Author's Note: Um, this has like the slightest spoiler for "The Princess Bride." (But you've had 22 years to see it, so... I don't think it's really even a spoiler for anything.)
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand, but I keep living this day like the next will never come—Fiona Apple
Epilogue—November 7, 2011
Sylar knew that leaving Elle alive was sloppy. It was a weakness he could not afford. But he listened to her, talking, insisting that he was still the only man she ever cared about. Without really thinking about it, he took one step back from her, and then he took another. The next thing he knew, he had phased through the wall and walked right into her living room. He came to this apartment with the intention of killing her, and once she knew he was Sylar, he felt that the choice was really out of his hands. It was no longer about her power or what she had done to him; all that mattered then was what she knew.
But when he was in the living room, still able to hear every word thanks to the ability he had gotten from that mechanic in Montana, he made an unbelievably reckless choice. He just gathered up the last of his clothes and kept walking. The decision made no sense. She had proven that night that she was just as fickle and unstable as he had thought. And yet, when she said that she liked him, that she wanted to make her mistakes up to him, he believed her for no other reason than that he wanted it to be true.
He waited a week for the fallout from his momentary weakness, but nothing happened. He went back to Chicago with the intention of fixing the mistake. He was met by a different Elle, a loving and devoted Elle. The first thing she said was that he forgot to get the name of the woman with her ability. Then she gave it to him, along with an address. So he did not kill her that night either. For about a year now, he had gone on, seeing her and not killing her.
They lay together, post sex, in her Baltimore apartment, where she had moved to be more convenient for him. She was staring at him, and he imagined that she could tell that there was something weighing on his mind. It was the same thing that always weighed on his mind. How long could they keep doing this? This time, with the five year anniversary looming, there was a little more to that question. "Elle, how loyal to me are you really?"
She laughed to herself like that was exactly the question she had been waiting for. It took her a moment before she said anything. "You know in The Princess Bride, when they're in the Fire Swamp and he's telling the story? That part, 'Good night, Westley. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning.' That's what this last year has been like. 'I love you, Elle. I'll most likely kill you next time.'"
Sylar had never told Elle that he loved her, and he never would, but that was not the point of what she was saying anyway. He was glad if he was giving her the impression that she should not get too complacent. He believed wholeheartedly that the day would come when he would be forced to kill her. If his quest for power ever came in conflict with her life, he would not hesitate in eliminating her. After a year, he knew that day must be coming soon.
Elle wiggled closer to him. "I was loyal to the Company because it was all I knew, and I was loyal to the resistance because I believed in their cause. With you... I am not loyal to you just because you haven't killed me yet. This isn't gratitude or reciprocity. It's because you're the first man who has ever put me ahead of himself. Or at least, you put your desire for me ahead of your own safety."
That was true, and it was something that bothered him every time he thought about it. "Yeah, I really shouldn't have done that."
Elle smiled. She knew that she got under his skin, and that was probably the most annoying thing about her. Of course, it was his fault for continuing to see her. She sparked up her hand for him to see. "I saw how much you wanted my ability, but you obviously decided that night that there was something else about me that was more valuable to you. And for that reason, I am completely loyal to you. So what is it? What are you planning now that you think is going to change that?"
For a second, he considered telling her. It would probably be better to force the conflict. He really needed her to give him a reason to cut this weakness out of his life. But he was not ready for that. "It's nothing bad," he lied. "It's just that Suresh found the cure." He had not discussed his plans with Mohinder yet, but he knew he could bring the weak minded scientist along. They had a meeting scheduled for the morning, and then it would be a done deal. "So this whole mess is almost over."
Elle flopped onto her back to think about this development. "A cure. I didn't think that was possible. I don't want to be cured."
Sylar shook his head. He was glad that she had said that, so that he did not have to insist that she stay away from anyone claiming to have it. "No, you don't have to. In fact, don't." He took her hand in his. "I like you just the way you are."
She looked at him adoringly, no hint that she suspected anything. "You have to go, back to your wife." She liked to tease him about having a wife.
He kissed her deeply and got out of the bed. As he pulled on his pants, he tried to remember what she had said earlier. "Good night, Elle. I'll probably kill you next time."
"Most likely kill me," she corrected.
She had no idea how accurate that was. Sooner or later, she would find out what he had really done with that "cure." He could blame it on Mohinder's fatal mistake—he would enjoy blaming Mohinder for the genocide—but when they all died, Elle would know the truth. And then he would most likely have to kill her. Knowing the end of this affair was in sight, along with the end of Elle, Sylar pulled her up into another kiss. "Right. Most likely."
Author's Note: So I've had several reviewers ask about a sequel. Here's the deal: Maybe. I've been thinking a little about where the timeline would go if there was no reset after the five year anniversary. (Which kind of takes away from the impact of this epilogue, so don't think of it like that. Here there is a reset.) I won't be writing it anytime soon, if ever, but my Sylar/Elle has to be all AU from now on anyway, so I may come back around to this universe.