...Holy crap, I have my history exam tomorrow. D:
Anyway. It's about time I wrote another one of these.
Title: A Different Kind of Special
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to NBC and Tim Kring.
Characters: Sylar, Heidi.
Table/Prompt: Table 4, Prompt 13 (Love).
Word Count: 958
Spoilers: “Five Years Gone”, plus a minor one for “The Hard Part”.
Summary: For years, you pretend. You fake a kiss. You act out care by rote. And then you wake up, one day, and realise that you stopped pretending long ago.
Author's Notes: Sylar in love. That was a tough one. Um, I’ve never really written romance before, and especially not with a sociopath, so if anyone has constructive criticism I’ll be truly grateful for it.
Heidi Petrelli was not special. She was physically attractive, yes, and she held witty conversation—but she had no power. She was unevolved, genetically backward, one of the Neanderthals who held no interest for Sylar.
As a rule, he only saw her as often as it took to keep his disguise as Nathan unquestioned. Too often, too much time spent talking, and despite his careful preparations she was likely to notice that her husband was not himself. She was far from stupid. She’d sensed something as it was, claiming that overwork was taking its toll on him.
He’d been seeing her more often, though, just recently. The reason wasn’t hard to fathom. She needed him (or, rather, Nathan); he therefore had power over here. Coincidence had provided him with a single person who provoked this thrill the strongest.
And that was why he was thinking of her in the middle of a working day.
To his annoyance, the loud shrilling of the phone caught Sylar by surprise. Neither did the news it brought lighten his mood. Terror attack. Yes, Mr President, the third this month. No, Mr President, no-one had been caught, though the terrorist Hiro Nakamura had claimed responsibility.
Nakamura. Sylar grimaced, his breath fogging in the cold office air. The one rumoured to manipulate time—the one who had stopped time, right in front of Sylar’s eyes, years ago. And if he could do that, then what else could he turn it to?
The man needn’t think that Sylar hadn’t considered that question very thoroughly indeed.
“I want every precinct in the area devoting officers to the search,” he said sharply into the phone. “Only the specially trained, and treat him as armed and dangerous—you know what he can do.”
“And—Parkman.” Sylar paused for a fraction of a second, running his tongue over dry lips, his need to be rid of Nakamura wrestling as it always did with his desire to taste the man’s power.
The line crackled. “Sir?”
“Bring him in alive,” Sylar said slowly, “but restrained. We’ll see what we can… learn from him.”
“Yes sir, Mr President.” The officer sounded uncomfortable; the telephone carried tinny reports of his rapid heartbeat and maddeningly irregular breathing. “Mr President, sir… there’s something else.”
“Your wife. Was in the explosion.”
Sylar’s mind went blank.
The officer on the line was waiting expectantly. “Mr President?”
Sylar couldn’t answer. Not when there were a thousand questions all battling for his tongue. Was she hurt? Where was she now? What would Nathan say?
“Sir, she’s not hurt. She’s shocked, but she and your sons are safe.”
“Where?” demanded Sylar.
“Mr President, with all due respect, it’s not safe right now for you to come wandering the streets…”
“Then get a team of soldiers and bring her here!”
“…Sir.” With a click and a drone, Sylar was alone again.
Well, that-- that was over. He’d reacted in character, and now he could get some work done before he had to play at Nathan for the man’s wife.
In theory, anyway. But the words on the papers blurred and streamed like tiny ink rivulets. She’s not your wife, he had to remind himself. Just the wife of the man you look like. She isn’t significant.
He found himself pacing, restless, seething at Nakamura for the attack, seething at everyone, at himself for not having caught him yet, and recalling her face in awful clarity -- disfigured by the bomb, blinded, scarred, burned, harmed, gashed, sliced, cut thin but deep, a horizontal line of red that would be caused by glass or rubble but would still underline that this was his fault…
The knock on the door could not have taken longer to come, and he’d opened it before the sound could ring out even twice. Then Heidi was in his arms, shaking and sobbing, her black suit-dress grey with rubble and her eyelashes wet against his neck. She smelled of smoke and perfume. He closed his eyes and tried to stay steady, a rock to absorb and end her quivering, and for the first time he did not try to second-guess the warmth in his chest.
She removed herself, too soon, and stood looking at him, her arms clasped around herself like a protective wall and the corners of her mouth dragging down.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I know I wasn’t supposed to be out, I should have been more careful…”
Had she been frightened of Nathan? The question hit him like a knife. Had this quiet, timid, lessened woman only appeared since Sylar had taken over?
“Don’t be sorry,” he said, and gently kissed her.
Her eyes widened. It had been years since he’d killed Nathan, and in all that time he had not once kissed her without a photographer, without the eager press, without someone else to convince. Her lips were sticky from crying.
He pulled back a few inches, worried by her lack of response, and folded her cold hands awkwardly in his. It was what Nathan would do. It was what he wanted to do, and he didn’t know why, but he’d never argued with impulses like this before.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. For the bomb, for her worry, for not being Nathan.
She didn’t have powers. That didn’t matter. She was a different kind of special, and he wished suddenly and fervently that he’d seen it before.
Perhaps he’d left it too late.
But this time, she kissed him, and he returned it completely. As he wrapped his arms protectively, possessively around her, he saw his hands, another man’s hands -- the man she loved, the man who wasn’t him.
And he wished, very suddenly, that he could show her his face.