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He wonders occasionally why exactly Fate seems to love to screw them over. All of them.
He's pretty sure he's the only one who remembers. Well... apart from Peter, maybe. Ha. Peter. The grin across his face spreads wider, as he browses through the usual paperwork, expenses, souls moved on, and so on and so forth. Kira is there, too, his lieutenant scrawling his signature across the paper.
He can still see the faces and names behind the people, knows precisely why the captains of the Eighth and Thirteenth Divisions are so close, precisely who inflicted that injury on Ukitake during one of Hiro's botched time-travels with Ando and that girl with the perfect memory. Charlie, she was called; she still has a penchant for books. He never sees her without one, and occasionally he wonders what she's reading, whether she still rememebers the man with the baseball cap and the way Hiro predicted, incorrectly, that he would die.
Matt's daughter Rachel rides on his back, always; seeing the two of them apart would be as unlikely as seeing the Hatian being anything other than stoic. Her pink-haired prescence at her father's side is expected, and constant. Rangiku and Kira flirt, too. Although his demure-acting lieutenant probably wouldn't admit it, and neither would he, Sylar's glad that his nudges have sent the 'soul mates' back together again, although she still cares for her son. He's slightly concerned about the whole 'drunken boob massage' thing, though, and privately's thankful that the ex-technopath hasn't been traumatised for life by any of this. (Or maybe he has, actualy. It's quite hard to tell.)
There's the other touching 'father and daughter' relationship again, if you substitute 'touching' for 'disgustingly pathetic'. Chandra is even worse to his new 'child' than he was with Mohinder, actively hurting his artificially created daughter Nemu. Sylar doesn't know Nemu from before, but wonders occasionally whether Mayuri would ever realise he was rescued from an eternity locked up by his own son. Perhaps it's the reason for Kisuke rescuing the man. There's no other explanation that he can think of, considering the despicable things he knows, with absolute certanity, take place in the basement of the Twelfth Division. He's heard the screams, and they make even him shudder.
Then there's Ice Bastard, the politician to the end. He still cares for Claire, although he can tell he's disapproving of her relationship with the West kid still. The tattoos don't help their cause. At all. Despite the boy's evident admiration for Claire's adoptive 'brother' (and Sylar still thinks of him as a boy despite the fact that Renji is technically older than him) Byakuya's still disapproving of West's efforts, refusing to give up his once-daughter and current adoptive sister ever again. Papa Petrelli is there, too, the manipulative bastard playing the father figure to his own monster. And of course Hinamori adores him, for now, and will continue to do so exactly until the moment when she finds out precisely how much her darling Aizen-sama has screwed them all over. Twice.
Sylar doesn't like people manipulating him. And even if Peter and Nathan have the rights to the man's head, they only have so long before he loses his patience waiting for them to act.
(He's been offered a place at the right hand of a so-called, self-proclaimed God. He accepts, if only because it's just another few inches from there to his back. And Shinsou itches for blood.)
Molly and Micah are still in love, death parting them and, it seemed, bringing them back together on a whim. She's still scared of him, and he sees that flash of fear in her eyes at the sight of the boogeyman who killed her family, ripping their skulls open oh so long ago. But she doesn't see his face, not properly. None of them do any more. They've all forgotten, even though they all still fear him and don't know why.
Except for Peter. The sight of the captain of the Fourth Squad still makes him crack up inside. (He doesn't actually laugh, though. He still has his reputation as the captain of the Third to consider, after all, doesn't he?) But the fact that the soul of the 'saviour' of all those people is now female... well, he still finds it amuses him, even after over a hundred years. It's appropriate, though. Unohana is pretty, just like the person behind the face used to be, although in a different way, of course. Still so damn caring. It's annoying and endearing, the effort she (is that pronoun even appropriate?) makes every day to save lives. And still powerful. He wonders whether maybe he wasn't the only one who didn't lose all his abilities.
Peter he's still pretty sure is capable of healing other people, if not more. The rest of them, he suspects they've all forgotten when they died, just like they don't remember who they used to be. His abilities are still there, not all of them, granted, but some. The cryokinesis and pyrokinesis he lost somewhere along the way, but the Hunger and understanding that made them call him a child prodigy are still there. (So is the wonderful hearing.) He didn't need most of the abilities, anyway, picking them up as mere curios. Claire's regenerative abilities have saved his life, more than once, although they're not as strong as they used to be. He doubts he could survive a decapitation any more, for one thing. The shapeshifting is still used every now and then, when he wants to play matchmaker or collect interesting snippets of information.
The good 'Ol' Faithful' one, telekinesis, is still with him. He uses it to fake shikai, so people think his actual shikai is his bankai, which nobody's ever seen. Fortunately. They'd all freak out at Gabriel's appearance or something, although it seems amusing that the tenfold release of his sword Shinsou is the same Angel of Death that shares his old name.
"I'm tired, Gabe." He looks up to see the spiritual figure of Shinsou leaning against his desk with a tempting smile. She looks stunning, as always, Elle's twin sister.
He gets up. Enough with the damn paperwork.
"Feel like a trip to the living world?" he asks Kira, smiling as always.
He leans against the wall of Las Noches, grinning as Arthur reveals the true face of another arrancar. This one was a Vasto Lorde, but somewhere in that mess is little Matty Jr. Arthur calls him Wonderweiss Margera, since it's the first thing the boy says. He takes a liking to Tosen, and doesn't like Sylar. At all.
"Is that really so surprising?" Shinsou whispers in his ear, and he shrugs. Not especially, given the circumstance.
The boy looks at him with violet eyes, as the blind man takes his hand and ruffles his hair.
The simple action makes Sylar feel nostalgic, and wish that his own son, Noah, was out there somewhere for him to find again. But then, that would probably be too much of a coincidence, to find more than one person he likes and who appreciates him in the afterlife.
The other arrancar are all wary of him, when Arthur breaks their masks, but Wonderweiss is the only one who really fears him. Recognises him for what he was.
What he still is, in a way: one of them.
A monster with red eyes and a bloody smile instead of a white mask and a hole in the chest.
They're losing. Halibel falls as Aizen himself guts her with Kyoka Suigetsu, telling her that she's weaker than the three shinigami and that her sacrifice will not be wasted. Arthur hasn't changed at all, and he hasn't learnt either. Wonderweiss is chasing butterflies as the Visored, furious, attempt to chase him. Little Matty's too fast for them to catch up now, but he's not interested in fighting. All the autistic child arrancar likes are that great big damn hollow he keeps as a pet, Tousen, butterflies, dragonflies, and things with bright, pretty colours. And possibly, just possibly, he might still recognise his daddy underneath the jingle bells.
Sylar likes red best, the colours and patterns it makes across the air as Shinsou rips through flesh. Heat blazes behind him as Arthur's illusions fool Yamamoto into releasing shikai. The Haitian is fighting without bankai, duelling both Shuuhei and Konomari at once with a little difficulty. The anthropomorphic canine occasionally bellows something he can't make out at this distance.
"Probably asking why he left the 'righteous path'," Shinsou mentions with a snort.
He doesn't reply as Haineko's ash whips around him. It hurts when some of it touches his skin, burning, but it's only pain. It'll fade, and those burns will heal. What he's more worried about is the distraction it's acting as for Hinamori, as she releases Tobimue in her fury at him. She probably thinks I corrupted Aizen. He dodges, still grinning.
Wabisuke comes down with Kira as sombre as always, Rangiku by his side and face contorted in fury as she fights to protect her old husband. He parries both attacks, the executioner's sword with the faithful invisible one while Shinsou clashes with the Grey Cat. There's no need to give any advantage and handicap himself with a heavy blade.
Both nick their intended targets, but it's enough to give a slight advantage.
There's a roar as a garganta opens, revealing Ichigo and the captain of the Fourth. The smile falters for just a fraction of a second, enough time to give Molly an opening, one which she promptly uses.
Shinsou moves of her own accord to slice, tasting the girl's blood. Sylar's hand pulls back before it's fatal, but nonetheless Hinamori's wounded severely enough for Niki to need to catch her. DL finally shows his anger, shouting out the command for a destructive hado as his son slices a deep wound across Yamamoto's back. The fires die to be consumed by ice, with Lisa, Ise, Shunsui and Ukitake fighting while Aizen looks on, smiling. The black balloon expands as Tousen finaly releases, outnumbered three to one by Ichigo, Shuuhei and Konomari.
Sylar briefly wonders whether or not Konomari used to be Mr. Muggles, the dog with the tendency to sniff his crotch. Absent-mindedly, he notes a hollow below on the streets.
Shinsou leaps out of his hand under his command to bite into Kira's arm, crippling him before returning to Sylar's hand. She's gained weight this time, the man managing to strike her with Wabisuke. It doesn't change much, although Shinsou pouts at this.
"Release me. Show them all the angel of Death before I drink them."
He laughs, shaking his head as another hado is launched by Kira. Letting her destroy everything here would be unnecessary, and there's no need to reveal his true hand yet. This time, the lightning strikes, searing across his leg and slowing him down. The tissue repairs itself quickly enough, but he's going to have to do something about this before he can act. Wonderweiss is still leading the Visored a merry dance. The balloon's still in place as Peter holds Yamamoto in her arms, healing him.
"You're gonna have to act fast," she warns.
He nods, and dives as Kira moves, leaving deep gashes across the thighs and crippling him for now. The man's face scrunches up in pain and anger as he lashes out one more time, falling. The blow misses as Sylar walks away, catching his ex-lieutenant with telekinesis and preventing him from running into the roof of the fake building at fatal velocity. Peter will get to him later, and if the man can't hold on for long enough, then so be it. It took him over a hundred years to get this damn chance, and he's not wasting it all for some reincarnated Special he never knew properly in the first place.
Arthur sees Kira fall, and smiles as Hiro releases shikai, blowing away the ice flowers of Hyorinmaru.
The black balloon crumples, leaving the fallen form of Tousen and Ichigo Kurosaki. The other two are barely standing from the wounds inflicted, but Ichigo nevertheless finds the strength from somewhere to yell at him and sprint towards the last fight.
Peter's watching as he approaches the group, evading ice and wind so that Ando will be in front of him. The man suddenly breaks into a coughing fit as Charlie swings at his head. She's thrown off, but who knows what illusion she was fighting?
Arthur's just to the left of Shunsui.
Shinsou is raised, and he aims for Hiro's head.
"Now," she whispers. There may never be another opening.
"Shoot to kill, Shinsou."
She leaves his hand gracefully, an arc of silver curving towards Hiro just as Arthur smiles.
With the slightest flick of Sylar's finger, the sword changes its trajectory to bury itself in thin air. The illusory Aizen looks surprised, before the real one comes into existence as he crumples and falls to the ground.
The illusion shatters and the fight quickly breaks apart as he uses shunpo to quick-step forward, hand gripping Shinsou again. Arthur's eyes widen in recognition, but he does nothing. He can't; his spinal cord was broken when the sword entered his skull, and Sylar hit the sweet spot for a reason.
Shinsou leaves his skull with a smooth shick. The man doesn't have cellular regeneration any more, and he'll want his sword back for later. Sylar sees the hollow waiting below, and drops Arthur to it.
"Fetch," he whispers.
The hollow obeys instruction and time-old instinct, falling on the body to devour before leaping up with surprising agility to continue the feast. A Black Coffin destroys it completely, leaving the twice-corrupted soul in tatters. And then he's standing in a circle of swords, all pointed at him.
(And it's worth it, because Peter is there and Arthur is dead, finally dead.)
And in the end, he drops the mask and opens his eyes, stops smiling for the first time in - how long has it been? Fifty years? - a while, and nobody is entirely certain of what to do any more, once the illusion has shattered and Fate has had her way with all of them.
Peter steps into the circle with the old Captain-Commander over her shoulder, out of it. He meets her gaze, challenging, and sheaths Shinsou.
"Don't kill him."
"But he killed - " Shuuhei begins, before a glance from Peter stops him cold.
"I am fully aware of every single one of the lives the man currently standing in front of you has taken," she says icily, and Sylar knows exactly what she's talking about. "He's coming back with us."
"You're just gonna let him live?" spits Ichigo. Sylar looks at him curiously, wondering exactly who he's been before.
"For now, yes," she replies.
And for now, it's enough.
He's sitting in the Maggot's Nest, waiting for judgement for what he's done. Quite frankly, he was surprised Peter was able to stop all of them from slaughtering him on the spot. Wonderweiss is somewhere or other. Maybe they caught him eventually. Maybe the Visored are still running after him in the living world. He doesn't know, and doesn't care.
He's probably going to die.
Central 46 will sentence him to death, and then -
Oh, wait. I killed Central 46.
Screw that, then. The captains will have him sentenced to death, probably. And people will expect him to smile at his own execution, the way he smiled at everything and hid his face.
The door opens. He looks up as Uno- no, Peter - sits down on the filthy floor next to him.
"Opinion is unanimous that you're an utter bastard. They want to kill you," she said conversationally.
"Yeah, well, ya can't really blame them, can ya?"
He sees her wince. "Cut the accent. Please."
He smiles. "Only if ya say my name right," he continues, doing it just to annoy her.
"Ya know which one."
The accent slips away easily. "Fair enough." He pauses. "Que passe?"
She sighs. "Not much. The majority is currently leaning towards execution. Everybody else just wants to see you suffer."
"Wow, that's nice."
"As you said, you yourself were responsible for a large number of their deaths, even if none of them remember."
"Well... what're you doing?"
"Staying with you. I thought you might want company. Are you worried?"
"I have an axe over my neck, but surprisingly... no. Not really."
He rests his head against her neck. "Don't be."
There is silence.