Title- Whatever it takes 11/?
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- The start of something new
A/N- Thank you to everyone who took the time to tell me what they thought regarding the pace of this story. I have taken it onboard and tried to add more Sylaire without sacrificing character/plot or realism. I hope you like this chapter (it's my favourite which is probably very egotistical of me but meh!) This is also a shout out to geeks everywhere, so dedicated to everyone who has ever owned a six-sided dice.
Chapter the new.
“You shall never defeat me!” he yelled defiantly, his hands raised in triumph. “I shall never cave to the oppression of your tyranny!”
“There is no oppression!”
“And I will not be swayed by your clever words and pretty lies; for I am the Dungeon Master!”
Sylar glared at Peter as they stayed huddled behind the supply shelves.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
Peter rolled his eyes and peered out between the stacks, shifting so he could see past the rows and rows of tuna cans. “Listen kid, we're not here to hurt you.”
Sam 'the Dungeon Master' Wexham clearly didn't believe him.
A routine seek and save had gone so very drastically wrong. Usually when Peter and Sylar arrived on the scene they found a scared and confused human freaking out about this weird thing that was happening to them.
Usually they had to soothe said human and help him/her/it come to terms with their ability. They weren't usually met by a sixteen year old conspiracy theorist with a grudge, trigger happy finger and a tenuous grasp on reality.
The scrawny teenager held out a thin, paint speckled hand and pointed to a nearby fax machine.
The white metal seemed to bubble and boil and the paint puffed out, turning red, turning hot, turning to living flesh that slithered and swished. The wire lead forked and flicked and the receiver fell off its perch, elongating and breathing fire. Two yellow eyes blinking on either side of the melted keypad narrowed and flickered with menace. In less than twenty seconds a fire-breathing dragon stood where the fax machine had been, its beady eyes fixed on the stacks where Peter and Sylar hid.
“You have to admit, that is a pretty cool power,” Peter said as he ducked back behind the tuna cans.
Sylar kicked at the remains of the photocopier at his feet, relived that it was no longer a lava-spewing monster.
Cool wasn't the word he would have used.
“My minions have no problem setting fire to your ass,” Sam's voice cracked, the high pitched whine as irritating as the stuff that it was spewing. “I won't become your evil puppet!”
“We don't want an evil puppet. We just wanna talk to you.”
“Oh,” Sam paused, “Well, good. Because I am firmly on the side of light. The Force. I won't be used to hurt people, so if you're US military you can back off. I wouldn't be any use in a war. I didn't even make summer camp.”
“There's a shock,” Sylar called and Peter swatted at his arm.
“Don't antagonize the kid.”
Sylar seethed. “He tried to kill us with a photocopier and a toaster.” He kicked the charred remains at his feet. “A toaster, Peter. You want 'death by toaster' on your death certificate?”
Peter opened his mouth to reply only to have Draco the Fax machine roar at him. The tuna cans by their heads heated, flash fried and exploded, covering Peter in hot tuna chunks.
Sylar glowered. “Remind me why we want to help this kid?”
“Listen, Sam,” Peter yelled, ignoring Sylar, “We're not military.”
There was a beat.
“Screw this, I'm gonna stop him,” Sylar stepped out from behind his cover and immediately faced two writhing snakes as tall as he was. Their purple fanged faces undulated menacingly at him, their eyes pinning him with their evil intent and a company logo shining brightly on their scaly hide.
A familiar company logo.
“You turned a water cooler into a Hydra?”
If he wasn't so pissed Sylar would be impressed.
He was pissed.
“Water cooler into a Hydra? Seriously?”
Sam edged back slightly from the menace in Sylar voice. “C-Cryohydra. All heads breathe jets of frost 10 feet long and every jet deals 3 d6 points of cold damage per head.”
Sylar gave him a sympathetic look. “No girlfriend, huh?”
“L-look, I don't think you realize the danger you're in,” Sam stammered. “You should take your partner and tell your consortium of Villains that I'm part of the... the Doompatrol Justice League of Superhero... Elite, Section 8 and...” he trailed off at Sylar's look. “When I find them.”
“We are not villains,” Sylar said patiently, ignoring the Hydra hissing in his ear. “We're Specials. Like you.”
“Oh, the all for one speech,” Sam laughed nervously. “You're Men In Black. I can tell.”
“Oh yeah, how?”
“Uh... you're wearing black?”
Sylar looked from his black suit to Peter's and back again.
He sighed. “I'm wearing red socks.”
“You have no power over me, evil one,” Sam stated, a little more hesitantly.
Sylar lifted his hand and flash froze the Cryohydra- a little something he'd borrowed from Tracey.
The beast turned from a deep purple to a crystalline blue and the ice crackled.
Sam gaped as Sylar pushed the frozen sculpture with one finger. It toppled and shattered against the floor.
“H-how did you do that?”
Sylar blew on the end of his finger like it was a smoking gun. “Did you honestly think you were the only one with powers, Sam?”
“Well, yeah. I kinda figured I got bit by a radioactive something in my sleep. Was this done to me, was I experimented on? Oh, god am I a cyborg or a... magician? An X series? Is Harry Potter real?”
Sylar heard Peter sniggering from his corner and ran a hand over his face.
He needed a vacation.
“No you're not a cyborg or an X series or a magician, you didn't get bitten or created or even experimented on. Yet. Harry Potter is real though.”
Sam sagged a little and then bristled. “You're trying to throw me off the scent, evil nemesis.”
“Listen you little-” Sylar started but was cut off by his pocket sudden ringing at him.
Who was calling him? Peter was here and everyone else who had his number was aware that he was on a job. It was rare for him to get phone calls anyway, anyone who wanted to get hold of him usually called Peter and asked him to pass on a message.
He yanked out his cell phone and peered curiously at the caller i.d.
“Uh, excuse me,” Sam called, “evil villain banter time. It's kinda rude to ruin the ambiance with a phone call.”
“Shut up.” Sylar reached out a hand and Sam slammed into the wall, his arms and legs pinned against the racks of tuna.
But Sylar wasn't listening, almost in a daze he pressed 'answer' and spoke hesitantly into the cellphone. “Claire?”
“Sylar?” the voice was wobbly and halting but it was definitely her voice. It was Claire, Claire was calling him.
His heart raced and his throat went dry and a million and one scenarios and connotations flickered through his head. He didn't even think that Claire had his number, she'd never asked for it, never been interested in it and, to be honest, he could never have imagined her willing to call him. So this was something of a surprise.
A pleasant one, but a surprise nonetheless.
“Hi, uh...are you okay?”
“N-no. Not really.”
He had heard the wobble in her voice but had attributed it to the line, now he could hear clearly that she was on the verge of tears and his insides tensed up like a vice. “What is it, what's wrong? Where are you?”
“'m sorry to c-call,” she took a deep breath, “but I didn't wanna bug Peter or Emma, they've got so much on and... and... there's nothing... I just needed …” another shuddery breath and his heart thumped louder.
Peter stepped out from behind the shelves, a question in his eyes. “Sye?”
Sylar shook his head and listened harder.
“I... my boss... he tried to... I wasn't... I quit my job, I walked out and kept walking and I don't know where I am and I left my purse and I'm sorry to bug you but I didn't know who else to call.”
She was crying now and the sound tore what was left of his heart and stomped it in the ground.
“Claire,” he soothed softly, “it's okay, it'll be fine. What street are you near? Can you tell me anything about where you are?”
She sniffed and mentioned a street name. Sylar closed his eyes and fixed it's location in his head.
“I'll be there in five minutes.”
He closed the phone and tucked it in his jacket before turning to Peter quickly. “Something's wrong with Claire, I've got to go.”
Peter frowned. “Why didn't she call me?”
Sylar didn't know and didn't care. Claire Bennett was crying and there wasn't a thing that could stop him from going to her. Not a thing. He stepped forward ready to jump into the air and take off but
Peter's hand on his sleeve stopped him.
“What?” he growled. How dare Peter stop him from going to her. Didn't he know what this meant? Didn't he know that Sylar had been waiting for Claire to come to him, to trust him for so long and this could be it? Anger flared in his stomach and edged towards his spine, his fingers tingled in anticipation of a fight.
Peter nodded at the far wall and Sylar looked at the young boy pinned to the wall.
“Oh. Right.” He dropped the telekinetic hold and Sam fell to the floor, his eyes wide.
“Who are you guys? FBI, CIA, some undercover government agency who wanna take me away and do tests on my brain.” His hands clutched at his head. “Oh my god, you wanna suck out my brain!”
“I don't do that anymore,” Sylar hesitated and tilted his head, “mostly.”
“We are Special, just like you.” Peter offered.
Sam moved closer, pushing his glasses further up his nose. “You both have powers? What do you want with me?”
“You specifically, not much. We represent a group who help people with abilities like you,” Peter explained, “we let you know that you're not alone, we offer help to those who don't know how to use their powers or need advice, training.”
“X-men!” Sam beamed, “oh my god, you're Professor X!”
Peter forced out a grimace. “Peter, I'm Peter Petrelli and this is-”
Not realizing the danger he was in, Sam reached out and grabbed hold of Sylar's hand. “You can't, I haven't even-”
“Listen, Dungeon brat,” Sylar snarled, “the woman I've been in love with forever has finally just asked for my help and there is no way that I am gonna let her down, so let me go or I'll reduce you and your Cryohydra to six sided dice.”
Sam let go and, before he could step back, Sylar was gone.
Peter winced, wondering if Sylar had scared the boy. “Sorry about my friend. He has kind of a long history... and a short temper.”
“Most heroes have complicated back stories,” Sam shrugged, “he's like Wolverine and Cyclops in one. This is beyond awesome, man!”
Peter patted his back. “I'm gonna introduce to my friend Hiro, I think you two will have a lot in common.”
“Okay,” Sam sighed happily. He looked down at the pieces of ice scattered across the floor. “He totally vanquished my Dragon and my Lava Troll.”
“Sorry about that,” Peter winced as they stepped over the remains of the photocopier. “Like I said, Sylar has a few issues. One of then being that he won' t let anything happen to Claire. She's my niece.”
“Most heroes try to protect regular people, like Superman and Louis Lane.”
Peter grinned. “Claire can more than protect herself. Besides she's not a regular, she's a Special too. Claire can regrow limbs.”
Sam froze and slowly turned wide eyes to Peter. “There are Special girls?”
Peter grinned. “We'll make a stop at Josephville, I think you're gonna enjoy this.”
She felt stupid. That was the overriding emotion as she stared down at the phone in her hand.
Stupid for not noticing that her boss had gone beyond vaguely interested and into creepy leering. Stupid for not noticing that he knocked things over in her office just to get her to pick them up and watch her ass. Stupid for doing it without thinking. Stupid for coming back early off her lunch break because he had something to ask her. Stupid for not noticing the closed door and the lack of other staff. Stupid for not realizing what he was doing until his hands were all over. Stupid for not hitting him harder. Stupid for running out without her wallet and keys. Stupid for not watching where she was going. Stupid for crying, stupid for calling.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Oh she was special all right, just the wrong kind.
She wrapped her arms tight around herself and sniffed, feeling miserable. What had she been thinking? Why the hell hadn't she been more on guard? She knew that her stupid boss had the hots for her, she just didn't believe that he'd be one of those assholes who'd try and force himself on his staff by promising a raise.
She shuddered as she felt phantom hands crawl up her thighs and ghost over her shirt.
Claire swiped at the tears on her face and dragged in deep breaths trying to calm herself down.
She'd walked out, having given her resignation in decibels that bordered on the Richter scale, and had run, memories of Brody racing around in her head. She'd run far and fast and had only stopped when her lungs were pounding more than her heart; which was when she realized that she was lost and that, although her phone was in her pocket, she'd left her keys and her wallet back on the desk in her office. Old office.
The realization dawned that her bills were due on Monday and she was now one of the occupationally challenged
Claire freaked out.
Her fingers flew over the keypad on her phone, her brain frantically trying to come up with someone who could fix this, without resorting to 'I told you so' (which ruled out her dad), who was close by (which ruled out her mom and everyone from Josephville), someone she could trust (which ruled out Angela Petrelli), someone who would be useful (ruling her brother out completely) and someone who didn't have the world and it's wedding on their shoulders which ruled out Emma and Peter.
Then her finger had flicked over Sylar's number, programmed into her phone by Emma under Claire's protestation, and she'd not even hesitated. Sylar wouldn't judge her, he wouldn't belittle her and, hopefully, he would just take her home.
God, she wanted to go home.
She closed her eyes and wished so hard that this day had never happened, that she'd open them and everything would be all right, everything would be perfect.
She looked up and there he was. Tall, solid, reliable and so damned real. Claire felt her breath catch in her throat and her eyes teared up.
“I-” she swallowed. “I'm sorry.”
Sylar knelt down in front of her and hesitantly reached out to touch her shoulder.
“Don't be,” he said simply and that was it.
Tears slid in a torrent down her face, his gentle understanding tone cracking the tiny slivers of composure she had been able to gather. She leaned forward, tucking her head against his shoulder and cried.
Sylar faced a dilemma. On the one hand he wanted to pull Claire closer, to nestle his face against her hair, breathe in and imprint her scent on him permanently. On the other hand he wanted to hunt down whoever had made her cry and eradicate them from the face of the planet.
He stroked her hair and murmured against the silky strands.
“Shh, it'll be okay. Whatever it is, we'll fix it.”
Claire made a sound that seemed like a question and he rubbed slow circles on her back with his other hand.
“If it can't be bought, bought off, reasoned or negotiated with. We'll try scaring it into submission. If that doesn't work, I'll kill it.”
Claire pulled back quickly and looked at him, her doe eyes wide and wet, looking every bit as adorable as a baby deer.
Sylar gave her a half-hearted smile. “Except killing is bad. Maiming. I could maim it?”
Claire's lips twitched and, to his disappointment, she pulled away and sat back.
“I don't want to be the reason you undo all your hard work.”
He didn't mind. In fact he was positively eager to undo all his hard work of appearing human if it would ease that look on her face. A lifetime of penance to calm an angel. God, he was getting soppy.
He touched her cheek and stared into her eyes.
“What happened, Claire?”
“Nothing much,” she sniffed, “my boss is a lecherous ass and I was stupid not to realize it sooner.”
Sylar stilled, hoping that her words didn't mean what he thought they did because, all joking aside, he wasn't above regressing to his amateur surgery days.
Claire shook her head. “What is it with guys? Don't they know that 'no' doesn't mean 'I'm open to it if pushed'? I am so sick of being everyone's plaything!” Fury replaced shame and she gritted her teeth. “Brody, West, even Gretchen and George thought that they could just do what they wanted with me. Do I have 'victim' tattooed on my forehead or something?” She looked at him earnestly. “Why did you spend so much time coming after me? Even after you'd got my power. I'm serious, what is it about me that makes people want to hurt me?”
It was the pain in her voice, the quivering tone that suggested anguish beneath. This was something more than the fact that her boss had tried to hurt her, something more than the fact that her romantic relationships were a bigger train disaster that the one that had catapulted her friend into misplaced notoriety.
She really wanted to know and she wanted him to tell her. She wanted to know why he had been- and still was- obsessed with her.
“Innocence,” Sylar couldn't help himself, he smoothed the back of his hand against her cheek as his voice dropped low. “Your entire being screams innocence and purity and light. Everyone wants so badly to touch that light, even those who know they are not worthy. You think you're special because of your power, Claire? No. It's only a tiny fraction of what makes you special.” He cupped her chin in his hand, “You have elegance and light in your very being. The lonely want to touch it, the depraved want to corrupt it but everyone wants it. You're like a Monet in the living room, the Venus De Milo in the garden, a Ming Vase in the kitchen. You're an accessible treasure, Claire. A rare find in an everyday place.”
Claire stared at him, seemingly mesmerized by his words.
“What did he do?” he asked softly.
“He touched me,” she whispered, her eyes never leaving his. “Pushed me over his desk and put his hands up my skirt. I thought he was going to--” she trailed off.
“I'll kill him.”
His words shook her out of her stupor.
“No!” She shook her head and edged back. Sometime in the past few minutes her hand had wound itself around his shirt and she unclenched her fists, allowing his shirt to fall back into place. “No, I won't have you do that to yourself. He's not worth it.”
“He hurt you.”
Claire smiled sadly. “Lots of people do. But you've built a life for yourself and his life is not worth you losing all that you've worked for. Besides,” she held up a hand as he started to interrupt, “if he's dead he'll only hurt once.”
Sylar opened his mouth and then closed it again, a look of impressed approval on his face. “Well that's devious and not just a little scary. Well done.”
“I learned from the best.”
“Me or your dad?”
She grinned at him but it faded quickly. “I ran out of there like a coward.”
Sylar shrugged. “Think of it as retreating in order to formulate a better battle strategy. That's what I did every time someone beat me.”
“And by 'someone' you mean Peter.”
Sylar glared at the smirk on her face. “No.”
“So who else managed to outwit the mighty Sylar?”
He shifted. “Well there was... or how about...” he sagged, “fine, it was Peter.”
“And yet by retreating I left my wallet and keys and quit. I have no job. I am unemployed.” Panic flitted over her features. “Oh my god, I have no job.”
Seeing that she was inches away from hyperventilating, Sylar grabbed her arm.
“I need a job, Sylar!”
“We're in a recession!”
“How the hell are we supposed to live if we don't get paid?!”
“I can make gravel into gold.”
Claire blinked. “Oh.” She sagged a little. “Well, that's a little unfair.”
His lips lifted in a smile. “Isn't it just? Courtesy of Bob Bishop. Anyway money isn't an issue, Claire.”
“It is,” she maintained, “I mean, thanks for the implied offer but I need to do this. I need to have a job and work.”
It was one thing about her that he'd never understood. Her father had a major paycheck which he would be more than happy to hand over to his daughter. Nathan had left her a sizable chunk in his will and the Petrelli's were always trying to give her money; Angela and Peter both, but Claire always refused to accept it. She rented a small apartment in the city and dragged herself everyday to a place she hated in order to pull a paycheck she didn't need and he just didn't get it.
“To be somebody,” she said slowly, “to be something.”
“I don't follow.”
She gave him a bright smile and held her hand out. Confused he reached forward to shake it.
“Hi! I'm Claire Bennett. Who are you?”
He played along. “Sylar.”
“And what do you do?”
“I'm in acquisitions and consultation.” He gave her the standard line he used whenever a normal asked him what he did for a living. “I acquire special items and aid others in caring for them.”
“Wow,” she gave him another bright smile. “That sounds cool.”
“It is, and you?”
“Oh I'm not allowed to do anything. I can't be hurt and I can't die so I'm under 24 hour protection in case... well, I'm not really sure, in case I have fun I guess. Work? My father pays for everything so I don't have to work. Hobbies? I'm an indestructible ex-cheerleader, I fall off buildings for fun. Friends? My adopted Grandmother drags me around society so I don't have to find friends and she tells me what to wear and where to go. I'm actually not a real person. I'm an unbreakable broken doll. I don't do anything.”
Sylar said nothing because there was nothing to say. That was Claire in a nutshell.
So many people were defined by their job, by who they were. When you couldn't tell anyone who you were for fear that the government would use you as a viable alternative to a pincushion and you didn't have a job to define you, then how could anyone get to know you. Who were you?
Hi, I'm a student, lawyer, nurse, librarian, psychopath (a valid if unusual lifestyle choice), dentist (a less valid if slightly more usual lifestyle choice), shopkeeper, waitress etc etc. What could Claire say? Hi, I'm an immortal.
He shifted and moved to sit next to her, staring out at the crowds in deep thought.
“Besides,” she said after a while, “it's not like dad and Nathan's money is going to last me forever. One day I'm gonna have to earn my own way and the gap in my CV will take some explaining. Best to get into the habit of work now, right?”
He nodded once. “But you can't go back to work for that guy.”
He wished there was something that he could do for her but she was right. She needed to learn to take care of herself for when her parents were no longer around and he didn't think she'd accept help off him, at least not just yet. Maybe one day she would but right now he wished that there was something, anything that he could do to make things easier for her.
“No,” she sighed, “I'll need to hunt something up. It just sucks that I can't even have him done for sexual assault,” she held up her unblemished wrists, “no proof. But there's no telling who else he's done this to and he's gonna get away with it.” She faced him, sincerity on her face. “I really wanna make him hurt, Sylar.”
And there it was, something that he could do.
“I can help you with that.”
Claire gnawed on her lip. “You're not going to kill him, right?”
“Of course not.” Sylar smirked. But you'd be surprised what you can live through.
Dirk Ollerenshaw had had just about enough for the day. He'd been up to his eyeballs in work all day. The Wayne foundation was reviewing their funding, the Kent's were talking about withdrawing from the journalism program and Mrs. Stark wanted a working budget plan on her desk by the next day. He thought he'd been on top of it all and then his little eye-candy had up and walked out at lunch leaving them all in the lurch.
Stupid blonde bitch.
She'd been flirting with him for weeks, wearing next to nothing and giving him those million watt smiles and that simpering tone. Then when he'd gone to take what she'd been offering she gets all offended and runs right out of the building. They were all the same, these airheaded ex-college girls. Majoring in fashion and spending four years screwing anything that moved and suddenly they were in the real world without daddy to bank roll them. They had debts and an expensive shoe habit and hoped that by wearing short skirts and flirting with the boss that they could get away with filing their nails instead of reports. Then when a decent hard working man finally gives in to the painted pouts and the breathy invites they turn tail and run. Fucking tease.
He was firing her ass and lets see her try to get a reference out of him.
He glared at her empty desk and, with a smile of satisfaction, patted his own desk drawer knowing that her keys and wallet were locked up tight. Just wait until she came back to get them. He'd have that bitch crying and begging for her job back.
Maybe he'd even let her earn it.
“Uh, Mr. Ollerenshaw?”
He looked up to see Tammi hovering nervously by the door.
“What is it, Tammi, I'm a little busy.”
“I know, sir, but there's someone here to see you.” She shifted uneasily. “He doesn't have an appointment.”
“Then I'm not interested in seeing him.”
“Oh, I think you are.”
The smooth silky voice preceded a tall, broad shouldered man in dark glasses who seemed to glide by Tammi like she wasn't even there.
His dark suit and slicked back hair all but screamed 'government agent' and Dirk nodded to Tammi who edged out quickly and shut the door behind her, glad that it wasn't her who was trapped in the room with the man who exuded danger.
Dirk gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “Please take a seat Mr-”
The man didn't take him up on his offer and just stood there, his face inscrutable behind the glasses.
“You are Dirk Ollerenshaw?”
“That's what it says on the door.” Dirk tried a smile which fell as flat as his joke. His hands started to sweat.
“What can I do for you?”
“It's more a case of what I can do for you.”
“My employer has, for some considerable time, been looking for somewhere to place her not inconsiderable assets. She's a real pillar of the community and has ties to every major player in the city; the Mayor, the chief of police, the Senate seat. She's active in most charity work and was looking to expand. We heard that your company had some experience in handling the needs of others of her caliber.”
“Yes,” Dirk swallowed. “We handle assets for the Linderman Foundation, Stark Enterprises, the Reid-Queen-Rayner GreenCorps and even a subsidiary of Garrick and West. Our client list is quite respectable.”
“Well, Mrs Petrelli had heard you were well connected.”
“Mrs Petrelli?” Dirk's eyes lit up even as his throat went dry. The Petrelli's were the first family of New York. Even before Senator Petrelli's mysterious death and disappearance which, in that order, wasn't even the most remarkable thing, the family was at the uppermost pinnacle of societies echelons.
To get a Petrelli account would not only be a feather in his cap, it would be the whole damned bird.
He could retire early and would probably get a nice promotion, not to mention all those big name clients who were wavering in their support would turn back so fast they'd get whiplash; anything to be on the Petrelli train.
The man in front of his gave him a humorless smile. “Yes, Mrs Angela Petrelli. She would be willing to invest millions in the right company. With the right man in the lead.”
“There is just the one thing that Mrs Petrelli will want to know, Mr. Ollerenshaw.”
“Why did you attempt to rape her granddaughter?”
Dirk blinked. “What?”
The man cocked his head. “Claire Petrelli, well, Bennett to all those not in the know.”
All of the color leached from Dirk's face. “What?”
“Sweet little blonde who was stationed here to see if your company was reputable, compatible with Petrelli's ideals and vision. Claire Petrelli who ran out of here not two hours ago after being attacked by you.”
“N-n-no, wait!” Dirk held up a shaking hand. “No, there is some mistake.”
“Yes there is.”
The man reached up into the air with one hand and flicked his fingers down.
The blinds that had been fitted to his office windows slammed shut of their own accord, granting them privacy and obliterating all prying eyes.
Dirk stepped back in alarm. “How did you do that?”
“I think you have bigger problems to worry about,” the man said, “Mrs Petrelli has always valued family above all else. Above fame, above fortune... above the law.”
Dirk's eyes widened as a small sardonic grin flit across the man's lower face. He prowled across the room, his every step as smooth and deadly as a panther's predatory amble. Dirk couldn't move, his eyes were fixed on the man's face, hidden behind those damned glasses. He was inches away now, so close Dirk could smell his cologne and feel the aura that surrounded him.
“She's even somewhat... flexible on the idea of morality when it comes to her family. And you, Dirk Ollerenshaw, tried to rape her granddaughter. Her granddaughter, Mr. Ollerenshaw. Do you have any idea what that makes you?”
Dirk shook his head.
His hand shot out and fingers wrapped around Dirk's throat.
“Wait, wait!” Dirk clawed at the hand. “I didn't know! All right, I didn't know she was a Petrelli! I didn't even know Mrs. Petrelli had a granddaughter.”
“And that makes it all right to force yourself on a woman?” His hand squeezed and Dirk's eyes bulged.
The man let go quickly and Dirk half slid down the wall he hadn't realized he was backed up against.
He rubbed his throat and croaked. “Look, I don't know what Claire told you, but she'd been coming onto me for weeks. You're a guy,” he tried to get some fellow feeling, “she's hot, right. If she wore short skirts around you all the time and flirted and... and... maybe I came on too strong but I wasn't going to rape her! L-let me talk to Claire.”
“That,” said the man coolly, “is not going to happen.”
He raised a hand again and Dirk tried for defiance although he was aware it came out more pathetic than he had wanted.
“You touch me again and I'll have you done for assault. You think you can get away with this, just because you're Angela Petrelli's watchdog? Y-you can't hurt me, this is assault. I'll call the police.”
The man folded his arms and gave a genuine smirk of amusement.
“How do you plan on doing that?”
Dirk pointed to the phone. But it wasn't there. Neither was the table. Or the room.
He screamed and grabbed for the ledge as the cliff-face crumbled away under his feet, tumbling down to the frenzied sea below. The cold wind whipped his hair and the salt air stung at his wide eyes.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god!”
“I don't think He listens to rapists.”
Dirk's eyes bugged even more as they landed on the man hovering in the air in front of him, seemingly unfazed by the fact that they were no longer in New York City but halfway up some cliff.
Dirk's fingers gripped tightly to the rock wall, trying desperately to find some purchase. But the jagged rocks provided no hand holds and he only succeeded in slicing his fingers to ribbons.
He half twisted on the narrow strip of rock under his feet and titled his head back, trying to gauge how far he was from the top.
Almost as far as he was from the bottom and with little or no chance of making it. There was no way up and only one way down. He sobbed and tears and sweat mingled on his cheeks.
“What are you, how did we get here?” he cried.
“We're here because you're an ass and I'm done playing nice. We're going to go back to your office and you're going to write a nice big severance check for Claire. Then you're going to write a glowing letter of recommendation and then you're going to write a letter of resignation.”
Dirk looked down and let out a sob, closing his eyes abruptly as the vista dropped before him. “Oh god!”
He felt a slap on his face and his eyes sprung open.
“You're not paying attention!” snapped the man.
“You're a demon! A devil!” he cursed.
The man grinned. “You don't even know the half of it.” He floated forwards until his breath was on Dirk's cheek and all Dirk could see was his own scared face mirrored in those glasses. “I could boil your blood until molten lava dripped from your eyes and burned tear tracks in your face. I could fry every circuit in your brain and leave you a vegetable, sitting in your own filth. I could rewire your head until pleasure was pain and pain was a pleasant memory as every nerve ending screamed in perpetual agony. I could trap you inside your own personal nightmare, reliving every mistake, every insecurity, every imagined horror until you begged for death. I could make you live in hell for the rest of eternity with torture even the Marquis De Sade would turn from and I'd do it with a song in my heart.”
Dirk shuddered, fear spread along every nerve, every vein, every inch of him until he was certain he'd never be safe again. “Who are you?”
“I'm the soul the devil didn't want.” An evil grin spread over his face. “Do we have an accord?”
Dirk sobbed his agreement and the demon stepped back.
“Good,” he said and motioned to the desk.
Dirk looked around. The cliff was gone, the water, the never-ending sky, all of it. He was back in his office, trembling and terrified of the monster in the room but alive.
He fell into his chair and hauled open the desk drawer, his eyes fell on Claire's wallet and keys and he handed them to the demon who glowered.
Dirk squeaked and grabbed his checkbook and pen. He scrawled a ludicrous amount and signed it, handing it over with shaking hand.
Then he grabbed his keyboard and frantically wrote the two most important letters of his life.
Minutes later he printed and handed them over to the creature on the edge of his desk.
He grinned as he took the letter of recommendation. “Mrs. Petrelli will be relieved that more... permanent measures aren't necessary. However, in the circumstances, I don't think we'll be doing business here. Of course that won't matter to you because you're going to hand your letter of resignation to Tammi and walk out the door and get a job as a janitor or garbage man and,” his voice lowered to the tone that would remain in Dirk's nightmares forever, “if you ever lay a hand on another girl against her will I will know and I will find you and I. Will. Make. You. Pay.”
Dirk closed his eyes and nodded his head frantically. “Y-yes, sir.”
There was no answer and when he opened his eyes, the man was gone.
Dirk's knees gave way and he fell onto the floor, his breath coming in ragged and raw.
What the hell was that? That was impossible, there was no way that that had even happened, how could he have been here and then there? It was impossible.
It must have been a dream, a very vivid dream.
Or maybe the guy had hypnotized him, drugged him?
It had felt so real, could it have been a hallucination?
But he had been there he had felt the rocks beneath his feet and the salt air and the sting of the icy wind against his face. He had felt the stone at his back and the pain of scrabbling for purchase..
He looked down at his blood-stained hands and the ragged ends of his nails.
Bile rose in his throat and he finally lost control of his bladder.
He grabbed his coat and screamed for Tammi.
She poked her head in and was taken aback as a white piece of paper was thrust into her face.
“Give this to the Regional manager,
Tammi gaped. “What? How am-... did you pee yourself?”
“Email it, fax it, fricking carrier pigeon, I don't care. I quit effective now.” He wrenched the door open and ran out into the street leaving her staring wide-eyed after him.
Sylar and Claire watched him race from the building as if the hounds of hell themselves were after him.
Claire beamed. “Now that is awesome.”
“Isn't it just. Note the way he's still breathing.”
“Bonus points. What did you do?”
Sylar shrugged. “I suggested that he's better suited in a different profession. In a decision between janitor and corpse I believe he made the right choice.”
Sylar took off his glasses and handed the two pieces of paper to her along with her belongings.
“I believe these are yours, my lady.”
Claire took them from him and opened the check. Her eyes widened.
“Holy crap!” she looked from the obscene amount to him and back again. “You know what, Sylar, you are still a very very scary man.”
Sylar's smile fell and he hunched his six foot tall frame inwards. “Right.”
Idiot, of course he was. He'd just spent five minutes with a man and scared him so much that he had wet himself and run screaming from a building. Scary. Frightening. Not the words you want to hear from the woman you're in love with. Would he never be anything else in her eyes than the man who killed her parents and ripped open her skull? Could he never be something more?
Claire reached up and took his face in her hands. She planted a kiss on his cheek and met his shocked eyes.
“Scary as hell. But you are completely, 100%, totally my hero.”