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Of Light and Shades (4/?)

Title: Of light and shades
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3
Characters: Elizabeth Porter, Peter Petrelli, Gabriel Grey/Sylar
Disclaimer: Heroes is not mine. Elizabeth's character is, though.
Rating: R
Summary: “You won’t harm me,” Elizabeth said with a shaking voice, but trying anyway not to look scared by him or the situation. “He won’t let you.” Sylar raised a finger. “And this is where you’re wrong.”

By the end of the week, Elizabeth was finally starting to feel good again. Her friends were there for her, the school seemed really interested in having her as a dance teacher, and thanks to Sue, her academic file had been immediately sent to her new college. She would officially start attending classes the following Monday, when she would also sign the contract for her new apartment. Everything was falling into place, and that was why she was so excited for that dinner. Her life was going back on track, and she wanted the two most important men in her life to celebrate with her.
 
Elizabeth kicked Peter out of the kitchen for the entire afternoon; she was determined to prepare everything by herself. Peter convinced her to let him at least prepare the table only after a long negotiation while the apple pie was in the oven.
 
“Appetizers? Should I make appetizers, too?”
 
“Jesus, Liz, relax! It’s not an exam. And by the way, no. You cooked for an army! Do you remember we’re three, right?”
 
“Sorry if it was my intention to feed you with something healthier than take-away food for once.”
 
Peter raised his hands “No one’s complaining, here. Hope your friend will be hungry enough to get to that wonderful pie.”
 
Elizabeth suppressed a smile and decided not to tell him that the apple pie was Gabriel’s favorite.
 
“Something tells me he will… and now it’s my turn to get ready. God, look at me, I’m a mess...”
 
Peter and Elizabeth heard someone knocking at the door in that exact moment. Elizabeth rolled her eyes.
“Once,” said Elizabeth, feigning annoyance. “Could he be late once?”
 
Peter chuckled and went to the door while Elizabeth ran to her room to adjust her hair and clothes.
 
His smile immediately vanished when he saw Sylar standing on his doorstep.
 
Sylar smirked, unable to believe his luck.
 
“Well, well, well… what a pleasant surprise.”
 
Peter flexed his fingers, ready to conjure one of his powers, when he heard Elizabeth coming out of her room.
 
“Gabriel! Hi! Come in!”
 
Before Peter could block him, Sylar entered the room. He moved towards Elizabeth, but before he could say something, the girl brought an hand to her throat, like she was having difficulties breathing.
 
“Elizabeth, what’s wrong?”
 
Elizabeth opened her mouth a couple of times but she wasn’t able to speak. And even if she could, she wasn’t even sure she could explain what was wrong. What she was feeling was so powerful that it was completely taking over her. Hate… who could ever feel so much hate?
 
Suddenly everything started to spin around her and Sylar caught her just before Elizabeth hit the floor.
 
“Let her go!” shouted Peter, but Sylar with a flicker of his hand shoved the empath against the opposite wall. He checked Elizabeth’s pulse: her heart was still racing.
 
“Lizzie has always been too sensitive, even for an empath. She must have sensed the hate we feel for each other and that knocked her out” he said matter-of-factly, taking the girl in his arms and then placing her on the couch. He moved a streak of hair from Elizabeth’s face and sighed.
 
Now more than ever, killing her seemed the better solution. He would get a new power, and he would seriously hurt Peter at the same time. He raised the finger, ready to cut her head, ignoring Peter’s screams. In that exact moment, Elizabeth slightly opened her eyes.
 
“G-Gabriel… what happened?”
 
Do it, the voice inside him was saying. Do it now and then kill Peter. Two birds with one stone, it’s almost too good to be true.
 
But he hesitated. He gazed into Elizabeth’s blue eyes, and once again he felt his confidence fade away.
 
“You fainted, Lizzie. Someone here has worked too much for this dinner…”
 
“It’s weird, I was feeling so good… now I feel completely drained… and dizzy… I’m so sorry…”
 
“It’s OK” said Sylar, tightening his telekinetic grip on Peter’s throat, so he couldn’t speak. Lizzie didn’t have to notice anything out of the ordinary.
 
“Why don’t you just close your eyes and sleep?”
 
“But the dinner…”
 
“Another time. Be a good girl and close your eyes, now.”
 
Elizabeth didn’t need for Gabriel to repeat his advice. She couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer. Once Sylar was sure Elizabeth was asleep, he went back to Peter.
 
“Sorry for the waiting,” he smirked. “Where were we?”
 
“Leave Elizabeth alone,” hissed Peter. Sylar laughed.
 
“I don’t think I will. In fact, I don’t even dream of it. Lizzie is mine, Peter. Mine.”
 
He shoved Peter against another wall full force, and watched him fall on the floor, unconscious. He flexed his fingers, ready to kill him… but it stopped. Another plan had just devised in his head. Longer, but far more entertaining than this… Sylar smirked, and went back to Lizzie.
 
“Soon, my dear. Soon,” he said stroking her cheek, and then he left.
 
As soon as he regained consciousness, Peter didn’t waste a second to wake Elizabeth up and alert her on Gabriel’s new identity.
 
Elizabeth didn’t want to believe him. Gabriel was Sylar? The monster that had killed Rafe in cold blood? How was that even possible? She knew Gabriel; he wasn’t a monster. But she knew Peter, too. He had never lied to her. Gabriel had, just a few days earlier. And there were those strange, dark feelings in him she didn’t recognize…
 
“No. I can’t believe it. I can’t…” Elizabeth said, crying.
 
“He tried to kill us both, yesterday. I don’t know what stopped him, but we were both damn lucky. Sylar never hesitated once.”
 
“Who else of your friends have met Sylar?”
 
“Everyone has.”
 
“I wanna talk to them. To all of them.”
 
“Lizzie,” said Peter, kneeling in front of her, “I know you’re suffering. But it won’t change a thing.”
 
“I’m almost a psychologist. Understanding how the mind works will be my job. And I have to understand what happened. I need it.”
 
Peter sighed, and decided gave a call to Mohinder Suresh first thing in the morning.
 
After assuring Peter that he would keep Elizabeth away from the Company, Mohinder asked Elizabeth if she would answer some questions before starting to talk about Sylar.
 
“Fine by me. What do you want to know, Doctor?”
 
“Please, Mohinder is fine. Elizabeth, when did your empathy manifest the first time?”
 
“I was a kid. Five years old, give or take. A playmate scratched his knee and I felt his pain.”
 
“It must have been confusing.”
 
“It wasn’t strong. I just assumed, like the rest of the world, that I was a very sensitive person. When I’ve read that book everything made sense.”
 
“What book? Activating Evolution? My father’s book?”
 
Elizabeth nodded.
 
“So your ability basically grew with you.”
 
“Yes, but… It wasn’t easy. I… I’ve been in a mental institution when I was a kid.”
 
Both Peter and Mohinder exchanged a look. Elizabeth kept on talking, and explained how one day a child had almost died in a car accident near her house and her empathy had gone haywire.
 
“My emotions were really messed up… everyone thought there was something wrong with my head and my mother brought me in a psychiatric institution. My father took me away a couple of weeks later. She had left me there without his consent.”
 
Elizabeth clutched her hands; not exactly the happiest episode of her childhood.
 
“The bright side is that the following month my father gave me for my birthday a pair of dancing shoes. Dancing gave me discipline and focus. Still does.”
 
Mohinder nodded, and asked if he could take a blood sample.
 
Elizabeth nodded and bared her right arm “Sure. Doctor, when did you lose your father?”
 
Mohinder stopped just before piercing Elizabeth’s arm and looked at her in surprise.
 
“You don’t know?”
 
“That’s why I’m asking. You smile and all, but that feeling of loss is always there every second of your life. When did he die? If I may ask. I’m sorry… It’s a side effect of my empathy, I always have to speak my mind. Sometimes I freak people out with my questions.”
 
“No… it’s OK. That’s the reason why I’m here, after all. Hold still,” Mohinder said, while taking the blood sample.
 
“My world has already fallen in pieces, Doctor. Don’t be afraid of speaking.”
 
“Elizabeth… Sylar killed him. This is the truth. I know you might not believe me…”
 
“I do,” Elizabeth whispered, close to tears. “Another side effect of my power is that I can tell if a person lies to me or not. And after what happened with my mother and Gabriel, now I’m more careful than ever with this thing.”
 
“Very useful,” said Mohinder, placing a band-aid on her arm. “Elizabeth…”
 
“Please, Lizzie. Everyone calls me that.”
 
“OK, Lizzie… I have to warn you: your empathy is a very rare gift. And Sylar goes after rare gifts. Peter can count on the powers he absorbed, but you…”
 
“I can’t stand a fight. Story of my life.”
 
“He will come after you. You have to be careful.”
 
“Doctor Suresh, I appreciate your concern and your advice. But he had the perfect occasion to kill me twice up to now, and he never did it…”
 
“What? I don’t understand.”
 
“I went to his apartment to say hello; he was there. We chatted for a while and then I left. I felt there was something wrong in him… but I chose to ignore it. I couldn’t believe such dark feelings could come from Gabriel. And then there was the dinner.”
 
“Sylar is merciless. I’ve seen his victims…”
 
“So have I.”
 
“Don’t make the mistake to believe he would spare you because you two have a past together. He killed even his own mother. No one’s safe.”
 
Elizabeth promised to both men not to go looking for Sylar at the shop or at his apartment. They were genuinely worried for her, and she decided to give them what they wanted to hear. But she had already decided she would go again at the shop, to look for him. There were still good feelings in him, the feelings she had always associated with Gabriel. Until she couldn't feel them, she would keep hoping that one day her friend would come back.
 
Maybe she was underestimating him, but she needed answers. And he was the only one he could gave them to her.
 
***
 
The day after she went again at Gabriel’s shop. The door was opened, but there was no one in sight. She could feel him, though. Satisfaction. Excitement. Hunger. Greed. Sylar was there, and he wasn’t surprised to see her. Like he was expecting her to show up there.
 
“I knew you would come. You had to see for yourself, don’t you? Some things never change.”
 
“I guess,” said Elizabeth, getting closer to him. “Who are you? How am I supposed to call you now?”
 
Sylar looked straight in Elizabeth’s eyes. He smirked. “With my real name. Sylar.”
 
Elizabeth raised her hand to slap him hard in the face but Sylar caught her wrist in midair.
 
“Careful, Lizzie. Don’t put your hand in the cage.”
 
The way he was looking at her… the light she had felt in him only a few days before was reduced to less than a half. Gabriel was losing the battle.
 
“What the hell happened to you?”
 
“I stopped lying to myself. I stopped pretending I was happy with my life!” he said, clutching Elizabeth’s wrist more tightly in his hand. Elizabeth grimaced in pain; she tried to free herself, but Sylar caught her other wrist as well and pushed Elizabeth against a wall, keeping her still with his telekinesis.
 
“Gabriel… please…”
 
“Gabriel is gone, sweetheart,” he said, with his face only inches far from hers. “No one will save you.”
 
“You won’t harm me,” Elizabeth said with a shaking voice, but trying anyway not to look scared by him or the situation. “He won’t let you.”
 
Sylar raised a finger. “And this is where you’re wrong.”
 
Elizabeth started screaming. The pain was unbearable… she could feel her skull breaking, the blood pouring from the cut and onto her face… she begged him to stop, but he laughed at her and kept going.
 
When he stopped, Elizabeth fell on the floor like a ragdoll, crying in fear and touching the cut at the side of her head. Sylar watched her for a few seconds, then he abruptly grabbed Elizabeth by her shoulders and put her back on her feet.
 
“I wanna give you a chance,” he whispered to her ear. “You were my best friend after all. Don’t look for me ever again. Stay out of the way. And don’t get involved with Peter and his pathetic little friends in their holy crusade against me. Break one of these rules, and I’ll finish my job on your head, Elizabeth. Do you understand me?”
 
Sylar watched Elizabeth’s head nodding. She was trying not to cry, but he could hear her anyway.
 
“Good” Sylar said, pushing Elizabeth far from him and sending her against a display cabinet.
 
“And now leave before I change my mind.”
 
Elizabeth obeyed, and slowly walked out of the shop. The blood kept pouring from her wound and down her face, but she was too shocked to care. With the little lucidity left in her, she made up a silly excuse for the cut and went to a ER to get some stitches. The doctors asked her if she had been assaulted, and she had replied no, she hadn’t. She made a mental note to use that excuse with Peter and Mohinder, though. They would act all supportive and protective, and they wouldn’t ask questions, since they were both convinced she was a fragile china doll.
 
Maybe she wasn’t fragile, but she was stupid. What the hell was she thinking? Stepping inside the lion’s den, knowing that Gabriel wasn’t himself anymore… Grandma was right: her empathy would lead her to choices the world wouldn’t understand. But this time she agreed with the rest of the world. She had been wrong; it was important not to make the same mistakes again.
 
Elizabeth moved into her new apartment as soon as it was humanly possible. She did her best to be left alone, but Peter didn’t have any intention of leaving her alone. Maybe he didn’t have the same type of empathy she had, but he could tell something was wrong even if Elizabeth didn’t say a word about her encounter with Sylar. But after all she wasn’t breaking any rules… she was staying away from the action or the others evolved humans. She went out with Peter for a beer or a movie from time to time; they were friends after all. And since Gabriel wasn’t Gabriel anymore, Elizabeth devoted herself not to lose Peter’s friendship as well. She even repressed her problems and tried to help Angela get over her depression.
 
The more Peter and Elizabeth grew closer, the more Sylar wished he had killed that annoying boy when he had the chance. So he wouldn’t walk down a street with her, with an arm draped on Elizabeth’s shoulders like he could see from his hiding place. They were laughing. Elizabeth rested her head for a few seconds on Peter’s shoulder, smiling; Sylar could remember how Elizabeth had done the same thing several times with him, years earlier.
 
Of all people, why did she have to be friends with his sworn enemy?
 
But she was playing by the rules. She was leading a completely normal life. She didn’t even say a word about the cut on her head. And seeing Peter for a drink or a movie wasn’t forbidden.
 
Sylar kept looking at them, burning with hate, rage and jealousy, and wished he could come back to that day and forbid Elizabeth to see Peter, as well as the others.
 
He was going to move and disappear in the crowd when he gave another look at the couple. He didn’t expect to lock eyes with Elizabeth while she was waiting to cross the street. Peter didn’t notice his presence but she did… he guessed it was because of her empathy. She clearly had felt some strong, dark feelings and did the math.
 
He smirked to her; Elizabeth just looked at him without revealing any emotions. She didn’t want Peter to notice. It wasn’t the first time she sensed him around her but it was the first time she actually saw him.
 
Elizabeth lowered her eyes for a second; when she looked back at him, Sylar was nowhere to be seen.
 
Sylar wanted her to break; he wanted her to ask the other evolved humans for help and break the rules he had given her, so to have an excuse to kill her. He wanted to play with her like a cat with a mouse it planned to eat.
 
Elizabeth felt like she was walking on the thinnest ice layer.
 
She prayed to God not to let her fall.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
dana_serenity
Apr. 13th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC)
Oh this is so intense! Peter finding out and Sylar making this threats. Poor Lizzie, she seems caught between two fires!

Still love it though xD
jademacgrath
Apr. 13th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
Thanks!! ♥
The next one will be intense as well, I promise : )
And Kara and Aaron might show up at Lizzie's doorstep...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )