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- Thoughts on the past and Claire starts to move forward while Sylar is still flying.
A/n- This one has not so much Sylar/Claire interaction but was written way before I edited and needs to be addressed. The next chapter has way more including a little... gasp!!!!
Peter yanked open the door and all but pulled his fiancee inside. Emma gave him a bemused frown as he clenched her tight.
“Thank god you're here, I'm going crazy.”
“I got your text,” she signed, “what's wrong?”
Peter's face twisted into a pained expression. “Honestly, Em, I'm not even sure. He's been like this since last night.”
Alarmed now, Emma grabbed his arm. “Sylar?”
Peter nodded. “I don't know what to do. I think it's serious and there may be... repercussions.”
She pointed to the living room. “Is he there?”
Peter opened his mouth to answer but was preempted by Sylar's head peering around the doorway. He broke into a huge smile.
“Emma! I thought I heard you. Come in!”
She blinked once at the overly enthusiastic greeting and cautiously made her way into the apartment.
He came out of the kitchen and in long strides made his way to her. He grasped her shoulders and kissed her cheek effusively.
“Great to see you!” he beamed. He cast a look down her and gave her a disapproving look. “You need to eat more. You and Peter are just the same, so busy saving the world that you forget the important things like lunch. Sit down, I've got some waffles, freshly made.” He waved her to the table. “Sit.”
Emma watched as big bad scary Sylar all but skipped into the kitchen, pausing and spinning on his heel once he reached the doorway just to point at Peter. “You too, pal.”
Peter pointed after him and gave Emma a “see, what did I tell you?” look but she was already there, eyes wide.
She dropped her bag by the sofa and signed quickly. “What happened?”
Peter threw his hands into the air. “No idea!”
“About what?” Sylar reappeared holding two plates filled with steaming waffles drenched in maple syrup. He frowned at the two of them. “Table. Sit.”
Emma sank into one of the newly acquired dining room chairs and Peter reluctantly did the same, keeping his eyes fixed on his unusually ebullient roommate.
“Now I already put maple on and it's the good stuff, I flew to Jakeman's in Ontario this morning. But I also have sugar and can whip up eggs if you're not in a sweet mood. Or bacon. Did you want bacon?” He turned to go back into the kitchen. “I can get bacon.”
“I don't want bacon,” Peter blurted.
“Oh,” Sylar spun back. “Juice? Coffee?”
Sylar ignored him. “Emma, coffee?”
“Please,” she said around a mouthful of the best tasting waffles in the universe. “I want coffee.”
“Coming right up,” Sylar gave her another blinding smile and scuttled back into the kitchen.
She eyed the door and then frowned at Peter. “Did you drug him?”
Peter scoffed. “No. He was like this when I got back last night. It took him an hour to come down off the ceiling.” Peter rolled his eyes. “Literally. He was flying around the light fixtures, it made me dizzy just to look at him. Freaking Peter Pan.”
Emma found herself grinning at the picture of Sylar as Peter Pan flitting around the room in tights. “Has he said why he's so happy?”
“He,” Sylar said coming back into the room brandishing a coffee mug, “is high on life.”
“He has probably been inhaling paint fumes, Isaac Mendez's power comes out at weird times.” Peter pointed his fork at Sylar. “Don't think I haven't noticed your canvas habit, pal.”
Sylar rolled his eyes. “Don't think I care. Painting is relaxing. As is making muffins.”
Peter shook his head. “There is something seriously wrong with you. I'm gonna call Parkman and ask him to do an exorcism.”
“That's priests not cops.”
“The AA thing?”
“I thought that was a nerd gathering.”
“That's a convention.” Sylar grabbed his own coffee mug. “You're not gonna destroy my mood, Peter.”
Peter thought for a moment. “Naked Noah?”
Casually and with all the time in the world Sylar leaned over and clipped Peter's ear.
“Ew and,” he paused considering, “nope. Still happy.”
“Freak,” Peter said in disgust. “So what's got you looking like the cat that got the cream? You won the lottery?”
Sylar inclined his head. “Yes and no.”
“You're the new America's Top Model?”
“You need to watch less crap, Peter.”
“Fine. You found out that they sell Mars Bars at the corner shop?”
Sylar's eyes widened. “They do?”
“You've been exonerated?”
Emma cocked her head as she stared at Sylar and then burst into a grin. “Claire.”
Sylar's own grin grew. Peter looked between the two of them.
“Claire?” He slapped himself upsides the head. “Of course, what turns big bad Sylar into a pushover? A tiny blonde cheerleader.” He smiled. “So what did she do to make you so happy-- no, wait-”
Emma rolled her eyes as Peter suddenly seemed to remember who Claire was.
“Hey, dude! That's my niece.”
Sylar just shook his head. “How in the hell did you ever pass any sort of exam?”
Peter pointed at him. “No changing the subject. What did you do with Claire?” he paused, rethinking that, “actually is this something that I don't wanna know about in case I ever have to face her father?”
“Relax,” Sylar gripped his coffee mug and sank into the chair opposite. “She called me yesterday because she had to quit her job in a hurry.”
Sylar opened his mouth to tell him but paused. Since he had been living with Peter he had kept no secrets at all. In fact his whole relationship with Peter was based on total honesty and there was nothing that he wanted to do to break that. But the attempted rape was Claire's secret. She'd called him so there was some doubt that she even wanted her uncle to know about it, she had been adamant about Peter not being inconvenienced this close to his wedding. But Sylar couldn't, in all good conscience, keep something this important from Peter.
He gnawed at his lower lip and blinked once at Peter. “It's not my story to tell, Pete. She was in a bad situation and needed to get out. She'll have to tell you the rest.”
Peter's brow furrowed as he stared at Sylar, reading the conflict and guilt in his face. He nodded slowly and Sylar breathed a sigh of relief at his understanding.
“So she comes out and she needs someone, someone to help her deal with things,” he took a deep breath, his lips curving, “and, get this, she calls me.”
He sat back proudly.
Peter waited. “Yeah?”
“Claire Bennett calls me. Her own personal boogey-man. The guy she'd rather stab in the eye than kiss, Claire called me for help.” He raised his eyebrows trying to impress on Peter just how huge of a deal this was. And it was a huge deal. All this time he had been trying to get Claire to see him as a man; a flawed man, but not the terror from her nightmares or the murderer from her dreams. He would have been happy with her just acknowledging him-- well, he would have tried to be happy with that. What he had hoped for but never expected was that one day they could become friends.
Anything else was just his fantasy.
But she had called him. When she was in trouble she had thought of him as someone who would help her; someone who could be relied upon; someone that she wanted to help her.
It was enough to make him giddy and he found himself with that shit-eating grin that annoyed Peter so much.
But on this occasion it was Peter who was grinning. “Way to go, pal. One quick question, not to rain on your parade or anything but why didn't she call me or Emma?”
Sylar shrugged. “She said that you both had so much on with the wedding and everything that she really didn't want to worry you anymore.”
Emma touched his arm, bringing his attention back to her. “What happened to Claire when you arrived?”
“She told me what was wrong, allowed me to help her and-” he paused for effect “-she kissed my cheek and said I was her hero.”
“Ouch!” Peter clutched his chest. “I've been replaced. I used to be her hero.”
“So, she upgraded.” Sylar pointed to Peter's plate. “If you're not going to eat that-”
Peter gripped his plate and held his fork like a weapon, just daring Sylar to take his waffles.
Sylar shook his head at Peter's antics as he refilled his coffee mug. “Sylar the hero, has a nice ring to it don't you think?”
“Better than 'Sylar Oh god don't hurt me'.”
He nodded. “Yeah, that was a bitch to write on the tax return.”
“You did tax returns?”
Sylar stared at Peter who had the decency to look ashamed of that sentence.
“Do people really put their life in your hands? Are they all crazy?”
Peter cocked his head. “Just those with a brick wall in their head.”
“Boys!” Emma held up her hands. “You are giving me a neck ache. Like tennis,” she motioned between them and they apologized. “It's nice that Claire sees Sylar as a hero. I am glad you're happy.”
“Thank you, Emma. And I am happy. She's starting to come around. I just wish that there was more that I could do for her. I offered her money but,” he shrugged, “she doesn't want that kind of help from anyone.”
Peter chewed thoughtfully. “Well, she's gonna need a new job.”
“I was thinking of asking her to come work with us,” Emma signed after getting Peter's attention. “She is good at organizing and we could do with someone taking care of paperwork.” She pointed at the boxes of files that Peter still had littering the floor. He had been intending to take them into the office for days now but, like all things to do with the administration side, he had let it slide.
His office looked like a library sale with piles of paper everywhere. He said that he could find anything at a moments notice but he'd never cared to test that.
Sylar desk, however, was meticulously ordered and neat; something Emma continually pointed out.
She hadn't realized that her sweet heroic Peter was actually such a slob.
“Would Claire accept a job with us?” Peter asked, trying to ignore the hopeful gleam in Sylar's eye. “I mean, if she told Sye that she wanted to do it all by herself then maybe she'd think of it as charity.”
Emma rolled her eyes. “It's all in the way you ask, Peter. I'll ask Claire if she could help out until she finds herself a new job. She'll want to help me and then eventually she'll see how much better things are and want to stay.”
“You can make her do that?” Peter looked at Emma in alarm. “That's sneaky. You're sneaky. I'm marrying a sneaky woman!” his eyes narrowed. “What sort of things have you made me do that I wouldn't have done?”
Emma gave him a smug smile. She held her thumbnail up to her lips and tapped twice against her mouth. “Secret.”
Peter flicked his gaze to Sylar. “She's sneaky.”
“I noticed. She's also right. Claire will be more than happy to help out if she thinks it's a favor and not a handout.” He sat back. “Why do we go for women with a stubborn streak?”
“Excitement,” Peter grabbed Emma's hand and kissed her knuckles. “So when are you gonna see Claire?”
“I'm actually late. I'm meeting Claire to talk about table decorations,” Emma signed, “We're picking the equipment up today and putting them together..”
Sylar opened his mouth to inquire about the logistics and exactly what the table decorations were but Peter, anticipating both the question and the possible length of the answer booted him under the table, shaking his head.
Emma slid the last of her waffle into her mouth and slid away from the table. She pressed a kiss to Peter's cheek and then slapped his head.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“I'm deaf,” she said, “not blind. I saw that.”
She grabbed her handbag from the chair and leaned over to kiss Sylar's cheek.
“Thank you for breakfast, Sylar.”
“You're welcome, Emma,” he waved as she left the apartment and shut the door. He turned back to Peter who had a goofy lop-sided grin on his face.
Sylar could empathize with that. He had friends, he had Peter; a job he liked and Claire thinking of him as a hero. Life was almost perfect.
Sylar watched him for a long moment and then leaned forward.
Sylar inclined his head. “Naked Angela.”
Peter did a double take and the smile dropped off his face. “What? Dude! EWW!”
Sylar just sat back, ignoring Peter's spluttering and enjoyed his coffee. Yep, life was good.
What was it about coffee shops that invited introspection, Claire wondered as she stared down at her latte. It seemed almost ingrained that as soon as that Styrofoam cup was placed in a persons hand their brain decided to reassess all of their choices and point out the flaws in their life plan.
And Claire was no different, no sooner had the aroma of strong Aztec coffee swept her taste buds into a frenzy than she began musing on exactly what was going wrong in her life.
She was a freak of nature who wasn't likely to age or die at any point in the future, she had government agencies after her and a drop of her blood could change the course of human history.
Oh and and she was unemployed and the only visible means of support she had was thanks to an ex-serial killer turned knight errant.
Claire nibbled her thumb nail.
He had been a savior in more ways than one. When she'd dialed his number she hadn't been thinking straight, hadn't really been thinking at all. All she'd really wanted was a familiar face and someone to take her home.
What she'd needed and hadn't even realized was protection. The invulnerable girl had been scared, scared out of her wits. For the first time since she'd realized the truth about her ability she'd been worried for herself. Not because she might die but what she might be forced to live through.
Claire had been shot, burned, tortured and electrocuted but physical pain was nothing. The emotional pain of rape was something very very different. She might be impervious to pain but not to that and when her boss had pinned her down and she'd realized what he had intended, Claire had been scared.
And she'd run away. Even now she couldn't quite believe that the feisty cheerleader who'd smashed her trophy into a serial killer's head would just up and run from a sleazy line manager, it wasn't like her at all.
But then there was a world of difference between braining Sylar and attacking a 'normal' if disgusting man. For one if she'd have killed Sylar she would have got a medal and her dad would have cleaned it up. If she'd have killed Dirk she might be spending half of her eternity in jail.
So she'd run and beat herself up over the choice and felt so damn low.
Then Sylar had arrived.
She'd asked him to help her get her things back and he'd done so much more. He'd shown her that she needn't be scared, that there was someone who could and would step in to help her. Sylar had taken the threat and eradicated it. He'd gained her some money to help tide her over and allowed her to make her own choices in what happened.
Instead of stepping in and stepping over her like her father would have done, or smothering her like Peter would have done, Sylar followed her directive and allowed her both her pride and her independence whilst still ensuring that she be safe.
If it were possible to love Sylar then she would have loved him for that. But of course she could never love him, wouldn't that be ridiculous?
Claire sipped her drink and allowed a smile to play around her lips at the thought. Being in love with him would mean forgiving him for everything that he'd done to both her and her family. Forgiving him for tearing into her head and terrorizing her and killing Nathan and Meredith and Jackie-- and wasn't that exactly what she had done when she decided to give him a second chance at being a better person?
She'd forgiven if not forgotten what he'd done and accepted that it might take him a while to become the kind of person she could call friend. Except, once again, she had called him friend. She liked him, genuinely liked Sylar for the person he was now. She'd put her trust in him and he hadn't failed.
Claire frowned at her cup. Sylar hadn't let her down. The thought ricocheted around her head with all the force of a freight train, the packet of sugar she'd been readying to dump into her coffee spilling all over the table.
In her world that was almost unheard of. Everyone let her down eventually in one way or another, either by not being there or not being who she wanted or needed them to be.
Sylar had been exactly who and what she'd needed. Like always.
When she'd needed him to stay away, he'd done just that, letting his attraction to her fade into the background.
When she needed him to stand up to her or for her he was there, at her side.
He'd never lied to her and never let her down and she was frightened of the connotations of that.
Everyone kept throwing hints about the two of them being together for eternity and, as she got to know him, it no longer scared her as much as it had.
Eternity with Sylar would be... interesting.
Claire suddenly realized that she was drawing a heart in the sugar that she scattered all over the table and it was enough to jolt her back into reality.
What the hell was she thinking?
Claire rubbed her face. God she must be more tired than she thought of she was trying to think Sylar like that.
That way lies badness and she was conversant enough in mental illnesses, having been around the Petrellis, to know that she was treading a fine line.
What she should be thinking about was not the romantic love life of a serial killer but the very real prospect of the unemployment line.
Claire Bennett unemployed denizen of New York city, a land where a coffee habit could be just as expensive as an apartment. What the hell could she do? She'd tried to work in an office and that way led to boredom and the desire to slice bits of her anatomy off just to get a day off.
Possibly not healthy.
“Maybe I could sell bits of me on the black market,” she muttered, staring at her hands.
“I don't think I read that right,” Emma's voice came from in front of her and Claire looked up to the confused face of her friend.
Emma slid into the seat opposite. “Did you say who wanted to sell your black bits?”
Claire laughed, the dark cloud that had been following her suddenly vanishing.
“I was wondering what job I could do to make money. I was going to sell bits of me on the black market.” She explained slowly. Peter had asked her to take sign language lessons with him and she had but there were some things that basic ASL courses didn't cover.
“Ah!” Emma nodded in pretend understanding. “A walking donor. Sylar said you had resigned.”
The understatement made her eyebrows raise. “Resigned?”
Emma frowned. “Is that not right?”
“Sort of, it's complicated.”
“My boss was a letch and kept trying it on and I just thought that I had to deal with it, I mean it's a job, right, you have to put up with crap to make ends meet and I just assumed that he was your standard horndog. I didn't think he'd actually do anything until he did do something and then I felt too much of an idiot to do much more than run outta there like a coward and—“
Emma waved her hands in front of Claire, cutting off her runaway mouth.
“I didn't get any of that.” She signed apologetically. “Your boss was a leach who crapped in a dog?”
Claire burst into giggles and Emma found herself smiling at the delighted expression on Claire's face. That was much more like it. When she had walked in she could see that Claire's mood was taking a swan dive and she was willing to try anything to get the girl to smile. Claire had been a real life saver for her and she had never really had a friend as close as the young girl. She only wished that she could see Claire as happy as she and Peter were... preferably with Sylar, although Claire would deny that she could ever be happy with him.
“Better,” she approved, “your boss tried to assault you?”
Claire calmed down and explained what happened ending with the jerk racing down the street with soaked pants and the fear of god. Or of Sylar.
“He was great,” Claire said, a soft smile that Emma only wished Sylar could see. “Really, Ems, he just stepped up to the plate and delivered.”
“So he's not so bad?” Emma teased, reminding Claire of every conversation that they had ever had of the man.
Claire rolled her eyes. “Not totally evil. But it does mean that I have no job.”
Emma shifted. “What can you do? Other than eviscerate yourself?”
“I can type, I can file, I can use the computer fairly easily.” Claire gnawed her lower lip. “I can make coffee and work the fax and photocopier. I can organize and prioritize.”
“I wish I could,” Emma sighed heavily and looked down at her coffee.
“What is it?” Claire reached out to cover her friend's hand, concern in her voice. Emma was usually so happy and upbeat that it was worrying to see her despondent.
“The wedding is taking over so much and I have little time now to do everything. Have you noticed Peter's apartment is looking more and more like a fire hazard?”
Claire nodded sympathetically. “Yeah I did. He swears he can find everything.”
Emma shook her head. “He's just being nice. I can't keep up. For everyone we find there is a pile of paper to go with them. Invoices, documentation, medical research and notes. When it was just the three of us it was fine. Sylar found them, Peter met with them and I did the blood work. Now we have a full office and staff and it's great but it's all out of hand,” she raked a frustrated hand through her hair. “I just don't have the time.”
“Really?” Claire bit her lip. “I didn't realize the operation had gotten so big.”
Emma nodded. “Noah helps us find them and Sylar and Peter meet with them to find what they need. Some go to Josephville and some want to stay at home but most need counseling and comfort in science. I do a lot of the blood work with Mohinder's help via satellite link up. I have a staff to help me and a full medical facility for specials who get hurt and can't go to hospital. We have six other pairs who go to different countries finding specials abroad. Empaths to help with those who struggle and carers for abandoned children. It's getting bigger everyday and there is so much to do. Plus the wedding and I'm tired.” Emma sagged and rubbed her her forehead. “I need to sort Peter's apartment and put those papers in order and set up some system but I'm too busy.”
“Or you could hire someone,” Claire suggested, twitching in her seat.
Emma gave her a doubtful look. “Who'd want that job?”
Emma blinked, her face carefully blank. “You?”
Claire nodded and shifted to the edge of her seat. “I just told you I can type and I can file and I can sort out paperwork like a champ. I could help out, I mean at least until after the wedding when you're less stressed about it all.”
“But I thought you wanted to stay away from all this,” Emma pointed between them to incorporate everything 'special'. “I thought you wanted a normal life?”
“And look how well that's turned out for me,” Claire said somewhat sardonically. She leaned forwards intently. “I can help, Emma. I may not be the most qualified person in the world but I can do the job, let me prove it to you.”
Emma let a smile cross her face. “Can you start tomorrow?”