Title: Caveat Emptor
Summary: Immortality is more than he bargained for; hatred for him is the only thing that makes her feel alive.
Disclaimer: I don't own Heroes, obviously, or any of the poetry quotes in italics.
A/N I've wanted to write fics for Heroes for awhile, and I knew that when I finally did I'd have to write about Sylar because I have this weird need to humanize a villain. It's my weakness. The title is Latin for ''let the buyer beware.'' Please review.
''I envy you your chance of death, how I envy you this''—H.D.
She didn't think he could feel love.
Claire was staring out the window, nervously twirling her hair through her fingers, glaring at the moon, thinking about him and wondering in the back of her addled mind why the hell she was thinking about him at all. It was hatred, she supposed. Hatred could give you a remarkable focus. It swam through your blood like love, a force just as strong but simply antithetical.
''How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?'' Who cared? And why did he choose that moment, with his fingers worming their way around her exposed brain, to become so philosophical? She was repulsed that she was witness to that, to his musings which seemed almost human. She was repulsed because his nearly childlike wonderings in that brief moment softened him into something else, something that she couldn't bring herself to hate. He must have done that on purpose, sadistic monster that he was.
Angels were something holy. He was the most unholy person she'd ever encountered.
Claire yanked on her hair, yanked so hard that when she pulled her hand back it was full of golden strands. It didn't hurt, of course. She had him to thank for that. ''How many angels can dance…''
Still, everybody knew that the devil was once an angel. Could the devil feel pain, wondered Claire, or could he only inflict it?
And love—he had the nerve to mention love, while destroying her soul as he effectively stripped her of her humanity. ''How do you make love stay?'' She didn't think he could feel love. But more so, as she continued to gaze out the window, she hoped that he couldn't feel love. Because she was having a difficult time feeling it. She was having a difficult time feeling any emotion, which was why she adored this hatred so much…it was like a throbbing pulse beat that let her be sure that she hadn't yet lost herself completely. But there was still a ragged, hollow place in her chest, and Claire felt like her heart had been ripped from her.
Numbness was spreading like cancer, traveling through her veins. Bleed. As if to purge herself of something and shock her flesh into life, Claire swung a fist out and crashed it into the mirror hanging beside her on the wall. Blood trickled silently and painlessly down her hand and arm in a mocking red river, and then ran no more as the wound closed itself seamlessly. She bit back a scream and wrapped her arms around herself, leaving blood stains on her white shirt, perversely loving the way that the red color stood out so shockingly bright, hoping that it would never wash away. ''At least I still bleed,'' the young woman thought to herself, closing her eyes and making a mental note to bleed a little every day. In this way, she would be reminded of her humanity, however briefly. The blood would tell a story.
''O let not time deceive you, you cannot conquer time.''—W.H. Auden
For the first time, he truly entertained the thought of immortality.
Though the notion is a seductive and tantalizing one for a mortal, once it is achieved, after the brief euphoria—''I'll never die!!''—the reality and eventual horror sets in—''I'll never die.'' Eternity, the absence of time, weighs far more heavily than time itself. Thank god for death; at least then time can be measured. Sixty years, eighty years, but still there is a certain framework, a memento mori with each tick that reminds you that one day you will simply stop working, like a broken clock.
He has never been more terrified before, and this terror he will carry with him forever, which is as long as he will live. Sylar has stopped looking at clocks and watches, now they sicken him, mock him. Now he does not want to repair them, he wants to break them. He wants to shatter every spring and gear so that he does not have to be reminded that there is nothing left for him to measure, to dread, to wait for or hope for. Nothing.
He wants to see her, because she's like him. She's now the only one who can understand this terror. Poor girl. She did this to him. Rationally, he knows that it wasn't her fault; the angelic little cheerleader didn't deliberately infect him with immortality, he took it from her. Poor, lonely girl. Except now she wasn't so alone. She'd made him like her. Or rather, he'd sliced open her head and made himself like her, but either way, now there was a undeniable connection that Sylar didn't quite know how to understand. He smiled to himself; the smile passed over his face like a shadow, and then vanished. He knew her better than anyone in the world. There was a power in that.
''I wish more from his presence, though he torture me in a grasp, terrible, intense''—H.D.
Claire fell asleep on her bed, still in her blood-stained shirt, and dreamed that Sylar came to see her. She let him in through the front door and didn't run away, just let him follow her through the house and upstairs to her room. They were both wearing black clothes, but everything else in the room was white. She pulled out a knife, and so did he. She struck, stabbing him through the heart, knowing it was absolutely useless, slicing every exposed area of his skin, knowing that all the wounds would close, but still lashing out frantically, trying to create as many injuries as she could, trying to make him bleed as much as possible, trying to stain the white walls and carpets with a reminder that she had hurt him, even for a moment. Fleeting revenge preserved in red.
He let her cut at him, not striking back, just watching her with empty eyes, holding the knife in his hand, not daring a move. ''Cut me!!'' she screamed at him, in a voice so hate-filled and hysterical that Claire barely recognized it as her own. ''Hurt me!! Do something!'' But her enemy was still silent, like some unholy martyr. The walls and floor were forever stained scarlet, but it brought no comfort.
''I will show you fear in a handful of dust''-T.S. Eliot
Sylar didn't usually remember his dreams, but that night, he did. He dreamed that he went to see the cheerleader; he climbed in through her bedroom window and saw that she'd repainted everything white. The walls and curtains were white, even the bedspread and carpet were white. The blankness of it all was violently disturbing. She was sitting on the bed, wearing a long black dress.
Claire raised her head to look at him with eyes like an abyss, a bottomless well leading down into the wasteland that her soul had become. Something inside him said: ''it's all your fault.'' Her terrible eyes echoed this same accusation, but her mouth didn't move, until she finally spoke and said, ''you can't kill me.'' She said this so sadly; her voice sounded like ashes being tossed on an autumn wind. ''I keep hoping you'll come here to kill me, and then I remember that you can't. I wish you could.''
She got up from the bed and walked over to him. Averting her eyes, she took his hand and led him out the door and into the hallway, which was also that same stark white color. But at the very end of the hallway, a painting hung on the wall. Cringing, Sylar almost turned away. He'd always hated that painting, The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, but at that moment those freakish, melted clocks were somehow the most horrifying thing he'd ever seen.
Claire was staring at the painting. She was holding his hand, but he couldn't feel anything. Not the pressure of her fingers, or the warmth of her skin. ''Forever and ever,'' she mumbled, still staring, ''forever and ever, amen, forever and ever and ever…'' she continued to chant this like a mournful litany until he awoke, shivering and gasping, with her voice still ringing in his head.