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Title: What We Are or Might Have Been (5/?)
Author: Seraphtrevs (My Fic Masterlist)
Pairing: Mohinder/Sylar
Rating: R
Genre: Tragicomedy
Word Count: (this part) ~5850
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: Huge thanks, as always, to my wonderful beta [livejournal.com profile] aurilly!

Sorry for the delay! A lot of this fic has changed from my original plans, so chapters are probably going to be a bit slow in coming. I'm working as fast as possible, I swear. And I'm finally accepting the fact that I have no idea how many chapters there are going to be. Somewhere between 10 and 12, probably.

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




Sylar woke up early the next morning. Before he did anything else, he went to the master bedroom and peeked his head in the door. Mohinder was still sleeping peacefully in the bed, and Peter was curled up in a sleeping bag on the floor beside him. Mohinder's arm was hanging off the bed, his hand opened as if reaching out to him.

Sylar turned and left the room. He quietly went down the stairs and out the door to the SUV. He saw the furniture and made a note to take it in before he left for the day. But first – there was a kit he kept in the glove department that contained, among other things, several covert listening devices that he and Bennet sometimes used when they were investigating a subject. He selected one and brought it into the house, climbing the stairs as carefully as he had descended them. He crept into the master bedroom and put the bug behind a picture frame.

It wasn't that he didn't trust Peter; he trusted that he couldn't be anything but himself, which meant that he would inevitably try some ill-informed do-gooding. He didn't think that Peter was going to forcibly kidnap Mohinder against his will; he hadn't tried it last night, which would have been the perfect opportunity. And he was confident that Mohinder's fears over his condition would make him resist any attempts to get him to leave. Still, Sylar wasn't an idiot. Instead of going to work this morning, he figured he'd park down the street and keep an ear on them for a little while, until he was sure that Peter wasn't going to try anything stupid.

He got his black suit from the closet and went to the guest bathroom to take a shower. Twenty minutes later, he was showered, shaved, and dressed. He headed downstairs to get some breakfast. As he went downstairs, the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafted towards him. He went into the kitchen and found Peter standing in front of the stove, briskly whisking something in a bowl. He was wearing a tee shirt and boxer shorts, as well as a ratty robe that he left untied; the belt hung loosely from the loops and swayed whenever he moved.

″Good morning,″ Sylar said.

Peter gave a wordless grunt in response.

″What are you making?″

″Scrambled eggs.″

″Is there enough for two?″ Sylar asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

″No.″

″Oh,″ he said with disappointment. Peter gave him a look, sighed, and cracked another two eggs in the bowl. Sylar took a sip of coffee to hide his grin.

Sylar sat down at the table and watched Peter cook. ″How's Mohinder?″ he asked eventually.

″Okay,″ Peter said. ″He woke up a couple of times. I got him to drink some more milk, but he was pretty out of it. He’s sleeping now.” Peter finished the eggs. He got out two plates and divided the eggs between them, then added a piece of toast to each plate. He set them down on the table before taking a seat himself.

″So what are you going to do today?″ Peter asked.

″I'm going to work,″ Sylar lied. ″I'll come back around lunchtime to pick Mohinder up and take him for the transfusion.″

″I could just take him,″ Peter pointed out.

″All right,″ Sylar said. ″I'm sure Mother will be glad to see you.″

It was all that Sylar could do to not laugh at the expression on Peter's face. ″You know, on second thought, maybe you should take him.″

They finished eating without further conversation. Once they’d cleared away the dishes, Sylar went out to the SUV for the furniture. He’d only been able to fit the armchair and the end tables he’d purchased; the sofa was going to be delivered later. It was still very early out; he thought maybe he could get away with using telekinesis. Just as he was about to lift the armchair, the neighbor across the street stepped out of his house to retrieve his newspaper. To Sylar’s annoyance, he waved to him and started towards him. Sylar took a quick survey of the man. He was older, a little on the heavy side, dressed in striped pajamas and fluffy slippers. There was an American flag hanging from a pole in the front yard, and there was a yellow ribbon bumper sticker on the white sedan in his driveway. Sylar smiled. He knew what this man would like to hear.

The man finished crossing the road. He gestured to the wreck that was the front of Sylar’s house. “I heard the commotion yesterday. What happened, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Sylar made a show of looking around, and then stepped in very close to the other man. He reached into his jacket and pulled out the fake badge he kept in there. “I can tell you, but I’ll have to swear you to secrecy. What’s your name?”

“Ed,” said the man. “Ed Jenkins.”

“Well, Ed Jenkins,” Sylar said. “Do you solemnly swear never to divulge the information I’m about to reveal to you?”

The man’s eyes grew wide. He nodded.

“I’m Agent Gabriel Petrelli, and I’m with the CIA,” Sylar said, keeping his voice low and confidential. “This is a safehouse for an Iraqi scientist who’s defected to the United States. He’s working on a top secret weapon for the government.”

“Golly,” said Ed.

“There was a slight mishap yesterday,” Sylar continued. “Nothing you need to concern yourself with; it won’t happen again. He wasn’t even supposed to be testing things here, but there’ve been some hold-ups with the lab we’re setting up for him, and he’s getting a little antsy. He wants to prove that he’s committed to aiding the United States of America. And fighting terrorism. His whole family was killed in a terrorist attack.”

“Those bastards,” Ed said, with feeling.

“So you can appreciate that this is very sensitive information. He’s a target. If word gets out…they might find him. They have spies everywhere.”

Ed looked around, as if expecting a terrorist to jump out from behind a bush. “You know, I almost called the police yesterday,” he said.

Sylar made a dismissive sound. “I’m glad you didn’t,” he said. “Nothing against the police force – they’re all fine men, I’m sure. But we don’t need the locals involved with this.”

Ed nodded in agreement. “I could tell you had things under control,” he said. “I’m instinctive like that.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Sylar said. “That’s something I picked up immediately. That’s why I’m trusting you with this.”

“You can count on me,” Ed said.

“Do you think any of the other neighbors are going to be suspicious?” Sylar asked.

“I doubt it,” Ed said. “They’re all too involved with themselves. That’s the trouble with our society today – no one cares about their neighbors anymore. Say – do you need help with that?” he added, pointing at the furniture.

“Sure,” Sylar said.

He and Ed carried the armchair in first. Peter rushed into the living room when he heard them. “What’s going on?” he said. “Who’s this?”

“Don’t worry,” Sylar said. “He knows.”

Peter gave him an extremely confused look.

“Is he CIA, too?” Ed asked.

“No, Peter here is a civilian,” Sylar said. “He’s Dr. Suresh’s nurse. Dr. Suresh was severely injured in the terrorist attack. They used some freak biological weapon – he’s lucky to be alive at all.”

Ed frowned. “Suresh – doesn’t sound Iraqi.”

“Well, his father is Indian,” Sylar explained. “Or I guess was Indian, since he’s dead and all.”

“That poor man,” Ed said. “I’d like to meet him. Shake his hand and welcome him to the country.”

“Um,” Peter said. “He’s resting.”

“Maybe some other time,” Sylar said. “I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Would you mind grabbing one of the end tables? Peter can help me with this.”

“Sure,” Ed said, and went back outside.

“Are you out of your mind?!” Peter said in a furious whisper.

Sylar shrugged. “He wanted to know what happened yesterday. I had to tell him something.”

“What did you say, exactly?”

“That Mohinder is an Iraqi weapons scientist who has defected to the United States to fight terrorism, and that he botched a minor experiment yesterday.”

Peter just shook his head and left the room.

Ed finished helping Sylar with the furniture and returned to his own house. When he was gone, Sylar got in the SUV and drove down the street and parked in an inconspicuous area. He pulled out the surveillance receiver and waited.

Nothing happened for a while. At one point, Ed walked by with his dog and spotted Sylar holding the receiver. Sylar gave him a solemn nod. Ed saluted in response. About an hour later, he still hadn't heard anything but Mohinder's soft snores. It was almost a relief when his phone rang. He glanced at the screen; it was Bennet. ″Yeah?″

″Where are you?″ Bennet said. ″And more importantly, why aren't you here?″

″I'm busy,″ Sylar said. ″I'll come in later.″

″It doesn't work that way,″ Bennet said, his voice taking on the steely pseudo-calmness that intimidated other people. ″You left abruptly, and without permission, yesterday. That was bad enough. You will come in when you are expected.″

″Sorry, no can do. But hey, could you be a buddy and punch my time card? I wouldn't want my boss finding out. I mean, I could get in so much trouble, right?″

Sylar wished he could see the expression on Bennet's face; he bet it was very entertaining. ″This isn't over,″ Bennet said.

″Whatever,″ Sylar said, and hung up the phone. He decided he was done playing nice with Bennet. He'd tried, he really had. He also needed to have a little chat with Mommy Dearest. He didn’t want to believe what Bennet had said, but it sounded all too plausible. He was tired of taking orders, anyway. If she wanted to keep him around, some changes were going to have to be made.

He turned his attention back to the receiver. It wasn't until about 10am that Mohinder began to stir. Sylar heard him get up, then the flush of a toilet. A few minutes later, he heard a knock, followed by the door creaking open.

″Hey,″ Peter said. ″Thought I heard you up and around. I brought you your medicine and some breakfast – no, stay in bed, I'll bring it to you.″ There was a rattling sound, like a tray being carried. ″Scrambled eggs. Hope that's okay.″

″Peter?″ Mohinder said, sounding confused. ″What are you doing here?″

″You don't remember?″

There was a pause as Mohinder thought about it. ″You came last night,″ he said finally. ″To help me, you said. But I thought that was a dream, or a hallucination.″

″It wasn't a dream,″ Peter said. ″And I'm not a hallucination.″

″That's what they all say,″ Mohinder murmured under his breath, and then, ″Ouch! Did you just pinch me?″

″It's what you're supposed to do, right? If you think you're dreaming, you have someone pinch you. And if it hurts, it's real – OW!″

″Did that hurt?″

″Yes!″

″So we're both real, then.″

″I don't think that’s how – never mind. Yes, we're both real,″ Peter said. ″How are you feeling?"

"Coherent, apparently.″

″That's good.″

″Not really,″ Mohinder said. “In situations like these, coherency is not particularly attractive.”

“So you are coherent sometimes?”

“It comes and goes. More going lately than coming,” Mohinder said. ″And you're wasting your time, you know. You can't help me. The damage I've done to myself is irreversible.″

″But there are treatments, aren’t there?″

″Treatments, yes. Not cures. And not very good treatments, evidently, considering what a mess I'm in.″

“I see,” Peter said. ″Is that why you don't want to eat? Are you trying to kill yourself?″

″You shouldn't have come here,″ Mohinder said in lieu of an answer. ″I appreciate your concern, but there's nothing you can do for me.″

″So what, you're just going to give up? That's not the Mohinder I know.″

Mohinder laughed. It wasn't a pleasant sound. ″Of course, because you knew me so well. Tell me, the Mohinder you knew – did you think he was capable of murder? Or of kidnapping, or torture?″

″No, I didn't.″

″Then I suppose you didn't know me at all,″ Mohinder said bitterly.

″But you weren't you when you did those things,″ Peter said.

″How would you know?”

″Because the same thing happened to me,″ Peter said. ″I took on an ability I couldn't handle, and I did some really terrible things.″

“And what ability was that?” There was a skeptical sneer underlying Mohinder’s words.

″I think you labeled it ‘intuitive aptitude.’”

“Oh,” Mohinder said. He no longer sounded skeptical. “From Sylar, you mean.”

“Yes.”

“What was it like?” Mohinder asked quietly.

Peter took a long time to answer. ″Need,″ he finally said. ″I felt like I needed so much, it pulled at everything like there was a black hole inside me. And I knew that I would destroy everything and anything to stop feeling that need. I snapped Sylar's neck; he got better, obviously, but I didn't know he would at the time. I tried to kill my mother, too. I think I would have, if Sylar hadn't stopped me. And then I went after my father.”

“And what happened?” Mohinder said. “Did you hurt him?”

″No,” Peter said. “My dad had the power to suck abilities out of people, and he took all of mine. The moment he did that, I felt like I was waking up from a nightmare. I couldn't believe the things that I'd done. And yes, I feel terrible, and yes, it was still my fault – but that isn't the whole story, and if you're condemning yourself to death over what you did, then you'd have to condemn me, too. Do you think I deserve to die?″

″No, of course not.″

″Then maybe you should give yourself a break.″

Mohinder didn’t respond right away. ″I don't really want to die,” he finally said. “I feel like I should – because of the things I've done, and because of what I've become. But there's some part of me that wants to live, in spite of everything...″ He trailed off. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

″That’s okay, we don’t have to,” Peter said. There was a clicking sound, like the tray was being moved. “Your eggs are getting cold. Do you want me to heat them up?”

There was a very pronounced silence, and then finally Mohinder said, ″Yes.″

″I'll be right back.”

Ten minutes later, Sylar heard the clinking of the tray again, and then the sound of silverware clicking on the plate. ″I really don’t have an appetite,″ Mohinder said. ″The thought of food makes me nauseated, especially with what he makes. Have you ever seen something called a 'jello mold?' It's frightening.″

Peter laughed. “I’ll try to make things more appetizing.”

“You’re staying?” Mohinder said, surprised.

“Yeah, for a little while,″ Peter said. “Unless you want to get out of here. Maybe I can talk to Sylar and – ″

No,″ Mohinder said vehemently. ″I have to stay here. I'm still capable of terrible things, even with the medications and the treatments. And if I lose control – no, when I lose control, I need someone who's able to stop me. Sylar is the only one who can. My only other option is to be at the facility, and I won't go back there – I can't go back there!″

″Okay,″ Peter said gently. ″That's your choice, and I respect it. I just had to ask.″ And then, after a moment, he asked, “Do you know why Sylar has this weird thing for you? I mean, it just seems so random, considering your history.”

“We had sex,” Mohinder said flatly. “I initiated it. And I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Oh, wow,” Peter said. He quickly added, “I’m sorry, that sounded judgmental. I’m just surprised.”

“So was I,” Mohinder muttered.

“You don’t have to have sex with him again just because you agreed to it once,” Peter said.

“I know,” Mohinder said. “I have a handle on it. He won’t force me. That’s not what he wants.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to get out of here?” Peter asked. “This is all beyond unhealthy.”

“I’m sure. Besides,” he added. “We’ve already established that I have nowhere else to go.”

“If you’re sure,” Peter said. “But even if you stay here, this can’t be your whole life. Have you told your family what’s happened?”

″No,” Mohinder said. “What would I say? How could I possibly explain any of this? I wish to God that I had left my father's death alone. Instead, I learned things about him that I wish I'd never known, and then I was sucked into all of this. They're better off thinking I've disappeared, or that I'm dead.″

“I don’t think that’s true.”

“That isn’t your decision to make, is it?” Mohinder snapped.

“And it’s not yours, either,” Peter pointed out. “They should have a say.”

There was silence for a few moments. “I can’t do it,” Mohinder said. “I can’t tell my mother. And Molly…”

“That’s the little girl, right? Is she with your mother now?”

“Yes. Thank God I sent her away before she saw me like this. She’s been through so much…” He broke off. “The damage has already been done though, hasn’t it? She’s already dealt with so many people disappearing from her life. And now I’ve added to it."

"Do you want me to call your mother for you?” Peter asked.

When Mohinder spoke again, it was so quiet that Sylar had to strain to hear. “What will you say?”

“We can work it out later,” Peter said. “I think you could use some rest now.”

“All right,” Mohinder said. He sounded so sad and defeated.

“But – um, maybe a shower first, if you’re up for it?”

“Oh,” Mohinder said, as if being reminded of a bit of esoteric information. “Right, showers. I must smell dreadful right now.”

“Yeah, a little.”

Surprisingly, Mohinder started laughing – a small, weak sound, but genuine. “A shower sounds nice, actually.”

“I’ll leave you to it, then. Unless you need help?”

“No, I can manage,” Mohinder said. “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

It sounded like Peter started to leave, but Mohinder called after him. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but why are you doing this? You hardly know me.”

“I know you enough,” Peter said. “And I care about you. I’m sure your mother does, too, and so does Molly. Try to keep that in mind, okay?”

At that, Mohinder let out a choked sob. He sounded like he was trying to control it, but another sob followed the first, and soon he was crying in earnest. But his cries were different from the ones Sylar had heard from him before. He didn’t sound despairing; he sounded relieved.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Peter said. “Do you need me to stay?”

“No,” Mohinder said. “I’m all right. Go, please.”

And then there was silence.

Sylar took his ear phones off and started to process what he’d just heard. He felt annoyed. That was it? That was all it took? It didn’t seem like Peter said anything that he himself couldn’t have said. He’d simply sounded sympathetic, and Mohinder fell open for him, pouring out all of his miseries. There had been a hug at the end there, he thought sourly. He was sure of it. But Sylar was the one who had rescued Mohinder. He was the one who deserved a hug.

It was the whole exchange about their abilities that bothered him the most. Peter had described Sylar’s ability perfectly. If he was so aware of exactly what Sylar had been through, then why was he still so hostile? Why could Peter forgive himself and encourage Mohinder to do the same, and yet continue to treat Sylar like a monster? It wasn’t fair.

And even though he had expected it, it also irritated him that Peter had tried to talk Mohinder out of the house. At least Peter hadn’t tried to sneak him away, but still, he had said he wouldn’t, but he did anyway. He was a liar. And so was Mohinder; he had told him he didn’t remember the sex they’d had, but that wasn’t true. He hit the steering wheel with frustration. Why was everyone always lying to him?

He drove around for a little while until he began to calm down. He reluctantly admitted that perhaps Peter had done a few things that Sylar wouldn’t have thought of on his own. For instance, it hadn’t even crossed his mind that Mohinder might be lonely for his family. He didn’t like thinking about the ties Mohinder might have to other people. And Peter did have a very soothing manner about him. He knew the right things to say, and more importantly, when and how to say them. Instead of being annoyed at Peter’s success, he should be pleased with his own judgment to bring him in. All he needed to do was observe Peter in action for a little while, and he’d be able to take over Mohinder’s recovery himself. It couldn’t be that hard, could it?

He went to a fast food restaurant to get some lunch. Afterward, he got back into the car and practiced sounding comforting. “I care about you,” he said to his reflection in the rearview mirror. “I care about you. I care about you.” He sighed. Why was it that the more he actually meant something, the less convincing it sounded? Fake emotions were easy; this was much more difficult.

It was about 1pm when he got back to the house. Mohinder was sitting in the living room with Peter, watching the television he had thankfully failed to destroy in his tirade. In some ways, he looked much improved. He was clean and dressed, and his demeanor was more normal – his posture was relaxed, rather than hunched, and the look on his face was not quite as haunted.

On the other hand, it appeared that his physical symptoms were much worse. The scales were as dark and hard-looking as they had been when he’d first brought Mohinder in, and Mohinder was holding his hands in his laps with his palms facing up; Sylar could see they were sticky and spongy. And he was still so thin; fortunately, the clothes made his gauntness less pronounced.

He took Mohinder out to the car, opening the door for him since his hands were in such bad shape. They said next to nothing on their way to the facility; Sylar was still working on what he wanted to say, and besides, he wanted Mohinder to be in the best frame of mind as possible.

When they reached the facility, Sylar took him to Dr. Riceman’s office. To his credit, the doctor was very respectful and kind, addressing Mohinder as ‘Dr. Suresh’ as he prepared him for the transfusion. Sylar waited until Dr. Riceman went through some questions about how he was feeling; Sylar wanted to make sure Mohinder wouldn’t say anything to raise red flags. He shouldn’t have worried; Mohinder wanted to be kept there as little as Sylar did. Once that was settled and the transfusion had begun, Sylar left. The process took about an hour, so he had some time to kill.

He went to his mother’s office. She was there, fortunately, sitting at her desk and looking through some papers.
She looked up when he entered. “Gabriel,” she said. “So you came in after all. Bennet said you might not.”

Sylar shrugged. “I came to bring Mohinder for his transfusion. I’m leaving as soon as he’s done.”

Angela pursed her lips. “I see,” she said. “Are you planning on coming into work tomorrow?”

“Maybe,” Sylar said. “But I’m not working with Bennet anymore.”

“May I ask why?”

“He said that the only reason you paired me with him was as insurance in case I got out of control,” he said. “He implied you ordered him to kill me if that happened. Any idea why he would say something like that?”

Angela was very still for a moment. “He said that because it’s what I told him,” she said.

Sylar was somewhat stunned that she admitted it. Before he had a chance to respond, she continued. “But it’s really the other way around – I need you to keep an eye on him.” She sighed. “I’m sorry, dear. I should have told you explicitly instead of just assuming you knew.”

“Why would you need me to keep an eye on him?”

“He’s only working with me under duress, as you know, which makes his loyalty questionable at best. And he’s a dangerous man. He shot my son, after all.”

“Because you ordered him to,” Sylar pointed out.

“Well, yes, obviously. But he pulled the trigger, didn’t he? It's actually rather rare to find someone able to be that ruthless; most people can't, even when threatened. That makes Bennet very valuable. But I can’t trust him.” She stood up from her desk and walked over to Sylar, placing a hand on his cheek. “You however, are my own blood, and are more powerful than anyone else here. If there’s anyone who can keep him in line, it’s you.”

Sylar hesitated. It did make sense. While he was trying to formulate what to say, she pulled him into a hug. “My poor boy. What must you have thought? I’m tempted to throw him out, no matter how useful he might be.” She pulled back. “Of course, I’ll have to if you won’t work with him. Such a shame – it’s so difficult to break in new people.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Sylar said. “I’ll work with him.”

Angela smiled. “That’s my boy.” She sat down at her desk again. “Why don’t you take the next few days off? Spend some time with Suresh. How is he, by the way?”

“He’s fine,” Sylar said. “Peter’s been helping me take care of him.”

Peter?” she said. She was surprised at first, but collected herself quickly. “Well, well. My boys, getting along. How lovely. I knew he couldn’t stay away from us forever. Tell him he should come see his mother sometime.”

“I will,” Sylar said.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she said. “There are a few things that require my attention.”

“Of course,” Sylar said.

He went to his own office, shut the blinds, and sat down in his chair to think. Angela had told him exactly what he wanted to hear. He wanted so desperately to believe her. And didn’t Sylar always do what he wanted? Besides, he wasn’t planning on “snapping,” so Bennet would never have cause to move against him. And if that was never going to happen anyway, it might as well be true that it was because Angela trusted him over Bennet, and would never dream of hurting her favorite son. The truth was an elastic thing, as Sylar well knew. It could easily stretch to fit what he wanted.

After the hour was up, he went to collect Mohinder. He looked much better already; the scales had faded and his hands had returned to normal. “How are you feeling?” he asked as they walked out of the building. When Mohinder didn’t answer, he prompted him. “Better?”

Mohinder nodded, but did not seem inclined to further the conversation.

Sylar waited until they were almost home to attempt conversation again. He parked the car in the driveway, but before Mohinder could open the door, he said, “Wait. There’s something I’d like to tell you.”

Mohinder crossed his arms and waited. Sylar licked his lips before he continued and placed a reassuring hand on Mohinder’s knee. “I know things have been difficult for you, and I know that you must feel like it will never get better. I know those dark feelings, because I’ve been through them myself. You feel so lost because of what you’ve done; you think that there’s no way to turn yourself around. But that isn’t true – I mean, look at me. I’ve made a new life for myself, and you can do it, too. And I care about you. We can make it through this together.”

Sylar smiled. He had nailed it – his tone had been perfect, filled with compassion and just the right amount of regret. And he’d practiced his expression enough that he knew his eyes were wide and hopeful, his smile quirked just the right amount to look not gleeful or patronizing, but warm and vulnerable.

Mohinder looked at the hand on his knee for a moment. “If you want to fuck me, all you have to do is say so. I don’t require seducing.”

Sylar blinked. “What?”

“I’m probably at my least repulsive at the moment, and I’m not gibbering like a maniac,” Mohinder continued. “If you want sex, now’s probably the time. Although I suppose it will be awkward with Peter in the house. Shall I get into the back seat?”

“What?” Sylar said again. He noticed that his hand was still on Mohinder’s knee; he jerked it back hastily. “No, that’s not what I meant. I don’t want to have sex with you – not like this.”

“Why not? That’s our quid pro quo, isn’t it?”

“No,” Sylar said, feeling a little flustered. “Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know,” Mohinder said. “You have this whole domestic scenario set up. I don’t know why, but it seems like you want to play house, and for some unfathomable reason, I am the doll you’ve chosen to play it with. I assumed sex would be part of it.”

“And so you think that when I tell you that I care about you, it’s just part of some game I’m playing?”

Mohinder shrugged. “Do you require more of my participation? Do you want me to tell you I love you back?”

“No!” Sylar said. “I mean – yes, but…” Sylar broke off, frustrated. “Is it really so hard to believe that I really care for you?”

“Well, yes, quite frankly.”

“But it’s true,” Sylar said. “I love you.”

“Oh, of course,” Mohinder said with a sneer. “And when was it, exactly, that you fell in love with me? Was it when you were fucking me when I was most of the way out of my mind? Was it when you broke into my apartment and threatened me and my child with a gun? Or was it before then, when you battered me until I bled, and then pinned me to the ceiling?”

“I was a different person when I did those things.”

At that, Mohinder started to laugh.

“Stop it,” Sylar said angrily.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help it. It’s a complete farce. You can’t possibly expect me to believe that.”

“That isn’t fair,” Sylar said, exploding with frustration. “When Peter tells you that he was a different person when he went on a killing spree, you’re all sympathetic! Why doesn’t that apply to me?”

Mohinder stared at him for a moment. “You were listening to our conversation.” He shook his head and let out a little half-laugh of disbelief. “That shouldn’t bother me, I suppose, in comparison with everything else you’ve done to me.”

“And what about what I’ve done for you?” Sylar said. “I saved your life!”

“Don’t expect me to thank you for that, because I’m still not convinced that my life was worth saving.”

“But I saved you from more than death, didn’t I?” Sylar said. “If it wasn’t for me, you’d either be rotting in a cell somewhere with a needle in your arm and a tube down your throat, or you’d still be out in the world, a monster stalking the streets for people to kill.”

“You mean like you?” Mohinder shot back.

“Like I used to be,” he conceded.

“I was never like you! I was just looking for a cure. I didn’t want to…” He trailed off.

“To kill?” Sylar said. “I didn’t, either. At least, not at first. I was only concerned with getting abilities. But it starts to feel good after a while, doesn’t it?” Mohinder didn’t say anything, but Sylar could see that he was getting to him, so he continued. “The whole world has beaten you around for your entire life, and suddenly, you’re strong enough to beat back.”

Mohinder shut his eyes. He was shaking slightly, but Sylar wasn’t done making his point. “With so much power, you think you’re in control, but it’s bigger than you; it’s all-consuming, like a wild fire, and if I hadn’t intervened, it would have burned and burned, and you would have watched as everything around you was destroyed, including the people you loved. And you would have been helpless to stop it. And that fire hasn’t gone away, Mohinder. It’s burning inside you right now – you can feel it, can’t you?”

“Yes,” Mohinder said very quietly, without opening his eyes.

“And you know that I’m the only one who can stop it if it blazes out of control again, don’t you?”

Mohinder just nodded this time. His earlier arrogance was gone now, and he was pliant and passive again. Sylar sighed. This wasn’t what he wanted. All he had expected from his declaration was for Mohinder to smile and say thank you, and maybe give him a hug. But it was always a battle between them; maybe that would never change.

Sylar took off his seat belt and leaned over until he was facing Mohinder. Mohinder’s eyes were still shut tight. Sylar put a hand on his face. “Look at me,” he said. With great effort, Mohinder opened his eyes. “I’m helping you because I love you,” Sylar said. “And I’m going to make you better. Tell me you believe me.”

“I believe you,” Mohinder said faintly. But Sylar knew he was lying.

Sylar could kiss him now, if he wanted to. Mohinder would let him. Sylar could take him into the back seat, or he could take him inside and bring him upstairs. He could kick Peter out, tell him his services were no longer needed, because while he couldn’t make Mohinder truly well himself, he might be able to make him well enough to mold into the fantasy of what he wanted. Even if it would never be real, it could be real enough. It was what everyone expected him to do – Bennet, his mother, Peter, and Mohinder himself.

He felt very tired suddenly. He telekinetically opened the passenger door. “Get out,” he said. Mohinder quickly complied. The moment he was out the door, Sylar put the car in reverse and sped off down the street. There was something inside him that was close to breaking, and one more look at Mohinder might shatter it completely.

Onto Chapter Six!

Date: 2011-06-27 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaiafaye.livejournal.com
OH MY GOD the elaborate CIA cover-up had me face-palming with laughter. Though I guess now Sylar has Ed in the palm of his hand if he ever needs help with a dead body. A dead terrorist body, of course.

Sylar totally got the jello mold recipe from some old Stepford-wifey 1950s cookbook. It's all the rage at the block parties!

Of course, he's all pissy after Mohinder's and Peter's conversation. To think, all Sylar really needed was a hug. Such fuss for something as simple as that.

I love how you have Sylar think about the way Peter behaves, as pure performance. Peter sounds sympathetic, Sylar tries to sound comforting like Peter does. It echoes back to his discussion with Bennet, basically that Sylar has very little empathy.

Before he had a chance to respond, she continued. “But it’s really the other way around – I need you to keep an eye on him.”

Tricky, tricky, Angela. She's a quick thinker.

“If you want to fuck me, all you have to do is say so. I don’t require seducing.”

Um, even though I knew Sylar sucks at the actual-emotion-thing.... ouch.

Of course Sylar is very good at the manipulative thing, reminding Mohinder why he doesn't want to leave even while he's actually trying to explain his state-of-mind during his crazy serial killer period. I feel like it's such a natural mode for Sylar that it slips out even when his intention is to develop a genuine relationship.

Date: 2011-06-27 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seraphtrevs.livejournal.com
Lol, I'm glad you liked the ~CIA cover-up!~ It was actually a late addition. I feel really bad for poor Ed; he's just trying to be a good neighbor.

Sylar totally got the jello mold recipe from some old Stepford-wifey 1950s cookbook. It's all the rage at the block parties!

Ahahaha, YES. Sylar loves all of the grossest 1950s American food, because I imagine that's what Virginia liked to cook. Lol, and now I'm imagining him trying to throw a block party. I bet Ed would come.


I love how you have Sylar think about the way Peter behaves, as pure performance. Peter sounds sympathetic, Sylar tries to sound comforting like Peter does. It echoes back to his discussion with Bennet, basically that Sylar has very little empathy.


I'm glad that worked for you! I wanted to reiterate how Sylar is still basically faking it, even if there might be a glimmer of true feeling underneath it all. I'm glad you were reminded of the earlier conversation with Bennet - hooray, continuity!

Tricky, tricky, Angela. She's a quick thinker.

Lol, definitely. I ultimately liked that in canon, they went back to complicated, sympathetic Angela after the whole volume 3 mess, but supervillain!Angela is still massively fun to write.


Um, even though I knew Sylar sucks at the actual-emotion-thing.... ouch.


Yeah, that was definitely a very painful way to burst Sylar's bubble. >:) Poor guy. ALL HE WANTED WAS A HUG, DAMNIT.

Of course Sylar is very good at the manipulative thing, reminding Mohinder why he doesn't want to leave even while he's actually trying to explain his state-of-mind during his crazy serial killer period. I feel like it's such a natural mode for Sylar that it slips out even when his intention is to develop a genuine relationship.

YES, exactly. Once he realizes that Mohinder wasn't going to buy his act, he immediately reverts back to the manipulation he knows will work. But he's starting to realize that he's never going to get what he truly wants by trying to pull people's strings. Now he's just going to have to learn to be, you know, honest. And that's going to be an interestingly painful journey, lol.

Date: 2011-06-27 08:10 am (UTC)
ext_3954: (Sendhil smiling)
From: [identity profile] alicambs.livejournal.com
Ouch! I guess this is pay back time for Sylar. Manipulate people all the time and they won't believe you when you are actually trying to be genuine!

Date: 2011-06-27 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seraphtrevs.livejournal.com
Exactly! He's the Boy Who Cried "No Seriously, You Guys, I'm Good for Real Now, Really."

Date: 2011-06-27 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starrdust411.livejournal.com
I knew that Sylar wouldn't be able to have Peter in the house without getting jealous. Although him trying to imitate Peter's "technique" was hilarious. Poor Sylar. He needs more work in the art of empathy.

I felt so bad for poor Mohinder at his "I’m probably at my least repulsive" comment. I know he was being a bit harsh to Sylar, but it just made me sad for him.

I'm so sleepy right now, I'm sorry I couldn't leave a more detailed and coherent review, but I'm glad to see an update. I can't wait to see what happens next :)

Date: 2011-06-27 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seraphtrevs.livejournal.com
Hee, yes. Sylar really can't help it at this point. I'm glad you liked Sylar trying to imitate Peter - I was all "lol," but also "awww :(" when I was writing it. Poor Sylar. He just doesn't get it.

And yeah, also poor Mohinder. He's in such a bad place right now, and Sylar certainly isn't helping.

And aw, don't worry about it! I love your detailed comments, but it's also just good to hear that you read it and enjoyed it. :D

Date: 2011-06-27 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] levitatethis.livejournal.com
Once again you wonderfully walk that line between drama and humour. True to the characters, Sylar would feel jealousy towards Peter and the ease it seems that exists between him and Mohinder. I like the methodical way Sylar attempts to analyze Peter's behaviour, as if he can teach himself to be "human" and break through to Mohinder.

The conflict between Sylar/Peter, Sylar/Mohinder, Sylar/Bennett (hell, Sylar/everyone) works to show the disconnect he feels, still an outsider in his own life. Yet there are moments of understanding and when he stops trying to be something he's not, when he just loses his cool and lays it out there on the table he finally makes a bit of headway with Mohinder.

Date: 2011-06-28 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seraphtrevs.livejournal.com
I like the methodical way Sylar attempts to analyze Peter's behaviour, as if he can teach himself to be "human" and break through to Mohinder.

I'm glad you liked it! It's been kind of a challenge walking the line between sociopath!Sylar and the person he really is trying to become. There are real feelings there, but he has no access to them, and thinks that it's all a matter of doing the "right" things.

. Yet there are moments of understanding and when he stops trying to be something he's not, when he just loses his cool and lays it out there on the table he finally makes a bit of headway with Mohinder.

Yes, exactly. The only way there can be anything real between them is if Sylar loses the control he's so intent on keeping (which he does in a major way next chapter). (But no Mohinders are harmed in the production of the next chapter, lol.)

Date: 2011-06-30 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regazzadilupo.livejournal.com
I really like Sylar's cover story. It sort of smacks of a touch of his intuitive aptitude- one look at all the things Ed's put about his home and he new how Ed *worked*.

Why could Peter forgive himself and encourage Mohinder to do the same, and yet continue to treat Sylar like a monster? It wasn’t fair.

And this? You know, this is something that seriously bothered me. Peter got the Hunger from Sylar, and understood it viscerally... but it still took forever and a freaking mental prison for him to have an ounce of sympathy for Sylar. All Sylar needs is a hug, and your brains. Is that too much to ask??

Date: 2011-07-01 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seraphtrevs.livejournal.com
It sort of smacks of a touch of his intuitive aptitude- one look at all the things Ed's put about his home and he new how Ed *worked*.

Yes, exactly! I don't know if that's how the writers of the show intended it, but I always thought his spectacular bullshitting abilities were a function of his IA.

You know, this is something that seriously bothered me. Peter got the Hunger from Sylar, and understood it viscerally... but it still took forever and a freaking mental prison for him to have an ounce of sympathy for Sylar.

I know, right? That was what I assumed the intention was when they gave Peter Sylar's powers (that is, to make Peter sympathetic to Sylar), but once they decided Sylar wasn't a Petrelli after all, they dropped it pretty quickly.

(And the whole having Peter take on Sylar's power thing was problematic from the get-go. For starters - shouldn't he have ALREADY picked up IA from Sylar? He picked up TK from him, after all. I can sort of hand-wave that away - like, maybe Peter can only pick up one ability at a time from someone with multiple abilities, but then they had him picking up IA as a deliberate choice rather than something that just happened, the way he picked up other abilities. Gah, plot holes. *shakes fist*)

All Sylar needs is a hug, and your brains. Is that too much to ask??

Ahahahahaha, yes. Poor Sylar.

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