Title: All the Pretty Moments
Rating: Adult/NC-17
Summary: Wall-verse. Peter counts the moments between them, marks every chink in his armor… counting the moments makes them clear, he cannot slip again… Peter/Sylar
Spoilers: Season 1-4

A/N: I actually started writing this when The Wall first aired through to the season finale, but doing the initial revisions became frustrating so I let it collect dust for a while. I'm glad I picked it up again and shook the dust off, I'm a little proud of this one, so hopefully it's as good as I seem to think… Oh, and reasons why can irritate me: it refused to acknowledge my story breaks (which I usually mark with an asterisk), so I had to switch to using zeros instead. :/

Empathy was more than just a power for him. It was who he was, it was how he lived. Peter needed people, needed connections, needed the sound and rhythm and touch of others to stay sane.

This place, this dream, nightmare, whatever it was, was more than just a hell for Sylar. It was a hell for him. It was a terrible, aching emptiness that was constantly pressing down on him from every side.

He was drowning in the quiet, the aloneness, the vast sprawl of the city that should be teeming with life and activity but instead was nothing but a silent, looming mausoleum for its two, sole occupants.

The feeble thread that connected them was his only lifeline in this dead sea; a thin fishing line of string their only anchor to sanity, humanity.

He hated himself the first time he let his anger slip. Let his weakness and need for someone, anyone, to take the place of his resentment.

They were at a construction site, looking for anything that might help them take down The Wall.

Naturally they took their separate paths, Sylar deciding to rummage through a nearby supply truck while Peter chose to venture into the half-renovated building.

"Be careful in there," Sylar called to him when he noticed Peter's direction, "Watch where you step and what you touch."

"I know how to be careful," Peter had snapped at him, "I don't need you to remind me."

Sylar just shrugged and turned away, saying, "Just be careful you don't make this a repeat of the attic incident."

Peter froze in his tracks.

"What did you just say?"

"The attic incident. We were in the attic looking around for all our old stuff and you fell through the ceiling. We hadn't known there were boards missing in the floor and you fell through; broke your arm."

Peter threw himself at him, pinning him to the side of the truck and throwing a punch as hard as he could to Sylar's jaw, fistful of his coat and shaking him so roughly it nearly knocked his feet out from under him.

"That's Nathan's memory!" he shouted furiously, "That's not yours, that's not you! Don't you do that, not ever. You're not him. You're nothing like him!"

Peter shoved him away and stormed off, not even bothering to see Sylar pick himself up off the ground, wiping blood from his lip and following Peter silently with his eyes as the he disappeared into the building.

How dare he? How could he? How dare he throw that memory in Peter's face, he had no right.

Silently Peter fumed as he rummaged through the tools and supplies littered around the building.

Come on, damnit, there had to be something.

Finally he found a few sledgehammers near a partially demolished wall. He hefted the weight of each in turn, taking the two heaviest.

He eyed the wall in front of him, eyes flicking between it and the sledgehammer in his hands.

He raised it over his head and brought it crashing down against the dry wall. It made a satisfying crash as the tool plowed right through it.

He grinned triumphantly as he pulled the hammer out of the wall, pulling chunks more with it.

He raised it again. And again. And again as he experimented with the strength and stance and vented his anger at Sylar, at Parkman, at this whole damn mess.

He hadn't expected to hit a support beam.

There was an echoing crack and the eerie groan of the wood in the wall and the ceiling as Peter's eyes grew wide with shock and fear.

He yanked the sledgehammer out of the wall, tried to grab the other and run but he wasn't fast enough.

The ceiling came down with a horrifying crash on top of him, wood and plaster and god knows what else…

The last thing Peter remembered was that noise before it all went black.

0 0 0

"Peter! Peter!"

Sylar was calling his name, touching his shoulder and pushing the rubble off him with a grunt of exertion.

Peter gave a violent cough as the dust went up his nose and in his mouth, trying weakly to move, to help Sylar push the heavy debris off him.

Sylar grabbed his arm, sliding it around his shoulders to pull Peter out of the room and away from the wreckage.

Peter's legs buckled in the hallway and Sylar let them both sink to the floor.

Later Peter would justify his actions with disorientation; he was shaken, he was in pain, he was practically blinded by all the dust and choking on it…

He instinctively held onto Sylar, fingers tightening in his coat as he pressed his face into Sylar's chest, gasping for breath and coughing as Sylar held back, arms holding strong around his shoulders as his heart raced under Peter's cheek and his breath panted in fear.

"Are you hurt? Peter, are you hurt?"

Peter clung to him desperately, head buzzing and body throbbing with dull pain.

"I'm ok," he coughed hoarsely, "I'm ok, it's alright…"

They stayed like that until the dust settled on and around them, Peter just breathing in Sylar's smell and hearing his breath and heartbeat in his chest and feeling Sylar's arms holding him tight. Holding him together.

A month. A month he had gone without any touch at all, nothing so much as a simple pat on the shoulder and now this; this overwhelming feeling of solidity in feeling someone else, knowing they were real and alive and warm.

When Peter finally stopped trembling he let go, arms sliding away as he looked back at what was once the ceiling of a room.

Slowly he made to stand and Sylar helped him, Peter wincing in pain as a multitude of bruises made themselves known.

"What are you doing?" Sylar asked as Peter gently pushed him away and stepped back into the room.

"I found sledgehammers," he said, looking frantically around in the debris for any sign of the tools, "they may be the only thing we've got to get through The Wall…"

Wordlessly Sylar helped him look, and after several delicate shifts of the fallen wood and plaster they found them, still intact.

Peter breathed a sigh of relief and Sylar shouldered them as they made their way out.

0 0 0

He hated himself even more the second time it happened.

He was discouraged; he had been throwing his whole weight behind every swing of the sledgehammer and not even so much as a goddamn chip in The Wall.

Sylar had made him stop when he nearly dropped the hammer on his foot for a third time, his muscles so exhausted he could barely keep a grip on the handle.

Now they were back in "their" apartment, Peter lying wearily on the sofa as he listened to Sylar moving around in the kitchen, cooking.

It was still surprising to him; no matter how long they had spent together by now, that Sylar was such a good cook. It just didn't seem to fit him and Peter wondered idly of it was just a weird affect of this dream world that everything Sylar cooked tasted fabulous.

In the grand scheme of things, it hadn't taken long for Peter to submit to Sylar's insistence that he eat. He didn't need to, it was true, but he still felt hunger and tiredness and all the other biological imperatives he felt in the real world, including pain and injury (and, annoyingly enough, the resulting healing time) so when he indulged those impulses he just felt better. A little closer to normal and besides, it was a good distraction when he was fed up.

He felt Sylar gently put a warm plate on his abdomen and Peter carefully lifted his exhausted arm from where it was draped over his eyes to look at the plate of pasta Sylar had given him. It looked and smelled delicious, and Peter's stomach rumbled in response.

Carefully he lifted the plate as he sat up and turned so his back was against the cushions of the couch and his feet were back on the floor.

"Thanks," he murmured quietly as he forced his tired arm to pick up the fork.

"You're welcome Peter," Sylar replied just as quietly as he settled himself in the chair across the room, picking up Pillars of the Earth from where it was lying on the arm rest.

Peter watched him flip open the pages and begin reading, occasionally taking bites of his pasta between passages.

Peter took a forkful up to his mouth. It was fantastic, just as expected, but he also supposed he was so hungry and exhausted that dirt would have tasted good.

They chewed in silence for several long minutes, before suddenly Peter found himself asking, "Why do you just keep reading that over and over again?"

Sylar looked up at him in surprise.

"What?"

"Pillars of the Earth. You just keep reading it over and over again. There have to be other books here, why that one?"

Sylar looked down at his plate, idly pushing the pasta around with his fork.

Finally he shrugged.

"I don't know," he admitted quietly, "I just like it I guess."

He looked up at Peter again, and Peter could see an almost anxious look in his eyes.

Peter shrugged back at him and took another bite.

"I liked Catcher in the Rye," he found himself saying a moment later, "in high school. Read it at least half a dozen times."

"I know," Sylar replied softly, and Peter's eyes snapped up to him.

"Don't," he warned.

Sylar nodded meekly as he took another forkful of food.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly, "I really don't mean to. It just kind of happens. A memory will hit me so vividly it's like it's happening right now, at this moment. It's strange, knowing so much about you, knowing your life."

"You don't know anything," Peter growled, "Having my brother's stolen memories doesn't mean you know me. Nathan knew me, you don't."

Sylar looked up at him, but didn't say anything.

Peter held his gaze for a long moment before looking back down at his plate.

Several more long minutes passed in silence as they ate.

"What's it about, anyway? Pillars of the Earth," he asked unexpectedly.

Again Sylar seemed taken aback.

"An architect," he answered, "Who's building a church."

Peter nodded.

"I can read it out loud, of you want," Sylar offered suddenly, and Peter's eyes flicked up to him.

Sylar shifted nervously under his stare, the anxious look back again.

"Yeah," he finally replied quietly, "Sure. Go ahead."

It was better than the looming silence, Peter justified to himself.

A ghost of a smile appeared on Sylar's face as he shuffled to the first page of the book and began to read as Peter stood to clean up their empty plates.

"In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house…"

0 0 0

It was the third time that damned him. The third time that sealed his anger at himself, at Sylar. For being weak, for wanting when they shouldn't. For wanting everything they shouldn't. The third time that made him stop counting all the moments between them because who cared, really?

It was the third time that saved him, in the end.

Three years. Peter could only guess how much time was passing in the real world. Minutes? Hours?

He was getting desperate now, going as long and as hard as he could with the sledgehammer, never making any damn difference, but he had to try. Whatever it took. As long as it took.

And through it all Sylar was there, a constant presence over his shoulder, equal parts annoying as it was comforting.

Today was no exception. It was raining, a complete downpour that made working on The Wall nearly impossible, simply because the slick rain would make his grip slide on the handle of the sledgehammer.

So he and Sylar were confined to the apartment, trying to keep themselves occupied without interfering with each other.

That was another thing he didn't really get about this world. Most days it was just a cloudy sort of atmosphere, giving the city a kind of gray hue. Then randomly it would start pouring rain or there would be blinding sunlight, with no warning and no real indicators they could figure.

"Goddamnit!" Peter fumed in the kitchen, slamming his hand against the cupboard that refused to open for him, "I hate this place!"

Without a word, Sylar came into the kitchen and leaned around him to bang once with the heel of his palm next to the offending cupboard's handle. It sprang open immediately, and Peter fumed over the trick he had yet to master.

Sylar wisely retreated to the doorway, watching Peter rummage through the cupboard in search of ingredients for the stew he was preparing.

"What do you want Sylar?" Peter asked gruffly, back to the man as he prepared their dinner. He had offered to cook, if for no other reason other than to give him something to do.

"I'm just watching," Sylar said quietly.

"Why, so you can tell me how I'm doing it wrong?" Peter snapped as he pulled frozen vegetables out of the freezer. He still wasn't sure of the rationale of this dream world; the electricity continued to work, as well as their gas stove and running water, but other things simply didn't exist, like cars.

"No," Sylar replied simply.

That annoyed him a lot too, Sylar's one word answers.

"Then make yourself useful," Peter pointed to the sink where frozen beef cubes were defrosting. That was another weird thing about this dream world. There weren't any fresh foods, like produce, but anything that was frozen or tinned stayed eatable seemingly forever. They'd clean out one store, then move onto the next, in their seemingly endless city, "grab them and pull out a cutting board."

Sylar did as Peter bade him, and even went an extra step to open the beef cubes and put them on a plate so the cutting board didn't become crowded.

He handed them off to Peter silently and Peter murmured a muted "Thanks."

"Anything else I can do?"

Peter considered him for a moment, looking at Sylar's earnest features questioningly.

"Yeah," he finally answered, handing over the frozen vegetables, "Measure out a cup of each…"

Sylar nodded and began without a word, of which Peter was grateful. Usually it seemed that whenever they did anything even remotely domestic, Sylar came under the impression they should make conversation.

Peter began cutting the beef cubes into smaller pieces, occasionally trimming off a bit of extra fat here and there. He liked tasks like these, where he could use his hands for something precise, instead of just the mindless swinging of the sledgehammer.

A bit of the fat on an edge of a piece gave him trouble, and he furrowed his brows as he angled the knife and put bit of force behind the sawing motion.

Suddenly the knife slipped, cutting into his hand with a sharp pain.

"Fuck!" he cursed, dropping the knife and holding his injured hand as it throbbed painfully.

"You ok?" Sylar asked immediately, stepping close and reaching for Peter's hand.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Peter said through gritted teeth as he side-stepped Sylar and went to the sink to run cool water over the cut.

Sylar looked over Peter's shoulder as he handed him a towel to wrap his hand in.

"That looks kinda bad," he said, taking Peter's hand in his and gently wiping the blood away from the cut to get a better look at it. New blood welled up immediately, and Sylar pressed the towel over it firmly.

"Come here," Sylar said, pulling Peter gently in the direction of the bathroom, "We'll get you patched up."

Peter tried to pull away, "I can do it, don't worry about it."

"Peter," Sylar said gently, holding his hand a little tighter, "it's harder to bandage a hand injury for yourself. Let me help."

Peter looked up at him for a long moment, and not for the first time anger threatened to boil over, at Sylar's pathetic attempts at being kind, of trying to somehow make it up to him…

"Please," Sylar added.

Peter sighed, looking at him steadily. His hand throbbed painfully and he knew he wouldn't be able to bandage it properly, but he didn't want help, not from him…

"Fine," he finally said gruffly, letting Sylar lead him into the bathroom, and sitting on the sink as Sylar pulled the first aid kit out from under it.

Peter watched Sylar carefully pull out antiseptic and gauze, arranging them on the sink carefully. He pulled out a cotton ball and poured some antiseptic on it before turning to him and pulling the towel carefully away from the wound.

Peter hissed as it stung sharply and Sylar held his wrist in a careful grasp, long fingers warm against his skin.

"Wow, you really sliced your hand, didn't you?" Sylar chastised gently, throwing the cotton ball away and reaching for the gauze.

"Yeah," Peter said detachedly, and Sylar's long fingers caressed his wrist in a feeble attempt at comfort.

"You ok?" he asked with concern.

"Trapped in a dream world with my arch enemy and frozen vegetables? Yeah, I'm fucking peachy."

Sylar's paused for a moment, jaw clenching slightly before continuing with his task.

Peter stared unfocused at the wall opposite him, mind running over and over the past three years, all the backbreaking work of pounding and pounding relentlessly on The Wall and for what? Absolutely nothing. All the fight suddenly seemed to seep out of him in a moment of pure, unaltered misery.

"I feel useless," he whispered, and in his peripheral vision he could see Sylar watching him, "Helpless, frustrated. Three years and not a mark on The Wall," he gave a bitter laugh, "I'm starting to lose faith that it's even possible…"

"Don't," Sylar said quietly, and Peter looked at him slowly, Sylar's face despondent as he swallowed hard and continued, "Don't lose faith. I need you to have hope for us."

"Why?" Peter's voice was a hollow whisper.

Sylar looked back to Peter's half-bandaged hand, pausing before finishing softly, "Because you give me hope. I gave up trying to get out years ago. But every time I see you out there, pounding on The Wall with damn sledgehammer," he gave a weak smile, "I have a little faith that it's possible. That there's still a world beyond this hell."

Sylar finished bandaging his hand and clasped it gently between his two larger ones before looking up.

"Please have faith Peter," he paused before reaching up and gently cupping the side of his face, thumb caressing his cheekbones and fingers grazing his ear warmly, "For both of us."

Peter stayed still, wracked with indecision. He should pull away. This was The Enemy, the man who murdered his brother, the reason they were trapped here…

Sylar blushed slightly, began to pull away and Peter grabbed him impulsively, holding Sylar's hand to his head and using his bandaged hand to grasp his shoulder and pull him closer.

He pressed his forehead against Sylar's shoulder, closing his eyes and barely daring to breathe.

He felt Sylar tense and hesitate, uncertain, before he slid his hand from Peter's head to wrap around his shoulders as the other slid around his waist.

"Thank you," Peter said softly, his fingers tracing gently along Sylar's shoulder blade as the other continued to grasp his shoulder.

Sylar's breath was warm against his ear and neck, and Peter willed his buzzing thoughts to quiet. He didn't want to think of the ramifications of this. Not now. He couldn't.

Sylar began to pull away and Peter let him, loathing his disappointment.

Until Sylar's lips brushed against his cheek, so light it could have been an accident.

Peter knew it wasn't.

So he leaned up and kissed the taller man's mouth, not thinking, not daring to.

Sylar let out a trembling breath and froze. Peter's heart just about stopped in that moment of hesitation; suddenly terrified he had ruined everything.

Then suddenly Sylar was kissing back, gently at first but turning increasingly desperate in his touch.

He was just as starved for this as Peter was.

That realization hit Peter hard, right in his gut, and suddenly they were wound together, lips and tongues pressing and tasting, hard and needy.

Peter spread his legs and pulled Sylar against him, both of them trembling as they fought with each other's shirts, craving skin to skin contact so much it was almost a physical hurt.

Finally the cumbersome fabric was off and Sylar wrapped strong arms around Peter's hips and pulled him forward, almost off the edge of the sink and Peter had to lean back to keep his balance, shoulders against the cold mirror and knees raising to press against Sylar's sides, but it didn't matter because they were touching; chest and groins pressed flush against each other and Sylar made a tiny, desperate whine in his throat that went straight to Peter's cock.

"God, please," Peter panted when Sylar's mouth left his and traveled down his neck, kissing and biting and licking in gentle desperation, "Fuck me, please."

That earned him a deep groan and a hard grind from Sylar that was almost too much.

"Please please please," Peter panted, nails pressing and dragging down Sylar's back to make him moan and writhe, "please…!" the last came out as a desperate, breathy cry as Sylar bit the juncture of his neck and shoulder before licking soothingly at the mark.

"Fuck. Anything," Sylar moaned in promise.

Peter fumbled to open the drawer under the sink, had to push Sylar away long enough to get to it, looking blindly for anything that could serve as even marginal lubrication, and was momentarily startled when he managed to find the real deal… it had definitely not been there before.

But then Sylar was laving and nipping a spot just behind his ear and he stopped caring if it appeared out of thin air or, hell, even if had been left there by bloody fairies.

He pushed it into Sylar's hand as he kissed him hard and reached for his pants, shaking hands fumbling with the taller man's belt but finally managing as Sylar did the same to him.

He slid off the sink when he finally freed Sylar from his pants and turned around, pressing and rubbing against him almost roughly.

Sylar took the hint and pulled Peter's pants the rest of the way down.

He heard the top come off the lube, and the slick, sticky sound of Sylar coating his fingers.

He gasped when Sylar pressed a slick finger inside him, hands scrambling for purchase and finally finding the edges of the sink. He was being careful, Peter knew, but it still hurt.

"You ok?" Sylar asked, kissing Peter's shoulder as he moved his fingers, loosening Peter slowly.

"I'm fine," Peter panted, "keep going, don't stop…"

If Sylar was anything, he was meticulous. Never pressing more than Peter could take, moving carefully up from one finger to two, scissoring him open.

Peter whined at the slow withdrawal of fingers, jerking his hips back roughly and Sylar held him still, large hands spread over his hips as he pressed something much bigger that fingers against him.

"Ready?" Sylar murmured, kissing his shoulder again so painfully lovingly it hurt Peter's heart to even think about it.

"Do it," he demanded roughly, trying to push back again, and again Sylar held him still, pushing in slowly, carefully, and it was driving Peter crazy.

"Don't be gentle!" Peter snapped, suddenly angry, "Hard, rough!"

"Peter-"

"No, get away," Peter growled. He was a fool. He tried to twist out of Sylar's grasp-

He cried out when Sylar grabbed him, shoved inside him hard enough to jolt him against the sink, bruise his thighs where they pressed against it.

"This is what you want?" Sylar growled, with a hard bite to the back of his neck that made his eyes roll up in his head, "Hard, hurt."

"Yessss…" Peter groaned, forehead pressed against the mirror, trembling and panting, "God, yes…"

Peter nearly cried in relief when Sylar finally moved; jerking into him with hard, sharp thrusts that left him breathless.

Sylar's hands strayed from his hips, first traveling up his waist and over his chest, then dragging back down, digging his nails in and leaving red lines that made Peter hiss.

"Rough enough for you?" Sylar growled in his ear, and all Peter could do was whine breathily in reply. Sylar gave a small, dark laugh, "Good, 'cause you're going to love this."

Peter nearly screamed when Sylar gripped the sink on either side of his hips, using it for leverage and holding him tight as he rose up on his toes to shift the angle, the pressure, and it hit directly against his prostate, ripping strangled screams of pleasure from his throat at every thrust.

"OhGodohGodohGod…" Peter squeaked.

"Look up Petrelli," Sylar purred against his neck, and Peter trembled, but didn't move.

"Look up!" he growled again, taking one arm off the sink to grip Peter's hair and yank him back.

Peter gasped at the pain and looked up into the mirror. He trembled at his own heavy-lidded expression, the blissed-out daze, and Sylar… eyes so blown wide with lust they looked black, breathing hard and hot against his neck.

"Keep watching," Sylar panted, letting go of his grip on Peter's hair and sliding his hand lower, down his back and around his hips to grasp his cock, pulling tight, sharp jerks.

Peter let out a strangled sound and came so hard he saw stars, barely registered Sylar coming with him until the taller man was slumping against him, shaking as bad as Peter was and making a high, breathy sound.

Sylar looked up into the mirror, watching Peter watching him. He pulled out slowly and sank to the bathroom floor, back against the wall behind him as Peter followed weakly.

Peter was too exhausted to care when Sylar reached up and guided him to sit between his sprawled legs, too blissed out to care when Sylar wrapped an arm around his torso and pulled him back to lean against his chest while they caught their breath.

They fell asleep there, dozing in and out of post-coital slumber.

0 0 0

"It's a brave new world."

Peter looked from the high ferris wheel to the man standing beside him.

Five years of fighting, five years of anger, of the desire to hurt turning slowly to the desire to touch, losing track of the moments that defined them, their evolution from enemies to a truce to more… Somewhere in that time their hate turned to love, though Peter couldn't pinpoint where, or how.

But looking at him now, his eyes full of hope and a kind of peace, Peter knew without question that whatever this "Brave New World" had in store, he wanted Sylar to face it with him.

"Yeah," Peter agreed quietly, gently lacing their fingers together. Sylar looked at him, all the hope and love reflected in his eyes that Peter was finally able to accept… and return, "It certainly is."

Fin.