Author's Note: I told myself yesterday that if I could get this written before the new Volume started, I would post it. So here it is. This is a continuation, but it is not a promise of any commitment to the story. I know that I always say that. (Look at the Author's Notes in the first few chapters of Death Becomes Her.) And I always mean it. Until I've seen some of Vol. 5, I'll have no idea what I want to do. So, new chapter, but no promises.
Sylar sat back in his office chair, swinging back of forth. Somehow, he had never noticed before how boring it was being senator. There was a study on his desk. He was supposed to read it. His support would be very useful to the people on the other side of the aisle. The party leader just wanted him to think about it. Blah, blah, blah.
What he really wanted to do was talk to Peter. He knew that his moth—Angela and Parkman were involved, but he was not sure about Peter. Nathan's noble little brother was working as a paramedic in New York City, so a meeting had to be scheduled. He had to plan for an afternoon to take off just to see his brother. He shook his head. Peter was not his brother.
This had only all come back to him a few hours before. While it was easy for him to look at the picture of Heidi and the kids that was on his desk and know that was not his family, and it manageable for him to stop thinking of Angela as his mother, he had a lot of trouble with Peter. Pete. He still felt like a brother, which was odd because Sylar was an only child. How would he know what it felt like to have a brother?
It was Thursday now; they were having lunch on Saturday. He knew that if he could just see Peter, he could figure out whether he knew. Then Sylar could decide what to do with this fraternal bond.
The entire day, he did not see anyone who mattered. That was what he wanted to tell them, all the aides and secretaries and majority whips; he wanted to tell them that they were insignificant to him. Instead, he smiled and kept pretending to be Nathan.
Finally, he was able to go home. Nathan's home, but he did not mind thinking of it as his as well. Luckily, Heidi was also still living in New York, so he would not have to deal with her until Saturday. He was not sure what to do about Heidi, about this whole fact that he had a wife, at least as long as he pretended to be Nathan. Dream Elle had been right about one thing. Actually, she had been right about everything, but one thing in particular. Remembering her would not bring her back. For that reason, he was leaning toward the option of keeping Heidi around for a while longer.
That night, he made a conscious choice not to dream about Elle. He agreed that he needed to let her go. He had already let her go, six months before. He would just have to do it again.
Sylar got to New York early on Saturday morning. Monty had a soccer game, which, like being a senator, Sylar had enjoyed more when he thought he was Nathan. What kind of a name was Monty anyway? Sylar knew the answer; he could remember choosing the name. He still had all of Nathan's memories, which was probably the source his continued identity confusion.
When Monty scored a goal, he stood and cheered and hugged Heidi. It was not entirely forced either. He actually did feel a burst of pride, even though he was very clear on the fact that he was not anybody's father.
When the game was over, the team went out for pizza, and Sylar promised Monty and Simon that he would spend the rest of the day with them, just after he saw Uncle Peter. After the bomb, when he was healing from radiation poisoning, Nathan had neglected his sons a little. He had neglected his marriage too, but Sylar did not care about that so much anymore. As for the boys, however, he did feel bad for them. It was not out of Nathan's guilt, but as someone who had been abandoned by not one, but two fathers. So while those boys were not his responsibility, Sylar felt that he wanted them to have time with their father, who for all intents and purposes, was him.
The second that Peter walked into the restaurant, Sylar realized just how much he did not want Peter to be involved. He remembered that Peter was the one who drugged him in that limousine. That was the last real memory he had as Sylar. Everything else was very vague, Parkman pushing into his mind, Angela's voice saying it was the only way. Nothing about Peter, but he was there in some capacity, involved somehow.
He stood to hug his brother and clap him on the back. The Petrellis were a very touchy family. "Good to see you, Pete." If Peter knew that he was not really Nathan, that should be easy to find out now that Sylar was in control of his abilities again. All he really needed was the lie detector.
As the meal went on, it did turn out to be a little more tricky than Sylar thought. Obviously, he knew that Peter was not going to come right out and say "I believed you're Nathan," but Sylar thought there would be something. It would be easier on him if Peter was lying. Then it would go off in Sylar's head, and he would know. But with Peter telling the truth, Sylar had to keep wondering if what Peter was saying would be a lie if he knew the truth.
Finally, right after the check came, Sylar needed to force the issue. He needed to bring up a subject that would be clear cut. "Do you ever think about Sylar anymore? I mean after everything, didn't his death seem too easy?"
Peter shook his head. "Easy? I know you weren't there for most of it, but there was nothing easy about Sylar."
Well, if Peter knew, then it would be a lie to say that the man in front of him was not there for most of it. Sylar leaned forward and said in a low voice, "But he could heal, like you and Claire..."
Peter took a drink from his water glass. "There are some things even Claire can't come back from. I saw the body, Nathan. Noah made sure it was taken care of. Sylar's gone for good, and I don't want to have to think about him ever again."
Sylar sat back and nodded. "Okay." Peter didn't know.
Heidi and the boys were living at the family home in Hyde Park again. Since it was his family's home, Nathan stayed there when he was in New York. At first, he and Heidi stayed in separate rooms, but recently, they had begun sharing the marital bed again. It seemed deceitful to have sex with her, knowing that he was not really her husband, but that did not stop him. For Sylar, it was far more awkward having sex as Nathan than anything else.
That night, lying next to Heidi, after two nights of no dreams, Sylar went back to the Canfield house. Elle was taping up a box. She noticed him and put the box on her hip. "Do you see this, Gabriel? Do you see the charade you are forcing me to perpetuate?" She handed the box off to him.
Sylar set it down behind him because he did not know what else to do with it. "What charade?"
"I'm 'moving,'" she said, putting air quotes around the word. "I'm packing up things that only exist in your mind because you want to believe that I've just been here this entire time. That I'm in some limbo instead of dead."
"I didn't choose to come here." He was trying to let her go.
Another box appeared out of thin air, and Elle carried it into the kitchen. "Of course, you did. It's a dream." She opened one of the cabinets. "Oh, dishes? Really? I don't eat."
Elle abandoned her packing and walked back over to him. "So do you still think about me all the time? Even when you're having sex with Nathan's wife?"
She actually had not crossed his mind at all during that. "You don't get to have it both ways, Elle. If you're dead and I shouldn't even be here, then you don't get to be angry that I had sex with another woman."
Elle shook her head, amused. "I'm not. Although, isn't it a crime to have sex with a woman while impersonating her husband?"
At first, Sylar thought that they could not possibly make it a crime for a man to lie to woman to get her to have sex. And then he remembered learning about that in law school. He was right, but there was an exception, just for wives, to that general rule about using deceit. Something about the public policy interest in protecting the sanctity of marriage. Sylar never went to law school.
"But Nathan did," Elle said. "No, I don't care about Heidi. I just don't like that you went after Claire. If anyone deserved to be your first first lady, it was me." She thought about that for a second. "And then maybe Heidi, but Claire is low on that list." She took another long pause. She seemed to be getting upset now. "I don't like that you'll never kill her. If it had been her on the beach... If you changed your mind while killing Claire... I don't like her for you."
Sylar did not think that he had ever actually changed his mind about killing Elle. He certainly had not done so that night. He had made very definite decision to cut her out of his life.
She stood about a foot away from him, deliberately not coming any closer. "But now you're here. You're changing your mind now, and it is far too late for that."
Sylar had accepted that. He understood that this was a dream, but he still felt that it was all Elle's fault that his mind was changing. He wanted to move on, with Heidi, Claire, whoever. She was not letting him. He wanted to leave her and go back to living his life without Elle, but that was not what came out of his mouth. "You said I could have anything I wanted as long as I was in control. I'm in control."
She laughed. "I meant that in the dream you could have anything as long as you were in control of your mind." She gestured out around herself. "So here's the dream. But in real life, I was cremated. What are you going to do, open a vein over my ashes?"
He had not thought it out that far. The idea of actually trying to bring her back had only just invaded his mind. "Would that work?"
Elle rolled her eyes and went back to packing up the kitchen. "No."
How would she know? "You know, I was a prosecutor, and I've seen people who were burned. A regular fire can't cremate a body."
She wrapped up a plate in a piece of newspaper. "That's true. I was taken to the morgue, autopsied, left unclaimed. And then they cremated me as a Jane Doe. I'm still there, in some storage room."
Sylar did not know any of that. It was not a mental block; he had never bothered to find out what happened to her. Now, maybe this was just his best guess about what would have happened to her, knowing what Nathan did about unclaimed bodies. Or maybe she was more than just a manifestation of his subconscious. Maybe there really was a part of her there. He was shaken out of these thoughts by the sound of something breaking.
Elle had dropped a plate. "Here we go with that again. Does it help you to have false hope? Because I would think the false part would give away the ending. Or how 'bout this, I'll give away the ending right now." She snapped her fingers.
Sylar woke up immediately, sitting straight up in bed, which woke Heidi too. He smiled apologetically and told her it was a bad dream. He settled back into the bed to think about what he had learned from that dream, if anything. The point was supposed to be that Elle was gone, but that was not what he got from it at all. He knew that he was going to find her ashes and try to raise her from the very dead. He did not particularly want to in that moment; he just knew that he would do it.
Author's Note: And I swear that I'm not obsessed with rape. (This would be another of those cross-story patterns.) I just needed somethng legal for him to think about.