Warning: Adoptive Incest, Angst
Summary: Noah and Claire are teleported into a future timeline where they encounter their alternate selves and realize things are not as they seem.
This had been floating around in my head for a while and I finally got it onto paper...err...my screen.
They suddenly appeared on a street corner in New York City. Hiro said nothing before teleporting them to safety, giving only the cryptic message “find yourself” before collapsing in a puddle of his own blood.
They walked for some time around the city trying to find answers. Were they in the past? The future? Why were they here?
Noah and Claire passed by a “Petrelli for Senate” poster.
“It didn’t happen this way…he never got a second term.” Claire said confused.
Noah read the poster, trying to extract any useful information.
“This makes no sense. This can’t be the past, Nathan wasn’t elected, he didn’t even run. Let alone finish his term. This must be an alternate timeline.” Noah deduced from the information given on the poster.
“Why would Hiro send us here? What are we here to find?” Claire time traveled with Hiro before, but she was even more confused now than she was then.
They walked briskly down the street and noticed small changes in architecture and the personal technology people carried on them.
“Dad look, look at that poster.” She pointed to a poster on the side of the building. It read: “Report all suspicious activity.” And “Under the Linderman Act all registered citizens must carry a National ID card at all times.”
“This is the future we tried to stop. It happened anyway.”
“Claire, I think this is different. Nathan is still alive. New York City is still here. I think this is something completely different. Hiro said to “find ourselves”. Maybe we are here, our alternate selves. We can get answers about what is going on.”
“How are we going to find us? If they’re hunting specials wouldn’t we be running too?”
“Maybe not. If all non specials are registered they would have to be in a database. If I find me, we can find both of us. If that makes any sense.”
“Maybe we can find a phone book…or that” She said as she pointed to an information kiosk inside an atrium of an office building.
They walked up to a touch screen display and selected “Directory” Noah typed in his name and found his address, phone number, and email.
“So much for privacy. Something terrible must have happened to have all information freely available.”
“Let’s try my name. I want to see what comes up.”
He typed in her name, within seconds her information popped up. Her address was the same as his.
“At least we’re still together here.”
“But why are we in New York City?” He wondered why here? It was a place they found themselves again and again.
He typed in queries for Sandra and Lyle. Nothing showed up. Maybe they weren't in New York City...or maybe they were dead. He shuddered at the thought.
“Dad we have to go to them. We need to find out what happened.”
“Claire, we can’t just waltz in there and expect them to believe us. Just because they are us doesn’t mean they aren’t different. Time and experience change people. We may not like what we find. We should investigate a bit before we reveal ourselves.”
He scribbled down the address and headed over to stake out the place.
They rented a room across the street with a direct line of view into their alternates apartment. They watched for hours to see if they saw their alternates entering or leaving the building.
After much waiting Noah noticed a man with a height similar to his walking in with a blond woman who looked like Claire, they were both well dressed wearing business attire. He could only see them from behind but knew instantly that it was them. A few minutes after entering the building he saw the lights turn on in the apartment. Using the cheap binoculars he bought from a tourist vendor he peered into their window.
The apartment appeared to be small and sparsely furnished. His eyes followed them into another room, which appeared to be a bedroom. He saw only one large bed and his eyes widened as the two went into the bedroom. Perhaps they were used to the close living quarters? He didn’t find it terribly strange, maybe his counterpart slept on the couch. Surely they did not share a bed...
Claire came into the room holding bags from McDonald’s and sat it on the table next to him.
“They just got home.” He wasn't able to tear his eyes away from the couple across from him. There was something very different about them. He couldn't pinpoint it, but even from this distance he could tell it was something strange.
“Can I see?” He handed her an extra set of binoculars and she sat next to him. “They look like agents...I look really cute in that suit!”
He rolled his eyes at Claire getting distracted by fashion and dug into the bag for a hamburger.
“Ooh...uh...why are they getting naked?”
He nearly spit the burger out at what she said. “What?!”
He picked his pair of binoculars up to make sure Claire wasn't overreacting. She wasn't. Their counterparts took turns undressing the other, slowly unbuttoning each others shirt and pushing the offending garment to the floor. Soon the two had their hands all over each other and were kissing in a frenzy. There was no shyness between them, it had clearly been something they were used to doing.
He put down his binoculars and pushed hers away from the window so she could no longer see.
He looked down at the ugly carpet and sighed. He sheepishly looked over at Claire to try to read what she was thinking. Even though they didn't actually do anything, he suddenly felt awkward around her. What could have happened that they are together like that now?
Claire looked at him for answers, answers that he did not have.
“Why were...why were we doing that?” Claire asked in disbelief. She wondered if her Noah in this timeline had anything in common with the one they were just watching.
“I...I don't have an answer. Maybe...” He found himself struggling to put together a reasonable theory. He may have had questionable ethics, but he could never have sex with his daughter. But you've thought about it. He shoved that thought away “We look like agents. If I am with the company in this timeline then maybe you are my partner. It was always 'one of us, one of them'” She crinkled her nose in distaste when he said them but she let him go on. “If you are my partner, then maybe you were raised in the company like Elle. Maybe I'm not your father in this timeline.”
“Wow, that's a lot to take in...” She shook her head and something struck her. “but they have the same last name...something has to be off.”
He could only offer up the most ridiculous explanation “Well...maybe they're married”
The look on her face would be funny if it were under different circumstances. “I didn't think my life could get any weirder.”
He shook his head in agreement. He couldn't believe that in this timeline he was with Claire. That they were together and quite possibly married.
“I can't imagine us doing that, I know I'm adopted and all, but its just too weird to think that we are together like that here”
He nodded. He was certainly not expecting this. “Maybe its not strange for them because he didn't raise her. They probably met and fell in love like all couples do.”
“I know, it's just weird to see us like that...to think that we've had sex and got married and everything else. I guess what I mean is that if things were different would could have turned out the same way.”
He had trouble meeting her eyes, he knew how possible it could have been to end up like them. “There has to be something between us that we are still together despite two different realities.”
“Is there...something between us?” She cocked her head and wondered if she understood him correctly.
He shook his head “I didn't mean like that” He could feel himself blush at what she thought he was insinuating “I just meant that we get a long well, we can depend on each other -”
“...we love each other” She finished his sentence for him.
“We can't let what they are doing affect us. I can already tell this is putting a strain on us.”
“I know, we have other things to worry about, we still have to get home.”
They kept tabs on the two across the street for the next couple of nights. He wanted to see if they could establish a routine. They took meticulous notes and descriptions of anything that could be of use. He was hoping that they could break in while they were gone and steal some clothes and identification so they could move more freely.
They took turns watching and thankfully hadn't witnessed any displays similar to the one the other night.
Claire had been watching for an hour as the two sat on the couch and watched TV. “Do you think they have American Idol in this timeline?”
“God I hope not.” He snorted and continued to make his lists.
She laughed and peered through her binoculars when she suddenly saw a familiar scene unfold. She saw the two figures kissing and undressing the other as they made their way over to the bed. She watched as his hand disappeared between her legs as she writhed on the bed. Five minutes had passed and he was now on top of her thrusting at a steady pace with her legs wrapped around his waist.
Noah realized she had been quieter than usual. “Anything going on over there?” When she didn't answer him he walked over and peered through his own binoculars to see what had her so transfixed. He watched as his alternate self thrust into the other Claire, he saw her back arching into him as his hands roaming her body. He had to look away.
He threw his binoculars on to the table as if they had burned him and snatched Claire's from her hand. A strange mix of arousal and anger went through him.
“Why did you keep watching Claire?” He couldn’t think of why she could possibly want to see that. He thought she was disgusted, yet she was unable to tear her eyes away.
She was embarrassed that she had been caught, it was like being caught with porn only this was a thousand times worse. “I..I don't know.” She stammered trying to explain “I was just curious.” She could feel a twinge of arousal spread through her. That wasn't the reaction I was supposed to get.
He was silent and had a quick flash of taking her onto the bed and repeating the scene they just saw. He shut his eyes and tried to erase the mental picture he had just painted for himself. He tried to always have nothing but fatherly feelings for Claire. There were times she stirred up arousal in him, like if she had on a flattering outfit, or if a hug lasted longer than it should. He thought those were normal reactions a man would have with a beautiful young woman. He never associated those biological reactions with anything else. He tried to convince himself that he didn't feel that way about Claire. It was something that he was doing more often, even before this situation with the alternate reality.
Claire sat on her bed at the other side of the room with her back to him. He was disappointed in her, she could tell, but there was something else there too. Why had she kept watching? It was difficult to admit that it had turned her on and that she found being in such close confines with him was becoming difficult as she discovered feelings she was subconsciously trying to bury.
He sighed as he watched her sulk in her bed. He wished that they hadn't seen the things they saw, it was creating a problem between them, raising questions and emotions that really shouldn't be addressed.
“I'm sorry for getting mad Claire. I just didn't want you to see that.”
“Because I don't like the effect it's having on us. It's raising too many issues.”
“Aren't you curious? Doesn't it make you wonder abo-”
“Stop.” He cut her off before she could finish. He knew the question before she finished it. He cut her off because if was a question he could not answer truthfully.
“Why are you so snippy? This isn't like you at all.”
“Claire...” He said in his warning tone.
“This really bothers you...” She trailed off as she realized the true reason for his behavior “You've thought about me like this, haven't you? Your all flustered because you don't know how to react to me now”
He avoided her gaze and remained silent. She was damned perceptive.
“I'm not judging you.” He looked up at this admission. “...I thought about you too.”
He walked over to her and pulled her into a hug, not knowing what else to say or do. It was something he did when he felt he ran out of words. He felt her arms tighten around his back and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“You should get some sleep” he whispered in her ear “I'll stay up and keep watch”
She nodded and went to get ready for bed. She knew the real reason he sent her to bed was so that he could be alone with his thoughts.
He returned to watching the window and saw that the two were finished and now laying in bed cuddling. He watched the other Claire stroke the hair on his chest and watched his counterpart lean down and kiss her on the lips while he ran his fingers through her hair. They looked so relaxed, so carefree. He couldn't remember the last time he felt like that. Probably before the death of his first wife, when things were still innocent. He considered his second marriage to Sandra as part of his job, along with raising Claire. He loved Sandra, he cared deeply for her as a person, but he wasn't in love with her. He was in love with his job until things got complicated. Claire manifested her ability and soon everything he had known changed. He became more close with Claire during these times, even closer than he ever was with Sandra. She knew things about him that Sandra would never know, just as he knew things about her that she would never tell Sandra. Their new bond stirred something in him that he hadn't felt in a long time, so long that he didn't know what it was until they came here. He felt his resolve slipping, he wanted to feel again. He was tired of being alone.
He looked over at Claires sleeping form and wondered if she could ever feel the same way, if she could ever fall in love with her lecherous old man. He mused that it wouldn't be fair to her. She could never have a semblance of a normal life with him. He was selfish for ever entertaining the thought, but then again, she said she thought about it too. What did she mean exactly? Was it an admission that she found him attractive, or that she was curious about what it would be like with him? He looked back over to the window and realized that the two had turned the light out and went to bed. He figured her should do the same. He contemplated slipping into bed with Claire but thought better of it and went to his own bed instead.
“It's time to go. We need to get into that apartment.”
They gathered up their belongings and slipped into the building across the street. Luckily there was no heavy security and the door man recognized them and just waved them through. She looped her arm into his so they would look like a couple and not arouse suspicion. They made it to the elevator and let out a sigh of relief. They had made it this far. The elevator dinged and they were now on the 8th floor. They walked down the hall until they were at the door of the apartment. Claire blocked him from the cameras view while he picked the lock. A few seconds passed and they were now inside.
“Pack a suitcase of clothes. I'm going to look around for anything else we'll need.”
She disappeared into the bedroom as he searched for weapons and passports. He was hoping to find a directory of specials. If he could find Hiro in this timeline then they would be able to get home. He went into the bedroom with Claire to see if she was almost finished. He didn't want to spend more time here and risk getting caught.
“What are you doing?” He saw her sitting and staring into a closet.
“There's baby stuff in here...” She pulled out a photo album and handed it to him.
He flipped through the photos, there were pictures of Claire with her swollen belly, another of them two together with his hand protectively over her belly, pictures of a newborn boy, of Claire in her hospital bed holding the baby, another was a professionally done family portrait for a Christmas card. He found another picture of a smiling baby boy that looked just like him and had her eyes. A small card fell out of the album. It was a mass card. The baby had passed away before he had turned one.
He looked over at Claire who had tears in her eyes. “We even had a child” she whispered
He set the photo album down on the bed and scooped her into his arms.
“They are not us Claire”
“How do we know that? How do we know that this isn't our future? That we aren't in an alternate timeline at all?”
“There are so many clues that we aren't...the Linderman Act, Nathan for Senate. This is not us.”
“I want to meet them. I need to know for sure.”
“It's too dangerous, I'm sorry.” he looked down at the carpet “I would like to have some answers too but we can't risk ourselves.”
She nodded and got up. As soon as he turned his back she removed a photo from the album and slipped it into her pocket. It was an impulsive act and she didn't know what urged her to take it, but she felt that she needed it.