Quite a few people asked for this, and I was bored tonight, so I decided to give it a try. A few suggested Claire's POV on the happenings, so I decided to indulge you. XD A little more bitter, but a little more sweet.
Now that you guys started this beast, I'm expecting at least one more part to tie it up, but I have no idea when that will be out yet. Have patience, little Heroes. I will try my best to have it out soon.
Enjoy this and its completely uncreative title. XD
Despite being unable to feel pain, Claire found the cold to be a very close second.
How she ended up in this situation, she still wasn't sure. All she knew was that, a few weeks ago, a realization had slapped her in the face, and, being her impulsive self, she had acted on it. Not in the way she should have, perhaps, but she had tried. That counted for something, right?
It wasn't her fault.
Really, it wasn't.
She'd woken up a few weeks ago in a cold sweat, shuddering and gasping in a way that was wholly unpleasant. See, she knew that she was going to live forever, hypothetically. However, she hadn't really thought about what that entailed before that night.
You know, like living. When everyone else was dead.
The thought was, in a word, horrifying. And a huge fucking wake-up call.
Everybody knew who she was. She was Claire Bennet, that crazy bitch who launched herself from a ferris wheel and popped her bones back into place without so much as a grimace. She was the figurehead of a new world, one that supported the so-called Specials and fought for their rights. She was the golden girl, the girl everyone wanted to be close to.
And she had everything. She had the Petrelli benefits without the name- the looks, the clothes, the flawless managing of the media, all at her feet. She could have any man she wanted, she could have anything she wanted, and that was that.
It had never occurred to her that, someday, all those things might go away because, well, no one would be left to remember them.
Claire had it all- now. But what about in fifty years, when her friends were gone and she still looked like a kid? In a hundred years, where no one would be alive to remember her little stunt? In a thousand, when no one might be around at all?
Yeah. It was a slap in the face.
What the hell do I do? She'd thought in a blind panic- two in the morning, not knowing who to call, who she could even start to talk about this with. How am I going to survive this? Even if I off myself, all it takes is someone coming around in ten thousand years and pulling a shank out of my skull, and I'll be like a Watch-It-Grow Barbie.
It wasn't a pleasant thought.
Who else can understand? Who can I turn to?
And then she remembered that, once upon a time, some son of a bitch had hunted her like a rat, tore open her head and conveniently borrowed her favorite little safety net.
At first, the idea revolted her. Sylar. Just... no. But, after another few empty days of flashing cameras and lonely nights filled with her silent tears, Sylar was looking more and more like an option.
After all, he had offered, all those years ago.
And she was Claire Bennet. She could have anyone she wanted.
Hypothetically, she kind of knew that Sylar had somehow and inexplicably become Peter's roommate and best friend. However, she had ignored that fact in favor of living in blissful ignorance that maybe he had just fallen off the face of the earth. Now, she was wishing that she'd gone over to Peter's apartment a little more, if only to make it seem less suspicious that she was showing up there now.
Sylar had opened the door, and Claire pushed past him, despite his wide-eyed look of surprise. And that, as they say, was that.
Of course, with Sylar, there were always some dents that ended up in her plans, even though god knew that Claire tried to play nice. But, seriously? Gabriel? She couldn't imagine calling him anything but Sylar, especially since there once was a time that he would have bitten her head off- and probably literally, at that- if she'd tried to call him anything else. So, really, it wasn't her fault that she slipped up every so often.
But, other than that, she thought she did pretty well. Of course, the companionship wasn't easy and effortless, like it was for Peter. But... Peter was Peter. He was just so... Peter-like. Like a brother, or a cousin. Like Lyle, except more... touchy. But it had always been like that for them.
But for Sylar... Gabriel... Claire tried. She tagged along with him and Peter, tried to be friendly as best she could, under the circumstances. She somehow maintained a smile, even while he effortlessly rejected countless of women that propositioned him, older and more beautiful than Claire could ever hope to be.
Not for the first time, she wondered, Why did I ever think that I could be enough for him?
Then, she would mentally slap herself, because it was supposed to be the other way around.
So tried harder. Lipstick, eyeliner, cute little dresses and sweet-smelling perfumes. Instead of letting Peter have the middle seat, she would sit there before he could, passing it off on teasing her uncle. She would flirt, just a little, but he always seemed to brush her off, and then she would watch him, just trying to figure him out a little, and he would pretend he didn't notice.
Claire had never been so frustrated over a boy before. Maybe it was because he wasn't another silly boy- he was a man, he was mature, and he could have better than the public's chew toy.
She stomped on that thought in her glittery kitten heels.
And then there was the thought that she mentally referred to as the Cigarette Incident.
Claire had never smoked before. She never saw the need- if alcohol didn't affect her, then drugs probably wouldn't, either, right? That's what she had thought, anyway. But then, Sy-Gabriel had left on one of his cigarette breaks, and for once, Claire decided to follow.
She thought she did well, at first. She gave him the I'm cute, so you should give me what I want look- the one that had been known to have lesser men fall to their knees for her- and he gave in. She tried her best to be mature in that moment, but she wasn't exactly sure what to expect. As a cheerleader, she'd seen her fair share of drugs and alcohol, though she had never really participated, herself. However, there was one thing she had seen, a trick that Jackie herself had used on Brody- the bitch- and seemed to be effective. So she tried it.
Upon turning back to see the cigarette between her lips, Gabriel paused. He might not have even been aware of the quite visible swallow the rolled his throat, one that Claire didn't find attractive at all, no way, that's Syl- that's Gabriel, stop denying yourself.
But when her cigarette was lit, Claire breathed carefully as she had once been told- not too deep, not too quick, hold it in your lungs until it burns, then let it out. It wasn't a bad sensation, she figured. In fact, it left her kind of fuzzy and tingly.
But he had turned away, yet again, and Gabriel refused to look at her for the rest of the night.
So she decided that, yet again, she was going to have to step it up. Because, damn it, if he was going to turn her down, he was going to have to say it to her face.
Another night, the same bar, and they were doing shots. The bartender had been eyeing her all night, which only told Claire that her charms were working- just not on the man she wanted them to. It was getting beyond frustrating- she had her hair down, her cutest black dress, and damn it, she knew she looked good.
Why isn't he looking at me?
The next round of shots came around, and Claire had downed hers before the other two were poured. Bad form, maybe, but she was getting aggravated, and the faint burn of the alcohol in her throat was exactly what she needed.
And then an Idea struck her. Capitalized.
Gabriel's shot was barely poured when her hand darted out, snatching it away, desperately attempting to beat down the thoughts of oh god, I'm stealing his shot, his mouth was on this, this is ten thousand kinds of wrong, he's going to kill me, but- dear god, why does this taste so much better when it's not mine?
Because it did. And there was definitely something wrong with that.
Claire blinked and set down the glass, and then realized that the fucker was gone, where the hell did he go? Shit, I really did it, this time.
"What the hell?" Peter muttered sullenly.
"Don't worry, I'll find him," Claire sighed.
Peter leveled her with a steady stare, inspecting her before he gave in with a nod and a sigh. Claire slid from her bench, leaving her jacket behind, because, really, how far could he have gone? And surely he wouldn't be stupid enough to go outside when it was a grand total of ten degrees out.
Well, she was wrong.
Because there he was, under that stupid street lamp, looking freezing as hell, and Claire realized, goddamnit, I'm gonna have to go out there.
And she did.
In that moment, he really did look like Sylar- something she only just realized that had changed. Until this moment, she hadn't realized that his typical feral, half-crazy look was gone. Now, of course, it was back and enhanced by the cold.
She was an idiot.
"Gabriel, sorry," the corrected herself apologetically, wrapping her arms around herself as a half-assed shield from the freezing air.
"You're not, or you'd stop calling me that," he hissed.
Claire shivered, unsure if the action was from his chilling tone or the winter weather.
"Go inside, Claire," Gabriel sighed, defeated. "It's freezing out here."
She wasn't about to leave him, though, even when he started turning up a whole new level of asshole and then went into his once-typical tempter tantrum mode, minus the skull-slicing. Instead, she stood right next to him, determined to wait him out, even if it took all night and a few lost toes.
Well, she thought so, anyway. At least, until she noticed just how very warm he was, and just how freezing she was. After that, she didn't have much of a choice in the matter- instinct had her nudging closer until she was pressed up against his side, greedily taking in his heat and his scent, and how the hell was this so amazing when nothing was even happening?
"Stop it, Claire," he huffed, pulling away from her, and Claire finally snapped.
"What is your problem?" She exclaimed angrily.
"You. You are my problem, Claire."
Her eyes widened, stricken and pained. When had he become so important to her, had his happiness become important to her? It wasn't fair. "Me? What did I do?"
"You're here, for one," Gabriel snarled. "When you're clearly not wanted. And you never go away."
Well, shit. She wanted him to say it to her face, but... this was just plain hurtful. So Claire did what she always did when she was hurt- she went on the attack.
"Well, excuse me for spending time with Peter! I'm sorry that it just so happens that he's always with you! Not that it makes any sense, since you're an asshole."
"You're not here for Peter, Claire, and we both know it!" the man snapped, his lip curling with rage and- hurt? "You're here because I'm here!"
Am I really that obvious? I mean, I know I was flirting, but... "You conceited-" she stuttered defensively. "That's bullshit!"
"No, it's not, Claire! You know it, I know it- hell, even Peter knows it, but he pretends not to notice!" The man's arms tightened around himself, and Claire felt a spasm of mortified panic in her chest. Peter knows? She blushed at the thought, considering all those weighted looks in an entirely new manner.
But Gabriel wasn't done yet. "You're not here for him, you're here for me. You don't trust me, so you're here to keep an eye on me, to make sure I don't fuck up, and so that if I do, you can be the first one to run along and tattle to your daddy."
...what the fuck? How the hell can he think that?
She slapped him. She couldn't even help it, the accusation hurt so much. Is that really what he thinks of me? That I'm just some conniving little bitch that wants to ruin him? God, I'm so stupid for ever thinking that this could work.
"You- you-" But she didn't have to words to even express what she was feeling. There was only a hollow, aching emptiness. That's it. I'm going to be alone forever.
It appeared that he was done, too. His face flushed with anger, and before Claire knew it, he was yelling. "I'm sick of you, Claire! You hover over my shoulder like a goddamned noose, ready for me to make some mistake, any mistake as an excuse to do me in. It's been four years, Claire! Jesus Christ, will you just go home and leave me in peace? Aren't you getting bored yet?"
She had never felt so small before in her life.
"It's hard enough to see your picture in the paper, Claire. Every time I see your face, it's a reminder of something I've done wrong. I can't escape that, will never escape that, because I'm going to have to live with it forever. Don't you get it, Claire? Don't you see who I am?"
In this light, she could only see one person- the only person who had ever succeeded in making her realize just how terrible she truly was.
"You're Sylar," she whispered, heartbroken.
He crumbled, features twisting in pain that echoed exactly what Claire was feeling. "No," Gabriel murmured, backing slowly away from her in a gesture that hurt more than it should have been capable. He was actually fleeing from her, like an abused animal. "No, I'm not, Claire. I haven't been for a long time, and I'm not going to be again. So if you're looking for a cheap thrill, if you're looking for someone to try to hurt you, find someone else. I'm not that man anymore."
And even though her heart was broken, even though she knew that was was hurting as much as she was, she had to try, one last time. "I-" don't hate you, I don't want you to hurt me, you've never been a cheap thrill to me and I love you. Please, don't you understand?
He cut her off with a sharp turn, and Gabriel ran.
Tears flooded Claire's eyes, breath catching in her throat in a bitter sob.
She pushed past the bouncer at the door, fighting her way through the crowd and back to the bar, where her uncle was frowning and nursing a dark brew from the tap. Upon seeing her, he set his glass down and turned in place, frown deepening in a way that made him resemble his brother so strongly that it dissolved Claire into a whole new wave of tears.
"Claire?" He asked, reaching out and pulling her into a hug. "What's wrong? What happened?"
"Peter," the blonde sobbed into his shoulder, mascara surely running, but she couldn't bring herself to care. "Peter, I need your help."