Title: Giving In
Pairing: My usual combo, also Pemma.
Summary: Claire wants normal, Sylar is at a loss to what to do; Peter's Halloween party is just the catalyst.
Warnings: Sylar and Claire in a tentative relationship that should be a warning in itself.
A/N: OMG THE COVER! Yes, I was craving to write something Halloween-related (even when it is not a very popular celebration where I live) and I'm slowly fighting over my writer's block so this came. This one-shot is placed in the MNTSK's verse; it is one of the many futures that could happen there.
ENJOY THE FLUFF!
Disclaimer: I don't own Heroes I only borrow the characters for fun.
"Gabriel, it's me, open up!"
Claire adjusted her brown tunic as she glanced sideways. Darkness cascaded down around the vacant hallway. A willful sigh escaped her lips. Rose had gone to England about a week ago and she wouldn't return for yet another one, leaving the blonde devoid of the comfortable presence the other woman provided. Not that she was complaining…she had the company of Sylar to soothe her and fill the gaping hole of solicitude within her.
But as for now, the house of murder was dead silent.
She snickered at her own bad joke, the harsh fabric of the carpet scratching her barefoot feet, turning the soles a delicate pink as she shifted from one foot to another. Peter's Halloween party had already started and they were still here. She stopped her movements with an annoyed huff.
"Come on, it's freezing cold out here!"
In reality, if Claire was being honest with herself, there was nothing that the cold temperatures of New York could inflict over her desensitized skin; not anymore, at least, because she had had years for her body to adjust to this unruly weather. In fact, if she visited her hometown in Texas, Claire would probably feel more uncomfortable with the hot climate than with the occasional gelid air of the big city.
No, the reason for her apprehension – however she wouldn't acknowledge that out loud, ever – was rooted deep inside her self-deluded brain. Ever since the 'incident', as she mentally addressed the issue in order to not ignite the slightest recollection of it, the blonde was wary of obscured environments. In simpler words, they awakened something wild and primal inside her: namely fear. But usually – as it was her more predominant personal trait – Claire was too stubborn to voice out loud any of her fears, least of all to tell Sylar, knowing the lengths he had gone through before to dim her preoccupations. Hence why her neighbor was clueless about it and she would just have to pretend that everything was normal, even when it wasn't, around him.
She rolled her eyes, It was time for her bitchy self to say hello to the world.
Sighing annoyingly, she slapped the wooden apartment door. "Open up-" Her irritated plea was cut when the door slowly slid open before her without much of the barest touch. Claire's brow creased as she pushed it open all the way. Like the shadowed hallway, the lights of the apartment were off too, leaving the only source of brightness being that entering from the open window on the northeast wall, casting eerie shadows around. The delicate cloth of the drape bounced unreservedly as if played by the nocturnal breeze, a lone chair thrown at its feet.
The signs didn't bode well for her; trepidation flooded her system, making the hairs at the back of her head stand to an end before she could do something to stop it. Claire hesitated in the threshold, mustering the courage to carry herself inside the dim place.
A million thoughts raced through her feeble mind at once. What if something has happened to him? It briefly occurred to her. An infusion of worry slipped through, making her heart constrict in her ribcage. No, that can't be, it's over, Claire scolded herself, repeating it over and over without much conviction behind the words. Can it? Be really over? Doubt ate her alive. It was something she had questioned herself during countless sleepless nights as of late.
Like a rabid dog that followed her menacingly close, she couldn't get rid of it.
Claire growled, attempting to rebuild the bluntly brave cheerleader that lay dormant inside her and before she could lose her nerve she stepped inside the dark apartment, blindly reaching for the letter opener she knew to be on the mahogany table at the right side of the door. When her fingers touched cold metal, she encompassed said fingers around the handle in a tight grip.
Moving around, she searched for any sign of life – a sound, a movement, anything – using the poor light coming from the window to guide her eyes. "Sylar?" She called into the shadows, using the owner's name that she couldn't quite stop using when they were alone. But to her dismay, nobody answered.
Deciding it was better to move forward than to stay rooted in one place, Claire went for his room, carrying what she hoped was a brave face and not the grimace she suspected was in place instead.
Come on, be brave.
The sudden flapping wings of a pigeon outside the window had her heart practically in her throat. Claire chided herself: this is ridiculous.
Pushing the door open, she reached Gabriel's sleeping quarters. His room smelled like old books and strong coffee, a smell that she was lately slowly associating with a deep feeling of protectiveness and affection, savored and tasted like an exquisite glass of pinot.
Placing aside platitudes, the short blonde stood in the middle of his room and expelled a cautious sigh; her body was tense in the same way of when a cord was twisted tightly. "Sylar, if they shoved something down your throat, bang your head on a wall or something so I can hear you."
Although her advice was the tiniest bit stupid, their methods were clear in her head, like mountain spring water and dolefully proved by her, the hardest test. Claire could picture him, all tied up and immobile, stripped of his powers, vulnerably tucked away somewhere in his apartment. Quite frankly, this was the painless and safest option; there were more terrible things that could happen, things that she refused to consider at the moment, let alone imagine.
A whish of air tickled her neck and ear and Claire twisted around in a quick move; her eyes were trained in her immediate neighborhood but she was incapable of making anything out of the shadows.
Maybe I should go and search for a lighter or something, she thought, moving for the door, but two strong arms halted her steps, taking possessive hold of her waist while pulling her against a solid chest. Claire gasped, her full-of-panic brain clouding her struggling movements, making them weak and fruitless until she remembered the letter opener still in her possession.
She didn't hesitate, not when impending doom could be calling at her door again. The blonde took a strong hold of her weapon and struck with all the petite force in her body at whoever was restraining her movements. The metal connected with supple flesh behind. She guessed it went straight for the gut. There was a grunt in the vicinity of her ear as Claire twisted the pseudo-knife, optimizing her stabbing method to its full potential. The arms holding her waist dropped hastily and she heard the thud of a body smacking against the mat Gabriel used for his Pilate's exercises. Claire smirked triumphantly. The lights came to life again and she pivoted on her heels.
"You should have thought twice before coming here and trying to hurt me and my–" Aghast expression, blood coming from his mouth, collapsed on the floor with a protective arm across his torso and a crescent stain of ruby-red blood growing against his shirt was none other than…. "–Sylar?" Her mouth felt sluggish and dry all of a sudden.
He spit some more blood out of his cheek while the wound in his torso healed over. "Yes Claire, it's me," he intoned bitterly. "Frankly, who else could it be?!"
She watched with bated breath as he attempted to pull himself into a standing position again. The blonde dropped the bloody stabbing item off to the side, feeling terribly guilty and stupid. "I thought they were– they were going to– and I couldn't let that–" She stammered wildly until something crossed her mind. "–wait, what were you doing hiding in the dark like that?"
He tore the remaining of his shirt open, inspecting the healed skin closely. Hell, that had hurt like a bitch. "In the spurs of the holidays, I was trying to scare you," he spat, his fingers tracing the open hole in his new shirt. Yeah, utterly ruined.
There was a slight pause as she absorbed this. "You– what?" Claire bluntly asked, her mouth hanging open in a not-so-favorable expression. "Are you trying to tell me that you turned off all the lights, opened your window, threw a chair around, and hid yourself in the darkness to attack me just because it's Halloween?"
Sylar's eyes darted up to hers as his brow furrowed. "Well yes–" He arched an eyebrow; honestly, this was the first time he was celebrating this insipid festivity. Virginia had never approved of such pagan activities for her holy son. "–why?" He hesitantly added. Wasn't this what normal people did in Halloween? He thought she was all for normal.
She waited a beat, and then two, because she couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Did your mother drop you when you were a baby?" He gave her an insulted look and she felt her cheeks grow hot. He is serious! "How could you?!" She continued now, completely worked up.
Sylar's shoulders sagged. "I thought it was funny!" He snapped, increasing the volume of his voice, the tension of the night reaching him.
"Well obviously it wasn't!" She yelled back.
The watchmaker breathed in and massaged his temples, trying to calm down. It was a good thing Rose wasn't near to hear their shouting contest. "Please Claire, where is your sense of humor?"
"Alienated, along with my pleasantries for you." Her hands shook with anger; and to think she was worried about him. "I was coming to get you to Peter's but you know, I think you need a time out." She folded her arms and tilted her head, waiting.
Oh, she was testing his limits and patience tonight. "I'm not a child for you to scold," he hissed petulantly.
"Well you certainly act like one." She uncrossed her arms and pointed to his attire. "See, you didn't even dress yourself yet."
"I'm dressed, I thought it was obvious." Couldn't she see the clothes on his back or was ill-reason blinding her eyes, too? "Although my costume is now ruined, thanks to you," he sadly mumbled, his eyes once again drifting to the open bloody hole in his shirt.
Claire stared hard at his black button-down shirt, black pants, and the ugly black boots she so hated. "And what in the world is your costume, Sylar?" He was dressed like he always was. She held back a snicker. "Please enlighten me?"
He gave her a knowing look. "A black hole," he smugly answered.
Claire threw her hands up in the air. "This is unbelievable."
Deeply wounded – well, only emotionally wounded now because physically he had been a few moment ago – Sylar's mouth twisted into an angry line. "Yeah and what's yours about?" He eyed her brown-burned tunic, shoeless feet, and face smeared in what he supposed was dirt.
Claire placed her hands over her hips. "A clearly more realistic choice." She smirked and cocked a delicate eyebrow. "I'm Joan of Arc," she announced proudly.
This time it was Sylar's turn to snicker; although he didn't have the sensibility to stop as it become a full-on relentless laugh. "You look like a homeless person," he said between breaths. And yes, he knew about the subject, largely thanks to her.
Claire's face went red with rage and embarrassment. What is wrong with him? I'm totally fine! She said the crudest, dirtiest thing she could think of at the moment before storming angrily away from his apartment.
Sylar calmed himself down when he heard his door close with such force that he thought it was going to snap off its hinges. Oh, is she mad? Well two can play that game. He swiftly trailed off behind her, catching up. "Yeah but you still need me to fly you to Peter's!" He shouted behind her stalking silhouette.
Peter's crooked smile flashed as he leveled his two guests with a youthful look. It had been a long time since the whole gang gathered together to enjoy an uneventful night; and what better occasion than a colorful costume party to lift their spirits and engage some funny moments back into their routines? Of course, the kind nurse being the heart of the set, he had offered his house to organize and host their little feast. "Elegantly late, I see," he feebly teased. Everyone else was already at the party. Even Micah had been convinced to come for a steadfast Molly. He had started to think that Claire and Gabriel had kicked the bucket to have some quality time alone but was surprised that that was not the case.
Sylar's smile was plastic and sardonic as he stared at Peter's pleasant face. "We couldn't not come; you know how feisty me and Claire are," he uttered, not sparing her a look. If the fact that he had not spoken a word to her during their air travel wasn't enough to claim his intention of ignoring her, it was plainly clear for her to notice now.
Claire threw him a disdainful look from behind his shoulder. Managing to avoid looking at him straight in the face had been difficult, considering the dynamics of flying through the air, but she had succeeded somehow, imagining a blank spot in his shoulder and stabbing holes at it with her spiteful gaze. It was an unorthodox technique but – oh well, what the hell? She nodded a mute salute to her uncle; clearly she wasn't going to talk in front of Sylar.
Peter tried to stay unaffected by their theatrics, ignoring for the most part their disgruntled faces in favor of playing good host. "Okay, wow, that blood looks real," he said to Sylar, intently staring at his mid-section. Though the shirt he wore was black it was torn to shreds in one side, revealing a quite big, red-caked stain. "What are you supposed to be?" He intruded inquisitively.
Sylar rolled his eyes. "Claire's stabbing victim," the meek watchmaker droned contemptuously and pushed past him, not really in the humor to feed more of Peter questions nor bathe himself in Claire's fuming glare. Peter begrudgingly stared at his back until he rounded the corner entering his living room, briefly getting entangled in the fake cobweb that the nurse had placed in the hall to create a scary atmosphere around them.
Now he was still interested but not born of curiosity like before; no, now he was concerned for the well-being of his other guests. "What happened?" He finally asked the blonde once they were alone.
Claire took in a big breath, held her stance for a second, before shrugging dispassionately. "He is a jerk," she simply said, entering the house as well.
Peter stayed in the threshold, one long finger tapping the door frame. Should he call the police in advance?
"By the way Pete, nice tights." Sylar's head peeked from around the corner, an amused smile plastered over his face. Peter looked down at his costume of Peter Pan. It had felt like a good idea at the time but thinking it over now, maybe the green tights were taking it a bit too far.
Well if his friend's laughing face said anything at all then maybe it was that he wouldn't have to call the police after all.
"So Pete told me you and Gabriel had a fight," Emma said over a glass of some bizarre smoking green concoction. Claire tried to keep her face straightly blank and not only of revulsion – what in the world is she drinking? – but instead it became one of annoyance, too. It was incredible how the words of gossip spread like a raging fire in between the group, but in a way it made perfect sense; what else could they do other than fool around and chitchat when the world was a safe and happy place once again? None of them had done well with being normal in the first place.
"Of course he would tell you," she automatically expressed in a reproaching tone. "….Yeah, we did," the young blonde begrudgingly conceded after a ticking minute, feeling something hot and heavy boil in the pit of her stomach. Her hands closed into tight fists at her sides. "He scared the shit out of me and now he is acting all offended by it when it should be me that's the only one offended," she said in a rush, feeling some of the heavy feeling subside. Emma encouraged her to keep going. Claire didn't need to be told twice. "Sometimes I don't really know what it is that's keeping me to lashing out and shoving something into his sweet spot."
It was incredible how good just talking about your problems felt. Maybe I should do it more often.
However, now a whole diatribe of issues was waltzing through the blonde's head. Like, what in hell was she thinking when the tiniest idea that a relationship with Sylar could work scratched through her mind?
They were complete opposites of each other.
He is huge while she is tiny; he is dark while she is all sunshine; he is a neat freak while she can't for the life of her make her own bed. They fight constantly over the dumbest things and he takes every chance he can to drive her crazy with his retarded reasoning and damn, why does he have to be so adorable? Claire's eyes were entranced, trained on the sight of Sylar at the other side of the room where he was moving a fake skeleton back and forth and giggling in a form that was nothing like the old male he ought to be, directing his behaviors in front of a beaming Annabel. Despite herself, a soft smile tugged at her lips.
Emma casted a knowing look at the youngest woman. "Oh, you don't know, do you?" She mumbled, patting Claire's shoulder and regaining her attention while she gave an equally as sweet smile of her own. "Listen, like in any other relationship, people fight. It's natural… normal," she added for good measure. "Do you think that me and Peter don't fight every once in a while?"
Claire snorted, shaking her head a little. "Honestly? No, you two are like the perfect couple."
"Wrong!" Emma immediately rebuked. "Just this morning we had a big argument about Annabel's costume; I bought this beautiful gown for her to be Princess Fiona but of course Peter wanted the Tinkerbelle costume."
"Oh yeah and how did it go?"
As if on cue, Peter sauntered past them, carrying his little daughter while rearranging her fairy wings once more. He flashed Emma a big grin in his wake.
The blonde doctor waved a hand. "I swear sometimes it's like he gave birth to her instead of me," she confessed to Claire.
The ex-cheerleader chuckled. "That's the Peter I know and love; he has a natural gift for the maternal."
Emma sighed and turned her attention to her niece-in-law. "But back on topic; if there is someone that gets you the way that no one else does, it means that there is something worth fighting for there, so sometimes we need to give in a little." She smiled softly, taking in the sight of her husband and her daughter together. Claire nodded and a smile of her own appeared across her lips. She understood perfectly what the other woman was getting at."And so that way you give them a false sense of security and catch them unprepared with another argument later," Emma added with a mischievous look.
Claire's eyebrows shot up. "That's seriously fucked up."
She shrugged and placed the ring of her glass over her lips. "Works for me," she muttered.
"Are you still mad with me?"
Gazing at Claire from his moping spot in the corner, Sylar angled his head. "That depends, are you still in bitch-mode?" He answered in a dull, flat tone, tucking his hands in the back pockets of his pants.
Claire's first instinct was to shove him backwards and throw a bowl of blackish jelly in his face, but she merely let her expression tone down to mildly miffed and grim. Give in, give in, she repeated inwardly. "Look, I know that what I did was bad and what you did was–" Even worse; wait, how was it? Oh yeah, give in. "–…bad too, but we are adults and like such, could we just forget this and move on? Contrary to what you may believe, I don't like being mad at you." She let a tired and conceding look wash over her face. "I'm sorry for stabbing you and ruining your…costume."
Sylar bowed his head down, feeling an unnatural whist of emotion flow through him at her words. "I don't like it either, Claire; I'm sorry for scaring you after all that happened. It's just that…." He sighed, looking aside, suddenly feeling embarrassed. "I didn't know how to act. I've never celebrated Halloween before and I know how important it is for you to do normal things together and well …I'm a socially inept male," he confessed grimly.
She had been so distracted by her own fears and insecurities that it hadn't occurred to her that he could have them too. Claire furrowed her brow and stepped forward towards him. "Come here," she whispered, taking hold of the lapels of his torn shirt as she hugged him tightly. "You aren't just a socially inept male." She tucked her chin against his chest, impishly looking up at him. "You are my socially inept male; big difference." She smiled reassuringly.
His own hands found their place at her hips when she hugged him. He grinned sheepishly down at her. "Okay," he said. There was a distinct lack of the anxiety he'd been carrying around as he let the tiny blonde in his arms comfort him, both forgetting about their own doubts in order to just feel the moment. Sylar buried his face in her blonde locks and inhaled deeply, bathing in her sweet aroma; only that it wasn't so sweet anymore. "Claire?" He straightened up after a minute, scrutinizing her hair and twirling a curl in his hand.
"Hmm?" She hummed at him.
Sylar leaned back a little to look directly at her face. Now that he was in a short range of distance, he could stare at the smudged grayish traces of what he thought was dirt on her face with a more clinical eye. "You didn't burn your hair, did you?" He asked in a joking tone.
Her eyebrows slowly drew up and together. "….No." Yes.
Lie. Using a tremendous amount of inner strength to keep from succumbing to the temptation within him and unashamedly laughing in her face at how far she'd gone to make her costume authentic, Sylar caught her hand in his and twined his fingers through hers, tugging her away from the corner. "How about we assault Peter and Emma's kitchen," he lightly suggested with a smirk."Do you think they have peach pie somewhere?" His face was a solemn one as he went for the direction of the kitchen.
"Maybe, but I wouldn't deny a slice of pumpkin pie if we see one." Claire happily trailed behind.
"Me too." And people wondered how they could possibly work together.
Giving in. It was really the simpler answer for them.
Did I really needed to do this? Apparently yes XD
For those who are waiting for the next chapter of MNTSK, don't worry, I'm working on it ;-)
Also a heads up guys, we (as me and Purple_Lex) are working on a Sylaire's page on tumblr, but we need to know if there is still a solid fan base of Sylaire shippers; I know that lately the activity has lessened to almost nonexistent but Sylaire shippers used to be a big part of the Heroes fandom at some point and we're trying to revive that.
So please guys all I ask for, is for you to step out and make your voice known; who knows? Maybe if we're noisy enough the NBC will reconsider and pull out Heroes from the dark corner they put it.
One can hope right?
If any of you are interested or want to know more, please send me a PM.
Kisses and Happy Halloween!