2007-03-31: No

Starring:

Nathan_icon.gif Claire_icon.gif Drake_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan has a request to make. Claire isn't so impressed. Drake shows up. It is rather awkward.

Date It Happened: March 31, 2007

No


The Bennet Household

The prodigal father returns. Or something. Nathan lets himself out of the car he was driven in, pulling his sunglasses off his face and slipping them into his pocket and doing all sorts of other fidgety things that delay him walking up to the house. Glancing around, left and right, checking the time, before he meanders his way to the front door. At least he called ahead. He rings the doorbell and steps back, hands slipping into his pockets.

He might have called ahead, but that doesn't mean that Claire is exactly prepared to have company over. When the doorbell rings, she races down the staircase, two hands furiously working to loop an earring through her ear. She has enough faith in the people her father has hired that she casts a cursory glance out the window, but otherwise doesn't hesitate before pulling the door open. She's dressed nicely enough, for a teenager, in jeans and a red sweater, her hair newly restored to its natural colour thanks to a trip to a very nice salon in the city. Her makeup is done, too. In short, Miss Claire looks like she has somewhere to be. Still, she holds the door open with a smile, gesturing Nathan inside. "Hey."

"Hi," Nathan greets, stepping inside when beckoned. A glance around, mostly checking for other signs of life before actually taking in his surroundings. A glance back to Claire, and he registers the fact she's back to blonde. "You look nice." He, himself… well he's not quite a wreck, just scruffier than he was six months ago, dressed casually if darkly. "Got a moment to talk?"

"Thanks." She thinks about shooting it back to him, telling him he looks good, but Claire ultimately decides that he would know she's lying. Pushing the door closed behind him, she flicks the deadbolt and leads him into the living room. "I can talk. Drake's supposed to pick me up soon to go out. Did you want something to drink?" She considers telling him that she doesn't have any liquor. She keeps it to herself. "I have water, juice, coffee, tea, soft drinks…"

Nathan follows her through to the livingroom, finding a place to sit himself down. "No, I'm good. I won't keep you long." He gestures for her, too, to sit down, before his hands clasp together. This might be a time to ask 'Drake?', but he keeps that to himself. They're alone in the room. He wants to use the time economically. "I haven't called, and I… should have called. You know that your dad, he's with the Company, now?" Somehow, referring to her dad doesn't come out as awkwardly as it should.

Settling herself into an armchair facing the couch, Claire doesn't ever look at Nathan in an admonishing way. He hasn't called, but neither has she, and she knows she ought to have made that effort as well. The question about her father takes her by surprise. Still, her response comes after a quick nod, and she replies, "I know. He told me." Perhaps not the reaction he was looking for. "Right after he did it."

Nathan doesn't seem too surprised by this news, but it does put a different angle on things, eyebrows lifting a little before he nods. "Okay." Brief hesitation. "You might guess that I'm not inclined to trust him as far as I can throw him, but you know what you're doing better than me. But if you need anything… if you need to get set up someplace else, you know you can ask me." Money, he can do.

A frown flashes across her face, and Claire scrunches her nose, looking to Nathan somewhat incredulously. "I'm not going to leave my family," she says, shaking her head. "He had to do what he did to keep us safe." She refrains from pointing out that she did precisely the same thing when she first came to New York, so long ago. "I trust him, even if no one else does."

"Fine." If there's gonna be an argument, it's not going to be over that. Nathan holds up a hand as a sign of surrender. "Like I said, you know what you're doing. I'm just making sure you know you have options." Now, that hand moves to rub the bridge of his nose. Getting to the hard part. "Listen. I need something from you. Call it a favour."

"Okay." Tipping her chin down, Claire watches Nathan closely, searching his face for any hint of what he might be about to ask. What could he even ask of her? She has nothing, really, to offer him. Nothing that he couldn't just buy for himself. There's a distinct confusion in her features, and she pulls her legs up onto the chair, tucking them beneath her. "What is it?"

Possibly the thing Claire can pick up on is reluctance. Nathan, perhaps, doesn't want to ask what he has to ask. Or maybe he just doesn't want to need anything from her. Either way. His voice is quiet as he speaks, a tone pitched for secrecy despite no one being around but them. "Sylar is going to murder a friend of mine. It's been painted and prophecised. We want to beat him to it so he doesn't have anything to chase anymore." A beat. "Then I want to bring her back."

It takes a while for Nathan's words to sink in, and when Claire realizes what it is he's asking of her, she is not quick to react. Any lingering hint of a smile is stripped from her face, along with any warmth. "You want to what?" She realizes then that her hands have been gripping the arms of the chair tightly, and she releases them, willing herself to lay her hands flat over the fabric. Her brow furrows into a deep frown, her gaze transfixed on Nathan, unwavering. "No."

The silence is somewhat tangible. Nathan doesn't break the eye contact for a few moments, before it shifts away uncomfortably. "You know, I've never been one to beg?" he says, with a hint of amusement in his voice, although it is short-lived. "Claire, I would never ask anything like this of you, again. And I wouldn't be doing it now if it wasn't essential."

"It /isn't/ essential," Claire snaps back, her voice raised slightly as she shifts her position in the chair. "I'm not a lab rat you get to use any time you need to. I already lived like that once." Ouch. Her tone is a little biting, there, particularly given their earlier topic of conversation. She pushes herself up to her feet, her gaze still steady on Nathan. "I don't want this responsibility. I don't think I should get to decide who lives and who dies. That's— that's not how life works." She pauses, drawing in a breath, calming herself some. "Can't you just pay people to protect her?"

"Indefinitely?" Nathan argues, voice getting to that snappish point as well. He stands, fixing her with a stern, somewhat irritated look. "I'm not asking you to make a moral choice, here, I'm asking a favour. This isn't about who lives and who dies, Claire, it's about saving someone from someone like Sylar."

"Like you saved me from Sylar when he came for me?" This time, Claire's bitterness is unmistakable, her glare accusing. Nathan had no way to know that Sylar would come that night, and he couldn't even have done anything. He was in custody. But he had told her that she would be safe, and she wasn't. And she's a teenager. Teenagers are irrational and stubborn, at times. "There has got to be a better way to save her than having her die and be brought ba—" The final piece falls into place, and Claire finally realizes the implications of Nathan's plan. "You're right," she says, her tone cold, flat. "I don't need to make a moral choice. You already did."

Nathan shakes his head. He seems angry, but it can be read as indirect frustration. But mostly just pissed offness. He takes a moment to get past that, hands in tense fists at his sides. Last ditch appeal. "This is the only way," he says, after a moment. His voice is tense. "If he thinks she's gone forever, she can stop running. When he came after you at my home, there was nothing I could do. I can do something, here. So can you." This is where the begging might start, but he cuts himself off before it can.

There's a moment when Claire wants to turn around and ask him who's going to save her from Sylar, why he's so worried about this friend and not about his own daughter. But she doesn't ask him. She doesn't even look at him, now. "I don't want to do this," she says, her voice rueful. "I shouldn't get to do this. We don't even know what it does. What if she just drops dead in a month? I don't want to be responsible, Nathan."

"As far as I can see, I'm the one that would be responsible," Nathan says, flatly. "And in all honesty, I think we're both willing to take that chance." A slight bluff. That probably hasn't occurred to him, that it wouldn't work. That it could be temporary. He draws a breath to let out a sigh. "I want you to have as normal a life as you can get, Claire. I could do with one too. If you want me gone after this, I'm gone. If you need help, you have it. Can you at least consider what I'm asking, and get back to me later?"

"You're asking me to consider letting you-" But it turns out that she can't even say it, and Claire turns away from Nathan, her words caught in her throat. "-I don't know." Trailing both hands through her hair, she paces the length of the room once, then turns back to face her biological father, that same frown etched deep into her brow. "This is going too far. It's something we were never supposed to be able to do. I know we did it once, but Hiro, he was an accident. This isn't the same."

There's a knocking at the door from outside once Drake makes his way up, rocking a bit on the balls of his feet. He's wearing a new brown corduroy jacket with a green shirt underneath, and a pair of dusty looking blue jeans which hides a grass stain on the knee. It seemed that he got into a soccer match on the way home from school, and couldn't resist a pick up game. His backpack is slung over one shoulder, and his hair is a bit of a messy sprawl, glued in some areas, flopped down in some. He'll fix it later.

Nathan is about to argue (again, some more) when the sound of doorknocking rings out. His general unease shows for a second as his head snaps in that direction. Chill, Petrelli. People knock on doors all the time, and at least it's not Noah Bennet, one would assume he has a key. "Just… promise you'll think about it," Nathan says, finally, before she can go answer the door. "Sleep on it. A calculated plan has to be better than doing it to amend an accident."

The knock on the door takes her by surprise, and Claire turns around on one heel suddenly, looking to the front door. Something akin to relief flashes across her face. "Fine." The assent is spoken in the tone of someone who very much does not want to be saying what she's saying, a glance cast back to Nathan to make sure he heard. In the next instant, she's hurrying to the front door, giving a swift look out the window with a flicker of a smile. She throws the door open and eagerly steps out to meet Drake, rising on her toes to give him a mostly chaste kiss. Stepping back again, she looks up to him with a swift smile. "Hi."

"Hey babe." Drake says as he leans in, returning the affection with a soft press of the lips, while his arms reach around to give her a quick squeeze. "Sorry I'm late. Brad /begged/ me to play right striker for the pick up game after school, and I told him I had this girlfriend thing.. and he threatened to bench me next week, so…I ran as fast as I could. I did score twice though." He beams, raising up a brow. "Oh, and I brought my pack over. I got a quick take home calculus test I gotta fail, so.. if you don't mind me burning through it while we watch TV or someth—." He pauses, catching sight of Nathan behind her. His eyes widen. Oh. Snap. "Um… You're.. Mister Bennet?" He asks, swallowing tightly.

Ahaha. Oh. Nathan barely resists the urge to look behind him, but nope, he's being asked that question. A glance to Claire, then back to Drake, and Nathan puts on a smile. "No, not… I'm not Mr. Bennet," he says. "You must be Drake." Now, he looks to Claire. Give me cues, bio-daughter.

It is suddenly very awkward, as Claire closes the door behind Drake and realizes that she's about to have to explain to her boyfriend that this is her biological father, who just asked her to do something so very against her wishes that she can't even put it into words. She looks between them, feeling the awkward tension descending upon the room. "This… is Peter's brother Nathan," she says, deciding that is the best way to start, motioning to the older man. "And this is my boyfriend Drake."

"Oh, you got two uncles?" Drake says, looking more than relieved as he hooks an arm around Claire's waist, giving her a bit of a bump with his hip. "It's nice to meet you, sir. I'm Drake, yeah. Drake Maxwell." He shifts his gaze to the once cheerleader for a moment, curiously. How much does he know? He practically begs to her mentally, unsure exactly how to go about this. "So, she actually talks about me, huh?" He says, his grin rising on his face. "I hope it's all good things."

Leaving now run away run away. Nathan glances to Claire at Drake's assumption. Hey, he's all for lying, but it's her lie and her boyfriend. He goes with it, though, and just smiles blandly at Drake, holding out a hand to shake in greeting. "All good things, absolutely. I should head back to the city and let you two kids…" Do whatever it is dating teenagers do. "Get on with it." God, what?

"… right." Claire will just let that one go, because it isn't worth embarrassing her father, regardless of how angry she is with him at the moment. Standing by the door, she glances back to Nathan again, her intonation flat as she says, "I'll call you." She may or may not mean that. It's difficult to tell. Taking one of Drake's hands in her own, she laces their fingers together, leaning into his shoulder. "Of course it's good things."

Get on with it? Drake can't help but allow the slight, bemused smile to touch the ends of his lips as he shrugs his shoulders upwards, giving Claire another firm squeeze with his hand. "Ah, take care then, sir. Hope to see you again." He uses his free hand to wiggle his fingers, then lets go of Claire's hand to head into the living room, and deposit his backpack on the ground. With a flop onto the ground, he starts to open it up and take out his notebook, and very large math book. He wasn't kidding when he said he had some work to do.

He doesn't flee. Really. He sort of wants to, though. Nathan simply nods mutely to Drake, then gives Claire a raised eyebrow look of 'well that was fun' once the boy's back is turned. "Do," he says, in response to this talk of calling, meeting Claire's eyes one final time. "See you round." And with that, he's out the door and shutting it behind him.
Once Nathan is out the door, Claire lets out a sigh of relief, though only some of the tension escapes her muscles once he's gone. "Sorry," she says with sincere apology, draping her arms over his shoulders to capture Drake in a hug. It would be more awkward, if she weren't so short. "Family drama. You weren't supposed to see that. God, you weren't joking about the work, were you?" She pulls away, moving to the sofa to take a seat.

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