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09 June 2009 @ 11:27 pm
Walls and Bridges (1/4)  
Title: Walls and Bridges 1/4
Rating: PG-13
Pairings/Characters: Sylar/Claire(Claire/Nathan)
Word count: 3000
Disclaimer: I don't own Heroes.
Spoilers: Up to s3 finale and references to spoilers for s4.
A/N: Many thanks to my ever patient beta - tinkercannon


--




"C'mon Claire, everyone’s going to the club!" Gretchen gave Claire Bennet her sweetest look. "You know Aidan's got a thing for you... his band is playing tonight."

"I can’t," Claire shoved her feet into a pair of black pumps and reached for her purse, "I've got a family thing and I promised my dad I would be there."

"But you're already late... just tell him something came up," Gretchen shrugged.

Claire rolled her eyes. "I told you, I promised him I would show up." She wiggled her fingers at her disappointed roommate and ran out the door.


--------


The waiter escorted her into the private room that the dinner party was being held in. Everyone was already seated around the table – Angela, Peter, Nathan, Mohinder, and her father.

“Hey,” Claire waved to everyone with the appropriate amount of shame, “sorry I’m late.”

“No worries.” Noah stood to hug her. “Glad you fit us into your busy schedule.”

“It was difficult but I pulled it off.” Claire said teasingly.

“How’s Georgetown?” Nathan kissed her cheek as she stopped at his side.

“Kicking my ass.” She returned his light peck and took her seat beside Peter. “One more bad grade in chemistry and I’m stopping by Mohinder’s lab for tutoring.”

“They are working me to the bone over there,” Mohinder sent her a look of exaggerated stress. “Your intrusion would be welcome.”

“Hey college girl,” Peter gave her a sideways hug, “I ordered for you.” She hadn’t seen him in over two months and she was surprised at how light he looked. It had been six months since they had stood side by side as Sylar burned and he looked like the Peter she had met in Texas – young and happy.

“Thanks.” She returned his cheeky grin and settled in.


--------


The dinner lasted two hours and by the end, when everyone decided to call it a night, Claire was glad she hadn’t blown it off.

“Have you heard from Lyle recently?” Noah’s voice was casual as he held the door open for her.

“Uh yeah, he texted me earlier,” Claire exited the private dining room, “he said he was going to call you.”

“Yeah, well – I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.” Noah mumbled. The separation that Claire had hoped was temporary, had spiraled into divorce proceeding and had gotten ugly fast. Lyle took their mother’s side and had stopped speaking to his father altogether.

“He’ll come around dad, just give him some time,” Claire tugged at his hand, “after everything we’ve put him through – the least we can do is give him some space.”

Noah made an attempt at a smile, “You’re right… patience.”

“Exactly.”

“I will do the best I can,” He promised.

He gestured towards the end of the hallway, “You ready to go?”

“You go ahead, I need to go to the ladies room.”

“Okay, be careful driving back to the dorm.”

“Of course,” Claire hugged him tight, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Noah kissed the top of her head. “Sleep tight.”


--------


Aidan asked where you were!!!


Claire rolled her eyes at Gretchen’s text as she stepped out into the evening air. She was so preoccupied with her cell she nearly stumbled into a tall figure that blocked the walkway.

“Oh sorry!” Claire apologized quickly before realizing whom it was, “Nathan?”

He reluctantly pulled his eyes from the starry sky, “Hey Claire.”

“I thought you had left earlier?”

“I did but…” He held up the blackberry in his hand, “…left my phone.”

“Oh.” Claire slid her own cell shut and turned to face him but his eyes were back on the sky. She followed his gaze and quickly spotted several constellations that she had memorized as a child. “There’s the little dipper, and the big dipper over there,” She pointed.

“Mmmhmm,” Nathan murmured, his mind clearly elsewhere.

Claire stared at him curiously; he looked restless – as if at any moment he might bolt into the sky. Although they resided in the same city she hadn’t seen him face to face since starting Georgetown. They communicated via phone at least twice a month, but her classes kept her busy and when she did have a free moment Angela and Noah were always talking about how busy he was.

“What are you thinking about?” She finally asked.

“Life’s unanswered questions,” He answered, “Who hung the stars in the sky? Are all of us truly alone in this universe? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

Claire’s heart stopped, “What?”

“What?” Nathan echoed her question.

“What did you just say?” She had only heard that expression once in her entire life.

“I said I was thinking about life’s great mysteries… life beyond the stars,” He repeated, clearly confused at her reaction.

“Where did that expression come from? Angels on a pin?” Claire asked frantically as memories of Sylar flooded her mind.

Nathan furrowed his brow but the answered escaped him, “I don’t know… it’s just one of those sayings I guess.”

“Right.” Claire nodded quickly, suddenly feeling a need to be away from him, “Well, I’ve gotta get going – I’ve got class in the morning.”

Nathan once again pulled his attention from the sky. “Of course,” He stepped towards her for a hug, “be careful.”

“I always am.”

He pulled back with a smile, “I know.”

“I’ll talk to you later…” Claire began walking toward her car.

“We should get together for lunch soon!” He called after her.

“Text me.” Claire held her phone into the air without looking back.


--------


“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

Sylar’s words echoed in her tiny car as she disregarded her promise to Nathan and Noah and sped down the highway. Nathan’s sudden use of that quote had shaken her up. For weeks after watching Sylar’s body turn to ash that night she had experienced terrifying nightmares. Some nights everything Sylar had ever told her had come true and she was left alone at the end of the world, other nights he came back from the dead and destroyed everyone she loved. Eventually those dreams went away, and Claire worked hard to put him out of her mind completely. She settled into a routine, a routine that was free from fear. But there was something in the way Nathan said that quote about angels that put her on edge and brought her old fears crashing down around her.

“How do we make love stay?”

“Shut up!” Claire ordered the invisible irritant and turned on the radio, blasting Kanye at full volume.

“Why is there evil?”

Claire pressed her foot to the gas pedal and repeated the words that had brought her comfort through the nightmares, “He’s dead… he’s dead… he’s dead.”


--------


“I think you should interview Senator Petrelli,” Jennifer the campus news editor of Georgetown’s Newspaper, The Hoya, suggested.

“Nathan?” Claire frowned.

“It’s no secret you’re close to him. I know senators are a dime a dozen here but we’re talking about Nathan Petrelli. There has been so much tragedy and scandal surrounding him, and he’s one of the president’s golden boys. Trust me, everyone would want to read a piece about him.”

“First of all, I don’t think he’ll do it, and second of all – I don’t want to do it,” Claire responded seriously, “any other ideas?”

“Claire, I’m not asking for gossip, just an interest piece. How he got to where he is, advice he might have yada, yada, yada.” Jennifer leaned forward on her elbows and lowered her voice, “It would go a long way to cementing your place on the staff.”

Claire narrowed her eyes. “I’ll ask him but I can’t promise anything.”

“Good,” Jennifer smiled, “let me know what happens.”


--------


“Vicki!” Nathan called his assistant into his office on Capitol Hill, “I’m free until two, right?”

“Uh…yes, Sir,” Vicki checked her schedule, “you’re meeting with General Hafferty at two-thirty.”

“Alright, can you do me a favor and locate a fork or something?” Nathan motioned to cartons of Chinese take out that were on his coffee table, “my daughter will be joining me for lunch.”

“Absolutely, Sir.” Vicki nodded and left him alone.

Nathan absentmindedly signed some kind of contract he had read a few days prior and glanced at the clock on the far bookshelf. It was running ahead - again. It was the third time in a week.

Ignore it. Angela’s voice echoed in his head. It isn’t important.

He wished he could ignore it but the more he tried, the louder the clock ticked.

“Focus.” Nathan told himself, but even as the words left his mouth he was pushing back the leather chair and making a beeline for the offending clock.

“I can fix this.” Nathan examined the small clock carefully. All he needed were a few tools.

“Vicki,” His assistant glanced up from her desk when he opened the door, “do you happen to have a small screwdriver or a pair of tweezers?”

Confusion was evident on the young girls’ face as she shook her head, “No, but I can get some for you - just give me a few minutes.”

“Thanks.” Nathan smiled as she quickly left her desk in search of the tools. Vicki was the perfect assistant; she had an undeveloped brain and a desire to please.

“Nathan.”

He had been so wrapped up in his silent musings that he didn’t even notice Noah Bennet standing in the doorway to his office suite.

“Noah.” Nathan found it difficult to smile at the man, “What brings you to my office in the middle of the day?”

“Company business brought me by the capitol so I figured I would stop in to say, ‘Hi.’” Noah’s words sounded as fake as the cardboard smile that was plastered on his face.

“Well, I’m actually in the middle of some business.” The lie slipped from his lips before he could stop it.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, I’m needed back there anyway. How are things going on the political end?”

“Things are tense but calming down, any new information on that carnival?”

“We’re keeping an eye on it.” Noah’s eyes were fixed on the clock Nathan held in his left hand.

“Something wrong with that clock?”

“It’s old and needs to be tossed,” Nathan shook his head, “do you have a new one on you?”

“Sorry,” Noah adjusted his glasses uneasily, “well, I’ll leave you to your work.”

Nathan stood stock still by his assistant’s desk long after Noah had disappeared down the hall. He was trying to figure out why he didn’t tell Noah Claire was on her way but he couldn’t really understand why.


--------


Claire knocked lightly before letting herself into Nathan’s office, “Hello.”

“Hey Claire, come on in.” Nathan waved her over from his place on the sofa.

“What’s that?” Claire peered at the scattered pieces of metal that graced the coffee table.

“A clock,” Nathan held a piece close to his eye, “it’s running too fast.”

“I didn’t know you could fix clocks.” Claire placed her bag on the floor and took a seat in one of the chairs across from him.

Nathan tilted his head towards her, an odd look on his face, “It’s a hobby.”

“Oh.” Claire’s attention was captured by the food spread before her. “God, I’m starving.” She grabbed a fork and flipped open a carton of Sesame Chicken.

“I’m sorry about this interview,” she said after a few bites.

“Don’t be, I want to help you,” Nathan looked up from his work, “I was a little surprised though, I never thought you were interested in journalism.”

Claire shrugged, “I spent a long time as a cheerleader. After everything that’s happened, I thought it would be nice to try something different. You know - a fresh start - a second chance at normality.”

“Fresh starts are good,” Nathan agreed and replaced a piece of metal carefully. “So tell me, what does Georgetown’s finest newspaper want to know about me?”

“Let’s start with what made you decide to get involved in politics.” As Claire listened to Nathan give her his usual back-story she watched him work.

The tension that usually creased his forehead disappeared as both hands moved easily over the pieces of the clock. As he talked he glanced up at her every so often with a slight smile and while Claire knew she should smile back, she couldn’t. Something was wrong and the longer she watched him fix the clock, the more uneasy she felt.

“…And that’s about it.” Nathan concluded. “What else you got?”

“Uh…” Claire struggled to collect her wandering thoughts and glanced at the notes she had scribbled on her notepad. “What do you do to relax? Besides fix clocks?”

“Finished.” Nathan announced and set about putting the clock back together. “Why don’t you tell them that on my days off I enjoy a nice flight to the Bahamas,” he suggested, “get a little tan, and then fly back to D.C. in time for the vote.”

Claire grinned, “You’ll be investigated for wasting taxpayer dollars.”

“If they only knew.” Nathan returned her grin and carefully placed the glass encasing over the clock.

“What advice do you have for students who want to serve the public?”

“Always remember why you chose to enter the political realm. Have a plan, never lose sight of what you want to accomplish because the moment you do, you lose yourself.”

“Wise words,” Claire replied.

“Words of experience.” Nathan said seriously, standing to put the clock back on its shelf.

“How long have you been fixing clocks?” Claire had lost interest in the interview and was instead being guided by the gnawing sensation in her stomach.

Nathan closed the cabinet with a slight frown. “Forever…for a few months…I don’t know,” he returned to the sofa and picked up a carton of Chow Mien, “it’s strange, I somehow know how the clock works, and I can look at it and see what’s wrong with it.”

He shrugged. “Ma says it’s my bodies way of handling stress.”

“That’s a weird way of relieving stress.” Claire commented.

Nathan narrowed his eyes. “I suppose it is, but I don’t need special clock-fixing powers to see that something’s wrong. Do you want to talk about it?”

“It’s nothing.” Claire shook off her unnamed fears.

“Claire, it’s not nothing. You’re wearing your feelings like a stamp on your forehead. Tell me, I can fix you.”

Claire unconsciously scooted deeper into her chair, away from Nathan as his words hung between them.

It…I meant I can fix it.” Nathan clarified after a second of silence.

Claire said nothing. She could feel it wasn’t right - he wasn’t right, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t put it together.

“Is it school?” Nathan seemed oblivious to her discomfort.

“No…it’s…” Claire exhaled loudly, in frustration, “sometimes I think that no matter what I do, whether I go to college or join the paper…I’ll never be free of him…he’s up here,” Claire tapped her head, “even now, I can feel him. I know I’ll never be normal in the usual sense, but I want to find some kind of normal - my own personal, invincible, immortal, normal and every time I think I have it - it shatters.”

Nathan nodded slightly, “I know how you feel, Claire. Sometimes I wonder who I am and why I don’t always feel like Nathan Petrelli, Rising Senator. I try so hard to control things and make reparations for what I’ve done but sometimes it’s not enough and everything falls apart, despite my best efforts. And when that happens all you can do is go with it, some things are out of our control. And you…” He looked at her fondly, “you will never be any type of normal, and sometimes you’re going to surprise even yourself - because you’re different, special.”

Claire inhaled sharply and the gnawing feeling crawled its way into her heart and started to squeeze. His words were like the missing piece of the puzzle and as soon as she heard them Claire understood what her subconscious had known since the night outside the restaurant. It didn’t make sense but she understood.

“Claire?” Nathan had a concerned look on his face, “are you okay?”

In the space of a few seconds Claire’s face had lost its color and she sat deathly still, staring at him as if he were a ghost.

“I…” Claire reached down without taking her eyes off of him and began groping around for her purse. “I need to go.” Her fingers clasped the strap and she stood slowly, clutching it to her chest.

“Now? What about the rest of the interview?” Nathan was confused.

“Uh…I’ll call you if I have any other questions.” Claire tried to smile but it was more of a grimace that set Nathan’s nerves on edge.

“Claire.” He stood and blocked the path between her and the door, “are you sure you’re okay?”

Claire took a deep breath and met his eyes, dark and warm - the eyes of her father, but the words of her nightmare… it was impossible. She had seen him burn. “I promise I’m alright - I’ll call you with follow up questions.”

Nathan didn’t believe her but emotional outbursts were normal for Claire.

Keep telling yourself that. The voice came to life inside his head.

“Drive carefully.” He pushed blond stands out of her eyes and placed a kiss on the top of her head.

“I will.” Claire promised and nearly ran for the door.


--
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
writeangel1: Heroes: Sylar/Claire- hairwriteangel1 on June 11th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks hun! &hearts
lgl_ntt09lgl_ntt09 on June 10th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
completely agree. more! please?

how does the secretary not wonder why he needs a screwdriver? lol. i feel so bad for laughing at her but wow. could we perhaps see more of her in the future? not much, just another odd request from nathan?
writeangel1: Heroes: Sylar/Claire- R & Jwriteangel1 on June 11th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
LOL - the assistant will make another appearance. I think clueless is the best word to describe her. :D

Thanks for leaving a comment!
Kerri: Sylar/Clairekaczurda on June 10th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Amazing job - I love how you used Sylar's words in "Nathan's" mouth. Perfect. :) Can't wait for more!
writeangel1writeangel1 on June 11th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading!
Heatherajzkitten69 on June 10th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
Ooh, definitely a fan. I like the way you had Claire slowly gathering the clues that something wasn't right, and I LOVE that one of Sylar's questions made it out of Nathan's mouth. Really looking forward to more.
writeangel1: Heroes: Sylar/Claire- B&Wwriteangel1 on June 11th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, hun!
cameroncrazedcameroncrazed on June 10th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, can't wait to see more! You've got a great start here, especially with the Sylathan/Claire interaction :)
writeangel1writeangel1 on June 11th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D
Michaelameehaw on June 12th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
It was perfect!

more please? /begs /grovels

I really love the pacing of this story.. And I love that it took Claire more than 2 seconds to figure it out.. :D

/perfect

thank-you for sharing.. !

/returns to begging position...
please update soon. <3~!
elliesmeowelliesmeow on June 13th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
I adore this. I love that he has no real idea and is so perfectly Nathan, except when he isn't. But there's no menace yet. Makes me wonder when/if we'll see it.

I liked the peek at how people are recovering from the stress in the aftermath of Sylar's "death". Nathan's words to Claire on being special were so touching. But yeah*LOL* I can see why she would freak.

Can't wait for more.

-Ellie
winafolk on April 13th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
Did you heard what Rob Matts said about that?