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Title: What We Are or Might Have Been (4/11)
Author: Seraphtrevs (My Fic Masterlist)
Pairing: Mohinder/Sylar
Rating: R
Genre: Tragicomedy
Word Count: (this part) ~6200 (O_o)
Warnings: Contains depictions of characters suffering from mental illness
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit made, etc.
Summary: Sequel to Down To This. Company man Sylar has brought a superpowered (and psychotic) Mohinder to the Primatech facility in Hartsdale for treatment. After some finagling, he manages to get himself put in charge of Mohinder's recovery. With Mohinder by his side, Sylar hopes to live his newly minted dream of being Gabriel Petrelli, a Good Guy with a nice house in the suburbs, a loving partner, and a (relatively) honest job. Changing his identity, however, is proving to be much more difficult than he originally assumed, particularly when the people around him refuse to let him forget about his past.
A/N: Thanks once again to my beta, the lean, mean, editing machine [livejournal.com profile] aurilly - she went above and beyond to whip this chapter into shape! Any remaining mistakes belong to me.

This is a WIP. The astute among you have probably noticed that the chapter count has bloomed from eight total chapters to eleven; I've realized that it's going to take a lot more words to accomplish what I want for this fic. What have I gotten myself into? D:

Introduction and Table of Contents
Prologue and Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three



Sylar shouldn't have been so concerned about consciously creating a routine. Routines tended to blossom as easily as weeds, provided you stayed in one place for long enough. Within a couple of days, one imposed itself on Sylar and Mohinder both.

Sylar would wake up in the guest room every morning at 5:00 am. He'd go to the master bedroom and peak in the closet. Mohinder was always still asleep. Sylar would go in and select an outfit. He'd take a shower and get changed in the master bathroom, taking his time and making plenty of noise. When he emerged from the bathroom, Mohinder would be awake. He'd complain about that the noise Sylar made in the bathroom woke him up (which was the whole point, of course). Sylar would apologize, and then try to start a conversation. This was the only time of the day when Mohinder seemed capable of conversation; the doses of medications he'd taken before bed had worn off by morning. Sylar had maybe ten minutes at the most to coax Mohinder into saying something, anything. Sylar brought up things that were going on at work. He talked about the weather. He mentioned interesting facts he'd learned on Jeopardy! the previous night. And if he was lucky, he'd get a glimpse of the man he had known before this whole mess had started.

Those rare moments were important. They were the only clues he had that the Mohinder he had known even existed anymore. Sylar wasn't sure who he had brought home, but it wasn't the Mohinder he had known. This was a broken, defeated creature who hid in dark spaces and seemed to survive solely on his own bile. He barely ate. He wouldn't talk. He lay in the closet almost all of the time, barely moving.

Sylar would come home from work every night to what might as well have been an empty house. The closet door was always shut, opening only to receive his medications. Sylar would bring his dinner to his door and leave it there, but Mohinder never touched it. He could hear him sometimes, mumbling to himself. Or sometimes he would sound like he was arguing with someone, but his words didn’t make any sense. Other times, he would weep and moan. It felt less like living with someone and more like being haunted.

Sylar knew that he wasn't exactly the gold standard of sanity himself, but what was happening to Mohinder was something completely beyond him. When he brought him home, he had thought that Mohinder couldn’t get any worse, but he’d been wrong. Mohinder was rotting from the inside, and Sylar was beginning to think that he might not be able to stop it.


* * *


When Mohinder was nine years old, he ran away from home. He'd learned that his parents planned on sending him to boarding school, and he figured that if he was going to be sent away, he might as well choose his own destination. Instead of walking to school as he was supposed to, he went to the train station and bought a ticket with the pocket money he'd been saving for several weeks. He rode the train for the several hours it took to get to his grandparents' home and arrived on their doorstep just in time for dinner. When his father came to collect him the next day, he kicked him in the shin before shimmying up a mango tree and refusing to come down. It took a good hour and a half of pleas and cajoling from the entire family before he finally descended, but he still wouldn't speak to his father.

Chandra told Gabriel this story with a mixture of amusement, pride, and resentment. He was impressed that Mohinder had managed to pull off the escape; Mohinder was an unusually bright and independent child, which was something Chandra took pride in. But Mohinder's defiance also infuriated him.

Chandra told himself that boarding school was the best option; Mohinder was so intelligent and talented, and his potential was clearly being wasted. He needed the structure. He would be happier, he was sure. But a large part of Chandra's decision to send Mohinder away (as he would confess to Gabriel much later in their acquaintance) was that he couldn't bear his presence anymore. When he looked at him, he always saw Shanti. It wasn't that he didn't love his son, but Shanti had been such a joy, a shining light in his life. Mohinder was much more challenging.

Whatever his motivations, it turned out that he was right about the boarding school. Mohinder seemed to be good at everything he did. He was the top of his class, well-liked by the teachers and students alike. His mother kept all of his numerous medals and certificates of achievement together in a shrine, which she would look at whenever her longing for him threatened to overwhelm her. Shanti had been Chandra's child, but Mohinder was hers, and in spite of all of Mohinder's successes, she never quite forgave Chandra for sending him away.

Mohinder never quite forgave him, either. Their relationship continued to be stormy. They fought whenever he was home, despite his wife's pleas for them to make peace. Mohinder seemed to sense that he was, in some fundamental way, a disappointment to his father, without ever knowing the reason why. Shanti's existence was kept a strict secret. Perhaps it would have been kinder to tell Mohinder and save him the grief of trying to figure out what he had done wrong, but Chandra could never bring himself to do it. His relationship with Mohinder was already so fragile; how could Chandra possibly tell him that he'd been conceived to save his sister, only to arrive too late?

Chandra would tell Gabriel all of this while he conducted his tests. He obsessed about it, talking in long circles around his pride for and frustration with his son. Mohinder, against Chandra's wishes, had gone into the same field as his father, going so far as to seek a position at the same university. Chandra was furious; he said it was because he wanted to keep Mohinder as far away as possible from discovering the truth about his sister, but Sylar privately thought that he sounded a little jealous, too. Mohinder was at the beginning of a promising career; Chandra's was all but over. His belief in the existence of people with superhuman abilities had made him an exile, and his own son had joined with his detractors.

Gabriel wasn't sure if he should be jealous of Mohinder or feel sorry for him. When Chandra had arrived in his shop, Gabriel had immediately cast him in the role of the father he'd always wanted, someone who recognized his inherent specialness and would be a mentor to him. His father’s desertion of him and his mother was the wound that always hurt the deepest; the feeling of being unwanted haunted everything he did. Chandra, on the other hand, wanted him very much; Gabriel felt important for the first time of his life. Learning that Chandra had a son about his age left him with mixed feelings. It didn't seem fair that his new dad should already have a son. On the other hand, he'd always sort of wanted a brother. He imagined Mohinder coming to New York, full of bluster and arrogance, and then he would see Gabriel's amazing abilities and realize how wrong he'd been. He'd tearfully beg for Chandra's forgiveness, and the three of them would set out to become pioneers in the next step of human evolution.

That dream was Gabriel's, mostly. In the beginning, Sylar didn't really care much about Chandra or Mohinder. Gabriel was the one who needed to feel special and loved. Sylar just had a job to do. But as Sylar's murders became more frequent, Gabriel became less and less present. Sylar had been a ghost hovering around the edges of Gabriel's consciousness for some time now, but now their positions were reversing. Sylar was in control now, and Gabriel took the back seat. Sylar even introduced himself to Chandra, who, while perplexed, agreed to call Sylar by his own name instead of Gabriel's. He wasn't sure whether or not Chandra had guessed the truth about them. Actually, he didn't really seem to care. Gabriel worshipped Chandra too much to see his faults. He was cold. He named his pet lizard after his son and laughed about it, although Sylar couldn't see what the joke was. Sylar could see that Chandra's willingness to confess his darkest secrets was not an indication of how close he felt to them, as Gabriel thought; Chandra was open with them in the way that it is easy to be open to strangers, because their opinion of you ultimately means nothing.

It didn't really surprise Sylar when Chandra swiftly abandoned them the minute things started to get a little hairy. Gabriel, however, was devastated – so devastated, in fact, that he tracked him down and smashed his head in. Now that surprised Sylar; Gabriel was so weepy and squeamish about killing most of the time, but the rage he had felt when Chandra cut them out of his life was so white-hot in its intensity that it melted all the reservations he normally had. Sylar was generally surgical about his killings, but Gabriel was wild, hitting Chandra's head over and over again into the window of his cab until his face was an unrecognizable mess. He'd felt terrible about it afterword; it was Chandra's death more than anything else that prompted his suicide attempt. Gabriel was able to deny responsibility for the other murders, but not that one.

After Chandra’s death and Gabriel’s subsequent departure, Sylar still found himself thinking about Mohinder. Mohinder’s childhood had been the polar opposite of Gabriel’s - he was a successful, wealthy and popular, while Gabriel was a failure, poor and alone. But from Chandra’s stories, he recognized that same burn for recognition, and the same hurt over being unwanted. In a way, they were like mirror images of each other - opposite, but essentially the same.

Everything he'd heard about Mohinder suggested that he'd show up eventually to investigate his father's death, and once he learned his father was right about the existence of people with special abilities, he wouldn't be able to walk away. They were bound to run into each other eventually. Maybe he could convince Mohinder that his father's death wasn't his fault; he could blame it on the Company agents who were sure to crawl out of the woodwork to harass him. And then he’d have a partner - someone to help and appreciate him. A friend, even.

Of course, that was based on the assumption that Mohinder looked like a younger, less bald version of Chandra. When Sylar had opened Zane’s door to find Mohinder standing there, he felt both a sense of recognition and disconcerting shock. Chandra had never once mentioned Mohinder's nearly inhuman attractiveness. Sylar’s whole existence was based on need, but looking at Mohinder led him into an entire new realm of longing. He felt a fiercely physical ache for him in a way he'd never felt for anyone before. He made Sylar think suddenly of limitless horizons that were only theoretical before; it was like something hugely important that had been compacted into the shape of a person, and here he was, only inches away. He only had to reach out and grasp...

No, they could never be friends.

He was thankful that he was using Zane's awkward persona when they first met, because Mohinder really did make him feel goofy, especially when he smiled. Mohinder would probably never believe him, but he had meant every word he said about karma and peak experiences, and how he had felt alone until Mohinder found him. In the few days they had together, he came to see Mohinder not only as a tool to complete his objectives, but as an objective in and of himself, something he wanted to acquire. He was brilliant, but difficult; sincere, but with a biting sense of humor. He was tirelessly determined, and more courageous than was good for him. He leaped into things too quickly, and while he rarely landed on his feet, he always managed to get back up, even if he had to fight with every ounce of his strength. And while it was true that he and Mohinder had not, in the strictest sense, spent a lot of time together, he felt fairly confident that he knew him.

Until now. Mohinder had been warped and twisted almost beyond recognition. It shouldn’t have surprised Sylar. Sylar was good at getting what he wanted, but without fail, whatever he grasped wilted in his hands, leaving his need unsatisfied. Why should Mohinder be an exception?

A week passed. Sylar spent most of his time at the facility. There wasn't actually a whole lot for him to do there – he'd been under the impression that Company agents spent most of their time chasing down dangerous specials, but that was only a small part of it. Mostly, they did things like the blood drives, or looking through newspapers for any stories that seemed suspicious. There was also paperwork – lots and lots of paperwork. He'd thought that maybe they'd have secretaries or something to do that for them, but his mother pointed out that the less people who were involved in their work, the better. So Sylar wrote reports, and filed things.

On the day before he was supposed to bring Mohinder in for his transfusion, he and Bennet were finally called out for a real job. They'd had a hit on one of the blood tests they'd conducted – an old woman who had been at the church event that one day. Sylar was going to use the Isaac persona to talk his way into her house – he was thinking that poor out-of-work Isaac might have gotten a job as a vacuum salesmen, and surely Mrs. Benson would consider helping him out a little?

He and Bennet left in one of the Company's nondescript sedans. They'd only been on the road about twenty minutes or so when Sylar's cell phone rang. He looked down at the display; the call was coming from his house. It must be Mohinder. Mohinder had never called him before. Frowning, he answered it. ″Hello?″

″Where are they?″

″Where are what?″ he asked, perplexed.

″The pills. Where do you keep them?″

″Why do you want to know?″

A pause. ″I vomited my dose this morning.″

″Why did you do that?″

″It wasn't on purpose, you nitwit.″

The insult surprised him. In a way, it was kind of encouraging that he was with it enough to argue with him; he was panicked, but also more coherent than he usually was at this time of day. Maybe it was because he’d thrown up his sedatives. ″You know, you're supposed to take them with a light snack.″

″I'm not hungry,″ he snapped. ″Just tell me where the pills are; I need to take the power suppressants again.″

″They're in the car.″

″You bloody moron!″ Mohinder screamed. ″Why the fuck would you keep them in the fucking car?″

″I keep them there because I don't want you to get confused and accidentally take too many,″ he said. ″You've just missed one dose; I don't think it's that big of a deal. I'll be back as soon as I can, and you can take your evening dose early, all right?″

″No, no, it will be too late – I can feel it happening, I'm going to become that thing...″ There was a strangled sound, followed by what sounded like some attempts at deep breathing. ″You have to come home. Now.″

Sylar noted that Mohinder was calling it home. He smiled a little. ″I'm sorry, but I can't. I'm going on a mission.″

A pause. ″If you don't come home now, I'm going to destroy every last piece of furniture in this house. Including the TVs.″

The smile froze on Sylar face. ″Don't you dare – ″ he started, but Mohinder had hung up the phone. He tried calling him back, but Mohinder didn't answer.

″Turn the car around,″ he told Bennet. ″I have to go back.″

″Trouble with the missus?″

Sylar glared at him. ″Just turn around.″

″We have a mission, you know.″

″So? We can do it tomorrow.″

″It doesn't work like that,″ Bennet said. ″If you're going to insist on being a Company agent, you have to accept that there are certain responsibilities -″

Sylar wasn't in a mood to argue with him, so he grabbed control of the car with his telekinetic ability and made a U-turn. The sour look on Bennet's face cheered him up a little. He used his mind to step on the gas. He wanted to get back to the house as soon as possible.

* * *

Sylar steered the car back to the facility first, to drop off Bennet. Bennet tried to chew him out about abandoning the mission, but Sylar ignored him. What was he going to do – get him fired? He made it home about an hour and twenty minutes after Mohinder' s call. As he pulled into the driveway, an armchair flew through the bay window and landed on the lawn. He guessed that answered the question as to whether or not Mohinder had gotten his strength back. He really didn't think missing one dose would have made a difference, but apparently he was wrong. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was due for his injection. Cursing, he got out of the car and ran into the house. He found Mohinder in the living room, gearing up to send the sofa in the same direction as the armchair.

″What are you doing?″ Sylar said furiously, but Mohinder wasn't paying any attention to him. He seemed to be caught up in a rage beyond control. Sylar grabbed him from behind and tried to pin his arms to his side, but he easily bucked him off and sent him flying into wall behind him. It knocked the wind out of him, and it took him a few minutes to recover. Mohinder, in the meantime, managed to finish hurling the sofa through the window and had retreated to the kitchen. Once Sylar had caught his breath, he followed him.

As soon as he entered the kitchen, Mohinder threw a chair at him. Sylar deflected it with telekinesis. ″You need to calm down,″ he said.

″What do you want from me?″ Mohinder screamed.

″Right now? I want you to stop throwing things at my head!″

″I gave up everything!″ Mohinder continued as if Sylar hadn't said anything. ″My career, my home, my life, and it still isn't enough for you. Nothing was ever enough for you, even when I was a child!″

What?″ Sylar said. Then he noticed that Mohinder's gaze was focused not on him, but at some point over his shoulder. ″Mohinder,″ Sylar said slowly . ″Who are you talking to?″

Mohinder's gaze finally focused on him. He looked very confused. ″I don't know,″ he said. ″I thought - ″ He shook his head. ″I don't know,″ he said again. Mohinder stood there for a moment, swaying, but then his legs gave out and he crashed to the floor.

Sylar went immediately to his side. ″Are you all right?″ he said, which was, admittedly, a stupid question.

″Confused,″ Mohinder said. ″I'm confused.″ He started to weep.

Sylar hastily retrieved a bottle of pills from his pocket. ″Look,″ he said. ″I have the pills. I'll make you a sandwich, and you can take them...″

Mohinder shook his head. ″No, not hungry.″

Sylar noticed, for the first time, how gaunt Mohinder had become recently. Sylar knew Mohinder had been avoiding dinner, but he'd assumed that he had to be eating something during the day. ″When was the last time you ate?″ he asked.

Mohinder didn't respond. His eyes fluttered shut.

Sylar slapped his face lightly. ″Mohinder, wake up,″ he said. No response.

Sylar wasn't sure what to do. He set him down and went over to the cabinet, taking out a glass. He opened the fridge and grabbed the milk. After he poured out a glassful, he went back to Mohinder. He held him up and attempted to wake him up again, saying his name several times. Thankfully, his eyes opened. Sylar pressed the glass of milk against his lips.

″You need to drink this,″ he said. Mohinder turned his head away, but Sylar followed him with the glass. He finally relented and started to drink. When he neared the bottom of the glass, Sylar pulled it back, took out the pills and placed them in Mohinder's mouth. After swallowing them with the remaining milk, Mohinder closed his eyes again.

Sylar picked him up and carried him upstairs. He took him into the bedroom and laid him on the bed. He sat down beside him for a moment, watching him breathe. When he was sure that he was all right for the moment, he slipped out of the room and went back down the stairs.

He decided to take a survey of the damage. It looked like a small but vicious tornado had blown through the house. There were pieces of furniture everywhere. The picture frames he'd hung on the walls had all fallen and lay littered on the ground. He picked one of them up; since he hadn't had any pictures to put in the frames, he'd just left the photos the frames came with. A blond woman and her three children smiled up at him. He put it back on the ground, facedown. He stepped over the shattered fragments of a decorative mirror on his way into the living room. It was actually a really nice day outside, and a sweet-smelling breeze wafted through the demolished window. He stood there for a long moment before reaching into his pocket and taking out his cell phone.

The phone rang twice before Peter picked up. ″I told you to stop calling me,″ he snapped.

Sylar was going to point out that Peter didn't have to pick up – he hadn't changed his number, so Peter must have known it was him – but he decided that now would probably not be the best time to pick a fight. ″It's Mohinder,″ he said. ″I need your help.″

″What's wrong?″ Peter said, immediately concerned. ″Is he okay?″

″No, he isn't,″ Sylar said. ″He's – well, his powers came back, and he really lost it, and I think he's stopped eating.″

″What do you mean he's stopped eating?″

″I knew he wasn't eating dinner, but I just assumed he was eating something during the day...″

″When was the last time you saw him eat something?″

″I don't know,″ Sylar said. ″Not since he's been here.″

″But that's been, what, a week now?″ Peter said, horrified. ″You need to take him to the hospital!″

″And tell them what, exactly? That he has superhuman powers that don't agree with him? I'm sure that will go over well.″

″Then take him back to the facility.″

″No,″ he said. ″I can't tell them he's stopped eating – they'll insist on keeping him. Do you really think being locked up in one of their cells with a feeding tube shoved down his throat is the best thing for him?″

″What do you expect me to do?″

″I don't know! You're a nurse, right? There has to be something you can do.″

There was silence on the other end of the line for a few moments. ″Goddamnit,″ Peter finally said. ″Fine. Fine. Text me your address, and I'll get there as soon as I can. ″

″Thank you.”

″I'm not doing this for you,″ Peter snapped. He hung up the phone.

Sylar put the phone back in his pocket. He rubbed his face, sighed, and then started the long process of cleaning up.

He'd gotten the kitchen and most of the living room picked up by the time Peter's car pulled into the driveway. Sylar was on the lawn, attempting to wrestle the armchair back into the house. He could have used telekinesis to bring the arm chair and the couch inside, but then he'd risk someone seeing him. It was going to be difficult to explain how they'd smashed through the window in the first place; it would be impossible to explain if they suddenly floated back in.

Peter got out of the car. He had a bag slung over one shoulder. ″What the hell happened?″ he asked.

Sylar sighed. ″Put your bag down and help me get these inside, and then I'll tell you.″

They managed to get the furniture in through the demolished bay window. After they placed them back in the living room, Peter retrieved his bag and they went into the kitchen. ″So,″ Peter said as they sat down at the table. ″Are you going to tell me what's going on?″

″You know about his abilities, don't you?″

″Yeah,″ Peter said. ″I broke down and called Ma after I talked to you last. Did he cause all this damage?″

″Yes.″

″I thought he was taking power suppressants. Do you think they've stopped working?″

″He missed a dose. He called me earlier today and said he'd thrown up, and he needed to take more. I keep all his pills with me, though, so I told him I'd give him his next dose when I got home. He went ballistic and wrecked the house. I really didn't think one missed dose would make that much of a difference, especially since he’s barely moved the entire time he’s been here. I guess I was wrong.″

Peter frowned. ″You're right, though. One missed dose shouldn't have made a difference. When I was under treatment, I had to skip several doses before I got my powers back. Maybe it's different since his powers are artificial?″

″Beats me,″ Sylar said. ″Maybe it's because he's nearly due for his serum transfusion. I'm taking him in tomorrow.″

″Then what am I doing here?″ Peter said, annoyed. ″You told me you didn't want to take him into the facility.″

″I didn't want to tell them he'd stopped eating,″ Sylar corrected. ″Or that his psychiatric symptoms have gotten so bad.″

″So you want me to make him better by tomorrow?″

″Well, not better better, obviously. Just presentable.″ Sylar gave him a hopeful look.

Peter sighed. ″Where is he now?″

″He's upstairs. When I got here, he was hallucinating pretty badly, and then all of a sudden he just collapsed.″

″He's hallucinating?″ Peter asked.

″Yeah. He thought I was his dad.″

″And you say he hasn't been eating at all?″

″I don’t know. I just thought he was skipping dinner, but he's so thin now, and he keeps saying he isn't hungry. I got him to drink some milk and I gave him more power suppressants.″

″What is he taking besides the power suppressants?″

Sylar took the two medicine wheels out of his jacket, along with the paper the doctor had given him that listed all of the medications and dosages, and put them on the table. ″Jesus,″ Peter said under his breath. He rubbed his face for a moment. ″All right,″ he said. He reached into his bag and took out a can of soup. ″Where do you keep your pots?″

Sylar went to the cupboard and took out a pot. ″Do you want me to heat that up?″

″No, I'll do it,″ Peter said, taking the pot from him. ″You need to leave.″

″What?″ Sylar said. ″Why?″

″I want to try to get him to eat, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to do that with you around.″

″You can't kick me out of my own house!″ Sylar said. He was starting to feel annoyed at himself for trusting Peter enough to give him his address.

″Look, do you want my help or not?″ Peter said.

They glared at each other for a moment before Sylar relented. ″Fine,″ he said. ″How long do you want me gone?″

″A couple of hours, at least.″

″A couple of hours?″ Sylar said. ″What am I supposed to do?″

″I don't know,″ Peter said. ″Go buy me a toothbrush.″

″Why do you need a toothbrush?″

″Because I'm staying the night, and I forgot to bring one,″ he said. He opened a drawer and pulled out a can opener. ″Now get out of here.″

″If you try and take him from me, I'll kill you,″ Sylar said. When he saw Peter's horrified expression, he added, ″Just kidding.″

Peter turned his attention back to the soup. ″No, you weren't,″ he said.

Sylar didn't feel like arguing, so he left. He bought a toothbrush at the drugstore, but that didn't take up very much time. He drove to the outlet mall just outside of town and walked around the department stores, looking for furniture and decorations to replace the ones that Mohinder had ruined. He explained to the nice young salesclerk that his rambunctious kids had jumped on the sofa until the legs snapped, and then his dog had chewed up the arm of his chair into an unsalvageable pulp – all in the same day, if you can believe it. She said she definitely could, having two rowdy kids of her own, and even gave him a discount.

It was ten o'clock by the time he got home. He left the furniture in the SUV, figuring he'd move it in tomorrow, but he did carry in the bag from the drugstore. He found Peter at the kitchen table, picking through pills and sorting them into piles.

Sylar sat down at the table beside him. ″What are you doing?″ he asked.

″Do you know how the power suppressants work? They suppress adrenal function ,” Peter said, answering his own question before Sylar had the chance to say anything.

“I knew that,” Sylar said, because he did.

“So you know, then, that the lack of normal levels of adrenalin are going to severely limit his energy levels, right? And do you know about the other medications they have him on - all these anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers and tranquilizers. You want to take a guess at what kind of side effects they have?” Peter sounded angry. “No wonder he can barely move.”

“But even with all of these medications, he’s still crazy,” Sylar said. “I don’t see how taking him off of them is going to improve anything.”

“You know, calling someone ‘crazy’ is actually pretty offensive,” Peter said. “And I’m not saying he should stop all his medications. He obviously needs to be on something, but he definitely doesn’t need to be on everything, which it looks like what his doctor is throwing at him.”

“Do you have a lot of experience with these kinds of medications?”

Peter paused. “Yeah,” he said.

“I thought you were a hospice nurse.”

“I was. But nursing school obviously covers more than that, and I was top of my class.” Peter paused. “But that’s not the only reason why I know about these medications. I used to be on a few of these.” Peter looked at Sylar like maybe he was expecting him to express some surprise. When he didn’t, Peter turned his attention back on the pills. “I have no idea why I just told you that,” he muttered.

“When were you on them?” Sylar asked.

“My first semester of college. I got kind of lost, I guess. Scared some people. They put me in a hospital for a few weeks. Only Ma knew; she made sure that no one would find out. Even Nathan doesn’t know, so don’t tell him.”

“Right, because I talk to him all the time,” Sylar said, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t he in DC?”

“Yeah,” Peter said. “How he is still a senator is a mystery to me,” he added, very bitterly.

Sylar almost asked Peter what was up with him and Nathan, seeing as they used to seem pretty close, but he decided that he didn’t want to set off that potential landmine at the moment. He watched Peter pick the pills apart for a few moments. “How is he?” he asked quietly.

“He’s all right,” Peter said. “I looked him over, and I don't think he's in any immediate danger. He's malnourished, but not starving. He ate the soup, and I gave him some vitamins. I managed to coax him out of the closet; he's in bed now, resting .” Peter finished separating the pills. He picked up the paper that listed the medications. It had been folded so many times that it didn’t lie flat on the table; Peter attempted to smooth it out.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Sylar said. “You aren’t a doctor.”

Peter gave him a crooked smile. “Yeah, I’m better - I’m a nurse.” He looked back at the paper. “It’s going to take some trial and error, though. We’ll have to watch him pretty closely.”

“‘We?’” Sylar asked. “How long are you staying?”

“I don’t know,” Peter said. “As long as I need to.”

“Not to sound ungrateful or anything, but don’t you have other things to do?”

Peter shrugged. “Not at the moment. I can’t get a job. I think Ma might be blackballing me.”

“She can do that?”

“She knows a lot of people,” Peter said. “And a lot of people owe her favors.”

“But – why?”

“To make me come to her for money. My family’s pretty fucked up, in case you haven’t noticed.”

“You mean our family,” Sylar pointed out.

Peter ignored the remark. “And even if I was employed, I’d never leave Mohinder here to die.”

“I wouldn’t let him die,” Sylar said.

Peter gave him a long look. “You really care about what happens to him, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.”

“Why?”

Sylar wanted to explain that he loved him, or that he wanted to love him, but he didn't think Peter would understand. He wanted to change the subject, so he reached into the plastic bag he’d brought in and took out the toothbrush. “I got you the toothbrush you asked for,” he said, holding it out to him.

Peter took it. “Thanks.” He stared at it for a minute, and then sighed. “I should probably just accept that my life is never going to resemble anything close to normal, shouldn’t I?” He put the toothbrush on the table.

Sylar wasn’t sure if he was supposed to answer that, so instead he asked, “Are you hungry?”

“Yeah, actually,” Peter said.

“Me too. I’ll get us something.”

Sylar ended up making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They sat at the table together to eat them. Sylar thought it was all very homey, but then Peter said, “You know that this doesn’t mean things are okay between us, right?”

But it’s a start, Sylar thought. “I’m going to go to bed,” he said instead. “I have to be up early.”

“You don’t sleep in the master bedroom, do you?” Peter asked.

“No,” he said. “I sleep in the guest bedroom.″

″Good,″ Peter said. ″He needs as much undisturbed rest as he can get.″

″There's pillows and blankets in the hall closet – ″ Sylar added.

″No need,″ Peter interrupted. ″I brought my own bedding.”

“So you’re going to crash on the couch, then?”

“That’s what I figured.”

“Why don’t you stay in the main bedroom?”

Peter’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “What, with Mohinder?”

“Yeah. You said you need to watch him, right?”

“You would be okay with that?”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know - because you seem insanely possessive?” Peter said.

Sylar shrugged. “If you were going to try to smuggle him out of here, you would have already tried it. And I really doubt that you’re going to make a move on him.”

“That’s uncharacteristically reasonable of you.”

“Not really,” Sylar said. “I like to fix things. And a big part of that is using the right tools. You’re the right tool.”

“Gee, thanks,” Peter said. He started sorting through the pills again.

Sylar stood awkwardly in the doorway for a moment, watching Peter. “Well,″ he said eventually. ″Good night.”

“‘Night,” Peter said without looking up.

Sylar went upstairs and went into the master bedroom. Mohinder was sleeping in the bed, just as Peter had said. It might have been his imagination, but it did seem like Mohinder looked a little better. He looked like he was actually sleeping, rather than lying in some torpor as he had been.

He got what he needed for the night and retired to the guest bedroom. In spite of the drama of the day, he found it easy to fall asleep. His first, deepest ability to know how things worked was clicking - he knew that Peter was the answer he was looking for. He was a healer, and now that he was involved, he couldn’t walk away.

Onto Chapter Five!
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