Disclaimer: I don’t own it… I’ve gotten over it…
Spoilers: up to 3.4 ‘I Become Death’
Characters: Peter, Claire, Gabriel (no pairings)
This is just something that came to me. A glimpse you could say… a possibility…
New York City
The world is not black and white, nor is everything gray. Ying-Yang is probably the best description, balance is wrought by a bit in of black in white and white in black… good and evil… vague terms… love and hate… someone once said ‘to kill her, first you must love her.’
The blonde woman shook her head. It was interesting what things you’d pick up after more than two centuries. German, Chinese, Japanese… you learned to just keep learning.
This wasn’t the New York she remembered. This wasn’t the world she was born into. Or even the one she fought for. This wasn’t the world Mohinder, Peter, or Hiro had warned about. No one ruled the world except voted-into-office officials. There were only natural metahumans; no formula ever got mass produced.
The November air whipped around, taking her blonde hair with it. She was grateful for the length of her coat over her coffee-colored sweater and jeans. It had been fifty years since she had last stepped foot in this city. Fifteen since the last time she had been in the U.S. Mostly she traveled Europe helped others. She’d seen the world… two – three times over…
She watched as the people rushed pass, okay some things in this city never change. And finally she saw it, the building she was looking for, Telekinetic. The bar was over a hundred and twenty years old… and it had changed a little over the years.
She walked in, the lights low the people few. It looked like she was the first to arrive.
With a sigh she sat down at one of the tables, taking her coat off. The old polished wood reflected a little of the lights. She tapped her fingers against the surface.
The arrival of a tin of peanuts made her look up.
“Hi,” the bartender greeted, “What can I get for you?”
“Nothing yet, I’ve got a few people I’m waiting for,” she replied.
The guy gave her a grin and a once over, before going back to the bar.
She bit her tongue. He was twenty-eight… maybe. She looked about that, sometimes it was hard to remember that she looked young, no matter how long she had lived, or how worn her soul felt.
For a long time she just sat there staring at the table thinking… a lot. When she looked up again it was because a shadow fell over the table. This time she knew the man who stood before her.
“Claire,” he greeted her with a smile.
“Gabe,” she replied. “You haven’t changed.”
The look he gave her clearly said not funny. He sat down across from her. She wasn’t kidding, the man who was their enemy for so long… he looked exactly as he had two hundred years ago when she had met him as Sylar.
Claire sighed, it had been years since they had done this, sat down, talked.
“Any idea when out third member is going to join?” Gabe asked.
She shook her head, “he can bend space-and-time and is still late to everything.”
He looked at her with a tilt of his head, “over the years have you ever lost track of the time? Days? Weeks?”
She conceded the point, “three years during the 2130s.”
He smiled tightly at her before leaning back in his chair.
The barkeeper approached again, his eyes on Claire as he asked if he could get them anything.
“You can get your eyes off my niece,” Gabe told him, no trace of humor.
He looked between them. Waiting for Claire to tell him it was a joke. She didn’t and she wasn’t going to.
Claire watched as the man walked away again. She slouched down and rested her head against the back of the chair. She looked at the ceiling staring at the wooden beams overhead. She was surprised that they weren’t steel reinforcements. This place was a throwback… everything except the name.
They sat there like that, in silence, some type of barely audible music playing from the speakers. Claire jumped when she felt the connection she hadn’t felt in years. Gabe raised an eyebrow.
“Peter’s here,” she told him quietly as she watched the door.
“Have I ever told you that it’s weird?” Gabe asked.
Claire nodded, “doesn’t change a damn thing and you know it.”
Gabe nodded. It was all he could do, the connection between Peter and Claire was strong, something even the gene guy couldn’t explain. It had taken seven or eight years for either one of them to really recognize it. The bond was platonic something her and Peter had never fully utilized. It couldn’t be broken, they could sense each time the other ‘died.’ It both brought them together and drove them far apart.
Even just watching Claire he could tell when Peter walked in. An indescribable emotion ran across her face, the one he’d say was always the ‘Peter’ look. He watched as a shadow fell across them. Claire stood and wrapped her arms around the dark figure.
Peter wore mostly black. Gabe studied his brother, of all of them Peter was most likely to change. Sadly, it was rarely in a good way. He watched as the two just hugged. If he had to guess he’d say it had been at least a few years since they had last talked, maybe a decade or so… unusual for her and Peter.
After a few moments Claire pulled away, face softer, younger than it had been before. Peter turned to look at Gabe.
“Gabriel,” Peter greeted, his long hair obscuring his face in the low light.
“Peter,” he nodded in greeting.
“I think after all this time we know each other,” Claire said dryly.
Peter gave her a lop-sided grin before walking around the table and sitting in the empty chair.
They all knew the rules: you talked about the past, you didn’t ask questions about what each other was doing now, you never got serious about the jokes made, you remembered, and drank as much as an immortal could.
Claire cringed when the barkeep reappeared at Gabe’s signal. A pitcher of beer and three mugs were ordered.
“Somebody has their eye on you,” Peter commented to Claire.
“If he’s not careful I’m going to scratch them out,” she hissed as he approached with the pitcher and mugs. She busied herself pouring them each a mug. With a sigh she pushed one to each of her uncles.
They all leaned forward. Claire stared at her drink watching the bubbles.
“To… uh,” Gabe scoffed shaking his head, “to two hundred years…”
“Two hundred years,” Claire raised her glass and they all hit each others mugs before drinking.
“Has it really been that long?” Peter asked frowning at some distant memory.
“Yes,” she replied fiercely, “two hundred years since Homecoming…”
“Feels like longer,” Gabe replied.
“That’s just because we’ve been bored for so long,” she told him.
“The realities of immortality,” Peter told her.
Claire gave them a small grin, “at least I’m not in it alone. Not only would I be bored… I’d probably have gone crazy a century ago.”
“Then you really would have belonged to the family,” Peter smiled into his drink.
“Ha,” she glared at him.
He just continued to look at her. “To Isaac,” he said quietly, “the visionary who started it.”
“I never met him,” Claire admitted as she saw Gabe flinch. “Only ever saw his works… that damn comic book Ando gave me.”
“To Niki,” Gabe said, “who died far too young.”
“And Tracy, who came to understand more about the experiments our parents did, than we may ever completely know,” Peter added.
“And Barbara,” Claire added, “who was never found.”
They all took a long drink of their beers.
“It’s amazing that with everything that happened Niki and Tracy didn’t meet,” Gabe said thoughtfully.
“Life is weird that way,” Claire said.
“So close and yet never crossing,” Peter philosophized, “until it was too late.”
Claire glanced at Gabe who had an eyebrow raised to his brother.
“To Angela,” Gabe said, “who always knew more than she was telling.”
“Who knew how to manipulate everyone around her,” Peter griped.
“Who cared about us each in the only way she could,” Claire added. Her biological grandmother had never been a particularly nice person and certainly never maternal to any of them. She could never understand the woman, and she swore to herself no matter how long she lived she would never become Angela Petrelli. She had died a bitter old woman with all her secrets when Claire was twenty-five.
They each drank before sitting back again.
“To D.L.,” Claire finally said, “who loved his family.”
Peter nodded once. “To Noah Bennet who tried harder than most.”
“Who tried to keep the monsters away,” Gabe added; no amount of bitterness in his voice.
“Who loved Lyle, mom, and I. No matter how much we fought him about everything,” Claire looked into her drink remembering. Noah had died at the age of a hundred and six, likely from Claire’s blood given to him so many years before. Long enough to see Lyle’s children graduate.
“To Daphne,” Claire saluted, “who saw no speed limits to life.”
Peter chuckled, “she really didn’t.”
“I’ve come across a few with her particular power,” Gabe informed them, “but I don’t think they enjoyed it the same way she did.”
“I think the only thing that ever made her stop for a moment was Matt and that baby,” Peter recalled.
“God knows those girls were the only thing that kept him going,” Claire said picking up a couple of peanuts, remembering the call about Daphne’s death.
“To Matt,” he said, “who knew people.”
“Who could hear the mind and see to the heart of things,” she agreed.
Gabe drank the last of his mug and filled it again.
“To Molly,” Gabe drew their attention, “one of the youngest.”
“She knew where to look,” Peter sighed into his mug.
“You remember her wedding?” Claire asked.
Peter nodded. “I believe it was the first and last time we were all together since Kirby Plaza.”
“Yeah,” Claire agreed, “decent reception too.”
“That’s only because you watched everyone else get mildly drunk,” Gabe told her.
“I was not alone,” she defended kiddingly.
“That’s only because it would have taken far too much alcohol for either of us to even get buzzed,” Peter griped.
Claire smiled, “it was amazing though. All of us and the world wasn’t ending!”
“Your mark of a good time?” Gabe asked.
“Given the time before that and my various other encounters with them…” she pretended to think while she emptied her mug, “I’d have to say so.” She refilled hers and Peter’s signaling the barkeep for another pitcher.
“To Micah,” Peter said, “who loved Molly.”
“He turned into an amazing person,” Gabe agreed.
“And a master of all things electronic,” Claire added. “I still can’t believe he went to college to learn what he could do at age nine.”
“I still think one of us should have learned genetics,” Peter said, “especially when we realized we weren’t aging anymore.”
“Took a full, what... fifteen years,” she tried to recall, “before we realized neither of you had aged, and I was just turning thirty-two… there was no proof it was my power that was doing it.”
“Still…” he told her.
“We have a few more lifetimes, if Adam is any indication, we can learn whatever we want,” Claire told him.
“Has anybody seen him?” Gabe asked.
“Yeah,” Peter shrugged, “he was somewhere in Africa. Keeping out of trouble.”
“When was this?”
“Six years ago.”
They drank in silence a few minutes.
“To Zach,” Claire said, “the first person who told me I wasn’t a complete freak.”
“You’re still not,” Peter told her quietly.
Claire gave him a look, “I’m two hundred and sixteen years old sitting with my uncles who both got the ability to regenerate from me and are respectively two hundred and twenty-six and two hundred and thirty-four. I have outlived everyone I ever knew and I’m still going to outlive everyone I help. Freak seems an appropriate term!” It’s better than ‘special’ she thought bitterly.
Gabe winced at the edge to her words and the reminder of how he got the ability. He saw Peter sigh deeply looking into his beer.
She seethed quietly, all fight leaving her when Peter touched her hand.
“I hate when you do that,” she told him quietly. The connection gave him the ability to reply in her head.
“Sorry,” Peter pulled his hand back.
“The Haitian,” Gabe said by way of distraction, “I’ll admit, his power was scary.”
“The ability to manipulate the mind into forgetting,” Claire nodded, “who knows what could be gone and we’d never know. Although, he was kind enough not to do that to me, even when he was ordered to. But Zach… didn’t even know me.”
They all took long drinks as they thought.
“To Simone,” Peter said quietly, “a good soul caught in the cross-fire.”
Claire nodded and took a drink.
“To Mohinder,” she saluted, “the man who broke the code.”
“He understood us, what we were, what we were capable of,” Peter remembered.
“To Dr. Suresh,” Gabe said quietly, “who sent him on his quest.”
After two hundred years there were things they had been over a dozen times in their meetings. Things they knew about each other. The secrets, horrible and mundane, they had long ago dragged out and hashed through. They had resigned blame and straightened things out.
“To Nathan,” Claire added, “who knew what it meant to soar.”
“A brother who had an idea what ‘right’ was,” Peter smiled, “sometimes.”
“A man who did some good,” Gabe agreed.
Claire remembered his funeral. A rainy New York day, it was cold. She had stood near the back, her age supposed to be sixty… and unmistakably she still appeared thirty. With her had been Peter who had arrived a few minutes in. She knew he was taking it hard. Taking his hand they had kept a running dialogue mentally. It was one of the hardest things they had ever done, neither of them able to show themselves for whom they were, and they had grieved quietly.
“To Noah,” Claire said quietly, “and Debbie, family.” She watched the sadness in Gabe’s eyes as he remembered his son and granddaughter.
She was happy for the arrival of the fourth or maybe the fifth pitcher, not entirely sure where the second or third had gone. Claire felt slightly warm, alcohol wouldn’t affect them for very long but she had finally got enough in her system to make her feel slightly better.
“To Ando,” she said her eyes welling slightly, “a man who didn’t believe in any of this craziness, but he was willing to follow his friend to the end of the world…”
“He believed in what he could see,” Peter told her, “and in their friendship more than anything.”
“To unwavering friendships,” Gabe saluted. They took another long drink.
Claire sighed and refilled her mug. She leaned forward on the table, “to Hiro who believed so greatly in what we were capable of.”
“Who saw the world with a very distinct black and white,” Gabe added. Knowing the Japanese man had never come around to him.
“Hiro, who believed in the good of a man,” Peter said quietly, “even when there was no one else who did.”
“He saw the worst of some futures and still believed with innocence that I can’t remember ever having,” she told them.
“It took fifteen years from the time I met him to the time he became the man who froze time and told me: save the cheerleader, save the world,” Peter grinned slightly.
They drank slowly, remembering. Pouring the last of the pitcher into each of their mugs they all leaned forward.
“To Gabriel,” Peter said, “who understands walking the line and living with it. To a father who loved his son.” Claire saluted watching Gabe’s eyes at the memory of his son.
“To Claire,” Gabe said his voice slightly thicker, “who should never have forgiven some of us… the cheerleader who has an amazing capacity for life.”
Claire grinned, more from the alcohol than the statement. “To Peter,” she saluted, “my own personal hero. Who taught me what it meant not to keep secrets.”
They all hit their glasses and downed the rest of the beer. Claire appreciated the buzz that was running through her. It was rare she consumed enough to cause her to notice. She leaned back to watch her uncles… she snorted at the label.
“What?” Gabe asked.
“Just trying to think of a time when ‘uncle’ fitted my description of either of you,” she told him.
“After all these years you haven’t dropped that?” Peter frowned at her.
“It was just a thought,” she said, “even in my head it doesn’t sound right…”
“With good reason,” Gabe said, “compared to everyone else we’re the closest in age to you.”
“Not that I’m complaining for the company, but it is rather odd that we’re the only three, besides Adam who, in two hundred years, have the ability to remain exactly as we are.”
“I told you one of us should have taken up genetics,” Peter reminded her.
“Well even all of their kids had abilities, and a few of them were alike,” she frowned at her own thoughts, “but not a single one of them were a repeat of ours… five generations, even following Molly and Micah’s bloodline and still not a fixer, sponge, or healer…”
Gabe frowned at her, “my son had no abilities.”
“But his daughter did,” Claire reminded him.
Peter tilted his head at her, “but we got nothing beyond that. Simon and Monty never showed any signs and neither did either of their kin.”
“That information isn’t complete though,” Gabe reminded them, “neither of you ever got involved, had children, there is no comparison.”
Claire and Peter both winced at the truth of it. They hadn’t, Peter had become too afraid of watching them all die, especially after Nathan’s funeral. And Claire… after Gabe had poked around in her brain. She found that she couldn’t feel anything… she became emotionally detached from life. It had taken several years and funerals before she had released the emotions and let that pain of loss make her feel.
“You could always try now,” Gabe suggested casually. “Get a life, have a relationship with the living.”
“Add another name or two to our list,” Claire replied sarcastically.
“Why not?” Gabe asked them.
“Because we can’t do that again,” Peter answered.
“You two never get it,” Gabe told them heatedly, the most angry they had seen him in nearly a century. “You remember all these people, these great friends… heroes. But they have all been dead for a hundred and fifty years. The point in celebrating what they were is to celebrate what they brought to your lives. You two have saved the world a few times but I know neither of you get it… even now… two hundred years later… I loved my son, my family… I’d give anything to have them back, to have had more time with them. Never in a million years would I deny myself the happiness that existed when they were alive. Never.
He looked at Peter, “You’re afraid of watching them die, it’s the cycle of life. We stand by and watch. The difference is you don’t remember any longer why you do this. You have no stock in this world anymore… and that’s when something will come that can actually kill us, destroy the world… and you won’t fight.”
Gabe turned his attention to Claire, “You’re afraid of feeling something… If something more than anger, sadness, or that oppressive loneliness got through to you… you’d have no idea what to do. God-forbid you’re happy, right?”
And without pausing he stood dropped his part of the bill on the table. He put a hand on each of their shoulders, “I love you both, but you’re both too stupid for words.” Then he started to walk away. “See you in twenty-five,” he called back and walked out of the bar.
It took a moment before Claire looked at Peter. “Wow.”
“When did he become so opinionated?”
“He’s always been like that,” Claire told him, “normally he’s… more subtle about it…”
They sat for a long time, staring at the empty mugs in front of them.
It was Claire who finally broke the silence, “think he’s right?”
Peter sighed before stating a very reluctant, “maybe.”
Claire bowed her head, her chin against her chest as she thought. “I’ve seen more things than anyone ever does in a lifetime… the good and the bad… but I can’t remember the thrill of it, I can’t even remember the last time I thought a guy was cute.”
“Well thinking he’s two hundred years younger is a bad way to go,” Peter told her.
“I can’t even remember what it felt like to be in love… I don’t think I ever was,” she continued as though he’d never spoken. “What are we supposed to do?”
Peter shrugged, “we’re supposed to figure it out…” he stood dropping a few bills on the table. “Hope… I guess.”
“See you in twenty-five years,” she stood getting a hug.
“I love you Claire.”
She smiled, “I love you too Peter.”
And then he was gone… Claire sat back down. It was hard seeing him only every quarter of a century… or when the world was ending. She stared at the mess as her buzz died. Damn immortal constitution she griped.
The barkeep came to the table again. “You get stuck with the tab?”
“Nah,” she pulled money from her back pocket and dropped it on the table, “we split it.” She stood grabbing her jacket and slipping her arms through it.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked, “you drank an awful lot.”
“I’m fine,” she guaranteed him. “Thank you though.”
He was still skeptical as he watched her leave.
Claire made her way outside and back into the world that wasn’t hers. In the old style bar she could forget for a moment that it was 2206… but the moment was gone. And she had too much to think about… maybe even a few things to do…
Yeah… really I’ve had this floating in my head since Monday and it was getting in the way of working on my TTH story… so here it is, a drabble from my poor head…