Word Count: 1,956
This is written for LJ community heroes50, Prompt #09-Jump
"So, are you going to tell me what you're doing here?"
"Right down to business then," he said, holding the car door open first for Molly so she could get into the backseat and then for Claire.
"Well, I am curious."
He slid into his seat and started the engine. "Is there a park around here?"
"A park. A place for Molly to keep busy."
"Oh!" She thought on that. Parks weren't tops on her list of things to do and see. "There's one not too far from here I think, at a grade school."
Aside from giving him direction on how to get to the school in question they were quiet. Thankfully, it did have an area to play in as Claire thought. Even Molly was quiet, Claire wondered what that was about. She would have been difficult to shut up in a new situation when she was that age.
They took to a bench while Molly went about doing what eleven year olds did on a playground.
"Are you all right?"
"Me? Why wouldn't I be all right? That's kind of an odd question to ask me since it's taken you two months to visit me."
"I didn't know where you were, Claire. No one knows besides Nathan and your father."
"How'd you find me then?" He nodded toward Molly. "Oh," she said, understanding. "I didn't think her powers would work if you were there."
"That doesn't mean I couldn't ask her, leave, and come back to find the results. Dr. Suresh had to go back to India for a while, and your father is, understandably, worried for Molly's safety. He thought for the time being she'd be better off with me. No one should be able to detect her."
"You mean Sylar shouldn't be able to detect her."
"If he's alive."
"That still doesn't tell me why you're here."
"Do I need a reason?"
She turned to look at him, propping one leg up on the bench.
"Yeah, I think I need to know."
"Did you think I would let you just walk away? Run was more like it. You didn't even say good bye."
"Why not? People have sex all of the time. And I did too say good bye!"
"Not when you left with your father you didn't. I found you gone. And we are not everyone else, I'm quite certain neither of us have sex all of the time."
"How do you know what I've been doing since I left?"
His eyes darkened a little. "You should not say such things."
"Why not? They could be true."
"You are upset with me. I do not blame you. I wasn't sure you would want me to find you, truthfully. I know why you came to me that night. What you needed. And while I know it wasn't just sex, I wasn't sure exactly either. Especially when I found you gone later that morning and your grandmother looked at me rather suspiciously."
"No, it wasn't. I mean, I wouldn't have ended up in bed with just anyone."
"That is very good to know," he said with a low chuckle, though she could tell he was being more honest than he wanted her to believe. "Plus, I wanted to ensure you were safe before I went searching for you."
"Huh," she said as she watched Molly play a game of hopscotch by herself. Claire smiled at the girl. Was she used to playing by herself? Claire knew what that felt like with Lyle being so much younger than she was. She stood from the bench then, not sure what to say to him now. He seemed to understand because he let her go without questioning her.
"Can I play, too?"
Molly's eyes showed her surprise but she nodded.
Her eyes fell on the Haitian a time or two, but she remained focused on Molly as best as she could. Claire really did feel sorry for her. Even knowing Nathan was out there, and her birth mother. If something happened to her parents, she'd be completely lost. She couldn't imagine what losing her parents at this age would have done to her.
She knew she'd have to talk to the Haitian eventually. There were things she needed to tell him, but for now she just wanted to let Molly be a girl. To help the girl jump and play and swing and just be. She was seventeen and wanted that more than anything. She could imagine Molly did, too. At least Claire hadn't basically been held hostage for months.
"You can go talk to him now."
"He wanted me to find you, you know? I could tell every time he came to see Mohinder, I mean Dr. Suresh, that he wanted to ask me something. I didn't even know he could talk until he finally asked me."
"Yeah, he doesn't talk to many people."
"So, go talk to him."
"I don't know what to say."
"You're mad at him?"
"He thought you might be." Molly shrugged, rubbing her fingers along the edges of the rock they'd been using for hopscotch. "Do you have to say anything?"
"No, I guess I don't," Claire said simply with a shrug. "And you can call him, Dr. Suresh I mean, Mohinder if you want to. I won't tell anyone."
"Thank you. I didn't mean to let it slip out. He's worried I'll get taken from him."
"I can see that. There's probably someone you were supposed to go to."
"No," Molly said, and sounded somewhat sad.
"Well, you're with someone now who wants you. We all want you safe."
"They all want you safe, too."
"You know that, huh?"
"Yes. I've been instructed by Mohinder never to show anyone where you are."
"And yet, you showed the Haitian."
"I knew it would be okay with him. He likes you. I can tell by the look he got on his face when others talked about you."
Claire smiled slightly at the simplicity of Molly's statement. She glanced at the Haitian, wondering just what his look was that Molly saw. "You think so, huh?"
"Yes," she said with a low giggle. "And you like him, too."
"Yeah, yeah, I do."
"Then go talk to him. I can have fun on my own."
"This playground is a little young for you. Sorry I couldn't think of another one."
"It's okay," she said, spotting another girl walking toward the park, presumably with her mother. "I might have someone to play with now."
"I guess you do."
"You're pretty good at hopscotch."
"I played a lot."
Claire smiled, making her way back to the Haitian.
"She's so cute, and so doesn't deserve the things she has to deal with," she said softly.
"I believe you are right, however, it is out of her control. Any of ours really. All we can do is take care of her, protect her."
"I know, just like my dad and Nathan are doing with me."
"We cannot let Sylar, or anyone for that matter, get a hold of your power."
"Peter is on our side. There was no question that would be the case where he was concerned. There are others whose alignments are not so clear-cut and easy to determine."
"You mean there are others out there like him and Sylar?"
"Yes, I'm sure of it."
"Oh," she said softly, realizing for the first time just how broad things might be. She believed her dad when he said he was trying to protect her, but she just assumed he was going a little overboard because she was his little girl.
He slid his hand into hers and she let him, lacing her fingers through his. "I apologize if you think it took me too long to find you. I did it for your safety, for you."
"I know, that doesn't mean it's very fun."
"Would you have said yes to Billy," Claire laughed at the way he said the guy's name, "if we had not come in at the time?"
"No." She shook her head and shrugged. He said nothing, which gave her time to rethink her answer. "All right, maybe, but not because I liked him. I just don't know anyone here. It would have been kind of nice to meet some people my age."
"I understand, and I have stood in the way of you doing what you'd like."
"Not really. I'm not the partying type. And Billy probably would have gotten the wrong idea. That's the hard part. I tried telling people I was involved with someone."
"Well," she said, glancing at him from the corner of her eyes. "I don't know. Am I?"
"You're asking me?"
"You are the one I had sex with, so yes."
"You are also the one who snuck out of my bedroom as if we'd done something wrong."
"Mm, and Angela wouldn't have kicked out to the street in what you were wearing at the moment?"
"Point taken, but you are not a child."
"I know that, you know that." She shrugged. "I didn't know that bothered you."
"What man wants a woman to leave them as if they're ashamed?"
"I did no such thing! You knew where my clothes were. You said a little while ago you knew what I'd come to you for."
"The first time. The second time was different. That was us, there was nothing else behind that."
"I know that." She looked at Molly again, watching her about as closely as the Haitian was she noticed. The other girl was a little younger than Molly, but she still seemed to be having fun. "How long are you here for?"
"That depends on you."
"Perhaps you feel I waited too long."
"I don't know. You're going to leave again. And then what? I wait another two months? Longer?"
"It would not have to be like that."
"My dad's not going to let me leave."
"That does not mean I cannot visit frequently. I'm not sure how long Mohinder will be gone. So, I have Molly until he comes back, but she's studying independently so that's not an issue. I did promise her a trip to Las Vegas."
"To see Micah?"
"She'll like that. I can't imagine being that age and knowing I was different on top of being different. I mean, you already feel different and then being really really." She shrugged. "I feel bad."
"I wouldn't know, I never had the opportunity to do things like go to school."
"I suppose you didn't."
She grew quiet then.
"Is it inherited?"
"This specialness? My father and mother both are. Peter and Nathan both are. Micah's parents both are. So, when I have a child?"
"I do not know, Mohinder would be the one to ask regarding that. He's the scientist, I am not. I suppose were you to have one with someone who is as well the chances would increase. As you just pointed out that seems to be the way it works. On the other hand, we don't know that every child of two specials produces one. Nathan's boys may not be."
"Heidi's not, though."
"And you're special."
"Yes, though I hope that has duplicate meaning to you."
She closed her eyes, felt the stinging of tears. She was this close, teetering on the edge. A step back and she'd be safe, a step forward and she'd freefall into the unknown. The step back kept her in this alone, the step forward hopefully not. She took a deep breath, time to make the plunge.
"Well, it would seem we're going to find out."
Info. on icons used for background:
The non-illustrated icon is courtesy of lay-of-luthien @ LJ. She's got some nice work, and did this and 4 others very quickly! The illustrated icon is courtesy of: julietbunny who gave me this in addition to some other great goodies for the Heroes_Holidays Spring Hiatus project.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com