EDIT: TROLOLOLOL'D by FFnet, so this is like... two weeks late. Sorry bout that.

An itty-bitty ficlet to hopefully appease you. I promise that I'm working on Lie To Me, and I'm sorry it's been so long. It's just been one thing after another. I got a crap diagnosis, then I got into some issues with a close friend, and then when I was slowly approaching that writing mode, I got sucked into Pokemon White and the addictive fluffiness of FerrisWheelShipping. I'm working with a lovely beta to look that one over before I'll put it out, since I'm a bit iffy about it.

This is a companion piece to "If You Ever Come Back", but it could be stand alone, I guess, as part of the IABD-verse. Sylaire, duh. Not a songfic, and it's not part of the Not-A-Songfic Project, either.

Just a ficlet. Actual thing clocks in at exactly 500 words. I apologize for any crappiness, I'm functioning on less than two hours of sleep. Literally.

Enjoy. I'll try to have LTM out within the next... week, to be safe. Sorry, life is kind of kicking my ass this month. Surgery screening, ahoy.

It's sometime between the end of a night and the start of a morning, and she's awake for some reason she can't remember. She's too tired to remember, is always too tired- exhausted, shadows under her eyes as she reaches for someone who isn't there.

He was supposed to be there. He'd promised.

And then the tears are sliding down her face again, bursting forth from her stinging eyes, and she was just so, so tired of it all. The crying didn't stop, the sleeping didn't start, and she was at her wit's end.

Her arms curl around a pillow, a sad imitation of the body she once knew so intimately, soft comfort paling in comparison to the bliss and contentment she used to have within reaching distance. She brings her knees to her chest, because, really, she was freezing, and he isn't there to pull her in and press her back to his chest and wrap his arms around her the way he used to.

It's a crappy little apartment somewhere in New Jersey, given to her by Pinehearst. The wind blows through the gaps in the windows and creates a terrible draft, and whatever heat she finds is always gone within moments. Not like the heat of a body beside hers, oh no.

He was supposed to be there.

And then she remembers.

He hasn't broken his promises to her. In fact, he kept every single one. He hasn't spouted pretty words to trick her, he hasn't manipulated her, and he's probably hurting worse than she is. That is, if he's thinking about her at all.

Claire squints her eyes shut and begs silently for him to be missing her the way she misses him.

But it's her that's broken her promises, not him. She's the one who spouted lies and left him, left them. And now she's paying for it. But she's saving them, isn't she? She's saving their lives by giving up her own for her grandfather's manipulation trips.

Gabriel, Claire whispers silently to herself. Noah. Are you even mine to save anymore?

She closes her eyes and rests her head against her pillow- sad imitation, though it was, at least she didn't feel quite so alone.

She misses them, and because of it, she performs this same ritual over and over every night. She can't remember a day when her eyes weren't swollen from crying the night before, no matter how stoic she was during the day. Her team teases her about her attitude, about being emotionless, but they know she isn't. How could she be?

She loves them. She loves her family, even though she never talks about them. Daphne and Knox both know she does. Hell, they probably know that she wonders in her dreams about what her son looks like.

Just like his dad, I bet.

And Claire curls up, trying to push away the memories of Sylar and Gabriel and Texas, but she can't avoid it all.

Happy fifth birthday, Noah.