Title: Gentle Soul
Characters: Sylar/Peter Petrelli
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Mild violence, explicit sexual content
Word count: ~5,000
Genre: Slash
Setting: This is shortly after Powerless in season two, in an AU where Peter talked Nathan out of holding that stupid press conference. Peter went back to New York after the events of season 1 and 2.
Summary: Sylar wants his powers back. And whaddaya know, there's Peter …
Notes: Thanks to DancingDragon3 for inspiring me. This was my third attempt to write to DD3's prompt, "Petlar, pre-Wall, first time sex with each other, Peter tops, force and seduction, minimal dialogue, PWP, something fun."

"I was used to playing misled youth, rough-and-tumble guys. It was nice to get back to a big-hearted, warm and gentle soul, a guy who is destined for something a lot larger than he ever expected." ~ Milo Ventimiglia, about Peter Petrelli

Sylar sat at a little table under an umbrella, sipping an expensive coffee and contemplating his life. His apparent freedom was an illusion and he knew it. The Hunger was an itch he would eventually have to scratch. Mohinder's alchemical mojo had restored his core ability and, inexplicably, telekinesis, but nothing else. Sylar was considering what all the killing had gained him and the answer seemed to be: not very much. He was no better than Maya, in a twisted sort of way, fleeing from all the deaths he'd caused, but with less weeping. At least Maya had had the dream of Suresh fixing her, however misled she'd been. He didn't even have that. Sylar felt empty and unsatisfied and it wasn't solely from the loss of his powers.

He watched idly as an ambulance pulled up to the curb and a man hopped out, turning away from Sylar to look inside and bicker with the driver about whatever it was he was going to order from the bistro. Sylar's eyes drifted past him, looking at a tall, red-headed woman in a bright green dress. Hm, she's striking, but nothing special. Not my type. He didn't often see women as tall as he was, even if an inch or two of her height was from heels. Idle curiosity moved him to crane his neck and appraise her footwear, even if she wasn't worth the effort no matter what she was wearing. He couldn't help but look - he was constantly looking, hunting, and assessing. Sometimes it just seemed pointless.

"Hey, Petrelli!"

Sylar twitched, eyes jerking away and scanning the crowd. Not fifteen feet away from him, the man from the ambulance turned back towards his rig, where the driver had yelled at him and now continued with, "Make sure you get extra napkins, okay?"

"Sure!" Peter answered cheerily, then turned and walked on into the store, as oblivious to Sylar as Sylar had previously been to him.

Sylar blinked. Maybe not so pointless after all! A mess of thoughts stormed through Sylar's head as he watched his enemy go order sandwiches. Peter was far, far more interesting than some random woman and very, very worth the effort. He has every ability I ever had. Every single one of them, if I understand correctly how his power works. I wouldn't have to wait around for them to come back … not if I had him. Maybe that would be enough to finally satisfy the Hunger. When Peter came out, Sylar was gone.

Sylar was casually invading Peter's privacy when the man got in from work a couple days later. He silently replaced the book on Peter's nightstand – Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell – a fascinating comparison of the lives of successful people, which attributed their greatness to environmental and coincidental factors rather than any innate talent or specialness. He could understand why Peter was reading it. Chandra Suresh's book was dog-eared and well-worn, adorning the back of the toilet – a place of honor. Apparently Peter was trying to understand what he had become - something Sylar could certainly wrap his mind around. Sylar was still pondering it himself.

He padded over next to the door. The glass in the French doors to Peter's bedroom made it tough to hide, but Peter seemed as oblivious as he'd been at the bistro. He had put down his bag and was standing there quietly, head slightly cocked as the empath stared at a business card he was holding. Sylar pulled in a long, steadying breath. He would only get one chance at this. He raised his hand.

A few things he had forgotten – if Peter had all of Sylar's old abilities, plus his own, then he had enhanced hearing and a perfect memory. Maybe he had missed Sylar in the crowd, but there was no way he'd miss the sound in his own, otherwise empty, apartment, no matter how quiet Sylar succeeded in being. His heartbeat alone would give him away.

Something hit Sylar in the chest, right in the solar plexus, knocking all the wind out of him. He staggered back, legs catching on the end of Peter's bed and falling into it. It was probably the best place in the room to land, a distant part of Sylar's mind mused, but the more immediate part was struggling to recover this. The odds of doing that were tiny, he knew, but 'tiny' was better than 'none' and he scrabbled at the chance no matter how small. He started to roll off, trying to force himself to take in rough gasps of air, but he was caught easily and flipped back onto the mattress.

He twisted his hands, summoning shreds of the only power he had and sending them out. He could feel the telekinetic tendrils find purchase, but it wasn't enough. His concentration was still too blown and his adversary was far too quick. His hands were wrested up, wrists rotated and fists balled tightly before being put back against the bed. He grunted and strained, teeth bared, desperation fueling him. It mattered no more than any of the life-or-death struggles of any of his previous prey. The power imbalance was too great. He'd missed his chance.

Peter had come to the door of his bedroom, the French doors now blown open and his right hand extended. An intent expression graced his face. Sylar relaxed, sagging back onto the bed, laughing. So this is what it comes to? After all that – Mom, Kirby, Mexico, Maya, the injection – after all that, I've failed, brought down by my own ability wielded by some fop-haired do-gooder.

Peter snorted. "I'm hardly a do-gooder these days. And they gave me a haircut."

Sylar raised his head briefly and looked at him. Telepathy. Grand, he thought sarcastically. I can't even plot in secrecy.

"No, you can't," Peter said, walking over next to the bed and surveying Sylar's body with an inappropriate degree of interest.

Sylar blinked at that look. Is he checking me out? I mean, are you …?

Peter dragged his eyes back up to Sylar's face. "Yeah. Sorry. Been a while since I've had a guy tied up in my bed." He said it jokingly. "I was just trying to figure out what to do with you."

Sylar did not take it as a joke. He … tingled … at that statement. He swallowed, mouth suddenly dry, a flare of abrupt interest warming him. "Ha," he said nervously, but it was anticipation, not fear. "What do you want to do with me?" Sylar asked, his voice pitching higher as he shifted suggestively on the bed.

Peter's eyes widened. "Are you …?"

Sylar grinned broadly, grabbing at whatever influence he could get over the situation. With Mohinder, he'd played to his anger. With Peter, apparently he needed to play to his lusts. "Yeah. Sorry. Been a while since I've been tied up in a guy's bed." Like, ever. But whoa, this could be interesting. Better than a sword in the chest, or going back to level 5 to be killed over and over, or being trapped in the car with the wonder twins. At least the sword was quick.

Peter's eyes tracked up and down Sylar's long form again, even as his face turned troubled. "The wonder twins?"

Sylar wrenched his thoughts away from the distasteful subject. "Long story. Not interested in telling it. Much more interested in your … proposition."

"My proposition?"

"Yeah." Sylar chewed his lip, looking at Peter. I've never been with a man. He's good-looking. I can do this. I think he'll be gentle. Maybe? "Get in bed with me."

Peter blinked at his directness, but Sylar had never been one for beating around the bush.

"Don't pretend you're not interested, Peter. I don't need mind-reading to see that." He shifted again, moving his hips from side to side. His ankles, shoulders and hands were still pinned, but the rest of him was free. 'Or would you prefer something more familiar' flashed through his mind, along with an image of himself. This won't be … exactly the same, but its close. He's a little short.

"I'm not short," Peter said testily.

Sylar grinned at Peter's irritated response. "Let's see if you're long enough where it counts, little man."

Peter scowled, but then he reached down and touched the back of Sylar's hand with a single, stroking fingertip. Somehow, that changed everything and Sylar stilled, the confidence and arrogance in his expression bleeding out with the possibility that Peter might actually do it. Probability, even. I made the offer, not him. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? He'd not about to just let me go, and even if he did, I wouldn't be able to leave. Not with that fucking power dancing in front of me. He wasn't sure how to take Peter's touch, or how to respond. He was still interested, yes, but apprehensive as well and he knew Peter could read that.

Be gentle, be gentle, be gentle. He's listening though. Shit – he heard all that! I can take anything, Peter. It's okay. Anything you want is okay. However rough you want to dish it out, I deserve it.

"Why?" Peter asked, adding a second fingertip, touching lightly in short brushes against his skin.

Sylar stared at the ceiling, breathing harder. He wasn't sure what Peter was asking. The question was so holistic and he suspected actually that Peter might mean all of the possible permutations of it. He opened his mind and let his confused thoughts pour out. I want another chance. I was wrong. I've always known that. I'm eaten up by this Hunger. It's insane. Control me. They'll kill me anywhere you take me. You wanted to be a hero at Kirby Plaza. So did I. Be one now! Stop me! Nothing has gone right. This is the end for me. You're too powerful. I can't get away. Fuck me and maybe you'll get distracted. All I want is a chance. If you want to be a good guy so much, help me!

"I'll help you." Peter turned away, looking speculative.

You will? "Hey, I still want to fuck." Sort of. Maybe. At least I don't want you passing me up like yesterday's bread.

The empath looked back, surprised. "If I get distracted, you'll kill me." Peter laughed a little.

"No, I won't," Sylar promised seriously. "Not if you mean what you just said." Can I believe him? Or will he just use me and go, like everyone else?

Peter's brows pulled together as he brought his full, telepathic attention back on the killer.

Sylar stared up at him, not sure what to do and knowing Peter was reading his deepest thoughts and secrets. Any subterfuge would fall apart here, whether intellectual or emotional. The telepathy would see through the former and Peter's innate empathy would sense the latter. And so Sylar did the same thing he'd done several times before when faced with death. He opened himself and surrendered to it, asking fate to take its best shot and do what it would with him. Just as he'd leaned into Mohinder's gun, putting the barrel to his head where not even his telekinesis would save him … he opened his heart and his mind to Peter Petrelli.

Peter's eyes were fixed on Sylar's face, but he seemed to be looking straight through him. A long, creepy minute passed by as Sylar wondered what form his final death would take. He didn't seriously see any other future for himself – just endless hunting, seeking after a fleeting satisfaction, until fate finally caught up with him. A few moments later the telekinesis ended. "Get undressed," Peter said softly, blinking back to himself and unbuttoning his shirt.

Sylar wondered what Peter had seen that made him agree. Sylar knew he was rotten inside, broken, fucked up, stained and beyond help. It didn't mean the offer of assistance wasn't appealing, or that he would reject it, but honestly he hadn't been expecting respite. He was desperate - desperate to get his powers back, desperate to find something to hang onto in his life, desperate to find safety from all the shit that kept happening to him. The only path to safety he'd ever found in his life was power. No one was more powerful than Peter.

Sylar undressed rapidly, considering that he was prostituting himself here. I've done worse. Maybe he thinks he can trust me, but how do I know if I can trust him?

"You don't," Peter said, shucking off his pants, and after a moment of hesitation, his underwear as well. "But I'll do my best to be worthy of it."

Sylar glanced over and then away, pretty sure that showing too much curiosity about Peter's groin was inappropriate. Instead, he had to contemplate how to get his own underwear off without feeling utterly naked. Fuck it, he thought, shoving them off and throwing them off the side of the bed. If Peter doesn't like what he sees, he doesn't have to get in bed with me – that would something, wouldn't it? Killed after all this time because someone didn't like the size of my package. It ran through Sylar's head that his hands were free now, and had been for a little while. He had another chance to get the drop on the other man. Instead he tried to cover himself and make it look casual.

Peter climbed into bed slowly, diffidently, and Sylar's thoughts derailed even further in an increasing spiral of uncertainty and insecurity. The closest he'd come to actual sex with anyone was a couple passionate kisses with Maya, whom he'd despised. And then there was Elle. He'd never kissed anyone and had it work. At least, not the way it was supposed to, with someone who really cared for him, and where he really cared for them. Not that he cared much about Peter. Maybe I shouldn't be thinking about that, it occurred to him.

"It's okay," Peter said, lying on his side next to him. "You don't have to lie. You don't know me that well. We can fix that. Together, we can fix a lot of things."

I've also … never done it. It was easier to think than say, especially as he knew Peter must have gathered that already.

"I know," Peter said softly, running his fingers along the skin of Sylar's shoulder.

Okay, then. Let's do this, Sylar thought determinedly, rolling onto his side, slinging his leg over Peter's hip and pulling him close for a kiss that Sylar immediately made deeper, probing into Peter's mouth. He tried to ignore the unfamiliar feeling of another body bare against his own. He put his arms around Peter like he'd seen lovers on film do and mouthed at him determinedly. It had worked with Maya, after all, but she probably had even less experience than Sylar did, if such a thing was even possible.

After a few seconds, Peter pushed him away from him gently but firmly. Sylar felt anger and vulnerability coil tighter inside of him at the rejection, but really, he'd sort of expected that. He glared at Peter, waiting for the inevitable patronizing laughter. Instead Peter rolled him onto his back and climbed over him, saying nothing, his face neutral for the moment. Peter kneed at his legs and Sylar spread them. He's going to fuck me? Shit. What does that mean? Does it mean anything, like I'm the woman? Is it bad? Or is that just how it's going to be? Do I get a say in this?

Peter positioned himself between Sylar's legs and bent forward, hands coming down on the outside of Sylar's shoulders. "You get a say. All I have in mind is that we'll enjoy each other, however that develops between us. We can do something different next time. That's up to you."

'Next time?' Like you think … you … more? Not just this once? Sylar felt resentful of the telepathy, because it made his motives and emotions even more naked than his body was at the moment. What if I don't want a next time? he thought, mixed on whether he was affronted or flattered by Peter's assumption.

Peter smiled and leaned forward, pausing with his lips only an inch above Sylar's. His words puffed warmly against Sylar's lips as he said, "That's also … up to you." Peter closed the distance slowly, giving him a feather-light kiss that had more eroticism in that faint touch than in all the energetic, but ultimately passionless smooching Sylar had delivered moments before. Sylar felt his chest tightened and his cock twitch. He could have sworn he even felt his pupils dilate. Peter pulled back and Sylar studied his face. It was kind, perceptive, and attentive. Peter's eyes, which he'd always thought of as brown when he'd thought of them at all, were hazel up close, and wonderfully clear. Peter's gaze on him was soft right now, accepting and open.

Sylar swallowed and reached up, just barely touching Peter's cheekbone, prompting one corner of Peter's mouth to curl upwards in a half-smile. The other remained immobile. That flaw, which Sylar had noticed before but never dwelt on it, caught his eye immediately. His fingers dropped to the left side of Peter's lip. He touched it. "What happened?"

"Something that happened when I was a kid," Peter answered quietly. "Never healed right. Some of us never do."

Sylar hesitated, wondering just how far into the recesses of his head Peter had gone earlier. But whatever Peter had seen, he'd still chosen to be with him. Is it possible he understands what's wrong with me and he's still going to stay? "Is it numb?" Sylar asked, fingers stroking lightly.

"Little bit. You learn to adjust for it."

Sylar nodded, letting his eyes drift from that spot to Peter's lips themselves. He's still here. He's not leaving. He's not pushing. After a pause, he steeled himself and touched them. It seemed more personal than just kissing him, and it was, but he was being allowed the liberty and so he took it. They were soft and silken and Peter dropped his mouth open a little at the contact. The empath inhaled and shut his eyes, shifting himself forward and into the touch, lowering his body an inch or two towards Sylar's. He wants me! It was a perfectly clear sign of desire and it struck Sylar that Peter did want him, had every ability to take anything he wanted from him, and yet was allowing, even requiring, that Sylar explore him and initiate. And truly, really initiate, not just maul Peter in a pantomime of television.

He stroked his hand over Peter's cheek, slightly stubbled from a full day since his last shave. Peter crooned softly and rubbed his face into that hand, his body swaying with the motion. Sylar raised his other hand to touch Peter on the ribs, curling his hand over the muscled curve of Peter's side. He slid it down, over Peter's waist and hip until it rested on the roundness of his ass, while the other hand stroked upward and buried itself in Peter's short, so-fine hair.

He held him, top and bottom. Abilities have nothing to do with it. Nothing at all. This is what I was hungering for - to have someone understand me, to know what makes me tick. I always thought it was the other way around, but the answer's not in them – it's in me. Sylar drew Peter towards him and the empath came willingly, eyes opening slightly so he could find the killer's mouth - but Peter gave him only a caress of lips, declining to press in. A delicious tension was building and flowing through Sylar. He was finally coming erect. He'd been too subdued by things earlier to respond. Despite his penchant for violence, the prospect of killing or being killed wasn't a turn-on.

Peter ran the tip of his nose along the side of Sylar's and Sylar let his eyelids fall shut at that massive intimacy. He was breathing harder, taking it all in, trying to absorb the moment through his skin. He wished he still had that eidetic memory. If he was with Peter only the once - hell, if it stopped a second from now - he would have always had this to remember, of someone sharing a moment of true, unblemished tenderness with him. The Hunger was fucking GONE. Maybe Peter had an agenda or an ulterior motive, but Sylar didn't give a shit right now. The whole universe was making sense and he'd give anything not to lose this.

Peter rubbed his cheek against Sylar's in a slow, rasping motion. It sandpapered him a little, but it made him shiver and saw gooseflesh rise across his arms and chest. His skin had cooled enough now that he could feel the faint heat emanating from Peter's body, only a few inches above his own. Sylar raised his knees, some instinct guiding him. He tugged Peter downward, rump and head. He didn't have to repeat the encouragement. Peter settled onto him gradually, letting him enjoy the warmth and weight of someone on him – not too heavy; just right. Sylar held Peter to him, tightly, winding his legs over Peter's and twining them together. He hugged him hard. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please don't let this be fake.

"It's not," Peter whispered, kissing the neck his face was buried against, and then nipping lightly. Sylar arched under him and Peter met his surge with a thrust.

"Oh, my God, Peter. Fuck me." I never thought I'd say that to anyone. I'm practically begging.

"Yeah, practically," Peter said, "but I'm going to hold off on the fucking 'till you are." Peter kissed him again, right under his ear, working his way up. Peter nibbled at Sylar's earlobe, his softly growling breath hot in his ear, and that totally did it for Sylar. He arched again, squirming. Don't stop, don't stop, oh God, thank God you can read my fucking mind because I'd never say this shit out loud. Oh God. Peter was grinding against him steadily now, their erections sliding hotly against one another. Sylar had one hand cradling Peter's head and the other rubbing and clutching at his ass, still marveling that he was even doing this with someone. There was so much to touch and feel all at once. It was too much to fathom that his first time was going to be good, rather than just awkward.

Peter shifted a little, supporting his weight on one elbow as he roamed down Sylar's jaw to his chin. He moved his attentions up to Sylar's mouth, working over every millimeter of it without ever doing anything that might pass as a kiss. Instead, Peter chewed, he bit, he nibbled and sucked and pulled. Sylar was groaning into his mouth as Peter sent his free hand between them, provoking a choked gasp. Sylar had no idea why it was different when it was a hand touching him rather than them rutting together, but it was different all right. His eyes flew wide and he panted with increasing arousal. Peter covered his mouth with his own, smothering him in kisses now.

Sylar dropped both hands to Peter's buttocks, gripping him and beginning to shove harder against the hand that was pumping him. Peter was crooning with every thrust, kissing him sloppily but passionately. Sylar was going to come soon - he could feel it. His toes curled and he raised his hips further, wrapping his legs around Peter's ass and moving his hands to curl around Peter's back. He held the man to him as hard as he could, digging in his fingers. Peter stroked him harder and faster, rocking against him over and over, driving him relentlessly to the edge.

With his other hand, Peter grabbed his hair and pulled. Sylar threw back his head, utterly exposing his neck to him in complete submission. He teetered on the edge, totally open and defenseless. Something small and forgotten, hidden deep inside of him, whimpered for something other than pain and hate in return for his weakness. Peter twisted his fist in Sylar's hair to fix his head in place. He couldn't get away if he tried. The empath's mouth descended to Sylar's neck, right over his windpipe, and sent him flying with the lightest of nips. It almost tickled - Peter's lips and teeth against his skin. They were so warm and gentle.

So gentle.

It was a strange thought, Sylar mused, to climax to, but that was what was going through his mind a second before the orgasm momentarily obliterated coherent thought. He surrendered to it with a shudder and a guttural moan, his legs tightening around Peter's body even further as Peter kept pumping against him. Sylar felt Peter's grip shift to his own dick and squeeze hard, putting his forehead against Sylar's shoulder. Peter tensed and flexed against him as his breath caught. Peter groaned and a moment later, there was a second pool of warmth on Sylar's stomach.

I'm dirty. A spiral of fear ran through him at the realization that it was over. Oh, God, how did this happen? I've just … wait, he didn't fuck me. Is that important? Did he not want me?

"I want you, baby, you just …"

Baby? What the fuck? Am I some cheap whore he can call whatever he wants? Sylar felt a sudden, irrational surge of anger, feeling mistreated and taken advantage of. Paranoia blossomed.

Peter wrapped his arms around Sylar tightly and abruptly. "Don't be afraid. I'm not leaving. You're special. You're important. You matter. I'm here."

Sylar blinked at this odd speech … then defused completely. What the fuck did he get out of my head earlier that he knows exactly what to say to me? That's … creepy. Of course, I did just have sex with a telepath. And an empath. And a man. Mother would kill me if she were still alive.

"Okay," he answered simply, consciously deciding that if he wasn't going to be abandoned, then he wasn't going to worry about it until and unless Peter betrayed him. The whole tone of his thoughts had changed somehow and he touched at that wonderingly. Something had altered inside of himself, something profound. He relaxed and basked in the afterglow. Peter released him gradually, rising to kiss him softly and rub him again with the tip of his nose before rolling off and using telekinesis to summon a towel from the open bathroom. They cleaned up.

"What now?" Sylar asked, still puzzling over what had happened. Everything made sense now. It was like he'd had his shoes on the wrong feet all along and someone had swapped them, or like he'd been trying to do things right-handed when he was really left-handed.

Peter rolled on his side, head propped on his elbow, and contemplated his new lover. "While I was poking around in your brain, I couldn't help but notice you have a very legitimate beef with the Company."

Sylar turned, trying to find a way to arrange himself where he wasn't as exposed as Peter was. He didn't understand how Peter could look so casual about being naked. He finally contented himself by wadding up the dirty towel in front of himself. "So?" he said, once he was somewhat covered.

"I have one, too," Peter confided. "Remember when I said I wasn't a do-gooder anymore? I almost killed 93% of the world's population. The Company, these abilities - it's all a lot larger than I ever expected. I managed to talk my brother out of the idea of exposing them to the public, but we still need to do something. We can't rush into it though … and I need someone like you who can understand all the connections and all the consequences, someone who understands time." Peter reached out and solemnly put his hand over Sylar's heart. "I think I've worked out how to heal you. Can you help me heal everything else?"