I do not own any character from the series of Heroes, and neither do I make any monies from the writing of this story. It is purely for my, and hopefully your, enjoyment.
I was never inspired to write a Heroes story, despite having been an avid fan since the first episode, but the storyline that Gabriel/Sylar had in Villains really inspired me. This story is my interpretation of what happens after the end of Villains - I know that it is going to bear no resemblance to Fugitives whatsoever, but what the hell!
Eve Wilson opened the back door, blinking in the strong sunlight, and chuckling as her dog, Saul, bounded past her and into the yard, barking with joy at being released from the confines of the house. Eve picked up her cup of tea and padded outside, sighing as she felt the ground already baking hot beneath her feet.
"Another fine day in paradise," she sighed, looking around her smallholding and then out to the few fields that belonged to her, in which she tried to grow enough grass and fodder to feed her half dozen cows and assorted sheep and goats, whose milk she sold to specialist cheese makers. "Why can't it rain, hmm, Saul?" she mused out loud as the American Staffordshire Terrier ran towards her, his barking more frantic than usual. "What's wrong?" Eve frowned, following the dog as he led her towards the barn, her frown deepening as she realised the door was ajar slightly.
'Oh, shit,' Eve thought, 'Not again?' She thought back to the times that she and her late husband had been targeted by persons unknown since they had arrived in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, five years ago, to set up their organic smallholding. There had been nothing major whilst Sam was alive; the animals being let loose from their pens or fields, the generator being tampered with; mostly minor inconveniences. But since Sam had been killed nearly two years before, the incidents had escalated and become more frequent; the most serious being a fire amongst the bales of hay in the top field, and another field being sprayed with chemicals, which she could not use for another four years.
Eve half wondered whether to go back and fetch the shotgun, once she reached the door, but decided against it, and pushed the door open, stepping cautiously into the gloomy interior. She spun around as a shadow moved to the right of her, catching her breath as she saw a dark haired, unshaven man, dressed in black jeans and a black shirt, watching her warily.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Eve demanded, catching her dog by his collar as he started to growl and advance on the man.
"I only wanted somewhere to sleep for the night," he replied in an even voice.
"You had no right to trespass... please leave."
"Look, I'm sorry..." the man offered.
"Leave!" Eve repeated, interrupting him and jerking her head towards the door. "And don't come back!"
"What harm have I done, hmm?" he asked, spreading his hands out in a conciliatory gesture. "None; I just slept in the hay. I don't suppose I can do some work in return for food...?"
"I have no work that needs doing," Eve insisted. "Now if you don't leave I shall set my dog onto you."
The stranger shifted his intense stare from Eve to her hound, then back again, sighing and shaking his head. "I know you're here alone... I arrived yesterday evening..."
Eve felt her blood run cold and finally realised the reason for Saul's unsettled behaviour all night. "You have five seconds to head for the door..."
"...I also know that your truck has broke; you want me to look at it?"
Eve hesitated. She had been without her truck for several days, and the nearest garage insisted that they would not be able to come and look at it until the following week at the earliest; a fact that Eve did not believe for one minute. "You a mechanic?"
"I'm good with my hands," the man replied. "And I can usually figure out how most things work."
"I don't suppose there's any harm in you looking at it..." she began hesitantly, the need for her truck outweighing her fear of the stranger. "But you try anything..."
"I won't, I promise," he insisted with a smile. "Gabriel... Gray," he added, holding out his hand.
"Eve Wilson," she replied, looking at his hand for a moment before reaching out and shaking it.
"I'll take a look then?" Gabriel suggested, glancing warily at the dog.
"Okay. Saul, no!" Eve commanded, releasing the collar carefully, ready to grab a hold of it if the dog showed signs of going for the man. To her relief, Saul merely growled and raised his heckles; clearly not comfortable with the stranger, but obeying his mistress for now.
"You passing through?" Eve queried.
"Yeah... just going from place to place, working where I can," he replied as he opened the hood of the truck which was parked in the barn, and looked at the engine; his mind already focused on how it worked and what was wrong with it.
"I'll go cook breakfast then..."
"Thanks," Gabriel smiled, taking his shirt off to reveal a lean, muscular body, with a thick thatch of hair across his chest.
'Oh, God... have I done the right thing?' Eve wondered as she walked back to the house, casting a glance over her shoulder. She fetched the shotgun from where she kept it by the cupboard, and checked it was loaded before propping it against the range, then put a pan onto the hob and poured oil in it, heating it well before getting eggs and bacon from the fridge. 'He seems nice enough,' she frowned. 'But he's still a stranger, Eve,' she reminded herself. 'You should have run him off. I will after he's eaten,' she promised. 'It's not like he's the first man I've had help out. No, but the others have never trespassed and slept in the barn; spied on you...'
"It's all fixed," Gabriel announced. "Sorry..." he chuckled as Eve jumped, not having heard him.
"That was quick," she replied a little too quickly; her heart racing like mad.
"It was just a faulty transmission, starts fine now."
Eve managed a smile. "Thanks," she nodded. "Bathroom's upstairs on the left if you want to get cleaned up?"
"You're sure?" he queried. "Thanks," he smiled at her nod of assent, and turned and made his way to the stairway, leaving Eve questioning her sanity yet again as she cooked the food.
'You might as well give him the keys to the bloody house!' she scolded herself as she flipped an egg over in the pan, cursing out loud as it broke.
"Smells good," Gabriel announced when he returned. "I'll just fetch my shirt..."
Eve watched as he headed out the door, chiding herself as part of her mind appreciated the sight of his lean, still damp body as he walked across the yard to the barn. She frowned as she realised that it had suddenly gone very dark outside, and nearly jumped out of her skin as a brilliant flash of lightning lit up the sky. "Saul! In!" she called, beckoning her dog back to the house, and feeling very grateful that she had been running late that morning, and had not yet milked the beasts and let them out into the paddock.
"Where'd that come from?" Gabriel queried as he hurried back into the kitchen, attempting to button up his shirt whilst carrying a holdall, which was covered with bits of straw.
"Looks like we're getting the rain I've been praying for for the past couple of weeks," Eve mused, glancing out of the window as large drops of rain began to fall.
"Great..." he muttered beneath his breath, not wanting to travel in what promised to be a torrential downpour.
"Speak for yourself," Eve rejoined as she put the plates of food down on the table. "I've been desperate for this!"
"I suppose you have," he agreed, a shadow crossing his face as he noticed the shotgun propped by the range, and he wondered if it was always kept there, or whether he was a special occasion.
"Sorry..." Eve began, chewing her lip as she caught his look. "I..."
"It's okay," Gabriel interrupted. "You're a woman alone, I understand your concern."
"Thanks," she smiled weakly, getting the coffee pot from the range and pouring them both a drink. "There have been things happen, since... well, since my husband died a couple of years back and I tend to err on the side of caution."
"I don't blame you," he agreed as he started to tuck into the eggs and bacon, belatedly realising just how hungry he was; it had been a couple of days since he had eaten properly. "You can never be too sure of people these days."
"No," Eve replied sadly, "you can't..."
They ate in silence, the only sound being the rain hammering against the window panes, and bouncing several inches off the ground as it hit.
"Thank you," Gabriel smiled, eventually breaking the silence when he finished his meal. "I guess I'd better be on my way..." he looked over at the window, grimacing at the weather, hoping that Eve would not throw him out.
Eve frowned, torn between wanting rid of the stranger and not wishing anyone except her worst enemy out in the weather. "You're... welcome to stay a while... until it stops..."
"No, it's okay," Gabriel insisted, rising from his chair. "I've imposed on you too much
"You'll catch your death out in this!"
"I'll live," he chuckled. "It's only rain, after all."
"No, please stay," Eve insisted. "After all, I doubt you're some mass murderer."
Gabriel glanced at her as she collected the plates, his eyes unreadable. "Here let me; it's the least I can do," he offered, taking the plates from her and carrying them to the sink. "You sure it's okay to stay, at least until it stops?"
"Yeah, course it is," Eve replied a little too brightly. "I'll have to go and milk the animals now though. They don't wait for anything, not even a biblical flood!"
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Erm... look, I'm sorry, but would you mind coming over with me? I don't..."
..."want me alone in the house," he finished for her. "It's okay; I told you, I understand your caution."
Gabriel grinned at her as she pulled open the door, and they both ran, shouting and protesting across the already sodden yard to the shed which housed the animals.
"Oh, God!" Eve spluttered as she leaned against the door after she had closed it. "Dunno why you bothered drying off!" she chuckled, looking at Gabriel who was soaked to the skin, as she was.
"Me neither," he laughed, trying not to make it obvious that he had noticed the way her tee shirt clung to her body, outlining every curve. He watched as Eve made her way down the stalls, calling out to each individual beast, then starting to hook the cows and sheep up to the milking machine. "You don't do the goats with that thing?" he queried as she fetched a pail and stool and took it to the first goat.
"No; goats are more difficult to milk and it is impossible to attach the cups to them. It's not easier by hand, but it is necessary," she sighed as she positioned the stool and bucket and started to squeeze on the teats.
"How do you make a profit?" Gabriel frowned as he peeled off his shirt and hung it on a hook. "Is this all you have?"
"Yes; I supply organic milk to a local specialist cheese maker. It's not a great profit, but I manage. I certainly can't sell the place..." she sighed.
"Oh... the locals never really welcomed us; typical backwater attitudes, and there have been things happen over the years. After Sam died, I did try to sell up, but I didn't have one person interested, and I heard through the grapevine that rumours had been spread about the land; it put people off," she shrugged. "So I try to keep it going."
"Must be hard alone," Gabriel sympathised.
"Yeah, it is. Like the truck, for instance. I can turn my hands to most things, but engines have me beat. I can't make repairs to the generator so I have to get someone in, when they bother to turn up. I can't move the bales of hay from the fields on my own, so I have to get someone for that, too."
"So why don't you hire someone?"
"Because I can't afford to, and no-one works for free, alas."
"And I guess you don't take on strangers who sleep in your barn...?" Gabriel mused wryly.
"It's not a good idea, no," Eve nodded, looking apologetically at him. "But I guess I can't trust anyone around here, so..."
"So, you'd consider taking me on?"
"I can't afford to pay you," Eve cautioned, trying to batten down the panic rising inside her.
"Just food and shelter is all I ask," Gabriel reasoned. "Just until you get the jobs done that need doing, then I'll be on my way... if you want."
"I don't know..." Eve fretted, yelping as she squeezed the teat of the goat a little too hard, and Trixie back-kicked, knocking Eve from the stool.
"Are you okay?" Gabriel worried, hurrying over to her, trying to keep from grinning at the sight of Eve sprawled on the floor. "Sorry, I'm disturbing you."
"I'm fine," Eve replied with a rueful sigh, accepting his helping hand up. "Look, I appreciate the offer, but I don't know you from Adam."
"You could say the same about any hired help you take on; people lie so easily these days. Unless it is someone you already know, how do you know what anyone is like?"
"True," Eve conceded. "I will see, okay?"
"Can't ask more than that," Gabriel smiled, backing away as she sat back down and started humming a song to the goat, and stroking her head to soothe her before starting to milk her once more.
"Okay..." Eve sighed as she stared out of the window. "Now I really wish it would stop! I know I wanted rain, but not this much!" She made her way back over to the settee, flopping down in it and looking ruefully at Gabriel, who was sitting in the armchair, dealing out another hand in the game of poker they were playing in a bid to pass the time.
"You should always be careful what you wish for," he warned as he picked up his cards and looked at them, his expression impassive. "Life has a tendency to give it to you."
"Yeah... like this damned place!" Eve cursed as she glanced at her own hand, then at her dwindling pile of Monopoly money. If she had thought her late husband, Sam, had had a good poker face, he had got nothing on the man sitting to the right of her.
"Whose idea was it to come here?" Gabriel queried as he pushed two five hundred dollar bills to the centre of the coffee table.
"It was something we both wanted," Eve explained with half a mind on whether to match his stake or up it. She decided on the latter and put in one thousand and fifty dollars, leaving herself with almost nothing left in her pot, but she felt confident enough with her hand to risk it. "Then the company Sam worked for got bought out and he didn't like his new bosses, so it seemed like a good time to try our dream."
Gabriel took a card then looked over at Eve beneath his lashes before adding another five hundred dollar bill.
"Damn!" she hissed beneath her breath, glaring at him in mock anger before throwing her cards down.
"You fold?" he asked with an impish grin.
"I never was any good at poker," she chuckled.
"Pity it's not real money," Gabriel mused as he took the pot.
"If it were, I wouldn't be gambling it away!" Eve snorted.
"Me neither, actually," he admitted with a wry chuckle. "Another beer?"
"Ah, what the hell?" Eve nodded, stretching on the settee as Gabriel headed to the kitchen. It had been a long day having being cooped up because of the weather, but it had given her a chance to get to know the man who had trespassed in her barn, a little better. "Thanks," she smiled as he handed her a bottle.
"Y'know," Gabriel mused as he sat back down, "I'm surprised you never tried to call the cops when I showed up. Why?"
Eve snorted, shaking her head. "Because the cops are like everyone else in this Godforsaken place!" she spat, the drink loosening her tongue. "If not worse! They... they believed that I killed Sam..." she told him, her voice breaking. "It was only the fact that they could not find a shred of evidence that I wasn't charged. But you know what they say about mud sticking."
"Only too well," he agreed with a heavy sigh. "Is it okay if I go up?"
"Yeah, you carry on," Eve agreed. "I have things to do before I turn in."
"Thanks," Gabriel smiled as he rose, finishing the bottle of beer before making for the stairs, pausing in front of Eve. "Thanks," he repeated, smiling at her. "I appreciate your trust in me."
"That's okay," Eve replied. "I couldn't exactly send you out in this, could I?" She waited until she heard the door to the guest room close and got up off the settee, fetching the shotgun from where she had left it by the stove, before climbing the stairs, Saul following closely behind her.
"What the...?" Eve's eyes shot open and she hauled herself out of bed, hurrying to the window and looking out in the pre-dawn light, wondering what had woken her. She frowned as she spotted the door to the animal shed open, and grabbed her housecoat, hurrying from her room with Saul leading the way. She glanced at the door to the spare room, unsure whether to be relieved to see it still closed, and she half wondered whether to wake Gabriel, before deciding against it. Eve ran down the stairs and unlocked the door, allowing a barking, excitable Saul out, and she followed him across the yard, belatedly remembering that she had forgotten to bring her shotgun. She heart raced as she heard the muffled thud of a shot and she put extra impetus in her speed, skidding to a halt as Walt Woods appeared in the doorway, a smoking shotgun in his hand.
"What...? No!" she screamed as he took aim and shot her beloved dog at point blank range. "No, you bastard!"
"I warned ya, didn' I?" Walt drawled as he re-loaded. "I warned ya what'd happen if ya didn't pay me."
Eve dropped to her knees by her dog, and cradled his head in her lap, sobs racking her body.
"Look at me when I'm-a talkin' to ya!" Walt spat, grabbing Eve by her hair and yanking her head up so that she was facing him. "Didn' I warn ya what'd happen, eh?"
"Fuck you!" Eve spat, shrieking as he backhanded her hard enough to lay her flat on her back.
"I'll accept that as down payment," he sneered, starting to unbuckle his belt with one hand. He glanced up as he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye, and levelled the gun, shooting without even really knowing what he was shooting at.
"No-o-o-o!" Eve screamed again as she watched in horror as Gabriel flew back through the open door into the kitchen, the gunshot wound clearly visible in his chest. "No..." she sobbed, squirming along in the mud, in an effort to get away from her attacker, but Walt hit her with the side of the gun butt, knocking her half senseless.
"Stupid bitch!" Walt spat as he hauled down his pants and lay on top of her, his hands tugging her housecoat open. "Maybe this can be a weekly payment, huh?" he snarled as his fingers probed between her legs.
"N-no..." Eve gasped as she came to, trying to push the heavy man off her, to no avail. Her eyes widened in terror as his head suddenly twisted to one side, the snap of his neck clearly audible, and his body slumped down, almost crushing the breath from her, before it went flying through the air, slamming into the pick-up. She looked in shock and bewilderment as Gabriel appeared, holding out his hand to help her up.
"H-he... s-shot..." Eve scrabbled away, reaching for the discarded shotgun., "He shot you!" she screamed, aiming it at Gabriel. I saw him shoot you! I saw your chest blown open!"
"Eve..." Gabriel soothed, holding his hands open in a placating gesture. "It's okay..."
"N-no... no, it's not! He shot you! How can you be alive?" Eve looked around frantically, wondering how she could get to her feet without lowering her defences.
"Eve... I'm not going to hurt you, I swear..."
"H-how did you kill him? How?" she demanded. "Y-you're one of... them! One of those freaks who fly and stuff! Aren't you?" she screamed, her hysteria nearing fever pitch, and she aimed the gun at his chest. "Aren't you?" she insisted.
"Yes," Gabriel admitted with a heavy sigh. "Shooting me didn't work for him, and it won't work for you. I don't die." 'Well I do, but I'm not letting you know that...' he mused to himself.
"Oh... God..." Eve gulped, trying to turn the gun around to jam it underneath her chin, gasping in shock as it flew out of her hand and straight into Gabriel's, who made it safe, discarding the shot that was left in the barrel.
"Nothing is worth that, Eve," he told her sadly. "Nothing at all."
"What the hell would someone like you know about that?" she spat as she scrambled to her feet, wrapping her muddy housecoat around herself to cover her nakedness, and backing away from him as soon as she was upright.
"Stay there," Gabriel sighed, ignoring her barb, even though it stung, and he walked to the shed, frowning with sadness and anger at the sight of the slaughtered animals.
"Oh... God..." Eve gasped from behind him, and Gabriel caught her just in time as her legs buckled beneath her. "Let go!" she hissed, trying to struggle from his grasp, but the events of the previous few minutes overtook her, and Eve sobbed in his arms, grateful of the contact with another human being, even though she despised what he was.
"Come on, we have to go," he eventually urged.
"I'm not going anywhere with you!" Eve growled, pulling away from him, her face twisted with bitter anger.
Gabriel snorted and shook his head incredulously, placing his hands on his hips and he regarded her. "Sure... no problem..." he mocked sarcastically. "Any time, Evie..."
"Do not call me Evie!" she screamed, throwing a punch at him and crying out in frustration when he caught her wrist easily. "Let go!"
"Not until you calm the fuck down!" Gabriel exploded, his anger finally getting the better of him. "And when you do, you will go and get some things together, 'cos you can't stay here, got that?"
"Who do you think you are, ordering me what to do?"
"Okay... okay, you stay here, Eve! You stay here and explain all this away, hmm?" he shouted, waving his free arm to encompass the devastation in the yard. "You say they tried to stitch you up for your husband's murder? What the fuck do you think they will do to you if they saw this, Eve?"
Eve gasped, her body shuddering violently as the thought hit home. "I don't want to go with you," she insisted, finally starting to calm down.
"And where will you go? What will you do, hmm?"
Eve sagged, screwing her eyes tight shut as she tried to clear her mind from all the thoughts whizzing around inside her head. "How are... we going to cover this up?" she whispered.
"Go and get some things together," he instructed, releasing her wrist. "Not too much; just a basic change of clothes, a couple of photographs..."
"Okay," she nodded, turning away and catching her breath at the sight of Saul lying in the yard. Her hand flew to her mouth to try to stifle her sobs, and Eve ran to the house, her wails clearly audible from the shed.
Gabriel walked to the pick-up that the body of Walt Woods was slumped against and opened the drivers door. Using his power, he moved the corpse into the cab of the truck, hauling the dangling legs in and slamming the door shut. He then turned his attention to the dog, moving him into the shed with the other slaughtered animals before firing a bolt of electricity at the bales of hay stacked along one wall. Gabriel backed out of the building, firing off more bolts as he went, until it was well ablaze by the time Eve re-appeared, having got cleaned up and changed, and carrying a backpack.
"You can do the house, too," she told him, her voice flat and emotionless. "I'm not having those bastards taking anything from it."
Gabriel nodded and disappeared inside, emerging only when the upper story was well alight and smoke was billowing from the downstairs windows. "Where did he live?" he asked, nodding towards the pick-up.
"Huh?" Eve frowned, glancing at him. "Ten miles north, why?"
"You up to driving a few miles?"
"Yeah... what do you have in mind?"
"If his body is discovered here, you'll get the blame for it," Gabriel explained.
"And what will they make of this?" she snorted, looking around the smoke filled yard.
"An unexplained mystery?" he suggested. "And if he's not here, they can't tie in the two..."
"It's going to rain again later," Gabriel reasoned. "If it's as bad as yesterday, should wash away any tracks long before this place is discovered."
"Why... are you helping me? No-one knows you're here and you could just walk away, leaving me in the shit. So, why?" Eve pressed.
"Because, despite what you think, those of us with powers aren't all bastards!" he evaded, turning his back on her and making his way to the pick-up truck of the dead man. "You follow, okay?" he called over his shoulder without turning around.
"I guess so," Eve muttered, chewing her lip and wondering if it was such a good idea, until she took a look around the smoke filled yard, watching the flames dancing above the roofs of the outbuildings and her house, and she knew that she had no choice.