2007-10-11: Maybe Miracle Cures


Nathan_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Claire returns to Bat Country Labs and agrees to help. Peter asks Cass how he can help as well, and Nathan and Claire finally make some headway. After a year of knowing each other. Better late than never.

Date It Happened: October 11th, 2007

Maybe Miracle Cures

Bat Country Labs

Mid-afternoon. There's always people in the main complex, and again, for another day, there's many warm bodies in the Bat Country Clinic in the basement. One such warm (too warm) body should be in bed, but instead he's out in the hallway trying to get reception on his phone. He has phone calls to make and laying down in a bed, even cuddling with his girlfriend, isn't giving him quite the feeling of being out there and doing something. Of course it doesn't help when he can't get any bars. He checks the phone again— no reception. He could move further out… but he stays where he is. There's no blanket wrapped around him this time, just a coat. Still pale, feverish looking, he's definitely not getting any better just yet.

After Heidi had left to do the inevitable thing of going back to check on the kids, Nathan went and got some rest. Like a good patient should. It only lasts for a few hours but hey, it's something. When he steps into the hallway, he's dressed in some new clothes, courtesy of Heidi's errand, and perhaps looking a little better. Well, at least slightly more cheerful, if not actually physically well. When he spies Peter fidgeting with his phone, he inclines his head to him, gaining his attention with, "Found anyone else?" Then, "Remind me to call Jack, not sure if Cass's gotten into contact with him yet."

If Claire hadn't promised to do what she could to help, she might be greatly disinclined to be here now. When she finally returns to this little hole in the world, her heart already starts to beat a little more loudly against her chest. She's not afraid of the lab, or of the virus. No, it's whoever might be inside. That's who scares her.

Today, dressed in a pair of black capris and a bright green cable nkit sweater, the bespectacled Bennet makes her grand reappearance at the lab's front door. However, having been here once already, she forgoes the knocking. Instead, she quietly opens the door with the intenion of curling her head inside to see if she should flee again due to overwhelming hoardes of strangers… Which translates into anyone she doesn't know, really.

Cass isn't scary! Promise. Unless it's not Cass that Claire is afraid of, then who knows. Peter's pretty sweet, but that Nathan guy, well, he can be a maverick. Much like has become routine, the brunette is still in the lab, going over test results and working with Mohinder's blood in order to create some sort of cure from it - should the virus be anything like that Shanti strain from the past. So when Claire pushes through the doors she'll only see known faces - Peter and Nathan. Hopefully that won't be enough to make her flee. Standing now, to keep the circulation going, Cass is bent over a microscope, fiddling with the settings.

"Got through to a few people, but nothing…" Nothing that really helps them yet. Peter closes the phone and puts it away, to save the battery and nods to his brother. "Yeah, I haven't really known how to break it to him yet— telling you was difficult enough. I barely know Jack, but he's…" Someone he's come to respect a great deal, and there's some things that he doesn't know how to break to a person, it would seem. But the door opens and someone admits herself and he blinks, trying his best to straighten and needing to lean against the wall while he does to keep from falling over. "Claire— hey. You came back." And for the moment, the room isn't completely crowded with anything other than awkward Petrelli family moments.

Yeah, that won't be a fun conversation, if Nathan knows Jack at all. Maybe he can just leave it to Cass after all. Yeah. Good idea. And indeed, as Claire pokes her head inside, there's no one there but family, Nathan still dressed comfortably, far less the formal running-for-congressman-type she had first known and subsequently fled from. As Peter greets her, Nathan also nods to her, unconsciously kind of backing up from where he had stood by Peter - just in case it was her uncle she wanted to talk to. "Come in," he invites, all the same.

Blue eyes peer about the lab for a moment, but Claire finally decides to step inside, particularly as she's noticed. When the door is closed and the crowd is found to be much smaller, the teenager takes off her glasses but loses none of her terribly nervous edge. "Yeah," she offers quietly in reply. "S'it just us?"

"Well— not completely just us, but we're the only ones out here," Peter says, glancing back toward the other rooms where there's people not them. "Sorry about last time. Coming all this way and then…" Running into a guy she's met before and another person and… yeah. It hadn't meant to be that awkward— more than it has to be at least. He glances at his brother for a moment, noticing the moving away, and then starts to push away from the wall, a few steps over to his brother so he can put a hand on his arm. He's seeking physical support, looks like. "Cass is in the lab. She might be able to explain what's going on with us more." He really would like to hug his niece, but less germ-spreading there is, the better.

Despite himself, Nathan can't help but glance towards Peter and rest a hand on his back in a sort of steadying way. But he's not about to order Peter back into bed despite the younger man's needing help to stand, there truly is so much resting either of them can do before they lose it completely. A look back to Claire, and he tilts his head towards where the door towards the labs is partially shut. "It's this way. You may as well hear from a professional as to what's going on," he says, making for that direction.

"It's okay," Claire offers with a tight smile and another nervous shrug. What else is she supposed to say? THIS IS SOMEHOW NATHAN'S FAULT, she decides at some point. His aura is making this whole thing uncomfortable. Her forehead creases as she looks up at Peter. "They… they won't say anything, right? If Dad finds out I was here, I am going to be in so much trouble." Which is another AWKWARD thing to say with NATHAN in the room. See how this logic holds? But she's at least willing to follow behind the man as he valiantly leads towards Cass and the Lab Explanation of Doom.

If only everyone could go through life blaming Nathan for whatever went wrong with them. However, that's not the case. Not now, at least. Still at her microscope, black framed glasses perched at the top of her head, Cass adjusts the magnification and then stares back into the eyepieces again. It's only when she hears the partially closed door opening that she figures out that people are coming to talk to her. "Watch your step." Not taking her eyes away from the microscope, she points backwards and to the floor where her doorstop copy of Activating Evolution rests to make sure the door doesn't close completely. She likes being able to keep an ear out in the main room just in case she hears her restless patients starting to plan a mutiny or the like. "One second, Pelenathan." She combined all three people's names who are staying here since she doesn't know which one of them is actually stepping through the doorway. This way she's right no matter who it is.

Pelenathan is not entering the room. It's more… no, let's not go there. Peter uses his brother's support for most of the trip in there, but he does look back at Claire and say, "Sharon— the woman who was in here— wouldn't have recognized you at all, so there's no danger there. I can call Eric and explain stuff to him, but I think he was far more interested in trying to see Elena than he was the fact that you were here." There's a pause. He's not sure she caught that last time. "I don't think it'll be a problem. I wouldn't want your dad to get mad at you, especially not since… well— he's already yelled at me enough times this month." We won't go there. And by 'her dad', he's not even meaning the one he's currently holding onto. And he doesn't think to clarify at all.

Nathan smirks a little the all-encompassing nickname, and glancing down at the book-turned-doorstop Activating Evolutions. "Good place for it," he remarks mostly just to himself as he helps Peter inside the lab, Claire following just behind the two brothers. Despite Cass's request for one second, he knocks on the door frame to gain back her attention. "You're a popular woman, Cass, someone's here to see you. Got any coffee going?" For himself, presumably, not for Claire.

While the brothers may continue onward, Claire stops just past the door they pass through. Her shoulders hunch up into a nervous lift, hands slipping into the pockets of her fitted pants for want of anything constructive to do. An anxious smile curls her lips as she offers her greeting. "Hi."

Hearing both Peter and Nathan, Cass can assume she got at least two thirds of her nickname correct. That's something. Taking that second to scribble something down on a notepad kept just for this occasion, she gives a glance over her shoulder to the trio entering the lab and gives Claire a reassuring smile. Or as much as she can give for the moment. "I don't think that machine's been switched off since this whole thing started happening," she answers the politician and points over to where there's still some brewing. "Bring me over a mug, too, if you would." Because she hasn't had enough lately. Once she's finished writing, she turns around so that she can properly greet her guest. "Hi. Sorry about that. You're back! Thanks for coming. What can I do for you?"

The nickname is cute. Peter would probably ponder it longer if he wasn't worried about a certain man in horn-rimmed glasses that might give him a stern talking to. He respects Noah too much to take lectures from him easily. But this is something she can help with, should she choose to. "So you mind if I sit down?" he says, before moving to take a seat nearby, where he can watch all of them. Coffee won't be on the top of his list— he's trying to fight the sleepy the old fashioned way, with pure stubborness. It's not quite working out. "I was hoping you could explain to Claire what's going on with… with us. With this virus that's going around. I may have been a nurse but this… is a bit more indepth than what I'm used to." Hopefully she'll know enough to use more normal words. He waves towards the cheerleader. "You can trust Cass. She'll keep your secrets secret." More so than most people.

Nathan abandons Peter to his seat before moving to go and get that coffee, taking down two mugs as requested. He's definitely willing to combat the tired with good old fashioned caffeine, and while Cass has probably been hitting it harder, he's been taking up a good majority of the coffee supply as well, especially what with still trying to do his work from the basement.

When Cass asks her question, Claire looks down at her feet for a moment as though they might hold the answer for how to make this less painfully awkward. Then she looks back up, fair face painted with a deep concern. "Actually, I'm kinda here to see if there's anything I can do to help you." Now it's time to brace herself for having made a second trip just to get a whole lot of 'nope, go home and play with your Barbie dolls, little girl.'

Waving a dismissive hand at Peter's question, he should know by now that Cass doesn't mind if he sits. In fact, almost every conversation she has with him involves trying to make him sit down and to rest more. Since they both know he's not the most restful patient there is. "I can do that." And she'll try not to confuse both herself and the others. "I mean, there's not a huge amount that I can talk about right now. It'd be a lot longer if you asked me what I didn't know at the moment." And she's not just being self-depracting here. However, Claire's statement, she tilts her head a little. "Really?" She looks between Peter and Nathan, as if to gauge how much of this is her decision and how much they've told her about the situation. "I've…well, I've got a few questions for you. If…okay, I'll try not to dance around the subject. You can regenerate, right? You're the woman Peter got his ability from? That day in the street…that was your ability, wasn't it?"

From his chair, Peter looks over at Claire, a hint of gratefulness in his tired eyes, but he really can't say much more than that until he looks over at Cass. "It's her decision, either way. But if she wants to help…" Then he's got no reason to stop her. He knows what it's like to want to do something and then get told no, and it's not as if they're even asking her. He hadn't gotten around to it. Don't mind him for the rest, because he's looking toward Claire until— "You got hit by a car?" Wow, they really are related. Nathan wasn't driving, right?

"Must be hereditary," Nathan mutters, only just loud enough for Peter to catch, shooting him a briefly amused look over his shoulder as he finishes filling up the two mugs of coffee. Such a comment might be confusing for Cass but then again, she might not even hear it. And apparently, he remembers how Cass likes her coffee done, this routine becoming familiar, and he keeps his untouched and untainted by milk and sugar. As he turns back to the group, his attention is more on Claire, although he doesn't say anything to her, just watching to see how she handles this scenario.

For a second, Claire's blue eyes lock on Cass, and she bites her lower lip. The moment of truth, right? No lying. Why is it that when you actually get to the point where you're looking at something that you thought you really wanted, that suddenly it becomes that much harder? It's a feeling that's only amplified as she becomes very keenly aware that everyone's looking at her. Looking back down at her shoes and hiding behind that partial veil of blonde curls, she nods a little. "Yeah." It answers both questions efficiently enough.

It's easy for them to say that, but this is a big decision for Claire. And it's easy to feel pressured into something. Cass returns her attention to the blonde, only stopping when Nathan brings back with her coffee - the way she likes it, even. "Thank you," she tells him with a smile. Holding onto the steaming mug, she looks back, totally ignoring Nathan's hereditary comment if she heard it. This makes it a little harder, since Claire is younger - a teenager. "Peter told me you haven't been sick before, not since you discovered your ability. Is that true?" Before she gets to the really hard part, she'll ease the girl in with some easier questions. "Would you like something to drink? Or to sit?" There are plenty of stools and the comfortable chairs in the other room.

There's one of those 'very funny' glances from Peter to his older brother. There's a glance at his brother making coffee, and he hints at a smile. His boss and his brother sure are friends, aren't they? The questions make him glance between the two, but he can't really add to the conversation right now, so he just sits in his chair and breaths. Breathing is important.

Friends, somehow, despite— just despite. Nathan also hangs back, allowing the two women to walk, but wanting to listen as well. Especially when Cass brings up aspects of Claire's ability that he hadn't known about. To his credit, he seems slightly uncomfortable, but not enough to leave. Like Peter, he doesn't interject yet.

At Cass's offer, the younger female moves her gaze up once more, paired with a flicker of a smile. "I'm okay, thanks." Claire's place by the door is nice. It makes her feel safe and secure by retaining the option to just RUN AWAY if need be. Dragging her hands out of her pockets only to cross her arms over her stomach with said hands now partially hidden by its long sleeves, she can't find a way to look blase while handling this. Her forehead crinkles. "But no, I don't remember getting sick since… You know." Memories are fallible, though. It's why she can't bring herself to confirm it with any real certainty.

Despite, well, despite a lot of things. Who knows why Nathan and Cass are friends, but they seem to make it work somehow. Though still quite aware of the fact that Nathan and Peter are still in the room, the bookstore owner only has her eyes on Claire. She's trying to get the girl to be more comfortable, especially since she seems so nervous. "You don't have to be totally sure, Claire, it's okay." There aren't any right or wrong answers here. "I don't know what Peter told you about this virus, but explain a bit of what I know about it so you know what you'd be agreeing to help with if you would like to. We're not sure where the virus came from or how the people who have it right now got it. I asked if you'd ever been sick before because Peter has your ability to regenerate. I wasn't completely sure how your ability worked, so I wanted to check to see if it helped both sickness as well as physical trauma." Stay with her, here, she'll get to a point. "Since it seems like his body should be able to combat the virus there's two possibilities that I can think of: that this virus is actually shutting his abilities down some how and making it impossible for your regenerative properties to do their job, or that it is somehow working with his regeneration and through it's coding has tricked his body into replicating the sick cells instead of realizing they should actually be fixing them. That would explain his advanced stage of the virus" Deep breath. "From what I can tell from what you've told me and what I've seen under the microscope, I believe it's the latter." She's wrapping up now, getting the heart of the matter. "I'm not exactly an expert on this virus, or even viruses in general, but I've talked to one who is. Or, at least, knows than me on this subject. And what he said is that he managed to find a cure for one particular strand of this virus through a mixture of blood that carried the antibodies to fight it as well as blood that had regenerative properties." Taking a pregnant pause, she allows this to sink in for a few moments. She realizes that she just unloaded a lot of information on the poor girl all in the span of a minute. "What I was hoping to ask you is if you wouldn't mind me taking a sample of your blood to see if I could replicate that cure. It is, of course, your choice. And there is no guarantee that what we manage to find here is the cure for this particular mutation of the virus."

There's silence for the most part during the explaination of the virus, and some of the background. Peter glances over at Nathan for an instant, then again at Claire, before he adds, "It might also have to do with— I had to regenerate a lot the day before I started getting symptoms. That's why I didn't notice what was going on. I thought it'd just been my abilities overloading again, but that usually— actually I was like that when we were in Sinai… it was a few days after I fought Sylar. Just days after I stopped by your apartment." To regrow his hand. He blinks, just remembering this at random. Could his weakness at the time of infection have something to do with how he got it, and his state of overload when the symptoms themselves kicked in also? Yeah, he probably should have mentioned this before.

All of this is so far out of Nathan's field of expertise it's not even funny. Peter, as a nurse, is more qualified to theorise, not to mention his experience with his own abilities, as he shares that information right then, Nathan watching him. All the same, he speaks up quietly. "If the virus is always present and attacking Peter's system, perhaps its putting his regeneration on overdrive," he suggests, glancing towards Cass. "It can't kill it but it's working to keep it at bay, and maybe your symptoms are just that," look towards Peter, "the overloading, along with the virus." No, he's not a doctor, and he knows Cass has probably gone over this far more than he, but it's nice to at least contribute to the conversation rather than sit around feeling useless and physically under the weather. As if to emphasise this, he gives a sudden shiver, wrapping an arm about himself and taking a long sip of coffee.

In the end, this is what it always comes down to. There's a glance to Nathan as he talks and she considers. A broken trust is still there. Still fragile and raw. In the end, she decides that this is not the same as that denied request. It's her power. She's allowed to make that decision. Peter's confession of fighting Sylar, and the toll it may or may not have taken on him only strengthens her conviction. Peter's helped her. It's time to suck it up and do her part.

Looking back to Cass, Claire frowns without her brow releasing its deep, worried furrows. "You'd only use it to test if there's a cure, right? And no one else— No one else would know, right?"

After her long speech about viruses and Claire's part in them, Cass takes a long drink of her coffee. Though she's trying to remain calm about this all, she's still worried and still terrified that Claire may say no. And then she's not sure what to do next. Thinking through all of what Peter just told her, she quickly tries to fit it into what she already knows of the virus. "That may, actually, be why your body is having such a hard tie fighting the virus. If you caught it while you were still trying to regenerate, it may have taken the opportunity to take hold and that's why you're so far ahead." Then, turning her attention to Nathan, she gives a slow shake of her head. "I thought about that, but if the virus was so aggressive that it would take all of his regenerative power in order to fight it back, you would be even sicker than he is since you don't have the benefit of his ability." She's tried to think through all the possibilities.

Then, eyes back on Claire, Cass nods her head. "I certainly am not about to try and use your blood for anything other than for this. Don't worry, I'm not in the business of trying to make clones or anything." That was a joke, there. "And I won't tell anyone where I got the second half of the cure." She doesn't mind telling everyone that Mohinder has curing blood. They can go and bleed him for it they need. "Look, Claire, I want you to understand what you're agreeing to, too. If this cure works, the only people I know of who are sick right now are in Bat Country. But there may be others out there. I'll use what I make to cure who I know of. I need to know what you're willing to commit to. This is as serious as donating a kidney. If I run out, I will want to call you for more. But, also, this is the only thing I will ask to use it for - to cure people with particular virus. Nothing else. I want you to know that."

"I've been near overload before and it'd never activated, though— After I healed you, and then in the future when…" When she died and he flipped out and did some very stupid things that led to an overload. Peter shakes his head. They don't even know why it waited so long to become active. All he can do is speculate. "And I'm just glad the rest of you aren't that bad off," he adds, shaking his head a little. May hate being sick, but it'd be a lot more difficult for him to hold onto his sanity and keep from doing something stupid if they were worse than him, or if they were sick and he wasn't. Prone to running off and doing something stupid, he is.

Nathan nods to Cass at her response. Of course she's thought of it. More so than even those that are sick. He drags one of the stools over to sit down as well, turning his mug of coffee restlessly around on the table as he looks, again, to Claire. This will be the third time she's been needed to help him - help others too now, sure, but— and if she agrees, it will be the second time she's consented. Nathan's only thankful they got an opportunity to talk between that second shut down and now, because the awkward needs no more help. He stays quiet now, listening.

Claire looks at Cass for a very long time. Then she takes a deep breath. There's something in her that just feels sick about the possibility of being some cure all magic thing. On the other hand, it's her uncle and biological father who could end up paying the price for her stubborness. People use antibodies to develop cures EVERY DAY. Maybe her blood isn't the solution at all and she's worrying for nothing. The real question is if she could live with herself if it is and she did nothing.

In the end, it's better to try.

Claire simply begins pulling up the sleeve of her sweater. Her voice is quiet when she finally finds her voice again. "No one can ever know about this except us."

When Peter clarifies, she nods Cass nods her head. She's not sure why it's different now, either. What activated it or even how to cure it. All she has are speculations. "I don't know, Peter. Maybe it's activation had nothing to do with your regeneration. Or overload. Especially since other people have it who don't have to worry about that." But it's something she'll stick a pin in for later to try and see. Her eyes flicker over to Nathan when he plays around with the cup in his hand, but she says nothing for the moment. His observation was actually quite a good one for someone never having studied medicine. However, right now there's this other thing they're talking about. "They won't." Seeing Claire start pulling up the sleeve of her sweater doesn't send Cass running for her needle and empty vials, however. "But, I just want make sure you don't feel forced into this. I'm not going to take your blood if you don't actually want to do this."

"There's other sources of… regenerating blood," Peter says, looking down towards his hands. They can't claim it's his, because he's sick, but she had theories just combining Mohinder's anti-bodies with him and see if that helped things along too. "No one needs to know it came from you— and most won't even know what the cure is." Though he's pretty sure that Elena will figure it out— he's told her too much already for her not to. But he can explain why she needs to keep quiet about it when that happens.

As Claire goes to pull up her sleeve, Nathan isn't sure as to whether he should back up Cass's words or Peter's reassurance or maybe his own brand of comfort. Instead, he does her the justice of not looking away from her and finally chimes in with, "No one here wants to corner you into this." Yes, including himself. He leaves it at that, and leaves the 'but it would be WONDERFUL if you went ahead with it' unspoken, because it doesn't need to be said.

For Cass's concern, Claire can spare a smile as she crosses the room and goes to sit down in a chair, black Adidas sneakers squeaking a little on the tile floor as she walks. The weak curl of her lips is meant to be reassuring. She's probably isn't doing a very good job, but the effort's there at least. And then Nathan actually says something to her. She looks at him, and then gives him that same half-hearted smile. "It's okay, I'm used to this. I want to help. Let's just get it over with."

Claire can be sure that Cass is never going to let anyone know where the second half of their attempted cure came from. She's not about to give that information up after what the girl is doing for them. Going for a needle and two empty vials, she quickly (and as gently as possible) goes to work at taking Claire's blood. It's a simple procedure that she's used to doing by now. "That's something else. You shouldn't be used to people asking you for your blood in order to cure a virus." She's half serious, here. Especially since she just had a conversation with Ramon about not involving one his daughters in this. "I'm sure you've been told that you have an amazing ability, Claire. But that doesn't mean you're responsible for everyone else's hurts." There's a glance up to Peter when she says this. That's for his benefit, too.

…yeah, he saw that. Peter stubbornly looks right back. Power comes with responsibility to use it. They wouldn't have it if they weren't meant to do something with it. But he can't say that right now, because there— well— there's a young teenager in the room whom he doesn't want to force into any kind of decision. It's similar to how he gave a young girl a choice about whether or not to get close enough to him to absorb her ability.

Claire's response to Nathan is bothersome for him. He doesn't smile back at her, just regards her very seriously for a moment before turning his attention back down to his coffee. Certainly, there are things on his mind, and not one of them are appropriate for voicing right now. So not for the first time, he opts for silence, polishing off his coffee and turning away to set the mug aside somewhere.

Fortunately for Cass, Claire doesn't really care about the gentleness of the needle. As soon as it's out again, she rubs at the crook of her arm a few times and the mark is already gone again. The small trace of blood on her arm is wiped away with a brush of her thumb, and with it all sign that the needle was ever there. To Cass's rallying cry of freedom and choice, there isn't even a smile anymore. Just her somber expression, listening to what the other woman is saying. Yeah, okay. She's young. Naive. She also knows what it's like to be betrayed. She's putting a whole lot of trust in someone who she's only met once before yesterday.

Resting her gaze on her thick sweater as she pulls the sleeve back down, she gives a slight snort that could easily be confused for the aborted attempt at a laugh. "People keep saying that." When she looks back up, her somber expression goes back to Cass. "If there's anything left when you're done, it's gonna destroyed, right?"

The glance in Peter's direction is fleeting, but enough to that Cass gets the stare back. Of course she knows there is little that will make Peter change his mind. But she still has to bring it up every now and then to try and remind him. Vials taken, Cass is quick to write a number on each of them and puts them in the fridge with what is left of her other samples. She wants Claire to be comforted, to try to take the weight off of having an ability with such an awesome power over others. Of course, she doesn't seem to want to be comforted. "You know the story about the horse, right?" Cass closes the fridge door. "Someone calls you a horse, you call them a liar. The second time, you punch them. The third time, you get yourself a saddle." She smiles and retrieves her mug of coffee. "There are people here who obviously care about you. They're just looking out for you. And, yes, of course whatever I don't use will be properly disposed of. I'll also call you to let you know how the test goes - either way." Another pause. "Also, if you ever have any questions or even just need someone to talk to about your ability, feel free to call. I don't have all the answers, but hopefully it can be vouched that I'm a sympathetic listener. In case you don't have anyone your own age you can talk to about it." It's a long shot, but just like Claire has to try by giving her blood, Cass has to try by extending a hand.

The serious expression is finally broken by the comment on horses. Peter's eyebrows raise, and when she gets to the end he actually tries to laugh. The laugh turns into a cough, and he has to brace himself on his chair to keep from falling out of it. He hasn't laughed for real in a while. He's listening, really, he is. When it clears out, he takes a slow breath and ends up laughing a little again, before he can finally speak, "She's a good person to talk to abilities about, yeah— she's been helping me train my twenty-some-odd abilities. Something we probably won't get to do much of until… later." Assuming he even survives this whole thing. It's his fault anyway. It's better he get the worst of it.

Over by the coffee maker and meandering back to where he'd been seated, Nathan raises an eyebrow over at Cass. If the woman weren't busy trying to bring Claire over to her side, or bring her some comfort, he'd accuse her of acting like a denmother. But maybe it's good that he doesn't, because she doesn't need much more encouragement. His attention steers to Peter, and he says, lightly, "Maybe we'll get around to working on you not crash-landing." Or not. Ever. Because Peter crash-lands, it's a feature.

"Thank you for what you're doing for Peter and Nathan," Claire shoots back to Cass. And then she actually glowers at Peter for a second. He knows exactly why she can't talk extensively with Cass. How dangerous that could be. And here he is, leaving her out on the proverbial limb by herself. Maybe it's teenager emotions raging out of control, but she is so frustrated and angry that she could just punch something. Instead, she just pastes a cheerleader smile on her face. HI, FAKE AND BRIGHT. "But I'm okay. Really." So let's stop talking about it. "When do you think you'll have the results?"

The laughing is a lot more than Cass was expecting from her joke, so she just shoots Peter a strange look of her own. He seems to be getting a lot of those. And it's a good thing that Nathan doesn't accuse Cass of being a denmother because that's exactly something she would take pride in. She likes taking care of people and making sure they're alright. It's why she wanted to be a doctor in the first place. "Peter and I have already discussed the whole in-flight training thing." And how there won't be any more of them. Ever. The fake smile doesn't fool Cass one bit, but she can't force Claire to stay or come back for help. It's got to be something she wants to do. "Alright." Her tone clearly shows how much it is that she believes the teenager - that would be none - but she doesn't push the matter any further. "Just know you have someone you can call if you need. I can't be sure about the results, though. It will hopefully only be a couple of days, if that." Needless to say that as soon as Claire leaves, she's going to get to work on it.

Hey, he's sick. Peter has a right to make mistakes. Unlike before, though, he doesn't look stubbornly back at Claire and he actually grimaces in apology. Yeah, he gets it now. And training regen isn't exactly something he wants her to do anyway… it involves getting hurt. Ice skatting is better. "I don't crash that often. You'd be surprised how much I flew in the future," he says with a murmur, even glancing at Cass. "Flying isn't on the agenda, even when I do get better." If he gets better. "Nathan? When… when Claire's ready to leave— why don't you walk her out. At least to the doors." Meddling. Younger. Brother.

Meddling younger brother may be strangled in his sleep. We share a room, Pete, remember that. But none of this is read on Nathan's face, apart from a slightly weary 'would you stop that already' glance cast Peter's way before it vanishes, back straightening. "Sure," he says, quickly, before Claire can inevitably say she doesn't need to be shown the way out, glancing towards her. "As far as I can go, anyway." Which isn't very far. Claire can navigate the medical centre above them by herself.

When Nathan agrees to walk her out before she can poo poo the idea, Claire's smile fades under a look of surprise and she looks plainly at him. He… agreed? The shock hasn't entirely dissipated by the time she turns back to Cass. "For what it's worth, I really do hope those help." Then it's a glance back to Nathan. "…ready?" Not that he's actually leaving. The question does open the floor for anything else that might need to be said, though.

"I know." Cass is pretty sure that Peter is good enough with his flying that he doesn't need instructions from Cass. That and she really hates heights. So, a mixture of the two. When Peter makes his suggestion, the woman looks between Claire and Nathen, but doesn't comment on the awkwardness that she sees there. That would just be rude. Instead, she smiles at Claire. "Me too," she answers. "I'll call you soon with the results."

Victory for the younger brother's meddling. Victory.

Peter pushes himself out of his chair and gives Claire a small wave, "Be safe— and thank you." He can stand up, but walking will be difficult. He's not moving to see her out, but instead toward the medical professional in the room. There were two reasons for doing this. One was so they would have some time to themselves, and because he wants to say something to Cass that won't be in front of them. He'll say it once they're out the door.

Okay well, the look of shock on Claire's face is enough to make Nathan not want to kill Peter completely. He waits for a moment for things to wrap up before he gets up from his seat, a little slowly as if movement just isn't a fun thing. The Hangover Walk, only minus the drinking beforehand these days. Both Cass and Peter should be familiar with it.

"C'mon," he says, to Claire, a hand out like he might steer her towards the door before it drops again. She might not be able to get sick, supposedly, but he doesn't want to tempt fate. So his hands find his pockets as he moves out of the labs, without a glance back to Peter and Cass, and into the main room. Looking over his shoulder towards Claire, he slows so that she can fall into step with him. "I get that this was hard for you," he offers, before awkward silence can descend. "I don't want this to become a theme, here."

"Thank you, Claire," Cass adds as the girl makes for the door. That she has to say before she leaves because by the look on her face, she's not sure if she's ever going to see her again other than the follow-up call to let her know how her tests went. Watching Nathan and Claire head out the door, she stays in the lab. She knows enough body language to tell that she shouldn't intrude - even if they both would welcome the intrusion. That, and she has a lot she has to do starting now. Instead of turning toward her microscopes and machines, though, she stays facing the door because Peter is on his way over. She gives him a suitably questioning look.

Claire waves and offers a smile to the two remaining in the lab. And then she is walks silently into the room. All attempt at fake happiness is immediately put to rest as soon as the door is shut behind them. When she looks up at her father, she's not entirely sure what to do or say or make of any of this. "This? This was different," she feels inclined to point out before she drops her gaze anew, shoving her hands deep into her pockets again. "But I get that. It's why you or Peter didn't ask. And I appreciate it."

With the family members leaving, Peter walks up to "his doctor" and says, "I just needed— do you need anything else from me? Anything at all? Whether it's… testing stuff on me or— I have to help. And there's really only so much I can offer right now." He glances back to the door, to make sure, and hope, that the other two are gone by the time he does this. Not that he thinks they won't understand— but because they might try to talk him out of it, or something. "If it were just me, I could… but it's not. It's Elena and Nathan and…" And they're far too important to him. "And Evelyn too." If it were just him and Evelyn, he'd probably make the same offer, but it's his brother, most important person in his entire life, and his girlfriend, who is growing in importance quickly.

"You're right, it's different," Nathan concedes, and— there it is, awkward silence slipping in between them as it's wont to do as they make their slow trek towards the front door. "What isn't different is that you're helping me out, again." A wry smile is attempted, tossed her way. "So I think by now you should know that you can come to me." He still remembers those first few bizarre days when Claire had come looking for answers at Meredith's door, was lead back to him, and he'd delayed it, delayed it… "If you had questions or… anything. I owe you that much." He's almost offering what Cass had offered to her, he supposes, inwardly. Maybe that's what's prompting this. And the assurance about how 'used to this' she'd become.

"You don't owe me anything," Claire replies, a frown again seizing hold of the corners of her mouth. "I didn't do it for that." She bounces on her heels once before continuing, eyes lifting towards the ceiling. "I know— " That she's quite possibly the very last thing that he ever wanted to have walk into his life. Yeah, can't quite say that. Let's try another approach. "— this hasn't been easy for anybody."

"What I need from you, Peter, is to get better." Cass knows that he's going crazy and restless, but there's not much else she can ask of him. He's not well enough for her to ask him to do anything else. But, she understands that he needs something to do to occupy the time. Nathan has his campaign, Elena her own studies, Cass the lab, Peter has mostly been pacing. "Other than calling that Adam guy you know…" she frowns and keeps looking at Peter. While she's normally a perceptive person, there's an underlying meaning here that she's simply not getting. Maybe it's the lack of sleep. "What exactly are you trying to offer to do?"

"Yeah, well." That would be my fault. This, he doesn't voice out loud. At this rate, Nathan and Claire will need a telepath between them to communicate honestly to each other, but for now, they have small silences and stilted phrasing to work with. "It doesn't have to be easy. But you came looking for your— for Meredith and I for a reason. And I don't think we got the chance to touch on that." Not in any meaningful way apart from 'hey, both of your biological parents are jerks, how about that!' He actually slows to a halt, here, because they're nearish the door and he still has things to say, arms still folded about him like that posture is a permanent feature now. "I think I owe you enough. Humour me." There is just the teensiest bit of frustration, there, it seems.

"I'm trying to…" Peter rubs a hand over his feverish face before he tried again. There's only so many ways he can clearly give this answer, so he just does it. "I want you to know you can use me for anything you need to figure this out. Nathan… Elena… them getting better is more important to me than…" Than anything else to him, actually. Same with Evelyn, but she's not his brother or girlfriend. And then there's still Jack. "So just— if there's anything at all you need me to do to help you figure this out, just ask me. I don't care if it's experimental or— any of that." There. Offer made. "I should— leave you alone. And do us all a favor and get some sleep tonight. You can't cure us if you keel over."

He folds his arms, which means that Claire can't without looking like a copy cat. That immature, petulant thought alone is enough to keep her small hands locked in her pockets for the time being instead of hugging herself. And then Nathan opens up a door. Her brow again furrows, but this time it's in thought as she looks at him and then the ground. "I don't know what I wanted." A relationship, maybe. Understanding, perhaps. A lot of things that she just tried to accept that she that she wasn't going to get so she could move on. Then she finds the courage to look back up. "And there's nothing we can really do about it, right? I mean, this sitch isn't exactly sitcom solveable."

There's a silence after Peter's offer and it may be hard to tell if Cass is finding the words to answer it or if she's seriously considering it. She knows that it's very hard to kill Peter, but that doesn't make it right to test anything on him. Especially when his immune system is so beleaguered who knows how he may recover. Instead of fighting with him on the issue, since he's already sick and shouldn't expend his energy that way, she just answers with a nod. "Okay." And if she can find something Peter will be useful for - short of gene therapy or sacrificial lamb - she'll make sure he knows. Since it won't be long before cabin fever sets in. "Yeah, but I can't find a cure if I'm asleep, either." Unless she dreams about it. But, meaningful dreams seem to be all on Peter's end. Hers are filled with cross dressing pirates and mermen.

In his defense, it's not out of— well, defense, that he keeps his arms locked so. He just doesn't want to have this conversation while shivering. Nathan offers her a small smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes as she speaks this little bit of realism. "I know," he says. "But what I don't want you to think is that the only thing you're worth to me is a miracle cure." But what is she worth to him? Besides possible scandal, the slightest more pressure on his marriage, another confusing elements into his already confusing family? That's what they can aim to find out. "You deserve— " Okay so much for not shivering, as a more violent one wracks his body for a moment. He'll need to go and resume that nap he was enjoying sometime soon, just for the warmth of it. "You deserve at least a few conversations. It's not like I can promise you more than that anyway, right? It's not a sitcom, like you say." But it might be a soap opera. Nathan can have hopes.

There's a relieved look on Peter's face as she actually accepts his offer. It's not much, he knows she may not find anything and they'll all just have to suffer through whatever this does, but… he's going to hope she finds something and he can help out with that. "Good. You know where to find me, at least," he says, starting to pull away out of the lab. Be a long walk back to the room he shares with Natha or Elena (either one, depending on which one he decides to fall into). But, he does have one last argument. "You'll have less time to find us a cure if you collapse and sleep for twenty-four hours than if you sleep for four hours a day. Just keep that in mind, okay?" She doesn't have a super power that lets her get away with not sleeping. He did for a while, but he's thinking it can't handle all this going ons right now. Or he wouldn't be sleepy.

And somehow, in the field all the awkward silences and stilted words and verbal landmines, Nathan manages to say something right. Something that strikes deep at the core of the girl standing in front of him. He's not brushing her off or sweeping her under the rug. Her reply is quiet, but the smile she gives this time is different. It's nervous and unsure, but fed from her own little spring of hope. "I— I'd really like that."

That relieved look on Peter's face is really what Cass was going for. Even if she's not planning on actually using him as some sort of experiment, he doesn't have to know that. And if it makes him feel better, then she'll feel better about it. "I'll keep that mind." She's been snatching a few quick cat naps here and there, but she can't help but feel like every time she lies down she's giving in. "Sleep well, Peter." She watches him shuffle off toward the doorway for a few moments before turning back to her work.

Some of the tension Nathan didn't even know was there loosens his shoulders a little, and he even manages to mirror a smile back to her. "Deal," he says, gently, before moving to walk the rest of the way towards the door, which is held open for her. "You're gonna hear this a lot every time you walk in and out of here, but: thanks, Claire."

Believing her completely (because he's a trusting fool), Peter moves off, very slowly, towards those back rooms. He's had some aspirin for headaches and to help control his flu-like symptoms, but they haven't done too great a job at getting rid of the worse of it. "It's barely evening yet— but good night." And he will be crawling into bed with Elena. He's already decided.

"Wait until Cass decides whether it does any good before you thank me." With the front door open, that means that Nathan has to release the folding arms of doom. With the lab door shut, that means no one can see them. This can only spell disaster for the elder Petrelli brother. Disaster in that Claire seizes the opportunity to do her own bit of uninspected: she quickly darts in for a tiny hug about his waist — regardless of chance for infection — and then moves to step away again. "You and Peter hang in there."

Disaster! Nathan kind of just freezes when she hugs him, his first thought being: oh no I've killed her with the VIRUS!!!1one And his second thought being: hey, she's hugging me. His hands land gently on her shoulders, then to her back to return the embrace in a brief hold before she's stepping away again. "Working on it," he says, wryly. "I'll see you soon." And with that, he's letting her see herself out, running a hand through his hair as he makes for the backrooms to inevitably crash onto his bed and zzz himself to semi-health.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License