Yes! I am Tim Kring! I also had a sex change and emigrated to the UK.
Also, to clear up confusion... this is not a oneshot. It's going to be a four-parter fo' sho'. (It was originally meant to be a oneshot, but things got out of hand, and I couldn't really type fast enough, so it ended up getting bigger. Go figure.)
I am everyone I've ever met, all the people I've touched, ever.
Empath. That's the word they used for this.
You want to know what that feels like?
At first, everything was fine. Peachy, in fact, as one might say. Life started to get back to normal, or as normal as things could possibly be with the ability to take on other peoples' powers, a politician brother who could fly and Angela for a mother.
And Sylar was dead.
Annoying, that; the man could regenerate, after all. When the body'd been burnt to ash, whatever it was Bennett stick in the man's head should've burned with it, or melted, allowing him to regenerate. It just felt strange he was gone after all that time of hunting the man down [how hard were you trying to find and kill him?].
Not that that meant that all the work was done, though. A series of drownings had been happening a week after Sylar's funeral pyre, and Angela, Nathan and Noah had had their work cut out trying to find the culprit. From the look of things, it'd looked like the murderer had been a disillusioned Special, all the victims being people who'd worked with Danko.
Claire, though, had been forced to get back to higher education, although she still phoned occasionally begging Peter to persuade her dad otherwise, to let her help them 'save the world' [how naïve, how did she survive, how did you love her like that? don't deny it, you know it's true]. Every time she phoned with some little details of life trying to return to normal, looking at universities with her adoptive mother, Sandra, even though Claire was living close enough to talk face to face, and still made occasional visits to Peter's apartment, or made arrangements to set up little meetings at cafes together.
Peter himself tried to get back to normal. Work as a paramedic certainly wasn't dull, but what frustrated him so much was that he couldn't save them all any more [idiot, what did you expect, even you don't have the power to bring back the dead yet] While most of the people he looked after survived, he still agonised about the others who died before the paramedics could get there. People started to note the unnerving fact that the recovery rate was far higher than normal for the paramedic team he worked with.
Then things changed.
At first, he'd kept Sylar's ability of shapeshifting as a memento, really. He didn't know why [really? keep telling yourself that, Peter] he didn't absorb a more useful ability, God knows he knew enough people to ask that favour, God knows enough of them'd be more than willing. It just seemed that someone should keep something of Sylar, so that nobody… well… forgot about him. Mohinder seemed to understand, in a way, just leaving it at that. His brother had just given him an odd look at this, then shrugged and left the entire issue, as he did with so many other issues. Claire really didn't understand the whole thing.
Maybe it was the fact that, for a few days, Peter had thought of Gabriel as a brother, the man buried deep underneath Sylar, the loving father. Or maybe… Well, he wasn't really sure what else it could be, actually [you mean that you don't want to think about it, do you?].
The first time he woke up with a body that didn't fit.
Dreaming of his brother, running away so far that Nathan couldn't catch up, calling for his younger brother to slow down, come back, let him explain…
"I need to talk to you, Pete. Come back. Please, you have to help me!"
"Why should I help you? You betrayed us. All of us."
"Pete… please. You have to help, it's him again. He took – "
Too tall, angular, all the parts of the body the wrong size, he stared at Nathan's face in the mirror in clothes that didn't fit, the muscles slightly more developed than his own. He stared at the man in the mirror for a few seconds, before reversing it, returning to his own body.
That was probably the first [second, if you're actually counting here] indication something had gone wrong.
He'd just passed it off as a one-off event at first. An accident. The dream had been pretty vivid, and most of his abilities had originally been connected to strong emotions rather than finer, more definite control. After all, he was [emotional, weak] human, it was natural.
Well… probably human. Human for a given value of human, at least. As human as any of them could possibly be, which was pretty human, after all.
"Peter… I'm stuck here. Trapped. You left me…"
He reached out to her hand between the bars. "No. I can fix it. I can still take you back with me."
She glared at him, pulling her hand back from the bars. "Liar. You never wanted me from the start."
"That's not true."
"It's true, and you know it. Don't lie to me," she hissed, eyes blazing.
"No. No. I – "
"Loved me? So you left me in an alternate future, where there was nothing left but death. There's no way to come back."
"I promised I'd find one – "
"Don't bother," she spat. "I don't want you." She turned away and walked off as he lunged for her again.
"Caitlin! Wait!" he yelled –
Beep. Beep Beep.
He glared at the answer machine.
"Hi, this is Peter here, I'm not available at the moment. If you just leave a message after the tone, I'll get back to you. Thanks!"
"Peter? Are you there? I need to talk to you, it's about Dad. Bio-dad, I mean."
Peter got up and picked up the receiver. "Claire? I – " Peter stopped. Please no.
"Who is this? Is Peter there?"
He got up, counted to ten, made his way to the bathroom, shut his eyes, flicked the light switch on and opened them again.
A hiss escaped from between his teeth as Caitlin glared back at him angrily in the mirror, eyes accusing him, furious.
"Helloo-oo? Did I interrupt something?"
Peter went back into the bedroom and picked up the phone again. "No. You didn't interrupt anything."
"Are you his girlfriend or something?" Claire asked suspiciously.
"No, I'm… just a friend. I dropped by to pick something up. You want me to leave a message for Peter?" Why the hell am I lying about this?
There was a crackly sigh over the phone. "Just tell him I phoned. Claire Bennet. Tell him I need to talk to him pretty urgently about Nathan. Thanks… uh, what's your name?"
"Caitlin," Peter said quietly, and hung up, lying back down on the bed in the dark as he slipped back into his own body and attempted to get back to sleep.
The next day, he checked himself before picking up the phone and dialling Claire's number. Eventually she picked up. "Hello?"
"Claire… you said you needed to talk?"
"Yeah. You got the message from Caitlin alright, then?"
"Yeah. She said something about Nathan. Is he okay?"
"Yeah, it's just… is it just me, or has he been acting weird recently?"
Peter stared out the window. "How do you mean?"
"Well… He's just been acting sort of… spaced out. Detached."
"I really couldn't say. We haven't been talking much recently, he's been busy. With the new Company. Your dad keeps trying to persuade me to help." He laughed humourlessly. [as if that's going to happen, he's lucky you don't freeze him and shatter his body into snowflakes after what he did]
"Yeah… I keep trying to persuade him to let me help."
Peter sighed. "Claire – "
"But actually, I mainly phoned to see how you were. Haven't seen you at the house for a while… so… how are things?"
"Fine… yeah, they're fine." [liar] Peter paused for a second. "Just out of curiosity, if it wasn't urgent, why did you ring at 1am in the morning?"
"Why was your friend in at 1am in the morning?" she replied.
Peter glared at the phone. [she's got you there]
"Are you going out with her?"
"I just said no. She's got one of the keys to my apartment."
"Fine," she said, clearly not believing him. "Talk to you again later." There was a pause. "You still haven't forgiven him, have you?"
"…I haven't had much of a chance to talk to him," he admitted, then paused. "Talk to you more later, yeah?"
"Sure." There was a click as Claire hung up on the other end of the phone, and Peter put the handset back down.
Ten seconds later, it rang again; he groaned, and picked it up for a second time. "Who is it?"
"Noah. I need your help. You've heard of the recent spate of drownings?"
"Yes," Peter replied, wondering where this was going.
"I'd like you to help catch the murderer. REBEL sent us video footage from a basement parking lot of one of the victims. It's Tracy Strauss."
"I thought she was a cryo?" he asked, reaching for a T-shirt. Not to mention I thought she was dead.
"She was. We think her ability changed after Danko shattered her body."
"And you want me to help how?"
"Stick around Danko's apartment. She's bound to turn up there sometime."
"That's a great plan. How exactly were you planning to get me in Danko's apartment in the first place?" he asked sarcastically.
"We have a shirt of his."
"You want me to take his place."
"You'd stand a better chance of reasoning with Tracy. The Hatian wiped Danko's memories of recent events, and he's currently out. It's the perfect opportunity if she turns up."
"And if she drowns me?" [don't even bother doing this]
"We'll be two minutes away if things get out of hand."
"I doubt she'll listen to me. She doesn't trust anyone much."
There was a sigh. "In that case, I'll have to find something else. I'll probably end up using myself as bait – she'll turn up at my apartment eventually."
"I didn't say I wouldn't do it."
"Thanks. I'll see you outside your apartment at 10 a.m. if you're not busy."
Peter sighed. "No, I'm free today."
The doorbell rang. Peter opened it to see Noah Bennet holding a white shirt with a pair of latex gloves, as well as a set of keys and a manila file.
Noah smiled when he saw Peter. "I'm glad you've decided to help." He sighed. "We've got enough problems starting up the new Company as it is."
"Still bagging and tagging people?" Peter asked warily. [kill him] His finger itched slightly, but he ignored the sensation.
"Only the ones who're actively dangerous. Criminals. The more harmless ones… we just try to explain things to them." [lying]
"It sounds better than kidnapping." He took the shirt, and focused, muscles and bone slipping under skin, reforming into a perfect replica of Emile Danko.
Noah winced at this. "That looks painful."
"You have no idea." Peter rolled his shoulders, running his tongue over his teeth. "I'd better make a start."
"You'll need these." The ex-Company agent passed over the file, the keys, and a Tazer. "Just in case she doesn't listen."
Peter took it, giving it a perfunctory glance, then pocketed it. "Thanks."
After finishing the file, he wandered around Danko's apartment. There wasn't much by way of decoration, really, just a photograph of a younger Danko smiling, with a brown-haired woman and a girl he assumed to be Emile's daughter. Peter wondered exactly where the two of them were now and who they'd been, given that the man he'd met hadn't exactly been much of a family person.
Laura and Rachel. That's what they were called.
Peter's head jerked up at the sound of Danko's quiet voice, then decided he must be imagining things. There was no-one there. Sighing, he decided to try and get some sleep, or at least wait until Tracy turned up.
I'm supposed to wait for a revenge-bent woman to turn up and drown me. Wonderful. His face twisted into a humourless smile, then he reached over to the television and switched channels, flicking from program to program every few seconds before finally settling on the news. Peter slumped back down on the armchair again with the remote in hand.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The tap drips away, leaking slightly into the sink. The apartment is silent apart from this quiet, regular noise that marks the time away, and the gentle, barely-audible sounds of someone asleep, breathing.
Suddenly, the water becomes a gush, filling the sink, flooding over the sides.
The sound of breathing stops.
Water suddenly flows smoothly upwards, forming the shape of a woman. She holds her hand, palm facing towards the sink, and the flow slows, then stops. Wet footprints mark her progress out of the kitchen along the hallway.
Footsteps approach the front of the house. She ducks into the living room as the front door is unlocked.
Perfect, she thinks.
The front door opens just as Tracy Strauss is grabbed from behind.
She struggles in his stranglehold, then a ripple appears to pass over her skin as she tries to use her ability, slip into water.
"Uh-uh. I don't think so." Her captor's hand is suddenly lit up with electricity, a bright blue glow that crackles, promising imminent pain. The voice, deep, soft, silky, smooth and dark like chocolate.
"Who the fuck are you?" Tracy snarls, trying to twist around in his grip to see her captor's face.
He leans forward, and breathes, "Sylar."
She relaxes suddenly. She knows the name, and knows that there's no point bothering to escape any more.
"You're deciding to be sensible now. Good."
"At least tell me that Danko and Bennett are going to die," she says quietly.
"Of course they will," he purred. "Now behave, and this won't hurt… much."
Obscurely, the only thing she can think of just before she dies is that his breath tickles in her ear, and that such a man should not be so gentle with his victims.
The door swings fully open with the quiet chime of keys as Sylar gently lowers Tracy's body down to the floor, then cools and condenses a perfect sphere of water out of the air.
Emile Danko steps inside to see the predator, reaches instinctively for his gun as the sphere engulfs him completely. He thrashes around, desperate to break free of its loving embrace. His finger squeezes the trigger, a bullet leaving the silenced muzzle of the gun and finding its target through the shell, burying itself in Sylar's stomach.
It doesn't do Danko any good, though, Sylar still focusing intently on the drowning agent in front of him despite pain. His screams are muffled, distorted, inaudible through the water as the bullet wound seals itself over, healing rapidly. Eventually, Danko goes limp, collapsing on the floor, lungs flooded with water.
The first five minutes are crucial in saving a drowning man, and Sylar sure as hell doesn't want to. He holds the water in place until the heart stops beating, then lets it fall, soaking into the carpet.
He spits out the bullet, cleans it meticulously to remove all traces of his DNA, then smears Tracy's blood on it, and finally lets it lie on the carpet next to her body. Sylar frowns at the hole in his shirt, then shrugs and swaps it for a second one from Emile's closet. It isn't the best fit, but it'll do for now.
With a last glance at his victims, he steps into the night once more.
It feels good.
Peter cracked an eye open to bright light, a water-soaked carpet and two dead bodies in the hallway.
Review? Please? Anyone who reviews gets a free sample of Dalek dust. I'll spread it around your house while you're sleeping.