"In Your Care and Keep"
Genre: Angst, Romance
Time Frame: Post "The Eclipse"
Characters: Gabriel G., Elle B.
Summary: She resigned herself to sharing her dreams with ghosts a long time ago. It'll still take some getting used to for him, he knows.
Notes: This is my first stab at the whole Sylar/Elle thing – I have watched the show on and off for a while now, but just saw the Eclipse episodes the other day. Once watched, I was filled with indignant rage - Her death made No. Sense. At. All. And yet, I will not rant here . . . I will write and hope that the process will be as cathartic for me as it is painful for a certain fictional character . . .
Disclaimer: They can keep the mess they've made . . . I, meanwhile, can make it worse.
"In Your Care and Keep"
Sometimes, he dreamed about things going differently.
He dreamed about Elle, dressed in floral prints, with her hair primly pulled back, sparks playing behind her eyes as she managed to butcher the ziti in a way he never thought possible before.
He dreamed of her coming clean – telling him because she couldn't bear the alternative, her small hands gripping his arms tightly as she pleaded with him to believe her, to forgive her. The static from her burned across him like something living, moving from her, moving him.
And he listened.
Maybe they would have ran that night, left everything behind and started again somewhere – a watchmaker and his somewhat eccentric companion. Maybe blood wouldn't have followed him then . . . maybe he would have fought to control what was inside of him with her by his side.
Maybe, instead of running, he would have taken her out that night.
Maybe, he would of held her hand, and she would have smiled, and for all of the world they would have looked normal – nothing special - an everyday couple on an everyday date.
Maybe, just maybe, he would have told her that he loved her. Even then.
She had told him once, that she had gotten used to sharing her dreams with ghosts a long time ago.
It'll take some getting used to for him, he knows.
Sometimes he dreams of her surviving, and yet not by any doing of his own.
He dreams of her trailing him – her huntsman to his pray, pale sparks burning at her fingers in the dim light of some forgotten alley in some forgotten city. There is normally no time or place relevant in these dreams – only the look in her eyes, and the tremors in his bones that he had learned a long time ago was something far from fear, but most akin to it as well.
It was something he had felt often around her.
He dreamed of her yelling – screaming oaths that barbed and clinched and tore at the parts of him that were still soft and hidden – secret and dark and deep.
These dreams always ended the same – with her sparks burning through him like an inferno, baptizing him anew in fire.
She could never kill him – healing aside.
He could never fight her – all powers considered.
In the end, they were a sad sort of pair that could not put the other out of their misery, no matter how much they may have wanted to. Never mind that he already had, once. Dreams were incredibly good at forgetting the schematics of things, at times.
These dreams always end the same – her tears burning her skin like she was the wicked witch, as her heels beat out a sharp rhythm against the ground as she left him again. Never once could he bring himself to go after her.
Sometimes, when he dreams, it's of hopeful things.
These are scenes, he knows, that make him tremble more than a nightmare ever could.
This night, her eyes are bright, and sparks curl along her fingers from where the static had gathered in her elation. He didn't resist, wide eyed as he was by the direction of this dream, absent of smoldering glares and tears and rain; filled instead with streaking yellow sun and periwinkle skies.
She's swathed in pale ivory, a nightgown that showed her pixie shoulders and her glass boned legs to every advantage while failing to hide the gentle swell of her stomach. She was waving her hand over with frantic movements.
"It kicked, Gabriel, he kicked!"
"Here, feel!" Her voice was a child's voice, all innocent wonder and wide eyed awe. He nodded dumbly at it, not bothering to fight her as she wrapped her small hand around his and drew it to her stomach.
His hands – murderer's hands, blood stained, clotted and callused and cursed, flinched against the humbling presence of a new life. He could feel her heartbeat through her skin, could feel the child's as well as the kicks managed to aim directly at his hand. An instinct older than any other ran through him as he curled his knuckles and stroked the area, a promise lingering in the caress, I am here and I am waiting for you. You are already loved so much, so very much . . .
"Isn't it amazing, Gabriel?"
He's silent, unable to speak past the lump in his throat, the emotion robbing him of breath.
The endearment burned.
He pressed his hand against her, one last time, and then let his touch fall away. He felt empty when he wasn't touching her. Felt empty when he couldn't feel the life flourishing under his hand. It was an emptiness that not even the burn of stolen powers could really sate . . .
After that dream, he refuses to sleep for days.
When he finally collapses a week later, he is too tired to even dream.
Sometimes his dreams were soft things – moments straight from his memory played out in almost painful slow motion.
This scene was set low in a Pinehearst cell, him fiddling with a broken watch while Elle sat next to him, her bright eyes watching him as he worked. All the while, he was trying to explain to her the thrill of a new power – the burning of the hunger inside of him, insisting on more. Always more . . . Never enough . . .
His eyes were distracted when he looked over at her. "I mean, haven't you ever loved anything that much?" he wanted her to understand, so very badly. Accept maybe, as well – absolution, and all that.
Her eyes were sad, weighed down with years that she could not yet put a claim to.
"Yes, Gabriel," she whispered, stubbornly refusing to call him Sylar, "Yes . . . I have."
The room is silent after that, filled only by the insistent ticking of the clock in his hands.
Sometimes he dreamed about never meeting her.
These dreams were dull things – filled with stains of crimson and the ebb and flow of power that swirled in his veins before exploding in a cadence of ticking behind his eyes. He dreamed of retying the noose this time – no girl saves boy, boy falls for girl, girl betrays boy just as surely as boy betrays girl . . .
Maybe, if he had died that night, so many people would have been saved . . .
Maybe, she would still be alive, rotting somewhere under daddy's influence and her own split nature.
Maybe, in saving her for so short a time . . . he would have condemned her as surely as he had by ending her himself.
He was never a man for the more callused sorts of oblivion. He tried drinking hard liquor once before sleeping – anything to stop the dreams about her, always her . . .
His dreams merely ended up more vivid, and he threw the empty bottle into the trash bin with a disdain for the vice born anew.
Sometimes he dreams of the future. These impossibilities were almost the worst, but on some nights they were a balm to his tattered soul.
This night Elle was in a satin robe, her blonde hair piled messily atop her head. She was sitting on the edge of a messily made bed, pillows piled everywhere over a spider-man coverlet. There was a small child, maybe five years of age tucked in most comfortably, his deep dark eyes staring at his mother with an intensity that he knew to be all his own set in a younger face. He had messy corn colored hair going every which way – his mother in all ways defined.
Elle had a storybook in her hands filled with colorful pages of superheros. He recognized the book from his own days growing up, fondly noticing the dog eared pages and the weathered spine. In the child's hands – Noah, Elle had called him, what an odd choice for them . . . - there was a Cyclops action figure, and he had to fight the urge to snort, even in the dream.
Of course his son had to go for the unerringly good heroes.
Ghostly, intruding on a scene that he knew he had no right to, he looked on as the child held up a pudgy finger to trace the silvery line at Elle's forehead. There was all curiosity and innocence in the kid's expression, no sign of monsters in the closet or ghosts under the bed . . .
"What's this from?" Noah asked with a child's confusion.
Elle hesitated once before answering, her electric eyes darting across the room to find him with an awareness that was always unsettling. Finally, a crooked smile touched the corner of her lips. "A very bad man tried to hurt me," she whispered, locking eyes with her son.
Noah's face scrunched up, and Elle reached out a hand to cover his, squeezing once around him comfortingly. "Don't worry – he's gone now. Your daddy took care of him."
She looked over at him upon this, causing Noah's eyes to follow hers. The little boy smiled in a way that could only be described as pride. "Dad's good at that."
Her eyes had yet to break away from his gaze. "Yes, he is," she whispered.
In the silence that followed, he realized that he could hear nothing of the ticking clocks that accompanied the presence of power. And power was something that his own, peculiar, senses could read at length . . . it was swimming off of Noah in unchecked waves. He could feel it as static against his skin, and yet, he had no desire to make it his own . . .
Only peace alongside it.
When Gabriel awakened that time, he had forgotten how to breath.
Sometimes, his dreams have no time, no place. Merely meaning.
He found himself on a beech, one place he had sworn that he would never return to . . . Uncomfortable as he was with the setting sun hot on the waves at his back and the angry cries of the gulls above, mocking him, accusing him . . .
The sand was sticking to his wet boots, sucking at his steps. The surf just beyond his reach tugged and released in time with the symphony of ticks and tolls behind his eyes. He closed his eyes against the sound, trying to understand this night's purpose, this evening's pain . . .
When he opened his eyes, he understood.
A stone's throw away, Elle was walking gently towards him. The setting sun tangled around her form, throwing her in harsh bands of gold and red. The swath of flames colored her hair a rich amber, and caught on the sparks that poured constantly from her eyes.
She was walking on the tight, fickle line where the wet surf tangled with the dry sand. Her heeled shoes were in one delicate hand, flung lazily over her left shoulder. Unrestrained, she daintily dug her toes into the sand like a child, humming merrily as the suckling water tugged at the edges of her jeans, staining them with sand.
She was smiling at him. He could never understand the ease of her smile around him, even then, before . . .
When it became apparent that he wasn't going to say anything, she drew up short and looked at him. Her head was tilted curiously, and her eyes were narrowed thoughtfully.
"Well, you've missed me, haven't you?"
"No." It's a knee-jerk response, one that hid as much as it gave.
She smiled secretly, if this were real, she'd have been popping her bubble gum, or something equally ridiculous by this point.
"Liar," she simpered, her tone as teasing as the coy look to her eyes.
"Wouldn't you know," he snorted. It was easy to blame her, he knew, than to look any deeper than that. Killing her was supposed to kill whatever he had inside of him that drew him to her, and yet it only made it stronger, harder to contain, impossible to control . . .
"You were silly to think that something like death could get rid of me," she said in direct response to his thoughts. "Men, you never think things through, you know."
He glared at her.
She rolled her eyes, unimpressed. "No need to go into intimidating-brain-stealer-mode," she made a distasteful face, "you know that never scared me."
He remembered a flinch to a caress on a beech just like this, but says nothing about a memory that still pains him more than he'd like to admit.
"What do you want, Elle?" he settled for asking wearily instead.
She blinked wide, deceptively innocent eyes. "Me?" she breathed out sultrily. "These aren't my dreams you know . . . you can feel free to let me go any time you want." Her voice was a slightly bitter note at the end.
He smiled at it.
Her eyes narrowed, and she scowled. "You tried getting rid of me once – didn't work out so well for you, didn't it, hon?" her voice was scathing. At her clenched fists the beginings of static played in dangerous warning.
"You can't hurt me here," he pointed out, matter-of-fact.
Her smile was crooked as she tapped the silver scar at her forehead. "Nor you me," she laughed merrily, a madness that was all so incredibly her tainted the girl like tones. "I'm already dead."
"And I'm just dreaming," he agreed, plopping down on the sand, no longer caring as to what it did to his jeans. "So if we could just sit here quietly until I wake up, I would be thankful for that."
She snorted, but slumped down to the sand as well, even going as far to stretch her legs out so her bare feet rested where the surf would wash over her. "Trust me, I don't want to be here either," she snipped.
He nodded, but ignored her past that, his eyes reaching out to trace the sun's dying waves.
She was silent for a few long moments, before asking quietly. "Why did you do it?"
He didn't answer right away, nor did she expect him to – not ever, really. When he sighed deeply, she looked at him, breath caught on a rise of uncertainty.
"Gabriel?" she implored. She never called him Sylar, even in his dreams.
He could go two ways – tell her that he never loved her, never cared for her, used her – for both power and body. This would add one more scar to him, and completely destroy her . . . Maybe she would be gone permanently if he said that. Maybe, that was what he needed to do . . .
And yet, this was just a dream.
"You were dangerous," he whispered on a broken breath. His one greatest weakness slipping past his lips where he had never given voice to it, even in the privacy of his own mind. "You were . . . perfect, even. And that . . ." his voice tapered off, uncertain.
Her face was void of expression. "You loved me," she finished for him
Something inside of him wanted to reply 'of course.' But it was a tainted love, at best. Selfish, at worse. It was not something that he necessarily wanted to admit to, except, perhaps, she had always known . . .
"Yes," he whispered, voice blank of feeling. "Yes, Elle, I did . . . but not in any way that someone ever wants to be loved."
Softly, she scooted closer to him, wrapping a sandy hand around his shoulders even as she rested her head against him. He closed his eyes against the sensation, but didn't go to hold her to him. That would only make the morning that much harder . . .
She was silent after that, as was he. They had always been good at communicating without words, and this was no exception.
Together, they watched as the sun died, and night moved in once again.
That morning, he woke groggy and unrested as ever. His limbs felt like lead and his head as if it was stuffed with cotton. His mouth was dry, and if he concentrated hard enough, he could still taste sand and sea salt on his tongue.
When he finally convinced himself to sit up, he noticed a box on the hotel's bedside stand.
He recognized the logo on the box of that belonging to a bakery down the road. Around the box, there was a ribbon in slusho red wrapped almost obnoxiously around it. Curiously, he opened the box to reveal a half eaten peach pie, lipstick marking a balled up napkin inside with a teasing kiss.
His eyes narrowed at the gesture, every sense he had on high alert as searching the shadows – listening. Waiting. He didn't breath, unwilling to disturb the suddenly fragile air.
And yet, there was nothing.
Maybe . . . just maybe, he had yet to truly wake again.