nancefics: (Mr. Muggles (Heroes))
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So, apparently there's this pretty awesome show out there called "Heroes," and I'm only finding out a year or so after the fact. Obscure Fandom Girl is nothing if not consistently dense. ;)

Erm, what is it with me and my kink for hooking up serial killers and mouthy teens?? I think Claire and Sylar could have an interesting dynamic together if their paths ever crossed again. The way I envision it, things would be hot and angsty and bittersweet.

...the way I actually wrote it is, of course, a whole different little kind of crack-monkey. *G*


The Alpha Male (part 1)

Author: Robin Nance

Fandom/Characters: Heroes, Claire/Sylar, Mr. Muggles

Story Type: Humor/Romance

Rating: PG-13 (language, little bit of violence and suggestive situations)

Summary: Six months after Kirby Plaza, Claire’s had enough of the boredom that comes with being normal. Sylar’s goal is to avoid being ordinary at all costs. Be careful what you wish for….

Spoilers: Erm, all of season one and bits and pieces of the first three episodes of season two. After that it all goes to hell in the proverbial AU-handbasket. *G*

Disclaimer: Pfft, do you remember an episode where this even came close to happening? Obviously, they’re still not my toys. ;)


******




Somewhere along the line, her life had become all about Mr. Muggles’ back end.

Claire Bennet stooped and scooped as the family dog ran around her feet in circles, barking at her with what she suspected was equal parts reproach and relief.

“I know, I know, I’m sorry I made you wait so long for a bathroom break,” she grumbled as she deposited the used plastic baggie in the garbage can at the side of the garage. “Cut me some slack, OK? It’s not my fault I had to contend with cheer practice and West in the same afternoon.”

Mr. Muggles cocked his head at her in an obvious Pomeranian version of “bitch, please,” then trotted up the steps and into the house without a backward glance.

“Fine, you can be mad at me too, join the club!” Claire called to the retreating fluffy tail, then realized that standing in the backyard arguing with a dog in full view of the neighbors probably didn’t fall under the guidelines of keeping a low profile.

Perfect. Just the way she wanted to start the weekend. Sighing, she headed back into the house, slamming the door for good measure.

It was a classic case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for, really.

Ever since she’d discovered she was Indestructible Girl, all she’d wanted was to feel a little bit normal again, to actually fit in and belong somewhere. Unfortunately, Primatech (or The Company or whatever the hell they were calling themselves nowadays) thought she belonged in a lab strapped to a gurney. Sylar thought she belonged dead minus one brain, and her father thought she belonged in a glass bubble like some delicate little doll that had to be protected from air and daylight and life in general. Sure, that last one was the best out of three, but it didn’t change the fact that Noah Bennet’s well-intentioned paranoia made normal teenage life pretty damned impossible.

And yet, in the end, the fact that her dad was paranoid actually hadn’t meant that people weren’t out to get her. It had only taken one nuked Odessa homestead, one vaguely sinister grandmother, and one almost-wiped-out major metropolitan area to drive the point home and ensure that Claire finally got it – “normal” was something that had to be cultivated carefully (translation: faked) under deep, deep cover.

So here she was, six months past that night in Kirby Plaza and six days past her seventeenth birthday, which she’d celebrated quietly as Claire Butler of Costa Verde, California.

Peter was still missing, his absence an immense gaping hole in her gut that hurt too much to even think about for too long. Nathan was still scouring the ends of the earth for him last she’d heard – not that he’d told her directly, of course, or even contacted her at all since that night. She supposed she couldn’t really blame him, since what could she ever be to him but a living reminder of unprotected sex and exploding siblings?

Claire Butler, on the other hand, was having a pretty good time of it. She went to an average high school where she got average grades and hung out with her average classmates. She donned the Costa Verde High blue each week and cheered for their average football team. She had your average teenaged drama-studded relationship with a boy who, though sweet and supportive and special in his own right, would never be that kind of special, the heart-pounding, weak-in-the-knees kind that she apparently was to him, no matter how high he flew or how well he kissed, and this filled her with an average amount of guilt.

In short, Claire Butler had reached near-perfect levels of normal beyond Claire Bennet’s wildest, fondest dreams.

Claire Bennet was bored beyond shitless.

It wasn’t that she’d enjoyed the past year, exactly – she could have gone an entire lifetime without seeing her father shot or Jackie with the top of her head sliced open. It was just that, ironically enough, in the midst of all the danger and chaos and pain, she’d finally had the sense that she was doing something important. She’d been looked up to, confided in, depended upon. She had been useful for the first time in her life.

Her current utility consisted of hanging around the house on dog-sitting duty for the next three days, while her parents took Lyle to computer camp in San Francisco.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

She couldn’t really complain too much – she’d be the first to admit that Lyle had been through tons of upheaval on her account over the past year, and he’d handled it with far less resentment and whining than she would’ve done in his shoes. He deserved a whole lot more than one weekend of ‘Net surfing and parental bonding, when you got right down to it. And the mere fact that her dad was actually allowing her to spend a weekend at home alone was testimony to exactly how much safer and saner the lives of the Bennet/Butler clan had become – six months ago he’d never even have considered the concept. Now it was just another way she got to be normal.

It was a way that involved a whole lot of poop-scooping, but still. Normal.

Something soft brushed against her ankle, and she broke into a laugh when she saw Mr. Muggles staring up at her, wagging his tail as he chewed on a stuffed purple teddy bear twice the size of his head.

“Sure, dog, just go ahead and eat my few remaining childhood memories, no problem. I guess you’ve forgiven me for now? Well, that makes you one up on a certain stupid boy I know.”

She scooped the little dog up in her arms, bear and all, and carried him into the family room in the back of the house. Mr. Muggles contented himself with curling up on the sofa, still shredding the toy, while Claire sat beside him and flipped through a large pile of the day’s mail.

“Well, we’ll just have Friday Netflix Night without any stupid boys, won’t we, Mr. Muggles?” she muttered as she sorted out magazines and flyers. “We can have lots of fun without West.”

Beside her, Mr. Muggles perked up and barked sharply.

“OK, sorry for mentioning him, there’s no need for you to get snippy. I’d really like to know why you hate him so much.”

…and God help her, she was chatting up a canine. Apparently today was the day she officially turned into her mom. Claire shook her head with a grimace and glanced through the latest movie deliveries.

“Geez, Mom, retro ‘80’s mood much? I can’t believe these are the — hey, watch it!”

She yelped in alarm as Mr. Muggles suddenly launched himself over her lap and off the couch. He landed with a skid on a small throw-rug on the far side of the room and leapt in circles, barking and wagging his tail furiously.

Claire frowned and rolled her eyes. “Shush! We’ll spend the rest of the evening together and I promise you’ll get lots of attention, OK? C’mon, get back here.”

The dog reluctantly trotted back, stopping several times to turn, bark and wag in the general direction of the empty wall. His human companion shook her head, bemused and more than a little irritated.

“I think the move to Cali fried your brains, dog. Now, on to the important question: do we do ‘Beaches’ and female-bonding angst, ‘Sixteen Candles’ and teen angst, or ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ and yuppie angst?”

“Got anything where stuff blows up?”

Her first thought was that Mr. Muggles had a surprisingly deep voice.

Her second thought would have probably focused on the sheer absurdity of that first thought, but it was rapidly quashed by thought number three, an amalgam of “Sylar,” “can’t breathe,” and “ouch” as she was yanked up off the couch and slammed against the far wall with enough force to shatter every glass picture frame in the vicinity. She hovered there three feet off the ground, sneakers kicking ineffectually at thin air while she gasped and clawed at the invisible band that was tightening around her throat.

Something started to materialize in her peripheral vision, and she was able to twist her head enough to see him take form like so many grains of sand coming together, all smirks and angles and black, right down to the baseball cap pulled low over the mocking eyes.

“You’re – you – d-dead!” She could barely croak out the words around his telekinetic grip.

“Yeah, I’ve been getting that a lot. I think those rumors were a little exaggerated. Nice to see you again, Claire-bear.” Sylar stepped closer, head tilted critically as he surveyed her. “I think I preferred the red uniform. Blue doesn’t really do much for you.”

“Go to hell!” Really, she thought it was pretty impressive that she could manage so much bravado when it felt like her lungs were about to pop.

Sylar laughed. “No thanks, sweets, I’ll leave that to your exploding uncle. Hey, incidentally, did you ever recover any pieces of him? Or did he just create a big bunch of Petrelli confetti when he went boom?”

Her limbs were going numb from oxygen deprivation, but she managed to get the point across with a single middle finger extended in his general direction.

“Well, now, that’s just rude…oh, hi there, Fluffy.” Sylar bent to scratch the ears of one very excited Pomeranian, who was leaping up at him and wagging his tail as if he’d just found a long-lost friend – and who’d obviously figured out said “friend” was in the house before Claire had, if his earlier weird antics were any indication.

Turncoat little furball bastard.

Deliberately or not, Sylar let himself get distracted enough by the dog to break the telekinesis, and Claire landed on the family room floor in an inelegant heap, gasping as she waited for her windpipe to snap back into shape.

“At least one member of the family knows how to greet a guest – don’t you, Mr. Muggles? And after all the trouble I went through to find you, too.” Sylar picked up a bone-shaped squeaky toy and tossed it across the room, smirking as Mr. Muggles turned in several excited circles before taking off after it. “I mean, they really relocated you to the ass-end of the country, didn’t they, Claire? Must be a far cry from Manhattan for someone who’s so young and full of life.” The sinister emphasis placed on the last word promised that Claire wouldn’t be feeling that way much longer.

She’d fallen beside an overturned end-table and a big brass lamp. With a groan and a stretch, Claire sidled in front of the table in what she hoped was a subtle manner. “Costa Verde’s not so different from Odessa. And that was a good place to live, until you showed up and ruined things.”

“Oh please, it’s a good place as long as you’re not the poor schmuck getting electrodes stuck in the back of his head in the Paper Outlet from Hell. And I’m not the one who blew up the family homestead. That was Radioactive Boy, remember?”

Her right hand closed around the heavy brass base. “Could you at least have the decency to try to remember the names of the people you’ve killed? His name was Ted.”

“Whatever. He was whiny. Whiny pisses me off. Aw, good boy!”

Mr. Muggles had trotted back with his prize and was prancing around Sylar’s shoes, barking for attention. Sylar bent down to throw the toy again, turning his back completely and giving Claire her chance – he certainly wouldn’t be the first guy to underestimate a little blonde cheerleader, she mused grimly.

With reflexes honed from many a cheer-tower dismount, she quickly rolled to one side, scrambled to her feet, and swung the brass lamp base as hard as she could.

“What the --?” Sylar turned at the last moment, and the blow meant for the back of his head connected with his left shoulder, hard enough to elicit a grunt of pain and send him sprawling onto the floor. The black baseball cap went flying off his head at the impact and almost landed on Mr. Muggles, who was yelping in alarm at the sudden flurry of violent activity.

Claire raised the lamp base and swung again, this time aiming for the killer’s head – only to gasp as his head, and the rest of him, melted away into the same grain-like particles. In an instant he’d re-materialized and slammed her back into the wall, this time foregoing telekinesis for a large hand wrapped around her throat.

And if whiny pissed him off, she didn’t really want to think about what attempted skull-crushing-by-lamp did to him.

“I’ll give you credit for guts, princess, but that was a bad move.” Sylar ground the words out viciously; his face was inches from her own and his eyes were almost black with fury. “I’m not a bad guy. I could’ve made it quick. Now it’s going to hurt.”

Claire watched, squirming and choking helplessly, as his right index finger came up in what felt like slow motion. This is the part where my life is supposed to flash in front of my eyes, she thought. But all she could focus on was the increasing hum of blood rushing in her ears and the near-hysterical sound of Mr. Muggles barking somewhere near their feet.

Sylar flicked a quick glance toward the agitated dog. “Sorry, Fluff, no time for you right now.”

The lethal finger waved gently, and Mr. Muggles went surfing across the room on one of the throw rugs, yelping in outrage as he traveled all the way into the guest bathroom. As the door slammed shut on his offended howls, Sylar turned his attention back to the task at hand.

“I’d ask if you have any last words, but no one ever seems to come up with anything interesting.” God, she wanted to punch that stupid smirk right off his stupid face. “Feel free to scream, though.”

Raised finger, sharp sting and a sick ripping sound a second later, and damn it she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of reacting but it hurt, oh God, and he was taking his time and she couldn’t breathe and –

-- she wasn’t sure what came first, the explosion or the shock wave; but suddenly Sylar’s hand was off her throat and they were bouncing against the wall and one another like two of Mr. Muggles’ rubber squeaky toys, ears ringing and eyes stinging from a slurry of dust and splintered wood as the bathroom door blew right off its hinges.

******


Claire shifted and groaned. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been stretched out on the family room floor, but she’d landed on something soft and surprisingly comfortable, and her first impulse was to catch a quick nap while her poor abused head healed up.

Reality intruded in the form of something fuzzy and damp landing right on her face, and it took a few seconds of squinting to realize she was staring up at a pair of bright canine eyes.

Mr. Muggles barked a happy greeting, swooping in to lick her nose and pawing at the drool-covered purple teddy bear he’d deposited on her chin in an unsubtle invitation to play. Sawdust was still wafting through the air and creating an interesting halo effect over his fluffy beige fur. Claire sneezed, grimacing at the dull ache that coursed down the back of her skull with the sudden movement.

“Nice trick,” Sylar wheezed in her ear, and she realized the soft comfortable thing she was sprawled over was him. With a yelp of alarm, Claire bolted up and back.

“W-wasn’t me,” she coughed, settling against the wall out of reach of those long lethal arms. “I thought blowing things up was your talent.”

“Why the hell would I blow up your house? It’s not like I wasn’t already in the middle of killing you.” Sylar sat up and flexed his neck irritably, causing a fine coating of dust to detach from his dark hair and flutter down over his shoulders.

“I don’t know, maybe because you’re a raving brain-stealing psycho?” Getting the last word in probably wasn’t top priority at the moment, but Claire got a nice amount of satisfaction from the dig.

Sylar opened his mouth to snipe back, then just shrugged tetchily and raised his index finger. Claire squeaked and pressed tighter against the wall, bracing herself for the slicing pain and the spill of blood that would wash the dust from her eyes.

But there wasn’t any slicing or telekinetic shoving. And the only thing she saw was Sylar’s smug expression morphing into confusion and then into something like alarm when his powers failed to activate. He waved his finger again, then his entire arm, then both arms – nothing.

“Son of a bitch, I just got those back!”

He slammed a fist into the wall in frustration, and Claire took the opportunity to lob the toy bear at him as hard as she could. Sylar’s instinctual telekinetic hand-wave failed like the rest of his attempts, and the toy left a gratifying smear of dog-drool as it bounced off his forehead.

Mr. Muggles yipped in excitement and scurried off to fetch his soggy prize. Claire bolted right behind the dog, only to pitch forward onto her knees as Sylar grabbed her right ankle and yanked hard.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on here, Claire, but you know the one redeeming thing about this situation?” He pinned her to the ground, one knee pressing into the small of her back. “I’m pretty sure I can kill a little thing like you even without the powers.”

Claire gritted her teeth against the pain of his full weight. The back of her head felt scarily exposed in her current position, and she had no doubt he could easily make good on the threat. “Under the circumstances, wouldn’t that be kind of a waste of a good brain?”

“Who knows? Maybe your brain will fix me right up again. Or maybe my normal powers are still there and this is all just another big illusion dreamed up by Daddy’s company.”

“There’s nothing normal about you or your powers.”

Sylar stood, yanking Claire up by the hair and spinning her around to face him. “Or maybe,” he ground out, pressing her back against the wall with a nasty grin, “I’ll just kill you to shut you the hell up. You know, right now that option kind of works for me.”

Mr. Muggles barked sharply, and Claire glanced past Sylar’s shoulder to watch him drop the purple teddy bear at their feet. Sometime during their confrontation, the little dog had actually collected an entire pile of toys – obviously, he’d figured the two humans weren’t getting the hint that he wanted to play.

His doggy obliviousness would be amusing if she weren’t about to die messily at the hands of a lunatic.

“Chill, Fluffy, just as soon as I take care of…” Sylar trailed off, and Claire realized he was staring at her with a perplexed frown. "You have a mark."

“What?”

“You still have a slice on the side of your head,” Sylar clarified at her blank look. “It’s not supposed to work like that, is it?”

“That’s impossible, it never takes more than a few – ouch!” Sylar reached out and pressed a thumb just in front of her right ear, and Claire flinched at the surprising sting of pressure against cut flesh. “You asshole, that hurts!” Reflexively, she punched him in the midsection.

“Ow, hey, watch the stitches!” Sylar stepped back, releasing his grip. Claire dropped to her knees, grabbing one of the broken picture frames and angling the mirrored glass until she could see her reflection. She stared in amazement at the thin, angry red line that ran just in front of her right ear to the edge of her eyebrow. It was superficial, definitely an improvement over the deep nasty wound that had been carved into her, but it showed no sign of fading away in the immediate future.

Mr. Muggles pranced in front of her, delighted to be face to face and pointedly nosing at a squeaky toy. He whined in frustration when Claire ignored him and pulled herself back up to face Sylar.

“I don’t understand – I always heal right away. That wasn’t even the worst cut I’ve ever had.” All of a sudden the presence of the injury was scaring her more than the man who’d put it there. “What the hell’s going on, Sylar? What did you do?”

Sylar quirked an eyebrow. “What did I do? In case you haven’t noticed, I seem to be having the same issues here.”

“But everything was working fine until you showed up and started slicing and dicing and blowing things up!”

“I’m only copping to the slice and dice, princess – the explosion was all yours.”

“I don’t explode. All I do is heal – it had to be your fault!”

“Are your ears plugged, you little bimbo? I didn’t cause any explosion!”

“Well, I sure didn’t do it, and you’re the only other person here. And how dare you call me bimbo, you – you New York metrosexual!”

“…Do you realize that’s not even an insult, or did they not show ‘Sex and the City’ when you were growing up in Cowtown USA?”

“Better Cowtown than…Brain-Stealing-Stupid-Hair-Only-Color-He-Can-Coordinate-is-Black-Town!”

“My God, I thought I gave people headaches. Do you even have a brain in there?”

“Why yes, yes I do, and apparently there’s nothing you can do about it right now.”

“Oh, really? Is that a challenge?”

They were interrupted by a series of sharp staccato barks, followed by a second blast. It was smaller and less violent than its door-destroying predecessor, but it still knocked them against the wall and back onto the floor, this time into a pile of dog toys and various soft, well-chewed household items.

Claire pulled a hole-filled sock away from her eyes in time to see Mr. Muggles practically bouncing in place. Random papers and squeaky-toys and picture frames exploded into the air in perfect, disconcerting synchrony with his movements.

“M-M-Mr. Muggles?” She could barely squeak in shock and disbelief.

Excited at finally getting some attention, the little Pomeranian yelped and pounced on the abused purple teddy bear. He shook it vigorously, growling and wagging and sneaking looks at Claire to be sure she was watching his performance. One final shake and the head snapped off with a rip that Sylar would have admired, sending a spray of cotton stuffing all over Mr. Muggles’ face.

Mr. Muggles barked victoriously, and the entertainment center simultaneously imploded in a shower of glass, sparks, and splintered wood.

Well. Apparently there was another special Bennet in the house.

“Holy shit.”

Sylar sounded as shocked as she felt – Claire realized with a blush that she’d landed half on his lap again, and quickly re-located to her own piece of floor.

The dog yipped and wagged at Sylar – who cursed and did a quick nose-dive beside Claire as a picture frame went careening off the opposite wall and narrowly missed his head – then turned and galloped behind the sofa. It was the one remaining intact piece of furniture in the entire room, and Mr. Muggles’ two human companions watched in a daze as random objects blasted into the air from behind the cushions in time to the audible canine snuffles and grunts.

Really, Claire didn’t even know how to begin to wrap her mind around this.

“Oh, Claire,” Sylar began in a conversational tone, “exactly where did you get Mr. Muggles?”

“N-nowhere special,” Claire stammered. “My mom’s fussy about her show dogs, and she only ever uses one or two people. She got Mr. Muggles from a breeder outside of Dallas.”

“And was there anything particularly special about the breeder?” Sylar leaned back on his elbows casually, as if their conversation were taking place on the beach instead of in a decimated family room.

“No, she was just this normal woman, a housewife who bred dogs. She was married to a guy who used to work with my fath – oh.” The pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and Claire stared back at Sylar in shock.

Oh,” Sylar parroted caustically. “So Mr. Muggles is a Primatech pup. Well, swell. What else does he do besides blow things up and steal people’s powers?”

“I don’t know – he’s never done anything like this before. He’s always been just a dog. He does dog things.”

As if on cue, Mr. Muggles reappeared, trotting out from behind the sofa with a long, floppy stuffed toy that most closely resembled a giant fuzzy blue weiner-dog. He proceeded to deposit it at Sylar’s feet, tail wagging as he alternately pawed at the toy and at Sylar’s legs.

Claire raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Mr. Bobo.”

“What? Isn't he Mr. Muggles?” Sylar flinched as the dog barked, obviously expecting something to explode at close range.

“Yeah, of course the dog is Mr. Muggles. The toy is Mr. Bobo. It’s Mr. Muggles’ all-time favorite toy. Mr. Muggles loves Mr. Bobo.”

“Is there a point to this story?” A small vein began to beat on Sylar’s forehead in time to each of the "Misters" in her explanation.

“Um, the point is that he doesn’t let anyone touch that toy but my mom. He freaks out when the rest of us do anything with it. He wants you to wiggle it and throw it to him – apparently, he finds you Mr. Bobo-worthy.” Claire rolled her eyes in disgust. “He likes you.”

Sylar grinned and reached to scratch behind the fuzzy ears. “Well, Fluff, I’ll give you credit for good taste. Now give me my powers back and we’ll call it even.” He waved a hand gently toward the stuffed toy, which continued to sit at his feet, unmoving and thoroughly untouched by telekinesis.

Sylar’s expression fell and he leaned back against the wall petulantly. “Come on, damn it! Do you know how many people I had to tear through to get back to where I am?”

“Hey, don’t yell at my dog!” Claire snapped. Mr. Muggles began to whine at the escalation of their voices, and she continued in a softer tone. “Look, I don’t think he even realizes he’s doing this. I might be figuring this out -- according to some of the things my mom’s told me about little dogs, this is a pretty normal reaction to stress.”

Sylar stared at her incredulously. “You think this is normal?”

“OK, not ‘this’ as in the explosions and the almost-getting-us-killed stuff, but the demands for attention and the acting out. I think he’s got separation anxiety.”

She waited for the expected mockery, but noted in surprise that Sylar didn’t contradict her. Taking a deep breath, she went with the train of thought.

“He’s a show dog, right? He’s used to being the center of attention. For the entire three years he’s been with us, he’s always either traveled with my mother wherever she went, or if that was impossible he went to a special kennel where he could play with other dogs. This is the first time he’s ever been home alone with me, and it hasn’t been going very well so far. I was at school all day and I got home late. And then you showed up and made things worse.”

Her friendly neighborhood killer looked unimpressed. “So if I’m hearing this correctly, the real tragedy here is that Mr. Muggles isn’t feeling the love and you had a hard day at school. Never mind that I have to re-collect my new powers and get the fucking telekinesis back for the third fucking time. Cry me a fucking river over your bad day, Claire.” Sylar banged his head back against the wall with a frustrated thump.

“Hey, language!” She was beginning to wonder if all sociopaths were so immature. “This isn’t the ‘All-About-Sylar Show,’ you know – nobody asked you to barge in here and try to steal anyone’s brain. As far as I’m concerned you got what was coming to you. That doesn’t mean I don’t want my power back.”

“You?” Sylar arched a brow skeptically. “That’s funny. I seem to remember someone a few months back who couldn't stop whining about how horrible it was to be such a big freak of nature.”

Claire felt a pang as she recalled the many times in Odessa that she’d wished her abilities away. “You're wrong, as usual. What I hated was always being afraid I'd stick out and not fit in anywhere. That's different from hating the power itself -- I actually always kind of liked the healing thing. It's useful.”

“Ah, so you secretly got into the whole walking-through-fire heroic routine.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, there’s that. And it does come in handy for surviving random nuclear blasts and New York psychos who just won’t die.”

Sylar grinned grudgingly at that comment, and Claire realized with a start that they were actually having a civil exchange of words. He must have been thinking the same thing, because he sighed and raised his hands in a mock gesture of surrender.

“OK, Claire-bear, we appear to be in the same boat here. It’s a burning, sinking, piece-of-shit boat – yeah, language – but here we are. What do we do to get out of this mess?”

Claire let her gaze travel around the ruined room, back to the fluffy dog waiting expectantly for his favorite killer to wiggle his favorite toy, and finally over to the disheveled man sitting beside her. Obviously, she was losing her mind (no disassembly by Sylar required) to even consider such a plan. On the other hand, maybe desperate times called for desperate measures.

Mr. Muggles shook his toy with a little half-growl, and the sofa fell over with a crash.

Oh yeah, the times they were a-changin’, and they were getting more desperate by the minute.

“Fine,” she sighed. “I propose a truce. My family’s gone until Sunday night. We have until then to make a nice pleasant environment where we’re civil to one another and Mr. Muggles gets all the attention he wants. Hopefully he’ll be happy enough to stop doing…whatever it is he’s doing, and we’ll get our powers back. Then I can try to come up with an excuse for what happened to this room, and you can leave before my father finds you and blows your head off. And stop calling me Claire-bear,” she added as an afterthought. “I hate that even coming from people I like.”

“Deal.”

Sylar looked about as happy with the situation as she was, but nevertheless he offered his hand, which she shook tentatively. Mr. Muggles jumped up to lick their joined hands, then nosed at his toy and started to bark impatiently at Sylar.

A shower of sparks erupted from two of the upended brass lamps in time to his barks. Claire yelped and huddled closer to Sylar despite herself.

“Suggestions would be appreciated here, Claire.” Sylar’s snark and sarcasm seemed to have left him in the impending electrical onslaught.

Claire stayed pressed tightly against the wall and Sylar, thinking that weirder words had never ever come out of her mouth:

“I suggest you start wiggling Mr. Bobo like your life depended on it.”

And everything had been so normal a few hours ago.

Oh yeah, be very very careful what you wish for.



**end part 1 // to be continued**
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