The next day saw Sylar getting up bright and early (reluctantly) to go find an area suitable for what he had planned. He was in luck. He found a clearing not too far from the motel, but farther away from it than the highway. It looked to be the back part of an apple orchard. Nice. But the area he selected was surrounded mostly by tall pine trees, with some oaks and maples.
Setting up the area, he could only find one large rock to use, so he brought in some logs too for the focusing exercise. He positioned them at different distances from the center of the space, until he was satisfied with the arrangement. He sat down in Peter's place to mentally go over his lesson plan.
Sylar had never tutored anyone on how to use their powers, but when he had been on Level Five he'd considered the idea. He had wanted to be valuable to his mother - to Angela. He had wanted to surprise her. Make her proud.
Sylar closed his eyes at the memory.
Even before Arthur had told him he could take someone's power without killing them, he had thought that he could at least figure out how one worked without taking it. He wouldn't have direct access to it, but he could tell its owner how to use it. The different ways it could be utilized.
Most people were so short-sighted, they never experimented with their abilities. Never pushed them to see how far they could go.
He used to believe that justified him taking them. Killing for them. They were gifts that he was putting to better use. Only he could fully appreciate them. Or so he told himself.
An image of his father came to him. He wondered if Samson had ever thought that. Or if he had ever even bothered to justify his actions. Sylar didn't think so. He doubted if either Mr. Gray or the senior Petrelli had ever once felt an ounce of guilt between them.
But he and Peter did. Enough for all of them it seemed.
Rousing himself from his dark thoughts, he went to wake up his tiny band of rebels.
When Sylar got back to the room, Peter was in the shower and Luke was eating cereal and watching television.
"He's been in there for forever," Luke complained around a mouthful of Cheerios.
Sylar quirked an eyebrow, but he heard nothing but innocent showering sounds. Damn. He went and pounded on the door. "Hurry it up Petrelli! You're not the only one living here." He smiled at hearing something drop and a muffled curse.
"Alright, alright! Jesus, don't break the door down," Peter yelled.
"Yeah, it's not like anybody out here'd like to see you all wet and naked," Luke said quietly, with a smile that said he was imagining just that.
"Yeah, yeah. I know. He's all yours," Luke said innocently, batting his eyelashes.
Sylar's response was cut short as the bathroom door he was still standing beside swung open and a (naturally) half-naked Peter appeared in a cloud of steam. He stopped short at seeing the taller man.
"Hey." Peter seemed to reach for words. "You were up early this morning." He cringed.
Sylar smiled and gave him a once over. Another too-small towel graced his hips.
"Ah did you miss me, sweetie?" Sylar asked in a good approximation of Luke's innocent tone and expression.
Peter's lips thinned as he gave his partner a warning look. Truthfully, he had. Screams and the sounds of fighting thankfully drew both men's attention to the TV. "Luke, what the hell are you watching?" he asked.
"Uh, I'm watching three hot chicks with super powers, running around fighting in tight pants and skimpy tops. It's called a 'spank bank'. Look it up."
"Luke, get in the damn shower now," Sylar sputtered. "And you," he turned to his literally steaming hot partner. "Put some clothes on, for god's sake." He then stomped the three feet to the kitchenette.
"Aren't you glad I insisted we get the full sized coffee maker?" Luke asked Peter as he walked by. He took the opportunity to check out Peter's ass as the shorter man watched Sylar pour a large mug to the brim.
"How can he still be addicted to caffeine?" Peter was incredulous. He watched as Gabriel's eyes closed in obvious pleasure as he smelled the coffee. He took a large drink and rolled the liquid around in his mouth before swallowing. Peter blinked and shifted in place.
"Don't ask me," Luke said. "It's probably just a habit or something. All I know is that he's always got to have a cup of coffee or tea with him. Trust me. I know a few things about Sylar that you don't," he added cryptically, before shutting the door to the bathroom.
Peter turned and looked at the closed door bemusedly. He really didn't want to get into a pissing contest with a teenager over who had more intimate knowledge of a mass murderer. Could my life get any more surreal? he wondered as he went to find some clothes.
Hmmm vanilla, Sylar thought as he took another sip. He was purposefully ignoring the conversation. He was too glad that they were getting along to complain about their choice of topic. "Spank bank," he scoffed to himself. The mouth on that kid. Sylar was trying to keep his attention on the television, his coffee, anything that was not Peter. The handsome man was getting dressed on the other side of the room. Peter's lean muscles stood out as he pulled a blue t-shirt over his head.
Pectoralis major. Lattisimus dorsi. Abdominal oblique. Sylar's eyes continued on their cataloguing journey south. Peter's choice in underwear? White cotton briefs that hugged every curve as the younger man bent to pick up a pair of jeans.
Fuck. Sylar closed his eyes, but it was no use. The image of Peter's body had been burned onto his retinas a long time ago. Does he have any idea what he looks like? Sylar's focus snapped back to the TV. He was not going to think about what he had done in the shower that morning. Or what he had been thinking about. He took another sip of coffee.
It was going to be a very, long day.
"Here we are," Sylar announced a little while later as he, Peter, and Luke walked into the clearing.
Peter shook his head in amusement as he looked around. "Well, it's not a swamp, but this clearing is eerily reminiscent of something. " He glanced at his wannabe Jedi Master, smirking. "How do you do it?" He muttered, looking back to the objects lying around that he assumed he would be levitating soon.
"I have my ways." Sylar said low into Peter's ear, as he came up behind him. A shudder passed through the shorter man.
"Okay, so now what, oh great Jedi Master?" Peter asked, ignoring his goosebumps.
It was Sylar's turn to smirk. "You sit here." He positioned Peter in the middle of the clearing. "Oh, and take telekinesis." He reached out before Peter could sit down. They clasped hands and the familiar red light flickered.
"Thanks," Peter said, his hand and gaze lingering on the taller man's.
The corner of Sylar's mouth turned up as his fingers caressed Peter's palm good bye. He turned to Luke. "Luke you sit over there."
"Ah, man. I'm R2-D2, aren't I?" Luke whined, throwing himself to the ground.
"No, you're Luke Campbell. Now shut it." He went to sit in front of Peter. "Close your eyes." Peter merely raised his eyebrows as he settled down cross-legged.
"Trust me, Peter. Close your eyes. You have to learn to feel with this power. See with it, not with your eyes."
Peter nodded. "Yes, Master." Peter winked. "Teach me the ways of the Force." He closed his eyes.
"Mock all you want, but comparing telekinesis to the Force is going to help here. Star Wars gives us a valuable example to use. A common metaphoric language to draw from. Now pay attention."
"When you use telekinesis to move objects, what is it that is really moving these things? It's your mind. Reaching out to touch. Leaving your body. But TK is not just moving with your mind. It's moving your mind, expanding it from your body to touch everything around you. When you master that ability, you can use your mind to move your body as well."
"Now try to reach out with the power in all directions. Forwards, behind you, above and below. Feel the ground beneath you and me right here. That's it." Sylar could feel tendrils of TK touching his body.
"Okay, now wrap the power around me and lift me gently just about a foot. Good, that's good. Not good. I'm falling over," Sylar said as his ass began to drift up.
"Try surrounding me in a TK bubble, so that you can feel where my body is in space. Perfect," Sylar said as he felt the pressure evenly on all sides.
"Now keep expanding outwards until you find the rock and the logs and lift them too. Great. That's great, Peter. Now Luke." He turned his head to watch Luke drift into the air level with him.
Luke shot him the bird. Sylar ignored this.
"Okay. Now, keeping all these things suspended, lift yourself. Feel the earth beneath you. Push against it. Let the power expand between you and the ground. Don't lift into the air, push into it..."
Sylar continued instructing Peter. Having him learn to hover. Practising control over himself as well as everything else until the random logs, rock, and teenage boy Sylar had collected were flying in slow orbits around them. Luke was not happy with this activity at all.
"Peter, you are doing really great. I'm impressed," Sylar remarked.
"Do I really need to be upside down for this?" Peter asked, tired of feeling all his blood rush to his head as he hovered several feet above the ground, upside down.
"Yes. You need to get a new perspective. Stop thinking of your mind as being focused in your head and stop thinking of your head as being where it usually is. Stop thinking of yourself as straight lines and be a circle. A sphere."
Peter sighed and closed his eyes again.
They soon moved on to reaching out to the trees. Luke was nearby, sitting this fun out with a bottle of water.
"Move your power around them, just like you did with me and Luke. Except you can't move the tree. So if you shorten the link, your body will have to move to it instead," Sylar explained.
The first time was hysterical from Luke's point from view. Peter used too much strength, went way too fast, and ended up smashing into a tree trunk before falling to the ground. It was like a cartoon, only way funnier. He even bounced a little.
"Are you okay?" Sylar asked, running up.
"Peachy," Peter replied, his face turned to the side, breath kicking up a small dust cloud.
"Come on, try again," Sylar said, hauling Peter up with his own hands, and giving his shoulders an encouraging squeeze.
The next time went a bit better. But it still ended up with Peter smashing into the tree. He just didn't fall this time.
"Well, you're still holding on. That's a good sign," Sylar said, hovering nearby. "Try to push yourself up the trunk. Don't use your hands. Kind of telekinetically crawl up it. Using mind feet."
"Mind feet? Are you fucking with me?"
"So, I'm not always good with metaphors. You get the idea." Sylar waved him on.
"Mind feet," Peter snorted as he followed the ridiculous instructions, making his way slowly upwards.
"Hey! I think I've got the hang of this at least," he said a few minutes later.
"You have. You're very good with this ability, Peter. Did you use it more than the others, before?"
"I always liked it," Peter responded hesitantly.
"Yeah, it's one of my favourites too." Neither voiced that their other favourite power was Elle's electricity.
"Now try for that tree over there. Slowly," Sylar said into the uncomfortable silence.
Peter flew to it successfully, alighting on a thick branch.
"Now me. Fly me to you," Sylar called out.
Peter over compensated again and slammed Gabriel into himself and them both into the tree. His head impacted hard and he blacked out for a moment.
When Peter came to, he assumed he was lying on the ground, but when he tried to move he realized that his legs and arms were tangled with others that must belong to Gabriel. But there was very little body weight against him. He opened his eyes to find Gabriel's very close, and level to his own.
"We're still in the trees," Peter said faintly.
"Yeah," Sylar responded almost as quietly.
"I thought we were on the ground."
"No." Sylar licked his lips. "I've got us."
Peter breathed. "That... that's good." He and Gabriel were pretty much cuddled up together against the side of a tree, a good twenty feet up.
"Sorry," Peter said.
"You know. For crashing us into a tree."
"That's okay," Sylar said with a questioning look. "You did good. We just need to work on your control. You've already got plenty of power."
Peter wanted to say thank you, but he too busy trying to control a blush threatening him. He swallowed. He was also afraid that if he opened his mouth he'd say something completely off the wall, like tell the other man how hot he was. Which besides being kind of adolescent, there was still Luke to consider. They couldn't exactly make out with him watching.
Oh god, how long have I been staring at his mouth? Peter risked a look up. Thankfully, it looked like Gabriel hadn't noticed. Because he was busy staring at Peter's mouth. Staring, at Peter's mouth. As he watched, Gabriel licked his lips again, absently, like he was also deep in thought. Peter resisted the urge to lick his own lips, choosing to bite his lower one instead.
This is ridiculous, Peter thought. He's holding me and staring at me. We're staring at each other. We are having a moment. Hanging onto the side of a tree, granted. But surely if we both feel something... it shouldn't be too hard to... do something about it. We're both grown men. It's the twenty-first century. Men kiss each other all the time. Right?
Sylar nodded slightly before asking, "Are you ready to try again?"
"To fly," Gabriel's eyes finally rose to meet his own. They looked amused, and maybe, a little aroused.
"Oh, sure." Peter's voice was still embarrassingly faint.
"Let's do it together this time," Sylar said gently, taking Peter's hand and moving to hover beside him.
"Okay..." Peter took a deep breath and tried to focus on the task at hand. For a second there, he had thought Gabriel had been shifting towards him, instead of away.
Peter glanced at the other man out of the corner of his eye as they moved away from the tree. Seriously, is it just me, or do we hold hands a lot for two supposedly straight guys? he wondered.
Either way, in a few minutes they were flying briskly through the trees. And no longer holding hands.
"This is awesome!" Peter yelled to Sylar. They had separated, but Peter was managing to maneuver them both through the trees by himself. They hadn't crashed again. Unfortunately. They did a fly by over Luke and Peter grabbed him too.
"Hey be careful! I'm still injured!" Luke cried. Peter and Sylar just laughed as they flew a circuit around the edge of the clearing before weaving into the trees again.
Later, they were taking a break in the room, eating salads, sandwiches, and in Luke's case, more cereal.
"How is Charmed still on?" Peter asked. "And more importantly, why are we still watching it?"
"Because it's the only thing on that's not soap operas. Or a talk show." Luke answered without looking away from the television. "I mean look at those boobs."
Peter glanced to the TV with renewed interest while Sylar frowned at the teen.
"And hey... Sylar... Dude, that warlock looks a lot like you," Luke observed excitedly.
"He does not!" Sylar said.
"Oh, I don't know. He's definitely got the eyebrows. And maybe if you took all that gel out of your hair…" Peter trailed off, smirking.
"I do not use hair gel."
"Oh please. What, do you have a power that keeps it slicked back like that?"
Sylar aborted a move to touch his hair, and straightened primly in his chair. "If there's anyone at this table that should not be making fun of people's hair, it's you, Petrelli."
God, I am never going to live down those bangs, Peter thought.
"You know the first time I saw Peter," Sylar said to Luke, "we were in this high school in Texas. I thought he was a student there. This was three years ago, by the way. He had this long hair that hung in his face like... "
"Okay fine. You win." Peter grumbled. "Let's just drop the hair discussion, okay? What's the plan for the rest of the day?"
Sylar grinned. "I figure we should go find a new cell phone, and wait for Rebel to contact us. Get to bed early. If we're still here tomorrow we can work on Luke's power some. How's that sound?"
Peter looked over at Luke speculatively. "I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some microwaves," he said with an unfamiliar gleam in his eyes.
Luke frowned. "I think he meant to help me, with my power. Right?" Luke turned, looking nervously at Sylar.
"Yes, but that doesn't mean you can't share with the group, Luke." He and Peter shared disturbingly similar looks of gleefully dark anticipation.
"What have I gotten myself into?" Luke wondered aloud, before taking another bite of his Cheerios.