2007-04-05: Operation Take Birthday Girl To Ice Cream

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter sneaks by the Bennet house to take Claire out for Birthday Ice Cream.

Date It Happened: April 5th, 2007

Operation: Take Birthday Girl to Ice Cream


The New Bennet House + Street + Ice Cream Parlor

The new Bennet house is one that Peter's stopped by and checked on more than a few times since that fateful call telling him that Sylar had his powers back. This evening's not so different. Except he's not dropping in just to check and make sure a serial killer isn't lurking in the shadows. Creeping up to the window invisibly, he glances around once to check for signs of the guards usually walking about, before he gives a moment to curse his relative inexperience with two abilities at once, and instead… uses the oldest trick in the book. Picks up a small pebble and throws it at her window.

Since the phone call from Sylar, Claire has been something of a homebody, hiding out in her house and never allowing anyone to leave her home alone. The hired hands mean nothing, to her; as far as she's concerned, there are very few people in this world who can save her, should Sylar come for her. Tonight, when Peter comes calling at her window like something out of a movie, Claire is stretched out on her bed with her phone in her hand, sending a text message. To someone who is not standing beneath her window.

There are only two options, when the pebble hits her window, that Claire considers: her boyfriend Drake, wanting to evade parental notice, and Sylar, trying to lure her out. The idea of it being Peter never occurs to her. Flipping her phone closed, she creeps toward the window, though taking care not to make herself visible in case it really is Sylar. Paranoid, much? Still, the light in her room is on.

You see, a smart man would have called first. Especially since— she's got a psycho serial killer who may or may not be stalking under her window at night. One who'd called her not too long ago. The first pebble doesn't seem to get any response, so Peter pauses and tries to think of better options. This is when it occures to him that… there really are better options. And invisibility makes this one pretty dumb, now that he thinks about it. Mmm. Shuffling through his coat, he picks through his pockets, looking for his phone. With his phone in hand, he dials her cellphone really quick, while bending down and picking up another pebble. One he doesn't throw right away.

By now, Claire has snuck to the window, and she's trying very hard to steal glances at the ground below without necessarily being seen. It's not really working; there's nothing to see, beneath her window, and it's making her think she's imagining the entire pebble thing to begin with. Holding her breath unconsciously, she brushes one of her curtains to the side by a fraction of an inch, and she's just craning her neck to look out— when her phone rings. The sound makes her jump with a gasp, and she drops the cell to the floor. Grimacing, she drops to her knees and snatches it from the carpet, glancing to the caller ID before she answers. "Hey, Peter."

There's something to be heard with the cellphone dropping, and Peter can't help but grimace, "Hey, Claire." His voice quite whispered, as he spends a lot of time glancing around to check for guards. Especially trigger happy ones. "Think you could sneak downstairs for a bit? Sneak through the back door? I'm actually under your window right now— but you won't be able to see me… um… here, proof." With that said, he tosses another pebble up, letting it clink off the window.

"Um… I'll try. If I get caught, I'll just jump." She could, of course. The certain break to her leg would heal in a matter of seconds. But Claire can't be certain just how strange that might look to the guards, and besides, she doesn't much feel like snapping a bone or five if she can avoid it. "Meet me at the back door?" She doesn't give him a chance to argue, as she closes the phone and sticks it into her pocket in the next instant. Taking a sweater from her closet, she heads down the stairs. It doesn't take all that long for her to successfully evade her family, and a few minutes later, she's out the back door, wincing as it closes with a click. On the kitchen counter, she's left a note explaining that she went out with Peter, and that they shouldn't worry. They probably will.

Closing his phone and shoving it into his pocket, Peter hurries around the house as stealthily as a… unstealthy guy walking through a yard can manage. Being invisible helps, but his shoes must find every single twig in existence. Those guards might dismiss it as a squirrel, or something, since there's /no one there/. He's managed to make his way there before she does, and a moment after her wincing, she'll feel a hand on her arm and… she'll suddenly be able to see her uncle. "Happy birthday. I know you've avoided going out, Drake told me you've stuck to home, but I figured a walk around invisible shouldn't hurt, right?" The hand starts to slide down her arm, to seek out her hand.

While initially startled, Claire is quick to smile when she sees Peter's face, allowing him to take her hand. "You remembered!" She seems genuinely surprised by that, and her smile turns into a grin as she turns to hug him, briefly. Their hands are still joined when she pulls away, of course. "Thanks. I could really use some time not being in my house." Being invisible is somewhat new to her, however, and she finds herself looking down at her hand. "… are we invisible? How can you tell?"

"You expected me to forget?" Peter replies, mocking offense as he returns the hug firmly. "Of course I remembered— I even remembered to reprogram the reminder into my new phone. I broke my old one," he says, before he begins to pull her along down the back porch, and hoping to make it through the yard a little less loudly than he'd made it through the first time. "I— actually I have no idea. I just know? I know I'm invisible. It's just a… feeling. And if you can see me, you're invisible too. Once we're far enough away, we can probably come out of it. Only thing I have for you right now is a gift card. But I figured I could buy you some ice cream, if you feel up to it. There's a place not too far from here."

"Ice cream is good," Claire replies with a smirk, following his lead through the yard without making all that much noise, herself. Not until they're a short distance away, at which point she promptly trips over a rock and nearly loses her footing - but at least she wasn't still in her own yard at the time, right? "You got me a gift card?" Like before, she's taken by surprise, although less so this time. She casts him a swift smile, genuinely appreciative. "You didn't have to do that, Peter."

Luckily she has the hand of her uncle as support, and Peter tightens his grip so that she has a better chance of staying on her feet. He won't mention that he stepped on every single twig in her yard earlier. "Well, it's kind of— I was planning to buy you boots, for ice skates. Since I promised to teach you. I still plan to, if you want— there's a couple indoor ice rinks open all year round." It's calling back to their talk, about how they should do things together if she's staying here. "Figured it'd be better to get them sized for you. So I just bought the gift card. It's to a sporting goods store, so you can always buy some really nice tennis shoes instead. And… yeah I did. I have seventeen birthdays to make up for. Or at least the last ten."

"Okay, maybe the last ten." There's a teasing slant to her tone as Claire looks away, shrugging in mock helplessness. His suggestion of ice skating warrants a bright smile, and she's quick to say, "No, I want the skates! I should learn so that next winter, I don't embarrass myself when everyone else is skating." It occurs to her that she very well might anyway, but she doesn't say it. Like she didn't just almost fall a second ago, right? But she stayed on her feet, mostly thanks to Peter's grip on her hand. "I guess that means I'd better make up for the last ten birthdays, too, huh?"

Moving her along with her, the two of them reach the sidewalk, where there's less rocks to trip over, but Peter remains invisible. He'll it up for at least a few blocks. Get them further away from the house. In some ways it's to avoid her guards, who are probably Company, and in others… the further away they are before Sylar has a chance to spot them, the less likely he'll find where she sleeps. He can be smart sometimes. "You'll do fine. It's just like walking, really…" Oh wait. Mmmm… "And Drake knows how to Rollerblade. It's not the same, but it's close. You could drag him along, once you've learned a little." At least he seems to approve of the boyfriend. "And you don't have to until you get a job, I'm only making up for the ones after I started getting my own money. Besides allowances." That doesn't count.

"Ugh, jobs." Stuffing her free hand into the pocket of her sweater, Claire makes a face at the notion of having to work. "I've never had a job before. I should get one, I just don't know what I want to do. Not work in a coffee shop." Looking sidelong to Peter, she arches an eyebrow, her expression faintly disbelieving. "How do you know Drake can Rollerblade?" An elbow nudges him in the side lightly, teasingly. "Did you screen my boyfriend? Ask him for his life story, what he likes to do, that kind of stuff?"

"I did a lot of volunteer work when I was your age. Some of it didn't pay at all… but I also worked in the library when I got into college, helped out in other things, too…" Peter explains, though he can't really think of much else he could do. "Maybe you could be a lifetime student. Or you can just do what Nathan usually did— stick my birthday presents in with Christmas presents." He laughs, finding this practice to be humorous, but one he seems to have adjusted to. "Actually I called Drake this morning," he explains, fidgeting with the button of his coat, even if it's perfectly secure. "Wanted to see if he could help me pick out a present that isn't a gift card. But— we ended up talking about other things. Told me about roller blading, and playing soccer. He's a really good kid, Claire."

Claire turns back to watch the street, taking care not to run into anyone or anything as she traverses the streets invisibly. It takes some getting used to, realizing that no one is going to move out of your way when they don't know you're there. "I know," she replies in a way that's almost proud, in a way. She flashes Peter a warm smile. "I like that you like him. I don't know what I'd do if you didn't." The statement would imply that she places some measure of trust in his judgment, though she never states it explicitly. "I told him that Nathan is my biological father. He's not going to say anything to anyone. You don't think Nathan will be mad at me, do you?"

It would seem that Peter isn't /quite/ as mindful of that as his niece is, but he does try to avoid slamming shoulders with everyone as he walks by. More or less. He does like Drake, though, it would seem, and… "It's fine. I trust Drake to keep a secret, and I wouldn't have been any good at keeping it myself." He'd not even tried when they talked, "Nathan's going to have to tell people sooner or later. Especially family. His wife and sons are back, now. I'd like for you to be able to meet them, get to know your little brothers. They're pretty good kids. Spoiled rotten, but so was I and I turned out all right." As they cross another street, carefully since the cars can't see /them/, he lets them fade into sight. One person among the crowd might give a double take before they get walking again. "I think we're far enough away, now. And— the ice cream place is right there." He gestures towards the building, advertising many brands of flavored ice cream.

There's very little indication, for Claire, that they're now visible - except that suddenly she doesn't have to try so hard to get out of the way, and people start looking directly at her, whereas before she didn't exist to them. "I still can't believe I have two more little brothers. One was bad enough," she laments, though she's mostly joking. Even if Lyle is kind of a pest most of the time. "I want to meet them. Maybe I can go over tomorrow. I'll call in the morning. I don't want to just show up." Although the thought of setting foot in that mansion again has a chill running down her spine as she recalls the last time she was there.

Considering the danger of going to the mansion, Peter thinks this over a few times. "This weekend is Easter— so— how about I talk to Heidi and see if she'll take the boys to the park. For an egg hunt, or something. Even if Nathan hasn't told them by then…" Part of him hopes he will have… but there's a lot going on, and things can change… "You could meet them as a friend of mine. Even if not for Easter, I've helped Heidi with the boys a lot before, when I had time. They like hanging out with me." With that said, he approaches the door to the icecream parlor and releases her hand, opening it for her. There's not much of a line tonight, but it may take a minute.

Stepping into the ice cream shop, Claire ducks her head in a quick nod, in response to his suggestion for how best to introduce her to Heidi. But she's taken aback for the third time tonight, this time for a more upsetting reason. Still, she maintains her composure, turning her attention to the ice cream selection so that Peter won't be able to see her frown as easily. "He still hasn't told them?" Her tone is one of faintly injured surprised. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised. He didn't tell them for sixteen years, so what's another year?"

Reaching to put a hand on her shoulder, Peter explains softly, "With what happened at Kirby Plaza… I'm not sure he'd been much in the mood to confess to anything. I really don't know— I mean… I wasn't there with him. According to Heidi, he sent them off, down to Florida, a few months ago. Made them stay there even after you healed him. He doesn't— want them involved in everything that's happening. Can't really blame him on that. If— certain people were willing to use your family against you, they might have used his too. And with… /him/…" She should know who he's being indirect about there. They can't talk quite as freely, now.

Claire is doing her best to be comforted by what Peter says, listening attentively even if she's hesitant to meet his gaze, but it's making little progress. "I just wish he would tell them about me." She spares Peter from having to listen to her internal monologue, keeping her more elaborate thoughts to herself. "I don't really want to be involved, either, but I am." She exhales a quiet sigh, shaking her head. Tracing a finger along the glass as she considers the offerings, she decides, "I'm thinking mint chocolate chip."

"I know," Peter says, keeping his hand on the girl's shoulder. There's a lot that he could say, how he wished he would have been told that she had even been born among the top of that, but… the past is the past. "I won't let him hide you forever. I can promise that. You deserve better than that." For the moment, he really wants to hug her, but the hand on her shoulder will have to be enough, as he orders two mint chocolate chip ice creams— either he thought it was a good idea, or that's his ice cream too. "We should eat this on the way back. Before your dad sends out a search party."

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