Wild Horses just couldn't drag me away

Wild Horses, We'll ride them someday

"You can't possibly think you are ready to really face me."

"Gabriel, I've been fighting dummies, swinging tree branches, and various flying objects all week. If I'm not ready for you now; then I'll never be."

"There's a lot of heart to you, Xander Harris." Sylar put his hand to Xander's chest. "Now lets see if it's also in your blood." A pound of his fist sends Xander flying backwards. "The first rule of battling me is to never turn your back."

Xander uses a flying kick to turn himself upright. "Yeah, well my first rule is to never underestimate what you're fighting."

Two hours later; Alex can feel the soothing sting of the bathroom tile. His face wasn't touched or scarred, but his arms and thighs had taken quite a few beatings. Gabriel Grey must certainly have some of the strength of a vampire, Xander mused inwardly. The hissing sound of the water soothed his ears momentarily. They still pounded with the rush of blood. Gabe certainly knew enough about fighting, and other forms of entertainment. Xander had a feeling it wasn't just because he had seen it on tv either, but he couldn't put a finger on it. The hardest thing to imagine was that being close to Gabriel did something to him. It definitely wasn't love; there was no need to think that. He brought a handful of water up to his hair and cooled down his head while slicking back his raven locks.

"Come on, Xander," he whispered to himself, "what are you doing man? You used to have no trouble with guys like this. Maybe you've been away too long."

Gabriel slunk into the opening of the bathroom silently. "Been away from who?"

Xander jumped slightly as he noticed Slylar in the mirror. "You startled me, Gabriel."

"Sorry."

"Don't be. That takes a lot of talent to do. In fact, you seem to have quite a bit of talent."

Gabriel shrugged. "You're young; talent comes with experience. It does look like I got your forearm good though."

"Yeah; it's not very often someone uses a wrestling move on me. I don't think those muscles are quite used to it."

"But you do have some muscles you use quite often." He whispered the words into Xander's ears. He whispered them the way Angelus whispered to him once in the graveyard. Xander felt a chill come in from a non-existent breeze. He mumbled as he tried to cover up his blush.

"I don't know what you mean, Gabriel."

"There's no arguing that you are well-defined around your abs, and that's not normal for, how did Peter put it, a city boy?" Gabriel used his finger to slice a path through Xander's abs that send a chill into his spine.

Xander had trouble pushing the name from his mouth. Hell, Xander was human. Furthermore, Xander was male and when was the last time he had gotten this sort of attention? True, Gabriel was no Angel nor was he a Peter, but those eyes and those pecs. Xander could tell he was well-defined and those moments when Gabriel released his chest from his tank top, well, Xander couldn't be accused of anything but swooning just a little. Long ago, Xander had claimed he had mastered these urgings. Or so he had thought.

Xander leaned back into Gabe and felt the fur hit his back. It was so different from being with Angel. And, really, what was Xander waiting for anyways? Gabriel bit down and nuzzled Xander's neck. Xander could see in the mirror the outline of Gabriel's hand massaging his own cock in his pants and Xander's abs. He closed his eyes to let the senses overtake his emotions. It wasn't long before Xander's hands reached down and opened Gabriel's pants. His cock was stiff and his head and shaft resembled a sword. Gabriel murmured consent and Xander turned. His tongue began to swirl over Gabriel's head and then to take the meat inward. Angelus had taken his gag reflex, and so Gabriel's head arched backward as Xander began to take all of the shaft in. His breathing increased and his abs began to shake violently.

"Alexander." The word began to hiss forth and Xander held Gabriel's cock in his mouth. Something didn't feel right. Xander pushed back against the counter, but Gabriel wouldn't let him go. "Is there anything wrong?" Gabriel held the back of Xander's head and forced him to continue. Gabriel growled. "The second rule of being with me is to never let me get jealous." Gabriel let Alex's head go and threw him across the bathroom.

"What?" When had everything began to go downhill?

"I can hear you in the night. You moan his name. Who was Angel?"

Xander tried to disarm Gabriel by fluttering his hands around as though Angel had meant nothing. "He was no one, Gabriel. Just someone from the past."

Sylar snarled. "You let me get close; you tried to entrap me."

Xander was dumb-founded. "What?"

"Don't deny it. And for that; you will pay."

Xander's hands went to his throat as his vision started to go. He wasn't being strangled physically, but he could feel the strangling of his vocal chords and throat. "Gabriel?"

"My name was Gabriel. You can call me Sylar." The last thing Xander thought before he went unconscious was How strange can one life get?

Xander woke in those familiar silk sheets, but now they burned him. He was naked and Gabriel was nowhere to be found. Scratch that, Sylar was nowhere to be found. Xander sighed and made a mental checklist. Yes, he hurt somewhere only one person had gone before. Yes, Gabriel had had this weird violent lashing out. Yes, Xander did feel in danger. But would he panic?

As with Angelus; panic only induced pain. He'd have to play it cool. Here, there was no upper hand. Sylar wasn't a vulnerable person in the way Angelus had been. And he was definitely no angel, no pun intended. Xander had studied and fought with Gabriel for a while now, but there was still no weakness. He was tight and paranoid, over reactive. He was Glory without the godhood.

Xander sighed again. Long gone was his sense of shame about sex, but never gone was his sense of self-preservation. That was another thing about living on the Hell mouth, Xander supposed. He closed his eyes and began to breathe deeply; trying to send himself into a state of meditation. Meditation was one of those things he had done with Willow in Palisades and it had actually helped to clear his head. Now, he needed it more than ever. He needed a way out. It came to him, fuzzy at first. Peter's face close to earth as he stood atop a fire escape. The balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet came to mind, but Xander let the musing pass quickly. Now was most definitely not the time to imagine himself in funny Victorian tights. You said you'd always be around when I needed you. Now I need you. He didn't need to say the name. Peter would know the message was from him.

The field over at the West bridge Ranch filled with dust as Fainic pranced around. The wind was still like most days, but there was an overbearing in the air that did not go unnoticed. Peter watched with a malaise in his eyes. He hadn't been able to do much actual work and had actually drove himself to the point of sickness worrying about Xander.

He never should have let him out of that truck. But it wasn't my choice to make, he thought and shook his head. He replayed that night to himself so many times and each time he cringed a bit more at the silence. He had been that way with Elle, with Nathan, even with Matt and Molly. Why did he have to be this way? Fainic's pace came to a halt and his ears pricked up. Every muscle tensed and he snorted a neigh. Peter swore he heard the word warning.

Fainic began to race around the fence and splinter it. Each break alongside Fainic's muscles sent a bit more panic into Peter. Fainic never acted this way. And then he began to race outside of splinters and nudge Peter as he raced around the barn. He snorting was getting wild by the minute. Peter knew he didn't have the same knack Alex had, but needed to try to understand Fainic.

"I know I'm not him, but whatever it is I am here. I don't know how to talk with you or even comprehend, but there's something important going on?"

Fainic began prancing solely around Peter, as if Peter was the only one who could react. Is it about him?

Peter grabbed Fainic by the nostril. "Calm down. If it's about him; I need to know. You have to figure out a way to tell me. You're smarter than this. Just calm down and tell me." Xander's way had to work. It just had to.

Peter looked around and grabbed a piece of the broken fence. He snapped it off with a small bolt of frustration coursing through is body and it landed point up in the dusty prairie land. He tried to draw the word Xander, but the land was too hard-packed and parched. He continued to try looking around, when Fainic snorted.

"Do you understand?" Fainic suddenly stopped panicking and looked in Peter's eyes. He nodded once and then began to stamp in the ground. He stamped furiously and left four imprints in the ground. The four imprints formed an X.

Xander was being interrupted by a tap at the window. His mediation wasn't flowing clearly anymore. He blinked his left eye open to see if a wind had kicked up, but instead he saw something, well, incredible. A prairie dog stood at the window, using its nose to tap. How had a prairie dog gotten onto a second-story ledge? Xander was never one to second-guess help though and he supposed a prairie dog was better than nothing. Xander's legs were still a bit stiff, but he pushed open the window after taking a second to pop his knees. The prairie dog stood at the open window and waited; his beady eyes looking upward at Xander.

"Did you want to come in?" The prairie dog didn't understand, but instead nodded toward the wilderness. "I can't leave; I don't have anywhere left to go." The little animal began to swing his head from Xander to the wilderness through a game of 20 Questions. Xander might have understood horses, but didn't know the first thing about prairie dogs. The best guess he had was to follow the little varmint and hope Sylar didn't punish him too bad again. Sylar and Angelus might have been able to compare notes, but they'd still find Xander as unflappable as ever.

Xander moved out onto the minuscule ledge and watched the prairie dog scamper down the drain pipe. That was so not an option. Xander thought for a second and then undid his belt. At least Xander had the presence of mind to put on clothes before going outdoors. Liam, scratch that Gabriel, scratch that Sylar hadn't had the presence of mind to remove Xander's clothes from the room. Of course, a stake wouldn't do much good against him, but hey, pointy still worked right? Anyways, though Xander, how do I get to the ground without major injury? Well, further major injury? Xander took his belt and looped it around the underside of the ledge. His theory was to swing down monkey-style. In practice, his foot got caught in the unforgiving loop and he rolled onto his left shoulder, making a squishy sound. He was down, pleasant or not.

Xander moved quickly, following the imprint of the prairie dog until the prints stopped at a little mound. The prairie dog's twitching nose greeted Xander along with something else. A couple of flies had begun congregating around something near the entrance to the varmint's new home. His breath moved the bugs away and he saw what appeared to be a finger. Xander lifted the finger, intrigued.

"I see you've found what's left of Pastor Jesse."

"You're back Sylar." Xander didn't even bother to look in his direction, continuing to stare at the shadow over the object.

"Yes, and a better part of my handiwork. It seems as though someone who can perpetually regenerate does leave little pieces of himself lying around. But my absolute favorite part of it all? Having your bootprints all over the area of his death and finger prints all over his impaled head."

"You think I'm going to let you frame me?"

"I don't see how you have a choice. I own you. I'm stronger, faster, and smarter than you."

"That doesn't make you a better person."

"I don't have to be a better person."

"And that's where we disagree."

Sylar grabbed Xander by the scruff of the neck. "Get back in the house."

"I can't do that." Xander could feel Sylar's steamy breath pouring down his spine.

"I wasn't giving you an option, boy."

"You don't scare me Sylar."

"We'll see."

Xander countered the next punch to his bread basket with a hit to Sylar's nose. Sylar's laugh was nauseating to Xander. At least Angelus had had the good conscious to have a good evil laugh.

"So, you want to play rough?" Sylar's speed kicked up dust around Xander's body. Xander covered his eyes to keep the sand from getting in and found himself upside down and smacked into the tree within seconds. "Let's play then." Xander wasn't sure he would survive, but that hadn't mattered before.

"I've fought things far more devious than you Sylar." He righted himself against the tree. "Sure, I might not be as strong and I'm sure you'll beat me, but I'll make sure I take you to hell with me."

"Pretty words. They don't want to see my type in hell."

"I'll make sure to reserve you a room anyway." Somewhere on the back of Xander's neck; electricity entered the air. It was a fine difference to the atmosphere, but enough where Xander knew he would be safe. And he'd be winning this fight.

"You bore me."

Xander used a tree limb to fling himself head long at the approaching Sylar and he fell only about two feet short. Sylar, however, didn't have time to laugh. A large bolt of blue lightning filled the air and knocked Gabriel Grey right out of his evil socks. Xander heard the thud far past the entrance of the house. The battle had just begun. It looked as though thunder were following lightning. All Xander could see was the dust of the prairie cascading off a blurry brown figure. Peter stopped just short of where his old tire tracks lay.

"Cool entrance."

"Thanks, I've had some time to work on it."

Xander pulled Peter off of Fainic's back. Every dark word that Gabriel had whispered in his ear evaporated. Xander couldn't be sure he put much stock in anything, but no one could deny Peter had come in a horse. Wait. He had a car. "Sorry, I would have been here sooner," Peter said through Xander's hair as they were hugging, "but Angus is working on the truck. Damn thing broke down again."

"You could have come here being dragged by a dozen sparrows and I wouldn't question it."

"Thanks for that vote of confidence. Listen, I know I really bite at the emotion thing, but I couldn't tell..."

"I don't care about any of that. I just want you here. And him gone."

"I can't guarantee we'll win."

"That never stopped me before." The door was swinging from one hinge as Peter and Xander walked into the courtyard. Half of Gabriel's face was healing and most of his hair was in disarray. His shirt was torn and dusty but he was smiling.

"It will be such a pleasure to add you to my collection finally Petrelli. And you, Harris, so much talent and skill. It will be an honor to put something more than my cock in that mouth of yours."

Peter looked at Xander. Xander looked at Peter. "Don't even ask. You already have it." Peter grabbed Xander's hand.

"Isn't that sweet? You've made up. Too bad you won't be leaving this house again."

Peter stood his ground, defiantly searing his hatred through his eyeballs toward Sylar. "I'm sorry to disappoint you Sylar, but we have no intention of losing. I'm going to finish what started half a decade ago."

"Hiro couldn't kill me. Maya couldn't kill me. Mohinder couldn't kill me. What makes you think you'll do better your second time around, Peter? You and some puppy from the city with nothing special about him but his sarcasm."

"You are more wrong than you know."

"We'll see." Sylar flew at them from the top of the stairs. Lights seemed to echo in the darkness and Peter's hand grasped tighter at Xander. I'll never lose him again. Next to Peter in the dark, Xander could sense the danger coming. His hand reached around to Peter's waist and used him as leverage. Peter swung Xander around.

"I can smell you Sylar." Xander's left heel made contact with a beam that sent him flying into Peter. His right foot connected with the beam that luckily did hit something, but not before the lights came back on and Peter noticed a slight rip in his right bicep. There, once again, was Sylar. Sylar with a black eye.

"So, the darkness doesn't bind you."

Xander felt snarky. "Sorry to disappoint, but that was sad. I've faced more threatening napkins than you before."

"Hollow words from a big mouth." The light went out again and the door seemed to seal itself shut.

Peter whispered. "I could just destroy the house around us."

Xander shook his head. "I wish it were that easy. The integrity of the house itself would send the stairs right in our direction. Just wait for your chance. Sylar!"

The lights flicked on again. "I'm still right here. Alexander, would you like to know what my power is?"

"I can't wait to hear it." Xander intoned flatly.

"You see, I am kind of like a psychic leech. I gain power by destroying and eating the brains of others like myself. Now, Peter can fill you in on the details later, he got great satisfaction from drawing out the last word, but this little do-gooding band in New York thought they had destroyed me. But I was found by this woman who had an extraordinary power. And this power was hers."

Five separate and yet identical Sylars lined the stairs and balcony, seperating and drifting from the original. Xander was indeed fresh out of ideas, but when two of them descended upon Peter; an idea sprung in his brain. They may not be vampires, but point will at least hold them off. Xander leaped for the stairs and the two goons followed. Two more Sylars didn't have the chance to leap at Peter. His bolts of concentrated blue anger flung out at them.

"Come out and fight coward!" Peter bellowed.

"You'll find that I'm just as capable in five pieces as one!" Two synchronized Sylars dragged Peter down and began kicking him. The fifth Sylar raised a fist high, full of some shards of glass. The first grazed Peter's ear as he was being held down. "Let's see how you like having glass flung at you!" A commotion erupted from the bedroom as one of Sylar's hands flew onto Peter's face. The piece of glass intended for his eye socket was stopped flat by Sylar's hand.

"You may not be a vampire and I sure as hell don't know what you are, but there's one thing that never fails. Mr. Pointy."

Xander leapt with all his strength and dived for the chandelier. Sylar's goons were distracted long enough that Peter rolled onto one and sent the other flying into Xander. Xander's foot grabbed Sylar's head and flung the copy into the wall. Xander landed feet from where he'd been moments earlier with one big difference. Five Sylars leaked back into two.

"Fine. I'll do this myself." The two halves of Sylar's ego ran down at Peter and Xander from what was left of the main balcony. Xander pushed Peter back and dove to his knees. Hoisting himself up with the grace of a hyena into a split v; he began to spin and kick. For the first time in two days, he concentrated on the feeling of strength, the electricity that Fainic gave him. And with all his heart he believed. The beast inside him came. The love that he felt for Angel, for Willow, and now for Peter guided him. Sylar fought strong and fast. Peter's bolts put him on edge.

Xander looked poised to win when he was clotheslined by the pair and began to lose oxygen. His face grimaced and turned red. He nodded and closed his eyes. The second shot of lightning Peter had ever fired at Xander hit past his cheek again. It was just enough to send the second Sylar melting, panting into the one on top of the stairs. The stairs themselves shook and groaned.

Xander didn't get away in time before it collapsed with Sylar astride him. Sylar rose from the rubble first. He was covered with gray dust and splinters, but he was laughing. Peter stood still and horrified. He pictured the look Anne would have. He pictured Matt and Molly dead on the floor. He saw himself dying alongside Xander. The last place he would feel safe. But Sylar's victory was not short-lived. A piece of cement collided with the back of his skull as Xander smashed forward into him. Sylar was stunned and jarred.

"That should have killed you."

"That's one thing you villains never seem to get. Good never dies."

"The world is grey." Sylar tried his best to hiss seductively in Xander's ear. "Why fight amongst ourselves? We could have it all."

"No thanks Magneto." Sylar's knees gave out under the weight of injuries. He might have had the power, but Sylar was no fighter without it. "Do you trust me?"

Peter nodded. "Always."

"Then fire." A bolt of lighting aimed right for Xander's head missed by inches as he jumped and caught the skeleton beam of the balcony. Sylar caught the beam of light and fell backwards. The last words he heard before he felt the rush the death from Xander's stake. "My name is not Alexander."

Twilight was dwelling as they exited the house; both slightly bloody and limping. But they were together and they had won. Neither could talk nor felt the adrenaline winning usually brought. All Xander could do to stop from entering into complete exhaustion was knowing and feeling Peter right beside him. Fainic was still waiting; he pressed his nose to Xander's face and Xander smiled.

Peter spoke gently, haggardly. "You have a little scar right above your brow."

"It's another long story."

"I've got the feeling there's quite a few of those."

"Does that scare you?"

Peter nuzzled into Xander as he hoisted himself up onto Fainic. "I don't know if I'll ever be scared again Xander." They stopped near a mesa; time and hunger being relative. Fainic allowed his legs to fold and he began to snooze.

Xander whispered in his ear. "Thank you, for everything." Xander brought the dusty water to his lips. It was cool and amazing. He drank the stars in amongst the reflection of the water. "This is something you just don't see in LA."

"You're right. And I bet L.A.'s never seen anything like this." Peter sat, shirtless, tending his cuts with pieces of fabric.

"LA doesn't deserve to see something like you." Peter tried his best to remain stoic, but his eyes began to see the world again. Here, where the flat earth met a deep, dark twinkling sky; Peter began to let the veils of time of distrust lift. He saw Xander as part of the sky; his hair connecting to parts of Orion and and what he thought was Aires. Xander bent down and pressed his lips to the cut on his forearm. A small hiss from the need he felt escaped his lips. Xander propped his arm so he lay between Peter and allowed the arm to fall over his abs. Only this time it felt natural. Peter stroked each scar Xander had with a tender and inquisitive nature.

He spent time finding out what made Xander burn with desire. He allowed himself the same. Xander reached into his ribs and Peter allowed himself to fall back being lightly tickled. Peter allowed himself a moment of lust and reached forward to kiss Xander. Xander took Peter's shoulder and saw his dark hair matching with the sky, his eyes reflecting the earth and he grabbed onto his shoulder blades as they kissed. Xander grasped for whatever it was that would save him from the memory of Angel, the haunting of his own mistake. There was forgiveness and reality in Peter's touch. Peter's fingertips lightly undid Xander's zipper and Peter's jeans flew off. Through his boxers; Xander's hands mastered the ability to make Peter groan and heave in ecstasy over Xander. They were naked and meshing soon after.

The words that echoed in the empty caverns of the prairie were filled with real and honest satisfaction. Peter inserted his cock in Xander and felt Xander shiver with lust. The tempo was slow and seductive as Peter pumped and reached down to kiss Xander's neck. Xander brought his hand to Peter's back and the thrusting continued as lust melted into love and need. Xander was part of Peter's heart and Peter the same for Xander. They came at the same moment on Xander's ribs and they lay there stroking each other and coaxing themselves into oblivion until first light. As the dawn began showing; Peter stood and reached for his discarded jeans. They'd return just briefly for what they would need. Then Peter and Xander would be off for wherever life would lead them. The difference was that they would be together. And being together might mean they'd have a chance for that elusive thing, happiness.

"I want to take you to meet someone. You said you'd never been to New York. I have a friend there that you might like to meet. Her name is Elle."