"One Day in Purgatory"

by Viv

Title: "One Day in Purgatory"
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Peter, Sylar (not slash)
Summary: There was something strange about this conversation Peter was having. (slight meta-fic).
Spoilers: Everything to 1.18 Parasite.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, just borrowing. All NBC's and Tim Kring's. Please don't sue!
Author's Notes: This one came from way out of left field, or right field, or whichever field is supposed to be the surprise one because that's what I was when this popped into my head on the train. It's a ficlet and slightly meta. Just had to crank it out. Go on, give it a go!

Feedback is love!

They were on the top of Brooklyn Bridge when it happened.

Peter was dueling with Sylar – yet again – and this time things had escalated to the point of no return. Peter had managed to get revenge for the unfortunate almost-lobotomy and incredibly unfashionable hair cut that Sylar had inflicted on him the second time they met, and Sylar had avenged himself for the nasty scar that ran from his chest to his thigh, courtesy of Peter. The two were so fueled by blind rage that neither of them realised how close to the brink they actually were.

"Peter!" Claire cried out, watching in numb horror as Peter and Sylar toppled over the edge.

When they hit the water below at breakneck speed, even their superpowers were not enough to prevent them from losing consciousness.

The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was Sylar, peering down at him with unambiguous curiosity. Peter didn't even have the presence to curse, so fuelled by fear was he at that moment. He quickly jumped and rolled out of the way, the sudden movement causing his vision to swim unpleasantly. "Get the hell away from me." He gasped.

Sylar stepped aside, rolling his eyes. "I was wondering when you were going to wake up. I was starting to miss the theatrics. I've been waiting for some Shakespeare or something."

Before Peter could stop himself, he mumbled. "I don't know any Shakespeare."

"That's a pity. I think you'd make a really good Hamlet."

Peter screamed. "Shut up. Get the HELL away from me!"

"Look around." Sylar retorted, a vicious smile curling around his mouth. "Look where we are."

Peter did, and was amazed. They appeared – and he was sure he was hallucinating or something – because they appeared to be at his apartment, back in Manhattan. "What the hell?"

"Yeah I know. Weird, huh?" Sylar walked around in a circle, glancing up at the ceiling. "You know, this ceiling kind of reminds me of Mohinder's ceiling. Kind of art deco-ish, if you know what I mean."

"Get the hell away from me." Peter skittered away, poised for a fight. Actually, the intensity of their battle was still pumping through his veins, so much so that he lunged straight at Sylar – and disappeared onto the other side. "What the –"

"It seems we can't touch each other here." Sylar frowned, shaking his head. "I mean, it seems more like a vision, or dream. We can communicate, but that's about it." He shrugged, not even having the grace to look sheepish. "I tried to kill you when you were knocked out."

"You tried to kill me?"

"Hey, like that's a shock." Ignoring the outrage on Peter's face, Sylar continued. "I figure this is probably in our heads."

"So is this your head, or mine?"

Sylar – homicidal, brain-eating Sylar – shrugged. "Does it matter?" He looked around, surveying the apartment. "Is this your apartment? Got to say, it's pretty nice. Lower East Side. And you're a nurse? How could you possibly afford this?"

Was that really an important issue just now? "Aren't you the least bit curious –"

"Of course I am. Come on, for someone with multiple powers, you're pretty slow." Peter's skin crawled at the meticulous way Sylar was examining him. He felt like a giant lab rat with Sylar as the mad scientist. "I figure it's one of a number of things. Either we're in purgatory, or in hell." He looked around at Peter's spacious apartment. "I'm going to go with … purgatory."

"You think?" Peter was starting to get over the shock of having a conversation with his nemesis. Stranger things really haven't happened to him. "If you're here, seems more like hell."

"Please. Where's the fire, the brimstone? The endless torment and pain and agony? Horny guy with the pitchfork." He cocked his head. "That came out wrong, but you know what I mean." He gestured at the comfortable living area, the spacious kitchen. "All I see is a really nice apartment. Seriously man, how did you pay for this? My old one bedder in Queens was the size of a cockroach's shoebox."

"Forget the apartment." He couldn't help it, he was starting to relax. He kicked absently at the pile of newspapers lying on the floor, a pile that from memory he was supposed to have recycled. To his surprise, his foot connected solidly. "Hey, did you see that?"

"Dude, you're forgetting I've been awake for longer than you have. I've been wandering around here for the next ever. By the way, did you know there's a stain in your kitchen cupboard that looks like Abraham Lincoln? That's pretty eerie."

"Yeah I know, tried everything to get rid of that." Peter abruptly stopped himself. He'd forgotten momentarily who he was talking to. "What in Jesus Christ are we doing here? We should be dead or … not. Instead we're here, in my apartment. Which can't really be my apartment since … we just jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge. We should be dead."

"Maybe we are." He glanced at one of his family pictures, the last one that Peter had taken of his dad, mom and brother. Just before his graduation from nursing school on one of his father's better days. "I'd much rather be here. You have no idea how cool this place is."

"Oh my god, stop with the obsession over my apartment! This isn't even really my apartment. It's some imaginary thing one of us has cooked up in all this craziness and I have no idea what's going on here!"

"God man, calm down. You're being a little too emotional at the moment."

"Says the guy who eats people's brains."

Sylar stopped in his tracks. "Dude, that reminds me, I'm starving. I haven't had anything to eat since before our fight. Do you have any snacks?"

"STOP CALLING ME DUDE, okay? It's … unnatural." Peter was agitated, his breath uneven. "I've got some Doritos, second cupboard on the left."

Sylar soon returned, offering Peter some of his own Doritos. He even had the temerity to bring a glass of water for him. "Figured you must've been thirsty from all that shouting you were doing before." Off Peter's blank look, he elaborated. "You know, all that shouting on the bridge?" His voice rose a pitch as he mimicked Peter. "I hope you've made your peace with God, because this is the last day of your life." He plonked down on Peter's couch, sinking comfortably. "Oh, and I think you added, 'Sylar.'".

Peter looked at him, gobsmacked. Long seconds ticked by as his mouth refused to operate. This was crazy. They were dead – or maybe not – and now all the bad things he'd ever done was coming back to haunt him. He must be in hell. He just wished that he knew back then that hell was actually an eternity with Sylar, because that? Was torment at its most brutal. "Sylar's a stupid name." Was all he came up with after all that, sitting on his recliner and looking at the homicidal maniac dining out on his Doritos with a wary eye. "So any ideas why we're stuck together like this? I'd rather be roasting alive in the pits of hell than sitting here with you."

"Thanks." Sylar cocked an eyebrow while slugging down a can of coke. "Maybe … you know. We have to make up."

"I'm sorry?" Peter asked incredulously. "Did you say make out?"

"Dude, make up. Aren't you supposed to be able to absorb people's powers? I have super hearing you know and you … don't."

"Shut up."

"Anyway." Peter couldn't get over that Sylar was looking at him as if he was crazy. At least he wasn't dining on people's brains every two seconds. "I told you before, I figure it's some sort of purgatory. Or crossing over, stuff like that. Unresolved issues. The ancient Egyptians believed that the dead get ferried across to the land of the dead. Maybe we're just waiting for our, you know, ferry."

"How do you even know that? What were you before … before …"

"Before I became a homicidal maniac?"


Sylar shrugged. Peter found it more frightening that he didn't seem to care how he was described. "To answer your first question, I ate a girl's brain. She was real smart, from Texas, like your cheerleader. And secondly – a watchmaker. God, that was boring. Had to get out, it was going to eat me alive."

"You didn't think of doing something less drastic first, like NOT slicing open people's heads and extracting their brains?!"

"Dude, I wasn't planning on doing it, not right away. It's like … you know what actors say, about when they first get into acting? 'I just fell into it', or 'it kinda just happened'. Well, the whole powers thing just kinda happened for me too."

"It just kinda happened?" Peter parroted incredulously, sitting straight. "Committing murder just doesn't happen overnight. You made a conscious choice, you killed people who didn't deserve to be killed, you –"

"Dude, relax." Peter really wished he'd stop calling him dude, man or any variant of the phrase. It put everything into a surreal context – or rather, an even more surreal context. "I'm not saying I'm not badass. Hmmm, double negatives in that sentence." He stopped suddenly. "What was I saying?"

"You were admitting what a psychotic lunatic you were."

"Right." Having finished the Doritos, he scrunched the packet, got up and threw it in the bin. His fastidiousness caught Peter by surprise. "What? I'm not allowed to be neat and tidy?"

Peter shook his head mutely. "Just surprised me. I usually get ribbed for keeping my place clean. You know, not like a 'real' man."

"Hey yeah, me too." Suddenly they were connecting and it was so, so wrong. "Anyway, what was I saying?"

"You were a psychotic murderer."

"Right. Well, yeah. That's … pretty much it. I'm not sorry, you know."

Peter peered at his still very current nemesis. "Yeah, I know."

There was a moment of tense silence, before Sylar's eyes landed on the remote control. "Do you think we have cable here?"

"What, in my apartment?" That seemed like a pretty stupid question – like Peter wouldn't know what was in his own apartment.

Judging by Sylar's expression, that was a stupid question. "No, I meant if we are in purgatory or hell or whatever – do you think we'd get cable here?"

Peter threw the remote at him. "Knock yourself out." Hell, knock him out while he was at it. Peter didn't know how much more of this enforced normality with Sylar he could take.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on the way he looked at it – he wasn't knocked out, but on the bright side they did happen to get cable in this higher (or lower) realm. Settling back further into the couch, Sylar was about to stretch his legs out. "May I?"

"You're asking me whether you can put your legs up on my coffee table?"


"You murder people by slicing their heads open and eating their brains, and you're asking whether you can put your goddamn legs on the coffee table?"

"Yeah. I have manners you know."

Peter sighed. This was incredibly stupid. "Yes, fine. Just take your shoes off first or something so they don't scuff."

"Cool." They watched a football game in surprisingly companionable silence, with occasional encouragements of their team, which they both happened to support. Which was pretty eerie. After a while, Sylar asked suddenly. "Dude, this is a one bedroom isn't it?"

Peter nodded absently, absorbed in the game. "Yeah, so what?"

"So … where am I going to sleep?"

That snapped Peter's attention back to the more important stuff. Yanking the remote away from Sylar, he tried to make himself as crystal clear as possible. "You're going to take the couch and that's the end of it."

Sylar looked at him for a beat, then shrugged. They turned their attention back onto the game.