Show/Ship- Sylar/Claire, Peter/Emma
Disclaimer- I have nothing
Summary- Dinner with the parents and things get heated for Sylar.
A/N- yes,an update. try not to faint. My muse died a death on this fic but I still take it out and play with it a while, I can't promise when I'll update but i do hope to finish this thing.
Growing up being bullied so often had given Gabriel Grey a sort of sixth sense when it came to being stared at. Having the actual sixth sense now- thanks to a cute like Caribbean boy called Arthuro- he was well aware that Peter was staring oddly at him, and had been since Claire had come out of their office with red eyes and a sad smile.
She’d given Peter a hug and walked off, claiming that she had a lot of work to do for Emma.
Sylar knew that he’d been quiet ever since, and there must have been something about his demeanor that screamed “Piss off or be immolated” because everyone had given him a wide berth for the rest of the day- Peter included.
But there was good reason for his mood. He’d had the best night of his life. He’d slept with Claire- no, made love to Claire, and woke with her in his arms. She had been ready to give them a chance to be together and then Noah Fucking Bennet had tried to wriggle his way in with doubts and misinformation and Sylar had never wanted someone dead quite so much in his life.
This, usually, made for a very short lifespan of the person involved. This time, however, that scum-sucking, ass-licking, jumped up, myopic jack-ass was the father of the love of his life.
Sylar had the odd feeling that flaying Noah Bennet alive would cause something of a hiccup in his newfound relationship with Claire.
It didn’t stop him from dreaming up various inventive methods for his demise. His current favorite was to turn Noah’s penis to solid gold and allow his bladder to burst inside him causing infection and a truly painful death. Or how about sending him back to the Middle Ages in England and allowing him to catch the plague- that would be fun.
“You know, Gabriel, didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s rude to play with your food?”
Of course Noah wouldn’t be alone in the middle ages. Angela Petrelli would also find her teeth and intestines rotting from the back death.
He looked up. “She also said if you can’t say anything nice; don’t say anything at all. Are you going to take a vow of silence?”
Angela pursed her lips and patted her mouth with her napkin before reaching for her wine.
He felt the childish urge to poke his tongue out at her and only resisted because Claire was watching him from across the table.
He gave her a small smile and turned to Emma’s mother. “Are you ready to give your little girl away, Mrs Coolidge?”
“Louise,” she corrected. “And I guess so. I’m just so glad that it is to someone like Peter.” She reached over and patted his arm. “I can’t wait until you join the family.”
“You know what they say- you’re not losing a daughter so much as gaining a son. It’s a gift.” Peter gave her his most charming smile.
Sylar leaned over. “I’d suggest keeping the receipt”
Louise laughed. “From everything that Emma’s told me Peter is worth his weight in gold. I’ve never known a man do so much for their own wedding. You couldn’t get my husband to a wedding-faire if his life depended on it.”
“Well, I had my trusty back up team,” Peter slapped Sylar on the back. “Couldn’t have done it without him.”
“Back up team?” Sylar raised an eyebrow.
Both eyebrows rose to his hairline.
“Partner in crime? Compadre? Wingman? Co-conspirator?”
Claire giggled as both men spun to face Emma with horrified expressions. She had obviously been following their argument and had interjected at the right moment. Her mother looked confused and so Emma explained, her hands almost dancing in the air.
“If I had met Sylar and Peter at the same time, I would have thought they were married. They argue like a couple.”
“Oh!” Louise laughed in relief. “It’s nice that the two of you are so close. Isn’t it, Angela?”
Every single pair of eyes turned to the matriarch sitting at the head of the table. Sylar waited with devilish anticipation for the lies that poured from her thinned lips.
There was no way she could say ‘yes’ and mean it and no way that she could, politely, answer that she wished Sylar would just die a very horrible death and let her go back to manipulating her son without outside interference.
Angela’s lips thinned in an expression that was more a grimace than a smile and she raised her glass. “Perhaps a toast is in order. To Emma and Peter: for a happy and long-lasting marriage and familial happiness.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Louise said, “To Emma and Peter.”
“Emma and Peter.” There was a clink of glassware as everyone toasted the happy couple. There was blessed silence for a moment and then Louise put down her glass.
“So, Sylar, any plans for getting married yourself?”
Peter spat his wine over the table cloth while Angela seemed to choke on hers.
Emma rubbed Peter’s back as he tried to catch his breath, her eyes wide and concerned as they focused on a panicked Sylar.
“Well now,” Louise said with a mischievous gleam in her eye. “You’re a handsome young man. I’m sure you’re beating the girls off with a stick.”
Angela patted her chest delicately with a feline grin on her face, enjoying his discomfort. “Yes, Gabriel, do tell.”
He gritted his teeth and turned to Emma’s mother. “Ah, not at this time.”
“You’re not gay?”
“No.” He glanced at Claire briefly.“Definitely not gay.”
He wanted to look at Claire again. He wanted to ask her permission to knock the smirk off Angela Petrelli’s face. But he had promise to not to do anything that would ruin Peter and Emma’s party.
Matricide would probably be one of those things.
“Not just yet.”
“Such a shame, you are such a lovely man,” Louise sighed. “If I were twenty years younger, I’d try for you myself.”
The blush that spread over Sylar’s cheeks at her mother’s remark made Emma suddenly very glad that she was deaf. Even if you couldn’t hear them, parents could be so embarrassing.
Sylar saw Claire smother a grin with her hand.
“Gabriel has always been a lady killer, haven’t you Gabriel. What was the first one’s name? Dale something?”
He ignored Angela and leaned over to grasp Louise’s hand. “If you were twenty years younger surely I’d be arrested for cradle robbing?”
Louise giggled. “You charmer, you!”
Emma waved her hand to get their attention and signed. “Sylar would make a good husband and father.”
“True!” Peter said hoarsely, sipping water. “You should see him with little Matty Parkman. I swear they are the cutest thing ever. One time Matt desperately needed to go pick something up and Sylar was working there on some Company thing. Matt left Sylar in charge of Matty and when he got back he found the two of them asleep on the couch with tiny little star stickers on their heads and Sylar wearing a pirate hat.”
Sylar’s face was so red he was sure they’d be able to spot it from outer space.
“Peter, I beg you, stop helping.”
“Pirate hat?” Emma signed. “And stars?”
“It was a game,” he muttered, ducking his head to look at his plate. “We were using the stars to navigate the treacherous waters but we didn’t want to stick them on the ceiling so… can we drop it?”
He peered up at Claire through his lashes. She was giving him an indecipherable look, her eyes fixed intently on him. Once again he wished he had a little of Matt Parkman’s telepathy.
“That is adorable,” Louise sighed. “Reminds me of your father, Emma. He was always playing games with you.”
Peter suddenly sucked in a breath. “Speaking of fathers, Claire, yours has just walked in the door.”
They all turned to see Noah Bennet walk into the restaurant with his ‘partner’, Lauren.
The two of them glanced around, searching for a table.
Noah’s eyes flickered over them once and then immediately tracked back. His eyebrows raised and he gestured to Lauren who had spotted them at almost the same time and was walking over.
Sylar turned to Peter. “I’ll give you a million dollars if you kill me right now.”
Peter shrugged. “Wouldn’t take.”
Noah and Lauren reached the table.
“Why, Noah, we didn’t expect to see you here,” Angela leaned forwards and allowed Noah to press a kiss to her cheek.
“It was a last minute decision to take Lauren out for dinner. Have you met Lauren Gilmore? She was my partner at Primatech and now works with me at the Company. Lauren, this is Angela Petrelli.”
“I’m aware of who she is, it’s wonderful to meet you at last, Mrs Petrelli. I’ve heard so much about you.”
Angela gave Noah a pointed look. “All good, I hope.”
“Of course,” he said smoothly.
“Then he lied,” Sylar whispered. Peter kicked him under the table.
“This must be Peter and Emma,” Lauren nodded at them. “Congratulations and good luck with the wedding. Noah invited me as his plus one and I’m looking forwards to it. I’ve never been to a wedding in Central Park before.”
“Well, it is where we met, so it holds good memories for us.” Peter put his arm around Emma. “This is my future mother-in-law, Louise. Noah is Claire’s father.”
“Oh!” That cleared up, Louise smiled widely. “What a happy chance meeting. Why don’t you join us?”
“We don’t want to intrude,” Lauren began but she was shushed by Louise. “Nonsense. There is more than enough room at the table and you’re
Claire’s family and that makes you family… I think. I must confess that the relationships get a little confusing.”
“Don’t they just?” Claire’s grin was patently false as she ignored her father and his girlfriend.
“Let’s all scooch up and we’ll get the waiters to bring more chairs.” Louise held up her hand and a waiter appeared almost as soon as it was in the air.
“We have two more to add to the party.”
He nodded and headed away in a burst of efficiency.
Claire stood up and moved around the table, standing by Sylar’s side, until a chair was slid behind her. Peter edged his chair closer to Sylar on the other side leaving Lauren and Noah to sit side by side opposite them.
“You didn’t have to move all the way over there, Claire,” Noah said. “Plenty of room on this side.”
Claire tapped her fingers against her water glass. “You decided to eat here on a whim?”
“Not really,” Lauren interjected. “I’ve been bugging Noah for months to try this place. I hear they have the best calamari on the planet. Plus I’m a sucker for sticky toffee pudding.”
“Me too, although I regret it afterwards,” Louise patted her stomach. “A smile on the lips, forever on the hips, as my mother used to say.”
The waiters came back and set two new places and furnished them with menus.
As they placed the water glasses down Noah, very gently and very covertly, tipped his to one side and peered under the base.
Sylar sniggered and flicked his eyes to Claire who was also biting back a grin. It reminded him of their breakfast meal a few weeks ago where Claire had compared him and Noah and pointed out that they were equally paranoid.
Of course Sylar had never wondered if his water glass was bugged so, perhaps, Noah was slightly ahead in the paranoid stakes. Either that or he was crazy.
Or maybe Noah knew something Sylar didn’t. He eyed his glass dubiously.
Claire poked him and waited until her father and Lauren were preoccupied with ordering before leaning closer. “It’s not bugged,” she whispered.
“Says you,” he whispered back, a grin playing around his lips.
“Don’t you trust me?” she fluttered her eyes and he bit back to urge to lean just that little closer and catch her lips in a kiss that would shock them all… and maybe give Noah a heart-attack.
He’d get shot but it would be so worth it.
His intentions must have been written over his face because Claire sat back again giving him a warning look.
“So, Claire,” Lauren turned to her with a smile. “How are you doing?”
“Fine, thanks.” Claire wasn’t sure how she felt about Lauren Gilmore. On the one had Lauren made her father happy and seemed to keep him grounded. On the other hand she was ruthless and reckless and maybe even a little heartless and the ground she kept Noah on was rocky and full of snakes. Lauren was unfailingly loyal to the Company and that was only good insofar as the good that the Company was doing. Nobody needed loyalty towards megalomaniacal corporations who wanted to eradicate the opposition.
Not even Disney.
Claire had the sudden disturbing image of her father in Mickey Mouse ears and shuddered.
“I heard you’re working with the Company now,” Lauren continued.
“I work in the office doing administration. I like it.”
“She’s started doing preparatory interviews for field agents.” Noah offered somewhat proudly. “She green lighted one just last week.”
“How is Sam working out?” Peter asked.
“Fine. He does need a little tweaking, he is, after all, just a teenage boy, but he’s doing well.”
“And Luke Campbell?” Angela broke in. “What of him?”
“We’re keeping a close watch on him,” Noah said carefully. “He has some anger issues to work out but he seems to get along with Sam. We’re hoping he’ll be a good influence.”
Sylar wasn’t holding much hope out for that. It was a case of the blind leading the terminally psychotic.
“Well as long as stops trying to flash fry people, I’ll be happy.” Peter rubbed the back of his neck.
Louise frowned. “He fries people?”
“His power is microwave emitter,” Claire explained. “It allows him to generate heat and, before he came to us, he wasn’t sure how to use it and there were accidents.”
After Emma had been kidnapped they had to explain the whole supernatural abilities to Louise who, it had to be said, took it rather well. It was probably in part due to the fact that her only daughter was a ‘Special’ and was marrying a wonderful man with special abilities and social connections. She had agreed to let them know if anyone came into the ER with unusual problems which could be resulting from a manifestation of abilities.
She wasn’t stupid or naive by any means but they did want to try to keep the seedier side of specials away from her and didn’t mention the fact that Sylar used to be a serial killer or that for every Hiro Nakamura and Matt Parkman there was an Arthur Petrelli and Samuel Sullivan.
“I suppose there are quite a few accidents when you don’t know how to use your talents.” Louise said thoughtfully.
“That’s why we were thinking of building a medical centre attached to the Company,” Angela said. “Many of us don’t entirely trust hospitals- no offence, dear,” she patted Emma’s hand and looked at Louise.
“None taken,” Louise assured her. “I can see where those with unusual capabilities would be wary of authority. And of being discovered.”
“Do you think Specials would be comfortable with a Company sanctioned medical centre?” Sylar said skeptically. “As a previous guest of the medical side of the Company, I have to say, I, for one, wouldn’t go within ten miles of the place.”
“Oh heavens, I didn’t think to introduce you. Do you know Sylar?” Louise asked.
Noah’s lips tilted slightly. “Oh, we’ve met.”
“I know who he is.”
Sylar frowned at Lauren’s answer. “Have we met before?”
He didn’t remember her. “Have you shot me?”
“Would you like me to?”
He eyed the blonde woman, wondering at her hostility. He tried to flick through his memory, for any time that he might have come across her, but was drawing a blank.
Of course, her level of hostility could have had nothing to do with anything he’d done to her and was probably down to the fact that she was dating Noah Bennet who, it had to be said, wasn’t his biggest fan.
“So you spent a lot of time in the medical facility, Sylar?” Louise asked politely. “I hope it was nothing serious.”
“That makes one of us,” Noah said with a half grin.
Sylar ignored him. “No, I was just in there for… random testing.”
“Oh, we had quite stringent testing methods at the old Company,” Noah piped up. “We checked blood work and ability level to make sure that those with abilities were safe to be around and, of course, excessive personality profiling was a large part of that.” His grin turned nasty. “We wouldn’t want to have any psychopathic serial killers with powers on the streets.”
“Unless they were on the pay roll,” Claire snapped.
Noah looked at her with a mixture of surprise and consternation.
Louise seemed to sense the undercurrents as she said far too brightly. “Well, at least there was no danger of that with you, hey Sylar?”
There had possibly been more uncomfortable, pointed silences in the history of the world- but this was undoubtedly in the top five.
Everyone pretended a great interest in their plates.
“Emma,” Claire said, patting the girl’s hand to get her attention. “Are you all ready for the rehearsal tomorrow?”
Emma nodded happily. “We’re doing the rehearsal in the park. We have permission to block the area to stop people walking by.”
“Of course, if you had held the ceremony indoors then there wouldn’t be a danger of passers by getting in the way.”
“Mom!” Peter rolled his eyes. “We’ve had this talk before. This is our wedding. Me and Emma. We have what we want and that makes us happy. Deal with it.”
Angela held her hands up. “All right dear, I simply want what’s best for you. I always have. Like any mother. Any decent mother.”
Sylar saw her cast a quick glance at him.
“And you, Emma, to have a mother like Louise who didn’t even blink when she found out her daughter had abilities. I have to commend you, Louise, I know not every parent would be delighted that their child was so… special.”
Louise blushed. “Well, I always knew Emma was special. It just turned out that she had a little more to her than even I expected.”
“I suppose every mother thinks her child is special.”
Sylar gritted his teeth.
“Not every mother,” Noah said, “in our line of work we meet those who are afraid of their children when they exhibit such abilities. There are those who envy, ridicule or even hate and fear their children. Of course, some with good reason. Not every child turns out like Emma, Claire or Peter. We know of several examples where a child just couldn’t handle the power or responsibility and just snapped. Leading to damaged adults who are so savage that they are barely human.”
Claire’s tiny little hand crept under the table and gripped Sylar’s leg. Her touch was a soothing balm to him and he rested his own hand over the top of hers and tried to calm down.
He would be helping no one if he incinerated Noah in front of company.
Claire spoke up quickly. “This isn’t really dinner time conversation and I’m sure Louise is bored.”
“Not at all,” Louise sat forwards. “I did my major in human psychology and was going to go in Psychiatry. I find it fascinating that you can see patterns in behavior from a very early age. It must be even more apparent in those who have these abilities. Especially when those who have these powers reproduce. Are they shaped by their environment, by their genes or by experiences?”
“Genes have to play a large part in it, wouldn’t you say, Noah?” Angela sipped her wine, looking more and more smug with every passing comment. “The father and the son.”
Sylar’s temper began to boil as he could see the direction this was taking. He could feel his control on some of his powers slip as his hands began to heat up. He tried to pull away but Claire held tighter.
Noah smiled benignly; very aware of what this conversation was doing to Sylar. “Of course, for instance- I can’t give you names. But one child was separated from his father and mother at birth. That father was a complete sociopath with homicidal tendencies. The child never met the father and yet, once his own powers manifested, ended up the same way. Sociopathic, homicidal and monstrous. Damaged.”
Sylar had had enough; he could feel electricity start to crackle around his fingertips and heard the sharp intake of breath as Claire felt the current.
“Look-“ he began but was stopped as Claire erupted.
“Of course, dad, that wasn’t completely genetic, was it? I read that case file and, from what I can gather, there were outstanding forces that had an effect. The child in question was brought up in a strict household and was manipulated by those who were just waiting to grasp any hint of his pathology. If those members hadn’t acted as a catalyst it is entirely possible that the child would have grown up normal. Sylar,” he jumped as she squeezed his hand. “You have something on your face, you should go wash it off.”
He swallowed hard and nodded, trying to keep his temper as he backed away from the table. He stumbled to the bathroom, barely holding onto his composure as he almost knocked into a waiter.
When the bathroom door had swung shut he scanned under the cubicle to make sure there was no one there before letting out a low growl and allowing the electricity to dance over his fingers.
His body was hot and he knew that the radiation in his veins from Ted Sprague was heating up. As much as he wished a hideous death on Noah and Angela he didn’t want to poison an entire restaurant.
He tried to reign it back in but all he could hear was Angela and Noah’s voices in his head.
Mama’s special boy.
And just like that he was back in Virginia’s kitchen being told that he wasn’t her special little boy any more. He was a monster.
Just like his father.
Sylar grabbed his head, trying to stop the voices from driving him crazy.
He lurched forwards, needing something to grab hold of and fell against the sink which began to ice over.
“Crap,” he panted, breaking his frozen fingers free of the snow-covered basin. He stared at his fingers, watching as the blue tinge faded to pink and then an angry red before glowing white hot.
The fluorescent lights above him flickered on and off.
A bulb popped loudly and then burst, scattering a shower of sparks through the air. But Sylar didn’t even notice. He was too busy watching his hands shift and change. White hands, black hands, male hands, female hands, long fingers, workers hands, short nails, manicured nails.
He clenched his hands- not his hands- into fists, feeling the nails bite against his palms.
The door to the bathroom swung open and Sylar gasped, flinging up a hand to stop whoever was coming in from getting hurt.
Peter barely dodged an electrical spark. The blue current drilled into the door where Peter’s head had been, leaving a charred, smoking hole.
“Whoa, Sylar, buddy.” Peter dashed forwards, grabbing Sylar’s hands and holding them down. “Are you okay?”
“I can’t stop it.” Lightning danced across the floor, crackling between the urinals.
“Sure you can,” Peter looked his in the eye. “I know you can and I know you have every right to be pissed. Hell, right now Claire is ripping Noah and Mom a new one.”
That made Sylar smile a little. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Peter grinned. “Now, let’s try those breathing exercises Mohinder was talking about, okay pal?”
Back at the table Claire had watched Sylar leave and then given Emma a meaningful glare. Emma was an expert at body language- obviously- and had asked her mother to accompany her to the bathroom, leaving Claire with Peter, Noah, Lauren and Angela.
“So Claire-bear-” her father began.
“Don’t ‘Claire-bear’ me, dad, what the hell are you doing?” she spat.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“That’s crap,” Claire snapped. “Going on about specials and being like his father. I’m not stupid and neither is he.”
“What she said,” Peter agreed. “Sylar doesn’t deserve this.”
“Doesn’t deserve this?” Noah laughed hollowly. “Wow, he’s really got you under his spell, hasn’t he? He deserves way more than teasing and you know it.”
“Teasing?” Claire was incredulous. “You’re bringing up his childhood trauma and you call that teasing? Leave him alone!”
“Since when are you his champion, Claire?” Lauren asked.
Claire raised her chin defiantly. “Since you guys showed up and started acting like jerks. So he made mistakes in the past, haven’t we all? Hands up if you haven’t killed someone.”
She watched them carefully. Peter was worried about Sylar- his eyes flitting to the bathroom door. Lauren looked slightly discomforted but her father and Angela Petrelli were unrepentant and dismissive.
“What’s this really about, Claire?”
She glared at her dad. “What it’s about, dad, was that you were attacking an ex-serial killer with super-powers and emotional issues. What if he decided ‘screw it; they’re not going to accept me so I’ll return to my lobotomy days’. Or, hey, how about him losing his temper and going all Ted Sprague on the joint?” she shook her head. “It’s like kicking a sleeping tiger because he’s got his eyes closed and then getting mad when he bites your leg off. How about you take a leaf out of Sylar’s book and try acting like a human being for five minutes. He was managing to make polite conversation- why can’t you?”
“Why? Because I hate seeing my daughter being so comfortable with a damned serial-killer.”
“Ex!” Claire shouted.
“Claire.” Peter flicked his eyes to the rest of the room who were covertly staring at their table.
Claire lowered her voice to a harsh hissing which was no less vehement for its lack of volume. “And he was what he was because of you. In all of this- dad, Angela- you’re forgetting that you made Gabriel Gray into Sylar. If you had just left him alone none of this would have ever happened. All the people he’s killed, all the bad he’s done, is on your heads. His body count is your fault.” Her face reddened. “You pretended to be his friend, his mentor- his mother! You screwed with his head, his heart and his emotions ten ways to Sunday and now you get mad when he turns around and actually makes something of himself?”
The lights in the restaurant flickered slightly. They all looked up at the lights and then towards the bathrooms.
Peter paled. “I’m gonna go check on him, you got this, Claire?” He got up from his seat and hurried off.
The three of them stared at Claire who dragged in a deep breath. “I want to say screw you all and walk out of here but this little dinner is for Peter and Emma. Sylar is their best man and I am their maid of honor. They chose us. We’re needed. You guys- not so much. So here’s your choice. One- you keep baiting Sylar- he gets mad, takes out half of New York, you ruin Peter and Emma’s wedding and I never speak to you ever again. Or two,” she gave each of them a hard look, “you shut up, ignore Sylar, and we all pretend to be one big happy family for Louise. No one insults anyone, Emma and Peter have the wedding they want and no one dies. Which is it going to be?”
All three of them has faced off against things bigger, stronger and scarier than an ex-cheerleader who barely came up to their shoulders but there was something about Claire that made them think twice about getting on her bad side. There was something in her eyes that was just edging towards a reckless kind of craziness.
It was the expression of someone who had looked at death and laughed in his face; someone who knew that they were truly invincible and would outlive and outlast any consequences of her actions.
“I can play nice,” Lauren said, hiding a shiver.
Angela sniffed. “Very well, dear.”
Claire waited for Noah to agree. He was a much harder nut to crack that Angela but the threat- the very real threat-of his little girl never speaking to him again was something that he didn’t want to imagine. As hard as it was to see her being friendly with a serial killer the alternative of having her out of his life and beyond his control was something that he couldn’t quite stomach.
“All right. But I’ll go on the record as not liking you so close to Sylar.
“Your concern is noted and ignored.” Claire raised her chin. “I know you want what’s best for me, dad, but you don’t get to decide what that is. In ten years, twenty, a hundred, a million, I’ll still be around and, like it or not- so will Sylar. Am I supposed to ignore the one person who knows what I’m going through long after you’ve turned to dust?”
“I’m done arguing about this.” Claire looked up as Emma and Louise came out of the bathroom, swiftly followed by Peter and Sylar.
She noted the way that Sylar looked flushed and shaky and cursed her father and her grandmother for their interference. Like Sylar hadn’t been through enough at their hands, now they wanted to bully him too?
Not on her watch.
As he slid in next to her she darted her hand beneath the table and gripped his hand, giving it a comforting squeeze.
He held tight and breathed out a sigh of relief at her support.
Feeling distinctly militant Claire turned to her grandmother. “So, Angela, why don’t you tell us about your plans for the Company?”