2007-03-22: Waffles, Blood And Emo


Claire_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter Petrelli takes his niece out to a diner and fails to ask her to heal Mara, but there's emo and angst, and he finds out just what The Company did to her. Or at least more details on what they did to her.

Date It Happened: March 22, 2007

Waffles, Blood and Emo

Lucky Joe's Diner

This evening outing started with a phonecall. Peter's called pretty much every day, but this time he specifically said he wanted to take her out to dinner or desert, if she didn't have any plans for the evening. Showing up at her hotel, so she didn't have to walk alone, he hails a cab and takes them to the lower side of town, where his apartment had been. This particular dinner is one he knew when he still walked about, as he'd say, though conversation in the taxi stuck to little things. School, the weather, a random questions, like if she's ever gone iceskating… simple things any uncle would ask his niece. When they arrive at the diner, he generously tips the cab driver and opens the door to the diner for her, "I used to come down here for midnight breakfasts sometimes. I think you'll enjoy their food."

One thing he would learn about Claire in that short time: she has never been ice skating, and she is terrible at roller blading, suggesting that she would be equally bad at ice skating. And now that she's been in New York City for an entire winter, she can safely say, with respect to the weather, that she doesn't really like snow. That much is evident even now that spring has begun as she has her scarf wound tightly around her neck, a hat pulled down over her ears, and she's hugging herself for warmth even as she steps into the diner. "God, I'm just happy to get out of the hotel." And away from her family, not that she'll say it.

The good thing about a busy diner… it's generally warm. Peter's actually wearing little more than a coat right now, using his pockets to keep his hands warm, but not bothering with a scarf today. "You know, now that I know you can't iceskate, you might have to learn. That's one thing I can teach you," he adds on, as he waits for her to get inside to the warmth, where they can claim a bench. "It'll get you out of the hotel every so often. Even if it's just twice a week. No outdoor places, anymore, but there's plenty of inside ones still." If she'll accept the help, he'll even help her out of her coat, otherwise he'll just remove his. "You and Drake haven't gone out much anymore?"

"I'd like that," Claire replies to the offer to teach her, accompanied by a bright smile. "Just don't be surprised if I fall down. A lot." At least she doesn't have to worry about getting hurt, right? That's an upshot! She shrugs out of her coat and scarf, accepting his help with a swift little smile of gratitude. "Mom and Lyle just got here, so I've been holed up in a tiny hotel room while Mom freaks out about the last six months, and Lyle just…" She shrugs helplessly. "I don't think he gets what's going on. This is the first day in like… a week where I've been able to leave. Mom and Dad are house hunting."

"Well, at least you won't break anything permenantly if it happens," Peter says, obviously thinking the same thing before he shrugs off his own coat and settles into the booth across from her. Listening to what she has to say about her mom and brother makes him tilt his head, curious, but nodding. That makes sense… that she'd be living with her family of old. "I'll have to meet them some day, I guess. That can wait til you find a house, or a nice apartment. If you want something inside the city— you'll probably need to settle." At this point, the waitress comes over and hands out menues, gets drink orders, and then gives them a few minutes on the rest. Peter? "Lemonade." Good start to a meal, huh. "Don't mind if it's pink, I hope," the waitress adds in. Doesn't seem he minds, even if the color of his drink might be laughable. All he does is shake his head.

Though the choice of drink does elicit a little smirk from Claire, it evidently isn't a bad decision, as she looks up to the waitress and asks, "Can I get some, too?" She drops her chin into her hand, propping her elbow against the table. "I don't even know where they're looking," she admits, shaking her head slightly. "I just want my own room again. I mean, I had my own room at the Company, and at the hotel, but it's not home." She peruses the menu, trailing a finger down along the list of choices. Distractedly, she flicks a glance back up to Peter with a swift little smile. "You'll meet them. Mom wants to meet my hero. They'll like you."

Not one to argue the right of a teenage girl to have her own room, Peter just smiles, glancing down at the menu to see what's been changed. Six months change things, but this place seems to have stayed pretty much the same. Putting his menu down, he looks up as she calls him her hero, and the smile returns, more sheepish as he looks away for an entirely different reason than menu glancing. "Well, we're even on that," he says, reaching up as if to push aside bangs he no longer has, and instead ends up scratching at his forehead. "Nathan told me what you did for him… that you helped him. There's really no way I could thank you enough…" So 'even' will have to do. He's her hero, and she's his.

Watching as he reaches for bangs that no longer exist, Claire cants her head to one side, a bemused expression on her face. "You don't have to say anything," she says, sounding sincere enough when she speaks. "I had to do something. I knew I could help. But I'm not a hero. I just… gave him my blood." And she is not the type of person to sit idly by, knowing she could make a difference, even when she parted ways quite so poorly with her biological father. "Why'd you cut your hair?"

"But you could help others…" Peter starts softly, not really sure how to bring up this possibility without sounding as if he's wanting to use her for personal gain. "I'm not sure my abilities would allow me to do the same thing." If they could, he might be walking around the hospital invisible saving people, knowing him. The hair, though… that… his hand raises to run over his shortened hair, self conscious at the mention, "Didn't really have much a choice. Elle cut it when I agreed to be locked up, and they kept it trimmed. It started to grow out again, but she cut it once she returned."

That wasn't quite the response Claire was expecting, and there's a scrunch of her nose to indicate her distaste as Elle's name is mentioned, though she somehow manages to bite her tongue. For now. It could just be because the waitress has come back, however. Turning to cast a smile to the server, Claire asks, "Can I get the club sandwich with french fries? And some soup crackers on the side?" She waits patiently for Peter, too, to make his choice and for the server to be gone again before she turns back to her uncle. "So. Where is Little Mary Sunshine today?"

"I'll have some blueberry waffles, with a side of raisin toast," Peter orders, obviously going for the breakfast-style dinner for his choice. Hiro would be proud. Everyone should have waffles. Once the waitress is gone, and Claire asks about Little Mary Sunshine, she'll see a confused lowering of his eyebrows. Considering who they'd just been talking about… "She's checking on a few things. We've actually been… watching your hotel, keeping an eye out for Sylar. Don't think he knows where you are staying yet." Yeah, they're keeping an eye on her, just in case… but… "Little Mary Sunshine?" he adds with a hint of a smirk. That's not a name he'd expect to hear her called, it would seem.

"You've been watching me?" Taken aback by this information, Claire blinks a few times, drawing her head back a short ways. "Creepy much?" A chill wanders down her spine at the thought of people standing around outside her hotel, watching. Even if it's for her own safety, even if someone like Sylar is out there hunting for her - it's just spooky. "I wouldn't be surprised of Drake was, too. I mean, he texts me all the time anyway, but…" It's her turn to be sheepish, though for a completely different reason, as she regards Peter somewhat apologetically. It's not exceptionally convincing. "I'm sorry. I know she's helped you out. It's just— the things she did to me…"

"Been watching the hotel, not you," Peter corrects partially, so it's not quite so creepy sounding. Watching a building isn't the same as lurking in corners watching a young teenager who might be doing personal things in her own private room. He hadn't even known her family had been there. The extent of the 'spying' had been to keep an eye out for Sylar. Taking a drink from his pink lemonade, he looks intently at the rim of the glass as he continues, "Claire— I know the two of you don't get along. And you have really good reason… She treated me terrible at first too." He can't deny that. "But I— I care about you both. And I wouldn't let her hurt you anymore."

"Yeah, okay," Claire replies, somehow resisting the urge to roll her eyes at the reassurance from her uncle. She opts, instead, to take a long drink of her lemonade, helping her to hold her tongue from saying anything else quite so negative about Peter's choice in girlfriend. Her eyes are focussed on the table, not on him, and there's a frown etched deep onto her brow as she recalls the times she was essentially tortured by Elle. "So you haven't… seen anything? I mean, there's no one lurking around outside my hotel?" Pause. "… other than you, obviously."

Sighing softly, Peter's really not sure there's anything he could say to assure his niece of things, especially since he's not sure just how much the other woman had done to her, or how she'd manage to act now that things have changed. "We haven't seen anything, no. We don't hang around all the time, in case your father sees us. Or someone else from the Company. Was going to try to get a room in the hotel, to be closer if anything happened, but… we didn't. Probably needing some time to recover. He did fall out a window." After getting electrocuted.

So did Claire, but she won't bring that up again. Since, you know, she was thrown out a window after being jolted by electricity by Peter's girlfriend. "I don't know. He doesn't really— seem like the patient type," she says, her tone making no secret of her skepticism as she accepts her plate from the server with a swift, awkward smile. She grabs a fry, munching on it as she considers his words. Eventually, she brings herself to look back up to Peter, her frown lingering. "Dad isn't going to turn you in, you know. You don't have to hide from him. I think he'd be glad to know you're outside."

With his waffles, Peter spreads the butter out and cuts it into smaller sections so he can stick a few bites into his mouth, as he worries about his girlfriend, Sylar and this girl's father. "I know he wouldn't, but I want to avoid putting him in that position too often. If they /do/ want me back, and he doesn't deliever… it might risk his position with them, and you. Considering what that place did to…" He trails off, and chooses not to complete that thought. "I don't want you to go back there."

"Neither do I." This time, Claire makes no effort to disguise her shudder as she thinks back to her experience with the Company and just what they subjected her to in the name of… science or progress or whatever morbid curiosity drove them. That's about all she wants to say about the Company, she decides. The package of crackers on her plate is pulled open so that she can slip the crackers into her sandwich, breaking them into pieces to better fit the bread. "What are you going to do now? Are you going to work again?" She sounds admittedly dubious about her own question.

There's a small laugh from Peter, breaking the serious mood that fell over him the further they talked about the Company. What is he going to do? "I really don't know. Technically still registered as a nurse, I could probably get a job, but I think I'm going to be busy. Between Sylar, friends getting shot and hospitalized and a tornado… there's a lot going on." And he quit his job the first time the world was in danger. "Probably need to get a part time job at least, though. Don't like living off mom and Nathan's money."

"I don't know how I'm supposed to go back to school," Claire laments, though she's only partially disappointed, when she speaks. "Sitting in class, writing tests, it all seems kind of pointless with Sylar out there." Besides which, she thinks, if there was ever a good place for him to try and get to her, a high school full of flighty teenagers would be the ideal place. She doesn't voice that particular concern. Something Peter said finally clicks, however, and she asks, "Wait. Who got shot?"

Working and going to school are difficult things when so much else is at stake. Peter just nods at the comment of how difficult it would be to go back to school, taking his own concerns about how superficial school would feel with everything going on, and not so much the danger aspect. Though that may come to mind later. "Two people, actually. Eric Walker and Detective Damaris. I'm not sure if you know of either of them. Eric was on the rescue team, the one Drake was on, and the Detective— apparently Nathan's good friends with her."

"…oh." He's right, insofar as neither of the names mean anything to Claire, but that doesn't mean she isn't concerned. Particularly about Eric, though it isn't immediately clear why. She frowns, distracting herself for a few seconds with her sandwich. At least it crunches when she bites into it, now, right? …simple pleasures? "I don't know them," she clarifies, shaking her head once she looks back to Peter. "Are they okay?"

Taking a few bites from his waffle, Peter frowns for a long time. Part of him wanted to ask her about this, he even told Nathan he would, but… asking it of her would also mean using her and— "I think the Detective will be okay. She might need a cane, but her life isn't in danger. Eric— he's probably going to be okay." If that doctor is who he thought it was, if Claire's blood can heal the injured—

Claire exhales sharply at the response, unaware that she had been holding her breath all that time. "Thank god," she says quietly, her tone clearly relieved. Walking with a cane isn't something Claire can really relate to, but she's relieved just the same that neither of them is on the brink of death. "Is there a chance he might not be okay? Eric? You said 'probably,'" she points out, her frown returning as she considers the uncertainty of the man's recovery.

"It's kind of a long story," Peter says, cutting up another piece of waffle and spearing it into his mouth. And one he's not quite sure on yet. He'll check in on Eric again tomorrow, to see if he's right. "He'd been moved from ICU when I checked on him before I came over here, but I'm not family," though he'd claimed to be a cousin once, "So they wouldn't give me details, other than that he'd been moved and was declared stable, and they weren't allowing visitors. I asked Nathan how he got healed because of the Detective, though— physical therapy can be difficult on people. She won't die, but…"

"…but you want me to do something," Claire finishes, tipping her chin down as she watches Peter closely for a reaction. She considers that for a moment, toying with the straw in her drink, her gaze growing distant. She isn't looking at much of anything, despite her eyes being on the table top. One hand hovers near her plate, as if she might take another bite of her sandwich, but she never getst hat far. "Don't you? That's what you wanted to talk to me about, right?"

"Yes and no," Peter says hesitantly, paying more attention to his food than the young teenager in front of him. "I— actually want to know if I can do that, too." As he admits this, he's practically shifting the cut up pieces of waffle around. "I'm not even sure it would work like that. I can regenerate like you, but I don't know if I could share that the same way— and the risk of testing it out… without finding a proper match to recieve my blood…" He shakes his head, trailing off. "Just wish my abilities were more useful to people."

"They ARE useful," Claire argues, fixing Peter with an incredulous look. "You saved the /world/ with your abilities, Peter. How could you think they're not useful?" She takes another bite of her sandwich, lest it be completely neglected. "I didn't even know mine could do that, until Elle tested it," she says after a moment, shaking her head. "I don't think we should be using it like that, though. What if there's… some kind of cost or something? Maybe I saved one person's life, but someone else had to die. Or maybe Hiro's just going to drop dead one day. I— I don't know."

"I didn't save the world with my abilities, Claire," Peter says, letting the fork drop and closing his eyes. "I almost destroyed the world. I got Simone killed." That's a name she hasn't heard, but it's one that means a great deal to him. "I almost killed Nathan. The only person I actually saved— was you— and /your/ ability, absorbing your ability, saved me." And he doesn't catch the 'Hiro dropping dead' part.

"Hey." Reaching across the table to nudge Peter's shoulder, her frown deeper now as she listens to what Peter says, Claire struggles with what to say. "Save the cheerleader, save the world. Remember that? If you hadn't saved me, none of us would be here right now. If you hadn't been there, Sylar would have killed me." Pause. "…twice. So that's enough, Peter." It's more than she's done, but she doesn't add that part. After all, the only thing she's contributed to saving the world, in her opinion, is getting into trouble and needing to be saved. "We'll do it again, too. We have to."

"I'm happy I saved you," Peter says, raising his hand towards his forehead, curling fingers under to press knuckles against sking there. "But after everything else— you saw him. You know what I did to him. And you, your power, is what fixed it. Not me." There's a lot of self-loathing in the way he's saying that, anger and frustration at his own weaknesses, and terrible sorrow. Letting his hand drop, he looks back up at her. "We'll save the world— I know we will." Even though he says it, there's something about the way he's looking at her that gives away he's less sure on his ability to be part of that 'we'. "Just need to figure out how first, right?"

"Stop it, Peter." Claire's voice is forceful when she speaks, and she takes one of his hands in hers just to make sure she has his attention. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You're not the only person who feels useless, okay? This is bigger than any of us. No one can save the world on their own. That's why we have to help each other. But you sitting here talking about how powerless you are isn't helping. We're going to figure it out, and we're going to stop these things from happening. Again."

"This isn't about feeling useless, Claire," Peter says, shaking his head for a moment, the serious expression hanging over his face and clouding any comfort. Squeezing the hand that took his, he continues softly, "Just afraid I'm going to end up hurting people. It's why I let them hold me for so long… If Elle hadn't shown me the picture of Nathan healed…" he trails off, before taking a slow breath. "I know. We'll stop it. No matter what it is."

"You're not going to hurt anyone, Peter." Claire sounds quite sure of herself as she reassures Peter, at least - but her confidence in him (where his own is lacking) is nothing new. "You can't be worried about that all the time." She smiles, fleeting, then gathers up her sandwich to finish off what's left quickly. "I just don't know where we start. My father doesn't want me involved." There's something more to that sentence that she isn't saying, a continuation of some kind. She seems faintly bitter, almost.

Nothing new it may be… but her spoken confidence seems to cause a lot of the tension to fade from his shoulders, and certainly his forehead, when Peter looks back up at her. Even if he can't completely stop worrying about it, her confidence helps. Letting her have her hand back, he picks up his own fork and takes another few bites before he adds, "He just wants to keep you safe. And that's really the only starting point we have to go off of, too. Sylar's after you. A lot of those paintings that Hiro showed me… they show Sylar. If we can stop him before he gets to you, lock him up, keep him from getting what he wants— then maybe we can stop the rest of it."

"There's no maybe," Claire says, her resolve unrestrained. "We're going to stop it, Peter. We have to. We have more friends now, people who can help, than we did before. That's something, right?" She takes a long sip of her lemonade, briefly scrunching her nose at the sour taste. "I know he wants to keep me safe, but sometimes, he just… goes too far. He forgets that I'm not a little kid any more." Because she's all of sixteen years old, and that makes her an adult, evidently. "It's my birthday in, like, two weeks, and all I can think about is Sylar. How lame is that?"

"We do have a lot more friends, yeah," Peter says with a small smile, nodding. Some friends he hasn't even met yet. She did just have to go and surprise him, and make him discard all of his self-loathing with the mention of something very important… "Your birthday is in two weeks?" No idea at all. "I shouldn't even have to ask you this. A uncle should know, right?" Except when the uncle didn't even know he had a niece until a few months ago… "When is it?"

"Half the time my dad doesn't even remember when it is," Claire replies dismissively, waving a hand. Something occurs to her then, and she adds quickly: "Not Nathan." Being in the same city as both her adoptive father and her biological father is going to get confusing very quickly, she realizes. Still, she's thankful for the distraction. "It's April 5th. I'm not making a big deal out of it, or anything. Dad would pitch a fit if I asked to have a party, and I don't even know anyone here anyway."

The missunderstanding on her two dads isn't even there, and Peter just nods when she adds the correction. "I know." She doesn't call him dad, after all. That's perfectly fine. "April 5th— well, I can at least get you a present. I know it's not a party— but we could probably go out and do something, invite Drake along, and anyone else you've met. Especially if your dad doesn't remember when it is, we could get away with it." There's a thought, and he says, "My birthday was back in December, and I missed Nathan's birthday while I was locked up too, come to think of it."

"We'll figure something out," Claire says, faintly disappointed that she missed both of those birthdays, as well. She didn't realize they had both come and gone already. "My mom's here now, and she's been talking about it non-stop. Maybe you can come to dinner and meet them." With both her drink and her sandwich finished, Claire settles back against the booth, letting out a quiet sigh. "I should get back to the hotel soon. Not that there's really anything to do there."

"I'd like that," Peter says, finishing off a few bites of his waffles before he sets it aside. Not finished, but close enough. "Yeah— I'd hate for your dad to get worried and blame me for getting you back late. Maybe you can rent a few movies, or something. Can understand how you'd be bored to death, though." A cell for a few months with only a few people as company and a single book? Yeah, he gets boredom. Hailing the waitress for the check, he pays in cash, tips genereously, and looks across. "I can stay for a movie if you want. I'm sure they have movies for rent in your room."

"I've seen them all." Claire pulls her coat back on, wrapping her scarf around her neck in anticipation of the cold she's likely to endure once they've left the warmth of the diner. "Could you stay? If I have to spend another night with just my brother as company, I might throw him out the window." She winds her way back towards the door, stuffing her hands down into her pockets. "There's a rental place down the street, I think. I saw it the other day."

"I can stick around for a few hours, if just to keep your brother from getting thrown out a window," Peter says with a tease, putting his coat back on and following close behind her, but moving up faster so he can open the door. "I'll have to drop a text message to home, so they don't think I got kidnapped or something." Read: To Elle. "But it's been a long time since I've even seen a movie. I don't know what accomidations you had when you stayed with them, but I didn't even have a book unless it was smuggled in." No television for the nuclear warhead.

The latter remark warrants a bit of consideration for Claire as she thinks back. "I didn't have anything, when I first got there," she replies, shaking her head. "They kept me locked up. I had a bed, if… you could call it that. That was it. They didn't even really let me out of there unless they had something they needed me for. I got a different room, and they let me go out, eventually, so I took the little bit of money I had and bought some books so I had something to read."

Thoughtful, Peter steps out into the cold street, buttoning up his coat only once he's outside, "How long were you there?" It's a curiousity that he's had, and one he's not feeling too good about, to be honest. "Sounds like you had my accomidations, pretty much, except they never let me out. Didn't really ask to get let out either, though."

It's evident that Claire was counting the days while she was with the Company, because there's no hesitation when she says: "Four months and eighteen days. I didn't really ask to be let out, but they told me that if I didn't start pulling my weight…" She doesn't need to finish that sentence. She's told him before why she never tried to get help, despite being able to come and go freely.

What walking he'd been doing comes to a dead halt as she says how long she'd been in there. Peter's got a rather incredable look on his face, almost as if he'd been broadsided by something, or slapped. "Why…" he starts, sounding breathless and confused. The question isn't finished, though, as he shakes his head, suddenly looking as if he's no longer sure at all what's going on. "I'm sorry. I had no idea you were there that long."

At that, Claire shakes her head quickly, replying, "There was no way for you to know, Peter. It's not your fault. No one knew I was there, or who I was, except for a few of the Company people. It's not like you could have done anything, anyway." She falls silent for a few seconds as they walk. "Besides," she says eventually, pulling her hat from her pocket and pulling it down over her hair, "I'm glad I stayed that long. I never would've known what I could do for Nathan or Hiro if I hadn't."

"It doesn't matter. You shouldn't have been there," Peter says, not accepting the dismissal, though he does add, "I wasn't blaming myself." Just so she knows it wasn't that kind of sorry. Doesn't change that he's sorry, though. Catching up to her, he stays close, but still behind her, off to the side. "What do you mean Hiro? What happened to him?" He knows what happened to Nathan, but no one's told him about the short Japanese man.

"You didn't know?" Oh, wonderful. Claire gets to be the bearer of bad news, here? That's her very favourite job. "The night I went to help Nathan, your mom wouldn't let me leave. So I was still there, waiting for my dad to get back, and he brought Hiro. I don't really know what happened, I just know that Hiro was dead, and… now he's not." The memory sends a chill creeping down her spine, and she shivers once, unconsciously. "They hooked me up to him, like a transfusion, I guess. I passed out, so that's all I remember."

There's that incredible look again, this time for a very different reason than 'what the hell was the Company doing holding a harmless sixteen year old girl for four months'. And she must have been held since around the time he was, too. Peter's going to have a bone to pick with certain Company men if he ever runs into them again… But this look is more 'you've got to be kidding me'. "You— And you said you feel helpless…" He reaches over and puts his arm around her shoulder, hugging her against him as he pulls her to a stop. "Look— your ability is amazing. It saved my life, it's saved your life, and it saved Hiro's life. You know— only reason I even knew to come and save you was because of Hiro. A future one, at least. Came back in time and told me to save you. It's fitting that you'd save him too."

Once they've stopped, Claire turns into Peter to wrap her arms around his waist, squeezing him tightly for a few seconds before she pulls away again. "I don't want this kind of responsibility," she says quietly, shaking her head, on the verge of breaking into tears now that she doesn't have the distraction of walking any more. "I don't want to be able to bring people back from the dead, Peter. No one should be able to do that. I'm glad I did it, I'm glad he's okay, but…"

Keeping his arms around her, Peter holds onto her more tightly, hand running up and down her back, enough pressure so the motions are easily felt through her thick coat. "It's all right. I understand." Though part of him wants the responsibility of saving people's lives, bringing them back if they die, he can see how it would be too much for one person to handle. He's not even sure he could, if his blood even did work the same as hers does. "Listen— don't worry about that, okay? You just focus on staying safe. You shouldn't have that much of a burden on your shoulders."

"I know. I'm trying." Offering Peter a swift smile that's meant to be reassuring, Claire draws in a deep breath to calm herself. She managed to hold onto her composure, avoiding tears, for once. "Sorry. I've been holding onto that for days. I just… needed to say it to someone." Someone who might, maybe, understand where she's coming from. Another deep breath, and Claire turns away again, looking down the street. "Come on. Let's go get that movie."

"You shouldn't hold things in," Peter says, lifting an ungloved hands to brush her cheek. Lack of tears don't matter when it comes to tactile affection. He even nudges her nose with his fingers for a moment, before he lets the hand drop and settle against her back, offering some kind of support as they walk on towards the movie rental, "Since you're the one who's seen movies lately, I'll even let you pick. Anything you want." Even a teenage girl movie. He'll sit through it all.

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