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Of Light and Shades (2/?)

Title: of light and Shades (2/?)
Disclaimer: I don't own Heroes
Rating: R
Summary: Elizabeth goes back to New York. Sylar makes another victim.

When Elizabeth woke up, she was at the hospital.

At first she didn’t know why she was there, and no one seemed eager to tell her what had happened. But that distinct shade of pain and sorrow she could feel inside her father and the other family members around her… She knew it. She had felt it for the first time when she was seven and her grandfather had died. Death made people feel that way. The death of a loved one.

It hadn’t been a nightmare. A doctor went to see her moments after, and he tried to explain to her what had happened without upsetting her, an impossible task. The poor girl lost a fiancé and a baby in the same day, and there was no painless way to say it.
Elizabeth didn’t cry, or scream, or do anything else to show her sorrow. She just stared at the void in front of her during the doctor’s speech. She never heard the end of it.

The doctors told her family she fell into a catatonic state because of the shock, but that was only half true. Elizabeth didn’t want to feel anything. She wanted to block all the pain, the sadness and the pity the others were feeling for her… Elizabeth didn’t know how or why, it just happened. Blocking other people’s feelings had the side effect to block hers as well. It was like living in a soap bubble. Focusing on something – anything – would make reality break into her dream world, where nothing wrong happened and Rafe was still alive. So she didn’t. She knew she couldn’t stay that way forever; however, she wanted to enjoy it for as long as she could.

The day before the funeral, Elizabeth finally woke up. All the feelings she avoided to feel hit her all at once with the strength of a hurricane. Elizabeth found herself gasping for air; her heart was racing so fast that she was afraid it would come out of her chest. For the first time since she saw Rafe dead, Elizabeth cried; and she kept crying till she fell asleep from exhaustion.
When she woke up, Elizabeth took the phone and called Gabriel. Peter might be the one she was more in contact with, but Gabriel… the friendship she shared with him was something different. She couldn’t tell why. There was something between them, something special. There had been since the day they had met. In the last months she talked more with his answering machine than with him, but she had to try. She needed to speak with her friend.

Once again, the answering machine. Elizabeth sighed, and tried not to burst into tears again.
“Hello, Gabriel. It’s me… Elizabeth. I really need to talk to you. Please. Call me back this time, it’s really important. Bye,” she said, and ended the call before starting to sob.
Her phone rang a few moments after. She took a deep breath to calm down, and answered the call.


“Liz, it’s me.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes, and listened to Peter’s voice. He heard about the murder on the news, and he apologized for not calling her sooner.

“How are you?” he asked, cursing himself immediately after.

“I’ve been better. Or worse. I have no idea.”

The tone of her voice made Peter’s heart ache.

“That’s a first.”

Elizabeth choked a sob. “He wanted to marry me.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

Not as much as me
, thought Elizabeth, slowly touching her stomach.

“Do you want to talk?”

“Hope you don’t have to go anywhere.”

“I’m exactly where I want to be.”

Peter and Elizabeth talked for an hour or so, he even managed to steal a little laugh from her. And he promised to be there for the funeral, even if the world would end that day.
The prospect of seeing Peter after two years of emails, letters, and phone calls did the trick. Elizabeth gathered all the strength she had left and prepared to face the world and the wake.

The worst thing about being an empathy was attending social events. Rafe’s funeral was no exception. There were lots of people that gave her sincere and heartfelt condolences but the fact that some false friends of Rafe’s were there too gave her a desire to scream. She could feel the hypocrisy behind every smile, every word, and it made her sick. Fortunately for her, Peter was there to hold her hand and offer a shoulder to lean on. Elizabeth tried to contact Gabriel again after they left the church, but she had to leave another message. She didn’t mention the funeral. Maybe she should have. But she didn’t want him to call her out of guilt.

“Still nothing, huh?” asked Peter, watching Elizabeth toying with her mobile. He sat down on the bench in the patio, near to his friend, and took off his jacket and tie.

“No. But last time I talked to Gabriel he told me he had this new job and that he would have to travel a lot across the country…”

“But missing two messages? And the news on TV? That’s weird.”

“No, that’s him. Once he’s set on something, he’s stuck.”

“Do you want something to eat?”

“Please, no. Food still makes me feel sick.”

“I think I saw some breadsticks at the buffet table. What do you think?”

Elizabeth gave him a little smile, and nodded slightly. Peter squeezed her shoulder gently and went back inside. She almost jumped when she heard her phone ring.

“Elizabeth. Sorry, I forgot to check the messages. How are you?”

Elizabeth smiled.

“Better, now. How are you? We hardly speak any more.”

“I’m sorry for this. But you have no idea of how my life has changed in the last few months. I won’t be an insignificant watchmaker anymore. You’ll be proud of me.”

Anymore? You’ve never been an insignificant watchmaker. Stop believing what your mother says. I always envied your manual skills.”

“As I always envied your way of walking inside a room and charming everyone.”

“That was a long time ago. I’m going to be a psychologist now. Gabriel, the reason I called you…”

“Elizabeth, I’m sorry, really sorry, but I have to go. I’ll call you back, I promise. Bye.”

“Gabriel? Gabriel!”

“Everything ok?” Peter asked, returning from the buffet with a plate of food and some breadsticks for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth sighed and put away her mobile. “Gabriel phoned me but he couldn’t talk for very long. I didn’t have the chance to tell him.”

“Maybe he discovered it for himself.”

“No. He didn’t know about Rafe. I felt it.”

Peter gave her a strange look, and Elizabeth tried to minimize. “I mean, in his voice! He was so calm… relaxed…”

Elizabeth hoped Peter would buy it, but he kept looking at her in a strange way. Elizabeth couldn’t define what he was feeling right now, and when she couldn’t read a person she got nervous.
Peter asked her out of the blue if, by chance, she had read Activating Evolution.

“Yes. I did. Why?”

“He is right, Elizabeth. Everything Suresh says in the book it’s true.”

“Oh, come on…”

“You’re an empath. Now I know. You’re like me.”

“What do you mean ‘like me’?”

“I’m an empath, too. Ok, not exactly like you. I can absorb other people’s abilities. You can feel other people’s feelings like they were your own, right?”

“How in the hell do you know this?!”

“One... You’re too sensitive not to be an empath. Two… I can feel your doubts- Your uncertainty. And lots of things I can’t even name…”

Elizabeth stared at Peter open-mouthed, while Peter put his face in his hands and tried to regain control of his new power. Elizabeth put a hand on his knee and told him to breathe deep and slowly.

“Focus, Peter. I know it’s like you can’t feel your feelings anymore but they are still inside of you… you just have to concentrate and find them.”

Peter did as Elizabeth told him, and the confusion in his head began to fade. “Oh God…” he said, after a deep breath. “Is it always like this?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“How can you…? I mean, it’s...”

“I know. Welcome to my world. So… we’re both empaths?”

Peter started again to tell her about Suresh’s theories, about the other people he met that had powers as well. Elizabeth couldn’t believe it; and yet, it was all real…

“I think we got these powers for a reason. Maybe we can change the world.”

“In this moment the only thing I’d like to change is what happened to Rafe and my baby.”

Peter was going to reply, when they both heard Elizabeth’s mother speaking to someone inside Rafe’s parents’ house.

“…and now she’ll be back to square one, depression and all, like when she broke her knee. Truth is, I felt relieved when Rafe told me he wanted to marry Liz. But now… she hides it very well, but she’s lame on her right leg, because of that accident. Lame. Who would want a lame girl?”

“Marion, your girl has so many skills…”

“She had to stop believing her dreams would come true. Always a dreamer, like her father! Knowing her, that day she crossed the street without watching…”

Elizabeth for the first time had a clear view of the feelings her mother felt towards her. That woman had always hidden very well her resentment towards her; Elizabeth had to give her mother credit for that. She never suspected a thing. Or maybe she didn’t want to see it for what it really was. Dislike, envy… and that shade of evil joy she felt only once in Anya Petrovna, her rival. She visited her in the hospital, after the car accident, but not one of her words were sincere. She was rejoicing now that Elizabeth was out of the game, she would be the new company star.

Elizabeth forced herself to stay put and listen to the whole speech, under Peter’s worried look. Just before the end, Elizabeth quietly got up and went back inside. Everyone in the room noticed her presence but her mother. Eventually the woman Marion was talking to noticed Elizabeth and excused herself, glad to walk away from the line of fire. Only then, Marion turned and saw her daughter.
“Elizabeth! Where have you been?”

“When did you start hating me, Mom?” The direct question took the woman off guard, but only for a few seconds.

Maybe Marion Porter didn’t hate her own daughter like she hated her ex-husband, but sure as hell, she didn’t love her. It was Elizabeth’s fault she had to get married at eighteen to the high school boyfriend she planned on leaving behind as soon as she graduated. It was her fault she had to let go of all her dreams and hopes to stay home and raise a baby. And then that little girl received a pair of dancing shoes for her birthday and decided that dancing would be her life. Everyone was so happy, but not her… she had to let go of everything to raise her; Elizabeth had to pay for this. But her father saved penny after penny to grant his little girl the dancing classes in St. Louis; he was so proud of her when the American Ballet accepted her.
Then Elizabeth came home defeated and with a broken knee, and she felt happy. Now the little princess finally knew what it was like to see a dream break in front of your eyes. But again, she had to fulfil another dream, thanks to all the strange ideas her grandmother put inside her head. She decided to go back to college and she met that surgeon that made her walk again. Marion knew she didn’t love him as much as he did her, but she pushed her towards him anyway. And that baby would be the icing on the cake. Her daughter would be trapped in a relationship with a baby to raise.
Like it had happened to her. The perfect revenge.

Elizabeth couldn’t read her thoughts but she sensed her inner turmoil. Her hate. For a second she felt like she was going to faint because of it. Peter was right behind her. Elizabeth could feel his hands on both her forearms. He knew what that woman thought of her daughter, and he couldn’t believe a mother could even conceive such thoughts.
Marion stopped to stare at her, without concealing any longer, the rage she felt towards her older daughter. Elizabeth felt a single tear running down her cheek, and as Peter whispered in her ear, she turned and walked away from that place. She didn’t need her mother to say anything. She already had her answer.
Sue immediately ran after her sister, but once she was in the street she couldn’t see Peter nor Elizabeth. They had just disappeared. She didn’t want to go inside and face her mother so she went to Elizabeth’s apartment, hoping to find her there.

“Liz, I don’t know why she said those things, but…”

I know” said Elizabeth, packing her things. “And believe me; you don’t wanna hear half of her reasons.”

She immensely regretted having asked Peter if he could read minds. Elizabeth wanted to know the truth and he unwillingly obliged. She didn’t want to give her burden to her sister. She stuffed her duffel bag with a few clothes and a few other things, and asked Sue to send everything else to Peter’s apartment in New York.

“You’re leaving. She wins.”

“No. If I stay, she wins. She wants us to live her life because she can’t stand it if we realize our dreams.”

“That’s why we get along so well. I don’t have dreams. I’m not special. You are.”

“For crying out loud, Sue, enough with this bullshit. You are still young. You can do whatever you want with your life.”

“I failed my SATs. No college would take me. I will be stuck at Marge’s Diner with Mom forever. But this is not your place, it has never been. Go back to New York and be magnificent, OK? For me?”

Elizabeth hugged her sister tightly. “I will. Promise. But you are coming to New York as soon as I find a place to live.”

“If that Marge bitch gives me a vacation, sure.”

“New York is full of restaurants of all types. I’m just saying.”

“Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll pack my things too and I’ll knock at your doorstep.”

“Don’t say ‘maybe’. Do it. I’ll be waiting for you.”

“Go now or we’ll have another teary goodbye. Remember our last? I’m not doing it again! And you, Peter,” said Sue, looking at the young man in the eyes, “take care of my big sister, ok?”

Peter nodded, smiling, and took Elizabeth’s bag from the bed. Elizabeth and Sue shared another hug, and then Elizabeth left.
Maybe it was a mistake, going back to New York. She still wasn’t sure she was ready to deal with that part of her life; let alone deal with that and what happened more recently all at once. But she couldn’t stay in that place anymore. She needed her friends. She needed to think, to understand what she would do now.

Elizabeth slept through all of the flight, and when the plane landed in New York she woke up feeling disoriented and sick. Too many people in the airport, too many different feelings, all together in her head. Usually she could control it but she was feeling too bad to concentrate. Peter had to do it for her; he shielded her the best that he could. Elizabeth didn’t even know it was possible but she thanked God for that.

Once at Peter’s apartment he offered his bed but Elizabeth refused and said she would take the couch. It didn’t matter. She knew she wouldn’t sleep anyway.
Her phone rang in the middle of the night. Elizabeth answered quickly, in the dark, trying not to wake Peter. If it was Sue, she would kill her…

“Hello?” she whispered, without checking the caller ID.

“Lizzie, it’s me. I’m sorry for what happened before…”

Elizabeth smiled. “You are calling me back, Gabriel, that’s enough.”

“Why are you whispering?”

“I’m sleeping at a friend’s house. I don’t want to wake him.”

“Do you want to talk later?” asked Sylar. He was calling her after killing a man to take his power – water manipulation – the same man that he was following when he called her earlier that day. Elizabeth sounded upset about something and even if they barely talked anymore, he still cared enough to call her back and ask her what was wrong.

“And talk again for days with your answering machine? No. I’m getting used to your late night
calls, anyway.”

“You wanted to tell me something. You were upset. I felt it in your voice. What happened to you?”

“My boyfriend died,” whispered Elizabeth.

“Elizabeth… I’m so sorry. Oh God, let me take a plane and…”

He hoped she would say no. He loved Liz, but his search for the other evolved humans was more important than anything – and anyone – else. Even her.

“I’m not in Dittmer anymore. Actually, I’m in New York.”

“Really? Me too. I’ll be leaving soon but we could meet. No, we must meet. It’s been too long.”

“I agree.”

“Listen, what about tomorrow afternoon at the shop?” So he would have enough time to come back home and become Gabriel Gray again.

“Perfect. See you tomorrow then. Bye, Gabriel.”

“Bye, Liz.”

Sylar smiled. Talking to his friend, while contemplating his latest victim, made him feel strangely happy. Maybe he should start calling Liz more often after killing someone. Against all odds, she still had a place in his heart. Maybe she was just an insignificant human, genetically speaking, but to him she always had been more like an angel. A bright angel that had looked at him when the rest of the world saw just an insignificant man. Elizabeth, like his mother, always believed he was special. He had to tell her she was right.

With a touch, he reconstructed all the things that got broken during the fight. Useful gift, this one – this way, he would leave even less traces behind. Thanks, Dr. Jordan, he thought with a smile. Acquiring that power had been really easy. He hadn’t even tried to fight. Pathetic. But what he really wanted now, was to find someone with the power of empathy. To defeat his greatest enemy, Peter Petrelli, he had to understand him first. But empathy was a rare gift… well, it didn’t matter. He would keep searching till he would find what he wanted.

But not tomorrow, tomorrow Sylar would hide in the darkest corner of his soul, and Gabriel would make another of his rare appearances.
From the floor he picked up a pink rose. He remembered throwing the vase that contained them against that man’s head by telekinesis. Slowly he picked up the other roses from around the floor and the cadaver. He smiled and wiped away with a drop of blood from one’s petals with his finger. Elizabeth loved pink roses. that would make her happy.