2007-07-07: For Want of a Babysitter

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Heidi_icon.gif

Summary: Heidi runs into Claire at Starbucks, and comes up with an idea. Namely, asking Claire if she'd like to watch her little brothers at some point.

Date It Happened: 7 JULY 2007

For Want of a Babysitter


Starbucks, New York City

Early afternoon on Sunday finds Claire free from work for another few hours, but where most teenagers would be spending their free time shopping or hanging out with friends, this particular teenager is seated at a table in one of the many Starbucks in Manhattan. There's a large backpack sitting on the chair beside her, and she has a book flattened on the table in front of her, though she's not really reading the open page.

—-

After last night's … thing, and a panicked call to Peter sometime late in the night, Heidi's feeling okay again, though she could really use a coffee, or maybe something a little stronger. She's going to need to stop by to visit Elena at some point to see if the girl's okay, and she'll need to get shoes for her son at some point in the near future, as well as a whole list of things she really needs to be doing, but for now… She heads up to the counter and orders a coffee from the barrista, turns to find a seat, and sees Claire. As an idea crosses her mind, she smiles, and heads over. "Hello, Claire. Can I sit? Just for a little while. I won't bother you long."

—-

Looking up at the familiar voice, Claire flashes a swift, welcoming smile to Heidi as she approaches. She sweeps a hand towards the empty seat across from her with a nod, saying without hesitation, "Sure." Once the corner of the book is folded down, Claire sets the novel aside and draws her own cup closer, though her drink isn't coffee so much as some kind of frozen fruit… thing. There's a fancy name for it that sounds like you're ordering a complex plastic surgery procedure. "How is everyone?"

—-

Oh, the names in coffee shops. Heidi just likes to order 'small, medium, and large,' without the added terminology that comes with creating your own unique caffeine experience. Which is why she just has a regular ol' coffee with cream and sugar. "Pretty good. Don't remember if you heard that Monty broke his arm, but he should have the cast off soon." —er than normal, since Peter healed it about a month in. Handy trick, that. Hopefully no one asks questions. "Nathan's busy, and I'm trying to take a couple classes." Self defense, for example. "I was wondering if maybe you'd like to watch the kids sometime. They like you. It'll give them a chance to get to know their sister better." She pauses. "Don't know how you feel about babysitting. Simon's still way too young to watch Monty. And we'd come home to the house on fire or something."

—-

The question seems to take her by surprise, and both eyebrows shoot up as Claire watches Heidi. This is the kind of invitation she hadn't been expecting her biological father's wife to extend, since she still wasn't quite sure just what Heidi thought about the entire situation. "Yeah, sure," she says, offering up another warm smile. "I like babysitting, and little brothers are okay until they get to the whole teenager stage." Smirking slightly, she takes a sip of her drink, then adds: "I'll try not to let them set the house on fire."

—-

The entire situation is nuts. Really, though, whatever happened between Nathan and Mystery Girl happened years ago, and she still maintains that it's useless to harbour a grudge against Claire for something like that. Taking everything into consideration, Simon and Monty could be kinda grumpy in the future if Heidi never lets them see their sister. "I already have your number," she says. She put it right into her phone at the zoo when they first met. "…One thing you should know. They know about…" She looks around quickly. No one's listening in. "They know. Not about Nathan, but about Peter. And they think they're super heroes now." In other words, it's probably a lot safer for Claire to be babysitting them than someone who won't take it so well if they slip up and tell someone about their amazing Uncle Peter, who is amazing. Heidi doesn't think they will, but… Precautions.

—-

"They know about Peter?" Of all people to know about, Peter's ability is one of the most remarkable - not simply because he can do extraordinary things, but because he can take on anyone else's extraordinary ability, too. So Claire thinks, anyway. It's almost certainly biased, at least in part, thanks to Peter being her uncle and having saved her life. "And they're… okay with it? My brother— my other brother, Lyle, didn't take it very well." Which is putting it lightly. "Do they know about me?"

—-

Heidi shakes her head. She's pretty sure that when Peter told them the story, he left out specific names. Like 'Nathan' and 'Claire.' And… 'Sylar.' "They're still young enough to think it's the coolest thing ever." Simon'll probably grow out of it first, at which point he'll DENY EVERYTHING like Nathan seems to do. Heidi briefly heard about Lyle before, but it hadn't crossed her mind that this could be a repeat of a bad experience for Claire. "You're not going to have the same problem. Believe me. You don't have to tell them about yourself, though. Peter took a risk, but he wasn't going to take the same risk for other people."

—-

That satisfies Claire, it would seem, and she takes another long sip of her drink as she considers what the woman is saying. "I don't think I'll tell them," she decides, shaking her head. "Not yet. I don't want them thinking this is… normal. Or thinking they're different because they aren't like me or Peter." Or their father, or most of the people their big sister or uncle both know. A frown marks her face. "They should have normal lives as long as they can, you know? 'Cause this whole thing is getting way weirder every time I walk outside."

—-

Heidi laughs. "Well, they have me. I'm pretty sure I'm old enough to know whether or not I'm a superhero." Heidi gets what Claire means, though, and she appreciates it. No one knows yet if the boys are actually going to end up like their father yet, and the fact that they're currently normal, mundane human beings is a comfort for their mother. It means she doesn't have to worry about whether they're okay in terms of, 'hey, mom, I flew today, but I got to a thousand feet and /fell./' Scraped knees she can handle! "I agree, though. And thanks. I think if they just get to know you as a person, they'll be ecstatic. They've been asking when they'll get to see you again."

—-

Claire doesn't find it worth pointing out that she's fairly certain several people discovered their powers aruond Heidi's age; it's one more complication to the Petrelli family that simply does not need to be imagined. "Well, now that it's summer, I have a lot more time to come over," she says, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "I'll try to come by this week. I'm not working that much, just a few hours a week, so maybe I can take them to the zoo again or out to Coney Island. I haven't been there yet."

—-

And the less Heidi knows, the better! Not really, but… She doesn't need to worry about developing x-ray vision on top of everything else at the moment. Taking care of her kids is enough right now. Making sure Nathan is okay, making sure Peter's okay, looking out for Elena now and then… "Well, I'll let you get back to your book. Thanks, Claire." It's always nice talking to her. "They love the zoo. I hear there's some little ones now. Just… call ahead so I can make sure they're not wearing capes, and that they're not wearing their underwear outside their pants." With a chuckle, Heidi stands.

—-

"Call ahead. Got it." The remark about capes and costumes is met with a quick little laugh from Claire, and she shakes her head. "I don't think Lyle ever did anything like that. Maybe I just don't remember." Which, given her father's history, wouldn't be all that surprising. "Thanks. For… everything." Everything, in this case, meaning Heidi's remarkable acceptance of Claire's place in the family and doing as much as she has to make the girl feel like a part of things. "I'll see you soon."

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