You Don't Have to be Alone for Christmas

Dec 08, 2008 16:32

Title: You Don’t Have to be Alone for Christmas
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Claire decides there’s a better place for Sylar to be than at work on Christmas Eve. Though of course it’s never really Christmas without a fight.
Spoilers: Very mild 3x08
Disclaimer; Heroes is not owned by me, but by Tim Kring. I’m simply borrowing these characters for non-profit entertainment.
A/N: This didn’t turn out like I had planned, but oh well. It was never meant to be pure fluff anyway. That’s later ;)
Notes: Written for sylaire_chall's challenge #6 - Christmas


“I thought you’d left already,” Claire stated as she looked to Sylar finishing up some paperwork.

“And go where?”

“It’s Christmas Eve. Even you must have somewhere to go, some people to see.”

“I’m not exactly a family man,” he told her, finally looking up at her.

“Well you know what they say: It’s not Christmas until someone gets shot,” she offered.

Sylar almost laughed. She really had been trying to help him feel more welcomed within her family since they had become partners, though they had hardly made it easy. But then what about it could be easy? Peter was the proud boy scout with the Superman complex. Sylar was the former killer and Peter still considered him a monster despite his efforts to disprove that.

“It’s okay, Claire. You go on and have dinner with your family. I’ll finish up here,” he told his partner.

“No,” she casually replied with a shake of her head. “You’re coming home with me.”

“I’m not a stray dog,” he smiled, still finding her attempts at these things endearing.

“No, you’re a man who’s never had a real Christmas dinner with a family who cares about you and whom I’m not going to have finishing my paperwork on Christmas Eve when I can provide you with at least one traditional holiday.”

“Claire -”

“You have to eat.” No, she wasn’t about to give up.

“What about Noah? I can just imagine how thrilled he’ll be.”

“Sarcasm won’t dissuade me, Sylar. It’s Christmas, the only place you should be right now is at home with me.”

He could hear her heart racing as she blurted out those last words. Too many months of working together, too many long nights alone in separate beds, growing closer and more comfortable with each other every day.

He had always known about her crush on Peter. Maybe that was why he was surprised when she started looking at him the same way. Of course she had never said anything and neither had he. But that didn’t change that their feelings for one another had passed from simply friendly some time ago.

“There really isn’t anything I can say to change your mind, is there?” he finally asked. Funny how she could never defeat him this easily when they trained together, he thought.

“You know me,” she beamed. “So just save yourself the hour of trying, put down the papers, turn off the computer and come with me. I’ll even let you drive.”

That did it. Her finally relinquishing the power of their Company-issued car. It was then he knew how important this must be to her. Though for the life of him he couldn’t understand why.

“And when your father shoots me?” he asked as they walked up to the door.

“Be glad you can still get under his skin like no other, but don’t provoke him further,” she sternly warned.

“Me?” he asked with his best mock innocence.

Claire only rolled her eyes before ringing the bell.

“Claire, you made it,” Noah smiled to her before being distracted by her partner. Already, instinctively, he went to reach for his gun before remembering he had left it locked in his desk in his home office.

“Hey, Dad,” she smiled before moving to take a step inside, only to realize Noah wasn’t budging.

“What are you doing here?” he growled at Sylar.

“I was invited,” he smiled.

“Claire -”

“Can we at least talk about this inside? It’s freezing out here!” Claire whined.

“I could warm you up,” Sylar quickly volunteered. He knew under other circumstances she wouldn’t turn it down, she never had recently and he still loved pushing Noah’s buttons every chance he had. Of course now that he had been partnered with Claire it made it even more fun.

“Try it and you’ll never touch anything again,” Noah fumed.

“Yeah, it’s Christmas alright,” Claire intervened with another roll of her eyes. “Come on, Dad, please. He didn’t have anywhere else to go and I didn’t want to leave him back at work.”

“He’s not a lost dog, Claire -”

“That’s what I said,” Sylar added. Curling an arm around Claire’s shoulders, he continued, “But you know Claire-bear, always the sweet, compassionate one who doesn’t want anyone to be lonely on such cold nights.”

Noah wanted to punch that smirk right off the smug man’s face. But for his daughter he resisted. And caved.

“Smells like it’s almost done,” Claire commented as she hung up her coat & inhaled the mouth-watering scent wafting from the kitchen.

“Yeah, I’ll tell your mother to set another place,” Noah replied before stomping off.

“What do you think he’d do if I started calling him Dad?”

“I bring you home for Christmas dinner and you’re planning suicide, nice,” she sighed as she led him into the living room.

“Oh, come on, Claire, it’s the only fun I get anymore. Besides he was begging for it when we were outside.”

“Be glad you still have an arm.”

He laughed. “I am,” he told her before bringing it around her shoulders again. It was the holidays and he wanted to make the most of it now that she had offered.

“Are you flirting with me?” she asked, surprised that he would even consider it and her parents’ living room no less.

“Seems fitting since you brought me home to Mom and Dad,” he smiled.

“That’s not why I did it.”

“Then why? Because you didn’t want me to be alone, you didn’t like the idea of me being alone on Christmas Eve, alright. But maybe you also wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be spending it with anyone else.”

Immediately Claire’s mind flashed on the bitch who had gotten her hopes so high up when she had Sylar help fake her death. She thought she would finally be rid of her. She had nearly killed her, her father and her partner. Each numerous times. Why in hell should she be glad she was still alive? Especially when she knew the things she had done with Sylar. The mere thought still made her sick.

Sylar caught her pause and could all too easily see her expression darkening. She never had to tell him when he was right or wrong. She always gave it away herself, be it in body language or a look or even a mere glint in her eyes. This time he was clearly right.

“I wouldn’t care if you spent it with your family. I might have been a little surprised to see if you all lived to tell the tale, but I wouldn’t have minded it,” she finally answered.

“Just as long as I wasn’t with some others, too, right?” he smirked. He never knew how jealous she was, but now that he was seeing it he felt he had a new toy. If nothing else he figured he could finally get a confession out of her and they could finally end their maddening tango of repressed emotions.

Things were a lot easier when they just wanted the other dead, he decided. Still that didn’t change what he wanted to hear. Or why he wanted to hear it.

“You’re the one who said you didn’t have anywhere to go,” she snapped, refusing to tell him the truth.

“And you so eagerly volunteered to change that -”

“By mentioning your brother first,” she reminded him.

“Who likely would’ve ended up here anyway when Nathan would make it clear that he wouldn’t want Peter there for the whole night. Tell me, Claire, really, why did you want me here for Christmas?”

“I just don’t’ like the idea of you being alone, alright?!” she cried as she jumped up from her seat on the sofa, trying to keep her voice low so her parents wouldn’t hear.

“Why not? Because you’ve gotten used to spending so much time with me? Because you feel sorry for me? Because you don’t like the idea of me being alone with certain other women?”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?!”

“That fight you had with her. How she wanted me to be the monster you feared. How you wanted me to be the hero she hated. You should’ve known a thing like that wouldn’t stay a secret. I know what you want, Claire.”

“Like hell you do,” she spat before turning from him as he stood.

Putting his hands to her shoulders, he went on, “For me to be a hero, to be your hero. To give you what none of the others can. You have to know by now that I care about you. If I didn’t I wouldn’t still be trying to keep you safe when we’re working. And even when we’re not. I even agreed to this tonight for you.”

“Just so you wouldn’t have to hear me complain for an hour,” she muttered, still choosing to remain in his gentle hold.

“So you wouldn’t have to imagine me alone on Christmas or wonder if there was someone else I was spending it with who wasn’t you or my family. And because I knew what it meant to you,” he sighed. “I had a choice then too, you know. I chose to be your hero instead of her monster. That was why I helped fake her death, in the hope that she’d be gone and you could see this side of me. The one you’ve spent nearly every day with for the last six months, the one you’ve let hold you when you got cold, the one who’d take the tiny sofas in the back of the dump motel rooms so you could have the bed and not worry about what I’d do while you were asleep.”

Claire wanted to cry. She had been so right and so wrong all at once. Her father hated him, her mother and brother feared him, Peter hated him, Nathan was indifferent which sometimes was worse to her and yet here she was. Yet another thing she didn’t have in common with the rest of her family. Or his it seemed. She loved him.

“Some Christmas, huh?” she asked, deciding to change the subject. She didn’t want to fight him anymore. She hated herself now enough as it was. He had been good to her lately and yet all she could do was think back to when she still feared him and despised his then partner.

“It’s not Christmas without a fight,” he tenderly replied as he took his hands from her.

She turned to him then, having managed to blink back her tears and lastly nearly whispered the words that had been screaming within her for the better part of the last several months, “I love you, Sylar.”

On any other night he would have smiled. Taking victory in knowing how right he had been. But as he looked to her, seeing the same emotions within her expression that he had felt nearly all along, he was too overwhelmed to do anything but tell her, “I love you too, Claire.”

She wanted to kiss him. That’s what you do after someone tells you that they love you, right? But she couldn’t bring herself to. Not because this was the room he had cut her open in or because her parents could walk in at any moment, but because she was scared that while he claimed to feel the same he would tell her that they couldn’t be. That this time love wouldn’t be enough.

“So what now?” she asked him, wanting him to just rip her heart out and get it over with if that was what he was going to do.

“What do you want?” he asked. He had an idea of something for her. The perfect present in a way, a long overdue one at that. But he wanted to know she still wanted it.

“To live a fantasy,” she almost laughed at how ridiculous she knew it sounded.

“How would you feel about a bit of reality?” he asked as he stepped closer.

“What do you mean?”

He didn’t answer in words. Instead he raised his hand to the side of her face, more thankful than he could hope to express that she hadn’t jumped. She hadn’t feared his touch in some time, but in that moment he couldn’t be sure what to expect. Just brushing his fingertips along her temple, down her cheek, to her shoulder again, finally letting his fingertips run all the way down her arm. He could only hope this would work. When his fingers met hers, he told her to go over to the fireplace.

Obviously her parents had lit it an hour ago, likely to set the ambiance for when they would have dessert in the living room.

Claire however didn’t think of that, instead she did as Sylar told her to. Something she was still getting used to the idea of. “What now?” came her small voice as she sat beside it.

“Tell me what you feel.”

Confused, Claire raised a hand to the flames. She could feel the heat radiating towards her, even feel the break of sweat forming on her palm as she moved her hand closer. Then she felt it. Wonderful and blinding, the pain washed over her as quickly and as sharply as it had the last time she had walked through flames. She cried out as she ripped her hand back, but watched, mesmerized even still as her burns and blisters began to heal.

“It worked,” Sylar breathed, mostly to himself.

“What?” she asked, turning back to him.

“Merry Christmas, Claire,” he smiled, happier than he could remember being in a long time.

“You -?”

He took a seat beside her and told her, “I didn’t want to say anything until I knew I could do it. Something happened a while ago,” he wouldn’t dare say when, “I already have your power so this kind of works differently. It’s not like I gave you back your power or re-took it. But I think I did manage to give you something else.”

Curious now, Claire tried it again. And found the same results. Unfortunately she could remember the last time she was this happy to feel pain. Of course she wouldn’t tell him right then.

“I don’t believe it,” she sighed out as she looked to him.

“Then put your hand in the fire again,” he laughed.

“Thank you,” was all she said before finally leaning in to kiss him.

It was just pure luck, they decided, that Noah appeared in the room just after they had pulled apart.

Maybe this Christmas wouldn’t be the beginning of a new tradition given how bitter Noah seemed to be about having to share a family meal with someone who had tried to kill his in the past. But Claire and Sylar both privately knew that if nothing else, never again would either of them have to be alone for Christmas.

The End


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