Still don't own anything Heroes, except for the dvd's. This is a follow-up to Past is Prologue. Let me know how I did!
Don't ask why I picked this poem, since what I quoted is such a small portion of it, but when I think of how things must change, this always comes to mind. Since this will be a story about how Claire's opinion changes, I thought it was appropriate.
Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.
Excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Keramos'
Sylar hadn't been sure Noah was going to let him take a personal day, but when Sylar had explained it to him, his former partner had surprisingly understood.
Now he stood amid the falling leaves in the New Jersey cemetery, waiting as his father's coffin was brought to his grave. On the other side of the gravesite, watching him warily, stood Luke. Sylar was doing his damnedest to avoid the younger boys' looks.
A chill from the quickly cooling days raced down his spine. Still, it was instinct more than any power that alerted him to someone coming up behind him. He turned, and stared. Peter and Emma approached him, dressed for a funeral. Peter gave him a sympathetic look. "You didn't think you could keep it secret did you?"
"You didn't have to come."
"No, we didn't." It wasn't Peter that spoke, unless he'd gained the ability for ventriloquism. Sylar looked to see Matt Parkman coming up behind Peter, looking more than a little uncomfortable at his obvious show of support.
Sylar felt a wave of gratitude wash through him, but he only nodded at Matt gravely. He turned back as the minister began to speak. He sighed, and then started as a hand touched his arm hesitantly, offering support. He looked down, startled to see Claire there. He was so shocked at seeing her that he almost accused Parkman of putting him back inside his own head again.
The minister finished speaking and gradually everyone moved away, even Peter and Emma, giving him a moment alone. Claire didn't move though, standing beside him, looking ahead resolutely.
"Why are you here?"
Claire hesitated, and pulled her coat tighter around her. "Have you ever wondered how we would have turned out if our birth parents would have raised us?"
He chuckled, aware of how surreal the whole situation was. "My father was a murderer, Claire. Not sure my life would have been much different."
"Mine would have been. I might have been hunted by Noah Bennet instead of being loved by him. No 'save the cheerleader, save the world.' No carnival, at least not the way it happened."
"Remember my favorite quote by Shakespeare? Everything still happens, just differently. Not sure you and I affected the world that much."
"No? If you had been raised by your dad, you might have started killing earlier. You may have wiped us all out years ago, you and your dad. You killed your mom on accident, it wasn't murder. Your dad murdered your mother. There's a difference."
"I've murdered plenty of people."
"We won't talk about them," she said coolly. He didn't argue. "You've saved a lot of people since the Carnival. The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is you don't murder people anymore. Do you think you would have changed if your dad had raised you?"
He was silent, and then very quietly, he murmured, "He tried to kill me when I met him."
Claire absorbed that. "You didn't kill him, though."
"He had cancer, he was dying already. He didn't deserve me killing him. It would have been a mercy." He looked over at her. "Why are you here Claire?"
She was silent a long moment. "No one deserves to bury their father with no one at their side. Not even you."
"Peter and Emma were coming. You didn't have to."
She looked at him, then quickly away. "I'm the one that told them."
He stared at he profile for several moments, but she obviously wasn't going to add anything to that. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"The sins of the father pass to the son," Claire said quietly. "Maybe it's all evened out now."
"Shakespeare said that. In the bible it's actually the third or fourth generation that pays for the sins." Sylar smirked at her look. "My mother was religious, occasionally."
Claire nodded, then smiled very slightly. "It's not like there's anyone willing to sleep with you, so no worries about third or fourth generation. All safe."
"Do you really want to discuss my sex life?"
"Not even a little," she said, sounding disgusted, and shot him a dirty look. Luke fidgeted several feet away, watching them. "He wants to talk to you, I think."
"Do I have to?"
"Who is he?"
"He… knew my father, led me to him. I threatened to kill him, once. I can always kill him now and make up for it." He knew he sounded almost hopeful, and Claire snorted.
"I'm not worried."
"No?" He was startled at the honesty in her words.
"No." Claire acted before she could talk herself out of it, and grabbed his hand, squeezing lightly. "You'll both be fine. I've got to go."
"How are you getting home?"
"Plane. I'm heading back to school, instead of to the Company. Fall semester just started."
He watched her in silence, his gaze steady on hers. "Did you come here to check up on me, or to comfort me?"
She was silent for a moment, and he wondered if she was remembering his lie-detection ability. "I could have left instead of coming to talk to you. You may never have known I was here." She shrugged. "Peter and Emma were going to come anyway."
"Yeah, why is Parkman here?"
Claire hesitated, looking uncomfortable. "I think he realized you and him have something in common after all."
"Yeah, asshole dads."
He seemed to consider this for a moment, then shrugged. "I could take you to Virginia."
"Yeah, we'd start arguing halfway there, and you'd drop me to make a point." She motioned at herself. "Not the outfit for Claire pancake."
"I wouldn't drop you," he said, suddenly serious. "Not ever."
Claire hesitated, staring at him a moment, and he wondered what she would say. A million things she could say ran through his mind. Things that might be cruel if they were said to most people, but he might just laugh at. Things that could cut him, because honestly they did know each other that well. Things that might let him know she didn't quite hate him as much as she used to.
Instead she gave a slight sigh. "I'll see you at work, Sylar."
He nodded gravely, and watched her until he couldn't see her anymore. Then he turned to Luke with a sigh. Might as well get it over with while Peter was nearby to keep him from committing murder.
Just before lunch the next Saturday, Claire heard someone knock on her office door. "Hang on a sec, Dad, just want to finish typing this up."
"You already have lunch plans with Noah?"
She looked up, surprised to see Sylar standing there. "Oh. No, I just assumed it was him. Since I only see him on weekends and everything."
He nodded, looking slightly uncomfortable, maybe even nervous. "I was wondering, do you want to try that new bistro that opened up a couple of blocks over? My treat."
Claire stared at him for a moment. "I don't know if that's a good idea." For a moment disappointment raced across his face before he shrugged and started to turn away. "Wait. That does sound kind of nice. I'll pay for myself, though."
"Okay." He hesitated, watching as she turned off her computer, and grabbed her purse. "Thank you. For coming to my father's funeral."
"Everyone else was going," she reminded him and hesitated. "No offense, but it doesn't make us friends."
"We aren't enemies either, not anymore," he said, pointing it out as the momentous achievement it was.
Claire hesitated. "It wasn't the first move, if that's what you think."
"How did it fall into one of the loopholes? Social occasion? Really?"
Claire frowned. "Can't I just do something nice?"
"If anyone else in your family said that, I'd laugh." He grinned at her. "Doing something nice implies friendship, or at least acquaintance."
"We fight most of the time we're together."
"Well, that implies feeling anyway." He smirked at her look.
"I'll still stick a pencil in your eye if you try anything," she said. "Then I'll tell Peter."
"Not your dad?"
"Like he needs another reason to want to kill you," she rolled her eyes as she followed him to the elevator.
He pulled a pencil out of his pocket, smirking, and handed it to her. "Thinking ahead."
Claire took the pencil, and smiled very slightly at him, following him out into the chilly air.