Disclaimer: The only thing here that is mine is the character of Theodora “Thea” Frost (she’s named for my late dog, Teddy, who was a traditional empath and the poet Robert Frost.) I don't get paid for this; I'm just a fan having fun.
Rating: PG mostly due to language and most kids might freak at some of the subject matter
Characters: Claude, Thea, mentions of Peter and other characters
Pairings: None in this section
Note: I started this story line back in April after and have gone through 2-3 rewrites before settling on a direction. This bit I worked on in Late June and only recently ironed out in early July. As for how many chapters…time will tell, but at least I know where this is all going.
Spoilers: Heroes season one (all of it)
Chapter one Here
Chapter two Here
I plan to finish this story, even if I'm the only one that likes it.
Crossing Paths 3 of ?
Two nights later
November 8, 2006
“Y’know, if I was the paranoid type, I just might think you didn’t trust me, Claude.”
Claude looked up from the newspaper he’s been skimming through. It was two nights after he’d agreed to stay at Thea’s for “a bit,” and Claude had decided he wanted to accompany the nurse to work. Thea had agreed easily, and Claude wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. For the most part, Thea had let Claude be. Her aides couldn’t see him and neither could her patients, who were all pretty much in bed.
Claude wasn’t sure how best to answer Thea. He’d been curious about what she did while he was normally asleep, and, to be honest, Claude was not a trusting person. Granted Thea hadn’t done anything suspicious, and there was no sign of Primatech, but all the same, Claude was a man all too used to betrayal. “I was curious; never seen the inside of one of these places.”
“It’s kinda a combo hospital-hotel for old folks. Hospitals won’t keep them, and they’re too sick or too weak to go home. We have a rehab unit, which like I said is mostly like a hospital for old folks. They try and get them strong enough to safely go home. This floor- my floor, is a mix of long term care and hospice.”
When Thea mentioned hospice, Claude couldn’t help but think of Peter. Knowing better, but doing so any way, Claude wandered into the common room, where a TV was on. The staff called it “background noise,” and would often leave the set tuned to a news station, so as to catch up on current events while on break. As usual, the set was on MSNBC, one of many cable news channels it could receive. The station wasn’t important as all the networks were covering the same story.
“Still no further news on the mysterious explosion centered over
Claude just stood, stunned. He knew, of course, what it really was. Claude was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn’t notice that Thea had joined him, silently. The fact that the explosion hadn’t occurred in the city, brought Claude little comfort. As far as he knew, Peter Petrelli was dead. Sure the kid was a pest, and didn’t listen, but, he’d been someone whom Claude could talk to. For all his dislike of people and mistrust in general, Peter had been the closest thing Claude had had to a friend, in a long time, and now he was gone.
Thea didn’t know Peter, not personally. She’d heard bits about him from Claude, over the last day or so. Thea realized, between what Claude had told her and how he was acting now that Peter must have been the source of the mysterious explosion. How anyone could survive something like that, Thea couldn’t even begin to guess, and now she believed she would never get a chance to talk with the relatively new hospice nurse, herself being 10 years experienced. However, at the moment, Thea was much more worried about what effect this would have on Claude. Thea didn’t dare pry, but, she wanted to let her invisible companion know that she was there for him. “Can I get you anything?”
Claude quietly sank into a chair and shook his head. “I told ‘im. No attachments. No distractions. Never did listen.”
The news report continued and mentioned an unconnected story regarding a downed satellite.
“The satellite belonged to Primatech Paper and was their communications satellite for coordinating business and commerce throughout the company’s several worldwide branches and associate companies. Authorities don’t know what caused the satellite’s orbit to fail, but a computer malfunction is rumored to be the cause. Authorities are insisting that the explosion over
Claude reflexively rubbed at his odd double line scar. He knew full well that the satellite was the isotope tracker. Back when he’d been with the company, Primatech would have kept a lid on things like this. Claude had to wonder if Primatech was self-destructing.
Thea couldn’t help but notice Claude rubbing at his mark. Seeing him do that, Thea realized what the satellite probably was, though not exactly how it worked. Granted, Thea was not among “the marked,” she wasn’t even sure if Primatech was even aware of her, but that such a major piece of tracking equipment had been lost, had to be good news. Thea didn’t dare push the issue, though, but she did notice Claude start to relax, just a bit. One of the aides came and told Thea that she was needed for a patient, and she quickly left.
Claude, for his part, just continued to watch the news. Thea checked in on him from time to time but didn’t push. Her only concern was that Claude might not realize when it was time to leave, and while no one would notice him, Thea couldn’t hang around. She needn’t have worried. Claude silently and invisibly accompanied Thea to her car. She just let him be.
Being a nurse on the hospice floor, Thea was well aware that everyone grieved in different ways and, from what she had seen thus far of him, Claude struck her as a very private person. So, rather than idly chatter, Thea was trying to mentally work out how they would manage sleeping arrangements, once they got back to her apartment, and how best to approach the subject. After all, Claude had been up all night along with Thea. It had been a long time since Thea had let anyone share her bed and she didn’t count their recent arrangement as sharing. Claude would sleep in the bed at night, alone, while Thea was at work, and she would sleep in it, alone, during the day, while Claude did whatever he did in her apartment.
Claude was still silent, when they arrived and went into Thea’s building. Wordlessly, after Thea unlocked the door and let Claude in ahead of her, Claude took a seat in a recliner and began watching the news. What he was looking for, Thea wasn’t sure, but she figured she ought to continue to let Claude be. He would talk to her, if and when he was ready.
One day later
“You wanna go out and get something? I could get takeout.”
“I can cook, y’know.”
“Didn’t say you couldn’t, Claude. I didn’t know if you wanted to. Still, I do need supplies. I doubt even you could do much with what little I do have left, Chef Rains.”
Claude had to smile at Thea’s Chef comment. With mock seriousness, he asked, “’ow d’you know that’s my last name?” He was much more relaxed than he’d been since getting the initial news of the explosion. Nathan Petrelli seemed to have dispatched search crews to look for his brother, so there was a small chance that Peter may have survived the explosion, not that Claude would ever admit that aloud.
“Actually, you never did tell me your last name.”
Claude grinned. “It could be Cooper for all you know.”
Thea smiled back. “Oh, so you’re the kleptomaniac from
Claude was silent a moment, working it out. Then, recognizing the old Tonight Show bit with Joe Friday and Johnny Carson, Claude burst out laughing. Granted he’d only seen it as a clip on Thea’s computer, but it still amused him. “Irony, that. I just chose the name at random.” Claude quickly scribbled down a grocery list for Thea. Granted, he could probably nick all they needed, but Claude was trying to keep a low profile, just in case. “I’m not really the domestic type, but, one can only take so much ‘nuke and serve’ stuff.”
“I kinda got tired of burning myself, and that kitchen, is more like a glorified pantry.”
“It is at that, but I’ve seen worse. I’ll make it work.”
About two hours later
Thea arrived with the groceries, but that wasn’t all that held the invisible would be chef’s attention.
“You got a haircut.”
“I got fed up with the bob. Out dated and I was tired of the ends getting matted.” Her outdated bob had been changed for a short textured semi spiky do.
“Looks nice on you.”
Claude nodded approvingly then added, “At least now you won’t be cussing when you get out the shower or get up and try to brush it.”
“I could tell,” Claude commented as he rearranged the groceries and started to work on prep. “Now, let’s see about dinner.”
TBC (chapter 4 is "A Gargoyle’s Armor" Here)