she can't stand it anymore that she finally figures it out. "Claire is standing right here," she finally snaps, looking between her grandmother and her father. When that wide-eyed sapphire gaze lands, however, it is on Noah. "And I want to hear what she has to say."

So say she does. Angela swoops in at this perfect opportunity to say a few select words. "To overcome challenges one must be strong," she explains, looking between the both of them evenly. It's not unlike watching two riled animals and gauging which is going to strike first, save for the fact that Angela isn't exactly threatened. "You're already strong, Claire," she says with an admiring smile; for a moment, the proud grandmother. "You give others strength. Peter…" A pause. "Nathan. They'll need it, to fight these battles. You're our glue, Claire."

Noah merely folds his arms. He likely has his own words to say on the matter, but for now, he doesn't say them. After all, Angela needs to offer her words.

Whatever Claire was expecting Angela to say, it is soon apparent that it does not match what actually finds its way onto the air. Defiance melts into something else. "So what am I supposed to do? Break out the pom poms? Sit on the sidelines and do scissor kicks? I think this stuff goes beyond the power of a pep rally."

"Of course not, dear," Angela says mildly in contrast to the defiant would-be cheerleader. "It's hard to see now. But you're a part of this whether you…" Although she speaks to Claire, her gaze shifts momentarily to Noah, pointed. "…like it or not. There's someone who would very much like to see you, Claire. Peter." Pause. "Our Peter."

"But Peter's locked up," Claire offers as her retort of supreme obviousness, casting a glance in Noah's direction before she turns her gaze back to the stately Angela. She readjusts her arms, allowing her shoulders the opportunity to shrug helplessly. "…Can I really see him?"

"He won't be there for much longer. Only as long as he needs to be. Yes, you can." Angela reaches into her handbag, retrieving a small, flat box wrapped neatly in elegant forest blue and silver pinstripe giftwrap and a delicate silver ribbon. Along with it, an envelope. "And I have something for you; a birthday present." Which is, of course, handed to Claire with a smile that's been diminished since the beginning of her visit. "I meant to bring it by earlier. Better late than never."

Noah looks toward Claire and Angela as they discuss Peter with unamused eyes behind twin walls of glass. Of course, it is only a matter of time before Claire understand it is her own father that locked him up. Does he regret it? No. Will he regret it? …Likely not. But as Angela tries to offer a gift to Claire, he visably tenses slightly, as if resisting the urge to inspect the gift first himself.

Taking the present in hand, the blonde Bennet considers the package carefully. After a small, tight smile, she slips her fingertips under the edge of the paper and begins delicately unwrapping the gift. When she reveals first a box, and then opens it, there's a look of surprise. She turns those bewildered eyes up to her grandmother, her features prominently displaying her confusion. "They're… They're beautiful." Inside? A pair of older, but no less breathtaking, diamond earrings.

Angela gives Claire another smile, interrupted only by a chastising glance to Noah. She says nothing to him yet, but her expression says it all: calm down, Bennet, it's just a birthday gift. "They belonged to someone who meant a great deal to me." The Petrelli smoothes down the front of her hound's-tooth jacket, straightens her shoulders. "I should be going," she says; on more cynical terms, she adds, "Unless you have something more you'd like to say to me that can't wait, Noah."

"No, I think I've said enough," Noah replies, his tone not confrontational nor apologetic. As usual, he states the facts, his voice mostly calm. There is still a bit of tension in his shoulders and arms, clearly not at ease with this turn of events in the least. "Have a good night, Angela."

"Thank you." Claire replies at last, looking up from the earrings that she had gone back to admiring. Knees bent in towards each other, the teenaged girl leans forward and rests her elbows on her knees. She tilts the box side to side, her eyes caught again by watching the light dance its spectrum over the surface of the stone. "And… and if I could see Peter, that would be awesome."

Very well. "We'll be in touch," Angela tells the young woman. "It was nice to see you, Claire. She steps in closer to her granddaughter, touching the her arm as she leans down to move her face in close to Claire's — the pose of a kisses on the cheek, of goodbyes, of whispering secrets. She's said her goodbyes. In Angela Petrelli's case, it's the latter. She delivers one simple whispered message before taking her leave: "Trust the Muse."

Still standing next to Claire, the angle of Angela's efforts is percise enough to avoid the man catching wind of the words. It is a blessing for many parties concerned, at the very least Kory. Noah just continues to watch the two Petrelli women speak, moving toward the door as Angela pulls away, clearly planning to open the door for her.

Claire's eyes open wide and rapidly shift towards her grandmother as she hears those words, but to the younger female's credit she doesn't actually shift her head. Instead, she just moves to briefly rest her hands on Angela's forearms, as though reciprocating the gesture. "Good night. Thanks again for the earrings."

As she steps through the door held open ever-so-graciously by Noah, Angela stops in the threshold long enough to dip her head in a stoic nod to the Bennets. She regards Claire with knowing eyes for an extended moment, and then her heels are carrying her swiftly back to her awaiting chariot.

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