Sylar walked out of the Bennet home invigorated. He was back! The pursuit of power, the killing. He loved it! The hunger needed satisfying. He needed more, maybe then he'd be strong enough, good enough. On to the next victim, but without Mohinder's list he was at the mercy of fate and chance.

******************************************************

Leyla walked through the alley towards home keeping her mental blocks in place. She would have sense him if she'd been the tiniest bit open. As it was she barely saw him until he was nearly on top of her. She had a moment of panic where she thought he was there to take her money or her virtue. Suddenly she was thrown against the wall, an invisible hand choking her. She threw down her psychic shields and began to get a read on him. He wanted her ability and he'd kill her to get it.

"You really should take more care, sweetness. Using your ability out in the open like that. One second your on one side of the bar the next your clear across. The guy did look like an asshole but you could have just refused his drink. Everybody in the place was so messed up I'm sure no one else noticed. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I can't seem to get drunk anymore."

Leyla tried to speak around the force at her throat.

"I'm sorry, Leyla is it?" Sylar loosens his mental grip. "Do you have something to add?"

"Please, don't do this."

"I thought you were going contribute to this conversation? How about something useful? How did you do it? Teleportation, time manipulation, enhanced speed?

"Um . . . em"

"Come on spit it out."

"Empathic absorption."

"Oh sh- . . ."

Sylar was now the one thrown against the wall. When his skull connected with the bricks, his hold on Leyla faltered. She dropped to the ground gasping and coughing. Sylar came unsteadily to his feet, moving towards Leyla.

"No," she said soundlessly, stopping Sylar with a thought. He was now the one paralyzed.

Leyla walked towards Sylar, hand outstretched. Sylar tried to move away but was unable to. She laid her hands on his face. Within seconds he felt bone tired. His vision started to narrow and his head was too heavy to hold up. Leyla pulled is face up to force him too look at her.

"Good night, Gabriel . . ."

******************************************************

Sylar woke the same way he went under, locked gaze with Leyla.

"Finally, I thought something was wrong with you. I mean besides the obvious insanity."

Sylar tried to reach for Leyla, but his hand jerked back to the bed. That's when he noticed he was shackled.

"You think this can hold me?" Sylar tried to move the mechanisms inside the cuffs to make them snap open.

"They can if the inner metallic pieces have been melted. Plus, I'm absorbing enough of your psychokenesis to weaken that ability. You can't break the cuffs that way either."

Sylar, ever disbelieving, tried anyway. Frustrated, he tried to use brute strength to try to break free.

"Stop that or you'll hurt yourself.

"So what? I could cut off my hands to get free and they'd still heal."

"I had to siphon that ability too, to repair the crushed windpipe and fractured skull you gave me. I started to let you have a bit back to repair your head wound, but not enough to repair an amputated hand. Now, you have to be hungry. You haven't eaten in about 30 hours." Leyla gestured to the plate on the bedside table. "I made it myself. It's kind of early for meatloaf and mashed potatoes but it's your favorite so . . ."

"STOP!"

"Sensitive much, Gabe?"

"Don't call me that! My name is Sylar."

"No, It's Gabriel Gray. I got that much while in your head. Though I have to say, it's seriously fucked up in there. Now, if you're done with your little tantrum, I have meatloaf here that I made myself for you!"

"How can I eat, when you have me bound to a bed?"

"I will feed you." Leyla cut a piece of meatloaf and speared it with a fork. She held it to Sylar's mouth and he took a bite. Leyla raised her eyebrow in question.

"It's good. Kind of cold"

"Oh, sorry," Leyla laughed. "I made this plate like hours ago." She waved her hand over the plate and he could see steam rising from the potatoes. She feeds him a bit more. "Better?" Sylar nods and she continued to feed him the food.

**********************************************

Sylar can't remember the last time he felt satiated. He hadn't had a home cooked meal in ages and watching Leyla putter around the room was soothing, even though she was openly taunting him by using his powers. She delighted in cleaning the windows of the room without using a step stool, giggling like a child with a new toy. Her laugh almost made him smile. Almost.

"How do you do that? The teleporting? The food? The windows? I encountered a mimic once but he only took abilities not information.

Leyla now finished with her cleaning sat on the chair she had placed by the bed.

"Well, I'm an empathic absorber. Your friend was a power mimic, it sounds."

Sylar half smiled, "We're not friends."

"Whatever. I've always had a bit of empathic ability. Sensing moods, reading people but then a while back it got stronger. I don't know what triggered it, but all of a sudden I was getting bombarded. I locked myself in this apartment for days afterward trying to block it out. You can't imagine the press of human emotion. Heavy on my head, my heart. After I pulled myself together a bit, I tried to analyze what was happening. What the limits were? It seems I have about a 30ft diameter bubble that I can empathize within. I can contract it at will but not expand it. But I can connect to anyone within that range. At first it was just thoughts, emotions, memories but as I learned to control it I was able to hone in on specific people, specific knowledge. When I ventured out of this apartment the first time, I noticed that not everyone was the same. There was one man that, for lack of a better term, tasted different. All of a sudden, I heard a series of loud taps. I covered my ears, the sound was so deafening. I looked around and no one else seemed to notice the noise. It faded and became recognizable. It was a woodpecker tapping at a tree. It sounded so loud because he had enhanced hearing. And faded when he left my bubble."

That could be useful, Sylar thought.

"Sorry, dude. You are not taking my ability. Nor will you be taking the pyrokenesis of my neighbor or the teleportation ability from the bartender."

"What's to stop me from coming here in the future? After I escape, of course."

"Oh, of course, Gabe. But where is here?"

"It's . . . I'm in . . ."

"Yeah, are you drawing a blank? Well, I took that memory and everything that might help you retrace your steps here."

Sylar laughed at being bested.

"Oh wow. You can laugh and smile. It becomes you, Gabriel."

"Why thank you Leyla." Abruptly he stopped, realizing he hadn't had a genuine laugh or smile born of happiness and playful teasing in a very long time. "How do you do that? Make me feel like . . ."

"It's my ability. I can draw away some of the bad stuff and leave some peace, then Gabriel can come out and you can be the man you should have been."

"It's nice this feeling, but it's not real. Gabriel doesn't exist. I'm a killer now, a rapist."

"That one weighs heavy doesn't it."

"She was, is a little girl. I shouldn't have gone to her. She only survived because of her ability. If not for it I would have killed her. It doesn't feel peaceful now."

"Without the pain, hunger and rage to block, your conscious is kicking in."

"Put it back. I'd rather feel that then this."

"You should let me help you, Gabriel."

"My name is Sylar."

Last night . . .

She fasinated him from the moment he saw her at that bar. She was wearing a typical bar hopping outfit. Blue jeans and a black embelished tank paired with simple jewelry and black boots. She had swayed to the music unconsiously as she waited for the bartender to get her beer. Sylar sat in the corner nursing his 12th beer with no ill effects. This new power he'd aquired had its disadvatages.

After the bartender served her, he lingered to talk for a few seconds before being called away by another patron. Sylar contemplated approaching her but thought better of it. What would he say? He wasn't like other men, able to pick up a woman in a bar. Would he get her number and do what with it? Call her between stealing abilities and fighting the company? He couldn't even take her to a motel for mindless sex. His experience in that department was definately lacking.

Neither being a mama's boy watchmaker or a bad ass serial killer had prepared him for the role of seducer. Yes, a few courageous women had dared to come to his table this evening to try to engage his in a milieu of activities raging from conversation, to dancing, to sex. But no amount of phsyical need or frusration could surpass his fear of allowing anyone too close.

She must have felt his gaze on her because she looked over at him and caught him staring. She smiled at him and ducked her head. Then she looked over again putting her arm around the back of the chair next to her, her eyes plainly inviting.

An obviously inebrieted man plopped himself into the chair next to her. He put his are around her clumsily and lean too close to her and shouted, "He baby, let me get you a drink." He tried to wave the bartender over. The woman tried to disengage herself from his arms but found his bulky weight hard to move. Gabriel rose, a hereunto unused chivilrous streak coming foward. Suddenly she was gone and the drunkard was falling into her now empty chair.

Sylar scanned the room for her, a familiar excitment coursing through him. There she was, behind the bar, grabbing her purse and planting a kiss on the bartender's cheek. He followed her with his gaze as she made her way towards the exit with no one the wiser of her feat except him.

Sylar guessed he would be getting lucky tonight.

The present . . .

"Doc Ock?" Sylar laughed. "That's what it looks like?"

"Stop making fun." Leyla said, slapping him "The tendrils aren't mechanical, they are ethereal, a glowing blue and silver."

"They sound beautiful."

"I was just happy I got to see them at least once." Leyla said. "I never ran across her or another like her again. Aura readers are rare, just like power mimics. Let me tell you, I've encountered some weird and useless abilities. Enhanced smell, animal mimicry, that guy was weird. He was working in a bird show or something. And of course acidic salivation."

"Acid spit? Seriously?" Sylar asked.

"Well, look on the bright side. At least she had a valid excuse for when she didn't want to give blow jobs." Leyla and Sylar laughed, Leyla doubled over in her seat. Sylar would have grabbed his belly if he wasn't still bound.

When their laughter died down Sylar asked, "So how long are you gong to keep me tied up here? I mean, if I'm going to be tied to a beautiful woman's bed, I should at least get a little erotic enjoyment."

Leyla answered seriously, "I don't know what to do with you. If I let you go, you'll go back to killing."

"You said you could help me. How?"

"I could block some of your memories, take some of your feelings, tone down your innate ability, the hunger."

"I sense a but."

"But it would only work while you're in my bubble."

"You couldn't do it permanently, like my memory of this place."

"That's a small memory, the effort was minimal but to erase everything that has hurt you, and all you've done, would be too much. I could block it if you're close."

"How would that effect you?"

"What do you mean?"

"I've watched you since I woke up. You've been taking pills. What has this done to you to block me here?"

"It's just a headache. It will probably fade after a while."

"Maybe we could compromise. Can you block enough so that I can function normally and you wouldn't be overworked?"

"Yeah. That would work."

"So how would we do this?"

"It would probably work easier if I touched you, like last time." Leyla placed her hands on Sylar's face. "Ok, I'm going to let down my shields and I'm going to need you to do the same."

"Ok."

"Keep looking at me as long as you can. The eye contact will facilitate the absorption."

As Sylar looked into Leyla's eyes, he could feel her power working in him. As if lines connected them and each one drew away some of his pain and anger and oh, yes his hunger. Easing him in a way that was indescribable. As his vision narrowed under her power, his last sight was of a small trickle of blood from her nose.

*********************************************

"Leyla," Gabriel gasped awake.

"I'm here," she called from the bathroom.

"What happened? You were bleeding."

"It's fine, headache kind of spiked but it's already fading." Leyla emerged from the bathroom. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel great!"

"Awesome. Let me undo the restraints." The cuffs broke into pieces and suddenly he was free. He rushed over to Leyla and swept her up in a hug.

"Thank you so much." They laughed joyously. As they sobered, Gabriel looked into Leyla's eyes and drew her close for a kiss.

Their lips met and all of his pent up emotions spilled over. Hungrily, he gripped the back of Leyla's head. Realizing he was being overly rough, Gabriel tried to pull away. Leyla followed him grabbing his nape to keep the contact. Gabriel's tongue ran along the seam of her lips, seeking entrance. Leyla opened for him, flicking his tongue with hers. This kiss seemed endless but all to soon Leyla pulled away, putting distance between them.

"What's wrong?" Gabriel asked. "I thought, I mean you seemed . . ."

"No, I was. It's just. I can't take advantage like that. You're associating the euphoria of the absorption with my touch. But it's not supposed to be sexual. I'm just trying to help you."

"Leyla, I was attracted to you long before you touched me. How do you think I noticed your teleporting? I had been staring at you all evening. Wait, how do I remember that?"

"I'm only blocking your emotions right now not your memories. We have to do a few more sessions to complete the connections. Even then I can't take all the memories. And not to mention your hunger."

"As long as I can feel this relief, I think I'll be ok."

"I'm glad. So now that your feeling better, what do you want to do?"

"Something normal. Like . . . a date." Gabriel stepped closer to Leyla, and grabbed her

"I don't know if that's a good idea."

"Why not? Being normal means taking a woman I'm attracted to out on a date."

"A date? What, a movie?" Leyla asked.

"Can we get a movie to watch here? And cook! I think I could be good at that."

"Ok. Let's go shopping."

***********************************************

"How do you choose tomatoes?" Gabriel asked

"What do you want to cook?"

"Spaghetti and meatballs."

"We could handle that. But I think ready-made sauce would be easier for you."

"Ok. I've never really cooked."

"How did you eat?"

"Fast food, diners, Denny's, 7-11."

"Gross."

"Mother used to cook for me."

"So today will be a first. I have pasta at home and we'll grab some sauce. Now, we need fixings for the meatballs.

**************************

Gabriel concentrated on his task. The flesh under his fingers was slick. The slimy fluid and grainy bits squished between his fingers. He couldn't tell where one piece ended and another began. The sensation was disturbing and disgusting. His hands in this flesh seemed to invasive and wrong.

"Is this how it's done?"

"Yes. You have to mix the meat up." Gabriel winced. "I'll help you shape them."

They worked in a companiable silence as they finished the meatballs. Leyla then instructed Gabriel on their frying and put them into the ready-made sauce to simmer. After dinner they made their way to the living room to settle in to watch the movie Gabriel had picked. Blades of Glory wouldn't have been Leyla's choice, she preferred horror, and sci-fi, but she figured Gabriel need to make up for the lack of laughter in his life. They made a cute picture sitting on her sofa, Gabriel snuggled around her. She suddenly felt a sharp pain in her side. Gabriel felt her stiffen next to him. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah. I'll be back." Leyla disengaged herself from him and walked to her bedroom. Once Leyla shut the door she pulled up the hem of her shirt to see a large dark bruise on her lower right ribs. Touching the area gingerly, wincing, she knew this was a side effect of her connections to Gabriel. The pain she was absorbing for him had first manifested as headaches and a nosebleed and now an actual bruise had formed. Leyla reached through one of her tendrils connecting her to Gabriel and drew on his healing ability. In a few seconds the bruise had disappeared. Leyla straightened her clothes and walked back out to the living room.

Gabriel had rearranged himself in her absence, laying on his side on the couch. Leyla looked at him questioningly. Gabriel raised his eyebrows in feigned innocence. Leyla smiled and moved towards him, Gabriel scooted back making some room for her. Leyla laid beside him, her back flush to his front, her head pillowed on his bicep. His other arm was around her waist preventing her from falling off the couch

He brushed her hair away from her neck and kissed where her neck and shoulder met. "Is everything ok?"

"Yeah, fine." Leyla turned her head to kiss him.

"Don't try to distract me from the movie." Gabriel smiled. "It's getting good." Leyla rolled her eyes and settled back into him. Gabriel looked down at Leyla and he didn't need any special ability to know she was lying to him.

Last night . . .

Leyla didn't usually like going out to bars, the press of human emotion was sometimes a lot to block. She worked hard at maintaining her psychic shields, it was almost second nature to her now, but the close quarters of a bar on a Friday night would be a test. She stood outside of Benny's Bar, in a simple pair of jeans and a blank tank, probing her shields to ensure they were in place and opened the door. She could feel the tendrils of her powers reaching out but she shortened them so that they didn't extend out more than a few inches. A few steps in she saw a gorgeous man sitting at one of the back booths. Typical Black Irish, with hair and eyes dark as night with skin pale in comparison. A slight growth of a beard showed on his hard jaw, making her wonder what it would feel like to have that growth abrade her.

Leyla noticed the multitude of empty beer bottles on the table and figured he was here with a group, though only one person was with him at the table, Amber. They couldn't be together because Leyla knew her to be a regular at Benny's and she was positive she'd never seen him here before. Amber did have a rep for high living, lots a drinking and screwing anything that could get it up but she could see that he was uninterested in Amber's advances from the way he didn't smile, didn't respond to her and basically ignored her. Leyla didn't wait for Amber to realize she wasn't getting lucky tonight and moved towards the empty seat at the bar that Benny had saved for her. As soon as she sat, Benny came over and took her purse to stow behind the bar and went to fill her beer order as well as the order for the couple down the bar. Leyla swayed to the music waiting for her drink.

"Hey, sweetness." Benny said, putting her beer on the bar. "And don't even think about it."

"What?" Leyla asked, innocently.

"I saw you looking at him when you walked in. He is bad news and probably piss drunk. He's had about a dozen beers"

"How'd you let him get like that? You should have cut him off."

"I thought that he was ordering for a large group until he sat there and drank them all."

"That's not good. Are you planning to boot him?"

"Not unless he gets belligerent. Just be careful. He hasn't given any woman in here a second look and now he can't take his eyes off of you."

"Really." Leyla smiled. "Maybe I'll get lucky tonight."

"Not with that guy. He's dangerous."

"Well, you know how much I love danger," Leyla said, sarcastically.

"Yeah, not at all." Benny was called away by the couple down the bar again, leaving Leyla alone. She couldn't help looking over and saw him gazing at her intently. She ducked her head and found herself blushing. God, he was intense. She made a snap decision to see what path this attraction would take. She would see it through, where ever it led.

The present . . .

Gabriel never knew that old fashion making out could be so fun. But then, Gabriel had never had much fun in his life. His mother was a humorless woman who raised a humorless son who had turned into a predator. But now that was behind him, Leyla had cured him and he'd never felt so good. His pain over his childhood, his guilt over his killing and his hunger were gone. But, not his hunger for the woman beneath him.

They had snuggled through most of Blades of Glory with Gabriel caressing her as innocently as he could. He could tell by the changes in her breathing and the way her hips sometimes pressed back against him, that he was affecting her. The movie had finished, he didn't know how long ago but before the credits had begun he'd maneuvered Leyla from her position of spooned against him to underneath him before she could issue her token protest.

Limb entangled, tongues entwined, their embrace went on. Leyla arched her back pressing her breasts into him. As much as Gabriel was enjoying himself, doubts nagged at him. Was he doing it right? Did she like that? Was that allowed? His hands ached to explore but his nerves kept one hand at her nape and the other at her waist.

Leyla pulled away. "What's wrong?" Gabriel asked.

"You tell me." They spoke lips inches away from each other, foreheads pressed.

"I - I've never done this before."

"Made love?"

"Yes."

"I have my tendrils of empathy all over you. I know."

"If you already know, then why did you need me to say it?"

"It's a trust thing, Gabriel. Thank you for telling me."

Leyla pulled Gabriel back down and fused their mouths again. She arranged her legs so that they were high around his hips and Gabriel was able to thrust against where she wanted him most. They both gasped at the sensation unable to hold their lips together, Leyla unable to do anything but make small whimpering noises. Gabriel loved it. He sat back on his heels and grabbed the hem of her shirt and drew it over her head. He looked down at Leyla spread under him and saw the rise and fall of her breasts under the cups of her bra, the sight exciting him more.

With a smile, he used his telekinetic ability to unfasten the front clasp of her bra and slide the garment down her arms and finally off her. Reverently he put his hands on her, shaping her, rolling her nipples and exploring this new treasure he'd uncovered. Leyla arched into his hands and sighed his name. Gabriel couldn't resist leaning down for a taste.

Leyla moaned and gasped under him, surprised that he was so good at this considering he'd never had sex before. Gabriel just had a natural sensuality and great instincts. Once he'd let go of his self-doubt, he was able to tap into that side of himself, much to Leyla's delight. She pulled Gabriel's shirt over his head and threw it behind her. He moved back up to her mouth and rested his chest against her. His chest hair was tickling her, adding to the sensation of his hips rocking against her and his mouth on her. She pushed Gabriel back so he was sitting again on his heels and undid his belt using his own telekinetic ability.

Gabriel smiled and reached for her again, but Leyla knew they were going to need more room than her couch provided, so she pushed Gabriel off of her and headed towards her bedroom. She started shedding her pants and panties as she went. She could hear Gabriel behind her also removing his clothes. At one point nearly upsetting her hall table while trying to detangle his leg from his jeans. They arrived at Leyla's room at the same time. Gabriel sat on the edge of the bed and reaching down to remove his socks. When he was finished Leyla stood in front of him between his legs.

He tried to place his hands on her hips but she pushed him away with telekinesis, he had the same result when he tried for her breasts. Next she pushed him back, so he was laid flat on the bed. Leyla kneeled down with a smile and grabbed is cock, stroking him slowly from root to tip. Gabriel groaned and tried to lift his head to watch her but she forced his head flat to the bed. He felt her warm breath a second before her lips closed over him. She swallowed him quickly and drew up his length in a slow drag that had him fighting against the invisible restraints she had on him. She tortured him with this slow suction; up and down until he was arching off the bed, his weight balance on his shoulders and heels, he was drawn so tight.

Leyla loved the sounds Gabriel was making. To hold him like this was exciting knowing he wanted to do more, to control this dominating and intense man. It was raising her own arousal level, which was surprising since she was receiving no direct stimulation. She was on the verge of climax just from performing this act on him. Suddenly she felt hands on her, playing with her nipples and between her legs. Startled, she looked up at Gabriel, their eyes meeting across the length of his body. By the look he gave her, she knew he was using his telekinesis as a challenge to her. She must be doing something wrong if he was able to concentrate enough to use his ability. Taking up the competition, she tried to break Gabriel's concentration by relaxing her throat and trying to take him even deeper. She didn't realize that the sounds he made would turn her on so much that her telekinetic hold on him would falter.

Gabriel groaned at the feel of Leyla's throat around him and the slow glide out as she pulled away, maintaining a maddening suction all the time. He could hear her gasping and knew she was just as turned on from this act as he was. The more sounds he made, the weaker her telekinetic hold on him seemed to be so he stopped trying to hold them back, they obviously delighted her. Every groan, moan and plea that rose to his lips he let loose in an effort to break her. Suddenly his head and upper body were free and he pulled himself up enough to maintain a constant eye on her. Seeing his cock disappear into her mouth intensified his response making him groan louder.

"Yes," he hissed. "That's so good, baby. Your mouth is so hot." On he went, praising and encouraging her. "We're connected, so you know how good this feels to me. You know how close I am. I feel you around me and inside me and it's so good. I want to be inside you too."

Leyla gasped around him and knew she couldn't hold him much longer. His heated words, feeling his building orgasm inside her, were stopping her from concentrating on using telekinesis. She again took him as deep as she could and with a roar his hands were free. He sat up and grabbed her hair, flexing his hips, controlling the thrusts now. Leyla let him have this moment. She allowed him to claim his prize and gave up control, for now.

Gabriel wanted so bad to come in her mouth but wanted them together this first time. He pulled her lips up to his and kissed her deeply, leaning back on the bed and pulling her along with him. She straddled his hips and he thrust up against her, making frustrated noises that he couldn't get the right angle to push into her. Leyla rolled away from him, pulling his shoulder so he was on top of her.

"I think you'll like this position better," Leyla breathed in his ear, grabbed his cock and guided him into her, positioning her legs around his waist. Gabriel pushed till he was in to the hilt. Gabriel smiled down at her and began to thrust inside her, his whole body shuddering.

"Yes . . ." he said, his body finding a natural rhythm of advance and retreat, bringing them both to the edge of climax.

Leyla could feel every inch of him with each thrust. She pulled Gabriel down to place gentle kisses along his jaw and neck. But soon she couldn't be gentle anymore and the kisses became bites and the fingertips caressing his back became fingernails scoring him. Gabriel was not trying to hold anything back, either. He'd spent too much of his life hiding and he was ready to explode, literally.

Leyla came screaming and with one more thrust Gabriel joined her.

Gabriel woke the next morning with a smile, something he hadn't done since becoming an adult. Every muscle is his body was relaxed his mind was at ease and he owed it all to the warm woman next to him. What more could a man ask for with his first intimate experience? Leyla was passionate, open, giving and playful, all of which made her the best bed partner. She didn't mock anything he wanted to try, didn't hold back and encouraged him to let go too. Gabriel turned towards her and saw that she was facing away from him. The line of her back was visible and he traced a finger along her spine, raising goose bumps. Gabriel put his hand on Leyla's shoulder and pulled her onto her back, leaned over her and fused their lips together.

Leyla awoke to the sensation of Gabriel's tongue tickling her mouth. Without bothering to open her eyes, Leyla wrapped her arms around Gabriel's neck and opened her mouth to let him in. They kissed lazily in the glow of their passionate night, enjoying the feeling of being in each other's arms. She could feel Gabriel pull away reluctantly and slowly opened her eye. For some reason only one would open, but that was all she needed to see the horrified look on his face.

"What the hell happened to your face?" Gabriel probed around her eye slowly, causing Leyla to gasp.

"Oww," she said, Gabriel cradling her swollen face.

"Did I do this? Maybe last night . . ."

"No," Leyla replied, pulling in Gabriel's regenerating ability, her swollen face and black eye healing almost immediately. Leyla pushed Gabriel away and rose from the bed. "I'm going to take a shower," she said over her shoulder as she closed and locked the bathroom door behind her. Gabriel knew something was wrong but didn't want to press her. While during the night he had become closer to Leyla than to anyone else in his life, he was still unsure of himself. He didn't want to do anything that would make her angry and push him away. So he let it go, for now.

After breakfast, Leyla turned to Gabriel and said, "What do you want to do today?" She was determined not to talk about what had happened that morning. "We could go to the beach, or the park, or a movie?

"How about bowling?"

&&&

"You are cheating! There is no way that pin didn't fall."

"Gabriel, you can't get a strike every turn . . ."

"The bowling ball bounced right off it. You are cheating."

"Well, I suck at bowling."

"You are using an unfair advantage . . ."

"You have the same unfair advantage. You're just mad you didn't think of it first."

"Ok, we're playing one more game and both of us will use the ability and let's see who wins this time."

"Oh, Gabriel, can we please just go? The crashing of pins and the balls, it's all giving me a migraine." That wasn't entirely true and he knew it. Blocking his most volatile emotions was giving her a migraine; the noise was just exacerbating it. He had been stupid to suggest bowling but he wanted to have a normal outing with Leyla. Pretend that this could work, that they could be together, but it was becoming clear that that was going to be impossible.

"Yeah," he said. "Let's get out of here."

&&&

"I think it's time we did something for your memories now. I'm doing good blocking your emotions." Leyla began as son as the door closed behind her.

"Really?" Gabriel shouted, angrily. "Because from here it looks like your not."

"What do you mean? Is the hunger back?"

"You are so busy trying to take care of me, but what about you? I know the headaches have continued. You've been popping painkillers since I got here; you had a nosebleed when you made the connections to me last time. What's it going to take, Leyla?"

"You need to relax, Gabriel. You can't let yourself get worked up like this."

"I am more than "worked up!" I am pissed off. You are taking on too much of me and I know I'm going to end up destroying you."

"Gabriel, no, I will get better, stronger. You need to calm down. I'm blocking your emotions but if you continue to get angry . . . I just have to make a few more connections, then I can block your memories." Leyla reached for his face.

Gabriel pushed her hands away.

"Don't touch me!" Leyla flew back into her living room wall and landed face down on the floor. "Leyla!" Gabriel ran over to her and rolled her over, a dark bruise already forming on her jaw.

"You hit your face on the wall. How did you hit your face on the wall?" Leyla reached up towards his face.

"Lend me your ability." Gabriel grabbed her hands and placed then on his cheeks. "I am doing this, aren't I? This is just an extension of the headaches. This morning, your face."

"It'll be ok, Gabriel. I am strong and I can handle this. Look, the bruise is already fading." Gabriel sighed in relief, it was fading. "All is need a little more." Gabriel began to feel the familiar euphoria and he knew that Leyla was building more connections between them. "If more wounds appear, you will heal me. No bruised face or broken ribs will change my mind."

"Broken ribs? You . . ." Gabriel pulled her hands away from his face, standing and backing away. "This morning wasn't the first time." Leyla stood, too. "I can't let you do this to yourself. I can't continue to do this to you!" Suddenly, the euphoria was back. In that instant it felt so good that Gabriel was tempted to grab her hands and place them on him again.

"You know I don't need to touch you to make this work. The tendrils have a long reach. I'm going to block your memories and show you that-" Leyla gasped and grabbed her side. "I am stronger than this." Leyla's knee buckled sending her to the floor. Gabriel ran over to her ready to block her hands if this was a trick, but already he could see the bruise on her jaw darken again. She gasped again and her eye started to swell.

"I'm killing you!" Fear and pain, anger and violence all came rushing back.

"No!" They both screamed.

"Take my power, heal yourself," Gabriel said, trying to put her hands on his face. Leyla pulled is face close to hers, to lock their gaze, and she screamed, her hands flying away from him. her body curling in on itself, a defense against invisible blows. More bruises appeared, down her arms bared by the tank she wore. Arms that last night had embraced him now bore his marks.

"Why? Why won't you heal?"

"You can feel it, can't you? My tendrils are releasing. I can't draw from you anymore." A tear slid down her cheek.

"I'm poisoning you. Your body is trying to release that poison through the injuries and then trying to cut off the source."

"No, I can . . . we can fight this."

"This is who I am. Who I'll always be. It's just going to get worst."

"Don't leave me!" Leyla pleaded grabbing hold of Gabriel. She screamed one more time, the pain of the multiple bruises and broken bones finally claiming her consciousness.

"I'm so sorry," Gabriel whispered to Leyla and placed a kiss on her unresponsive lips. If he could get far enough away, she would be safe from him. He didn't waste time just placed her on the couch and walked out of her apartment. Her neighbor, the fire starter he presumed, was in the hallway.

"Hey!" The neighbor shouted "What did you do to Leyla?"

Gabriel used his telekinesis to push the neighbor towards Leyla's door instead of towards him.

"She needs help." Gabriel said to him. The neighbor looked into Leyla's place and saw her lying on the couch, bruised.

"Leyla!" He said running inside. Now that she had help, Gabriel could leave. He turned and ran trying to get as much distance between them as possible.

&&&

Sylar had been driving for hours. He'd stolen a car outside of Leyla's apartment building and drove until it ran out of gas, then walked until he found another car and drove that one until it too was dry. He didn't take note of which direction he drove and by the time he stopped for the night he couldn't remember where he'd come from.

He slept long that night at the motel he'd checked into, erotic dreams turned into nightmares that he couldn't wake from, punishment for all the wrongs he'd committed. It wasn't enough. He could live a thousand lives and not purge all the bad karma he'd collected. The sun was high when he woke the next day and he was feeling like his old self again.

Sylar washed up and went to the front desk to check out. He slipped in as someone was leaving and looked around for the desk clerk. Suddenly, a young man materialized behind the desk facing away from Sylar. He turned, startled, and stammered, "I-I'm sorry Mr. Gray, I didn't see you there."

"Please," he smiled. "Call me Sylar."