Gabriel didn’t need to worry about waking Sylar. He was already in the kitchen when Gabriel arrived, making pancakes. There was already a rather impressive pile of them, placed in equal portions on two plates. “Morning sleepyhead. Hope you’re hungry.”
He knew that it was unlikely for Gabriel to be hungry now. He remembered the morning after blues, the need to scrub his hands until they were clean, the urge to crawl into a church and confess everything. But Sylar was determined to not let Gabriel do anything that stupid. Fuck no, not on his watch.
"Set the table, will you? Get the juice from the fridge. There’s fresh coffee over there." Keeping him busy would be key and Sylar had more than one plan lined up to pass the day. The week too if needed.
He jumped when Sylar called out to him from the kitchen. Gabriel felt like an idiot. How the hell he could think that Sylar was still asleep when he could smell pancakes. This wasn’t his crappy apartment where you could smell whatever was being cooked next door. He looked at the shoes in his hand and blinked at him a few times.
“I didn’t know you were up.” He wasn’t giving him a chance to get a word in edgewise, and after their bristled feelings over dinner, he was afraid of being rude by running out. “I was going to go to church.” But he couldn’t now. He dropped his shoes near the door and went to get the juice and plates. He didn’t think his stomach could handle coffee and left that for Sylar.
While he set the table with shaking hands, he noticed that Sylar wasn’t racked with guilt. He was practically singing and dancing while he cooked. He was happy. Gabriel felt miserable with a gut full of broken glass. He set the last fork on the table and closed his eyes before dropping into his place to try to get his head to stop spinning. “It happened, didn’t it? That wasn’t a dream?”
“Yes. It’s simple, it’s easy and now you know how to do what I do.” Sylar returned the smile. The trembling and terror seemed to have melted away, Gabriel was calm now. But Sylar knew very well that the guilt would come back, later on. He’d been there, he’d experienced it.
“Time to go home and get a change in clothes, don’t you think?” He stood up, feeling pretty damn content over how this day had gone so far. “I could go for those leftovers now. A decent kill always makes me hungry.” He waited until Gabriel had managed to get up from the floor as well before wrapping blood slick fingers around his wrist and porting.
Eden could stay where she was. There was no point in hiding the body or cleaning. Besides Sylar always enjoyed thinking about the people who’d walk in and find the presents he’d left. In this case it would likely be another agent. Maybe even Bennet. That would be hilarious.
Gabriel woke up in a panic. His bed was covered in a large sunbeam, and the heat of it baking into him made it hard to breathe. He threw the blankets off and hopped out of the bed, disoriented at first until he remembered where he was and staggered into his bathroom to throw up. He sank onto his knees on the cool slick ceramic tile and hugged the bowl while he lost what little was left in his stomach again.
“I killed her. Oh god. I killed that girl.” His hands were clean, but he could still swear that he saw blood on them. He got up, trembling and splashed his face with cold water and rinsed out his mouth. When he looked in the mirror he was wild-eyed, and his hair was sticking up all over the place. His chin was covered in stubble, and he looked so much like Sylar that it was frightening.
He closed his eyes and slumped over the sink. He didn’t know what to do other than to beg God to forgive him for what he’d done. Gabriel stripped off his pajamas—that he didn’t remember putting on to begin with—and climbed into the shower. Then once he was shaved, dressed and groomed he slipped out of his bedroom and into the kitchen to get a glass of water. He needed to go to church, but he didn’t want to wake Sylar. He also didn’t know where the nearest church was.
“Oh,” Norman said, sympathising very much with the person that Gabriel had been at his age. He could easily recognize it. The looks and giggles that he chose to ignore, the hard looks from other boys, the uncertainty. He’d never been shoved into lockers, but he had been punched once or twice for being a freak. He couldn’t help being different. He didn’t -want- to be, but it was there anyway, trickling through to the surface and marking him.
“My mother, she’s the reason why we moved here in the first place. So there’s no chance of me getting pulled out of my school either. Unless she decides that we need another new start. She’s… there’s nothing wrong with her, really, other than that.” Norman did feel the need to say that. It wasn’t an illness that made him always the new kid and always having to try to adjust. “I can tell her everything. Almost everything.”
"Can you?" Gabriel felt a flash of jealousy for that. "I could never tell my mother anything. She’d wait until someone at church or a neighbor told her the same thing, and then it would be the most brilliant idea she’d ever heard. It would drive me nuts." He hated it when she did that.
He bit into his burger, eating in silence for a bit while he got his ducks in a row and slid the anger he felt towards Virginia away. He would never be good enough for her. He could never tell her what he had done, and most of the time he was fine with her banishing him from her life when he dared to move out. “I hope you and you mom can stay close, Norman. Having a parent that believes in you is like magic. The entire world’s a much better place when that happens.”
“No, you killed her, Gabriel. I just took the opportunity to salvage her power while I could,” Sylar said, looking up at his younger self with dark eyes. “Get down here before it’s lost forever.” He grabbed onto Gabriel’s hand with his bloody hand, dragging him down to his level.
Taking advantage of the grip, Sylar placed Gabriel’s hand where he wanted it to be, but he didn’t go so far as to shove his fingers in there. “Don’t fret. It’s only blood. Everyone has it, it’s nothing to tremble like that over.” He hissed it out, studying Gabriel’s expression.
“Are you going to be able to do it, or should we just go, huh? Remember that you wanted this.”
He killed her. Gabriel felt his stomach lurch again, and he fought to keep his dinner down. I killed her. I killed her. I’m going to hell. He bit his lip when Sylar pulled him down to the floor. Keeping the blood off his pants was impossible now, and it was all over his sleeve where Sylar had touched.
"I don’t want to go," his voice was still shaking. He swallowed hard and touched the girl’s brain. The blood was warm, and the brain was spongy and slick. He’d never felt anything like it, and he let his fingers explore. He could feel where Sylar’s fingers had been, but that wasn’t the only reason he was following that path. There was something there.
"I can feel it." Gabriel closed his eyes. He could feel the spark that made the girl special. "It all makes sense now. Everything." He opened his eyes and looked into his brother’s and smiled. "It’s so simple."
Sylar crouched next to Eden, carefully checking her. There was a pulse, but weak and thready. Her pupils weren’t the same size anymore, which was a sure sign of serious blunt force trauma. Well, that and the sizeable dent in her head. Hopefully her brains weren’t too badly scrambled.
“Well done, little brother. She won’t get up any time soon.” He closed the door with TK, not wanting them disturbed by nosy neighbors while they did this. “Let me show you how we do this. Come closer… No, don’t stand on that side, it’ll get messy.”
Once Gabriel was standing where he could see and at the same time where his pants wouldn’t be splattered, Sylar lifted his finger and sliced into Eden’s forehead. “You slice deep, but precise. Don’t cut into the brain.”
He flipped the top of the head off, exposing the brain. Eden twitched, but he knew that was only instinct, really. She was mostly gone. “What you want is in the back, most of the time.” Sylar pushed his fingers deep in, almost not believing that he’d have this ability after all this time. “Nnn… there it is,” he said, gasping a bit. “Delicious little power.”
He pulled away, nodding at Gabriel. “Now you do it.” Gabriel looked very pale, but that was to be expected. “Go on.”
Gabriel’s eyes grew wider still, and he started to gulp for breath. He felt dizzy and faint. He’d caved her head in. He didn’t mean to hit her that hard, but she was going to shoot his brother. He felt horrible. He moved like a puppet when Sylar told him where to stand and what to do as the door was closed and locked behind him.
He had to clamp both hands over his mouth not to either scream or throw up when Sylar cut into her skull. He was trembling, shaking, Heart pounding and he could feel the sweat soaking into his shirt.
"What did you just do!" He squeaked. "You killed her!"
He tried not to understand it. Tried desperately not to know what Sylar had done, but he could see it so clearly—each and every step it took for him to take something from her that he wanted. He opened his mouth to declare that he didn’t want to do it, but he did. He wanted to be special. Besides she was already dead. What difference would it make if he stuck his fingers into her brain too?
Gabriel’s question and confession was unexpected, enough to make Norman stutter a bit. “How… That’s…” He sighed, slumping against the seat of the booth. “It’s none of them. She’s not here. Her name is Bradley and she didn’t really set me up. She’s… She’s not like that.” She might not be as nice as he’d hoped, but she hadn’t giggled about it with her friends or spread the word about them around school.
Though maybe he’d prefer it if she -did- spread it around school. At least that would have meant that it really happened. That night seemed more and more like a distant dream to him than anything else, now.
“What did you do, after what happened to you?” He asked mostly to get the focus off him, feeling like dark things were hidden beneath his own thoughts about Bradley. Better to not look too hard at those.
He wished that he could tell that he’d had his revenge, but he couldn’t. Gabriel’s dark eyes wandered back to the squawking girls, and he couldn’t help but put the faces of the bitches from his high school on them. Of course they’d be wearing uniforms if there were from his school.
"I didn’t do anything. I went to school. I buried my face in my books. I had the fun of being shoved face first into my locker almost every day. I took. I took it all." His voice sounded different in his ears. The old hurt was still there, but then he’d never once thought that it was gone. "My mother wasn’t well. I couldn’t tell her what was happening, so there was no chance of me escaping. She paid good money for me to go to Catholic school, and she wasn’t about to pull me out because I got my feelings hurt." Or my hand broken.
“That’s right. Someone is in there.” He kept his voice soft, taking a step closer. “I need to warn you before we go in there. The girl we’re about to see can command you to do anything, so whatever you do, don’t listen to her. Got it?”
Gabriel wouldn’t be prepared for what they were going to do to her, but Sylar knew that his instinct would take over soon anyway. It wouldn’t be a problem. The twinges of conscience would come a lot later and far too late for Eden.
“Okay. Wait here. I’m going in first.” Sylar touched the door, opening the multiple locks on the inside without much effort. Seriously, the security in this building was a joke. He moved slowly inside, cautious of alerting Eden to their presence just yet. He turned to wave at Gabriel to follow and that was when the cold muzzle of a gun was pressed against his neck.
“Who are you and why are you here?” Ah, right. Clever little Company agent.
Telling him not to listen was like telling him to pay complete attention to her. Gabriel had no idea how he wasn’t supposed to listen to someone. He took a deep breath and focused on Sylar. That would help him avoid whatever she could do, but it wouldn’t help with the headache. It also didn’t help that he had no idea what they were doing there.
Gabriel bit into the corner of his lip while Sylar opened the door, using another of his powers. He wanted to be able to do that too. He wanted to be able to do all of it, but he could wait. Sylar was going to show him how it worked. He could wait. It wasn’t that much longer.
And all that patience went to shit when a tiny woman, who looked like she hadn’t eaten in a year, pulled a gun on his brother. Gabriel froze for a second, and then he moved, grabbing the closest thing at hand and hit her on the head with it. He stood over her, shaking with a soapstone dragon clutched in his hand. He stared wide-eyed at Eden as a trickle of blood matted the hair near her ear. “Guess I don’t have to worry about listening now.”
The girlish squeals behind him caught Norman’s attention and he turned around to see what was going on. The little bit of chaos made him want to go over and help them, but some other side of him told him that he should remain seated and that they’d gotten what was coming to them. They weren’t nice girls.
He turned back to Gabriel, smiling a little when he looked at the menu. The smile had little to do with the prospect of food. “Um, I’m sure that’s good. I’ll go for some soup and grilled cheese.” Comfort food and good for the cold weather.
"That sounds good. Soup and grilled cheese for me too." Gabriel was smiling. He was enjoying the hell out of the chaos he’d caused. He could easily pretend they were the same mean girls who had tortured him in school. Anything shitty that could happen to them was A-OK with him, and since Norman didn’t have a special ability to get a little revenge, Gabriel was happy to do it for him.
"So which one of them hurt you?" He’d just about run out of questions to ask Norman, and if he could ask about Chandra, he could ask about the girl. "Did she lead you on and set you up? That happened to me once. I wanted to die." And kill.