"Package for a Mr. Gray?" The British-accented woman holds out a large cardboard box with one hand, clipboard with the other.

"Yeah, thanks." He takes the clipboard and signs on the dotted line, smiling at the delivery girl as she passes over the box. Even here he can sense the stirring of powers within her, the ability that she hides and has always hidden and will always hide. He wonders absently, as he passes the clipboard back, what kind of ability she has that makes her want to hide it so badly.

You can understand, whispers the dark voice inside him that has never left completely. You can know what she hides.

Go away! he retorts. He's stronger than this. He can fight the hunger, the need to know. He doesn't need to know anymore. But Sylar does, and he wants to.

Who knows what you just lost? Sylar sighs as the woman gets back into the post van and drives away.

It's not lost, it's hers. It's not mine to have. He relaxes as Sylar falls silent and the hunger settles, curling back up into whatever den it sleeps in.

He walks through to the kitchen and places the box on the bench. Then he starts to make himself a coffee. He always needs a coffee after fighting off Sylar. He holds back a little on the sugar; it was easy this time.

It's not always that easy.

"Dad, I'm home!" shouts Noah as he dumps his school bag in the hall and stomps straight upstairs. His father looks up from his crossword in surprise, saddened that his son didn't stop and say hello properly.

Understand why, Sylar urges, desperately. He's strong today, determined. You can understand your son; he's always such an enigma to you. You can know why he is that way, you can know him better than any other father knows his son.

I will never hurt him, do you understand that? You should, the way you go on about understanding. Well, understand this: I will never, ever, harm my son, and nothing you say will even make me consider it!

But don't you want what he has? Sylar presses. I do. He's so special, so much more special than you ever were, even after all I acquired, everything I knew!

I'm not you, he insists, but these days the line between them is getting thinner. Sylar's breaking out more and more now. He grinds his fingers down into the table, concentrating on fighting the monster inside him.

"Dad?" Noah's voice by his side, concerned. But he can't turn around, doesn't dare to look into his son's eyes for fear that Sylar will be too strong. Noah wraps an arm around his trembling shoulders. "Dad, it's okay. He'll go away, right? Just make him go away. Come back." Noah, so naïve, even now, after all the 'fits' he's seen his father go through. He has to smile at his son's steadfast loyalty, utter belief in him, even when Noah isn't sure it's his father he's seeing. That's something he never managed, never found; believing in people, consistently; not just believing whoever said 'believe me, Gabriel.'

Something else you want, Sylar taunts. Release me, let me take it, let me understand him! The captured beast rages like a child, shaking the bars of its cage. Drawing strength from the steady hand of his son, he clamps down on the hunger, of the urge to know his son that completely.

I love him, he says, purely and simply. And that's all I need to understand. Sylar withdraws and Noah pushes between his father and the table.

"Dad? You okay?"

He smiles down at his son's warm, welcoming, trusting face, the only thing worth living for, worth fighting Sylar for. "I am now. Thanks to you."