Disclaimer: If I owned Heroes, things would be different. But I don't, so don't sue me.

Author's Note: This is not in any way something I think could happen or should happen. It's just plain fiction, and it will be completely AU. It starts several days after the end of Episode 03x12.

Night After Night

Summary: Whether he's dreaming or haunted, Sylar sees her every night..

Spoilers Through: 03x12—Our Father

Chapter 1

Night 1:

Sylar woke up in a cold sweat. He could feel that there was something wrong, but it took him a moment to figure out what it was. He looked around the motel room and saw Elle leaning against the wall next to the television. Elle, who he killed, was standing there, smirking, wrapped in a sheet from his bed. "How..."

It was not until she started to walk toward him that he considered the possibility that this woman before him was not Elle, but a shapeshifter. Because Elle was dead, as his brain kept reminding him over and over. Considering that he was pretty much invincible at this point, and that he had always wanted the ability to shapeshift, he decided to see what was going to happen.

She stopped near the bed and hovered over him. "I'm here to haunt you, to torment you for killing me."

He sat up in the bed. "How do you intend to do that?"

She formed a ball of electricity in her hand. "I could do it the old fashioned way. But on the other hand,..." She closed her fist, extinguishing the lightning. "I think there might be better ways."

"Such as?"

She raised her eyebrows and walked back to her place by the television. "Slowly. Go back to sleep. I'll be here in the morning."

Sylar felt a slight tingle run through him. "That's a lie."

She looked surprised for a moment and then smiled. "Yeah, it probably is."

"Are you really Elle?"

She nodded, as though to say that she knew what he was doing. "Yes, I am Elle. The same Elle you set fire to on the beach. And I am honestly here to haunt you. Now go to sleep."

Sylar felt his eyes grow heavy. He wanted to ask how she was doing that, but he was asleep before he knew what was happening. In the morning, Elle was gone, and the sheet she was wearing was back on the bed.

Night 2:

Sylar awoke again, and this time he knew right where to look. She was standing next to the television, hands behind her back, leaning against the wall. She was wearing a sheet again. The light was dim, but her eyes bore into his. "Do you really it's safe to spend two nights in the same motel? You're kind of a wanted man."

He thought about what she said the night before, and how he would know if she was lying about being Elle. "I'm getting to the point where I feel safe everywhere. I can't be killed."

"Mm, that's true." She came over to him and sat on the bed. "There's probably only one thing that can really hurt you, and that's your mind."

"Why do you say that?"

"I'm not a ghost, Gabriel." She held out her arm. "Touch me and see. So, this is probably all a dream. It's probably your own mind that's trying to torture you."

She was still holding her arm out, but he did not touch it. Instead, he used his power to force her on her back with her hands pinned on either side of her head. He really did not know if he was intending to kill her again, and she spoke before he had time to figure it out.

"Is this really what you want? To kill me over and over again? Why do you hate me so much? I loved you, and in return, you killed me."

He released her, but she did not move. "That wasn't a lie," he said.

She pushed herself up on her elbows. "What wasn't? That you killed me?"

He looked away from her. "That you loved me."

"Oh." She stood up. "Well, maybe love is too subjective an emotion to be a lie. Let's try it out. I loved... Noah Bennet. I loved Noah."

He felt the tingle. "No, you didn't."

She smiled and licked her lips. "I loved you."

No tingle. For the first time since he awoke to find her in his room, Sylar felt haunted. He knew what she meant about torturing him slowly. She walked back to her spot and leaned against the wall. It was getting a little creepy the way she did that.

"I'm going to leave you soon. I thought you should know."

Sylar felt himself grow inexplicably sleepy. He closed his eyes for just a second, but he was too tired to open them. He did not open his eyes again until morning. This time the sheet was on the floor where Elle had stood, as though she evaporated into thin air.

Night 3:

Sylar spent the next night in a new motel, and when he woke in the night, she was there. She was standing as close to that room's television as possible. This time she was wearing the comforter instead of a sheet.

She walked toward him with a small amount of difficulty. "I don't know why you put me in this. It's a little hard to walk in. And kind of itchy."

"So this is all in my head?"

Elle shrugged.

"If it is, you have to do anything I want you to do, right?"

She looked down at him. "If it is, I have to do anything that your subconscious wants me to do."

He wanted to test this by asking her to do something she was not necessarily inclined to do anyway. "Take off the comforter."

She cocked her head to the side. "It would appear that's not what your subconscious wants."

"Right, it wants to torture me, to punish me for killing you. So it manifests you naked and wrapped in a sheet."

She lifted up the bottom of the comforter and sat down, again with some difficulty. "Do you want to try giving me some more orders?"

He got the feeling that she was making fun of him somehow. "My subconscious mind wants you to kiss me."

She rolled her eyes. "I don't think you understand how a haunting works. I can't kiss you." She leaned over him and pressed her hands on his chest. He realized that was the first time he had actually made physical contact with her and verified that she was in fact corporeal. She lowered her face until her nose was touching his. "But I can get tantalizingly close."

He moved his head up to kiss her, but she pulled away. "What do you want from me?" he asked.

She sat up straight. "Gabriel, I'm a figment of your imagination."

He felt the tingle again. "That's a lie."

"Is it really, or do you just want it to be? Why would your power work accurately? This is a dream."

"That's a lie, too."

She stood up. "Well, now we're just going around in circles. But if you want so badly to kiss me, why did you kill me?"

He opened his mouth, but she cut him off. "You know what? We can talk about that tomorrow night." She took her place at the wall. "But please, no more comforters."

Just as both nights before, as soon as she signaled that she was done with him, he fell right to sleep.

Night 4:

The next day, Sylar ran as far as he could. He woke early and drove all day, taking random exits. Even he lost track of where he was, and when he checked in at a motel, he was surprised to find that he was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

She was there. There was no television in the room, but she leaned against the wall near where it would have been. This time she was wearing his sweatshirt and a pair of underwear. He sighed. "Okay, maybe I believe this is a dream."

"It is weird, isn't it, how I'm always half naked?" She sat on the bed, following the pattern he had come to expect. "Let's talk about these weird, violent, sexual feelings you have for me."

"I don't have weird... feelings for you."

She unzipped the sweatshirt a little more. "Are you sure? Because the last time you kissed me, you killed me. That was the best and worst day of my life. I died on the same day I thought I was learning what it meant to feel alive. That was a strange day."

"I don't want to talk about that day."

"Of course you do. That's why I'm here, to talk about that day, all the days. I save your life once. I gave you a reason to live. You owed me. Do you remember the day you said that to me?"

He took a deep breath. "Yes."

"I asked you to kill me that day, but you wouldn't. You waited until I fell in love with you. And then you killed me, Gabriel. You killed me, and you expect to be able to kiss me in your dreams? Have you forgotten already? You're damaged goods, too. You didn't want me anymore; I don't want you anymore."

He felt the tingle when she said she did not want him, but he let it go. "Then why are you here?"

"Because you brought me here!" She spat the words out.

His brain told him that was a lie. "No, that's not why."

"This isn't real."

Another lie. His brain always told him that she was lying whenever she made a reference to it being a dream or being in his mind. "I've killed a lot of people, Elle, and none of them have ever haunted me like this."

"Oh, good. Now I know that I was special to you. Tell me how much remorse you felt after you killed me. Come on, Gabriel, try to convince a figment of your imagination to forgive you."

He did not like it when she was sarcastic. "I don't understand. You never seemed this angry before."

"Yeah, I'm running hot and cold. Kinda like if I'd made love to you, told you you were going to get everything you wanted, and then killed you, all in the same day."

"Does that mean you'll be different tomorrow night?"

She shook her head. "I'm not making any promises that I'll even be here tomorrow night."

He felt himself panic, and he knew that she saw it, too. She smiled. "It's torture, isn't it? I'm new at this haunting thing, but I think it's working."

"I just... Yeah, it's working. I don't want you to go. I never even remember to say goodbye."

"Well, I'm not leaving yet. Not until we talk about why you killed me. I know that my brain was not exposed. So if you gained nothing from it, why did you do it?"

Sylar paused. He knew why he did it, and he knew it was not going to placate her. "I needed to be alone. I just wanted to get rid of you so that I could figure out what was real."

He was surprised when she started to laugh. She laughed long and hard and hysterically. Tears spilled from her eyes, and the laughter turned into sobs. Loud, wracking sobs. It was so painful for him to listen to. In fact, it was torture. He smacked her arm to get her to stop.

She looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes. "Okay, maybe that was a little bit much. It might have been easier if you had just said that you killed me because you're psychotic. Because you could have just told me that you wanted to be alone. You know, maybe given me an option between that and dying. Now you're not alone, and I'm dead."

It tingled. "Say that again."

"What?"

He narrowed his eyes at her. "That you're dead."

She smiled broadly. "Gladly." She took a deep breath, but he was asleep before she said anything else.

A tall, dark haired woman walked out of the bathroom. She crossed her arms and leaned against the frame. She shook her head at Elle. "You're getting sloppy."

Author's Note: Obviously, there's more coming. But it's exam week and Christmas season, so no promises about prompt updates. This is still based on the theory that he no longer has superhearing and wouldn't hear a heartbeat in the bathroom.