All the usual disclaimers
Thanks to all who have reviewed and have alerted this story, feedback is always appreciated!
It began incongruously enough. A boy was sitting in a coffee shop surfing the internet on his computer when a black van pulled up. He didn't really notice, after all, he'd never used his ability, so how could anyone know about him? He'd heard stories of people like him being rounded up 'for their own protection', it was in the news and everyone at school talked about it. At first his parents considered leaving, moving to Canada, but his sister had talked them out of it. He'd never even used his ability, she rationalized, how could they ever know he could make plants grow? And it wasn't a dangerous ability like that guy who could make people explode from the inside out. According to her there was no need to panic, so they listened to her, mostly because they wanted to. And they stayed in the house he'd grown up in and he stayed in the same school system he'd been in his whole life and next year he'd apply to UCLA as a horticulture major.
Claire and Sylar had been out buying some baby supplies. They'd been cooped up pretty much for the past two weeks and Claire stated that she needed to get out or her father was going to hear her and Sylar going at morning, noon and night. With a shudder, Noah agreed, as long as they went out of town and disguised themselves. Which they eagerly agreed to when Sandra said she'd take care of the twins.
Claire's was hair pulled up under a baseball cap with sunglasses covering her eyes. Sylar was in pretty much the same 'disguise'. After buying a few things for the babies and Sylar buying Claire some sexy underwear he saw in a small boutique, they had entered the coffee shop with the intent to get two mochas to go and fly back home via a quick lunch in Napa.
Sylar saw the van first. He listened to their transmissions but neither his name nor Claire's were mentioned. But a boy's name was thrown out. Thomas Richland. His ability wasn't mentioned, but the fact that he was in the same shop as the two of them made Sylar groan.
Claire turned to him. "What?" She looked out the plate glass window as she turned to Sylar. "Shit!"
"They aren't here for us. There's a boy." He scanned the crowd and saw the one he was sure was the target. "He's over there, I think. We can sneak out the back before they come in."
"No, Sylar. We can't let them take him. We have to stand up; we have to start this so we can end it." Claire saw the boy and knew she couldn't let them take him. He was someone's son, and as a mother, she would hope that if Noah ever needed help, someone would be there for him.
"Jesus, Claire, not now. We're close, but not yet." He grabbed her arm and tried to steer her out the side door.
"Sylar, don't! We can't let this happen; we don't know what Nathan will do to him." She harshly whispered as she yanked her arm from him.
"Claire!" Sylar followed close behind her. "Please, Claire. We have to get home to the kids. Our kids, remember?"
"Hi." Claire approached the teenager. "Could you hand me that creamer behind you?"
"Um, sure, but you don't have any coffee." He held it out to her.
"Pack up your stuff and get out of here. Those vans outside are here for you." She whispered. "Don't go home." She slipped him a card with Matt's number. "Call this number; tell them you need to be airlifted."
The boy started to turn but Sylar stopped him. "Fuck, don't look at them; they'll know they've been made. Just get outta here, boy. Go towards the bathroom and head out the side door." Sylar rolled his eyes.
The young man licked his lips. "Yeah, okay, thanks." He quickly put his computer in his backpack under the table. "Do you think they're in the alley?"
"Maybe. Just do your best, kid." Sylar shrugged. He wondered for a moment what his ability was and his eyes narrowed, before turning to see Claire watching him. "We gotta get out of here, too."
"Yeah, let's just go out the front door." She reached out to take her drink from him.
They headed out the door together; Claire had her drink to her lips while Sylar looked straight ahead.
"Do you think they'll recognize us?" She asked him.
"Maybe, but let's hope not." He took her hand in his and went to the parking lot.
He felt it before the taser had a chance to strike, pushing Claire down. Smiling to himself, Sylar turned to the small contingency of soldiers.
"Really? You're gonna try and bring me down?" He raised his hand, tossing aside their weapons. "If you want to live, get back in your little black vans and get the fuck out of here. But either way, it makes no difference to me."
"Sylar." Claire whispered. "People are watching; don't do anything too scary, we need them on our side."
Sylar knew she was right, but it was so tempting to kill them, to see their blood, to smell it. To remind them just who they were dealing with. But Claire was right, dammit, he thought.
Claire recognized the blood lust in his eyes. She just prayed he would listen to her. They did not need a blood bath in this small town, not now. They were so close. Claire looked up at Sylar, her eyes pleading.
"Look, just put the guns down, your gonna shoot innocent people. We don't mean anybody any harm. Just let us walk away." He held his hands out, palms turned upwards.
Claire felt her heart swell with pride and love. He was changing, everyday he was becoming the man, the father, she knew he could be. His fear of being in public again, the fear that his hunger would overcome him, was unfounded. And this proved it.
Anybody watching would think this was just a young couple out for a cup of coffee after running a few errands. And the covert soldiers with their flak jackets and covered faces presented something scary and unknown.
"Get in the van and nobody gets hurt!" One of the men yelled. He aimed his gun at Claire.
"Get that thing off of my wife." Sylar pulled her behind him as the man let loose with tranquilizing darts.
Sylar lifted a hand and tuned all of them back on the man, who instantly fell. He waved his arm at the van and pushed it on it's side. While the rest of the men were scrambling to get out from under it, Sylar grabbed Claire and lifted off.
Claire kissed his cheek. "Wife, huh?" She smiled.
"Well, that went well, don't you think?" Sylar snarked at his 'wife'.
"Sylar, don't start with me. I couldn't let them take that boy. It just isn't right. Everyday more and more of us are disappearing. We have to do something and we have to do it now." Claire looked up at him as she changed Noah's diaper.
After the incident, Sylar made an emergency call to Matt, who had Hiro meet them at the Coste Verde house and transport them all to the safe house in Canada.
"They know you're back. They know I'm back." She looked up at Sylar, fear in her eyes.
He shrugged. "So. I can take care of us, Claire. They want to find us; they want to make the first move? I'll be their last." His voice was cold, it was 'Sylar', and it chilled Claire to her bones.
Holding Gabby to his chest, he looked at Claire. He knew she was conflicted, but he couldn't let her go down that path. He had to make her see his way was the only way to save them and to save their kind.
"Stop it, Claire!" His voice was low but still commanding. "This is what matters." Sylar looked down at his daughter and then at his son. "What we do, we need to do for them."
He motioned towards the main room, where at least 20 of their kind, including the boy from the coffee shop, were congregating. "They don't mean a thing to me, Claire. But if it benefits us all, then more the better."
She sighed. "They have to mean something to you, Sylar. You have to make them mean something to you. Whether you want this or not, you are the major player in this war. You are going to have to lead them, lead us. And if you can't own this from your heart, they won't follow you and we won't win." Claire was almost begging him.
Sylar closed his eyes and breathed deeply. She was right, as always. Since when did a 20 year old girl develop so much wisdom, he asked himself? He had to take control, Matt and Ando had told him as much themselves when they first arrived.
"What's the plan? Are we stepping it up early? Are we changing it altogether?" Matt was on top of Sylar almost from the moment he and his family arrived. He noticed that Hiro had stood back, still not trusting the man who killed his girlfriend.
"Sylar, you are the one who must speak, you must rally our troops. You brought so many here, they are looking to you for our next move." Ando spoke up as well.
Sylar looked down at Claire. "I've gotta go see Nathan, try and talk some sense into him. If that fails, we move forward with our original plan."
"Fine, I'm coming with you. No," she held up her hand when he tried to argue. "They need to see us a united front. In his warped mind, what he did to us was morally right and he's probably convinced himself you kidnapped me. We go together or you don't go at all." Sylar had to smile at her stance, back arched, chin up. It told him there was no use arguing with her.
"Okay, fine. But what about the kids? Both their parents going off to fight the war? They need you, Claire." It was a low blow, but he didn't want her in any danger.
She chuckled. "You really think that's going to work? We can't die and you have so many abilities you could virtually end the world. So, I think the kids can be left with Mom and Lyle for a few hours."
He shook his head and shrugged. Why do I even bother, he asked himself?
"Yeah, alright. Let's go talk to Matt and Ando. Hiro, too, in case he needs to get us." He turned to leave.
"Umm, Sylar?" Claire handed him Noah.
"Hmm?" He positioned his son on his hip.
"Maybe you should ask Hiro if you can absorb his power." She bit her lip as she lifted Gabby.
"Claire, the guy hates me. I killed his girlfriend, remember?" He rolled his eyes.
"Yes, but times are different now. We may need it to get out of Nathan's office quick. Please, just ask." She begged.
"Yeah, okay." He ran his hand over her cheek. "All he can say is no."
"Are you sure this is wise?" Ando didn't like the idea of their 'leader' going off to face their enemy with just his wife. "You and Claire may need to get out of there in a hurry and then what? If you are captured…"
"If they are captured, we'll just have to rescue them." Matt said. "This is a good beginning. We need to see if we can reason with Nathan. And maybe Peter."
"Peter had no idea what his brother and Angela did. I know they did it for different reasons, but they both did it." Claire spoke up.
"Perhaps I have an idea." Hiro quietly moved into the room. All eyes turned to him.
"Yes Hiro?" Ando asked. He'd been a little upset at this best friend. He had refused to join in making plans as long as Sylar was considered a leader of any kind. 'He is a murderer,' he argued, 'he killed my girlfriend.'
While they all had to admit to Sylar's past, they argued back that he had changed and that he was now fighting for their survival. But the little man just turned his back.
"Perhaps, if Sylar had my power, it would aid him and Claire in a quick escape, if needed." He nodded at the ex-serial killer.
"I have to admit, I was going to ask you if I could have it. I appreciate you offering it, Hiro." Sylar looked at the smaller man.
"But you cannot cut my head open." He interjected.
Sylar barked a laugh. "Yeah, no need to anymore." He handed Matt his son and went to Hiro. "Okay, so I just need to lay my hand on the back of your neck and on your forehead. Is that alright?"
"Yes." He turned Claire. "Could you come and stand beside me?" A twinge of fear in his voice.
Claire smiled. "Of course." She shifted Gabby to her other hip and took Hiro's hand.
"Okay, so how exactly does this work?" Sylar had a good handle on it, but as Claire forcefully suggested, he was trying to mend fences with Hiro so he should defer to him, ask for some help.
"You must take care when traveling; you must keep in mind at all times where you wish to be. Here, put your hand on my shoulder and think of someplace you would want to go to. Oh! Someplace safe!" Hiro added.
Sylar thought for a moment and his home back in Costa Rica came to mind and there they were.
"Cool!" Sylar smiled.
"Where are we?" Hiro asked as he looked around.
"This is where Claire and I lived for over a year. Our babies were born here." He tried the front door, which was locked. He took his keys from his pocket and opened the door. "Come on in."
Hiro looked around. It was a very pleasant house, much color and warm furnishings. Not the type of place he would've of ever imagined Sylar living in.
"Yeah, I know, it doesn't look like me." Sylar shrugged. "Claire did the decorating."
"I think she also redecorated you, as well." Hiro commented.
Sylar chuckled. "Yeah, you're right there." He picked up a bowl he had bought at the village market. "It was good here, our life, I didn't want to leave."
"But you did to save our kind." Hiro nodded. "You are no longer the villain, you are now the hero."
"I don't know if I'd go that far, Hiro. But I'll do whatever it takes to make things safe for us to live a normal life." Sylar took a deep breath. "Guess we should get back, you still need to show me how to control that whole stopping time thing."
"Ah yes, it will not be difficult for you." Hiro put his hand on Sylar's shoulder. "Take us back home now."
Peter will be showing up in the next chapter, as requested ;)