Title: Caveat Emptor, Part II Shadow

Rating: T

Author: PinkFreud

This place is an island, where she can hide and pretend that she is an ordinary girl. There are moments when she forgets the past, forces it into a far corner of her mind and locks it away. She smiles, and she smile does not feel forced, it feels natural and real, and these are the moments when Claire Bennet feels the most human. But the shadows always slip through the cracks and then grow in size and loom ever larger, back with a terrible vengeance to remind her just how far from ordinary, far from happy that she really is.

There is just so much that she can never tell, never express. All of the screaming in the world would not be enough; she could yell for days on end, at the top of her lungs, but there would still be more left to say, twisting around inside of her. Strangely enough, the hidden sadness, the separateness, the shadows, are as much of an island, as much of a safe haven to her as the false reality in which she is a perfectly normal college girl. And all of the rage and grief is as much a comfort and reminder of her humanity as a natural smile. She just does not know which one is a safer place, anymore. And this, more than anything else, is the reason that Claire Bennet is truly alone.

His humanity is jarring to her. Face to face she should be able to hate him more strongly than ever, but not at this moment; in this moment, looking into Sylar's dark eyes, Claire does see the trace of a soul, of a person, of something human and worthwhile, even something familiar, but she cannot let this be: it is upsetting the already precarious balance of her life and emotions. She has to hate him; it's in her blood. Without her hatred for this man, who is she, really? Is all of her anger, her reality then a lie? And without these sharp pangs of bitter hatred and seething rage is she really herself?

She feels like if she allows herself to see this soul in him, so evident in his eyes, part of her will cease to exist. He thinks they are alike, she and him. Claire pushes the thought away, dismisses it, denies it with all of the strength that she has left. Her Intro to Psychology class comes back to haunt her, she hears echoes of the Professor talking about Carl Jung, about his concept of the Shadow self, how the more you try to deny the Shadow, the stronger it becomes, the more fragmented a person you in turn become; one side of yourself eternally pitted against the other.

And here is Claire Bennet's Shadow self, standing before her in the body of a man, of her greatest enemy.

Only by accepting and integrating the Shadow self can a person truly be whole. When Sylar bends down to kiss her she is terrified. More terrified than she was when he sliced her head wide open and wormed his fingers around in her brain. He kisses her very softly, very gently. It is a quiet kiss, an intimate kiss. There is something frantic behind it, though, a wild urgency kept simmering low. Like he's sliding around inside of her, looking for something, but more than that, he's kissing her like she's important, like she matters, like nothing matters more than this instant, this contact. Like he's begging her for something.

And for one awful moment, Claire wants to give it to him, whatever it is, to cease this awful dance of hatred once and for all. To pull him closer and closer until they simply dissolve, until there are no questions anymore, no shadows in the corners of their minds, no loathing, no deception, no anything, just one moment of clear understanding and belonging. And this is what terrifies Claire Bennet more than anything else ever has.