origamiflowers: (huddled)
with a violin and a song to sing ([personal profile] origamiflowers) wrote2009-08-03 01:19 am

fic: Heroes: "Special" (Peter/Claire, R)

Title: Special
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairings: Peter/Claire
Rating: R
Warnings: incest
Length: ~2400 words
Summary: Claire and Peter try to deal with the ramifications of living in a world that knows about their superpowers. Alternating angst and fluff. Also, it's the Christmas season.
Notes: Written for the [livejournal.com profile] heroes_exchange holiday exchange 2008.

"C'mon, Claire," Peter said, folding the top of her newspaper down gently; it crinkled under his touch. "Let's get out of here."

Claire huffed and held the paper up in front of her face. The cashier coughed rather pointedly, and Peter took that as his cue to pull out his wallet and slide his credit card. When he looked back at Claire, he couldn't help but read the front-page headline: "SPECIALS ROB TIFFANY'S; 14 DEAD, 10 INJURED."

"Jesus, Claire, are you reading that story?" He poked the front page, trying to get her attention quickly, feeling the eyes of the cashier on him.

Claire finally snapped the paper shut and put it back on the newspaper rack. "No," she said, but she looked guilty. He raised his eyebrows. "Okay, so what if I was?" she said defensively.

"Let's go home," he said gently. "It's no good to --"

Peter was interrupted by a squeal. He swiveled around to see a little kid, probably five at the oldest, being herded by his mother. The boy's eyes were open wide as saucers and he was pointing straight at Peter.

"Look, Mommy!" he said, tugging at the hem of his mother's skirt. "Look, it's that man we saw on TV!"

"Hi," Peter said by way of greeting, even though he didn't recognize either of them.

The woman's gaze turned upward. At first, she looked prepared to smile – probably to apologize, he would later speculate – but when she caught sight of Peter's face, the color drained out of her face, and her expression changed into one of fear, her mouth twisting into a line of disgust. She caught the child by the hand and started dragging him away.

Dimly, Peter heard, "He's dangerous, he could hurt you. That's why we saw him on TV. Don't talk to strangers like that, okay? You could really get hurt." He watched as they disappeared into the crowd leaving the store, his gut tight and twisting.

Peter felt Claire's hand on his elbow. "Let's go home," she said quietly, echoing his words from just moments before. "Come on, don't worry about it. It's not like she knows you. She's just a bitch, okay? That's all." Claire was holding their groceries in her other hand.

He shook his head. "Yeah. Yeah, fine."

They started walking away, but he distinctly heard "Fucking specials" muttered behind him. They let the crowd swallow them as they went, basking in the safety of anonymity.

He found himself gripping her hand tightly all the way home; his palm was sweaty, but he didn't let go. Their apartment was only a few blocks away, and Peter unlocked the door telekinetically just as Claire started digging for her keys.

She heard the snap of the lock unlocking and looked up, smiling. "Jeez, you'd think I'd be used to it by now." Claire looked over at him and caught sight of his expression.

"Is something wrong?" A beat. "Was it that woman back at the store?"

He didn't say anything, just grabbed the brown paper bags from Claire and started unloading them onto the kitchen counter.

She caught his hand just as he was pulling out the graham crackers. "Peter, I'm not the mind-reader here. Are you upset about it? Because you don't have to be."

Peter's jaw clenched. "Claire, she thought I was dangerous. She didn't want her kid to say hello to me, for chrissakes."

Her face softened. "I know. I'm sorry. Look, she was just being ignorant. I'm sure if she knew you --"

"If she knew I could read minds and set things on fire and never die? Yeah, I'm sure we'd be the very best of friends." He spit out the words.

Claire reached into one of the bags and held up the tin of white frosting. "It's her, not you. I know you, Peter, you're a good guy. You're my hero, remember?" She smiled. "Can we just make ghetto cheap gingerbread houses in peace, please?"

Peter sighed, ran his hand through his hair, tried to let it go. "Ghetto, huh? You're that skeptical about my gingerbread-house-making skills?"

Claire pulled off the plastic lid and tore through the aluminum. "Ghetto cheap, Peter. Emphasis on the cheap. There's not even real gingerbread. You've gotta keep up with the lingo kids are using these days." She dug a finger into the icing eagerly and started licking it off. Peter shook his head at this and smiled half-heartedly.

"Eating the icing? We haven't even gotten started. Shame on you."

"Oh yeah? And what are you gonna do about it?" she said teasingly.

Peter grabbed her wrist and grinned; this time the smile wasn't just for show. "Naughty girls don't get presents, Claire," he warned, feeling her pulse jump erratically under his fingers.

She put on her most innocent expression. "Naughty? Moi?" She leaned in so that their noses were almost touching. "What were you gonna get me, anyway? So I know it's worth the sacrifice."

His other hand drifted down her side, two fingers dipping under the hem of her jeans and pressing against her hipbone. "Gosh, I don't know."

"Shouldn't be naughty, remember?" Claire darted away from his touch, her hip left feeling red-hot where he'd touched her. "Well, I think you'll be the one regretting the lack of naughtiness. Shouldn't we be starting on these gingerbread houses already?" She sucked the last of the frosting off her index finger and beamed at him.

He just shook his head and followed her into the living room.

Thirty minutes later, and Claire was already regretting her choice. "How hard is this supposed to be, anyway?" she grumbled, as one of her graham crackers slid slowly off the roof and tumbled to her cardboard base. Her gingerbread house was looking more like a gingerbread shack than anything else. They were sitting in the living room, with the TV making low noise in the background - him on the couch and her sitting cross-legged on the floor next to him. Their graham cracker creations were sitting on the coffee table.

"You don't have the necessary skills for a delicate operation like this." Peter grinned at her. Icing draped itself onto the edges of a graham cracker and it attached itself to the roof of his structure.

Claire's eyes widened. "You are not supposed to be using your powers for this! Cheater!"

"That was not a stipulation of our agreement," he said in his most reasonable voice, and prepared himself for abuse.

She punched him on the thigh. "It was implied, stupid." She eyed his nearly finished project and snorted. "A gingerbread church, huh? Like you're such a good boy."

"I'll have you know, I'm good at a lot of things," he said primly, and a handful of gumdrops settled neatly in two rows, lining the path leading to the church doors. He felt her hand squeeze his knee gently.

"Let's see these so-called skills. So you're good, huh?" There was definitely a challenge in her voice as she maneuvered herself between Peter's knees and looked up at him, eyebrows raised.

"Oh, yeah," he murmured, leaning down and pressing his lips against hers. He could taste her cherry lip gloss, sticky and sugar-sweet. He felt her hands tightening on his knees as her breath hitched in her throat and her eyes fluttered closed. One of Peter's hands rose up to cup her face, thumb sliding along the line of her jaw, and the other curled around her hip, pulling her body closer to his.

She moaned quietly, in the back of her throat, and her hand wandered up, fingers stroking the soft skin under his navel, sending something white-hot jolting up his spine. His stomach sucked in reflexively and he felt her smile slide against his mouth.

"C'mon," he mumbled, her warm, wet mouth swallowing his vowels. " 'p here."

Claire grinned and slipped onto his lap, straddling him and pushing him back against the couch with both hands, her weight soft and warm. She cocked her head. "Much better." She leaned forward, soft curls brushing his cheek, and traced her tongue over the edges of his mouth playfully.

Peter's open mouth dropped to her exposed throat, alternately sucking and licking until the patch of skin was wet and pink and shining. She made a low, needy noise that went straight to his groin, her hands fisting in his tee-shirt and pulling it tight against his back, and his hand slipped under her blouse, fingers skimming over the firm skin of her ribs and palming her breast, squeezing. He ran his thumb over her nipple, feeling it harden through her cotton bra, and she gasped softly.

Bringing his mouth back to hers, Peter bit down on her lower lip gently, just enough to hurt, and she bucked her hips into him, rocking on her knees, digging them both further into the couch, and her name on his lips - Peter - was both a plea and a whimper --

The TV blared at them, suddenly on full volume. Both of them jumped at the abrupt noise, and he scrambled for the remote, which she'd managed to press with her knee.

"Jesus fuck," she gasped, slapping her hands over her ears and sitting back. "How loud does your TV go?"

He smirked and said, "You've got a dirty mouth, Claire," as he started turning the volume down. But something on-screen caught his eye: it was a photo of Claire, looking hurried.

"... spotted Claire Bennet at a restaurant with boyfriend Peter Petrelli and managed to snap a few shots. Check out these pictures! That looks delicious - and I don't mean the food!"

Claire groaned, pressing her forehead to his collarbone.

"There's been no shortage of blogging about Claire, who recently changed her hair color to try and avoid the press, and whose great looks have attracted a lot of media attention and a strong internet buzz. She's a web superstar, isn't she, Grant?"

It was Specials Watch!, a show that Claire often opined was designed to inflict maximum pain on people with powers.

"She sure is, Layla. Only twenty years old, and geneticists think she'll look that age forever - and that's how long she'll live, too. None of her organs will ever fail from old age, apparently."

The combination of morbid fascination and pure spite in the host's voice made Peter's stomach turn over, even as Claire yanked the remote away and turned the TV off. Her hands squeezed his shoulders as she tried to smile down at him.

His hands slipped away from her body and scrubbed roughly at his face.

"Peter?" Her voice sounded uncertain.

There was silence for a few moments. Then, to himself, so low she almost missed it: "I don't think I can do this."

She pulled his hands away from his face, enfolding them in her own. "Do what? What can't you do?"

He closed his eyes, unable to look at her – at her concern, at her sincerity, at her earnestness. "This. Whatever," he said tiredly, tugging at her hands. "Everybody watching us."

"Oh," Claire said, her voice small. She climbed off his lap and curled up next to him.

"Everyone's just waiting for … something." He struggled to find the words that would express what was gnawing at him: the jumpiness, the unease, the anxiety of constant vigilance. "Waiting for us to fuck up, I guess, or do something stupid in public, or – or whatever. I feel like eyes are on me, watching me all the time. I just … It sounds stupid, I know, but … I can't live this way, waiting for my own destruction."

"It doesn't sound stupid," she said gently. "Really."

He sighed, rested his head on the scratchy wool of the couch, stared up at the ceiling. "What are we doing here, Claire?"

"It's your apartment."

"I mean, here – in New York." He rolled his head around to meet her gaze. "Why are we here? Why can't we be somewhere else? Somewhere green and dense and tropical. With coconuts. Where no one will ever recognize us." The childlike wistfulness in his tone sent a pang through Claire's gut.

She smiled anyway, snuggling into his side. "Gonna find us an uncharted island? Beam us away?"

"Sounds good to me," he said, watching her intently, and she realized with a jolt that he was at least half-serious, waiting just to see her response.

She swallowed, taken by surprise. She didn't know what to say. It was backwards, all backwards: for as long as she'd known Peter, he was the eternal optimist, bent on seeing the silver lining of every situation they'd gotten themselves into; she was supposed to be cynical and despondent, bemoaning their fates. The role reversal left Claire feeling wrong-footed, as though they were dancing and she was perpetually a step behind, stumbling over everything. She hesitated.

"No, Peter." Her voice was wobbly. "We'll face this, together. No running."

"It's gonna destroy us, Claire." He spoke seriously, with conviction.

"We can do this," she said, squeezing his hand. "They can't hurt us. We're indestructible, remember?" Her smile was bright, too bright for him to believe in.

He turned to lean into her, wrapping his arms around her, pressing his face to her neck. She could feel his mouth moving against her skin as he murmured, reminding her: "Being indestructible isn't the same as not getting hurt, Claire. I don't want to see you get hurt by all this."

She exhaled, her breath ghosting over his skin and ruffling his hair. "Yeah. I know." They sat like that for a long while, not saying anything, her twirling his hair between her fingers, with his body in her hands.

"I'll have you," she said. "We'll always have each other." One day it'll be just us, she thought. Only us. When everyone we know gets old and dies, we'll still be around. It was a strange, terrifying thought, but it was comforting too. To know he would always be there.

Peter sat back and tugged on one of her curls, gently. "Just us," he said, as if he had read her mind. Maybe he had. The idea provoked a wry smile from her.

"You're stuck with me," she said apologetically. "My gingerbread houses will be eating your gingerbread houses for breakfast until the end of time."

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