At This Late Hour

Disclaimer: Claire and company belong to Tim Kring. Patty is kind of mine, but the male counterpart she's based on belongs to Mr. Kring also.
Author's Note: Written for Lunarknightz.

Patty Petrelli didn't register the knock on her door at first. She thought it was some weird part of her dream, even though she wasn't sure why Brad Pitt would be knocking. The constant tapping became more persistent, and she quickly realized it was not in her head.

Grumbling, she crawled out of bed. She planted her feet on the soft carpet and stumbled across the room to the door. Yawning, she opened it to see a small, blonde girl standing in the hallway.

"Claire, what are you doing up?" she asked.

Claire Petrelli, her niece, clutched her Teddy bear, her blue eyes large and round.

"Daddy and Mommy are fighting with Granny again," the six-year-old explained.

"Come on in." Patty ushered Claire into her room and closed the door.

It was becoming a nightly occurrence. Ever since Nathan and Meredith moved back in with the Petrellis while Nathan finished his law degree, raised voices seemed to be a normal sound. Patty knew her parents hated Meredith. They constantly said she wasn't from a good enough family. She was only using Nathan for his money. If they Nathan and Meredith hadn't walked in with Claire, Patty was sure her parents would've kicked them out. Instead, they fought, scaring Claire in the process.

Patty helped Claire into her bed and pulled the covers up to the little girl's chin. She then knelt down beside the bed.

"Patty, does Granny hate me?" Claire asked.

Patty smiled at the name Claire had given Angela Petrelli. Of all the monikers she could have said, Granny was probably the most absurd.

"No, baby. She's just a little mad at your daddy, that's all." As much as she didn't like the fighting, Patty was relieved Nathan was getting yelled at instead of her.

"Why is she mad at Daddy?"

Patty shrugged as she stroked Claire's long hair. "I don't know, but I do know you need to go to bed. You've got school tomorrow."

"I'm not..." Claire yawned, "...sleepy."

"Oh, yes, you are. Now close your eyes and everything will be better in the morning."

Claire did as she was told. Within minutes, she was fast asleep.

Patty stood up and wrapped her arms around herself. She looked at the door, thankful the house was so big the fighting couldn't reach her room.

"I hope everything will be better tomorrow," she whispered. She climbed into the other side of the bed and closed her own eyes.


© 2007 Crimson Idealist