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Fic- Whatever it takes 15

 Title- Whatever it takes 15/?
Author- Faythbrady
Show/Ship- Heroes, Sylar/Claire, Peter/Emma
Warning- Swearing be here. PG-13
Disclaimer- I have magic powers. You will believe I own it all.
Summary- Sylar thinks he's building those bridges but will someone from his past want to burn them down?
a/n- I swear I have been through this chapter ten times and each time i find new errors and typos and I'm sick of reediting. If you find a glaring error please pretend it was intentional.



Chapter warning. There are a lot of swear words in this chapter. I don't usually swear, I think it's pointless and unnecessary but one of the characters is a teenage boy and, if you have spent any time with teenage boys, you'll know that profanity is pretty much a way of life. I've tried to keep it to a minimum but sorry if anyone is offended. I apologize in behalf of my potty mouthed character and say that he will be getting his mouth washed out with soap.





One of the first things Sylar had actually insisted on was his own office. Not that he didn't enjoy spending time with Peter or having his dear friend close by, but after walking into his own office to find Peter and Emma in a somewhat compromising situation on more than one occasion he had demanded his own space.

There are some views of your room mate that you simply do not wish to see.

However due to necessity and expedience his office was located next to Peter's with a connecting door that was mostly kept open. Theoretically this was so that they could still speak about work, the reality was more a case of being able to insult one another without getting up.

Sylar quite liked having his own space, being able to decorate it as he saw fit and not being beleaguered by Peter's inability to clean up after himself.

Right now, though, he was delighted at his proximity to Peter's office because, if he leaned that way just slightly and tilted his chair like that, he had a perfect view of Claire bending over to put files away.

Claire had been into the office every day this week and it had been a delicious kind of torture every minute.

The first day she'd walked in wearing a short pencil skirt, pristine white shirt and black heels with those stocking things that had a line down the back.

Claire walked into the building.

Sylar walked into a wall.

The second day it was bright red heels and matching lipstick and the third day it was a gray jersey dress that clung to each and every curve.

Sylar seriously considered installing a shower in his office.

When Emma and Peter had told him that Claire would be working in his building with him every day he had hoped that this would bring them closer together. After all, Claire would see him everyday in a normal work setting, she'd get to see him as just another guy.

What he had failed to realize was that there were 'other guys' already at the office; ones who hadn't tried to pry open her skull; guys who were actually quite attractive and charming and special in their own way.

Guys who flirted with Claire.

Ben, for instance, had blond hair, big blue eyes and the ability to create music out of thin air. Whenever Claire walked by Ben fluttered his fingers and strains of something soft and sappy filled the air, making Claire blush madly.

The first time that happened Sylar broke his pencil.

The second time Ben's trousers mysteriously caught on fire.

Sean thought Claire was amazing but his blue skin made him very shy and unable to really approach her to talk to. He had taken to hiding around corners and staring wistfully at her.

In fact there didn't seem to be many guys who didn't do a double take whenever Claire walked by and it was driving Sylar slowly mad.

He knew that he could blow away the competition; but Peter had informed him that nuking his colleagues was against Health and Safety.

But right now most of the Specials were out on assignment or holed up in their own offices somewhere trying to avoid paperwork and Claire was diligently bending and stretching and doing something in Peter's office that make Sylar all kinds of happy.

The phone trilled by his side and he reached out, answering it without taking his eyes off the delectable scenery.

“Hello, Sylar speaking.”

“Sy, it's Peter. I have a problem.”

“She's your mother, you deal with her.”

There was a moments silence and then:.

“But Sylar, pleeease?” Peter whined, “it wouldn't even take you that long. You could just, you know, point at her and poof.”

Sylar sighed and rolled his eyes. “I'm not Harry Potter, Peter. With my abilities it wouldn't be 'poof' more 'boom'. And no matter how annoying, irritating, antagonistic, manipulative, destructive, iniquitous, frustrating--”

“Sylar!”

“-and amoral your mother is, I'm sure you'd miss her if I were to kill her. Although if I thought for one second that you'd actually let me...” Sylar settled back on his chair. “What's the evil bitch done now?”

“Made an appointment for me and Emma with Chef Pierre at the Hilton. Apparently he does the most to die for oyster pate and duck filled lima beans or something.”

Sylar frowned. “How can you stuff a bean with a duck?”

“Why would you want to?” Peter's voice came over the phone flat and not amused. “She's driving me crazy, Sy. Emma's about ready to tear her hair out.”

“If you will insist on allowing that woman to breathe,” Sylar grinned, “what do you want me to do?”

“We're gonna need some serious down time tonight after spending the day with mom. We were wondering if you fancied a movie.”

“You want me to go out?” Sylar frowned. He could take a hint, if they wanted the apartment all to themselves then he would go-

“No!” Peter said quickly. “I meant getting a movie in. We were thinking maybe ordering in and just vegging out, the four of us. What d'ya think?”

Sylar eyes widened. “The four of us? I'm hoping to god that you aren't including Angela in that.”

There was another brief silence.

“Is Claire there?”

Sylar pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it for a second. How in the hell did Peter know that? Had he got a new ability?

“Yes,” he said slowly, “how did you know?”

“Because whenever Claire is in the vicinity your I.Q drops about twenty points. If she's wearing something short and tight it's closer to fifty. In fact when she's in heels and skirt I'm surprised you remember how to walk and talk at the same time.”

Sylar recalled his impromptu assignation with the wall and was silent.

“Anyway, dumbass, I meant you, me, Emma and Claire all coming over for a movie. It'll take my mind off my mother and give us all a much needed break.”

“Sure, I'll mention it to Claire, see what she thinks.” Sylar said with a smile, peering around the corner again. Claire was on her tiptoes, trying to reach the top of the filing cabinet. Her skirt was riding up the back of her legs.

He tilted his chair further back as she reached higher. Her left leg kicked back as she stretched, her heel pointing towards him.

Sylar hit the floor with a grunt.

“-Mfft, shit.”

“Dude, did you just fall off your chair?”

He could hear Peter laughing on the other end of the phone.

“Shut up.”

Peter laughed louder. “Oh man, that is awesome.”

“Sylar?” Claire poked her head around the door. “Are you okay, I heard a noise.”

Sylar very casually picked himself up off the floor and pointed to the phone. “Just a second.”

She responded with a small smile and Sylar gave her a nod.

“So I'll want that paperwork on my desk soon and don't forget the correct signatories.”

“She walked in and busted your ass, didn't she?”

“I'm gonna have to go.”

Peter laughed again. “Okay, Sy, just remember walking and talking is a very specific skill set.”

Sylar forced a grin. “I'll do that. You just enjoy your meeting. Bye.”

He put the phone down and shrugged his shoulders at Claire. “Tough being the boss.”

“I bet. So do you often call employees while sitting on the floor?”

Sylar would not blush. He would not blush. He was an ex-serial killer, they did not blush.

He gestured to his desk with an offhand expression. “Easier to reach those files in the bottom drawer.”

“I know, right, your office is designed for very tall people or midgets and little in between.” Claire leaned against the door frame. “I've been trying to reach the top shelves of stuff all day. Just because you can levitate and fly and stuff. Some of us don't have that advantage.”

Claire smiled impishly at him and he felt himself melt.

“I could help, reach the top shelves if you like?”

“You're busy.” She flicked a finger to his desk, also full of paperwork but nowhere near as messy as Peter's.

“It's a good kind of busy.” He reached up and scratched the back of his head. “I like being useful.”

“The way I hear it you practically run the place.” Claire voice was gentle mocking, “Peter and Emma can't praise you enough. I'm beginning to think you've brain washed them.”

He could tell that she wasn't serious and that she was trying to be more natural with him, more herself and he hugged it to himself even as he replied in kind.

His eyes twinkled. “With Peter that would take surprisingly little effort since there isn't much there to wash.”

Claire laughed. “Oh, I am so telling him you said that!”

“You can tell him tonight, he wants a movie night, if you're up for it?”

Claire leaned against his desk with her hip and folded her arms. “Depends on who's choosing the movie. Peter has a weird fixation for chick flicks.”

“Trust me, I know,” Sylar shuddered, “I've seen Sleepless in Seattle so many times I actually twitch when I see the Empire State building.”

“You watch it with him?”

Sylar tapped the side of his head. “Five years and only one movie.”

“My version of hell.” Claire sighed. “Okay, I'll come along but if he forces us to watch anything with Meg Ryan I'm blaming you. Now I gotta get back to work, my boss is a slave driver.”

Sylar gnawed his lower lip. “That he is, but even Peter is bound by laws. One hour for lunch. It's lunch time and we both need food.” Sylar shoved his hands into his pockets, hoping that she wouldn't see the slight tremble as he gathered his courage. “You wanna go get something to eat? There's a great restaurant not far from here, does amazing Mexican.”

He hoped that his voice didn't waver, hoped that she couldn't see the longing on his face.

Please, he thought, please give me this. Come eat with me. Willingly be in my company. Please.

But as her hesitation grew his heart sank.

He looked down at his feet.

“I'm not in the mood for Mexican,” Claire said, and Sylar swallowed hard.

Right, of course not. Why would she want to eat with--

“But we could go somewhere else. I love Italian and Chinese. In fact, isn't there a decent Italian place a couple of blocks from here?”

His head shot up and he pinned her with an incredulous look.

Claire took a step back. “Okay, maybe not.”

“No, no!” he insisted. “That's fine. That's great. I love Italian. I'll get my jacket.”

Sylar turned on his heel and frowned at the empty chair where he usually slung his jacket.

Claire giggled.

“What?”

She pointed to his chest and, once again, Sylar had to remind himself that ex-serial killers didn't blush.

“It seems,” he said brightly, “that I am actually wearing my jacket, so I'm good to go.”

Claire gave him a small grin and headed towards the door.

Sylar enjoyed the view spectacularly for all of five seconds before the phone rang.

He rolled his eyes. “One second, Claire.”

She paused at the doorway as he picked up the receiver quickly.

“I told you, dumbass, she's your mother. You deal with her.”

There was a small silence and then a confused male voice said.

“Uh, Agent Sylar, sir?”

Ah. So not Peter then. Sylar winced. “Yeah, this is Sylar.”

“This is Freddy from dispatch. We've just intercepted a 911 call about some guy trying to knock over a jewelery store who melted one of the stands with his hands.”

Sylar looked from the receiver to Claire and then back again. “I'm … busy, can't someone else cover? Ian was around earlier.”

“Yes sir, but the caller said that this guy is boasting that he roomed with a psychopathic killer and knew some tricks. We thought that your … uh, unique perspective might be useful here.”

Unique perspective. That was one way of putting it.

Sylar bit his lower lip.

On the one hand he had the possibility of exposure and danger to the public which threatened their existence which, it appeared, he had the ability to deal with. It was his job, his mission and his purpose.

On the other hand Claire had just agreed to go for dinner with him.

He struggled with the decision for a full minute before finally his shoulders sagged.

“Where?”

The dispatch gave him an address and Sylar tried not to pout as he put the phone down.

Claire gave him a sympathetic look. “I guess we're not going out?”

“Rain check?” he said hopefully.

“Sure. I'll be seeing you tonight at Peter's anyway.”

“Yeah. Sorry about this, but they said that it has to be me.”

“It's fine.” She turned on her heel and headed out, pausing in the doorway. “Uh, Sylar. This job you're going on, you will be careful, right?”

He blinked in confusion. “I can't get hurt, Claire.”

“Yeah you can. One lucky shot to your sweet spot and … well, eternity would be kinda boring without you. Take care okay?”

A warm glow filled him at her words and he swallowed hard. “I will.”

She bestowed him with another of her beautiful smiles and then ducked her head shyly, walking away and leaving him staring at the door with a goofy grin on his face.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The goofy grin was very much absent as Sylar landed on the tarmac outside the jewelry store. He touched down and straightened, his eyes scanning the area to make sure that no one- other than that very confused looking cat-- noticed his arrival.

The myriad of cop cars out front with their sirens blaring and the cacophony of sound emanating from the crowds masked his scoff of amusement at the three ring circus this had become. Jewelry heist turned to hostage situation had all of the players coming out, from the FBI to the paparazzi all bleating and trying to get their fifteen minutes on camera.

It reminded him a little of the bank heist he'd attended with Bennet so many years ago, back when he had thought Angela Petrelli was his mother and that he had a shot at being redeemed and loved through family; back when Claire hated him only slightly more than he hated himself.

He didn't look back on those days with any kind of nostalgia.

Sylar saw someone walking by the entrance to the alleyway and darted back into the shadows.

It was all very well to say that humans were stupid and only believed what they wanted to see but there were too many unexplained phenomena happening these days, like governments rounding people up, relatives disappearing, Twilight becoming a bestseller, for people not to realize that something questionable was going on.

Seeing a man drop from the sky and walk away would probably be more than a tiny hint that something was amiss.

But the shadow passed by and a small flash on blue assured him that it was nothing more than some ghoul catching a quick shot on their cell phone of the unfolding drama to post to the internet.

God bless the technological advances that made it possible for the victim's families to find out before the police.

He turned around and eyed the back door to the jewelers, marveling at the sheer arrogance that they had; in assuming that no one would be able to by-pass their security system they had opted for the simple and surprisingly ineffective metallic grille over a glass door.

Sylar snorted inelegantly and raised a hand.

In seconds the security camera was a very expensive lump of smoldering plastic and the highly secure metal grille was charred shrapnel.

He stepped over the smoking debris and pushed the back door with his finger; the heated glass simply melted away like caramel and slopped to the floor. He wrinkled his nose and tried to avoid stepping in it as he crossed the threshold.

All was quiet and he forced a sound barrier over his movements, smothering any noise that may have come from stepping on broken glass. He could hear voices coming from the front, one higher pitched and more insistent than the rest.

“-just shut up, I told you, I'm not kidding here.”

“Please don't hurt me!”

“Stop crying you bitch!”

Sylar rolled his eyes. Elegant. Nothing says scary and in control like calling someone a bitch.

Unless you were Sigourney Weaver, of course.

He edged around the back door and closed his eyes, concentrating on one of his abilities. It was one he'd gained during his shopping spree before he'd tried joining forces with Danko. He'd picked it up from a homeless vagrant who had an English accent and smelled somewhat of pigeons. The man had walked into him on the streets of New York and tried to make off with his wallet. Sylar had followed the scent of him to a loft where he'd taken his ability and left the invisible corpse to fester unnoticed on the rooftops.

It was probably still there, rotting away and being eaten by those pigeons. The thought made him grimace.

With a small twinge of pain Sylar become invisible to the naked eye and walked into the main shop.

The scene was easy to read and more than a little predictable.

A woman with a smear of blood on her face sat against the counter, tears streaming down her face, tights laddered and mascara running, cradling her hand against her face. Clearly the sales assistant had pressed the alarm and had been slapped for her trouble.

The balding middle-aged man all but wetting himself in the corner was likely to be her manager, maybe even the owner who suddenly discovered that he wasn't as safe in his high-tech security shop as he thought.

The couple in on the floor, a much older guy and a blonde with high heels, fake tan and even faker fur had obviously been on a shopping trip to convince her that he really wasn't too old to be having sex and ooh look shiny!

The young girl being shielded by her mother looked to be around the 'first grown up earring' age and probably was wishing she'd asked for a pony instead.

The guy standing with his back to Sylar, waving his hand at the various hostages couldn't have been that much older than the girl. He still had that gangling awkwardness of adolescence and the high pitched voice that hadn't quite lowered it's register just yet.

He was also panicking as evidenced by the various puddles of steaming goo scattered around..

Sylar took a deep breath, obviously this guy was trigger happy and scared and probably in way over his head. This was one he'd have to handle very very carefully.

A loud screech from outside proclaimed that someone had found a loudspeaker.

“This is the New York City Police department,” mumble mumble, “and the FBI. You can not escape this, we have you surrounded.”

Sylar grinned. Really, people actually said that? Brilliant.

“You can come out now with your hands up, surrender and we'll take it easy on you.”

“Yeah,” the guy scoffed, “sure they will.” He raised a hand to his forehead, wiping beads of sweat off. “I've seen what they do to people like me. I was almost one of 'em.” He clenched his fists. “I won't be drugged and taken away! You can't put me on a plane or expect me to vanish. I won't. I WON'T!” He screamed and flashed his hand to the side.

A very nice plinth holding a 'for sale' sign radiated heat and then bubbled and frothed until it simply disintegrated.

Sylar frowned. He'd seen that power before. In fact he was sure he knew that whiny voice.

“Please don't hurt us,” whimpered the sugar daddy and, sure enough, when the hot-head turned on his heel, Sylar recognized the face of Luke Campbell.

He rolled his eyes. Great. Just fricking great. Just what he needed, a blast from the past who was intent on screwing up his present. That was just like the whiny little brat, too. Show up and screw Sylar over.

“Man up Grandpa, you're showing yourself up for your lady friend.” Luke sneered.

It seemed that the little brat had gained some spice in the past few years; if still devoid of common sense.

Sylar eyed Luke closely. The years since he'd been dumped in the middle of nowhere and left to fend for himself had not been kind. Luke was scrawnier now than he had been before, if that were even possible. Maybe the last time he had a proper meal was that time at the cafe with Sylar.

He was taller, scruffier and a hell of a lot meaner.

Sylar sighed. As much as his newly formed conscience would love to poke him and moan that he had been the one to turn the sweet young boy into this desperate villain he could no more lie to himself that he could take lies from others. Luke had been heading down that slippery step to psychoville long before Sylar had ever darkened his door.

The kid enjoyed frying things and manipulating people; Sylar had just given him a role model.

Which was something that he could use.

“Your only chance is to come willingly.” Hailed the police.

Luke closed his eyes momentarily and Sylar watched as hip lips formed the words “What would Sylar do?”

Sylar grinned maliciously. “Well first, Sylar would probably tell you to stop melting stuff, it shows a lack of control.”

Luke spun, his mouth open as Sylar let go of his invisibility.

“Sylar!”

“Then he'd tell you that taking hostages if you don't intend to use them is tacky and pointless. What did I tell you, Luke? Always have a plan, always have a goal.” He leaned against the door as if it hadn't been years since he had last seen his protegee. “So what was your goal here, hmm. Money? Your plan, get in smash grab some rocks and pawn them? Your plan, Luke. Epic fail.”

Luke gaped a few more times. “Sylar, you're alive.”

“I can't actually die.” He rolled his eyes again and pushed away from the door heading into the room. Luke's face lit up.

“Man, what are you doing here?”

“I heard on the police radio that some little squirt was saying he had bunked with a psychopathic killer and knew some 'tricks'. Had to drop by and see what was happening. I get bored. By the way psychopath?” Sylar held his hands over his heart and mock pouted. “Hurtful.”

Sylar walked around the room as if surveying the damage.

“Besides,” he grinned, “The correct term is sociopath.”

Luke licked his lips. “Uh, so you got to see Samson then?”

“Hmm, and you were right, huge disappointment. But then most parents are.” Sylar looked down at the mother holding her daughter tight, her eyes intent on him.

He could see that her back was even straighter, her whole being screaming out that she knew who the real threat was. The thing was that a few years ago she would have been right. Now he was the good guy and Luke was the threat.

Ain't life funny.

He gave her an almost imperceptible shake of the head and she frowned slightly.

Sylar leaned back against one of the pillars and folded his arms, staring bemusedly at his former
traveling companion.

“So, cops outside, no way out. What do you do?”

Luke licked his lower lip. “Threaten to kill one of 'em until the cops back the fuck off.”

“Beeep, wrong.” Sylar rolled his eyes. “You've been watching too many TV shows. If you kill someone, they don't let you go. They shoot you.” He mimed a gun aimed at Luke's head. “One shot and suddenly you're part of the furnishings. Or worse, if they get a crap shot you're part of the produce aisle: having to have someone wipe your ass for the rest of your life. Now, Luke. Think.

Luke's expression went from panicked to disgusted and back again before his mouth suddenly relaxed.

“You. You can get us out of here. Like you did with those soldiers.”

Sylar's lips twitched. “Now why would I want to do that?”

“Because you don't like being shot at?” Luke's voice regressed a few years and he sounded like his old whiny self. “Come on, Sylar, get us out of here. I'll even wait while you-” he flicked a hand across his forehead and pointed at the hostages.

His narrowed his eyes. “And it wouldn't bother you? My killing these people in front of you? Look at them, Luke. Would their murder bother you?”

Sylar waited with bated breath as Luke answered the question. Unbeknownst to him, Luke's next words would seal his fate.

If the kid showed even the slightest hint of remorse, if he were uncomfortable with the deaths of these innocent people then there was the possibility of redemption. If, however, he was as far gone as he seemed and had completed the transition from human to sociopath then there was nothing for Sylar to do but take him out.

Luke looked at the old man and his trophy girlfriend and the cashier and her manager without even a blink. Then he caught sight of the mother wrapped around her quietly crying daughter.

She hadn't said a word, hadn't pleaded for her life like the others had. She'd just shielded her child to the best of her ability and tried to protect her.

Luke's eyes fixed on them and the girl edged further into her mother's embrace. He swallowed and looked back at Sylar.

He raised his chin, defiance and feigned indifference etched into his face. His bravado was evident as he faced Sylar.

“Not at all.”

Sylar gave him a deep, villainous grin. “Liar.”

Luke shifted uncomfortably but Sylar pushed away from the pillar and inclined his head. “But it was the right answer. I'll clean up your little mess this time on account of your 'helping' me find my father. But, if I do this, I'm going to want something in return.”

“Name it.” Luke didn't even hesitate.

“You wanted to be like me. I'm going to give you the opportunity to do just that.”

A grin slid over Luke's face as he did the math. “I'm going to be your apprentice?”

Sylar grimaced at the obvious glee on his face. “If you call me Yoda, even once, I will end you.”

“Sure!” Luke trilled. “Awesome.”

“One proviso. You have to do exactly what I say when I say. If that means that you dress in a tutu and flash the President then that is what you do. Understood?”

“You're the boss.”

Yes he was.

“I will deal with this. Go out the back, the door is open. Head down the alleyway to the left and wait for me by the dumpster. If you're not waiting there for me the deal is off.”

Luke nodded almost pathetically and headed for the back room.

“Oh, Luke?” Sylar called and the boy halted in the doorway.

“Yeah.”

“Give me back the jewels. Stealing is tacky.”

Luke frowned but dipped his hand into his pockets and pulled out the glistening baubles, dropping them into Sylar's outstretched hands.

“Good boy.”

Sylar noted Luke's delight at the patronizing tone with concern. Someone- before him that was-- had done a number on that kids head and he had a sneaking suspicion that Samson Grey was not entirely innocent in this matter.

He waited until he had heard the kids footsteps echo away before Sylar walked over to the mother and knelt down.

“Are you all right, did he hurt you?”

The mother lifted her chin and gave a slight shake of her head. “He slapped that woman over there but he didn't touch us. We're okay.”

Us not 'me'. The mother hadn't even thought of herself.

Sylar smiled and the girl sniffed.

“Aa-re you gonna hurt us?” her voice wavered.

Sylar shook his head. “No.”

“B-but you knew him. He was scared of you,” she sniffed again and her mother stroked the back of her head soothingly.

“I used to be a bad man,” Sylar admitted, “but now I'm not. I won't hurt you-”

“Kayla.”

He gave her another smile. “Kayla, you were very brave. But I don't want you to be scared. I'll make sure that he won't hurt anybody ever again. I promise.”

The small girl bit her lip and nodded once. “Okay.”

Sylar stood up and glanced around. “Listen up. Here's what's going to happen now.”

>>>>>>>>>>

Surprisingly, things went off without a hitch, aided, no doubt, by everyone's willingness to just go home and have this whole nightmare over with.

Sylar waited in the alley and watched as the six hostages swore up and down that the guy who'd robbed the place had been dressed head to foot in camouflage gear and that they'd never seen his face. Each and every one of them denied seeing his escape and vowed that they couldn't identify him even if they did see him again.

Sylar felt slightly amused at that, knowing as he did that Luke's face would be permanently imprinted on their memories, each time growing uglier and scarier until one day they would describe him as a cross between Marilyn Manson and the Elephant Man.

Of course by then Luke would either be reborn or buried.

Sylar sighed and walked slowly down the alley to where the annoying young man waited eagerly for his training to begin.

Sylar cocked his head and eyed Luke, his mind whirring like a broken clock. How was he going to do this? How could he possibly derail this kid's one way ride to hell?

Maybe by being the devil.

With a flash Sylar reached out and slammed his forearm against Luke's throat, pinning him to the wall.

Luke's fingers scraped and scratched at his suit jacket, his eyes bulging as he fought for breath.

“Du-” he coughed as Sylar leaned harder, cutting off his words.

“One thing you should learn about me right off the bat, Luke, is that I don't like idiots. I don't deal with idiots and around me they tend to...bleed. What you just did, Luke, was idiotic. Stupid, childish and selfish and that will get you killed. But worse, it will get you noticed.” Sylar pushed away and narrowed his eyes at the gasping boy. “Do you recall anything of the time we spent together?”

Luke nodded, eyes wide.

“The cafe?”

He nodded again, massaging his throat.

“You boiled that guy's water attracting attention to us and what happened to you Luke? Hmm?”

Sylar's eyes pierced his and Luke swallowed again.

“They dumped me in a van.”

“You. Were. Caught.” Sylar hissed each word. “Rule the first, Luke. Don't. Get. Caught. What's rule number one?”

“Don't get caught.”

“Again.”

“Don't get caught.”

“And how do we do that?”

Luke shifted. “Be better than them?”

“Don't attract attention. Stay under the radar. Be smarter. Not better, Luke. Smarter. So far you've not exactly impressed me with your smarts.” Sylar curled his lip in disgust and Luke looked away.

“Don't get caught, don't attract attention and never Never ever let them know what you are. Repeat those back to me.”

Sylar made him repeat it again and again and again until Luke's teeth gritted against the words.

Finally, Sylar relaxed and stepped back, Luke breathed a sigh of relief which was short lived as Sylar grabbed his arm and pushed him out of the alley and into broad daylight. Luke winced against the light and tried to slide back into the shadows.

“You're Special, Luke, not a vampire. It's sunlight, it's good for you. Deal with it.”

Luke grumbled but kept his voice low and just followed Sylar out into the street.

“Where are we going?” Luke asked after they'd been walking for a good ten minutes.

“Away from the scene of the crime,” Sylar said with his patented 'stop asking stupid questions before I remove your brain' tone. It worked for all of ten seconds.

“Where?”

Sylar sighed. “It's lunch time and I'm hungry. We're going to walk calmly to the nearest diner so we don't look like we're fleeing the scene of your dumbass crime and we're going to eat. I'm going to eat.” Sylar shot him a sideways glance. “You can do whatever you want, Luke. Feel free to walk away at any time.”

Luke said nothing and followed him as he walked into the nearest cafe and slid into one of the plastic seats, grabbing a menu and flickering his eyes over it. His mind was only half on the words dancing in front of him, the rest was whirling with a plan for the boy.

Luke Campbell was far too much of a loose cannon to let run free. The boy had no boundaries, no conscience and no clue about how to go on. What he needed was a firm hand and someone to show him the way- the right way- to go on. Luke was so desperate for approval from anyone he would have followed the first person that came along whether it was a gang, a cult or a serial killer. It was why he'd been so happy to go along with Sylar in the first place. Luke wanted to belong, he wanted someone to see him and accept him and be there for him; and that was something that Sylar could relate to. He knew what it was like to feel aimless and pointless and to have no direction and no prospect of it. Many times in his life he had felt like fate was buffeting him along and he was powerless to stop it without an anchor. Well, Sylar had his anchor and now he was going to offer a hand to another drowning victim.

Luke needed direction and substance and he was going to get it, only not in the way that he probably thought.

“I'll have a vanilla milkshake and waffles.”

“It's lunchtime,” Luke pointed out.

“Fine, I'll have the pasta. You?”

Luke shifted slightly and ducked his head. “I left my wallet at home.”

Sylar's head tingled at the lie and he grinned inwardly. Luke had no wallet, no money and probably no home. Which meant that the jewelry heist was a necessity and not just a whim.

This might be even easier than he thought.

Sylar sniffed. “I'll buy this once. What are you having?”

Luke's eyes widened and Sylar could hear his stomach growl at the thought of having some real food.

“I'll have the mega burger and fries with a shake- chocolate- and the side of onion rings.”

“Followed by a heart attack at thirty. You can have the burger and fries but salad instead of the onion rings. And you get juice instead of the shake.” Sylar's expression just dared him to argue and Luke was so hungry that he just nodded.

Sylar left him at the table and went up to order, shooting the harassed waitress a smile that had her grinning for possibly the first time that day. He paid and went back to his seat.

Luke leaned forward. “Why did you do that?”

“What?”

“Pay her. Don't you have, like, mind fuck powers.”

“One, watch your language,” Sylar frowned, “vulgarity is the last defense of a feeble mind and two, what would be the point of not paying? She provides a service, I pay for the service. That's the way the world works, Luke.”

“But you could tell her to do anything with your Jedi tricks and she'd do it. Why pay when you can get it for free?”

Sylar sat back in his chair and regarded Luke like he was a bug on a windshield. After several moments Luke started to shift uncomfortably.

“What?”

“Just curious as to how you've survived this long.”

“Street smarts,” Luke preened.

“Actually I was going to put it down to blind luck,” Sylar folded his arms as Luke's face fell. “Do you have to remind yourself to breathe as you walk? Your perception of the world is a little off.”

Luke sat back in his chair, mimicking Sylar subconsciously as he folded his arms and snorted.

“We're all powerful, we're the next step up on the food chain. Why should we have to pay or settle or deal when we are more than they are. Stronger, faster. Better.”

“You see yourself as better?” Sylar pointed to the waitress who was pouring coffee and grabbing orders. “How are you better than her? Because you can melt things? Because you have... what? What exactly is it that you possess, Luke?”

Luke glared.

Sylar pointed to the waitress smiling at her next customer. “That's Kelly-Ann, she was brought up in a one parent family, her dad ran off with the babysitter. She has three brothers all younger who she has to sit for. She works here so she can save up to buy a car. She has a job. She has a family who love her, even if they struggle. Kelly-Ann has dreams of going somewhere and being somebody. She's smart and got her GED at nights after having to drop out to take care of her mother when she got sick. She's clever, resilient and can remember six orders at once. In what way are you better than her, Luke?”

“You're making that shit up.”

“Language,” Sylar reminded him. He picked up a napkin. “Clairsentience. It means that I can tell the history of the object. Kelly-Ann has had this tucked in her pocket all day.”

“Ok, fine,” Luke spat, “but you, you can move shi-stuff with your mind and do all kinds of cool stuff just by thinking about it. You're more powerful and that makes you better.”

“No,” he corrected, “it just makes me stronger. Hitler was powerful, he was strong. Was he better than everyone else?”

“No, because he was a psycho.”

“Because?”

“He killed... people.” Luke trailed off frowning at his own words. “Hang on.”

Sylar smiled. “He killed people. He believed that one certain set of people had the right to live because of a genetic fluke. He thought that he was better because he wielded that power and made people fear him. But did anyone really love Hitler? What do we think of when we hear the name? Most of all, Luke, do you think his life was worth it?”

“What?”

“His life, hate and murder and death, was it worth it?”

Luke opened his mouth but nothing came out. He just stared at Sylar for a long minute and then sank back in his chair, a lost expression on his face.

Kelly-Ann appeared with two trays and placed their meals down in front of them. “Here ya go guys. Burger, fries, juice, salad, shake and pasta. Anything else?”

“No, thank you.” Sylar gave her an absent smile, his eyes still on Luke as she sauntered away.

He reached for his meal and started in with every sign of enjoyment and, after a few minutes Luke joined him, stabbing his salad viciously with a fork and scowling like his juice had personally screwed him over.

Sylar had finished his pasta and was making headway into his milkshake before Luke spoke again.

“No.”

“Excuse me?”

Luke rolled his eyes. “His life wasn't worth shi-anything.”

“Well done.” He managed to hold back a grin but allowed Luke to follow the thought.

“But at least he was remembered.”

“Not,” Sylar pointed out, “with any fondness.”

“Big deal. No one gets remembered for real, unless they've done something big. Everyone else lives, breaths, dies. I mean, like, in twenty years who's gonna care?”

“By your logic then, it's our actions now that matter.”

“I guess.”

“And what we have now that matters.”

Luke's eyes lit up. “Yeah.”

Sylar finished his milkshake and sat back again. “I have the ability to turn anything into gold.”

Luke actually gaped. “Holy shit that's awesome.”

“Language! So I turn this menu into pure gold and sell it for money which I spend on food and a bed for the night. Then tomorrow I'm hungry and sleepy again. So I turn something else and something else. Money, gold is fleeting.”

“Is that why you collect powers?”

Ouch. He hadn't expected Luke to head that way.

“Partly. But powers too are fleeting. I can turn this to gold or tell you the complete history of the salt pot. I could create a tornado in this diner or freeze the plates or cause a quake or pull every object to me. I have these powers but what is the point?” Sylar leaned forwards. “You know what I found my father doing, Luke?”

“Stuffing a monkey?”

For one long second Sylar was wrong-footed and his lips twitched. “Actually it was rabbit. But he was dying. Dying alone. He had all these powers and he was still stuck on his own breathing into a tank. Is that what you want, Luke? To be powerful and strong and die alone? Live lonely, have people shrink back from you in fear and eventually be found in your home a rotting corpse because no one cared enough to find your body for months?”

Luke swallowed and mumbled..

“What?”

“No.”

“Again.”

“What choice do I have?” Luke suddenly hissed, slamming his hands onto the table. “I had no fucking choice. My mom wouldn't take me back after she saw what I did to that guy. She said I was a monster. I've been living and breathing and no one was around to help me.”

“So help yourself.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Really?” Sylar rubbed his face with one hand and leaned forwards again, trying to push this into Luke's head. “You think that any of this has been easy? You killed one guy, Luke. One. I've killed so many more. I've torn apart families and I've screwed with heads and tormented people and it's taken years. Years. But now I have friends. Luke, I have people who would mourn my passing and actually be there for me if I need it.”

“Well, yay for you.” Luke was bitter. “We don't all have that luxury.”

You do.” Sylar insisted. “You said you had no one to help. Well here it is. I will help you gain redemption. I will help your life have meaning. I will help you to become better- not stronger or more powerful- but better. I will make you a better person, someone who counts. Who other people can count on. All you have to do is accept it.”

Luke scoffed. “And what makes you think I want redemption, huh? Why would I want to be some lame ass cry baby who gives a shit what other people think? The world turned it's back on me, Sylar. I'm just returning the favor.”

“You're pouting like a child.”

“I don't care.”

“But you do,” Sylar tucked his hand into his pocket, “you didn't want to hurt that mother and her daughter, you haven't killed anyone else since that soldier in your living room. Because, deep down, you are good and you want to be good, to be liked.” Sylar reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty and threw it on the table.

“What's that?”

“A tip for the waitress.”

“No, that.” Luke pointed at the wallet and Sylar looked down into the bemused eyes of Claire. The picture he had taken of her on Peter's camera with her eyes dancing and her smile confused had adorned his wallet for weeks now. He stroked her picture.

Luke tried to angle his head to see the picture but Sylar slapped his wallet shut with a pointed glare.

“She is someone I care for,” he pinned Luke with a look. “And someone who is helping me to redeem myself. It isn't easy. But it is worth it. I am someone now. I'm a brother and a friend and a uncle, I have a family and it is worth every inch it's taken me to fight for. What you have to think about now, Luke, is if you have the guts to fight for it. If you can become someone worth it. Part of a family, maybe even my family. I can't make you do this, I can't do it for you and I'm not gonna screw around. It is gonna be hard.” Sylar got up and pushed away from the table. “I'm going outside and I'll wait for two minutes. One hundred twenty seconds and then I'm gone. If you choose to man up and take the hard path with me, be outside in those two minutes. I won't wait longer and I won't ask again. This is your one shot, kid. If you're not there...”

“Then what?”

Sylar shrugged. “The next time I see you, I'll probably have to kill you.”

He turned on his heel and walked out of the bright diner squinting in the mid-day sun. He could have read Luke's mind, he could have telepathically frog-marched him along and made him do as he was told but he needed to know that Luke wanted this, that Luke was going to be invested in this whole-souled.

...ten...eleven...twelve...thirteen...

because, like it or not, if the boy accepted this then anytime he screwed up it would be on Sylar's head because Sylar vouched for him. He would have to fight again and again for the boy, trying to convince everyone that Luke was worth saving and that he could be changed.

...forty-five... forty-six...forty-seven..

And what would Peter say to all this? He was going to have to give Luke somewhere to live, could the kid possibly stay with them? It had taken Peter years to trust him, would he want a reminder of Sylar's old life in his apartment, close to Emma?

What about Claire, what would she say? Would seeing Luke make her think twice about Sylar; after all if he could vouch for someone as messed up as Luke surely he wasn't all there.

… ninety-nine...one-hundred... one hundred-one...

Could he really kill Luke if it came to it? When they found a Special who was intent on villainy they usually tried to persuade him otherwise by scaring him with Sylar and, if that didn't work, they handed him over to Bennet who locked them away. He wouldn't want Luke in Bennet's hands, he knew too much about Sylar and Sylar didn't trust Noah as far as he could throw him. So would he kill Luke, maybe Haitian him?

...one hundred-ten... one hundred-eleven...

He felt rather than heard the door open and hid his smile as light footsteps tripped over to him.

“You do this my way, with no arguments.”

“Whatever,” Luke said quietly. “You're the boss.”

Sylar turned and started walking, Luke moving into line quickly.

“Her name wasn't Kelly-Ann, ya know.”

Sylar's lips twitched. “I know.”

“So why did you say it?”

Sylar turned his head and pinned Luke with a look. “To get you here.”

Luke flushed. “I'm here now. So what happens now?”

“Now, we go see Peter and hope that he's not had to deal with Angela for too long.”

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
spaceanjl
Apr. 8th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
'Claire walked into the building.

Sylar walked into a wall.'

I don't particularly care about the wider ramifications of the Specials out there, I just want to read more about Sylar being an adorkable doofus. And Claire agreed to have lunch with him!

(Yeah, I know you spent a lot of time crafting every sentence here, but I'm shallow and love the 'shippy bits, sorry.)



faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
:(
I understand but Luke was kinda essential to some Claire prodding on the next section. And Sylar gets to be extra adorkable because of it.
(no subject) - spaceanjl - Apr. 10th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
alerena
Apr. 8th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
Realy, realy good.

I also can not believe that Twilight becoming a bestseller! :D LOL, Point for you!
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
I know, right! Twilight and me have ISSUES. capital issues. I want Sylar to find Stephenie Meyer.
(no subject) - faythbrady - Oct. 14th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
jingitook
Apr. 8th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Have I told you how much I looooooove this story? The humor is PERFECT. The emotions and actions are realistic. I really like that though you don't point it out, this story is taking place over a long period of time, which is perfect. Claire needs time to adjust, and you're giving her that. Just awesome! Also, really enjoyed seeing Luke again! People were asking me to bring him into my fic, and I just really don't know how, and you completely nailed it!
Also, Sylar walked into a wall and fell off a chair. Those images are now stuck in my head and making me snort with laughter.
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much,i don;t believe that she would just cave like that. no matter how cute he is, hopefully this is believable whilst keeping your interest.
Sylar needs more dork moments
(no subject) - faythbrady - Oct. 14th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
akuneko42
Apr. 9th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Awesome Chapter! This story just keeps getting better and better.

I loved when Sylar fell out of his chair.

Can't wait for the next installment! You rock!
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you, hope to have the next part up next weekened
(no subject) - faythbrady - Oct. 14th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
I know, i creeped myself out. *clink glass*
(Anonymous)
Apr. 9th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
Perfectly crafted chapter, Fayth! You had my attention the entire time! Keep up the great work!
---Rella
faythbrady
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
thanks pet, so pleased that you are still reading and enjoying it.
revdorothyl
Apr. 9th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
I love the 'World According to Sylar', as seen through his eyes (like, including Twilight becoming a bestseller as one of those inexplicable things that just happen even though they shouldn't). I adored Sylar's loss of 20 to 50 IQ points and untold 'cool' points whenever Claire's around, and of course I thoroughly enjoyed Peter calling him on it and deriving such pleasure from it.

But I also really appreciate your bringing Luke back and giving Sylar a chance to try and redeem him, since Sylar had played at least some part in messing him up. I'm looking forward to seeing Sylar and Luke working through all the tough challenges ahead of them, including what Claire's going to think about Sylar once she realizes how far gone Luke had been.
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad that you're still enjoying it, Luke is important to what happens next so it was hard to bring him back without making him a complete psycho. As for my adorakable doofus Sylar, I adore it when he;s being dumb and falling over stuff. He hasn't quite eradicated Gabriel yet.
sailoralgol
Apr. 9th, 2011 09:50 am (UTC)
And now, for a moment of silence.
And bow our heads in remembrance of Claude, the awesome snarky character played by the man who was the ninth Doctor (can never spell his last name correctly...) He will be missed.
.
.
.
Okay. Love your interactions between the characters; I feel that they are well in-character considering where they were left at the end of season 4 (when NBC screwed us over...)

Please keep it up!
faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: And now, for a moment of silence.
Eccleston- I adored him, sadly missed in both Doctor Who and Heroes. Poor Chris.
Of course now every time i pass a bunch of pigeons i freak myself out.
duciearl
Apr. 9th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

faythbrady
Apr. 10th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. More soon.
lovestruck1990
Apr. 11th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Amazing, I just sat down and read this entire story in an hour... and I cant wait for more.
faythbrady
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
I hope it was worth it :) More should be up soon, having a few issues with the next chapter so hope it's up to scratch
thegreyhawke
Apr. 12th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
I'm a bit late on this comment train (how embarrassing, but blame freaking LJ). I enjoyed this chapter less, but there's a reason and it has little/nothing to do with your writing, dear Fayth. I just don't like Luke. I adore, adore, adore how Sylar is around Luke, but...I don't like Luke. All that to say, you wrote a great chapter and I am looking forward more to how Claire and Peter handle the latest stray Sylar is now vouching for. This will be an interesting way for Sylar to look at himself through that dreaded self-righteousness lens everyone hates.(Yay for dork moments! They rule!) Also, the first part with our favored immortals is hilarious and oh-so cute. I ate it up and laughed at how he's 'keeping it casual' (and failing). The I.Q. loss is gold. I love how he's so obviously jealous (like who else is catching people's pants on fire?). Whew...think I'm done now!
faythbrady
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Luke's not in it much, he was just needed as a catalyst which you'll understand next chapter but yeah, he was kinda a douche. I think our big bad needs more dorky moments just to keep him in line... oh stuff it, I like your comment so much I'm gonna go and post the next part now, I was going to wait till next week. See what you did there by reviewing, better late than never :)
check back in half an hour and it should be up.
thegreyhawke
Apr. 12th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
Ah, I knew there was something else, darnit. I second that I wish Sylar would meet Meyer (and any of the cast of that stupid movie). And RIP dear Claude.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 12th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)
Another good chapter. And now Luke. I've read so much Heros fanfiction that I have to admit I'm having a hard time remembering the tv series Luke from all the storys I've read that had him in them. Anyway I DO remember that he was pretty messed up even back then. I'm looking forward to seeing how you have Luke interact with all of the other characters. Whenever I read a well-written story such as yours it bums me out to think of how the "Heros" writers kind of went off the rails. REALLY good first season. But then it seemed like they didn't know what to do with the series after that, other than just trying to keep all the actors employed. Anyway, please take as long as you like to bring Claire and Sylar together. Sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination. And thanks for the update.
faythbrady
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
It would have helped if the series had shown some continuity or even continued, but, like you, they kind of lost the plot. iIfind myself forgetting what was real and what was fic mainly because some fics are better than what was dreamed up. Anyway the next part is up so enjoy.
unseelie_lady
Apr. 13th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC)
so I just found this and I read all 15 chapters and...wow. I love you, you are super epic, and I cannot wait for more.

(BTW, I keep laughing and I've gotten complaints from neighbors. Always a good sign)
faythbrady
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
Super epic? great i like that :) Just posted the next part so enjoy that too.
dicomilk
Apr. 14th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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