A/N: the author wants to thanks to those loyal readers that had followed this piece since the very beginning and to those who joined along the way. The author wants for the readers to know that without them this imaginary universe would be pushed out of her fickle mind. The author would also want to add that she pours all of herself to at least reach a 'readable' level. The author would have said all of this without the use of a third person if she wasn't hiding beneath a rock.
Two words guys: writer's block. Is seriously messing with my mind. But leaving mental illness aside I did some things that I am actually proud of, such as
HELPING TO CREATE AND MODERATING THE FIRST SYLAIRE COMMUNNITY IN TUMBLR!
Sylairecommittee .tumblr. com
Yes, me and my awesome friend Purple_Lex finally put hands to work and launched the first Sylaire community there :D although I have to admit that for now is slow going, to hurry the pace we need your support guys :)
Do you love writing Sylaire? Reading? sharing your thoughts about this potentially canon couple? Then go over there! you can submit your fan art, participate in challenges, be part of discussions, get sneak peeks of this story as well as other stories I'm working on (yeah I have some unpublished works too, shhh don't tell anyone!) promote your own works, etc. We are officially starting with the discussions and challenges once we reach the first 5 followers (whom are going to be named as 'Honorary members' and have a link to their own works if they are writers, etc) so guys please go over there and yell to the world
'Yes I'm a proud Sylaire shipper!' XD
As always my recommendations go for 'Heroes rebirth from the ashes by Oldblueeyes and 'Hello Again' by PensAreAwesome and I will be adding 'Volume 1: Apocalypse' by Anei because her awesomeness demands me to do it ;)
My wail of joy goes to Purple_Lex who has the excessive job of not only beta'ing this story but also ALL of my others too.
Without more preambles:
I give you the first chapter of SHADOWS.
NOTE: Italics are dream/first person.
Disclaimer: I don't own Heroes I only borrow the characters for fun; did any of you noticed how fast we are reaching the end of the year? o.O
Past, present, future they all merge in me.
Her fingers felt cold as they stretched forward, hoping to find an anchor amidst the flow of engulfing shadows. Like the thick air around her, they were everywhere. It was of no use to attempt to decant the essence of one cell for they were embraced like a single individual, knitted together in a tight network.
As for now, she was blinded, only a senseless pair of eyes.
Her fingers curled, shook and twitched, moving on their own as her feet paddled, following an unknown path; a single course as if pulled by a thread of fate. The shadows whispered tantalizing rumors; they sounded like bomb shells in the air mixed with hopeless screams. They prodded at her ears, freezing her blood cold, and pushed her lips into a tremor, her eyes bleeding saline wetness down her cheeks.
But she couldn't spare a moment to grieve, to do anything more than to keep walking, to keep on moving. She was a force of nature born of ill nurture.
The acrid smell of burning flesh followed closely behind her. It flooded her nose, filled her lungs with poisonous air; it tasted tangy on her palate, revolting in her gut, making her head spin, spiraling down helplessly with the oncoming nausea.
As a last dying wish of a moribund woman, her fingers grasped something from the maddening confusion. They closed around reassuring solid flesh and she pulled with force born of desperation until the blackish figure was right in front of her and she could not only feel, but hear and smell the warm musky breath of another human being.
Suddenly, everything went red. Angela screamed a guttural sound rippling through her guts from deep within her raw throat.
Five years before…
Long gracious fingers grazed the sky-blue colored fabric. They moved seemingly aimlessly, tracing the contours of the napkin placed and folded elegantly above the white tablecloth. However, as like every single stir of muscle under her skin, they were deliberate, considerate movements intoned by a cadence; a conjunction of notes of a musical piece harmonically positioned to enchant the senses and obliterate the mind.
Tap, tap, tap.
Her middle finger kept moving because every beat and graze of fabric against skin was conjured as a different note.
Until the digit hesitated; poised over in the air an inch above the tablecloth for a treacherous moment, deflating slowly as if defeated by fate, it came to a rest over the firm table. The sky-blue colored napkin was left untouched at the side.
"You came in time," she dragged the words, still lost in the music.
"Punctuality is an accessory concept for you; you already knew I was coming."
Thin burgundy lips pressed together. "Nevertheless, punctuality is a sight to behold in a man." Deep sienna eyes slowly blinked at the man, a thin lipped smile forming in recognition. "Please, take a seat, Noah," Angela invited, skipping any more formalities that have not yet taken place between the two longtime allies.
The corner of Noah's mouth curved slightly in a weary manner. Sitting in the chair opposite to her, he casted a swift look over his peripherals as was his distinct habit. However, it was more often as of late, seeing that he had been on edge since the revelation, jumping at the gun with the barest sight of movement acting as a possible threat.
Five days had passed since Claire's decision to change history and he couldn't find it within him the will to relax.
Nevertheless, as he assessed this place now, using methodic eyes behind a layer of glass, he noticed for starters that the upscale restaurant wasn't very crowded. In fact, save for them, a couple of elders two tables to their right whom were silently eating their tiramisu, and a lone man sitting four tables at his nine chatting via phone while asking for the check to a passing waitress, they were alone.
The classical music was tuned low but they could still talk without drawing too much attention to themselves. The overhead lights of the commercial establishment shone a yellowy glow in the ambient environment, helping to create eerie shapes along the silverware and expensive crockery. Noah lifted a single eyebrow as he regarded his companion for the evening with a calculative expression; to his utter surprise, she seemed almost lost in her glass of wine, a sight that spoke more than it should. "Tell me, Angela, you didn't rent the whole restaurant out just for me and you, did you?" He allowed himself the use of light humor, hoping to smother his own insecurities with it.
Angela placed her wine over the table in a swift delicate move as well with one of her hands; manicured nails biting fabric, she leaned slightly forward. "Maybe on another occasion I would have ventured myself into that enterprise but this is not fruit of my arrangements." Her eyes spoke nothing but the true and Noah didn't need further explanation as to why the cause of having this vacant scenario around them; people were scared: people were scared of the unknown and more importantly, people were scared of Claire. No wonder they would opt for the security of their own homes when everything outside was in a state of unbalance.
Angela lifted her other hand, signaling a sauntering waitress. "Please, a glass of Merlot for my friend," she indicated, her superior breeding slipping through with every glide of her lips.
"Of course, madam," the employee was quick to answer with a curt nod.
"Thank you." Angela smiled pleasantly; once again, she solely directed her attention to her ex-employee when the woman had disappeared from sight.
Noah didn't protest when she ordered for him. Like in every aspect of her life, Angela was an overbearing character; he merely played along. "So I take it you wanted to talk about Claire?" He didn't hesitate to ask. With this woman, he didn't need to pretend, not like he did with others; concern was a terrible emotion to hold and he was worried in ways he had never been before.
"In a way, yes," Angela nodded. "But what I have to say involves not only Claire, it involves all of us."
There was one probable reason as to why the iron lady would use the euphemism 'it involves all of us' and Noah was quick to conclude, deciphering her code with ease, what exactly that meant. "So you dreamed," he stated leaving no room for doubt. His eyes momentarily left her face, coming to rest on the white cloth that conformed the pristine mantle of the table before him. There were few and dispersed among time occasions in which Noah would not look the Petrelli matriarch in the eye and those moments were the ones when she would trust him with her heavy premonitions about the future. "What did you see this time?"
Angela knew that Noah would avoid her eyes and a sad grimace of a smile graced her lips; who would want to see the raging storm clouded behind those sienna orbs? That was why her words were purposeful, chosen to engage attention. "It's not what I saw but what I heard," she vaguely answered, which as predicted made the company man lift his gaze to look at her again. However, her expression was indecipherable as she continued. "Are you familiar with the residual effect?" She inquired.
"I don't think I have heard it," Noah said, a bit puzzled, but in a way he found the ordeal a tad amusing; it was typical of her to answer with riddles and a wisdom of mystery.
She folded both hands over the table when the waitress came and proceeded to serve the wine, refilling her glass and leaving the bottle. She kindly offered her thanks and declined the offer when the woman questioned if they needed something more. "It's a psycho-acoustic effect," she answered her earlier question, eyes fleetingly leaving Noah's face to trace a drop of water grazing the glass's side. "Humans can perceive the tone of a note without the fundamental being present." Having had piano lessons as a boy, Noah grouped some recollection of what she was talking about. Angela sighed tiredly and Noah stared intently at her; it was the first human sign from her that he had caught on. "It's no secret that my dreams are confusing, to say the least. Consequently, I often have to play by ear, so to speak." She smiled some. "I see reality as a musical archetype: the right actions are what make it sound harmonic while too many mistakes leads to a dissonance in the rhythm." Her smile slowly dropped until there was no indication that it had been there in the first place. "I have been listening to the music for as long as I can remember but I have never taken into account the residual effect." Her expression was vacant as her eyes shone grimly.
"Angela," Noah said, feeling the suspicion climb surreptitiously along his back; it felt like spiders coming to attack an unsuspecting victim. "I don't think I'm following you."
Her stance changed abruptly, like the moves of a well choreographed tango. "It is time to face the facts, dear." She gave him another smile, this time less white from how hard her lips pressed together. "What I want to hear wasn't always what was actually playing." Her hands returned on the table again as she leaned over her elbows. "Too many butterflies caught in the past leads to a bigger dissonance; we now have the residual effect of our missing notes, of our missing acts; destiny is a temperamental thing and it had been playing the same song since as long as I can remember." She reached for her glass of wine, staring at the deep red liquid for a long second, and then she sipped it frigidly. "New York is going to be destroyed no matter what we do," she finally concluded.
Noah folded his own hands over the table as he too leaned over. "Did you dream it?" He whispered urgently.
"Like I said before, Noah, I heard it." She placed one of her hands over his own. "What I saw can only be described as shadows, a residual effect of the absence of light; they will start slowly, hesitantly, but they will stretch across the city, swallowing it whole. Nobody is going to feel a thing except for the screams… the pain is in its voices, the explosions, and then as a last act of finality, from the shadows, it will arise proud and hungry for more." She expelled the last of her dark harangue. For anyone looking their way, they could pass for two lovers saying sweet nothings to each other, but there was nothing sweet in her diatribe. If anything, it was a dead, bitter discourse.
"Angela, how can you possibly be telling me that we're going to sit still while the world around goes to hell?" Noah asked hastily, losing a bit of his well-preserved control. He glanced around to confirm that no privy ears had listened despite the few habitants of the place but the world continued to roll regardless of them. "There has to be something we can do," he hissed through tightly pressed lips.
"There always is." Angela smiled with a hint of foreboding to it and then subtly extracted her hand from Noah's. "I didn't dream this to prevent it, but to protect those who are close to me when it happens." She leaned back in her seat, looking detached once again. "In fact, once the change is settled, we will have our knights in shining armor who will put an end to this; hopefully," she added the last word, a knowing look flashing through her features. "If we play our cards right," she patted his hand with intent. "I've seen it, Noah, the world will be a better place."
The company man was left abashed and in a haze, trying to hold onto her reassuring words but failing at every step. He knew what she was talking about; they had done enough of their manipulative moves in front of each other in the past to know better. "Who are they?" He finally asked after a moment of mute deliberation.
"Peter, Micah Sanders and…Gabriel Gray."
"You have to be kidding." Noah felt the sudden urge to take his glasses off and smash them against the floor, but he held in check his temperament, if not for the sake of not drawing unnecessary attention. "Angela," his voice intoned with warning. "Sylar is unstable. I get he did help with Samuel's situation at the carnival but he is just biding his time, fooling Peter until he strikes again." His card was a dangerous one and the woman in front of him should know better than to play with fire.
"Do you think I like seeing my only son anywhere close to that killer?" A flash of hurt and anger briefly rippled through Angela's cold and unfeeling expression. That fleeting surge of emotion talked about how well she knew the consequences of playing with a wild card. Then the emotion was gone. Controlling her vicissitude, she sighed, touching her glass to cool off. "We got it wrong, Noah," she drawled, her mask put back in place. "Kill the man and you just have a famished monster; kill the monster and you just have a detrimental man; let both live and you just have the perfect weapon, an equilateral balance between sanity and madness." Her smile was sharp and fraught. "Right now he is in a vulnerable and malleable position, the perfect opportunity to reset a balance within him; we can shape and mold him to our liking without him noticing it."
The sheer aloofness in which Angela postulated this had Noah in a state of perplexity. How it is that she could be so calm and detached when the situation was calling for extreme measures? As extreme as taking the killer by the tail? "How do you propose we start?" He needed to ask because quite frankly he was at a loss of what to do.
"Can you contact Micah?"
"Well I suppose I could, he is REBEL," he enunciated deliberately. However, she probably already knew that. Feeling a headache forming, Noah finally gave into temptation and took his glasses off, though he drew the line at smashing them. "He can intercept anything, the questions is for what?"
"To send him a call for help to this address." The Petrelli heiress took a notepad from her purse and scribbled something on a piece of paper, pushing it into Noah's awaiting hands. "It is close to a park."
"Sylar is close by; he needs to cement some ideas and Micah can help us with that." Her smile was secretive like only she could perfectly construe. "Also, Peter has been a little lost lately." She placed her notepad in her purse again. "We need to give him the original idea."
"The idea of what?"
Her eyes found his again. "Of creating the new company."
Noah massaged his temple, closing his eyes. "Okay," he accepted. After all, he didn't have any qualms about the company in and of itself. It was the original fundraisers who corrupted the idea from the very core. "Let's say that indeed a new company is created; then what?"
"We wait; we live our happy life until the day of reckoning arrives."
He fought a laugh, his default reaction to the conflicting feelings she awakened every time. "And when is this going to happen?"
"A few years from now, you will know when the time comes."
"What about Claire?" No need to mask it anymore, the game was plain to see. Noah had come here with a single thought nailed deep inside him and that was and always had been Claire's security; the others were collateral damage. However cruel, he had learned to live by the codes of morality gray a long time ago and it suited him fine.
She took the sky-blue colored napkin, lifting it to her mouth, cleaning an imaginary spot at the corner of her lips and leaving a burgundy stain behind. "She will be fine," she answered curtly.
"Protected?" Noah insisted; that was the most important notion to him.
"As safe as she could be," she offered with a reassuring expression. "Don't worry, Noah, I'll personally take care of it."
"I should be the one who deals with Claire." There was a trace of suspicion in his toned question but it was quickly pushed aside as he remembered that this was no one other than Claire's grandmother, a woman that had not failed him in the past in regards to the blonde girl.
Angela took hold of his glasses and put them in his outstretched hands. Apparently he had forgotten about them. Signaling for the check, she turned to Noah once again. "Trust me, soon you will be dealing with dirty diapers instead of Claire's rebellious attitude."
He frowned out of confusion. "Huh?" He uttered, putting his glasses on.
She left enough money and then some on the table. Taking her purse, she stood up and turned to leave. "By the way," she said as an afterthought. "Kate is a lovely name." Smiling one last time, she left the establishment.
Three years later…
Earthy-scented and volatile compounds rippled the air, fatuously climbing it as its concentration hit critical mass. The mix was colorful, yet less than a pretty sight. The sizzling noise of a very vocal oiled pan against fire added to the sensatory overload. She inspected her creation, trying to determine its missing factor. It was a tempestuous blend of colors, smells, and noises, messily blurred together to play as if appetizing and prideful, but it only took a connoisseur's look to see past it.
Suddenly, a culinary epiphany occurred to her.
In the spur of a minute, a glass bottle was held high above the cooking mix, pouring a small fraction of its alcoholic wealthy content. Fire engulfed it all when she slightly angled the pan to its side; her hand reacted accordingly, retreating to her side. Her eyes reflected the blue-ish hue of the flame. The reaction was quick to spell its secrets; soon the fire reduced its size to a non-threatening flicker and the smell and sight of cohesion was plainly visible for her to peruse.
She smiled. All it lacked was a push in the right direction.
"Dinner is ready," Angela announced as she presented her guest with two full plates a little while later; she carefully maneuvered them to the dining room table, placing them with ease. There were few and rare the occasions in which she would take hold of the kitchen; even weirder when she would cook for someone else. But this meeting wasn't just something born in the spur of the moment, merely a social visit, however her guest may erroneously think. This was a predestined appointment. Angela's cheeks dimpled and the corners of her eyes wrinkled with fake ingenuousness.
Already seated, Claire gazed up at her with a look of guiltiness outlined in her young features. The ex-cheerleader bite her lip; she had not planned to stay here when she arrived to the Petrelli's parlor earlier in the evening. In fact, her impromptu visit had been designated with the sole purpose of gathering some clothes she had left here during her stay at summer time a month ago. Then, she would keep on with her normal schedule which consisted mostly of another lonely night of reviews and exhausting reading, even when finals had yet to come rolling down. Claire always pushed and over-exhausted herself to keep her mind in check; more so these days. She was close to graduating from college and the – although for others exciting – fact that she would soon have free time to start another chapter of her unnaturally long life was wreaking havoc in the blonde's head, making her more forgettable and anxious than ever. Her blond curls bounced over her shoulders as she shook her head meaningfully. "Angela." She took in a swift breath, unsettled by the sight of her grandmother in casual wear and relaxed countenance. "You didn't need to cook for me, it's fine; I've been-"
"Nonsense," the elder Petrelli chastised firmly, eclipsing all of the blonde's thoughts. Her face was carved with determination as she took a seat of her own, right at the head of the table. This meeting held an importance that the girl – now a woman, Angela corrected herself as she gazed at the jade freckles of eyes that were too aged for her own taste – had yet to understand. "It's not every day I have the delight to have your company, Claire." The corners of her wrinkled eyes relaxed minutely, speaking of maternal pride as she reached out and covered the girl's hand with her own to pat it lightly. "Let me spoil you a little," she insisted gently.
Claire's eyes dropped. She felt her tense muscles gradually deflate with the relished caring-touch provided. It was incredible –and would well have been a topic to discuss with a mental professional – how much she craved those – now fleetingly sparse – meaningful touches behind an emotional connection. It didn't matter that it was Angela whom delivered them; all that mattered was that she was family.
Her dad was taking care of a baby, another bundle of joy, as he had admitted to referring to her way back when their treacherous story started and he for the first time in years was happy and at ease. Her mom continued her life in blissful homely-ignorance, tending to Mr. Muggles as she loved to do without the looming threat of danger. Her brother was in his senior year, enjoying the benefits of a completely normal and uneventful life. And the linking factor that joined all these dots together was that she wasn't involved.
The truth became apparent. However, without the constant presence of her family, gaping holes were left in her heart, holes that had to be refilled with something. Anything.
Things had been hectic between the only Petrelli women since the very first day that their paths had crossed. The fact that both had pursued different goals in life and that they stand in completely different moral standpoints had contributed to tearing and splintering any mental picture of a 'grandma' that Claire had coined during her youth. Yet time was benevolent with all misconceptions, for since the revelation of Specials, Claire had come to the shocking conclusion that her grandmother wasn't so terrible.
The animosity between them was toned down to a mild chill that slid all over her spine, always igniting a nagging feeling that left her wondering what truly lay behind those sienna orbs. However, she tagged it as simply curiosity because Angela never did anything to feed those irrational concerns. In fact, she supported her and her decision when everyone else seemed reluctant to do so and more importantly she was still there. Thus the blonde had come to care and even cherish the value the elder Petrelli had.
She respected her.
Now that everything was in a semi state of calmness and that she could afford some normality, the college student felt guilty for neglecting and even hating her at some point. "All right," the young woman relented. A tiny yet firm smile grazed her pink lips as her head bowed submissively in agreement. She could do this – albeit little gesture – because Angela had been nothing but nice.
The older woman nodded, sliding her hand back. She took the napkin and carefully unfolded it on her lap. Three years had passed before them like the blink of an eye but Angela wasn't complaining; far from it, her time had been spent wisely. For starters, Peter had leveled his head with the solid ground of practical being and had used his likeliness with words and understanding of people to push some solids thoughts in the obstinate heads of the senate. The meta-human term had been coined, along with some others new legislations that proved to be of great help. Civil rights had been re-edited to include them. In others words, the system was working, and although these ideas and thoughts had been delivered by an eager Tracy Strauss, she knew that it had been her Peter who idealized the fundaments in which the new company was raised. Of course, only a few of them knew of this fact and that wasn't something done unintentionally.
Another accomplishment had been in regards of her relationship with Claire. With Noah taking care of his family, like she had predicted he would do once he fathered the child, the company man had been simply too busy to be at Claire's back all the time. Besides, he knew that if something happened she would take care of it as she had said to him. This had left the blonde in an emotionally wrenched state, a fact that provide to be favorable for the Petrelli matriarch as the girl tended to lean into strong figures for reassurance; it was the perfect cue for her to step into her life and carve a secure place against the ex-cheerleader's side.
However, Angela knew that trust was off of the table when the blonde was the one delivering it – she could see the raging suspicion permeating her stare every time their eyes connected – but that was not what she was searching for. No, Angela only needed her dependence.
Claire took the opportunity to inspect Angela's edible creation while the older woman sorted her food; this was probably the first time in weeks that the college girl had had anything as succulent looking in front of her eyes, not to mention wealthy. "Wow, this smells delicious," she hesitantly praised, at a loss of what to say; it was sad how she could never felt comfortable enough in any place.
Angela took her silvery knife, cutting the buttery meat smoothly. "Thank you dear, cooking is really an art for me," she said mindlessly.
The blonde took a bite of her own and sighed contently, savoring the spicy flavor that hit her tongue and relishing in the warm it provided her dry throat. "Yeah," she droned nervously; swallowing before continuing, she added, "my mom says the same thing; I think the gastronomic's wisdom skipped a generation." She chuckled without thinking until her laugh died down in her throat when she felt her words caught with her. She grimaced. "Both from adopted and biological fronts," she awkwardly corrected, clearing her throat. The blonde once again was reminded of the odd logistics of her family's structure. Looking aside, she burrowed more in her seat. "I don't have many skills," she offered, her eyes grim and bitter all of the sudden.
Angela took her glass of wine while acting nonchalant. "You're about to graduate from college, I think that speaks for itself," she answered, taking a sip of the red ruby liquid.
Claire's eyes shot to her. "I know," she claimed, trying to convey security in her voice though her eyes lowered in its own, heavy with an unspoken sentiment. A moment passed in which the flavorsome food started to taste like ashes in her mouth, reminding her once again that she couldn't really feel anything at all. "I know I should be happy but sometimes I can't help myself and feel-"
"-like your life is lacking in something?" Angela offered.
It was the closest to the true, Claire decided. "Yeah," she agreed. The blonde aligned her emerald eyes with Angela's sienna ones. There she was: spine straight and easiness in her movements; she was the picture of collectiveness, of cohesion, while Claire was hunched over, a perpetual frown perched over her face. It was a bitter existence; she was bitter. Claire knew that she was missing something but the big identity of it eluded her. "How do you know?"
Angela noticed the blonde's reservations and vulnerability and decided it was time to fraternize. "It's called being young," she swiftly answered, conducting the conversation with ease. "Although I may not apparent it, I was like you once." Her eyes softened faintly, lessening the harshness of her features significantly. "Full of hopes and dreams," she whispered, lost in some jovial memory. "Claire, you're an extraordinary young woman living in a tumultuous time. It is okay to feel lost, you just need a little direction, that's all." There was an underlying true behind that.
Claire stared at her plate. "It is so strange," she said almost to herself, lost in her own vacillations. She started to pick at the end of the napkin, following the movements with her doleful eyes. "I live and move easily about in this completely aware world but I can't get rid of this nagging feeling." She paused; a sardonic smile blossomed, born of her own self-critiquing. "Always expecting for the other shoe to drop." She fixed her troubled stare on Angela's stoic face. Her smile quickly dropped. "I felt like something big is coming up and I should help but I don't have any idea of how to do it." Her voice drifted in uncertainty, carrying her insecurities into the cold room. Claire swiftly sobered up, posing composedly and youthful she took a sip of her juice, hastily picking at her food again. "Sorry, I was rambling," she explained while avoiding Angela's prodding gaze.
It was time. "Don't apologize, dear," the older woman said in an even tone, her face devoid of any condemning emotion. "I understand perfectly." Her mouth curved up, her eyes wearing a knowing expression. "In fact, you remind me so much of Nathan right now," she said softly.
At the mention of her deceased father, Claire's eyes darted up. "I do?" She asked, feigning ignorance, though it was hard to do so; Nathan was a delicate subject for her.
"Of course." Angela nodded while letting her eyes skim her granddaughter's face. "Claire, do you know why he became a lawyer?" She quested; the blonde merely shook her head in response. "Some would say because he was blindly following the steps of his father." Angela leaned forward, as if sharing a precious secret. "But the truth is that he was a healer too." She patted the blonde's hand and leaned back again. "Of course not in the literal sense but he could heal with his words alone," she explained. "He kept saying that Peter was the dreamer but I always read past the hardhearted exterior." She smiled. "He, like you, had the dream of curing this ill world."
Claire's eyes grew somber as she averted them from Angela's; it hurt too much to remember that she would never see her dad in person again. "He was a great man," she mumbled hastily.
"He would be so proud of you."
The blonde grit her teeth in anger. "I'm doing nothing," Claire spat obstinately, unconcerned of whom she was addressing; this was the bigger issue for her because she was only the girl of the Ferries wheel and this was why she could never stop feeling this anxiety, this will to burn and hurt, because she felt useless.
"But you could," Angela stated, leaning forward again, looking at her intently. "Claire, you're full of potential; you just need to direct that potential to a place where it can be explored and cultivated," she voiced delicately.
The ex cheerleader stabbed at her food. "I've been trying to find a job but it is difficult." The blonde huffed, losing her interest in the gourmet-like-meat. "Regenerative, caring, good skin, those are not the traits a recruiter looks over in an applicant," she voiced wryly. Not to mention she knew that her will-be-coworkers would see her as a freak.
Angela deliberately took a bite of her food again. "There has to be someplace where you can put into practice your cunning understanding of special people," she offered vaguely.
Claire mulled this over slowly, crossing her arms over her chest. "The only place I could think of would be the company," she said casually.
"I was going to say as counselor of a rehab establishment but yes." Angela paused. "That could work too."
The blonde's eyes darted up incredulously. "I don't know, the company-"
"-The new one Claire," Angela cut in, "based in Peter's idea," The older Petrelli reminded.
Those words cut deeply into the blonde; after everything she had suffered at the hands of the company, she had never thought before of that place like a valid environment for her to be of use, to help others; how could she? When those people were the ones responsible for ruining so many lives. But Angela was right, this company was a clean slate scribbled from head to toe with Peter's ideals; help people not harm them. Peter was a good guy; in fact he was the closest to a saint she could think of. Maybe it wouldn't be an idea so crazy after all, besides she could fill that necessity of helping and being useful at the same time. "Do you think I could really fit in there?" Claire asked, hesitant.
Angela smiled – not just any smile, a winning smile. "It is the perfect work for you."
"It could work…" Claire muttered to herself, now considering the changes she would have to do in order to accommodate herself in this enterprise. "But I would need to settle in New York definitely, take an apartment and unfortunately for now I can't afford one and before you can say something, yes it is important for me to be the one buying it," she added severely. The ex cheerleader was living off her foundations for college; to have the required capital, she would need the incoming money from the work and to have the work she would need to live in New York. It was discouraging to say the least. "Well I could always stay with my father but ever since…" Yeah, she couldn't even begin to think of the awkward moments that would ensue from that. "Or I could go to Peter's." Peter would be happy to receive her at any time, Peter was safe.
"You don't need to worry about it," Angela dismissed firmly; her plate was half empty as she had eaten while the blonde deliberated. "In fact, I already rearranged your room for you in here," she added casually.
Claire directed her nomadic gaze at her grandmother again. "You knew I was going to stay?" She asked doubtfully, her expression dimmed to one of slight suspicion.
"Dear, I see bits and pieces of the future I'm not a fortuneteller." She fixed her with a pointing stare as to which Claire felt extremely unintelligent. "Ultimately, the choice is yours," she stated, directing her attention to the blonde's food. "Now, please eat your dinner."
A month before Claire's arrival at the building…
Through every turn and twist of destiny there is a linking factor, an element that works, gluing a random component or a group of them with another different component, establishing a relation between those; it is a connector that closes the circuit and makes the path logical, unifying those sensible to change.
It is call a binder agent.
"Mom I wasn't expecting you," Peter's husky voice greeted her. Angela leisurely lowered her gaze and took in her son's appearance; Peter was dressed in a light gray flannel pant and a blue old baggy t-shirt, he was shoeless and his hair was ruffled and unkempt with his long bangs obscuring his eyes. His hand darted out to tuck the strands behind his ear while the corner of his mouth lifted up apologetic.
"Good morning, Peter," Angela droned, her face impassive; a black glove hung in her hand while the other was still covered by one. "Are you feeling well?" She said with a hidden smirk, hitting him lightly with the item as she entered the house.
Peter rubbed his shoulder and inwardly chastised himself. "Yeah I just-" He hurried after her, trying to block her view of the living room, but Angela got there first. The couch had been placed along one of the walls, leaving a wider space in the center of the room which was occupied by a brown carpet. The item in question was covered from side to side with every imaginable baby-related paraphernalia.
"Sorry for the mess," The former nurse excused himself, scratching the back of his head. "I was going to clean here but Annabel just fell asleep and I was dead tired so I feel asleep on the couch."
Angela's nose cringed unseen to Peter who was behind her. Breathing in, she twisted in her feet. "Annabel has been stressing you out," she stated, fixing him with a patronizing stare. "Trust me I know how difficult a child can be."
The empathic scowled, aggravated by her whole stance. "I wouldn't say it like that," he said sternly, sighing annoyingly when he recognized the reproachful blink of her eyelids. "Look mom," he expelled evenly. "I love that you're taking your time to come here but if this is going to transform into one of those lectures about how I'm wasting my potential then I rather you leave." It was something that Peter despised, how after everything he had done, after everything he had given in exchange, his mother would still gaze at him with those so-full-of -judgment eyes at him. It was a stare that she reserved for him and him alone.
He knew what it was about; she had voiced her opinions just once, right before the election where Tracy had been chose to occupy a seat in the senate. 'All the things you could have accomplished if it was you instead of her' she had said so quietly that the words barely escaped her seamed-shut lips, but he heard it and saw it when he turned brown eyes onto hers. There was disappointment brewing slowly and diluting a deeper conception of something he couldn't quite place. He'd given up after that. He quit all pretenses of trying to be the good golden son that his mom seemed to want in him and simply focused his attention on his little family and that alone. She didn't reiterate her words after that but her cold gaze and his intimate familiarity with human's emotion told him all he needed to know.
She obviously saw something in him that she couldn't grasp and it was extremely frustrating.
The older woman didn't scowl at him like she would have done at another opportunity and just heaved a sigh, keeping her face neutral of all emotion. "I'm here because of Claire."
Peter shook his head when he realized that he would not be able to extract a word regarding the issue, whatever it was, was jealously kept hidden from him. He moved past his impassive mother, going to the middle of the room where he started to pick up the random objects littered around the place in haste. "What about her?" He inquired.
The Petrelli heiress moved behind him and beyond, placing her nimble fingers over the pictures above the mantel. "She is miserable, Peter," she mumbled, her digits stilled on one of the pictures there. She traced both Peter's and Nathan's smiley faces with a sad one of her own. "Lonely," she dragged between her lip. "Her mother is across the country, her brother is in college and you know how things between her and Noah have been." She sighed. "I had tried to connect with her but she won't let me." In reality, Angela had not put much effort into that, the important motion for the Petrelli matriarch was to keep an eye on her, making sure that the ex cheerleader was as misinformed as she could be.
Mysterious deaths had started all over the country; the elder Petrelli knew it was just the first wave of casualties to hit the coast. She had dreamed each of them but she had been adamant in preventing them; after all, those deaths served a higher purpose ensuring a better future for all of them. As always, Noah had been doing an outstanding work since the menace started, all it took was the promise that she would keep Claire safe under her roof and clueless in the domain of the company to ensure that the company man erased all the trails left behind by the shadows, using the always useful talents of the loyal Haitian. She was counting on those same fundaments to keep Noah from interfering, because now the biggest and more risky part of her plan will be finally set into motion. Leaving the frame, Angela turned again, watching as Peter put a pink bear in a toy box. "She needs someone who can understand her completely." She said slowly, praying for her words to sink in.
Peter paused in his task, holding a multicolored cube in his hands; he turned it around in his palm as he took in his mom's words. "She has been smiling less and less," he claimed resolutely with a pensive expression plastered over his features. Since the day he and Claire had meet, a powerful connection had been born, a sentiment that he couldn't place but made him want to protect that girl with the sad smile. It wasn't until he learned they were family that he understood why he felt this compelling need to shield her from pain and danger. They were family and to Peter, this fact wasn't something underrated; it was fate taking hold of his destiny, that placed him right in front of his niece to save her from the boogeyman.
It was ironic how things finally turned out in the end.
But through the years, this connection that they formed slowly stretched and tangled, and though it was still there, Peter found it harder and harder to reach out to Claire. "I thought that the job at the company was tiring her out," he confessed lightly. It was the only indication of trouble he could find to bestow such an assumption. Claire did nothing else aside from work these days. She was becoming more and more like Nathan and she unless him, have an eternity for the process to be complete and unmarked. Finally throwing the colored cube in the box, he addressed Angela. "What do you suggest?" He asked, eager for any idea that could help her niece to be less of an unfeeling person and more of the cheerful girl she had been at some point.
Angela reached for a plastic set of keys that had been left forgotten at the mantle. "I think a change of scenery is called for." She jingled the item in her hand as if weighting it. "You know how stubborn she is, she's been wanting for a while now to have her own place but she won't let me pay for anything." She tilted her head while curving her lips. "I think if we find her a nice, affordable and safe building for her to live in, expand her horizons, reconnect with people, who knows, maybe she can find her perfect place in the world." She extended her right arm, offering the toy, letting her words be swallowed by history.
Peter took it wordless, fingering the object thoughtfully. He knew about Claire's desire to live on her own, she had stayed enough times in his house for him to pick up on it, but he also knew of her reluctance to accept anything coming from the Petrelli's extensive funds. He could commiserate with her in that aspect; his first bachelor apartment had been paid with his own money, money that he had earned while being an hospice nurse and although the place was a rat's nest to put it lightly, it still was exhilarating to have a site he could call his own and that defied his family wishes. However, he would never let Claire live in a place like that; he could take it but he would be dead before allowing his beloved niece to settled in such wrecked and not to mention dangerous side of the city.
But where he could find a place that was not only cheat but safe too?
Like a whiplash of cold water, an utterly genius and devious idea slid over him. Oh, the potential for disaster was sky-scraping, but destiny had a funny way of showing itself. He gazed at Annabel's toy, recalling the heavy story that placed him exactly in this position.
Nurse, Hero, Father.
Maybe chances could be in his favor and he could cure two lonely souls at once. He threw the plastics keys in the toy's box and faced his mother with an unconcealed grin of excitement. "I think I can do something."
Angela smiled in relief, taking a few more steps, being close enough to cup her son cheek in one hand. "I knew I could count on you to do this," she whispered earnestly, pausing for a moment. The same uncertain feeling crept along Peter's back before she let go of his face, shielding her face and turning to leave. "And Peter," Angela added over her shoulder, "if someone asks you, I didn't say a thing; you know Claire would never forgive me if she knew I told you this."
Peter's smile was hesitant but he nodded nonetheless. "Don't worry, Ma, if someone asks me, it was my idea."
Angela sat up in her cushioned black leather chair, gasping for air as she assessed her surroundings. Nothing seemed to have changed; she was still in her office at the company's quarters. But there was a missing beat, she could hear it.
Something was finally there, she could felt it.
Her breathing returned to normal until she couldn't feel the light pressure of her lungs heaving against her beating heart. The leftovers of her nightmare were still rumbling through her brain's cells, infecting her with its tremulous sensatory overload, making sure she wouldn't neglect a detail. Angela sighed tiredly and searched for her pen. This desk was even wider than the one she had in her mansion and foreign, as she wasn't quite accustomed to it yet. It took a while but she finally found one, along with a note book that she opened to the last page. Her hand hesitated for a moment until vacillation turned to conviction; she moved with ease along the paper.
"Oh, I have been called many things in my long life - a seer, a heroine, a guardian, a monster. I have lived to see greatest things. Cried and prayed through numerous bloody ones too.
Many could say I am a cold, insensible, despicable person; cynical to my very rooted core. It may be true, come to think about it; I never intended to hide my true nature much to people's dismay, for they needed to see. They needed a pair of eyes that could convey what they were incapable of seeing for themselves.
I'm a messenger of destiny, master design.
A walking reminder of the pain that comes from trying to interfere with the master plan for I failed miserably every single time.
Because the dreams remains the same. I've seen this all before, prior to even having a name for the gift bestowed over my shoulders. These same events play out, time and time again, and maybe not this exactly but slight variations on the same theme, yes. I've tried to affect the outcomes in the past, and true the path may diverge, the destination remains the same. How many times can we put off this destruction? Avoid the inevitable. I tried best as I could to stay my own son's execution and only succeeded in sustaining the grief and alienating my family. It didn't work out.
For every action has a consequence.
The butterfly effect multiplied for a thousand won't let it be; I know this now.
I'm not funding my reasons for there may be none. At least not the ones you're looking for.
Five years ago a nurse, an ex cheerleader and a repentant killer set into motion the biggest dissonance of all my years; my job since then had been orchestrating the less terrible outcome. It took me a while to figure out the deciding factor, countless of bloody dreams that left me screaming in the hollow of the night to finally realizing it had been there since the very beginning.
Which made me question: how much was free will and how much was fated from the start?
The answer is still unknown for me and I have had years to ponder it.
Some may call it a curse, a life like mine, but others a blessing. It's certainly a lonely life, but a fulfilling one at best. It's my cross to bear and I bear it gladly.
Though entirely dishonest, someone has to do it, why should it not be me?
In any case, I'm cursed to hell."
Angela stopped. The tight grip on the pen loosened bit by bit until she let the item fall from her fingers easily. She sat up and finally stood up, her feet padding to the far away window overseeing the city's landscape outside of the office. Everything seemed so peaceful and brilliant, but she knew better. She could see the ghosts lurking in the periphery waiting to strike. She turned slightly and grabbed the cell phone lying over the wide desk; the device vibrated once, she pushed a button, and the speakers flared to life.
"Angela," Noah's wary voice resonated. "Bad news, I'm in Matt's house." There was a treacherous pause before he continued. "They took him."
Angela's grip on the device tightened minutely. She scrunched her eyes shut, allowing herself a moment's grief in the solace of her office while she still could do it. "Do you remember," She started slowly, "five years ago when you asked me to tell you when the day would come?"
"Did you hear what I told you?" Noah half shouted from the other side, blatantly ignoring her peculiar choice of words in order to address the pressing issue. "We're completely blind now without Matt to helps us!" He billowed.
Angela smiled miserably. "The day of reckoning has come."
And then she could see.
Her eyes were still shielded, overwhelmed by sensation, seeing the remains of the red luminescence from the cracks between her nimble fingers.
The silence came; she could no longer hear the whispers of decadence murmured by death, she could no longer smell and taste the rotten essence of human flesh ripped apart, she could no longer feel the frustration and despair bubbling up in her chest.
For she saw a light.
A familiar pair of dark eyes, the saddest and most wounded, stared back at her, piercing and compelling. His face bathed in anguish, his hands colored in red, he turned his head, a gasp coming from his chapped lips, sporting a wide-eyed expression. He was losing everything he had built, seeing it crumble with each tremor of his injuring fingers.
The pain from witnessing it left her momentarily breathless along with him; but he seemed unable to stop. Backing away, he finally fell to the ground on his knees; succumbing to exhaustion and covering his face with bloody hands, he cried. Angela shred her sienna orbs from him as she followed the sound of a rustle.
Then her face crumbled.
On the horizon, a pile of bodies was built like a black looming mountain of misery and from the very top another familiar figure was standing; dirty strands of long blonde hair swirled with the wind, pale face devoid of any expression, she was a hollow shell of a person merely a container waiting to be filled.
"From the shadows it arises," Claire said; the sound of her voice tasted acidic on her tongue. Beside her a shadow took place, unmarked and unhinged. It smirked a horrible gash of a smile until it covered the blonde, hiding her from prying eyes again.
She turned desperate eyes on the man below her. His enrapturing sobs broke through her.
And unexpectedly something dawned on her, something horrible and alluring at the same time; it had been before her eyes all this time but she had never took it into consideration for the possibility seemed unlikely. Her reluctance to bow down to this particular fate had been impeding her so, but it was clearly speaking at her to finally acknowledged and use it. "Gabriel," she hurried in calling "Get up, Claire needs you."
There was a slight hesitation in him, a slight shudder of a breath, a tiny twinge of remorse while dried tears still shone; something that spoke volumes of the complete change he had accomplished before all traces of the man left, they flew leaving an urgent need to consume his body. An animalistic growl sounded from deep within his throat, its pith like shattering glass, shattering a soul; it was a war scream that sought retribution and carried the bitter taste of longing the feel of warm and hallowed, unyielding and everlasting.
Angela's eyelids were heavy. Guilt can be a powerful motivator... and redemption an even greater… but ultimately it is love who guides our actions.
She would make sure he tasted it.
She saw red before Sylar sprinted forward with bereavement tattooed on his skin.
So comments? Shouts of anger? Squeals of joy? (I doubt any of you is doing that, Angela's dream was very unhappy…
Anyway I'll give you the option, should I continue next chapter with Claire's whereabouts or Sylar's reactions to all this? Both of course will be explained eventually but I thought I should ask seeing as this story is written practically by you guys ;)