Peter would have liked to have gotten rid of Bob and Elle immediately, but they couldn't. There were a lot of unpleasant things to be dealt with that day and he was ever so glad to have his brother and Sylar (of all people - it still seemed very strange) there to help him … or perhaps for him to help them. None of the three was 'in charge' over the others. Each had strengths they brought to the table that the rest needed. They worked through the afternoon and evening, drawing up plans, talking them out, calling people, and grilling Bob, Angela and the others about how the Company worked. By the end of the day, Peter was wrung out. Nathan seemed to be okay emotionally and mentally, but physically he was losing ground. Sylar had born up under the stress better than either of the brothers Petrelli, but an irritated edge was creeping into even his voice. After a brief working dinner, they called it a day.
Peter took his mother home - a convenience of having a son with teleportation, that she could attend an all-day business meeting in Odessa, Texas, yet sleep in her own bed in New York without any of the hassle of airport security. He started to leave immediately from the Petrelli mansion, but she noticed his distant expression as he thought about his destination. She reached for him quickly, saying, "Peter, wait!"
He paused, looking down at her grip at his elbow. He thought about Sylar catching his hand when Peter had reached for him, the day before. Like Sylar, her thumb stroked up and down against him for a moment. Then she pulled back. "Will you stay for tea?"
"It's nine o'clock at night, Ma." But he didn't leave.
"A glass of wine then? Or anything?" she pleaded. "Peter, I just want to talk."
He swallowed, glancing around the home he'd grown up in. All day they'd been perfectly civil and professional with each other, a distance between them that had chafed like a rough shirt against sunburned skin. He nodded. "Okay. I'll … just have some juice."
They walked in the kitchen where Angela poured two glasses of cranberry-apple juice. It was strong, tart and a little sour, but sweet underneath, which Peter thought (hoped) said something about his mother. "So you just met him yesterday?" she said, jumping right into a subject Peter had been dreading for hours now.
"Uh … yeah." He didn't know what else to say, so he sipped his juice and waited apprehensively. Technically he'd met Sylar three times before, but those encounters had been brief and violent. He knew that wasn't what his mother was talking about. This was the first time he'd disclosed a same-sex relationship to her.
"I've known for quite a while," she confided.
"It's okay?" he asked, certain that she was referring to his orientation in general and not Sylar specifically. Behind his simple question was most of a decade of uncertainty and fear. He'd lied by omission and hidden a very important part of himself. Many of his partners were women, but some were not. He'd only ever mentioned the former. In the end, it had done him no more good than Nathan trying to deny that he could fly. Peter found himself grateful for Sylar's bald proclamation of carnal knowledge. He didn't appreciate being outed, but it was long overdue and Sylar had just been disarming Bob's threats in the most expedient manner available. Peter thought there had been a little bit of boasting in there, too, for Sylar, which pleased him.
"Well, if it isn't," his mother replied, "what is there to be done about it? You're still my son. Although your taste … Gabriel … does he return your feelings?"
There was a lot to react to in those lines. She disapproved, but she accepted, and then the matter of Sylar, of all the men out there he could turn up with. He'd introduced himself as Gabriel Gray to Angela as well, but as Sylar to others. "I …" I don't know. Sort of? Maybe? "I just started dating him yesterday. We're still getting to know each other." I'm not even positive what to call him!
She reached out a cool hand to cup his cheek. "I trust you to make the right decision, Peter."
He wondered what she meant by that and if she was trying to steer him one way or another. It angered him that their relationship had fallen apart so much that even such a supportive comment from her provoked him to second guessing. If she can bring things up that are uncomfortable, then so can I. "You didn't trust me at Kirby Plaza."
She let her hand fall. "Yes, and I see where that got me. The future is not always clear and even when it is, it can be changed if one interferes with it too much. Perhaps when it looked like my role in creating a better world was to cause such destruction, I was wrong, and my role was actually to awaken you to the dangers and responsibilities that come with abilities, so that you would do what you're doing now."
"That sounds like an excuse." Some sort of after-the-fact rationalization.
She smiled faintly. "Perhaps it is. I don't want to be the one who was a villain any more than anyone else."
He wanted to tell her, You're not a villain, Ma, but he didn't say it. He could tell she was trying to mend fences. While he might not be ready for that, he appreciated the gesture. It was a step in the right direction - a direction he wanted to go. "No one wants to be a villain. Not even the villains. I'm hoping we can use the Company to make it easier for people to be heroes instead."
Her smile softened. "You're such a dreamer, Peter. But if you can see redeeming features in him, then I hope you will find some in myself."
Peter put his empty glass aside, thinking about how she was admitting, indirectly perhaps, that Sylar had redeeming features. He came close to kiss her on the forehead. "Love you, Ma. I gotta go."
"Good night, Peter."
Peter teleported back to the smaller staff conference room in Odessa. He saw that Sylar had returned from taking Bob and Elle to Las Vegas. The two of them would get started on the Linderman Group in the morning. Neither of the Bishops was all that happy about the arrangement, but it was better than being outside the Company altogether. Nathan was adding some lines to his notebook. Sylar was methodically erasing the whiteboard that they had covered so many times that day with ideas, lists and diagrams.
Peter stretched, noting Sylar watching him appreciatively out of the corner of his eye. That was nice to see. Sylar had had his game face on for most of the day, completely focused on business. Being able to read his emotions was no help - all it told Peter was that yes, Sylar really was focused on business. "So," Peter started, "are we going to turn in for the night?"
"Sure," Nathan answered. "You're coming back to the hotel, right?" There was a slight edge to Nathan's voice that Peter didn't care for. It was proprietary, maybe even possessive.
Peter glanced over at Sylar, who quit surreptitiously spying on him and devoted all his attention to arranging the markers and the two erasers in the tray under the whiteboard. It was of great importance that they be properly spaced out, after all. Peter smiled as he warmed inside. Sylar had stayed for him. He had Peter's abilities and his role in working with the Company was unchallenged (at least by Nathan and Peter). Yet he'd stayed here waiting for Peter. "No," Peter answered his brother. "I've got somewhere else I'm going to be."
Nathan huffed. Peter looked over at him and crossed his arms across his chest. Testily he said, "If you have a problem, Nathan, just spit it out." Nathan hadn't been all that happy about seeing Simone in Peter's apartment either. Sometimes Peter really wondered what went on in his brother's head, because it was almost like he was jealous.
Nathan looked up at him, then across the room to Sylar (who had stepped back to survey the marker spacing with a critical eye), then back to Peter. Nathan pondered his words, clearly trying to work out what to say. Finally he shook his head. "No. No problem."
"Comment then?" Peter pressed. "Because I don't want this to be an issue. I saw how you were earlier with the door. I'm not going to stand for that." Sylar blurting things out earlier, and his mother's surprisingly easy acceptance of it, had freed Peter from the burden of being secretive.
Nathan walked over closer to Sylar, who turned to face him, glancing past uncertainly to Peter. Nathan said, "What I've heard about you hasn't been good. Peter's not as much of a realist as you or I. I get that. I hope you get that."
Sylar pulled himself up to his full, intimidating height. "I get that." His voice was even and uninflected.
Nathan frowned up at him, showing no fear even though Peter could feel it in his brother's emotions. He knew Sylar could feel it, too. Nathan said, "I had to stand over his dead body thinking I'd lost him forever because of you."
"Nathan-" Peter said, but Nathan's hand and sharp glance over his shoulder cut Peter off.
"You said you wanted things out in the open. Well, this is out in the open." Nathan turned back to Sylar. "Peter's giving you a second chance. So I'm giving you one, too." Nathan looked down for a moment, then back up, meeting Sylar's eyes again. "But don't think that's as easy for me as it is for Peter. Treat him right."
Sylar made a slow dip of his head that might have been a nod. Nathan took it as that and backed off. He gathered up his notebook and looked to Peter. "I'll see you in the morning then." He glanced over at Sylar and gave him a short smile. "Both of you."
Peter and Sylar returned to the beach house, showered separately and got ready for bed. Peter came to the door of the room Sylar had slept in the night before, where Sylar was getting into bed now. Peter had slept across the hall, not sure what their arrangements should be. He still wasn't sure, but he knew he didn't like sleeping alone when there was another option.
He'd had such rotten luck with relationships over the years, almost never getting what he wanted, which wasn't just the sex. He threw himself at people, his clingy, needy dependence driving them off while at the same time driving him to do it again and again. It was always casual for them - it never was for Peter. Getting his heart trampled on was a price he was willing to pay to get close to someone … even if only for a while. His mother's question burned in his mind. Peter leaned his shoulder against the doorframe, dressed in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, and asked the other man, "Rough day, huh?"
"I've had worse." The bedroom Sylar had chosen was the one they'd had sex in the day before. Peter was certain that showed an acceptance of what they'd done, even if Sylar had been a little stand-offish after.
Peter nodded. "It should get better now that we have a handle on what's going on, and there's three of us to do it." He edged inside the doorway, so the frame was at his back now. It was a few inches closer.
"Yeah," Sylar agreed, studying Peter. Peter chewed his lip and looked at the floor, not brave enough to just ask if they could sleep together. Besides, he didn't know how to phrase it without making it sound like he was angling to get laid again. Not like Peter would mind that, but he was worn out at the moment, run down by the day, which was why he wasn't in the mood for sex and yet very much wanted to be close enough to someone to be comforted by them. Awkward seconds ticked by. Sylar finally said, "Come here. I want to see how your ability works."
That didn't sound interesting to Peter, but it was an excuse to get closer and he took it. He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge of it. "What do you want me to do?"
"Come over here and put your hand out." Sylar raised his, palm towards Peter. Peter crawled on the bed next to him, matching his hand, touching their fingertips together. Sylar curled his longer fingers so they met. His expression became serious and Peter felt something stir inside of himself.
"What are you doing?"
"Making it intentional," Sylar said, "instead of reflexive."
"Making what intentional?"
"Fitting our powers together." Sylar sighed, shutting his eyes and breathing deeply. "All day it's been … annoying me. Getting the others' powers was nice, but this … this is better. This is the whole feast, instead of having it parceled out to me in bites and morsels." Peter could sense the satisfaction flowing through Sylar. The other man opened his eyes slowly and said, "Now you."
"Now me what?"
"Think about how you feel about me, maybe how you felt yesterday. It's emotional for you, right?" Peter nodded. "Then feel your way through it and push those feelings."
Peter swallowed and looked at their hands. He furrowed his brow and thought about letting power flow through his hand. Arcs of electricity jumped between his fingertips and Sylar's. Peter jerked his hand back.
Sylar grimaced, but he barely flinched. He kept his hand where it had been. "Wrong ability," Sylar said. Patiently he told Peter, "Try again. Emotions, not energy."
How do I feel about you? Unsure. Delighted. Happy. Hopeful. Maybe? I love you. Insecure. Worried. A little afraid. Peter reached out again and pushed those feelings, sensing warmth against his palm and then something easing in his chest. The boundaries between them blurred and faded, similar to what had happened the day before, but without the sexual energy confusing it and overwhelming him.
All of his insecurity and self-doubt faded away. He was deeply content, everything and nothing at the same time. It was a strangely transcendent, spiritual, Zen moment of peace. Peter fell into it gratefully, like falling into slumber after days of wakefulness. He felt Sylar's fingers slide between his own and softly grip, then pull him closer. Peter came, snuggling up next to the other man, on top of the covers while Sylar was beneath them.
"You quell the hunger in me," Sylar murmured. "I'm doing something for you, too, I see."
Peter slowly broke it off, trying to focus on the words. He felt a little drunk from the contact. "Thank you," he whispered, not sure what else to say. Finding a little more strength in his voice, he asked, "Did you know it would do that? Us?"
"No. Not until you showed me."
Peter's hand stroked the blanket over Sylar's stomach while Sylar's brushed Peter's back tentatively. We're both so unsure, Peter thought. "Can I sleep in here with you?" he blurted out.
Sylar didn't answer with words, but instead started turning down the blankets for Peter to climb under them. Peter snuggled up under Sylar's arm and rested his head on his shoulder. It wasn't a position he'd hold for the night, but it was comforting and what he wanted at the moment. Sylar's arm curled behind Peter's back, tucking him close. Peter's hand went to Sylar's chest where, after a few restful moments, he began to smooth his fingertips across the cloth of the shirt. Peter made a soft, contented sound.
"Do you want me to call you Sylar, or Gabriel?"
The man in question ran his fingers along the hem of Peter's t-shirt where it lay above the small of his back, feeling the cloth, then an inch lower to feel Peter's skin, then the cloth again. "You mean my introduction to your brother this morning?"
Sylar sighed. "My mother, Chandra, the people who would come into the watch shop - none of them accepted that I was different, or special. My mother told me I could be special, not that I was. I had to prove it. Gabriel Gray is that quiet guy who's not going to hurt anyone because he can't. Your brother can trust him. He's powerless." Sylar paused for a while and then said, "I'm not that person anymore, even if I don't have abilities."
"I trust you."
Sylar chuckled and snugged him tight against him. "You're here with me. That's a lot of trust, Peter."
Peter wriggled closer, feeling so perfect inside and feeding off the warmth he was sensing from inside of Sylar.
Sylar said, "I notice you don't say anything about your expectations that I won't hurt anyone."
"I'm not the idiot dreamer my mother and brother think I am. Like I said yesterday, you have a right to defend yourself. You made me a promise. I'll make you one back." Peter twisted and rose on his elbow so he could look Sylar in the face. "You don't have to prove anything to me. I know you're special - abilities or not."
Sylar leaned in to kiss him and Peter met him - long, slow and sweet, their affections flowing together, tenderly merging and overlapping until Peter had no question that Sylar returned his feelings.
"You didn't answer my question, though," Peter said as they parted.
"You gave me back my abilities even knowing what that might mean. You had faith in me. Your family can know me as Gabriel - powerless and harmless. To you, though," the man leaned in, letting his lips caress Peter's, "I'm Sylar." Sylar drew Peter to him, pressing home a deep, consuming kiss.