The smell of him crept into her nostrils and her mind swam with visions she was none too proud of, but was willing to make a reality. Her hatred for him tried to claw it's way through her mind but that scent, that body and the overwhelming desire to get back at her father for what he did to her forced it back down. Her eyes fell down to his dark hair, tousled from sleep, and down to the fan of his lashes on his cheeks dusted with two days worth of stubble. Her finger itched to trace down the length of his jaw, to feel it scratch and prick at her skin. She suppressed the urge, fearing he would wake on the offensive. Or worse, take the gesture as a sign of affection. She shuddered at the thought.
They were in a dingy motel somewhere in West Virginia, sharing a queen sized bed. He had barely let out a half mumbled promise to be a gentleman before falling into a deep sleep face down, the bed still made and his shoes still on. She had grabbed a pillow and laid on the floor. After twenty minutes of restless limbs and staring at a spider in the corner (whom she felt stared back and knew her thoughts and silently judged her) she crawled into bed with him. She glued herself to the very edge and placed a pillow between her body and his, trying to force herself to sleep.
It didn't work. Giving up, she sat up against the headboard, her knees to her chest and her cheek on her knee and stared at the man sleeping next to her. The man that had terrorized her for years. The one that cut her open and took what was not his. Worse than rape, she thought. How many years ago was that? Fifteen? Sixteen? How time flies. She was 32 now. When was the last time she even heard from him? It had been a few years. Not that she was complaining. The fear he instilled in her was fleeting. He killed less often (or became better at covering it up) and fell almost completely off the Company's radar.
She hissed softly at the thought of the Company. At the thought of Noah. That son of a bitch. The fresh memories of waking to find herself on the table, like some sort of dissected frog, filled her brain and the anger rose in her chest. Like so many time before, the rage manifested itself in the form of tears and she was now pressing her face hard against her left thigh, trying to quiet the sound. She wished she could feel the burn spreading through her lungs as she purposefully blocked her own airway. Longed for the sting of her long nails digging into the backs of her legs. She needed to feel a pain other than the one in her heart. But she couldn't. She had that to blame on the man next to her.
He stirred a bit next to her. She peeked over to see his eyes were still closed, his breath still in the rhythm of sleep. She held her breath, not making a sound to keep from disturbing him anymore. She finally exhaled when her vision started to blur. His face came back into focus and she stared at his neck. It too had stubble and she studied the curve of his adam's apple, the tendons that were stretched and the slight sheen of sweat that covered it. The heat of the room was suddenly apparent to her and she got up to turn on the window unit. The cool air hit her face instantly and despite the musty smell that came with it, she sighed. She felt her skin prickle and buzz with this new sensation and the exhaustion washed over her. She clicked the desk lamp off and crawled back into the bed slowly, moving as little as possible and laid on her back and stared at the ceiling. The tears welled back into her eyes despite herself and she made no attempt to stop them. Her body shook with silent sobs, her fingers gripped the itchy fabric of the comforter and for the first time in her life, she wanted to see her father-no, not her father anymore. Noah. She wanted to see Noah hurt. She wanted him to pay for what he did, and if that payment was made in blood the better.
She didn't want him dead. No, she wasn't sick. Despite his cruelty he was still the man who raised her. For that, he could live. But a few scars to remind him of his crimes would do him well. Could she do it? When it came down to it, could she hurt him like that? She doubted it. She would just shake with anger like she was now, til the anger came to tears and probably make herself sick. There was no way she could do it. She didn't have gall. But Sylar could. She turned to look at him, seeing only his outline in the dark. All she had to do was ask. She imagined he'd be more than happy to oblige her. Hell, she'd probably have a harder time convincing him not to kill him, but to just rough him up a bit. Visions of Sylar's arm extended, the invisible power rolling out of him in waves, crashing into Noah's body, squeezing the air from him. Or shocking him hard enough to get the point across. Or giving him a few slices deep enough to last forever...
A loud snore escaped him and it startled her so badly she let out a yelp. He sat up instantly and turned the light on, jumping out of bed, his hands raised, ready for a fight. She closed her eyes tight, her heart racing and preparing for whatever he would throw at her. He stood, breathing heavily a few seconds before realizing they were alone. He looked down at her small frame, her knuckles white from clutching the comforter, her face stained with tears and a look of fear. He sighed heavily and sat back down back on the bed.
"Claire," he spoke softly. "It's ok. You can breathe."
She opened her eyes slowly to see him staring at her, a look of concern in his eyes. The same look he had when he had found her. She slowly let go of the covers and covered her face with her hands.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing. I was just a little on edge, and you snored all of a sudden and it just...scared me. I didn't mean to wake you," she said, turning away from him.
"You haven't slept." It was not a question.
He stood up and pulled the covers back on his side of the bed before sitting back down and taking his shoes off. "You need to sleep, Claire."
She rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry but I can't. I can't for the life of me figure out why," she said, sarcastically.
"How do you expect to stay ahead of them if you are not rested? They are no doubt tracking both of us now. We have to sleep when we can."
Hearing him use "we" so casually made her stomach jolt. "I'm trying to. It's just not easy." She felt the urge to divulge all the thoughts running through her head at moment but didn't. She doubted he would care. But then again...he was the reason she wasn't still tied down to that table... No. She forced that thought of her head.
"Try harder. I'm gonna try to go back to sleep. Can you keep the night terrors to a minimum please?" he said coolly, before turning the light off and turning on his side, away from her.
She didn't respond. Instead she just curled her fingers tighter on the pillow and fought to keep the tears back. Her breath caught in her throat and she made a slight choking sound. She tried to focus on the digital clock on the night stand, the only thing visible, to keep her emotions in check. She was failing horribly.
"Claire," he said softly, and she felt him shift on the bed. His voice was soft. "Claire, stop it."
It's as if his request triggered her body to do the exact opposite. She cried harder and shoved her face into the pillow.
"Claire, look at me," he said.
She didn't move.
"Please," he asked.
His voice sent a wave up her spine and she shivered, turning to face him in spite of herself. She couldn't see him very well and she was thankful for that.
"I am going to get them back. I swear it. I will make them pay for what they did to you."
She choked on a sob. Did she hear him right? He had barely said anything after they fled New York several hours earlier. What the hell was he talking about?
"Why?" is all she could manage to say.
She took a few seconds to slow her sobbing. "Why put yourself in danger like that?"
"They deserve it."
"But they didn't do anything to you. You've been a ghost for years now. Why go back to be hunted?"
He didn't answer immediately. She could hear him sigh and he adjusted his body on the bed. The scent hit her again and her hands twitched.
"I couldn't stand by and let them do it anymore," he sighed. "This isn't the best time to discuss this. I'll explain tomorrow. Get some rest."
"I already told you it's not gonna happen," she sighed. "Just tell me now."
He sighed and ignored her request. "I can help you sleep. If you give me permission."
Her breath caught in her throat and he mind betrayed her with visions she dare not speak of. "Permission?"
"Just another power I've picked up over the years. I won't use it against your will though. You've had enough of such things lately." His voice was low and careful.
"What will happen?"
"You will give in to the power of suggestion. No pain, no invasion."
She chewed on her bottom lip. "Like hypnotism?"
"You could call it that."
She took a deep breath and cleared her throat. "Ok. You have my permission," she said, not sure what to expect.
She felt him shift again and soon his breath was hot across her cheek.
"Claire," he spoke deeply. His voice ghosted across her face and she felt her eyelids flutter. "Sleep. Sleep now."
Her limbs were heavy and her mind fogged with nothing but the overwhelming need to sleep. She rolled onto her side, facing him and curling up into the fetal position. She yawned deeply and somehow felt herself sink deeper into the bed. She was at the edge of consciousness when Noah's face, with those god damned horn-rimmed glasses appeared in the fog and her eyes popped open for a second.
"Stop fighting it Claire," he said smoothly. "Let your body go."
"I'm....scared..." she heard herself say.
His head inched closer to her and she thought she felt the tip of his nose on her cheek. "Nothing is going to hurt you. I won't allow it."
His words rang in her head and seemed to spread a heat through her entire body. She let out a soft moan as the fog came back, masking that face and those glasses haunting her and she felt herself embracing the darkness around her. Seeing a new face emerging, Sylar, piercing her with sad eyes and she felt herself reach out to finally run her finger across the scruff on his jaw, enjoying the tickle she imagined she would feel before the fog took her over.