Title: Look Me in The Eye and Say the World is Not Gonna End
Fandom: Heroes (Sylar/Claire)
Rating: R
Prompt: Fall for sylaire_chall and "sounds like a personal problem" for 15_song_titles
Word Count: 1771 words
Beta: Thank you so much Maddie!
Summary: "It's never the fall that kills you."
Notes: Set real early in season 3. Technically this is part one of three, but I'm not too sure about them, so view this as a oneshot for now.

In the past three days, she has jumped off a bridge (twice), lit herself on fire, and once again, gotten too friendly with the garbage disposal. Still nothing.

She feels nothing.

Her mother can't keep the worried look of her face and reaches out to hug Claire any time she come within arm's length. Sandra keeps whispering words in her hair, like "it's ok now, your safe" and "I'm never going to let them hurt you again."

If only that was the problem.

Claire lays down in the bathtub, the knife she stabbed him with in one hand, as she carves a straight line down her chest. She peels back the layers of skin, pries apart the ribs. The view is the same as the first time she were in this position. For some reason, the memory doesn't chill her to the bone anymore.

She holds her breath at that thought and watches her lungs deflate. Her heart keeps beating a steady rhythm, as if she weren't trying to perform a live autopsy.

Is this what made one human?

Her hand closes around her heart and the feel of the beat soothes, but only a bit. She shouldn't be able to do this. This doesn't make her special. This just makes her useless. A victim.

She don't even notice that her hand clenches until the beating stops and the edges of her vision go black.

When her eyes flutter open again, her mother is kneeling at the edge of the tub, cleaning the only evidence of the last half an hour off her perfectly healed chest.

"Oh Claire," she whispers, trying hard to hold back tears. Claire almost feel bad.

Almost.

The last time she really enjoyed her power feels like lifetimes ago. Zach, with his video camera, looking on horrified as she jumped off the top of the abandoned gravel plant. Back when she felt like she could use her power to save people.

It's hard to believe that was only last year.

Even those happier memories make her feel dull inside now, like she wasn't really there at all. Only a half shadow person, and one who could barely keep her head above the water at that. It was like she was falling without ever reaching the ground.

It's never the fall that killed you. She remembers that clearly. No, it was the impact. The split second her body hit the ground. Bones snapping loud and easy in a way that never failed to remind her of fighting with Lyle over the wishbone at Thanksgiving. Sharp pain would radiate, burn, and then dull as she would start to heal. All the bits of gravel that had been imbedded into her skin like tiny pin pricks would pop out as her skin wound itself back into place. And she would once again be shiny and new – only the blood staining her uniform left to tell the tale.

Why can't she feel like that again?

Why can't she feel?

Maybe she should become a bartender, Claire thinks, pouring orange juice, bleach, and rat poison into one of the crystal glass her parents got at their wedding. Her brother walks in, stopping and glaring at her in horror.

The glass shatters to the ground around her feet, crystalline in tiny broken pieces. She could only stare. Is this what she looks like to them? Pretty and damaged?

Her mother's voice in the hallway startles her from her trance, and she's running back to her room, regardless of how Lyle protests.

It isn't until later, when she overhears her mother on the phone, pleading with her dad to come home, that Claire finally understand. It hits her just like the impact of the ground used to. Her family is hurting because she can't. They need her to be normal, the girl with bouncy curls and a cheerful smile who only worry was if the football captain would ask her to the dance.

But she can't be like that anymore. Between there and here, she's had real tastes of love, danger, and heroics that make Saturday night bonfires seem like child's play. And there is something wrong with her no matter how much her father wants to keep it hidden. She can't keep pretending otherwise anymore.

The crazy thing about memories is that they come in cycles. The good and then the bad.

Thinking about Zack makes her think about becoming homecoming queen; and thinking about homecoming always makes her think about Sylar. He must have left an imprint on himself on her brain because ever since he cut into her head, he seems to permeate all of her thoughts.

She remembers him pinning her up against the wall and the abject fear she never used to associate with being special. Or how the feeling of being delicate mixed with the fear as he laid her on the table as if she were his broken doll. She is so tired of being a victim. She used to be strong, ready to take the world by storm, and she hates that she let him take that from her.

She sinks down onto her bed, pulling her quilt over her head to block the world out. She is better than this. She could make herself feel again. Maybe if not pain…then something else. She squeezes her eyes shut, but it doesn't help will away the image of him.

Instead, the image shifts. His hands on her, but not on her brain this time – caressing shoulders and running though silky hair. He's not pinning her down, but holding her up against him as he whispers words, breath hot against her ear, that had nothing in common with the ones he actually spoke. And this time, when he tells her that she's "different, special", the endearment slithers across the freshly kissed skin of her stomach.

A bolt of white heat slithers up her spine and she can't help but squirm.

It was something.

The music thumps something primal, obscene. Everything seems to shake with it, even upstairs in the dirty little bedroom she's now borrowing. But she don't feel guilty for dragging the first guy who hit on her up here (even if he probably is one shot away from alcohol poisoning).

She unbuttons her shirt with practiced ease, not even bothering to make sure the door is completely closed. It's not like she's planning on going back to school with these people anyways. She drops her plain cotton bra to side of the bed and the boy in front of her stares as if they are the first pair of naked breasts he's ever seen.

The urge to laugh bubbles upside of her, but she bites it back... Nothing about this is funny.

She waits for the pain as he enters her. She's heard enough locker room horror stories to know that it should hurt. Even just a little.

He's whispering "Oh, Baby" and "Fuck" in her ear. She shivers, partly in disgust, but also because she's cold. And bored.

Why is this taking so long?

He's only good for few more thrusts, his breath heavy in her ear as he comes. He collapses on top of her, arms too weak to hold him up any longer. He's heavy and sweaty and still panting.

Now she really needs a shower. He rolls over, hand still wrapped around her waist.

"Sorry," He says, looking vaguely embarrassed, but by the amount of alcohol she watched him consume before dragging him up here, she doubts he'll remember any of it in the morning. She wishes she could say the same thing about herself.

"Yea," she replies to the boy practically passed out next to her. She glances down to see a mix of blood and semen drying on her thighs.

Still she feels nothing.

She doesn't even bother sneaking back into the house. Her father's car is in the driveway and the first floor of the house is lit up brightly as if it wasn't two o'clock in the morning. But to her surprise, it's not her parents who are sitting up in the living room waiting for her.

"Did Cinderella have fun escaping the castle?" Sylar jokes from her father's spot on the couch. "Where the hell were you anyways? You smell like an ashtray."

"What are you doing here?" she asks tiredly. There is no more fear – there is nothing left he can do to her. Or at least nothing that is worse than what she has been doing to herself.

"Didn't they tell you, Babydoll," he mocks, reclining against the sofa, "I'm working for the heroes brigade now. The Misses sent an SOS to Daddy Dearest, interrupting our super secret mission," She could barely hear him over her parents arguing rough and ugly in the kitchen. "and they've been in there ever since."

"Right, like I believe that." But actually she did. There was no other way her father would have left him unattended in the living room. He smiled at her like they were playing a game where they didn't actually hate each other. She can't stand that he can get away with thinking that and looks towards the kitchen in effort to ignore him.

Her parents' voices only grow louder. It's becoming clearer and clearer that they were fighting about her.

He must see her hesitant look towards the kitchen, because he's motioning her to hurry along before dropping his hand back over his eyes. "Go on upstairs, Claire. They don't know you left."

There is only one solution she can see. It's probably not the best, but if the "you break it, you've bought it" philosophy works for all major retailers, then she might as well give it a shot.

She leaves the guest room door open. Her father is just down the hall, still puttering away in his study, but she could care less if she is caught.

It's not like she would be punished anyways.

He's still awake, leaning against the headboard, as if he knew she was coming. Smug bastard probably did.

"You broke me." she tells him, staring straight into his black eyes. She reaches for the bottom of her nightgown, pulling it up to reveal bare skin underneath. He'd be much better than some fumbling boy… she doesn't know why she never thought of it sooner. He'd be able to make her feel.

The flimsy piece of silk hits the floor.

"Fix it."