2007-11-10: Death for the Undying

Starring:

Peter_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

MrMuggles_icon.gif

Summary: Unable to reach Claire on her cellphone, Peter stops by for a visit. They find a common, disturbing experience to share.

Date It Happened: November 10, 2007

Death for the Undying


Bennet Home

A fairly productive day before led to some actual sleep on his part. Not as much sleep as he should need, logically, but five hours has been more than he'd been getting days before he got sick and after he got better. Meeting someone who hadn't slept for years took a toll on his sleep cycle, but at least it gave him more time in the day to do things, without feeling tired. This little sleep is the reason Peter approaches the Bennet House in the early hours of morning, hoping to catch his niece before she goes to school. Dressed warmly, due to the chilled November weather, he stands in front of the house and does something he had been adviced to do last time he visited (and got shot)… he walks up to the front door and rings the doorbell. And waits.

Peter's lucky. Not only is Claire home, but she's the one who answers the door. When she pulls open the front door, however, it should be abundantly clear that she is not preparing to go to school. She is unabashedly wandering around in her baggy blue flannel pajama pants with little white sheep all over them. Well, white sheep with the occasional black sheep. With a blue terrycloth hoodie wrapped tightly about her, she swings the door open and then her head rears back in surprise and forehead crinkles in a little maze of confusion. "Peter?"

Since the last time they'd seen each other, Peter looks a lot healthier. Skin tone returned, the only weird colorations can be blamed on the cool air outside. Doesn't look exhausted either. Though her blood didn't fix what ailed him, it would seem it either fixed itself, or something else happened to make it better. While she stares at him in surprise, though, he looks right back, blinking. "Shouldn't you be getting ready for school?" voice may be whispered and slightly raspy, but it too sounds healthier than the last few times they spoke. The chill of the outside does strike him as being uncomfortable for the fact that she's in pajamas, even with a hoodie, so he asks, "Would it be better if I come back at another time?"

"I'm not going," Claire states matter-of-factly, her expression slipping into something a little more stoic. After a brief moment, she clears her throat and then steps back, indicates the hallway behind her with a tilt of her head. Her free hand moves to twist her hair into an untied ponytail and pull it in front of her shoulder. "You look better. Come on in. Dad's at work and Mom took Lyle to school already."

"Not going?" Peter asks, frowning a bit before he accepts the invitation inside and steps through the doorway, closing and locking the door behind him. Urban manners. When he turns back, his expression is concerned. Though his hair has had a chance to grow out in the last month, it still doesn't hang past his eyebrows, though it's starting to curl on his forehead again. "Yeah, I was cured— it's not fixed for everyone. Nathan's still sick, though at least he won the election anyway." He hesitates as he starts to unbutton and remove his coat. "Why aren't you going to school? Because Sylar's loose again?"

Claire's expression darkens. "Something like that." She shoves her hands back into her hoodie pockets and starts towards the kitchen. "You want coffee? I think Mom's still got the decaf warm in the pot." As she goes, she picks back up the conversation, but shifts it drastically in a new angle. "I'm sorry that I couldn't be more help with the… sick… thing. I've been meaning to call, especially when Nathan won. To see how everybody was doing." But she didn't. For a multitude of reasons. "How did you get better?"

Continuing to look worried, Peter follows in the direction of the kitchen, shaking his head at the offer of coffee. Even if he may not like the whole conversation change, as he sounds a little quieter when he speaks again, he does allow it to carry on. "I'm sure it's okay you didn't call. Though I'm sure he would have appreciated it. He was really proud. I called as soon as they announced the projection on the news." Cause he's his brother, known him his whole life. She's barely known her father a year. "Someone found a way to heal me, using an ability. It tired them out too much, though, so it's only a last minute back up plan if we can't find a permanent cure— but I'm working on that now."

There's a pause. Remember that topic change? "I know Sylar's out again. Someone who wasn't supposed to tell me gave me the warning. I figured your father knew the moment it happened, and he probably had everything under control with you, but I wanted to check anyway— I haven't been able to reach your cellphone."

"I-it melted. Really funny story." Only it's without a punchline. Claire is growing increasingly uncomfortable and her failed attempt to change the subject is making it only worse; she quickly goes to try another diversionary tactic. COOKIES. Look, COOKIES. She pulls the jar out and holds it out towards Peter with a bright smile, pulling the lid off of it with much gusto. Only her smile isn't really so bright. It kinda wavers somewhere around the bottom lip. "Mom baked these last night. Want one?"

Dodge, but something she said definitely sparks attention. Peter's eyes widen and he reaches out— not to grab the cookie, but to grab her wrist. "Claire," his voice gains a firmer sound, almost demanding. "What happened? Talk to me. You said melting— I already know about the escapees from the Company. I fought one of them— that one in fact." And from the way he's holding onto her wrist and looking at her… he's more than a little scared about… how that might have turned out.

As Peter grabs her wrist, Claire grabs it back, smile fading away again to reveal the more honest, deep frown and her voice snaps in a sudden display of anger. "What do you want me to say?" Closing her eyes, she shakes her head. It's pointless to try to hide it. He's only doing this because he's concerned. She… can't say it. Because somehow talking about it will make it something more than a nightmare. "Okay, fine. Mandy melted my phone."

"Claire," Peter says, letting her have her wrist back, but the expression on his face almost seems more pained by the moment. Serious, certainly. There is pain, there, though. And something much more. "She killed me," he explains, watching her. The tone of his voice fluctuates, showing signs of stress on his part. "Twice. In a matter of minutes. And she tried to do it again. If Nathan hadn't read his text message and come looking for me, she probably would have killed more a few more times. She talked about… wanting to see how much I could take…" The tone of his voice definitely gets quieter now, shaky. There's a reason he's worried about what this woman might have done with much more than her phone. "Claire— you can talk to me."

For a long moment, Claire just looks at Peter with her brow furrowed. And then there's the quiet curl of her lips into a small, hollow smile. "I got you beat. But I lost count after the first dozen times." She puts the cookie jar down on the counter and then folds her arms tightly over her chest. "She said she needed me. Someone like me told her about his magic blood. So she wanted mine. She didn't have rope handy, so she just kept killing me until finally she could lock me up in a basement and kept me there for a week. No food. No water, except for when it rained and leaked all over the floor. No electricity after the first couple of days, but plenty of rats. Then, just as the best vacation ever was getting boring, Sylar showed up. Right before Dad." Claire's cheeks pull up, the sign of tears that she's fighting back. "Is that what you wanted to hear?"

No. It's not what he wanted to hear. And yes, at the same time. "I just needed to know what happened to you," Peter says softly, moving away from where he's been standing since this begun and putting his hands on her shoulders, trying to offer her some physical comfort. He'll even pull her into a hug if she doesn't back away just at that. He's not even gotten his coat all the way off, but it doesn't matter right now— he wants to hold onto her after hearing that. "I'm sorry… That this happened to you— it shouldn't have. I didn't stop her when I had the chance. None of this would have happened if I'd killed her." Or let her die.

"It's not your job to kill people, Peter." When her uncle moves to hug her, Claire doesn't pull away this time. Instead, she just nestles her face into his shoulder and clings. Oh, hey. And Peter's gonna have a wet shirt, too, because the tears refuse to hide anymore. When she speaks again, her voice is muffled by fabric. "Why won't they just leave me alone? I didn't ask to be this way."

"But I should've made it so she couldn't hurt anyone else," Peter says, looking over her head as he brings his arms further around her, a hand going to her hair. Likely, he won't mind his shirt getting all wet, because he'd forced her to tell him what happened against her will in a way— a small price to pay for something like that. "I don't know, Claire. You're important. This shouldn't keep happening to you. You deserve to have… at least some semblance of normal." His own life is hardly normal at all, but he does have a girlfriend, a job, and hints of normal laced in with a bunch of decidedly un-normal things. "I wish your father would have called me. Even if I was sick, I still could have… found you faster."

Claire doesn't reply right away, because as soon as Peter's got her wrapped up in arms, she's a melting pile of sobs. Stupid Peter and the stupid way he has of getting through the defensive numb. That sobbing, however, starts to slow as the petite teenager buckles everything back down emotionally. Finally, there's a sniff, and the blonde pulls back to wipe at her eyes with the bit of blue cloth that she's pulled over the heel of her palms. "You were sick and Dad had a lot going on," The red-eyed Claire offers in Noah's defense. "He was doing the best he could."

"I still had my abilities, Claire— I could have helped," Peter says, though he doesn't let her pull back very far. He at least tries to keep his hands on her shoulders, looking at her intently. But her father doesn't even know all of what he's capable of anymore, so… "You're right, he was probably doing the best he could. If you could tell him something for me, though— it might help if this ever happens again. If he's worried about asking for help from her— I met Molly. More than once. I wanted to learn her ability in case something like that ever happened to the people I care about." Using it to hunt down bad guys is not why he wanted it at all— this purpose is much more important to him. Finding those he cares for and helping keep them safe. "I can find you if anything like that happens again." Technically… he should say try. He's never quite mastered using the map and narrowing it down to exact location.

"I'm just gonna go with hoping it never happens again," Claire offers with a few more pulls of her sleeve across her face. "But I'll tell him." Her azure gaze is focused downward for a moment, but then she looks back up at her uncle from her down-turned face. "How— How is Nathan? I mean, is he… getting any better?"

"Yeah— me too," Peter says softly, still giving a very serious look in return when she does look back up at him. If he were much taller than he is, this might be more uncomfortable, but being at the low-end of average has advantages. He doesn't tower over her as her own father would. The one she calls her father, not Nathan. "Nathan's… As far as I know he hasn't gotten any worse— well— since the last time I saw him at least. His ability is acting up, but luckily he doesn't go flying all that often." Though there's a hint he tried to do it at least once. "My abilities had started acting funny a couple days before I got healed, but it wasn't anything too bad…"

"I just hate that there's nothing I can do," Claire offers sullenly. Nothing except for get into trouble and not die. Hell of a super power. The blonde's face scrunches up into a look of concern and discomfort. "Are Heidi and the kids still okay?" There's still a lovely level of AWKWARD that comes with speaking of her half-brothers and Nathan's wife, apparently. Despite Heidi's best effort. After dragging her lower lip between her teeth, she clarifies. "I mean, they're not sick, right?"

"Even with all my abilities… I don't know what I can do half the time," Peter admits quietly, sounding bothered, but for a different reason. "I mean I have a back up plan— I can fix him and the others if we don't find anything else…" Might put him in a coma to do it. But he would, if it came down to them nearly dying. "All I can really do right now is try to find out as much as I can and hope that someone else can put all the information together. I'm was a nurse, sure— but this sort of thing requires a lot more than what I trained in." He'd not answered the question yet, though. Keeping his hands on her shoulders again, he answers, "As far as I know, they're fine." She changes the subject all the time, so far. Now it's his turn, "But I can't believe you're not in school. You're probably supposed to be graduating next year, aren't you?"

Back to sullenness, Claire goes. She doesn't want to talk about herself. It's a point that Peter seems to be missing, but maybe the flattening of her expression might help to illustrate. "I am." She huffs a sharp breath in and out of her nostrils, and then continues. "But Dad told them I had mono." It's only to those who know her where the joke is. "So. I'm home sick."

Perhaps the fallen look sinks in this time, because all Peter does is nod slowly when she mentions the excuse given. He even lets his hands drop from her shoulders and he grows quiet for a moment. Tempted as he may be to keep talking about the important things, the serious things, what he ends up asking about may come completely out of left field, "I know you're home alone, but is that dog of yours around? I don't think I ever got to properly meet him."

Pulling away at last, Claire just moves to obey. It's when she calls the dog, however, that she plasters a smile on her face. The dog can hear it, and he won't come if he thinks he's in trouble. …At least that's what her mother says.

"Mr. Muggles! C'mere, boy!" She slaps a couple of times on her flannel-clad thighs, but finally a skittering of paws can be heard upstairs. "Mr. Muggles!" Trop, trop, trop; down the stairs he goes. Then there's the pitter of little paws down the hall. When at last he arrives in the kitchen, the blonde moves to scoop him up. "Mr. Muggles, there is someone I want you to meet." Holding him up just under his front shoulders, the blonde then holds out the dog for display. "Mr. Muggles, this is Peter. Peter, this is Mr. Muggles."

It's true, animals recognize tension in the people that they're around most often. Peter has owned a dog for months now, and he knows for a fact that she tends to run away and hide under things when she thinks someone's angry or upset at her. Or just upset in general. The poor thing has no way of knowing that it isn't her fault. Turning to watch the small dog pad down, he grins a bit himself, taking in a slow breath and deciding to try something out. Talking to animals isn't something he's gotten the hang of at all, but he can at least send 'not a threat, might even have a treat for you' feelings the small dog's way. "Hello, Mr. Muggles." A hand reaches up to touch the top of the dog's head, petting over and between the pointed ears. Life's so much easier when all attention is focused on a small animal, right? Beats stories of women who melt things, and loose serial killers.

As if in response, there's a happy yip from the tiny pomeranian. Well, now that the introductions are made, Claire tucks the little dog partway under one of her arms and taking him out of scritchie range. A good thing when one has a dog that is now intent on… barking and wagging his tail. A lot. The blonde's brow again sports a few wrinkles as she looks down and gives him a little bump. "Shh, Mr. Muggles." Then she looks back up to Peter, even as she puts the dog back on the ground. And now the dog is circling her uncle's feet. "Sorry. He's… he's really spoiled." She guesses that's what it is. At least he's not hurting anybody.

"It's okay," Peter says, letting the dog move around his feet with no attempt to try and scare him away, or even nudge him away. He'll even let him chew on his shoelaces if the dog sees fit to… He tries to consentrate for a moment, and unknown to his niece, there's an ability he's trying to use, to further spoil the animal, but it fails. The hint that something had been attempted is in the disappointed look he gives his hand, as if it decided to mock him. "It's part my fault," he explains softly. "I met a woman who could talk to animals once. I'm not really great at it, it's not one I use often, but I guess you could say I was sending him good thoughts."

Yip. YIP. Hey. HEY, YOU. HEY, DUMMY. Treat! You promised me TREAT. WHERE IS TREAT? TREAT NOW? YES, PLEASE. TREAT! Mr. Muggles is only growing more intent on getting Peter's attention. And now he's jumping. Fortunately, the dog can only jump so high, and is barely reaching above the youngest Petrelli brother's knees.

Claire's head ducks down as she chastizes him. "Mr. Muggles, shh! No. No." Then her uncle says something that catches her attention and the blonde looks up from the place she's stooping, face lighting up now with a faint glimmer of admiration and the tiniest of smiles. The barking fuzzball is momentarily forgotten. "Really? Like Doctor Dolittle?"

The jumping around might be distracting him, because once again Peter mildly frowns at his hand again, looking back up towards his niece. Sorry, Mr. Muggles. Give him a minute here. "Yeah, sort of like that— closer to telepathy, though, they don't have funny voice overs or anything. Mr. Muggles is really wanting a treat. I'm trying to get one, but…" He wiggles his empty fingers around. He'll keep trying, though. Before he becomes an attack dog.

OH MY GOSH. YOU ARE THE DUMBEST HUMAN EVER. DUMB, LYING HUMAN. Peter now has a dog that's sitting on his toes, wagging desperately as he half-whines and half-growls. The Great Mr. Muggles is unamused.

Claire actually chuckles at that. It's the first time in a couple weeks that she can remember doing doing it. It's getting harder to break out of these little slumps, but somehow her uncle manages. "You know, I could help you out the old fashioned way. He's got some in the drawer." Moving towards the pantry, a whispered shuffle of fuzzy blue slippers marking her steps, Claire rifles through the items to go after the bag of Snausages (TM). "You're getting so many powers, Peter. Are you ever gonna cap out?"

Mr. Muggles, for the record, doesn't even glance her way.

As his intelligence comes into question, from a dog no less, Peter tries not to look too frustrated, but there's an insulted tick to his eyebrow. "Your dog has quite a mouth on him, just so you know," he says, glancing at the helpful appearance of treats in just a small range— just as a doggie treat appears in his hands. Not the snausages, either. It's something else entirely. Something for his brother's dogs and his own, taken from the mansion. No one will miss it. Except maybe Caesar and Julius. And Snowy too, since she's staying with his brother right now. "I got it, Claire. Thanks."

Bending down, he holds out the treat to the demanding dog, and answers his niece, "I have no idea. By this point I have at least thirty…" At least. "But it's been a year now, and I haven't blown up again." He glances up at her, standing once Mr. Muggles has his treat. Not a liar, dog.

TREAT. Sitting up, Mr. Muggles gingerly takes the treat out of Peter's hand. ABOUT TIME. SEE YA, SUCKA'. Now that he has what he wants, the dog gleefully trots towards his bed underneath the glass coffee table in the sitting room.

Sliding the drawer of the pantry back into place and shutting the door, Claire straightens and turns to look at Peter. Her hands are thrust back into her jacket pockets so to prevent their not having anything to do. "Not blowing up is good," she offers with a shy smile, rocking up and down on the balls of her feet a few times. "I'm sure New York appreciates it. Even if they don't know it."

Even if he should feel insulted, Peter can't help but laugh faintly at the dog that trots away. Once he straightens to look back at his niece, the smile's only faint. "Some of them know. Not too many— but hey, they elected Nathan Senator, so maybe they know more than they let on, right?" There's a little bit of a smile again. Little does he know the election hadn't been completely legitimate… that doesn't matter right now. It's a good thing, because it's what Peter wanted for his brother. If no one else in New York voted for him, his brother did. "So since you're not going to school, what do you have planned for today?"

"I was planning on a Jerry Springer marathon. Maybe making brownies." Something good and mind numbing. Something to fill the void. Claire shrugs helplessly before turning her gaze away to the corner of nothing, a hand emerging from her pocket to idly run through her hair. "Or something. I don't know. Really haven't been thinking that far ahead."

"Well, if you'd like…" Peter glances over at the stove. "I'll stick the Jerry Springer marathon, but I could help with the brownies. If you don't mind having your uncle over for a couple hours." There's that hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth again, and this time he finally does take his coat off. There's water-stains from her tears on his shift, but that's already faded to the point they'd have to really look to see them.

"That…" She's about to protest, but then she stops. Company wouldn't really be all that bad. "That would be pretty cool," Claire offers back with a smile. "I'll get the bowl out." A morning making brownies with her uncle. There are definitely worse things in the world. Now is a good time to hide from them.

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