Author's note: Dear readers, please forgive my hiatus. It was not deliberate. My life has been a complete shitstorm since June. It started with my uncle's unexpected and horrific accident that lead to his death. My mom's been in and out of the hospital since then. I must warn you. This chapter was developed from the rage of emotions that were bottle inside since I received that first phone call. I've rewritten this so many times. You'd be surprised to hear that I had been able to make it lighter than the original draft. With that being said, it's still full of anger at the world. The chapters following will pull from this and rebuild what was broken. Please bear with me as I weather this storm.

The final apology is that it is not a beta approved chapter. It would have taken more time for editing and I felt you waited long enough. So there will be mistakes. Without further adieu, the next chapter in the story of redemption and rag tad group of heroes.


Chapter 24 Clusterfuck

"The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell." Imagine Dragons

Claire woke up and couldn't see anything. There was a dark cloth over her face that blocked out the sun. Her arms and legs hurt. She felt like she was being pulled apart.

"Time for some fun little bitch," an all too familiar voice said as the cloth was pulled from her face.

Claire squinted as her eyes adjusted to the sunlight. "What's happening?" She screamed when she felt her legs stretch as they slowly were being pulled from her joints.

"It's a medieval torture device," Danko told her, "It's it beautiful? It's called The Rack and I just turn this little wheel and watch the rope tighten. As it stretches your body until your joints are dislocated."

"Please stop," Claire begged as the tears poured from her eyes.

Danko let out a sinister laugh, "Well since you asked so nicely, I think I'll add a fire to add to your pain level."


Claire screamed until her voice went hoarse. She begged God to let her fathers and uncle save her from this hell. She couldn't understand why no one came for her yet. Suddenly the pain had stopped and Claire opened her eyes to see Sylar kneeling next to her. Claire flung her tiny frame into his body.

"It's okay," he told her, "I'm here. Nothing's gonna happen to you."

She stiffened at his voice. It wasn't real. This wasn't her Sylar. Her Sylar would never use say nothing's gonna. His smell was off as well. She pushed him away and screamed when she saw it was Danko who held her.

The surroundings had changed. Claire was no longer on the rack. Her torture device changed to sarcophagus with double doors. Upon closer inspection she saw spikes in the inner surfaces.

"Iron Maiden," Danko whispered in her ear as he pushed her into the device. He turned her around. The last thing Claire saw was his devilish smirk as he closed the doors on her. She screamed as the pain of the spikes cursed through her body.

Matt struggled to try and pull her out of these ongoing nightmares. Every time he got close, he would say something Sylar wouldn't say or Claire would smell him. He had an idea and pulled Sylar's jacket over her face and clawed his way back into her head. Within a minute heard.

"What the hell!"

"Claire?" He pulled the jacket down and was greeted by a red eye Claire. Matt quickly pulled her into his arms and held her tightly. "I'm sorry I couldn't get you out of those nightmares any sooner."

"Memories," Claire whispered as she buried her face into Sylar's jacket, "they were memorizes. Reality is the nightmare."

Matt knew that nothing he could say would make this any better. He pulled her closer and cursed the god who took Gabriel Gray from the world. It wasn't supposed to be like this. That bastard was supposed to outlive me. God damn you Sylar. God damn you for dying on me! He held back the tears of his failure. He failed Sylar in more ways than he cared to count. This wasn't supposed to end like this; when I was old and gray he was supposed to be there in his young and youthful appearance as he mocked my old age. He was the one who should have bared the grief of my passing, not the other way around.

Peter pulled Sylar aside as he glanced back at Noah to confirm his back was to them. He didn't want to draw the older man's suspicion.

"What?" Sylar asked as he followed Peter's eyes.

"Something is off with him." Peter watched as the other man responded to a text. "Who is he texting?"

"Don't know," Sylar said as he tried to stop his racing thoughts. His mind was already trying to track Claire down. He struggled to keep himself from putting it on paper. He didn't have time for Peter's paranoia. "Don't care."

Peter punched him in the arm. "Start caring," a beat later he added, "And while you're at it, pull your head out of your ass."

"Excuse me?" Sylar glared at him.

"Noah hates you," Peter said, "Like President of the 'I hate Sylar fan club' hate you."

"There is a point in here somewhere?"

"Now he's your best friend and being all helpful. We tied him up for a reason; remember him trying to abort his grandchild because he thinks you fathered it."

"What are you getting at?"

"I don't know," Peter said as he looked at Noah again, "He's seems shady."

"He's not going to do anything that dangers Claire," Sylar reasoned, "As soon as she's safe, he'll go back to trying to kill me. For now, we need to focus on Claire."

Peter watched Sylar walk away and could tell that Claire's distress from thinking he was dead was clouding his judgment. For a smart man, you can be really stupid.

Fuck you too Pete.

Peter scowled at Sylar's back for the use of his brother's nickname before his eyes settled on Noah again. Something did not add up and Peter was determined to find out what it was felt off about the older man.

June struggled to catch her breath. Claire and Matt had left over ten minutes ago. She was starting to feel discomfort in her chest as she struggled to take deep breaths. "Oh Gabriel," she whispered. She felt her body reacting to her grief. "Dear sweet Jesus, why did you take my Gabriel from me? Why bless me and take him away the next moment?" Her breathing became more ragged. When she felt the pain in her arms, she tried to call out for the security detail Gabriel had assigned for her but failed. Her voice came out like a whisper.

Jon, one of the hired private security, was about to knock on the door when he was stopped. "What?"

"Give her a few more minutes," Nick, his partner said, "She just lost her grandson. Let her grieve in private before we drag her across God's green earth."

"Fifteen minutes," Jon agreed, "then we need to get moving again. Matt said it wasn't safe for her here." He started to move away from the door when he stopped to listen. He thought he heard something. After a few moments of silence, he moved away from the door. "Let's review the new route again and check in with Sylar to notify him of the change."

Nick reached out and grabbed Jon's arm. "You don't know?" The other man shook his head, "Sylar was her grandson who died. Matt Parkman is the point of contact from now on."

Noah kept a close eye on Sylar. The man was barely holding it together as he kept staring at his phone. Noah could see the desperation to talk to Claire. He knew he had to do something to keep Sylar out of his own head. The problem was until Danko made his move, all they had was time. "Sylar," Noah pulled the younger man from his thoughts, "Can you go over the plan with me again?"

Sylar looked at him strangely. He knew the older man didn't need another run down until he realized what it was; a much needed distraction. Sylar gave him a smile, "Sure." As he talked Noah through it again, he couldn't help but feel Peter's paranoia. Something was off but he could not figure out what felt wrong. Stop it Sylar. Don't over think this and let the man help you. Do it for Claire. He's her father. He wouldn't risk her safety for his vengeance.

Matt jerked the car towards the shoulder when Claire let out an ear piercing scream. He almost crashed the car with the onslaught of images from the broken woman next to him. How the hell did Sylar hold it together? It was too much. The images, the memories, were too much for him to handle. He wasn't Sylar. He didn't know how to fix this and couldn't understand how Sylar managed to hold onto his sanity when he helped Claire. Matt felt like a complete and utter failure. He was a piss poor substitute for what—who Claire desperately needed. How can I do this? I'm not enough. Damn it Sylar! How could you just go and die on us!

Claire's heart could not take the abuse and pain anymore. She did not care about her promise to Sylar. She would not—could not live in a world where he did not exist. Her hand went to her small bump. I'm sorry baby, but I'll find you a home like I had. She looked over at Matt Parkman and wondered if he would care for the child Sylar loved so much. I can't live this life without him. Eternity is too long to face alone.

You promised me.

"I know," she whispered to the voice in her head, "But I'm not strong enough to do this without you—to live for eternity without you.

You need to live for the both of us.

"I'd rather die and burn in hell next to you then to live on this earth without you." She wiped the tears from her eyes. "Remember my love; I would follow to hell just to be with you. You're my home. I can't live without my home." She turned towards the hallucination of her dead lover.

I love you.

"I love you too," she told him, "I'll see you again soon." Claire closed her eyes and prayed for the strength to survive this living hell long enough to give birth.

"I'm going to die," June said out loud as she realized she was experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack. She closed her eyes and prayed for a miracle. She couldn't die now. It would be one more person Claire would have to bury. "I have to stay strong—." She cried out in pain before she passed out.

"Did you hear that?" Jon asked Nick as they ran to June's room. Guns pulled they kicked open the door. Jon immediately holstered his weapon and went to June's aid as his partner swept the room.

"What happened?"

"She's in cardiac distress," Jon said, "You need to call for an ambulance and get my medic bag." Jon was not only hired for his experience in private security but he was also a certified EMT.

"Ambulance is fifteen minutes out," Nick said as he handed Jon the bag.

"Shit," Jon said as he started CPR, "Wait for them and get them here quickly." He turned his attention back to June. "Come on Mrs. van der Wood. You can't die on us now. Think about that great grandchild you were telling us about. The child just lost his father, he needs his great grandmother."

"Why hasn't Parkman called yet?" Sylar nearly growled out as he continued to pace, "He should have called by now. What if something happened? Whose stupidity created this fucking plan!"

"You did," Peter said calmly. "It's a solid plan."

"It's a shitty ass plan that leaves me in complete darkness," Sylar ranted.

"Technically you're dead in this plan so you wouldn't—"

"While my wife and child are God knows where with Matt Parkman of all people!" He hissed out the last part of the sentence.

"He's your best friend and you trust him remember," Peter defended the former police officer, "You need to calm down."

"Calm down!" Sylar screamed back at him, "I am calm! What makes you think I'm not the definition of calm!" Sylar continued to pace as he waited for Matt to check in with Peter. He hated waiting. He hated that Claire was somewhere on this earth heartbroken thinking he was dead. He just wanted to run after her and stomp out this nightmare. "When I get my hands on Danko, I'm going to-and I'm going to enjoy every fucking moment of it."

Noah put his hand on Peter's shoulder to stop him from talking to Sylar anymore. He shook his head when Peter looked at him. "Just let him go," Noah said, "There is no way to reason with him or comfort him."

"What the fuck is Danko doing?" Peter asked, "Why isn't he here yet?"

"Ask and you shall receive."

Noah and Peter turned around to see Danko pointing a gun at them. Sylar stopped his pacing and a wicked grin appeared on his face.

"Now lets play." Danko fired once at Peter and he grabbed his chests as blood poured from the wound. "I know you took my toy away, so I'm taking her family away." Danko reached into his pocket and pulled out a tranquilizer gun. He was loaded with the last the serum. He aimed it at Sylar would hadn't made a move yet. "I'm going to enjoy killing you." Danko pulled the trigger. Sylar didn't even react. The dart hit him and followed by several bullets. Danko glanced over at Peter who was close to drawing his last breath.

"Took you long enough," Noah reprimanded his partner, "I was tired of playing nice."

Sylar looked over at Peter as the younger man's eyes screamed at him to listen to him about his concerns about Noah Bennet. The man had betrayed all of them. Sylar closed his eyes when he heard Peter take his last breath.

"Figure out how to track Claire yet?"

"Sylar did most of the work for us," Noah informed him as he gave Danko the information Sylar couldn't stop himself from writing down so he could look at pieces he tried to pull together in his head.

Sylar closed his eyes at his stupidity. He had inadvertently aided Danko's search to find Claire. He failed her. He failed the only woman he truly loved.

Danko smiled as he pocketed the sheet. "Thank you old partner and I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what—" Noah didn't finish his sentence as he felt the bullet tear through his chest. He looked up at Danko as he fell to the ground.

"How did you not see that one coming?" Danko asked his former partner, "You already betrayed me once. We both know you wouldn't let me kill your precious Claire bear. I needed you to get me to him." He gestured to the bleeding Sylar. "You did your part. And now I get to be the one who kills the indestructible Gabriel Gray." Danko walked over to Sylar and looked down at him. "As you slowly bleed to death, I'm going to share with you every little thing I'm going to do to Claire before I kill her." With a malicious grin he added, "In great detail." Danko shot Sylar again in the abdomen as he watched his magic serum slow Sylar's abilities; leaving the man helpless to stop his impending death.