Nay more, I think some blessèd power

Hath brought me wandering idly here:

In the full furnace of this hour

My thoughts grow keen and clear.

-Archibald Lampman


Claire groaned at the Texan heat. "How did I grow up in this?"

Sylar smirked at her. "Quit being such a baby."

"It's hot!" She glared at him, and sighed. "Seriously! It's 110. At least!"

"That's true. Although, you can't even feel it."

Claire sighed. "Also true. You know, it's only about eighty right now at my apartment."

"We're here because this was once your backyard."

"This is Abilene. I mean we came here a few times, but it wasn't exactly my backyard."

"Are you going to be difficult this entire trip?"

"It's hot," she whined again, and grinned at his look.

"At least it's a dry heat." He glanced at his phone. "No new messages. Guess we're waiting." He gave her a once over look. "You look weird."

She frowned, looking down at herself. T-shirt, jean shorts, and a baseball cap. "No, I don't."

"Yes, you do." He gestured at her cap. "Rangers? Really?

"We're in Texas, weirdo, what do you expect?"

"I bet you've had that forever, just waiting on the chance to wear it."

She blushed slightly. "My dad, apparently, has a thing for baseball. I never really noticed growing up. Rangers are one of his favorite teams." She grinned at a memory. "I took him to Yankee Stadium, to see the Yankees against the Rangers."

"Who won?"

"Yankees, naturally. He bought me this. I think he was trying to be funny."

"That Noah, always a barrel of laughs."

"Hey!" She punched him lightly in his shoulder and looked around the mall parking lot they were supposed to be meeting someone at. "He's been asking me where I disappear to, you know. When I'm not working, or at school. Or with Peter and Emma. He's not stupid. I think he knows Rebel is active again. He might even know who Rebel is."

"And?"

"I don't know. I think he probably gets it, better than you'd think. I don't think he'll do anything, if that's what you're worried about. He just mentioned it, in passing, that lot of people they used to keep an eye on, had dropped off the grid."

"For Noah, that's basically, 'Hey, I know what you're up to."

"Yeah." They were silent for several moments, watching the people going about their daily lives. "Do you think we'll always be doing this?"

He looked over at her. "I hope not. I don't like Abilene much so far."

She snorted. "You know what I mean."

Sylar looked away from her and shrugged. "I don't know. So far, it's looking like its going to be a hobby for a while."

"Eventually, things will have to change."

"Are you going to change them?" He looked at her. "Isn't that what that degree is for?"

"I'd like to change things. It's my fault we all came out to begin with."

"No, it's not, or do you not remember Danko?"

"That was my father, still sort of falls to me to fix it."

"What if you can't?"

Claire was silent for a long moment. "This is a very deep conversation."

Sylar laughed. "Yeah. Not what you planning to talk about?"

"I didn't have a plan." She smiled at him. "I'm bad at plans."

He snorted. Then, after several minutes silence, "Would it be such a bad life? Helping people?"

"Legally you mean? Or what we're doing now?" Claire grinned. "It's what I want to do. I used to get so mad at Dad, and Peter and everyone, for leaving me out. I wanted to help."

"Change takes time," he said finally.

"Well, that's not a problem for us, is it?"

They shared a look, and then Sylar straightened. "Here they come."

The small family approached them, and envelopes were exchanged, as well as phone numbers in case of future emergency. Eventually they parted ways, and Sylar and Claire watched them fade away.

"Make me a deal?"

Sylar frowned over at her. "What kind of deal?"

"Every hundred years, we meet up somewhere. Every fifty maybe, just to check in with each other. No matter what, even if we've become mortal enemies again. One day every half century, we make a truce, and meet up."

"You planning on going somewhere?" There was a slight undertone to his question, concern, maybe.

Claire hugged herself, feeling a slight chill, despite the weather. "Like you said, change takes time. Things happen, go wrong. People can't always stay together, no matter what they try." She couldn't help the slightly bitter tone that slipped in.

They stared at each other for several moments, and Claire thought for a moment he was going to do something like hug her or maybe even kiss her. Instead, he shoved his hands in his pockets and nodded once. "Alright. I promise. I think you're being overly dramatic, but I promise."

"Just, let's pick somewhere cooler. Literally."

"Antarctica?"

"Har har." She frowned for moment, thinking seriously. "What about Philadelphia?"

"Seriously?"

"It's the first place I got along with you at."

He considered her for a moment. "Are we friends, Claire?"

Claire frowned at him. "You don't think we are?"

"I don't know what we are. It's not like we hang out."

She snorted. "Sylar, I spend more time with you than my family."

"On jobs for Rebel. Not hanging out."

For a long moment there was silence between them. "Is this part of the deal?"

Sylar stared at her, feeling hurt flash through him. "No. I'm just curious."

Claire shifted. "I think we're friends."

"But you aren't sure?" He stood straight suddenly. "Never mind. Here, give me your hand, I'll take us home."

Claire stared at his outstretched hand, for the first time in a long time feeling trepidation. "Sylar," she said slowly.

"Don't trust me now, either? After that whole speech less than five minutes ago about how we need to meet up every fifty years? Bit hypocritical, Cheerleader."

Claire looked up at him, and saw the hurt in his eyes. Defiantly she put her hand in his. "I trust you."

A moment later she felt cool, well, cooler air surrounding her.

Sylar stepped back from her and jammed his hands in his pockets. "See you later, Claire."

Claire watched him take several steps away. "Wait."

He looked back at her and she took a breath grateful for the cooler air. Her mind felt clearer suddenly.

"How about dinner? I'm starving, and I know you've got to be at least a little."

He watched her for a moment. "If it makes you uncomfortable, Claire…"

"I am not a hypocrite. I trust you. I said I did and I meant it. We are friends. Besides who else is going to put up with me over a millennia?"

"No one," he said simply, then grinned at her put out look. "I liked Philadelphia."

"Every fifty years."

He nodded. "I can't stand the heat either."


I am a horrible person who doesn't update when I'm supposed to! I promise on chocolate that I will update within the week! I mean it this time!