A/N: Hey guys! Here's a completely original story for once, no prompt attached. Well, I don't know if it can be called 'original' – it's a continuation from the episode 'I Am Become Death', a part of the Exposed Future. I've been having a lot of Gabriel Gray/Noah Gray feels lately for some reason and this just kind of came out as a result :S

No Sylaire shipping. Some filled-in backstory on how Sylar came to parent baby Noah. Character death. Pseudo-torture. Overall, just a dark piece. You are hereby warned.

Hope you enjoy! If you read it, please drop a review telling me what you think!

Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the creation, production, or rights of Heroes, nor do I have any affiliation with it beyond being a part of the viewing audience and a massive Sylaire, Sylar, and Claire Bennet fan.


Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.

His brain hummed like those precious timepieces that shaped most of his life, systematically pinging onto the next motion with planned precision, just as a clock had one second coming after the other in steady repetition, expecting nothing else. No watch graced his thick wrist today; none could have survived that explosion.

Of course, nor were any to be found in her condo. He wondered if that was a mere oversight or because they reminded her of him, either in a way leaving her feeling powerless or perhaps a symptom of her partially guilty conscience that simultaneously left her angry. It was deserved – four years after he opens her skull, her father accepts him in every way but verbally, entrusting him with a child and giving him the choice of a normal, uninterrupted life. And did he betray that trust? No. He lived up to it all, pissing her off every second of every day with the knowledge that he had no problem living in his corner of the world, behaving as neither hero nor villain, leaving all of his sickening stint as a serial killer behind.

If the latter were true – that having a clock nearby reminded her of him in a haunting way – then that might have elicited a bit of pity from him if the situation were less grievous. Pity, being the emotion that opens up the sparing option, would have been a good path for her.

But no. There would be no sparing for Claire Bennet.

Sure, she was his eternal victim, but he had apologized enough for that. Not anymore; not today. That excuse of hers was null-in-void now. Noah's young face sprung to his mind. The sweet, innocent boy. He had deserved so much better.

Only half of his life was spent in happiness. As a newborn, the child was abandoned. Taken in by Pinehearst Company because of his genetic marker, the likelihood of his manifesting naturally being well over seventy-five percent, he lived an un-adored life. Nurses changed every month so he wouldn't become attached, every piece of furniture around him was white, no other children were there for him to socialize with. And then he came into the ex-serial killer's care after one of Peter's and Noah Bennet's plans went awry.

The first time large, warm hands engulfed the toddler, holding him awkwardly under the armpits, he had smiled with open warmness. That was when his name was decided upon to be Noah. The now deceased Noah Bennet gave him the best gift of all – a purpose, a reason to change in the form of a vessel demanding responsibility, a vessel he had to shape and teach to be an honest, good human being, the type of person he wished he had the proper parents around to raise him to become when he was a child. This kid demanded love; and he would have it.

His whole life revolved around that little blonde boy. Noah Bennet gave him the house, the dog. He himself was the one that started the child-proofing, the healthy eating, the park trips, the toy rewards for good behavior, everything he could think of – the few things those were – and every idea he read about – the many from the stacks of parenting books scattered throughout the kitchen, living room, and his bedroom.

The bedroom, living room, and kitchen that no longer existed. The books that turned to ash, now blowing in the wind. The toys that melted and were now likely trampled upon by federal investigators. The little blonde boy whose life was snuffed out, vacant body then cremated behind his own exploding form, the remains likely incinerated altogether. As if he never existed.

His son's death was all her fault.

He stood, patience wearing thin after he watched the sun set, rise, and begin to wane once more. Knowing that she traveled a lot, having kept the occasional tabs on this or that person associated with the Company, he was willing to wait for her return; she would, there was no doubt. Even this Claire Bennet was nothing if not predictable.

Dead brown eyes stared out into the cold Californian sea. She lived along the northern coast, a safe distance from Costa Verde and the bomb he set off there, but close enough to be one of the first responders if he ever went off the rails. It was almost cute. She stayed close for the time when an excuse to take him out presented, yet it was her that was now causing him to wash away all his hard-fought repentance, that turned him back into this being practically dripping in blood, the tainted and pure alike.

Into Sylar.

The latch on the door clicked once the night rose to its peak, followed by the clanking turn of the deadbolt. He spun. It took her seven seconds and halfway through closing the door to discover his presence. He was surprised. He expected her to be a little better than that, what with her feigning confidence and a loss of conscience now. But then, it was her team's incompetence that killed his son; therefore, at the core, it was her incompetence. He shouldn't really have anticipated her being much better than that.

"Sylar," she breathed, not even flinching.

Raising Noah taught him to keep his impulses in check, for even the slightest move could fully awaken the Hunger. Every time it rose, it proved harder to re-cage. With his reason for life gone, he no longer cared about being careful, about losing himself. It hurt to care. The only emotion he felt now, sparking the flame within him, was irritation. She wasn't even going to try to stop him. A flick of his fingers sent her slamming into the wall farthest away, momentum eliciting a crack in the stucco.

Grieving, blood-lusting rage consumed his very soul.

Another move of a digit sent an expensive vase crashing to the ground, it's slivers then flying through the air. Claire gasped instinctively as porcelain imbedded into her stomach. A flick of his wrist snapped her arms at the elbows, one of the loudest bone crunching cracks he had ever heard sounded as a result. Her surprised scream at the action, green eyes forced to watch it unfold, was a demented, guttural cry, lungs already compromised and filling with fluid.

His bloodlust demanded more intimate proceedings. Sylar was quick to oblige. With six long strides he was upon her, lifting her up by the cheap leather jacket with his bare hands. The zipper snapped from the strong jerking motion. Sylar brought her to his eye level, dainty feet dangling a foot above the white tile flooring. With his telekinesis, he'd already removed her right to free will of anything beyond her head. She was now a victim of gravity, too.

"How does it feel, Claire-Bear?" He mocked viciously.

Actual fear alighted in her eyes when they clashed with his. He almost laughed bitterly in her face. He knew what she was seeing – a man dead inside.

The long fingers of his left hand groped for her stomach. The vase's larger shards were still embedded, pale tissue struggling to push their jagged edges out in an efficient manner. He took hold of a particularly wide one and jammed it in further without a blink of an eye. Unwilling tears formed along her lashes, a subconscious effect from the pain her body processed, yet the same pain he'd saved her from truly experiencing. "How. Does. It. Feel?" He whispered, an obviously harsh edge to his tone.

Blood trickled out of the corner of her mouth. It smeared when she spoke. "Like nothing."

In one swift move, he let her go and snapped her neck with his own hands as her shocked form slid down the wall.

Sylar stepped back. Vaguely, he recognized he was heaving from the combination of anger, exercise, and focus exerted within the span of five, maybe ten minutes. It all happened so quickly. Of course, it wasn't over. No, she would regenerate, and he could have at her again. But he had needed this. He needed to revel in the second-long satisfaction he got when her neck snapped, her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her heartbeat stuttered to a stop.

Yet... It wasn't enough. A cloud covered the moon outside, briefly descending the beach-side condo into utterly consuming darkness. It never will be enough, he thought with the last numbing wave that swept through his muscles, leaving a naked sensation behind as the stark reality of the entire situation shined brightly inside his soul.

In those hidden shadows, he finally broke.

Dropping to his knees, shoulders hunching inward, Gabriel let out a wail of sorrow for the first time since his son's death nearly two days prior. The sobs wracked his body in a nearly never-ending stream, sniveling filling the brief silence between.

Righteous Claire Bennet wouldn't understand his grief – she was no parent. So when she woke, again and again, avenging Sylar took hold of his faculties. From the first beat of her newly warmed-over heart, he would emerge, standing where Gabriel was unable to, stalking near her undying corpse with horrific ferocity. He would torture her cruelly, determined to break her from the repetition of the acts day in and day out, the fact of her inability to feel pain only egging him on further. The gory acts were for him – they fed him and his inner pain, Gabriel's pain, satisfying him all the way to when the light dimmed from her green orbs.

In the hours that she was lifeless, Sylar would retreat without objection, the Hunger abating obediently with him, and Gabriel was left behind, mourning his son with every fiber in his being, every wisp of his soul, every broken shard of his newly pieced-together heart. During each lull of silence, he lost himself in the grief, finding that there were always more tears to shed.