Death Becomes Her
Summary: Sylar confronts Claire one final time. He still has questions, and God help her, she better have the answers. Takes place sometime after the events of "I am Become Death".
Spoilers: Possible S3 spoilers but mostly AU and speculative.
Author's Note: I've taken some liberties with the plot, so please be kind. I'm just having some fun. Also, I haven't written anything in a VERY long time, so I'm maybe a bit rusty.
Disclaimer: All characters and source material are the property of NBC and Tim Kring. I wrote this for the sole purpose to entertain, not for any monetary gain.
Acknowledgments: Thank you again to all my loyal readers. Your continue support keeps me inspired.
Gabriel Gray – Hell's Kitchen, New York
We materialized a few seconds later on the corner of 47th Street and 8th Avenue in full view of the general public. Surprisingly, this part of New York hasn't changed much in my absence. Most of the buildings are still old and in some cases downright derelict looking. And in spite of the beautification projects imposed on the rest city during the Guliani years, this section of town still has its streets strewn with trash.
The sidewalks are overrun today, populated with illicit purveyors hawking either their stolen or knock-off designer wares. And as far as I can tell the homeless are still prevalent in this neighborhood. I watch with a sense of uneasiness as these displaced people are summarily ignored by the so-called upstanding populace who can't be bothered by the plight of their fellow man. Surveying all the sights and sounds of this grimy, desolate borough quickly sickens me. Suddenly I find myself longing for the sunny green hills of my Californian home until I remember that no such place exists anymore.
Soon astonishment takes over, rising above the aversion and melancholy that I feel. I'm still stunned by the fact that in this day and age, three grown people can just pop out of thin air without even an eyebrow raised. But then I have to remember that this is the year 2012, where not only are super powers acknowledged and celebrated, they are also as readily available as cosmetic surgery.
It still angers me how super human abilities' exclusivity has been trivialized, their specialness reduced to a mere physical augmentation like rhinoplasty or a boob job. Gone are the days of wonder, where the Average Joe would marvel at the spectacle of the extraordinary or be amazed by the bizarre unexplainable feats of a select few.
What was once exceptional and unique has become commonplace…mundane. And it saddens me to no end. There are no heroes anymore, no villains either. Now the commuters I now see flying overhead, the snow cone vendor on the corner that produces his own ice straight from his fingertips, and even the kids playing stick ball in the middle street that leap and jump with super human agility and speed do not impress me.
These people were not chosen by divine providence or signaled out by the evolutionary process of nature...quite on the contrary in fact. These schmucks, for lack of a better term, all found their powers at the pointed tip of a syringe, putting put their faith and money in some formula that has yet to be approved by the FDA.
The very existence of this "miracle potion" spits in the face of God.
Now, I'm not a very religious man despite my strict Catholic upbringing. But even a cynical agnostic like me somehow knows that not everyone was meant to have these powers.
I've always contended that no good would ever come of having an entire generation of artificially modified humans. They are still too many unknowns…unforeseen variables that could spell disaster.
On this fact alone Peter and I wholly agree.
Now it's Peter's voice that stirs me from my inner thoughts as he questions Claire on where to go next.
"Okay, I got us here. Where's does Parkman live?" he asks his niece.
Claire, who is currently tying her long black curls back up into a sensible ponytail answers her uncle. "He lives a couple of blocks from here, across the street from St. Malachy's on West 49th between Broadway and 8th."
"I know exactly where that is," I inform my companions as I start to lead the way. "My mom used to send me to parochial school there."
Not surprisingly this bit of information earns my ex-wife's scorn. "Somehow the thought of you as a clean cut altar boy sends a cold shiver down my spine."
Unperturbed by the unkind remark, I just shrug my shoulders as I continue to trudge along the busy crowded sidewalks with my hands shoved deep down the pockets of my khaki pants. Purposely, I allow my much taller frame to take extra long strides knowing full well that with her diminutive stature Claire will have to try harder to keep up with me.
Afterward I casually say without even a backwards glance,, "And to think that at one time you use be as sweet and All-American as apple pie. My, how times have changed."
As I start to feel the heat of her loathsome gaze boring a hole in the back of my head, I can't help the vindication I feel. Peter meanwhile just shakes his head in disbelief as I smirk all the way to Parkman's.
Moments later we find ourselves in a dimly lit corridor standing just outside the door of apartment 8-A, this must be where Matt Parkman and his family currently reside.
The tension we were feeling at Pinehearst is suddenly back with a vengeance. And it begins to mount as does the uncertainty of our purpose here. As each anxious minute flits by, it's dreadfully apparent that we're not quite sure which one of us should knock on Parkman's door thus announcing our unexpected arrival.
It's no secret that each of us has wronged the telepath at one time or another. Furthermore, it's a cold hard fact that our unanticipated presence will not be welcome here. We're intruding on hostile territory that much is certain. And once that door opens anything can happen…so we'll need to keep our guard up.
After a few more seconds of vacillation, it's Claire that finally musters up the courage to do what must be done. While Peter and I hang back, we watch with shared apprehension as she decisively raps her knuckles on the hardwood surface and waits for one of the occupants to answer her insistent knocking.
In the next instant the door flies open only to reveal someone I haven't seen in a long, long time.
She was a mere child of roughly 9 or 10 when I last saw her. I had abducted her, threatened her life and that of Maya Herrera, a woman I had emotionally manipulated, to coerce the girl's foster father, Mohinder Suresh, to give into my demands.
I can still remember her terror-stricken eyes and the way her little body had trembled at the mere sight of me.
Now, those same eyes, ignoring Pete and Claire, zero in to cast an accusatory glare upon me. And under their condemnatory power I'm made to feel ashamed of my past transgressions that were neither driven by the Hunger or my so-called evolutionary imperative.
Thanks to an unsolicited inoculation of the Shanti Virus, I had been stripped of my powers. Therefore the culpability for my callousness and greed laid solely with me, with Gabriel Gray, not my alter-ego, the disreputable Sylar.
Immediately I squeeze my eyelids shut in a pathetic attempt to ward off the severe castigation of her stare. But try as I might, there's no escape from the vivid recollection of the child's blood curdling screams after I had shot that annoying Dominican woman.
Did I even care that once again I'd been the instrument of fear and pain to a child I had already orphaned just a year before? Sadly, I didn't. The only thing that mattered at the time was getting my hands on the antidote that eventually restored my powers.
Presently, the astounded person standing before us is a far cry from the lost auburn-haired little girl that I remember. Molly Walker, correction, Parkman has certainly grown into a true teen-aged beauty. Taller than most girls her age, she amazingly lacks the gangly awkwardness that usually accompanies someone of her stature and age.
On the contrary, there is nothing gauche or timid about this young woman. Wearing a simple black dress, she is poised and confident, exuding a hardened wisdom far beyond her tender years. And with that fiery mane which hangs loosely off her shoulders and straight down her back, she gives off the appearance of some untamed sprite ready to do fierce battle with the forces of evil.
And yet beneath it all, I detect an underlying grief swimming in the glistening depths of her amber eyes even as she bristles with contempt at the sight us. Her hatred filled glower doesn't waver as she yells for her guardian to join her in the doorway.
"Dad, you better come over here!" she yells over shoulder.
In next to no time I hear what I presume to be Parkman's voice shouting back from somewhere inside the tiny dwelling with exasperation, "Not now Molly. I'm trying to get your sister to stop crying so tell whoever is at the door that we don't want any!"
Sure enough we all hear the familiar wailing of an infant followed by the shushing sounds of a frustrated and overwrought parent trying their best to placate the child.
Molly meanwhile places her hands on either side of the door's frame in an ill-advised attempt to ineffectively to block the entrance to her home.
Scoffing at the teenager's show defiance Claire warns her, "Little girl, it's going to take a lot more than that to keep us from talking to Matt."
Indifferent to the older woman's implied hostility, Molly holds her ground as she grinds out between clenched teeth, "You better get out of here before I call the cops!"
Squaring her shoulders, Claire takes a couple of steps forward readdressing her young opponent in a threatening manner, "The cops, seriously? I'm Homeland Security, sweetheart. And I got a shiny badge that says I call the shots, not them.
So I think you better move your skinny ass from the door before I move it for you."
Refusing to back down from the challenge Molly's grip on the frame tightens as she boldly leans forward and says with a rebellious sneer, "Bring it, bitch!"
Claire takes the admonishment as an open invitation to mayhem. And in a blink of an eye her hands reach out to try to remove Molly forcibly and with extreme prejudice.
Afraid for the girl's safety I plead to Peter to intervene, "Pete, do something."
"Already on it," he replies with a nod.
Anxiously I observe how he gracefully whips his hand out to unleash the invisible fetters of telekinesis. And in no time at all Petrelli manages to freeze Claire in mid-motion, thus preventing her from doing Molly any harm.
The teenager however is still vexed by her adopted father's refusal to come to her aid. And she wastes no time in showing her great displeasure when hollers at him one more time, "You need to come over here right now, Matt! It's an emergency."
Matt, obviously put out by Molly's insistence, emits a profound sigh that seems to rattle the walls of the tenement. Before long I hear a rustling sound followed by the distinct reverberation of a series of loud footfalls that could only be made by someone large and heavy.
Soon enough the ex-policeman emerges from one of the bedrooms with the fussy baby in tow. Right away I notice that he's dressed in a dark colored suit and his head is adorned with a black yarmulke, the traditional skullcap worn by observant male Jews in times of prayer or ceremonial occasions.
It doesn't take me long at all to deduce what's happening here. Matt and Molly are clad in clothes of mourning, austere attire designed to be worn for a funereal service.
Damn it, we're in trouble!
Sure enough, as soon as Parkman catches sight of us his expression hardens as he yells at his daughter. "Mol, take Daniella and go back in the bedroom!"
When Molly starts to protest he bares his teeth at her and growls, "Do as I say! NOW! And don't come out of there until I tell you to!"
With teary eyes the teenager silently obeys her father. Hastily she scoops her baby sister away from her dad and into her arms. She then scurries away to distance herself and her young charge from impending danger.
As soon as we all hear the bedroom door slam shut Matt hastily reaches inside his jacket to retrieve his trusty Glock 28 subcompact pistol. He then raises the weapon aiming it in our general vicinity.
"You have a lot nerve showing your faces around here, especially you Bennet!" he rages at Claire, the hatred he feels for her radiates out of his pores.
Claire, who has since been released from Peter's mental clutches, carefully raises her hands up in what seems like a sign of surrender.
"Easy, Matt," she tries to cajole the former law-enforcement officer. She decides to keep talking, trying to hold Parkman's attention while she surreptitiously slips past the threshold. Peter and I aren't too far behind as we follow Claire's lead.
"Look, all we want is some information. Once we get it we'll leave you and your family alone."
His body quakes with fury as he trains the gun right at Claire. And as he pulls back the slide on the Glock to load a round into the firing chamber he advises her of the following, "Yeah, just like you left my family alone two days ago? I buried my wife, today, Claire! My wife! Daphne's dead because of you, you cold-blooded harpy!"
My eyes immediately dart over to Claire and I'm surprised by her expression of remorse.
"Matt, I'm so sorry about Daphne," she quickly apologizes. Shockingly, Claire almost sounds sincere to me.
"I didn't know what had happened to her after the explosion. But please believe me when I tell you that I didn't mean for her to get hurt. She was my friend, Matt. And I cared about her."
"Yeah, I bet you did. The only thing you care about is being the President's lapdog! He says 'go fetch' and you do just that, don't you Claire?" Matt spits out as he curls a trembling finger around the trigger.
I don't need I.A. to tell me that we've only got precious seconds before a bloodbath ensues. I glance nervously over at Peter who by now has arrived to the same foregone conclusion.
Wisely, Pete and I allow Claire to keep the focus on her. Besides she's the one that's been trained for these kinds of situations, therefore the best equipped to talk Matt down.
Meanwhile, Petrelli and I try not to draw too much attention to ourselves in the hopes that we can somehow create a diversion and disarm the distraught telepath.
"Listen, Matt," Claire tries again to appeal to his better senses, "The world is in danger and we need your help to save it."
Parkman, unmoved by Claire's plea, only shakes his head with antipathy. "It's always something with you, isn't it? Five years ago we had to save you to save the world. And I almost lost my life because of it!
And now after all this time, you come here to my home with a fucking serial killer and a terrorist to ask for my help again? After what you did? I don't think so."
Matt then raises his weapon and readies himself to fire. In that split second I look over to Claire and our eyes lock on one another. And for that brief moment in time I suddenly catch a glimpse of all the memories of the girl I used to love (that I still love) reflected in those eyes of green.
The first time we made love…our wedding day…the first dance we ever shared…the day our son was born…the day she broke my heart.
I see it all, every vivid recollection with perfect clarity. And I know now what I have to do.
The next few seconds go by with shuttered alacrity-every action is captured, frame by frame, disallowing any leeway to prevent me from doing the unthinkable.
As expected, Matt closes both hands around his weapon and then fires the gun. Claire, meanwhile, is only a given fragments of a second to brace for the impact of the bullet.
Peter's yelling out, "Nooooooooooo!"
And true to form, he's already got a hand up in the air. No doubt he'll to try to stop or change the trajectory of the shot before it hits Claire full in the chest.
But I'm faster than Peter for once. And without a moment's hesitation, I throw myself in front of my ex-wife, using my body to shield her from Parkman's bullet. Claire is clearly alarmed by my self-sacrifice as I see those emerald eyes grow wide with shock.
"Oh my God, Gabriel," she whispers fearfully as she immediately moves toward me.
But it's too late. The projectile has already pierced through the many layers of flesh and bone as the force of the impact swiftly drops me to my knees. Claire goes down with me as she awkwardly catches me in her arms. As my chest blooms with pain I suddenly find it hard to breathe.
I try to speak but I'm prevented from uttering a single word when I taste the metallic tang of my own blood flooding my mouth. Somehow, I know that the bullet has lodged itself in one of my lungs making respiration next to impossible.
"Hush, don't try to talk," Claire's wobbly voice instructs me as she lays me down on the hardwood floor. Her hands shake but they work quickly to rip open my blood-stained sweater vest followed by the plaid button-down shirt.
"Peter, take care of Parkman!" she abruptly commands her uncle as she examines the extent of my injury. Next she places her hands over the exit wound to stave off the flow of blood.
"Two steps ahead of you, Claire," I hear Pete answer back.
Slowly I turn my head. My vision is gradually fading. But I can still make out the image of an incensed Matt Parkman pinned to the wall like a big fat butterfly in a display case. Pete must have slapped him up there after the gun went off.
"How bad is it?" I hear him ask my own personal Florence Nightingale.
Claire grouses as she continues to try to alleviate my discomfort, "Bad enough. It looks like the bullet punctured the left lung. Jesus, there's so much blood and he's going to drown in it if I don't do something!"
Well, she's confirmed it -I'm dying. Yet despite this grim prognosis my heart swells with love for the woman hovering above me.
She does still care for me. Look at her trying to save me when she knows in her heart that I'm a goner.
If she fights this fiercely to try to keep me alive God only knows what lengths she'll go to get Noah back.
There's only one thing left to say and then I'll let go.
"Claire," I try to articulate with a strangled gurgle. I want to touch her face so badly, to feel her skin just one more time. Carefully I lift a limp hand to place it on the curve of her cheek. I almost draw back, surprised by the moisture flowing freely down her face.
"Shut up, Sylar," Claire chides me as she to tries to maintain a brave front for my sake. "Didn't I tell you not to talk?"
It's true, she did. But I'm going to be a hard-headed bastard right to the end.
"S-s-save Noah, can you d-do that for me, baby doll?" I feel a deathly chill just then as my body starts to quiver in its last death throes.
The second she hears her old pet name, Claire cradles my head in her lap. She begins to sob openly while her fingers tenderly run through my hair just like she used to do when we were married.
"Don't you dare die on me you stupid son-of-a-bitch!" she commands in between sobs. "Not now! You're Sylar, and Sylar always lives to fight another day!"
"N-not this time, b-baby," I try to whisper to her until I'm attacked by a hacking cough that slashes through my lungs and throat.
Angered by my admission of defeat she seethes through her tears, "Fuck you! If you think I'm going to allow you to take away my right to put a bullet between your eyes, well then think again, asshole. Nobody gets to kill you but me!"
In a direct affront to the harshness of her words, she gently rests my head on the floor. She then turns her glare toward Parkman who is still immobilized against the wall.
"You, Doughnut-Boy, where are your syringes?" she quickly asks the beleaguered widower.
In spite of his current predicament Matt chooses to remain uncooperative. "I don't know what you're talking about," he claims with a livid grimace.
In one fluid motion Claire pulls out her .38 from the back of her pants as she rises to her feet. Armed and ready, she expertly cocks the gun and then points the barrel right at Parkman's vulnerable groin area.
"You've got until the count of three to tell me where you keep your syringes, Parkman. Daphne told me you're a diabetic and that you have to inject yourself with insulin everyday.
Guess you couldn't lay off those crullers, huh? Now tell me where they are before I turn you from a mister to a sister."
"Claire, don't…" Peter begs as he keeps his hold on Matt.
"Stay out of this, Peter!" she growls. "Gabriel's dying because of this prick."
"One…" she starts to count down.
"Fuck you, you bitch! Go ahead and do it. You're just like your fucking father, aren't you?" Matt cries out.
Unfazed by his poor use of reverse psychology, Claire coldly continues with the backward count, "Two…"
Just then I hear the high-pitched squeal of a young girl's voice slicing through the tension filled air. "Wait, wait please don't shoot!"
Molly's back and judging from the sour look on foster dad's puss, he none too pleased to see her.
"Young lady, you are so grounded! Didn't I tell you not to come out here?"
Ignoring both her guardian's severe reprimand and the gun aimed at his nether regions, Molly quickly walks over Claire to roughly shove a box of insulin syringes with the micro-fine needles at her.
"Here," the teenager glowers. "I hope you choke on them."
I really have to give Molly credit- the girl's got guts. Not too bad in the brains department either. In those two respects she reminds me a lot of Claire.
"You'd better listen to daddy and get back in that room, Molly," my ex maliciously warns the girl.
Molly says nothing in return. She doesn't have to since that angry scowl she's wearing speaks volumes for her. But as the young woman starts to stomp her way toward the master suite, Claire suddenly calls out, "Hey, kid…thanks."
Upon hearing Claire's words of gratitude, the human GPS momentarily halts mid-stride but remains silent. She then resumes her trek until she disappears into the dark recesses of the hallway that leads to her waiting sanctuary.
Claire meantime has already put away her weapon with one hand while the other has fished out a lone syringe from the 100 count box which now lays discarded on the floor.
I watch with vested interest as she lowers herself onto her knees while shrugging the black leather jacket off her shoulders. Next she uses her blunt teeth to tear open the sterile wrapping of the empty hypodermic. Afterward she flips off the plastic stopper with her thumb. Wearing an expression of grim determination Claire then holds out her arm, finds a good vein and deeply plunges the needle in.
Having done this maneuver a thousand of times before, it doesn't take her long at all to extract the right amount of the miraculous elixir that is her blood. As she removes the syringe from her punctured blood vessel, a gasp slips past my blood stained lips as I witness the tiny wound close itself up. Even as I lay dying I'm still fascinated by that wonderful ability.
However, I don't have long to muse about Claire's genetic attributes when I feel the sharp sting of the needle being stabbed directly into the bullet wound. Wincing in pain, my back arches. Meanwhile a resolute Claire presses her thumb down on the hypo's plunger, injecting every drop her curative blood into my body.
As I grow colder still and my field of vision dims, Claire takes out the syringe, leans back on her haunches and waits…
Moments later I barely hear the sound of a muffled yet anguished cry, "Nothing's happening!"
"No, wait. Look Claire…the wound is closing up! Holy shit! It's working, it's working!" Peter's elation is so great, it's like he's just won the Power-Ball Jackpot or something.
But he's right- the healing properties in Claire's blood start to work their magic as I feel myself being pulled back from the brink of death. Skin re-knits itself as the shattered bone fragments of my ribs fuse back together. Gradually my strength and vitality return to me as does my sense of sight. Meanwhile, my punctured lung re-inflates with precious sweet oxygen. I inhale deeply until I'm plagued with a sudden coughing fit. There's no cause for alarm though since I know my body is still fighting to expel the metal obstruction currently making its way up through my esophagus.
Very soon the bullet is exorcized from of my mouth with one final earsplitting wheeze from my windpipe only to land on the floor with a bloody plunk.
But just as I'm about express my gratitude, I'm unexpectedly besieged by sharp muscular contractions all over my body. My eyes roll into the back of my head as the rhythmic flexing and relaxing makes me cry out in agony. I can feel my heartbeat accelerate as I continue to ride out whatever the hell this malady is.
Confused and disoriented, I don't understand what's happening me-it's as if I'm being electrocuted. Strangely, I'm nowhere near a source of high-voltage. And the only person I know that can generate this much juice is now six-feet under.
I should know because I put her there.
As the unexplained convulsions continue to violently whip through my body, I hear Peter yelling, "Oh, shit, he's seizing. Quick, shove something into his mouth before he bites off his tongue!"
Seconds later I feel something soft and pliable being thrust into my mouth. I don't know what it is…and I don't care. The only thing I want to do is sink my teeth in to stop myself from screaming.
Before long though, the bodily tremors slowly begin to subside. And as the world gradually comes back into focus that's when I realize that Claire's forearm is still between my teeth.
I offer up a muffled apology, "Sorry."
Peeved at my using her as a chew toy, Claire wrenches her arm away to allow the bite-marks to heal.
"What in the hell was that?" she asks, her eyes darken with suspicion.
"It looked like a grand mal from where I'm standing," Peter chimed in worriedly.
"I don't know," I say simply.
Whatever happened...it's left me feeling peculiarly whole again and more like myself than I've been in a long time. Eventually a great sense of relief starts to take over.
And then that's when I sense it- that familiar pulse, the reassuring surge of power thrumming through every part of my being. I turn to Claire grinning from ear to ear.
When she sees my manic blood-stained smile, she warily asks me, "H-how do you feel?"
Suddenly, I sit up lifting my left arm in the process. And as Parkman, Pete and Claire curiously look on I aim my outstretched hand toward the cluttered kitchen table which had been set up to feed family and friends of the bereaved. Amongst the array of cold-cuts, unopened soda pop cans and other luncheon items, I spy a full bottle of Heinz ketchup that's just calling my name.
Then with just a thought followed by a twitch of my fingers, I will the red-colored condiment to fly across the room into my grasp.
All three witnesses to my show of restored power are rendered speechless. I then turn to my ex-wife and confidently declare, "How do I feel, Claire? I feel like I can take on the world!"
A/N: Okay, there it is chapter 14! When I started writing this I had a whole other direction I was taking this, especially the confrontation with Parkman. However, my impish muse had other ideas. And well this is the result.
I know some of you naysayers may like not the way I wrote Molly. But let's remember people that it is 4 years later. Furthermore, when IABD was filmed the actress that played Molly was still technically 10 years-old in real-life even though her character had aged. That didn't make sense to me. In my opinion, if the writers and producers were smart, they would have hired an older actress to play teen-aged Molly.
Anyway…enough with my grumblings about the show. Did you like this chapter, did you hate it? Please let me know by clicking that little button below.