Pull the Trigger


claire_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Pull the Trigger
Synopsis Peter gives Claire some answers, and the two resolve to fix the problem.
Date December 6, 2008

PARIAH Building

The diffuse light of gray skies filters down through the spaces between boarded up windows. Even the chill of the outside seems to permeate through those gaps in the windows, setting a deep cold about everything within. The cracked and warped walls are glistening with frost, and paperwork long since scattered from toppled filing cabinets crunches coldly underfoot. On the ground floor fo the building PARIAH has chosen to occupy in the ruins of Midtown, Peter Petrelli's office is a stark contrast to his counterpart's.

Standing by one of the two boarded up windows, he stares listlessly out at the shattered remnants of the city, watching something pass by unseen. The wind picks up for a moment, sending a chill gust in through the spaces between the boards, a sharp and prickling morning cold that he can barely feel on his fingertips and nose.

In the room, a large black bird perches atop the back of an old office chair, the leather upholstery shredded with some of its foam stuffing spilling out from the front like furniture entrails. The bird watches Peter's stillness, glassy black eyes locked on the back of his long, bullet-hole perforated jacket.

It's never hard to find Peter when he's in one of these moods these days. Claire enters the office and silently slinks around behind her uncle to wrap her arms around his waist in a hug so that she doesn't obscure his view of the window. "Hey," she murmurs against his back. "Am I interrupting? I'd like to talk about something, if… If you don't mind." There's a million reasons for him to mind, but Claire hopes that Peter will make time for her this once. They haven't been as close as she would like to be lately. Maybe that's why this is the way it is now?

Peter startles when the arms come around his waist. His back straightens and he breathes in a hurried breath for just a moment. Then, there's a certain smell Claire gives off, the hint of lily scented soap. The smell, so familiar and yet as of late so foreign makes him hesitate. Smells are powerful things, bringing back old memories and old feelings. Peter slouches his shoulders, raising one hand to rest against the planks of wood crossing the windows, fingernails lightly scratching at the splintered surface, "Claire." He sounds surprised, and at the same time, glad.

Peter leans forward, resting his head against his forearm as his elbow comes ot settle on the boarded frame of the window. "Yeah I…" He looks out at the morning light filtering thorugh the clouds, casting the ruins as nothing but a sheet of gray. "I've got some time." Turning to look ever so slightly over his shoulder, Peter breathes in the scent of lilies, and closes his eyes again, the tension in his back fading entirely now.

Claire smiles withe barest hint of self-satisfaction. It's a point of pride to be the one who can make Peter relax when no one else can calm the angry young man. "Are you feeling all right?" Now the brunette reaches up to press the back of her hand to Peter's cheek, as though checking for a fever.

He's warm, too warm. "I'm fine." The words are sharp, but nothing else is. He doesn't move away from the touch, his head ever so slowly relaxes against it. Claire's the only one who understands him, understands his anger, she's the one who came to stay with PARIAH. Not Helena. Not anyone else.

"I'm…" Peter closes his eyes, "I'll be fine after tonight." There's a grave certainty to Peter's tone of voice, "Tonight's the night, and tomorrow, it'll be a new day for PARIAH. I'll be stronger than ever," Now he slowly turns, shifting in Claire's arms to face her, letting one of his wrap around her shoulders at the back of her neck. "It'll be different, it'll be better." A faint smile crosses his lips, "And I'll make those idiots who are trying to frame us pay."

"So you are sick," Claire says softly. "You aren't fine. You have to…" Have to what? Merge back with this other part of himself? Probably, but then… wouldn't he leave again? "Let them frame us," she changes the subject. "We aren't angels. We do terrible things. Let them blame us."

"I'm gonna' fix it, Claire." Peter manages a faint smile, "Tonight, I'm going to go see someone who can make me get better. Trust me, it won't take long." If Claire didn't know what Peter was talking about, what the exact situation is, maybe those words would be reassuring. But after finding out what Helena knew, what Peter has been keeping from her, it gives his choice of words a more sinister bend to them. But those sinister words are supplemented with a warm hand reaching up to brush against Claire's cheek, fingertips somewhat cold as they curl behind her ear and into her hair.

"We do terrible things, so other people don't have to. We do it to make a difference…" Peter's dark eyes settle on Claire's far lighter ones, "What's been done in our name, it doesn't make a difference; it makes things worse." Peter's thumb lightly brushes across Claire's earlobe softly. "I'm going to make them pay for what they did to us and our name. We're not like them." The morality of murder, it's a difficult path to walk.

For a moment, Claire relaxes into the touch, her eyes lidding halfway. So the effect she has on him goes both ways, since he appears to have that same calming manner with her. "Helena told me you're… two people. Do you think killing half of yourself is the right way to do this?"

That relaxation turns to stiffness, turns to anxiety. Peter's thumb presses firmly against Claire's earlobe, pinching it between the side of his thumb and the side of his index finger. The sound of his swallowing is dry and awkward, "So you know." It's a much more cut tone of voice, hedged in by emotions that conflict greatly. "Yes." He lets go of the ear, slowly, "Yes I think it's the right way. He's everything about me that has hurt people, he's my weakness." His stare becomes more piercing, dark eyes never having moved away from Claire, even as they had closed partly. "Pain is the feeling of weakness leaving the body. I know that, and I know once I'm rid of him, I'll be better for it."

Peter leans in, resting his forehead against Claire's, "You have to trust me Claire, Helena isn't thinking clearly anymore. She… she's naive. She wants the weak-willed, soft, and vulnerable Peter to be left behind, so that he'll come crawling back to her from the Company." There's resentment in his voice, "Helena made her choice. I tried to get her to come and be with us. She made her mistake, and now she's trying to make me suffer so she can live easier with it."

"She loves you, Peter." Upsetting though it may have been to realise it at first, Claire's making some small attempt to accept it. "Helena isn't weak. She just wants something different than we do, that's all." She reaches up and cups either side of Peter's face with a heavy sigh. "He's not everything about you that is weak," she insists. Even if she hasn't met the other half of the man before her, she knows what's true in her heart. "Everyone has weaknesses. For the longest time, we both thought our caring hearts were our greatest strength. And they aren't weak. There's a part of me that wonders if the path I'm on is the right one. You're just lucky enough to have that part of you separated entirely. It's a different way of looking at things. It's not…" You'll leave me if you reunite again. And then I won't know what's right anymore. "Don't blame Helena for this, whatever you do."

Peter's eyes close, the words Claire speaks stinging them. His face turns against her palm, and he nods slowly, but to what is difficult to discern. "I don't blame her her." The words come out as hushed breaths against the raised hand, speaking into Claire's palm. "But I don't accept it either." Then, with a slow opening of his eyes, Peter regards Claire more uncertainly this time. "I won't be leaving you, Claire. Not now, and not ever. Once I'm done with this, I won't be leaving you ever again."

"And what if you get yourself killed?" Claire stamps a foot angrily on the floor. "God, you can be so stupid sometimes!" It must be a… Petrelli thing, Claire's sure of it. "If you can kill him, then he can kill you. And don't feed me some line about how he's weak and you aren't. Because if he's any part of you, then the one thing he isn't is weak." She purses her lips. "Especially if he thinks he's protecting Helena."

Peter scowls for a moment, leaning his head back from Claire's as he stares down at her. "He's too stupid to kill me, besides, he only has half of the powers I do, and I've got Ted's." There's a certain level of arrogance with that claim. "He's useless, and the one power of his I was worried about the most — not so much now." Peter's head tilts to one side, and his hand brushes back from Claire's ear to stroke along her cheek. "I've got to do this, Claire. It's him or me." His eyes focus on the girl for a short time, "Which would be better on you; having me around, or having me with the Company?"

"That's not a fair question," Claire intones between clenched teeth. Her eyes shut tightly and she looks almost pained. "Why are you doing this?" She holds perfectly still, except for the trembling in her jaw.

"Life isn't fair, Claire." Peter shoots the words back to her that she'd said to him what feels like an eternity ago. "I'm doing this because I have to, because I was given a chance to. I'm more in control of my powers now than I ever have been, because he's gone." Peter lowers the hand away from Claire's trembling cheek, "If I can get rid of him, permanently, it means I won't be a danger to anyone else again. I'll be able to control myself, and finally stop him."

"Then let me help you." Determination has settled in. This is something Claire feels the need to be a part of now. "You don't have to do this alone. I don't want you to."

Peter's brow furrows slightly, a soft sigh exhaled through his nose. "Can you actually do it?" One dark brow rises, "Can you — " Peter winces slightly, looking troubled that something inside is even letting him consider this. "If I ask you to pull the trigger, can you?" Dark eyes settle on Claire's again, watching her with an uncertainty to her resolve. "I trusted you with this once, Claire. I need you to be able to do it if it comes down to it again."

"You trusted me then, and I fucked up and destroyed New York." As if she could help being physically dragged to France, kicking and screaming as he saying goes. The blame runs deep here. "I'm not going to fuck up again," Claire insists.

"Then be in the Bronx tonight," Peter's brows lower and there's an adamancy about his request, "Eleven fifty-five, I'm going to haul his ass out of the Company facility and finish this on the streets before they can get involved." There's a quirk of Peter's head as he looks out the slats of the boarded up windows. "I need to know I can count on you, Claire." He looks back, raising that hand to her cheek again, "Can I count on you?"

"This is fucked up, Peter. What if killing him kills you? From what Helena tells me, this ability doesn't work exactly like the person you took it from. What if you die because of this?" But what other alternatives do they have? Claire presses her lips together and nods. "I'll be there. Eleven fifty-five. The Bronx." She wipes at the tears pricking at the corners of her eyes, trying to mask fear with anger. "If you get yourself killed, I will never forgive you. Ever."

"I won't die." Peter says with a firmness, "Helena's just scared, of a lot of things. People will do or say anything when they're afraid." His thumb brushes across Claire's cheek, and Peter leans in again to very lightly press his lips to her forehead. Eyes fall shut, and there's a hushed whisper against her brow, "I trust you."

Leaning back, Peter tilts his head to the side again, letting his hand brush down the side of her face, and then back, tucking a lock of brown hair behind her ear. "I've got something I need to take care of before I do this, Claire. So, make sure you're ready. We're going to only get one chance at this…" Peter's eyes lower to the floor, and his hand falls away from near his niece's face and down to his side.

"We won't fail." Claire murmurs numbly. They had better not. She backs away slowly toward the door, not quite ready to turn her back on him yet.

"We won't." Peter affirms, watching her closely for a moment. He can see her hesitation, and he gives her reason to not turn her back. Stepping away, Peter moves towards where the room is darker, and presses his hand into the shadows of the wall. His eyes close, and the room darkens further, almost suffocatingly so where he stands. Then, as the room lightens up, Peter is in the corner no more. Gone, to somewhere else, to spare Claire the effort of putting her back to him, and to keep in her mind the look of trust in his eyes.

Trust he hopes is not betrayed.

December 5th: Who He Was

Previously in this storyline…
Who He Was

Next in this storyline…
Pull The Strings

December 6th: Pull The Strings
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