Author's Note: This story takes place directly following Chapter 1. I am writing Peter's part, and my good friend Jenna is writing Sylar's part.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Non consensual disciplinary spanking of an adult in a child's body by an authority figure.



Twisted Fate Ch 2

Peter was sitting and watching Sylar sleep on the couch when he yawned. He knew he was tired, and he was worried that he'd fall asleep and wake up to an empty apartment. He thought about tying Sylar up, but didn't want to wake him up.

A few minutes later his mind wandered to his brother Nathan. He'd called him earlier to talk, but Nathan had been busy trying to work with his public relations people to cover up the fact that he'd been shot and healed. Nathan had said he'd call back when he was done, but still hadn't. Peter got out his cell phone and dialed Nathan's number.

As usual, Nathan had gotten lost in his work, and when his cell phone rang with Peter's ring tone, he cursed himself for not calling him back sooner. He flipped his phone back answering, "Hey Pete, sorry I didn't call back sooner; you know how it is around here."

"Yeah I know; it's okay. Do you have time to talk now?"

Nathan countered, "Shoot. I'm all ears."

Peter took a deep breath and then couldn't quite figure out how to start. After a pause he said, "I... Well it's a long story. When I came home this morning, I found a little kid on the steps to my apartment. I asked him if he needed some help, and when I read his mind, I realized the kid was Sylar."

Nathan was taken aback sputtering out, "What!? Sylar? Jesus Pete! Why didn't you tell me this when I called earlier?"

It had been a long and tiring day, and Peter didn't have the energy to defend his actions. "Just hold on, I haven't told you all of it yet. If I hadn't been able to read his thoughts, I wouldn't have known it was him. He looks like a seven year old boy. But because I could read his thoughts, I knew he had come to kill me and take my powers. I played along with him at first, and took him to the police station to see Matt. Together Matt, Mohinder, and I all worked out a plan to catch Sylar and we gave him a serum to take his powers away."

There was a pause on the other end of the phone as Nathan processed all this. He then asked, "Did it work? Or did he get away?"

Peter looked over at Sylar with a smile and said, "It worked. His powers are gone, and as it turns out he's stuck in the body of a seven year old for a while. He tried to take someone's power and it backfired when she used it on him. But here's the thing... I'm keeping him."

Nathan was confused, "You what? Keeping him? Pete, what? He's not a pet; you can't just keep him!"

Peter had known this part wasn't going to go over well. "I'm keeping him Nathan. I can't just let him go, and I can't let the company take him. He has no one else, and... He needs me."

Nathan was at a loss; he couldn't believe his brother would be willingly harboring a serial killer. He argued, "Peter listen to me, I know you think it's your mission in life to help everyone you come in contact with, but this man tried to kill you! He's dangerous! I think you need to think about what you're doing here."

"I am thinking about it!" Peter noticed Sylar stirring in his sleep and walked over to the kitchen and lowered his voice. "What better way to save not only Sylar, but all the people he would have otherwise killed, then to keep him here with me? His powers are gone, he can't hurt me, and he's in the body of a kid. Why don't you come see for yourself; he's sleeping on the couch right now."

Nathan looked at his watch and answered, "I'll be there in about six minutes." Nathan clicked the phone shut. He headed out onto the back patio, did a through visual scan across the yard to make sure there were no paparazzi hiding in the bushes, and once he was sure the coast was clear, he zoomed off towards Peter's flat.

Peter turned his phone off and waited for his brother. He wasn't exactly looking forward to the confrontation. He hated it when him and his brother disagreed, but it happened pretty often. He knew his brother worried about him, and wanted him to be safe and happy. But Nathan's version of happy and Peter's version didn't always match up. But at the end of the day he knew that Nathan loved him no matter what, so they could work everything else out.

True to his word, Nathan arrived in about six minutes. He made his way up the two flights of stairs and to Peter's door knocking softly and waiting for Peter to answer.

Peter opened the door and held a finger to his lips to let Nathan know to keep quiet. He opened the door the rest of the way and gestured towards Sylar as he said quietly, "He needs to sleep."

Nathan's eyes followed Peter's gesture to the sleeping form on the couch. His eyes moved around the dimly lit room seeing that Peter was alone he asked in a hushed tone, "Where's Matt and Mohinder?"

"Gone. I told them I was keeping Sylar, and told them to go home." Peter shut the door behind Nathan and said, "It's just us."

Nathan responded with an unenthusiastic, "I see." The two walked into the kitchen so as not to wake Sylar. Once they'd stopped moving again and Peter turned back to face him, Nathan laid a hand on each of Peter's shoulders giving his brother a sincere look as he stated, "I know yelling at you or pushing my ideals on you will only make you more adamant about your stance, but I'm going to ask you in all honesty; now before you answer, seriously consider what I'm saying, do you really think you can handle him?"

Taking Nathan very seriously, Peter looked down for a few seconds and did think about it. He looked back at Nathan and said, "Yes I do, and not just because of his physical state either. I can handle him because I know he feels guilty about what he's done, and I know he wants to change. But even if I didn't think I could handle him, I'd still want to try, because I just don't have any other option that will let me sleep at night. He has no one else."

Nathan considered what Peter had said before responding, "Okay then. If you really think you can make a difference then I believe you can to. But I want you to promise me that if you ever need any help with him you'll come to me. Can you promise me that?"


Smiling Peter said, "I promise, and since you brought it up, I could really use your help right now. I need some sleep, but I'm worried about falling asleep, and waking up to find the apartment empty. Do you think you could stay here for a few hours while I slept? Help me make sure Sylar doesn't wander off?"

Nathan gave Peter a small smile and a nod responding, "I can tell you've had quite a day." He glanced back over at Sylar on the couch and added, "Well if he's going to be staying here with you, you can't leave him to sleep on your couch. We've got some of the boy's old mattresses in storage. I can have a bed sent over tomorrow afternoon. Is there anything else you think you might need for him?"

Grateful to his brother for the support, Peter gave Nathan a quick hug and said, "Thank you."

He pulled away with a smile and said, "A bed would be a big help. I can't think of anything else he needs right now. I already had Heidi send over some of your kid's old clothes for him."

Nathan hugged Peter back happy to help out his brother. His eyebrows crinkled in dismay, "Heidi sent over some of the boy's old clothes? She never told me that." He waved off the fact bringing his attention back to Peter as he said, "I don't have anywhere to be so go get yourself some sleep."

Peter nodded and headed to the bedroom. He turned around and said, "Wake me up if you have any problems, or if Sylar needs me for anything."

Nathan responded, "Will do." He watched Peter disappear down the hall and into his bedroom as he made his way into the living room to sit down in the recliner across from the couch Sylar was currently sleeping. He studied him awed by the fact that the seemingly helpless looking boy in front of him contained the most wanted man in the city. He let out a sigh as he grabbed a magazine from off the coffee table settling back into the recliner and said to himself, "I really hope you know what you're getting yourself into Peter."

Peter took off his shoes and his jeans before flopping down into his bed. He fell asleep within minutes, exhausted from the past couple of days.

'''''''''''''

Peter woke up to the smell of coffee. He opened one eye and saw that it was light out. He looked at his alarm clock which read nine AM. He got up and walked into the living room in his tee-shirt and boxers to check on Sylar and Nathan. He was a little surprised to find that Sylar was still asleep on the couch. But then he thought that quicker than normal growth would probably really wear a person out. He walked into the kitchen and saw Nathan having some coffee. "Did you make enough for me too?"

Nathan smiled replying, "Of course." He gestured towards the coffee pot that was half full. He added, "Forgive my rudeness, I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to get back before any reporters start looking for answers as what state I'm in."

Peter went over and poured himself a cup of coffee as he said, "Thanks again for coming over to stay the night. I'll talk to you later."

Nathan downed the last of his coffee and set his cup in the sink. He walked into the living room responding as he turned to open the door and leave, "No problem Peter, just remember what I said about asking for help alright?" He motioned to the still sleeping Sylar and said, "If you think you can keep him under control, why don't you two come out to dinner with me this Sunday. I'd like to see you."

Peter swallowed a sip of coffee and said, "I'd like that. I'll call you Sunday and let you know for sure."

Nathan left and Peter went into his room to get some sweat pants. A few minutes later he was sitting on the chair next to the couch, drinking coffee, and waiting for Sylar to wake up.

It was nearing fifteen past ten when Sylar finally stirred from a dreamless sleep never the wiser that Nathan had ever been there. He blinked his eyes wiping away the sleep as he sat up giving the room a bleary glance as if forgetting for a moment where he was. His eyes settled on Peter and he yawned, "Morning."

"Morning. How did you sleep?"

Sylar wasn't fully awake yet as he stretched his arms high in the air and inhaled deeply before responding, "To tell you the truth, I don't remember anything past that crap you call music in your car last night," Sylar teased giving Peter a smirk.

Peter laughed at that and then said, "There's some coffee left if you want it, or I think I might have some tea up in the cupboard."

Sylar smiled at the thought of coffee, "That sounds terrific." He lumbered into the kitchen towards the coffee pot. He frowned as he stared up at it and then over to the cupboard that held the coffee cups. Instead of asking for help, he grabbed the step stool that he saw had been folded up in between the refrigerator and the kitchen wall. And with painstaking effort opened and locked the stool into place for him to use. He didn't look over in Peter's direction as he climbed the stool even though he was sure Peter was watching him. He didn't want to feel helpless and wanted to prove that he was capable of doing this on his own.

Peter leaned against the doorframe and watched Sylar. He shook his head thinking Sylar was going to have to learn how to ask for help. Peter casually said, "I wonder if you'll notice a difference in what the caffeine does to you with your current metabolism."

Sylar feeling confident in his current mastery of his surroundings grabbed a cup from the cupboard laying it on the counter. He answered Peter as he climbed down the stool's steps, "I guess I'll find out soon enough won't I?" Sylar hoped off the last step to land in front of the coffee pot. Peter had looked like he was about to move into the kitchen and grab the pot for him, and Sylar was determined to beat Peter from making that action.

In his haste to pick up the coffee pot and the fact this body was still strange and awkward the pot twisted in his hand and even though he didn't drop the pot, the pot's weight swung itself to scorch his forearm. He sucked back the hiss of pain that threatened to escape and continued back towards his cup hoping Peter hadn't noticed he'd burned himself.

Having seen enough, Peter walked over and easily took the coffee pot out of Sylar's hand, even though Sylar was trying to keep a hold of it. He poured some coffee into the cup, put the coffee pot back in its holder and said, "Let me see your arm."

The act of having the coffee pot wrestled out of his hand and the task of pouring his coffee taken for him infuriated Sylar. He pursed his lips angrily before crossing his arms defiantly against Peter's instruction as he growled, "My arm is fine; you didn't have to do that. I don't need you to do everything for me!"

"It's going to take you a while to adjust to your new body. There's no shame in letting someone help you." Peter held out his hand, "Let me see your arm."

Sylar looked down at Peter's extended hand, and letting out a deflated sigh, he grumbled, "Fine." He hesitantly retracted his arm from his body to reveal the red mark swelling into a blister.

Peter winced in sympathy and said, "Ouch." He got the step stool and put it in front of the sink. After turning on the cold water he said, "Come put your arm under the water, and I'll go grab some burn ointment."

Sylar silently obeyed as he thought bitterly, 'Nice. In trying to show I'm independent, I'm left looking even more helpless.'

Peter, being in the nursing field, had a large first aid kit in the bathroom. He got out some ointment that would help keep the skin from drying out, some gauze and some tape. He went back and put the stuff on the counter. He looked at his watch and said, "You need to keep your arm under the cold water for about fifteen minutes."

He walked over, grabbed Sylar's coffee, and handed it to him to drink while he held his arm under the water.

Sylar mumbled a small, "Thanks," as he concentrated his attention to his coffee cup sipping on the hot liquid.

Peter thought to himself, 'Well that wasn't the best start to the day. Let's try this again.'

He said, "I have the next couple of days off work, so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other a little better. I don't have much in the house for breakfast, so after we're both dressed, we can go to the little diner that's a block away and talk about our plans for the next couple of days."

Sylar nodded in agreement, "That sounds pretty good." He finished his coffee rinsing the cup out with the water that was still splaying across his burn and set the cup down in the sink.

Peter left Sylar in the kitchen with the water running and went into his bedroom to get dressed for the day. Once he was done, he went back to the kitchen and looked at his watch. He picked up the ointment and said, "Times up, does it feel any better?"

Sylar shut the water off looking at the small strip of burnt flesh and nodded giving a small, "Yes." He dried his arm on his shirt and added, "I don't think I need all that though. It's not that bad. Really."


Peter took Sylar's arm and started putting the ointment on as he said, "It would probably heal just fine without it, but I'll feel better about it this way."

He put a patch of gauze over the ointment, and put some tape on to hold it in place. Once he was done he let Sylar's arm go and said, "Go find some clothes that fit, and we'll walk over to the diner."

Sylar watched Peter apply the ointment and bandage to his arm thinking, 'I'm really going to have to get used to this having no say even when it comes to my own health. At least he let me have coffee. That's something anyway.' Sylar climbed down from the stool and went back into the living room grabbing up a set of clothes he was pretty sure would fit and brought them into the bathroom to change.

Once Sylar came out of the bathroom dressed for the day, Peter opened the door to the apartment and said, "There's an unopened toothbrush in the top shelf next to the sink. I'll get it down for you and put it on the sink when we get back."

Sylar smiled happy to be leaving the apartment and getting out onto the city streets. He walked outside and waited for Peter to lock the door before skipping down the stairs. He felt energetic and rubbery. He thought, 'This being young again isn't too bad; I haven't felt this physically good in years!' By the time he got to the bottom of the first flight of stairs he beamed happily back up at Peter feeling slightly giddy from the effects of the coffee and bounding so quickly down the stairs.

Peter smiled back as he took the stairs at a more casual speed. He thought to himself, 'Looks like caffeine has the same affect on Sylar that it does on Monty and Simon.'

Once they got outside, Peter looked up at the sky and said, "It's a beautiful day. We could go to the pier today after breakfast."

Sylar was enjoying the day as well, the weather was starting to change with the beginnings of Fall touching the morning air with a slight crispness enough to cool but not be cold yet. He grinned as he thought, 'Dad used to bring me to the pier to feed the ducks before he died,' It was a pleasant memory that he enjoyed remembering as he replied, "It's been a long time since I've been to the pier. That sounds nice."

"Okay, that will be the plan then." A few minutes later they arrived at the diner. The two of them went in and a plump middle aged waitress came over. She smiled and said, "Two?"

Peter nodded. She gathered some menus and led Peter and Sylar to a booth. As soon as they were seated she handed Peter a regular menu, and then put a kids menu in front of Sylar. She dug a couple of crayons out of the pocket of her apron and smiled sweetly at Sylar as she said, "There you go honey." She then turned to Peter and asking, "Can I get the two of you something to drink?"

Peter was busy looking at his menu and said, "Water for me."

The waitress looked at Sylar to get his answer.

Sylar slightly miffed by the crayons and kid's menu gave the woman a very serious glare pushing the crayons back towards her and replying, "Thanks, but I don't color. Coffee please, two creams."

Peter looked up from his menu, suddenly aware of Sylar's irritation.

The waitress laughed and said, "Coffee? Coffee will stunt your growth. How about some nice hot chocolate?"

Trying to smooth things over Peter jumped in and stressed the word 'seven' as he said, "Yeah Gabriel, you don't want to be the only seven year old in here without a cup of hot chocolate do you?"

Sylar turned his glare on Peter and formed a darkening smirk as he replied curtly, "Well, I'm not like other seven year olds, and I want coffee."

Peter glared back and then turned to the waitress with a fake smile, "He'll have water as well."

She gave them both a confused and somewhat concerned look as she nodded and walked away. Peter leaned towards Sylar and said quietly, "One cup a day is more than enough for your body mass."

Sylar countered, "So not only are you going to have control over where I go and what I do with my time, but now you're telling me that you're also going to have say over little things like how much coffee I consume?! I think I can decide for myself how much coffee is enough."

Peter had to think about that for a few seconds. 'I don't want to be fighting with him every day about little things. We'll have enough to fight about as it is. And if he has a bunch of coffee, he'll find out for himself that his body can't take it.' Peter nodded slowly and said, "You're right, I'm sorry. When she comes back you can get whatever you want."

Peter went back to looking at his menu to decide what he wanted.

Sylar happy with his small victory smiled smugly when the woman returned with his water. He was about to order a coffee for himself but his taste for it was gone after the fight it'd caused. When the waitress caught his eye he remarked softly, "I want the sausage, two eggs over easy breakfast with an orange juice."

She wrote down Sylar's order and turned towards Peter to collect his order.

Peter was surprised but pleased that Sylar had decided not to get the coffee. He turned to the waitress and said, "I'll have a cheese omelet with whole wheat toast."

Once the waitress was gone Peter looked at Sylar and said, "After the pier I thought we could go to the book store and get you a few books to read. And then we should probably go to the store and get some food to have in the house."

Sylar's eyes softened as he thought, 'I acted like such a jerk, and he's still willing to do nice things to try and make me happy.' He gave Peter a half smile feeling he owed him an apology for embarrassing him in front of their waitress as he responded, "I'm sorry I was a little crabby there. Guess I need to learn to check my attitude a little. It's not a justification or a real excuse, but it is what it is. I want you to know that it means a lot to me that you want to take up time with me going places like the pier and bringing me to the book store to get me books to read. I do notice and am grateful for the fact that you're really trying to make my life comfortable. I don't really deserve your kindness, but you give it anyway… so for what it's worth… thanks."

Peter was amazed that Sylar was both apologizing, and that he was saying thanks for the things Peter was trying to do for him. "Apology accepted. It's only your second day like this, and I know it's going to take some getting used to especially dealing with the people around you who will treat you like you're seven. Try to keep in mind that they're not trying to be patronizing, and they're certainly not trying to make you angry, they just don't know how old you actually are."

Peter smiled as he said, "And you're right I am going to try and make your life with me comfortable. Making you miserable every day won't help rehabilitate you, it will only make you angry and resentful. But I suppose I have some selfish motivation in there too. I like going to the pier and the book store. I think we'll have a good time."

Sylar brightened at Peter's words. Peter had a weird way of wording things in a way to make him feel like everything was going to be all right. He replied, "I think we'll have a good time to." Their waitress came by their table to drop off silverware and his orange juice remarking that their meal would be up shortly before returning on her rounds. Once she was gone, Sylar asked cheerfully, "So tell me Peter, what is it you like to do with your time?"

After thinking for a minute Peter said, "I love reading, I like doing things outside like hiking and bike riding. But for the past few months I've spent most all of my time trying to perfect my emerging abilities. I've met quite a few people recently who've helped me with that, and I'd like to think that I've helped them too while we worked together to figure out how we're all connected."

Sylar thought about what Peter said, 'I wonder how many evolved humans you know Peter, and I wonder what kind of powers they have?' Sylar's eyes grew more intense as he leaned in close and asked curiously, "You think all the powers out there are connected somehow? You said emerging abilities; like how? How do your powers work?"

Peter didn't want Sylar to know exactly how his powers worked, at least not until they'd had some time to get to know each other and bond. He focused on the first question. "I do think we're all connected. Not just genetically, but also by fate. There has to be a reason behind all of it, and I believe that together we're all going to change the world for the better."

The food arrived, and after the waitress left, Peter continued with a smile. "My brother would say I was talking nonsense. He's not much of a believer in fate or destiny; he'd say it was all random. Maybe it just seems more connected to me, because my brother is one of us, and the cheerleader you tried to kill is my niece."

Peter lost his smile. "But then you've killed or tried to kill quite a few of the evolved humans I know of. Maybe we shouldn't talk about this anymore today."

Sylar frowned at the reminder of being a serial killer as he thought, 'I tried to kill his niece? That must be Claire. I shouldn't have asked that question.' He unwrapped his silverware and straightened his back so he could see over his plate. He was glad Peter had decided to drop the conversation since it left him feeling awkward and confused as to whether he should be mad or ashamed by his previous actions and his place in the world now. He didn't respond instead choosing to look away and bring his attention to buttering his toast.

Peter concentrated on the food in front of him for a while, as conflicting emotions went through him. When he thought about Claire and the other people that Sylar had both tried to kill, and had succeeded in killing, he got angry. But then when he looked at the kid in front of him and read his thoughts, he was happy that Sylar had come to him, so that he could change him for the better.

It was a somewhat uncomfortably silent meal, but once they were done eating, and the check had arrived, Peter was ready to move past it. Once he had paid, and the two of them were standing outside the diner, Peter said, "What's your favorite thing to do at the pier?"

Sylar was just as glad as Peter that breakfast was over and they had left the restaurant. The conversation had left him feeling depressed and alienated as he wondered how he'd let himself sink into such a state that he actually believed he was entitled to kill another person. He'd told himself that they were broken and undeserving of their power, and he should have claim to their power because he was evolved enough to understand it. When he'd lost his powers, all he cared about was getting back on top, being special again. Now, he wanted the memories of what he'd done wiped from his mind, so he wouldn't have to face the actions he'd allowed himself to justify as acceptable. Peter's question brought him out of his head as he thought about the ducks again. He just shrugged instead of admitting this and responded, "Just being there I guess."

Peter had been involved with his own thoughts during breakfast, and hadn't been listening to Sylar's thoughts. But he could tell that Sylar wasn't happy with himself. Peter heard Sylar think 'ducks' in answer to his question, but then give a different verbal answer. He wasn't sure if Sylar was trying to punish himself by not being honest about what he liked, or if he just didn't want Peter to know. Peter looked around and said, "I don't know about you, but I don't want to take the time to drive there. Do you want me to fly us?"

The thought of soaring through the air again was very appealing and Sylar brightened at the mention of it. But, he also thought of the fact that it was around 11:30AM and crooked an eyebrow at Peter asking, "Won't that be a little dangerous in the day time?"

Peter answered with a playful smile on his face, "Definitely. Let's live dangerously."

Sylar smirked as he responded, "Lead the way."

Peter headed them back to his apartment and said, "The roof is always good for coming and going. Most people don't look up unless they hear something. And I know the roof of my apartment is empty most of the time."

A few minutes later they had walked the couple of blocks back to the apartment and gone up the stairs to the roof. Peter picked Sylar up like last time with one hand behind his back and one under his legs, and flew them up high into the sky. He circled the pier area a few times looking for the best place to land. He decided to land on the roof of a motel room a few blocks away from the most populated area of the pier. He set Sylar down on his feet and said, "Much better than driving don't you think?"

Flying with Peter was like being on a roller coaster with none of the jarring shock of the machinery; it was fluid like swimming, but free of water's encompassing weight. This flight was even better than last night's. He was amazed looking down at the world from this perspective and couldn't help the small giggle of glee that escaped when they circled the pier. The flight had cheered him up, and as they landed, Sylar looked up delightedly at Peter responding to his question, "It's not even in the same league."

Peter smiled in agreement and walked to the door that was on the roof. It was locked, so he used his telekinesis to unlock it, and together they made their way down to the bottom floor of the motel and out the door. They walked towards the more populated pier area side by side and Peter said, "What do you want to do first?"

Sylar always loved the feeling and the sounds of the wind whipping off the water's edge and replied, "Let's walk to the end of the pier. I like to look at the water, and it's usually quiet there."

"Okay." Peter and Sylar walked down the pier together. They got to the end and the two of them stood near the edge looking out into the water. After a few minutes of silence Peter said, "It's peaceful here. I can see why you'd like it."

Sylar leaned in between the rails of the fence staring out at how the sun shimmered on the waves as he responded, "It's one of the few places in the city that you don't feel sucked in to the go, go, hastiness that surrounds you. It's almost as if time stands still, just for a little bit, so you can stop and catch your breath."

Nodding Peter stared out at the water too. After a few minutes of quiet he said, "When I look out at the water I'm always wondering what's going on under the surface. Wishing I could see through to the bottom to watch all the plants and animal down there."

He chuckled and said, "But then maybe I'd just be able to see a bunch of garbage and litter down there. That would take away from the peacefulness."

Sylar laughed, "Yea, knowing this city, I don't think I'd want to see what's under this water!" Sylar was really enjoying himself, and since they had been standing at the water's edge, the local ducks had made their way over to them in search of food. Sylar had noticed a few kernels of popcorn on the ground and had leaned down to throw the tid bits into the water for them as he said, "My dad and I used to come here when I was younger. It was one of the few places he ever found peace since running the shop took a lot out of him." He mentally added, 'along with my mom's constant nagging.'

Peter was pleased that Sylar was opening up a little about his family. He noticed Sylar tossing some popcorn into the water and said, "Do you want to go buy a bag of that to feed the ducks?"

Sylar's smile grew impossibly big at the mention of feeding the ducks as he responded, "That'd be great; I love feeding the ducks. It's something I haven't done in a long time." Sylar wondered why his emotions tended to bounce up and down now. Whether good or bad, they seemed hard to control at times. His body seemed to want to react before his mind, but he just wrote these reactions up to the influx of hormones going through his body. These ponderings made him worry about how many more physical and mental changes he'd have to look forward to due to his new body.

Thinking that Sylar sounded very much like one of his nephews in that moment, Peter said with a smile, "Then we'll have to do it. What kind of food do you usually get them? Bread, popcorn, or something else?"

Sylar spun to the left where the popcorn vender's cart was perched and pointed towards the cart, "Popcorn would be perfect; there's a guy selling some right over there."

"Okay." Peter walked over and paid for some popcorn. He handed the paper bag to Sylar. He watched with a smile on his face while Sylar tossed a few pieces at a time to the ducks who were all gathered together in the water watching where the popcorn bits were being thrown.

Sylar took his time feeding the ducks, and when he'd thrown the last couple kernels into the water, he turned his attention back to Peter with a beaming smile as he said, "I really enjoyed that. Thanks."

"You're welcome." Peter looked down the pier towards the more populated area and said, "You wanna walk down there and see what there is to see? I don't know if it's still there, but further down near the shops there used to be an area where people could play chess. Some of the people who play are fun to watch. Or if a table were open we could play."

Washington Square Park was right up the street from the pier, and many master chess players had been known to play there for money. Sylar had observed their skills before, and he fancied himself a seasoned player. It'd been quite a while since he had played any chess, but he looked forward to seeing Peter's skills as he responded, "I always enjoy a good chess challenge. Although, you're likely to get embarrassed getting beaten by what everyone is going to see as a little kid," he teased.

Peter chuckled as he started walking in the direction of Washington Square Park and Sylar fell in step beside him. "I don't embarrass that easily, and you may not win."

Since Peter had found out the kid on his steps was Sylar, he'd been keeping his mind open to reading Sylar's thoughts. But as they walked to the Park he stopped actively listening in, knowing it would make for an unfair game.

Sylar smirked replying, "I guess we'll just see about that won't we?" Within ten minutes time, the two were walking up to the many chess tables where only one player was waiting for a challenger. He looked up at Peter and remarked, "One of us will have to beat him in order to get the table. So who's it going to be?"

"You go ahead. I'll watch." Peter doubted Sylar would decide to take off while Peter was playing, but he didn't want put all of his focus and attention on a chess game with someone else and find Sylar missing when it was over.

Sylar beamed excited to show off his skills as he approached the portly man sitting at the concrete table. The man smiled at Sylar's approach and when he sat in the seat across from him the man asked, "So you like chess do ya sonny?"

Sylar grinned responding, "I've always been a fan of a game of tactics."

The man raised his hand up to shake Sylar's, "The name's Jimmy."

Sylar shook his hand responding, "My name's …Gabriel."

Jimmy nodded, "Well then Gabriel, why don't ya show me what you've got."

Jimmy was good, but he'd made the mistake of not taking Sylar seriously and was caught in a queen's gambit with in the first six moves.

Jimmy shook his head in disbelief, "Well dang. You're pretty good for a kid!"

Sylar scoffed, "I'm pretty good for any age."

Jimmy chuckled answering, "That you are Gabriel. How about another game? I'll make it a little more difficult for you this time."

Sylar smirked answering, "Actually I already have a challenger waiting." His eyes drifted over to Peter.

Jimmy nodded, "Fair enough. Maybe next game," he said as he vacated his spot gathering up his coffee and backpack and moving on to challenge another player.

Pleased with Sylar for remembering to call himself Gabriel, Peter watched him playing chess with the older man. He was impressed with Sylar's skill, and knew he'd have to concentrate on the game if he had any chance of winning. He sat down and said, "You're good. Let's see if you're good enough to win.

Sylar reset the board and gave Peter a confident grin as he remarked, "You should be asking yourself that question."

Sylar took white since Peter was the challenger, and the game proceeded. Peter really was quite good and a half an hour later more than half of Sylar's pieces had been taken. Peter had played a defensive game where Sylar had been the aggressor. Both had done well to guard their kings in the beginning, and when Sylar had thought he'd pinned Peter's king in the corner, he'd let his guard down moving in for the death blow, but he had over looked a pawn that Peter had placed as a set up to bring his bishop in to flank his knight. The move had left Sylar impotent in his attack causing him to back pedal and in the process lose his queen. He'd not defended properly and soon realized he'd lose the game due to his impetuous decisions.

Sylar frowned in frustration as Peter pinned his king into check mate. He let out a huff of indignation hating to lose any challenge especially to Peter as he grumbled, "You got lucky this time."

"Lucky huh? I guess we'll have to see if my luck runs out next time." Peter was pleased that he had won, but it had been a challenge. He knew it would be fun to play again since they were fairly evenly matched for skill level. Peter looked at his watch and said, "We should probably head to the book store before it gets too late. I have a chess board at home if you want to play again tonight."

Sylar nodded getting up from his seat as he replied, "I could go for another round tonight." Sylar stared up at the sky it had to be around 2PM by now; he had been looking forward to going to the bookstore all day. He glanced back over his shoulder and gave Peter a smile as he asked, "How far away is the bookstore?"

Peter started walking away from the park and towards the street. "The one I usually go to is closer to my apartment then here." Peter looked around at all the people walking around and said, "We should take a cab."

They got to the sidewalk and Peter waved down a cab. He gave the driver the address and soon they were on their way. Once the cab was moving Peter said, "You can get whatever you want at the bookstore, but your budget is fifty bucks."

Sylar grinned thinking, 'Fifty dollars huh? That can buy me lot of books.' The cab ride took about twenty minutes, and Sylar sat up to look out the window to get a good idea of where they were going. They pulled up to a used bookstore called Wild Iris. Peter paid the cab fare and the two walked into the store. Within moments, Sylar was lost in the myriad of choices available in the used book area. He wanted to get the most bang for Peter's buck.

Peter tried not to be overly obvious about keeping track of Sylar. He picked out a couple of science fiction books for himself while making sure Sylar was never more than one isle away from him. Once he had his books in his hands, he leaned against the end of an aisle and started reading one of them.

Sylar was so immersed in his search that he hadn't even noticed Peter keeping an eye on him. He pulled several varieties of books off the shelf, a few were how to books, more than half of them dealt with genetics and anomalies in science, and the rest were entertaining fictional works that he'd always enjoyed such as Moby Dick, 1984, Watership Down, and a condensed volume of H.P. Lovecraft's collected works. He had brought them up to the counter as he'd found them, and upon reaching his allotted cash limit, he stood by the counter and peered over at Peter. His nose was buried in the book he planned on purchasing, so figuring Peter's mind was elsewhere, Sylar spoke up, "I'm pretty sure I've reached my fifty dollar limit, but if I went over, I can put one of the how to books back."

Peter dog eared the page he was on and closed his book. "As long as it's close it's fine."

He took his three books up to the counter, added them to Sylar's stack, and caught the cashier's attention. "We're ready."

The cashier rang them up while giving Sylar a few curious glances as she noticed the books he'd picked out. While she was waiting for Peter's credit card to be approved she turned to Sylar and asked, "Did you pick all those books out for yourself or someone else?"

Sylar's expression turned dark as he thought, 'Yes, you dumb cow; you just saw me thumbing through these books and bringing them up to you one by one.' Sylar glanced up at Peter remembering the diner, and not wanting to cause another scene only remarked, "I'm well read."

Pleased to see Sylar keeping his temper in check, Peter put a hand on Sylar's shoulder and said to the cashier, "We're in a hurry."

The cashier nodded and handed Peter his receipt to sign. As soon as it was signed Peter grabbed the bags and headed out the door. Once they were out of the shop he hailed a cab and said to Sylar, "We'll go back to the apartment to put these books away and then go to the store."

Sylar was tired and just wanted to stay home and read some of his new books, but responded half-heartedly, "okay."

Peter didn't really want to do the shopping, he just thought they should. So when he heard Sylar's tone of voice, he took advantage of the opportunity and said, "You don't sound very enthusiastic about it. We could just stay home, order in some Chinese food for dinner, and get the groceries tomorrow."

Sylar was grateful that Peter had suggested doing the shopping tomorrow as he replied, "That sounds great, it's been a long day, and after everything that's happened the past few days a little down time to relax sounds good."

"I agree."

The cab pulled up to Peter's apartment building. Peter paid the driver, grabbed the bags, and headed in with Sylar beside him. Once they were in the apartment, Peter grabbed the book he had started to read in the store, and sat down to read for a while. Before he opened the book he said, "Let me know when you get hungry, and we'll order the food."

Sylar blushed responding, "I'm already starving again. I guess I'm going to end up eating you out of house and home with the rate of my metabolism." Peter ordered them Chinese, and within less than twenty minutes there was a knocking at the door. When Peter answered, Sylar was surprised to see the delivery man had a clip board as he informed Peter that he had a twin bed downstairs scheduled for delivery to his apartment.

After signing for the bed Peter turned to Sylar and said, "My brother got it for you. Come on in the bedroom and help me decide where to put it."

Peter wasn't sure if he was happy to be sharing his bedroom or not. He knew Sylar needed to be close to him so he could keep an eye on him, and he didn't exactly have any other options since it was a one bedroom apartment, but having no privacy could get old fast. They walked into the bedroom and Peter looked around. It was a fairly big bedroom and there would be room to put a twin bed in. Peter said, "If we shift my bed over to the right you can be by the window, or if we shift it to the left you can be by the bookshelf."

Sylar followed Peter into the bedroom and examined the room's dimensions before deciding he'd rather be placed by the bookshelf, "I think right over here is fine," he said pointing to the vacant area next to the shelves.

Sylar watched Peter adjust the furniture into their new locations and put a pair of the sheets that had been delivered with the bed on to the mattress. Sylar smirked at the race cars depicted on the sheets as he looked up at Peter and remarked, "You'll have to tell your brother thanks, this'll be a lot more comfortable then the couch."

"Maybe you can tell him yourself the next time we see him. I'm close to my brother, so you'll probably be seeing him a lot."

As he was looking for a quilt to put over the sheets there was another knock on the door. The Chinese food had come. He paid the delivery person and put the food on the table. He got out a couple of plates, handed one to Sylar and said, "Looks good. I got a lot; I hope you like it left over the next day too."

Sylar's mouth watered as Peter dished out portions for each of them. He responded, "I've got no problem eating left over Chinese." He climbed up in his chair sitting on his knees rocking back and forth and waiting expectantly for Peter to finish serving as he asked, "So what are you going to tell your family about me?" He thought, 'I'm sure they'll just be thrilled.'

Peter finished putting the food on plates and sat down to eat beside Sylar. He said, "Nathan already knows who you are and why you're staying here. He wasn't exactly happy about it, but he knows me well enough to know that once I set my mind on something there's not much he can do to change it. I'm not sure what I'm going to tell everyone else."

He paused to take a few bites thinking it over. "I'll tell my sister-in-law Heidi the truth, but my nephews are too young to know. I don't know what to tell my mom or Claire. Do you have any suggestions?"

Sylar was surprised that Peter had told anyone who he really was, and he wasn't sure how that made him feel. Truthfully, he would have rather not anyone know his true identity. It was embarrassing to be in this state when others looking on knew the truth. He thought, 'I don't want to tell them anything. This is already a weird enough situation.' He responded, "I don't know. Maybe you should just keep me a secret."

Peter had to agree. He didn't really want to tell his mom or Claire the truth, knowing they would both react badly. But he wasn't that great at lying either. "I am signed up to be a foster parent. We could say you were placed here by the state... but then they'd expect you to be in school. Maybe we should just avoid telling them for as long as possible."

Sylar nodded in agreement, "That sounds like a good idea. I sure the hell don't want to repeat going to school." Sylar shook his head distastefully at the thought.

Smiling Peter said, "Going back to school would be more of a punishment then being given to the company I think. Can you imagine trying to fit in with other seven year olds, and having the teacher try and show you how to read and write your letters?"

Sylar rolled his eyes responding, "I think you couldn't be more right." He gave Peter a semi-serious look before adding, "Don't get any ideas."

Peter laughed at that, and then turned serious. "But if you don't go to school, then you'll have to come with me. I'll have to call into work tomorrow and let them know you'll be coming with me on Monday. We have to have something to tell them. We could tell them you were one of my nephews."

Sylar agreed, "I think I can manage hanging out with you and some old folks all day verses a gaggle of seven year olds."

"That will be the plan then."

After they both finished eating and putting away the leftover food, they both spent most of the night reading their new books. Around ten o'clock Peter started to yawn and said, "Go get ready for bed, and then you can read in bed for a while if you want."


Sylar sighed thinking, 'Great. I'm going to have a bed time now? This sucks.' He didn't say anything and instead scowled and did what he was told since he didn't want to have his reading privilege taken away when he was halfway through his chapter.

Peter watched Sylar head back towards the bathroom, pleased that he'd complied instead of arguing. Once Sylar was done and had climbed in bed, Peter locked up and got ready for bed himself. Taking his book to bed with him when he was done, Peter hoped Sylar would fall asleep soon, because he didn't trust him enough to fall asleep first yet.

Sylar fought to stay awake, but his determination was beaten out by the day's activities and his body using up mass amounts of energy. He'd barely been able to read the twelve remaining pages of his chapter before laying his head sleepily on his book and drifting off into a dreamless sleep.

Peter finished his chapter and looked over at Sylar to find him asleep. Peter went and pulled the book out from under Sylar's head, marked the page, and set it on the foot of the bed. He turned out the lights and went to sleep himself.

''''''''

The next morning Peter woke up early and checked to make sure Sylar was still in bed asleep. He went to the bathroom, and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. When it was ready, he poured two cups of it, put them on the table, and then went back to the bedroom. He called out, "Sylar. Time to wake up."

Sylar blinked blearily before rolling back over with a groaned, "Just a little longer."

Smiling at that Peter went back out to the kitchen poured Sylar's coffee back into the pot to keep warm, and sat down to drink his own coffee. Once his coffee was gone, he took a shower and got dressed for the day while thinking about the things he had to get done. Once he was ready, he went back over to Sylar and gently shook his shoulder as he said, "Time to get up."

Sylar yawned turning around to face Peter bright eyes shining as he said cheerfully, "Good morning sunshine."

Peter was amazed at the difference half an hour could make, and made a note to himself to make sure Sylar went to bed early enough to get at least eight or nine hours of sleep each night. He figured Sylar's accelerated growth rate would make sleep very important. "Want some coffee?"

Sylar sat up with a big smile and said, "That sounds marvelous." He hoped out of bed with a spring in his step feeling more energized than he had in years. He spun back around to face Peter and asked, "So, what's on the agenda for today?"

As Peter answered he walked into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee for Sylar. "I need to call work while you drink your coffee and get ready for the day. Then we'll have to go to the diner for breakfast again since we didn't go shopping yesterday. Eventually we'll have to do some grocery shopping today, but I thought it would be fun to go see a movie or two first."

Sylar met Peter back at the table for his coffee and turned to Peter with a delighted smile responding, "I haven't been to a movie in over a year. What's playing?"

"I'm not sure let's see."

Peter got out his laptop to look up what movies were playing. Once he had the local theater up he said, "We could see Awake, Hitman, August Rush, Beowulf, or Enchanted. There are a few others out, but those are the only ones I'd be interested in seeing. Any of those sound good to you?"

Peter turned the laptop so that Sylar could see the descriptions of the movies.

Sylar glanced over the movie selections thinking, 'There's no way I'm going to see Enchanted, and Hitman might cause another awkward moment like at the diner yesterday.' Sylar pondered a moment longer before voicing, "Beowulf looks good, and I'm not too familiar with Awake or August Rush since I haven't seen a trailer for either."

"Beowulf sounds good to me too." Peter turned the laptop back to himself and looked at the times.

"The early showing is at eleven thirty." He looked at his watch and said, "That should work. Go ahead and have your coffee while I call the office."

Sylar nodded and using both hands sipped his coffee. He watched Peter go into the living room and get on the phone. Peter had gotten the paper delivered, and the pages had been splayed out on the table. While Peter made arrangements for Sylar to join him at work, Sylar read the headlines about Peter's brother being released from the hospital after being shot. Sylar hadn't seen much of Peter's brother Nathan, and he wondered if he and Peter had similar powers. He heard the phone click as Peter hung up the receiver and took that as his cue to put his empty cup in the sink and go into the bathroom to brush his teeth, shower, and get ready to go.

While Sylar was in the shower Peter looked over his work schedule for the next week, and looked up a couple of addresses for some new clients. Once Sylar was done getting ready for the day, the two of them walked to the diner. It was crowded and they had to wait for a table. As they were waiting Peter sighed and said, "We need to remember to buy some breakfast foods when we buy groceries later. I don't usually eat breakfast on work days, but I'm sure your body will need something to start the day with. Other then coffee that is."

Sylar smirked at Peter's comment responding, "No, coffee breakfasts aren't exactly great starts to a morning. But luckily for you, I'm a big egg fan, and I make a mean omelet." He licked his lips as their waitress placed a stack of pancakes in front of him and placed a country fried steak breakfast with sausage gravy in front of Peter. Sylar's eyebrow rose curiously looking over at Peter's plate as he remarked, "I think I may have ordered the wrong breakfast; I'll have to remember to try that next time we come to eat here."

Peter couldn't help but think Sylar couldn't even reach the stove, and even with a step stool, he wasn't sure he wanted Sylar trying it and getting hurt. But he kept his thoughts to himself, smiled and said, "It does look good," pushing his plate towards Sylar he asked, "Did you want to try a bite?"

Sylar beamed responding, "Don't mind if I do." He pulled the plate up neatly against his stack of pancakes and proceeded to carefully move his stack over so that the slice of gravy covered fried steak he'd taken would not mix. Once done he pushed Peter's plate back to him and asked, "Do you want one of my pancakes?"

"No thanks, I'm not in the mood for sugar this morning."

The two ate in companionable silence for a while. When they were both close to done Peter looked at his watch and said, "Did you want to walk to the theater? That would put us there right about time. I'm pretty full so a long walk sounds good to me, but it's roughly two miles away, and you may not be up for such a long walk."

Sylar thought about the healing blisters on his feet from a couple days earlier but was self-assured that they were healed enough to walk two miles. Sylar answered, "Two miles is nothing. Besides, it's a really nice day for a walk, and we'll be sitting in the theater for over an hour once we get there."

Peter waved the waitress over, got the check and paid for the breakfast. A few minutes later they were walking down the sidewalk towards the theater. Looking around at the clear blue sky Peter said, "You're right; it is a nice day for a walk." Then as an afterthought he added, "But two miles may be too much for you now that each step you take is smaller. If you end up getting tired let me know, and we'll find a bench to take a break, or I can give you a piggy back ride."

Sylar blushed at the thought, 'God, how long has it been since I've gotten a piggy back ride? I can't even remember.' He replied with a laugh, "A piggy back ride? Don't be silly, you and I both know I'm way too old for that! Not saying it wouldn't be fun though." Sylar was enjoying Peter's company more and more. Peter amused and puzzled him at the same time. Sylar had wanted to hate him and was still slightly jealous of his many abilities, but he found that Peter gave him a spark that hadn't been there before, and it filled him with a hope that he could in fact become a person that Peter could be proud of. The fact that Peter was seriously trying to redeem him at all spoke volumes to Sylar that Peter's ability to forgive outweighed his own petty jealousies. Sylar glanced up at Peter every now and again as they walked analyzing him as he thought, 'You're either a good man or a fool to believe in me Peter; I just hope I won't disappoint you.'

Softly smiling at Sylar's thoughts, Peter realized they signified a positive change from what Sylar's thoughts were like when he first ran into him. He knew how important it was that Sylar reformed and thought, 'I hope I don't fail you.'

They had a long walk ahead of them, so Peter decided to work on some rehabilitation as they walked. "Let's talk about what you want to do when you grow up again. You're a smart guy, and you're going to need a job that doesn't leave you bored, so I don't think fixing watches is going to be a good choice. Did you go to college?

Sylar shook his head no, "I don't really think I'm college material, and now that my power is gone, I don't know what I should do anymore. I still like to see how things work even if I don't have the aptitude that I once had for it. It's still a big part of me." He shrugged thinking, 'I've got plenty of time to decide since I'm going to be stuck as a kid for quite awhile.'

"Have you ever taken a computer apart to see how it works? Computers are big business, and so prevalent in our society that you could find work anywhere you went. And the technology keeps changing so I think that would keep things from getting stagnant for you."

Sylar thought about it and decided that computers could be an avenue he could go into, 'Being this young, I could virtually be able to learn and utilize any new skill set by the time I'm a teenager. This whole growing up again might not be that bad after all.' He smiled up at Peter and responded, "Computers are the wave of the future, and I think you're right that they could keep me interested with the way they change constantly."

Peter smiled back and said, "Good. We'll get you an older computer that you can pull apart and maybe some books on it too."

Sylar's smile broadened as he replied, "Really? Thanks. I'd like to tinker with the inner workings of a computer, and then maybe I can master some programming skills later." The movie theater could be seen when the two cleared the top of the hill, and after a few more minutes the two were standing in line at the concession stand. Peter had gotten them popcorn and sodas, and they both enjoyed the movie. It was early afternoon by the time they were exiting into the bright sun. Sylar squinted shielding his eyes from the sun's glare as he asked Peter, "So where to now?"

"No matter how much I want to avoid it, we need to do the grocery shopping. We need to buy enough for the week, because I don't want to have to go again right away, so we should take the car."

Peter looked around and said, "I'd like to fly home, but I don't see any good spots to take off, so I guess we'll take a cab."

Peter waved down a cab and as they were getting in he said, "So did you like the movie?"

Sylar climbed into the cab, and after Peter gave the driver directions, he answered, "I liked it; the animation was done pretty well, and the story was fun. What did you think?"

"I liked it too. I had to read the poem for an English class I took in college, and I think the movie would certainly be classified as more fun. Of course some of that might be due to a virtually naked Angelina Jolie." Peter smirked.

Sylar chuckled, "She's quite the looker. She actually made Tomb Raider almost bearable… almost."

Peter laughed at that one and said, "I didn't actually see that one. Yes she is good looking, but I wouldn't go see something just for her. And Tomb Raider... well it looked like it was gonna be pretty bad."

They pulled up to Peter's apartment, and after Peter had paid the cab driver he turned to Sylar and said, "Do you need to go up to the apartment for anything, or should we just get in the car and go?"

Sylar replied, "I'm ready as I'll ever be." The two climbed into Peter's car and headed out across town to the closest grocery store.

They arrived at the store, got a cart, and started walking down the first aisle. Peter looked at the boxes of cereal and said to Sylar, "Pick whichever kind you want."

Sylar glanced down the aisle and grabbed a box of honey nut Cheerios and placed it into the cart. They continued down each isle discussing back and forth foods that both wanted to eat throughout the week. When that conversation was settled they'd walked down the next two isles in silence, and Sylar got to thinking about life with Peter wondering aloud, "Alice said that I would grow up faster than normal, how fast do you think that will really be? And if it is only slightly faster, what am I going to do about any identity issues?"

Peter considered that for a few seconds, "As far as identity issues, when we have to cross that bridge I'll talk to my brother Nathan. And if he can't help us then we'll ask Matt. I'm sure between the four of us we can come up with some kind of solution."


They had reached the produce section, so Peter got a plastic bag and started putting some apples in it as he thought about Alice. "Alice said that the cat she'd de-aged had grown up normal again, but faster. We didn't get any kind of clear answer as to how much faster. Maybe when....."

As he was speaking the red apple he had in his hand turned green and then shrunk smaller and smaller until it turned into an apple seed. Peter muttered, "Shit."

He put the bag of apples down, put his hands in his pockets so he couldn't accidentally touch anything else, stopped thinking about Alice, and looked at Sylar. "You'll have to be my hands while we do the rest of our shopping."

Sylar's eyes widened in surprise as he thought, 'What the…? Did he just turn that apple into a seed?' He whispered his voice getting more excited as he talked, "What the hell just happened? That was Alice's power wasn't it! How did you get her power?"

Peter looked around to see if anyone was listening and hissed, "Keep your voice down."

He hadn't wanted Sylar to find out about his powers yet, but he knew it was something he wouldn't be able to hide for very long. He crouched down so he was on Sylar's level and said, "Yes it was Alice's power. For lack of a better term I'm a mimic. My body copies the power of any advanced human I'm around. The problem is that I can't always control it when I first get them, which you witnessed firsthand when I exploded. So right now I need you to help me so we can finish getting the groceries and get out of the store before I do to some poor shopper what Alice did to you."

Sylar blinked in surprise nodding his compliance. They hurried through the last of their shopping as quickly as Peter could manage them through the store. Sylar couldn't help thinking, 'I don't believe it! He gets all of his powers for free?' He frowned, 'I wouldn't have minded having that power, then I never would have had to kill anybody.' Within ten minutes the two were pushing the purchased groceries out to the car. Once the two were in the parking lot Sylar asked, "So how do you control your powers?"

Glad to be out of the store and away from people Peter couldn't help but think that Sylar wouldn't have been so happy with the powers if he knew how unpredictable they could be. Peter answered Sylar honestly, "Practice. I need to go home and practice on some fruits. After a few hours I should be able to control it. When I first got my powers they were much harder to control. Then I met someone who helped me figure out how to do it."

Peter unlocked the car and helped Sylar load the groceries in. Very soon they were headed for home, and Peter was hoping that this new power only worked on living things. He didn't want any part of his car turning back into its original state.

Sylar remained silent thinking, 'This is insane, what a power to have! And it's scary to think that if he'd been touching me when it flaked on him, I could have been an embryo right now… that would have been most unpleasant.' He sighed looking over to Peter who seemed lost in thought. Sylar averted his eyes out the window as he continued to contemplate what it would have been like if he'd had Peter's power instead of Peter. It was unsettling the hunger he felt for it followed by the thought, 'Just how many powers could Peter have?'

These thoughts dominated his mind as he thought of all the powers he'd seen Peter use. His thoughts were interrupted when they'd reached Peter's apartment and the two got to work unloading the groceries. Several trips later they covered the kitchen table with bagged food, and Peter had begun pulling them out of their bags to put away in the fridge and cupboards. Sylar was confused and awed discovering the extent of Peter's powers, but the knowledge was a bit too much to handle at the current moment. He just wanted to distance himself from Peter as he said forlornly, "Unless you need my help putting away the groceries, I think I'm going to go lie down on my bed and read."

Peter was too distracted by his own thoughts and worries to pay much attention to Sylar, and was actually glad he wanted to go lie down, because he needed time to concentrate and practice. "Go ahead, I've got it covered."

Soon all the groceries were put away accept a large bag of apples which was on the table. Peter sat down, took an apple, and thought about Alice. It quickly turned into a seed. Peter took another one and held it for a few minutes while purposely not thinking about Alice or how his body felt when he thought of her. Then he thought about her again and the apple quickly turned into a seed. He pulled out another apple and tried to de-age it only enough to turn it green, but soon he was holding a seed again. He pulled out another one and tried it again. Soon the whole bag of apples were seeds.

Peter sighed in frustration and thought, 'Well at least I was able to figure out how to not use the power at all. I'm going to need a lot more practice, and if I keep using fruit it's going to get expensive.'

He spent some time thinking about how he was going to practice. He decided that after dinner he'd take Sylar to the park, find a secluded spot to try it on small weeds and plants. Then maybe when he was able to control it on those, he'd try it on a couple of trees.

Sylar wasn't sure how he felt, but after reading the same paragraph six times, he decided he was too tired and distracted to read. He laid the book on the shelf and climbed under his blankets. It was only around 3PM, and he knew they wouldn't be eating for another few hours. After all the popcorn they'd eaten he wasn't hungry anyway. He laid there for a good while just watching Peter practice with the bag of apples before getting miffed at the reminder that he no longer had abilities and covering his head to fume in private. His sulking didn't last long, and he let the wave of sleep that had been threatening to overtake him finally come for nothing more than to forget his place in the world now.

Once Peter had made the decision to go to the park later and practice some more, he started to pick up the seeds to throw them away. Once he had them in his hands he had a thought. He looked over at Sylar, and couldn't see anything other than a shape under the covers. He listened in to Sylar's thoughts and found none. Realizing Sylar was asleep; Peter took one seed in his hand and tried to reverse what he'd done by turning it back into an apple. Nothing happened, and after trying a few more times he threw the seeds away.

Walking over to Sylar, Peter pulled the covers back just enough to see Sylar's sleeping face. He was surprised that Sylar would be taking a nap, and thought that the walk must have worn him out. But then Peter shook his head knowing that probably wasn't true. Finding out what Peter's ability really was, it had to be emotional for Sylar since he'd been so power hungry before. Feeling bad while thinking he should have been more in tune with what Sylar had been going through, Peter decided to keep a close eye on him for the rest of the night.

Peter let Sylar sleep and went to the living room to relax and read for a while. When five o'clock rolled around Peter went to the kitchen and started cooking some rice, peas, and pork chops for dinner thinking the smell would wake Sylar up.

The smell had in fact rose Sylar from his sleep, but he was still in a sour mood from earlier and chose to stay in bed just so he didn't have to face Peter for a little while longer.

Peter kept his mind tuned to Sylar and knew he was both awake and avoiding him. He hoped this mood of Sylar's didn't manifest itself into a fight between them, but wasn't going to apologize for his abilities. He also wasn't going to let Sylar wallow in self pity for losing his since in Peter's opinion he'd misused them. He put the cooked food on a couple of plates and put them on the table. He walked over to Sylar's bed and said, "Dinner's ready. Come over to the table and eat please."

Sylar was hungry but his irritation outweighed his stomach's complaints as he mumbled into his sheets, "I'm not hungry. I want to sleep a little longer."

Crossing his arms at the obvious lie Peter said, "It wasn't a suggestion. Get up and come to the table to eat."

Sylar growled angrily under the sheets, "Or what? Are you going to force shovel the food down my throat? I'm not hungry; just leave me alone Peter."

Peter's first impulse was to pick Sylar up and put him in his chair, but he knew that wouldn't go over well. Instead he said, "If you refuse to come to the table and eat a couple of bites of food, then you can have thirty minutes solitary confinement while I eat. I'll put your plate in the refrigerator and you can warm it up later, but I'm warning you, we won't be home again for at least two or three hours."

Sylar thought about Peter's words, 'Solitary confinement? That'd be perfect since I don't want to be around you right now anyway. I can stay hungry for a little while longer just to prove a point that you won't tell me what to do.' He spat angrily, "Fine! Although I think it's a little unfair of you to exert your will over me like a tyrant just because I'm tired and not hungry."

Peter shook his head at how stubborn Sylar was being. He turned and walked back to the kitchen thinking that a few swats would be much more effective, and that he should never have agreed to solitary as a punishment. He put some plastic wrap over Sylar's plate and put it in the refrigerator. Then he took one of the kitchen chairs away from the table, and set it facing the make-shift corner between the wall and the refrigerator. He walked back to Sylar's bed and said, "Solitary doesn't get to be in your bed. Get up, and follow me."

Sylar's anger was growing as he flipped the sheet back to look at Peter with a scowl. His eyes squinted hatefully at him boring a hole into the back of Peter's head as he followed him into the kitchen. Once he saw that Peter meant to have him sit in the corner his rage turned to fury as he spat, "You want me to sit in the corner?!? That's ridiculous! I'm not going to do that! If you don't want me sleeping, you can make me sit on the couch, but I'm NOT sitting in the corner!" Sylar crossed his arms defiantly staring up at Peter as he thought, 'When I agreed to solitary confinement, I didn't agree to THIS!'

Peter crossed his arms as well and said with a calm he didn't feel, "Solitary confinement is supposed to be an unpleasant punishment. Sitting on the couch or staying in your bed for half an hour isn't something you will try to avoid in the future. If your original choice had been to come to the table and eat a few bites or get spanked, I'm pretty sure you would have come to the table. And maybe now that you know what solitary confinement is going to entail, you'll work on avoiding it in the future."

Sylar's blood froze in his veins and his eyes widened momentarily at the mention of getting spanked as he thought, ' I'd better tone it down a bit and just sit in the stupid corner, I don't think I could stand getting spanked again.' He managed to keep an icy stare on Peter for a moment longer before responding, "Whatever. You get your way Peter, I don't want to eat, and you punish me for it. I hope you feel like a big man now." He stormed over to the chair climbing up into it and tucking his feet up so his knees were scrunched against his chest with his arms wrapped around his legs and his chin resting in the crevice of his knees. He fumed staring at the crumble patterns in the apartment's wall as he thought in agitation, 'I can't believe he's got me sitting in the corner like a freaking toddler!'

Pleased to see that Sylar wasn't going to put up more of a fight about it, Peter walked over to the microwave and pushed some buttons. He turned to look at the back of Sylar's head and said, "I've set the microwave timer to go off in half an hour. You can get up once it goes off. Until then I want you to think about the reason you're being punished. It has a lot more to do with your general attitude then it does with the fact that you refuse to eat."

Peter sat down at the table and started eating his own food which wasn't as warm as it had been when he first put it down. But it still tasted pretty good.

Sylar waited until he heard Peter's utensils clinking on his plate before he spun around to look around the kitchen. He groaned looking up at the clock; it had just barely made three minutes… he had a long way to go. This only made him more frustrated. He didn't want to sit here any longer and spent the next ten minutes shifting every which way until he was lying with his back on the chair seat with both feet planted on either side of the corner. The boredom was making him drowsy as he sighed loudly in an effort to be annoying. 'Sixteen minutes yet to go, almost halfway there,' he thought wearily.

Once he finished eating, Peter took his plate into the kitchen. He looked over at Sylar's unusual position in the chair. Ignoring Sylar completely, Peter went and washed his plate and the dishes he'd used to cook dinner. Once that was done there was only five minutes left before the timer went off. Peter got out a container of ice cream and a spoon, and ate a few bites while leaning against the kitchen counter waiting for the timer.

It seemed like the most painfully long thirty minutes to Sylar; and when Peter came into the kitchen, his eyes darted over to him. His frown turned into a pout when Peter brought the ice cream out as his stomach growled in yearning. He thought, 'You jerk. You're eating that in front of me on purpose! I hate you!' Sylar silently seethed turning his eyes back to the wall deciding he didn't want to watch Peter enjoying the ice cream he wished he was enjoying as well.

Thirty seconds before the alarm went off Peter put the ice cream away. He hoped he'd made Sylar's solitary confinement miserable enough that he wouldn't jump at the chance to do it again like he had half an hour ago. The timer went off and Peter said, "Time's up. I hope that the next time I tell you to do something you'll think about this and be more inclined to do what I ask. Especially when it's something I'm trying to get you to do for your own good like eat a healthy dinner."

As soon as the words times up had been muttered, Sylar rolled out of his awkward position planting both feet on the floor before standing up straight arms folded in agitation. Sylar scowled mentally reiterating the words, '…trying to get you to do for your own good… Pfft! Like sitting in the corner is for my own good!' He grumbled, "Can I go read now."

Peter raised one eyebrow and gave Sylar a look to show he wasn't happy with his tone before he said, "No. We're going to go to the park so that I can practice for a few hours. You can bring your book with you though. Go get ready to go."

Sylar made sure to give Peter his own disapproving look as he stormed into the living room to get his shoes. He didn't want to go to the park to watch Peter use his abilities; it just served as more of a reminder that he didn't have any anymore. As he got his shoes on, he sighed disheartened knowing that it wasn't Peter's fault he had powers, his powers just left Sylar feeling impotent around him.

The flying had been fun and beneficial, and Sylar had seen Peter use the power before, so it was of no surprise to him when Peter had used it again. Things had changed when Sylar had discovered Peter now had Alice's power, a new power …one of many. All he could think about was seeing Peter continuously gaining more and more powers throughout the time he would be living with him, and the capacity of the power Peter could house in time was unfathomable and overwhelming for Sylar in his current state of helplessness. It made him feel mundane, everything that his mother had told him that he wasn't even though he had felt it every day of his life. He had tried so hard to break that feeling inside of himself, and when he'd gotten powers, they had defined him, made him special. He thought forlornly, 'It doesn't matter now, I'm not special anymore, and I shouldn't hate Peter because he is. I need to just accept that fact and get over it.'

Peter's irritation with Sylar's behavior went away after hearing his thoughts, because at least he knew that Sylar was trying to calm himself down. Once he saw that Sylar had his shoes on and his book in his hand, Peter walked over to him, and squatted down in front of him so he could be on eye level. "When we're at the park I need to concentrate on what I'm doing. That means you have to stay close to me and stay in my sight at all times. I know this probably isn't how you wanted to spend your night, but I need to practice. Let's fly to the park so we can avoid rush hour, and so that you can at least have a little bit of fun tonight."

Sylar found it hard to keep eye contact with Peter embarrassed of his behavior and still having mixed feelings about having to sit and watch Peter learn how to use his new power, but he nodded in agreement feeling a little better about the opportunity to get to fly again. Within ten minutes time, the two had flown from the fire escape to an alleyway less than a block from the park.

The two walked side by side to the park, and Peter led them down one of the trails that went into a wooded area. Once they were far enough in that they couldn't see any lawn behind them, Peter led them a few feet off the trail. Looking around, Peter pointed to a tree that lay on the forest floor, and had obviously been down long enough to start decomposing. He said, "Stay by this tree. I'm going to work on the plants growing out of it."

Peter knelt down and started concentrating on one little plant at a time, trying to make it just slightly younger instead of making it go all the way back to seed form.

Sylar tried to feign like he was uninterested by plopping down on the downed tree and trying to read his book, but in all truth watching Peter perfect his skills was fascinating in its own right not to mention the dying afternoon light made reading a little difficult. He watched him out of his peripheral thinking, 'I wonder if he can use that power in reverse? If so, maybe he can turn me back into an adult again?'

Peter was putting all of his concentration into mastering his new ability, and after an hour of practicing he felt he could control it well enough to try it on a small tree. He walked over to a tree that was only five inches in diameter at the base, put his hand on it, and turned it into a sapling. He could feel his energy draining when he worked on the tree, and knew he'd have to call it a night. He nodded to himself thinking he'd made good progress, and then turned to Sylar. He said, "I'm done for the night. Ready to fly back?"

Sylar nodded his agreement, and they walked back to the alleyway where they then flew home. It was dark outside, and when they'd gotten back home Sylar had taken his book and sat on the couch to read the last chapter that he'd had trouble getting through with all the recent excitement.

Peter felt drained and wanted to go to sleep even though it was only seven o'clock, but didn't trust Sylar enough to fall asleep before him. He looked at Sylar sitting on the couch and asked, "Did you want me to warm up your dinner, or are you still not hungry?"

At Peter's words, Sylar's stomach growled in response, and he said nonchalantly, "I could eat."

Peter stifled the urge to roll his eyes and went into the kitchen to warm up Sylar's food. Once Sylar was eating at the table Peter said, "I'm gonna go take a shower."

Peter kept his mind open to Sylar's thoughts as he went into the bathroom. Once he got in the shower, Peter just stood there for a little while letting the warm water fall on him. He forced himself to stay awake and washed his hair. When he was done he turned the water to cold for a few seconds to try and wake up. He put on a pair of sweats and a tee shirt that he often slept in, and went out to check on Sylar.

Sylar had finished his meal going from the table straight back to sprawling out on the couch to continue his reading.

Looking at the clock Peter sighed; it was only eight thirty. He looked over at Sylar and said, "I know it's really early, but practicing wore me out. Can you please get ready for bed, and then read in bed quietly for the rest of the night until you go to sleep, so that I can get some sleep?"

Sylar didn't argue getting up to do as Peter asked. He had completed said task and was laid out on his bed within twenty minutes time his nose buried back in his book.

Peter lay down, knowing he couldn't keep himself awake any longer. The last thought before he fell asleep, was wondering if he could keep his mind open to Sylar's thoughts while he slept.

Sylar did not pay much attention to Peter as he had passed the time reading the last of his chapter. Once he had finished, Sylar glanced up to look at Peter's now softly snoring form. He wondered what the man could be dreaming since his eyes were moving rapidly back and forth. He thought sourly, 'You're probably dreaming about using your new power.' This line of thought brought him back to another unsettling memory, 'If you absorbed my telekinesis then that means you also absorbed that fat police officer's ability to read thoughts. You've been invading my mind since I've been here!' Sylar's mind reeled at this revelation wondering how he hadn't put two and two together before. He felt betrayed and vulnerable knowing that he'd been left so open to Peter's ability. It was unnerving on many levels, and his anger was immense as he thought, 'Well you're not reading my thoughts now, and I'm not sticking around here for you to do it any longer. By the time you wake up, I'll be long gone."

Sylar slid silently off the bed and tip-toed over to his shoes. He grabbed a sweater off the back of the couch and Peter's wallet before slipping quietly out the door and down the stairs.

# # #

Peter was in Kirby Plaza. He looked down at his hands; they were glowing. He said with horror, "No... Not again."

Then Sylar was in front of him in his adult form. Sylar sneered and said, "You wanted to save me?" Sylar paused to laugh and said, "Pathetic. You can't even control your own powers, and you wanted to try and control me? I killed a few people, so that I could have their powers. You're going to kill hundreds of thousands because you can't control yours."

Peter muttered, "No... No I can control it now. I can." But as he looked at his hands, he could see that the glow was getting brighter.

Sylar started laughing even harder. Peter glared over at him and focused on his hands as he said with more confidence, "I can control it now."

The glow died down and Sylar's laughter died with it. Once Peter had his radiation contained he focused back on Sylar to give him a smug look, but only could see the back of Sylar's head as he was running away. Peter yelled, "Get back here!"

Peter ran after him, and before he got a block away Sylar's form changed from an adult to a child. Peter quickly caught up and grabbed Sylar around the waist. Peter lifted him up and Sylar screamed at him, "I'm running away, and you can't stop me!"

Peter jerked awake. He was breathing hard as he sat up in bed and got his bearings. The clock read ten PM. He looked over at Sylar's bed and saw it was empty. "Sylar?"

Getting no response Peter threw the covers back and stood up. He focused his mind on Sylar's thoughts, and could tell he was close, but not in the apartment. Peter went out the window and got onto the fire escape. He flew into the air so he could see all sides of the building, and looked for Sylar.

# # #

Sylar had made it to the bottom of the steps and with great effort opened the heavy metal door leading out onto the city street. Sylar's eyes darted back and forth smirking and feeling quite sneaky as he ran down the street towards the subway. He was free, he wasn't sure what he would do, but that didn't matter now since there was no turning back.

Peter saw Sylar leave the building and knew his dream had somehow been linked to Sylar's thoughts and had woken him up. Peter muttered, "I can't believe he's running away."

Peter flew past Sylar and landed in an ally a block ahead of him. When he heard the soft thwap of Sylar's shoes running on the sidewalk, Peter stepped out from the ally and into Sylar's path.

Sylar stopped dead in his tracks his jaw dropped open in shocked surprise. He froze momentarily unable to speak, and when he did get his composure back his first instinct was to turn on his heels and run, but he knew that Peter would catch him. So, instead he bawled his fists in anger and shouted, "Did you think I wouldn't figure it out? How you've been in my head sifting through my thoughts like your pudgy friend? You had no right!"

Peter glared as he walked towards Sylar. "No right?! That's rich coming from you."

Peter got close enough and grabbed Sylar by the arm and started marching the two of them back towards the apartment building as he continued, "I knew you'd figure it out, I just wasn't sure how long it would take, but it doesn't change anything."

Sylar tugged and pulled away to no avail thinking quickly, 'Doesn't change anything?' A wave of fear went through him as the 'rules' conversation came flooding back. The anger drained out of his voice as he remarked, "What do you mean? How can you say that? You've been lying to me! You should have told me! That changes everything!"

Feeling tired and pissed, Peter kept his mouth shut knowing he'd say something he'd regret at that point. He yanked Sylar into an ally, tossed him over his shoulder, and flew them back to his fire escape. He put Sylar down on his bed and said, "Stay there; I need to calm down."

Peter stalked off to the kitchen to calm himself down.

Sylar's whole body went rigid when he'd been tossed over Peter's shoulder. He could feel the waves of anger coursing through Peter, and when he'd flown up to the fire escape, through the window, and then tossed him on his bed all he could think was, 'Oh no. He's really pissed.' Sylar was grateful that Peter left to calm down. He didn't know what to say, but he knew better than to challenge Peter or argue with him in his current state. He thought, 'I just have to let him calm down, then we can talk about this; he can't blame me for being mad… can he?'

Peter paced around the kitchen for a few minutes taking some calming breaths and talking himself down in his head. 'Running off in the middle of the night the first chance he gets. Telling me I have no right to read his thoughts, as if he should have any rights at all after the things he's done.'

Peter shook his head and took another deep breath. 'That's not helping, let's try again. You're tired. The new power tired you out, and you've only had about two hours of sleep. It's understandable that he'd be upset, we were building trust, and now he feels like that's gone.'

Peter rubbed a hand down his face and thought, 'And now I have to spank him for running away too. Bad timing, but I can't let it go.'

Peter turned towards the sink and splashed some cold water on his face. He dried off, and then turned towards the bedroom. He asked himself if he was calm enough to deal with Sylar fairly and decided he was.

He walked into the bedroom and sat on the edge of his own bed facing Sylar's bed. He put his elbows on his knees and looked at Sylar. "I'm calm now, so let's talk. You feel betrayed, and I am sorry you feel that way. But I couldn't trust you to be honest with me at first, and needed to be able to read your thoughts without you knowing, to make sure I was helping you in the right way."

Sylar had watched Peter pace around and when he came into the bedroom, his stomach tightened involuntarily. He hated this feeling, the feeling that he was in trouble. When Peter sat down Sylar took in a deep breath sitting up straight as he listened to Peter. He scowled at Peter's justification as he spouted, "You're damn right I feel betrayed. How am I supposed to feel?" As a quick justification of his own he added, "That's why I left; I figured out you've been lying to me this whole time, so I figured all bets were off."

Peter shook his head. "You figured wrong, all bets are not off. Understanding why you were angry does not mean that I'm okay with you taking off. There were other ways that you could have dealt with your anger, and we'll talk about that tomorrow. But right now, I have to follow through with some behavior modification. I was very clear about what would happen if you tried to run away, so come here."

Sylar's face fell as his eyebrows furrowed in worry, "What? But… come on! We're talking it out right now. It… it was a misunderstanding, and I can forgive you for lying okay, but I think in the same vein, you should also forgive me. Can't we just consider us even with a fresh start?"

Peter knew this was going to be hard for Sylar; knowing what was coming, and being helpless to stop it. But Peter also knew that following through with what he'd said he would do was the only way to continue building trust, especially now that it had been damaged. "It was not a misunderstanding, you deliberately ran away. I lied to you because I was trying to do what was best for you. You ran away because you were angry. Motive makes all the difference. I will forgive you for running away, and we can start fresh again after I spank you. I'm not changing my mind about it, so you can come here, or I can come get you."

Sylar wanted to cry and his lips formed into a pout reflecting this emotion before he could control it. His throat became dry, and his heart pounded as he desperately tried to think of what he could say to convince Peter not to spank him. He whined, "I'm sorry Peter; I over reacted! Please don't… don't do this. I'll be good now. I don't need a spanking… really!" He scooted back against the far wall of his bed and grabbed his pillow placing it in his lap and nervously kneaded his fingers into its squishy surface.

Peter stood up and said quietly, "I'm sorry too."

He took the couple of steps that separated their beds, and sat down next to Sylar who was squishing himself as far away from Peter as he could, and had a look of panic on his face. Peter put both his hands on Sylar's upper arms, lifted him pillow and all, and pulled him face down over his lap.

Sylar yelped when Peter grabbed him, and when he was placed over Peter's lap he immediately began to squirm in desperation to get away as he yelled, "No, no, no! Stop!" When it seemed his pleas were falling on deaf ears, Sylar tried a little manipulation, "Don't beat me Peter! Please don't hurt me! I'm sorry! Okay? I'm sorry!"

Feeling a little like a bully, but trying not to, Peter said, "I wouldn't call it a beating, but it is going to hurt."

As he was talking Peter pulled Sylar's pants down with a tug. Once the clothing was out of the way, he brought his hand down with a solid spank in the middle of Sylar's butt, and quickly followed that with more.

Sylar whimpered as the feeling of cool air signified his ass being bared, and he clenched awaiting the soon to be swat that would follow. The sharp slap followed too soon after. And with it Sylar's eyes teared over. It wasn't the pain even though it hurt, but the humiliation that he was once more in this position that had brought on the tears. He bucked and twisted trying to avoid Peter's blows as he screamed out, "Noooo! Peter! Stop! I'll be good! Please stop!"

Keeping a tight hold on Sylar's upper half, Peter paused long enough to trap both of Sylar's kicking legs between his own. Once Sylar was secured, Peter continued the spanking just as hard and said, "I'm glad to hear that you'll be good in the future, but this spanking is punishment for what you've already done."

Sylar wailed out pitifully as Peter trapped his legs, "Peter no! No more!" He hated Peter's words because he knew Peter was right, he would be good in the future if only to avoid repeating this humiliating experience again. He hated Peter for spanking him, but he also knew it was the only way Peter would ever have any semblance of control over him. Because he was out of control, and he needed to be put in check. The pain in his rear was starting to really hurt, and he wiggled unable to move an inch as he turned to stare at Peter in despair eyes pleading for him to have mercy as he watched his heavy hand raise and once again fall on his very vulnerable rear end.

Peter glanced over at Sylar's head for a second and made eye contact right after a swat had landed. Peter paused long enough to say in a calm voice, "Running away will always bring us back to this point. So if you want to avoid getting spanked..."

Peter turned back to Sylar's rear and gave him a swat that was harder than the other's had been. "...I suggest you think twice next time you're angry."

With that Peter started swatting at a fast pace again, and concentrated his swats slightly lower than before to get Sylar's sit spots and upper thighs.

Sylar couldn't help the little grunts and squeals that escaped his throat as Peter's hand lit his ass on fire. He moaned hoping for sympathy, "I can't take this anymore! It hurts so bad! I… I won't runaway again! I swear! You… you made your point!" After all his energy had been spent, he collapsed wearily over Peter's knee sobbing and feeling very sorry for himself and his bottom as it was peppered with swat after painful swat.

After hearing some sincere crying coming from Sylar, Peter gave him ten more swats before stopping. He hadn't had to spank for as long this time to get the results he was looking for, and he was pleased to see only dark pink skin with no bruising this time. Peter relaxed his legs so that Sylar could move his again, and then pulled up Sylar's pants for him. He thought that Sylar would need comfort this time even more then the last time he'd spanked him, not only because they knew each other better now, but also because he knew Sylar's hurt feelings from the lie were fresh in his mind. Peter picked Sylar up, sat him in his lap, and pulled his upper body into a hug.

The hug was hated and welcomed at the same time, but Sylar didn't pull away as he sobbed into Peter's chest not caring how weak it made him feel. Mostly Sylar felt confused with the conflicting emotions he was feeling. On one hand he felt angry and violated knowing that his thoughts were no longer his own, and on the other hand he couldn't fault Peter for keeping his power a secret from him because he knew that if he had known about Peter's ability, he would have completely shut Peter out without giving him a chance. He realized then that he really did like Peter and believed that he had his best interest at heart.

As his sobs died down Sylar felt like he should pull out of the hug, but the hug was comforting and he wanted to be comforted. The strength of Peter's hug made him feel like a huge weight had been lifted from his conscious. It wasn't a feeling he was used to. His parents were never very physical people negatively or positively, and after displaying such a varying degree of emotion, Sylar had exhausted himself. He blinked wiping away his tears with the back of his shirt and finally pulling out of the embrace feeling embarrassed for staying in it for so long as he mumbled, "I'm okay now."

Peter helped Sylar stand up and stood up himself. "I think that's a stretch. Getting spanked sucks. It's emotionally and physically draining. It's okay if you're not okay for a while."

Peter pulled back Sylar's covers and said, "Get in bed."

Sylar reached back gently rubbing the sting that still emanated off his back side thinking, 'Getting spanked does really, really suck!' He pouted as he looked at Peter and then at the bed and sighing kicked off his shoes and demurely climbed up onto the bed. His breath still hitched a little as he grabbed his pillow and lay down on his stomach. As Peter brought the covers up over him, a wave of sorrow washed over Sylar, and he clutched his pillow tightly, his eyes once more welling with tears to silently cascade down his cheeks as he cried into his pillow.

After pulling the covers up around Sylar's shoulders, Peter sat down on Sylar's bed and started rubbing his back in soothing circles. He could tell Sylar was crying again and said quietly, "I can't tell you that I'm sorry I hid my abilities from you, because I'm not. But I am sorry that you feel betrayed. And you may not believe this at first, but I won't lie to you or hide things from you again."

It took Sylar several minutes to respond for the fact that he wasn't sure how to respond to what Peter had said and the fact he didn't want Peter to know he was still crying. He took in a deep breath finally replying, "I did feel betrayed, and I guess I can understand why you wouldn't tell me... I probably wouldn't have told me either if I were you. And for what it's worth, I do believe you, and more so, I really want to believe you."

With a soft smile on his face Peter said, "Thank you for that." After a short pause Peter said, "Why don't you try to get some sleep. Things will be better tomorrow."

Peter kept rubbing Sylar's back and planned to stay with him until he fell asleep.

Sylar sniffled listening to Peter's words and coupled with the comforting and his exhaustion, within twenty minutes time, Sylar had drifted off to sleep.

Once Sylar's breathing leveled out Peter walked over to his own bed and fell back to sleep seconds after climbing in.

The alarm went off at seven the next morning. Peter turned it off and felt surprisingly well rested after feeling drained the night before and having to chase down Sylar. He got up, checked on Sylar who was still sleeping, and went to make some coffee. While he was drinking his coffee, he checked the list of patients he had to check on, and what times he was scheduled to be at each of the three places.

With his coffee in hand, he went in to wake up Sylar. He touched Sylar's shoulder and said, "Time to wake up."

Sylar blinked rolling onto his side and mumbled sleepily, "I'm up… I'm up."

"We need to leave for work in half an hour, so you need to eat some breakfast, take a shower if you want, and get dressed."

Peter started getting out his own clothes out while he waited for Sylar to get up.

Sylar groaned as he slid out of bed. His bottom still had a dull throbbing reminder of last night which made him frown. He wanted to see the damage there and gathered a change of clothes and headed to the bathroom.

He undressed and examined the slight discoloration of splotchy reds and was glad it didn't look as bad as the previous time. It still sucked, and he hated knowing that getting spanked was a quick option for his discipline, and he hated even more that it seemed to work on him well, and he was sure Peter knew that fact too.

It wasn't worth dwelling on, and so, he climbed into the shower, cleaned up, and got dressed coming back out into the living room once he'd finished. Peter had prepared a bowl of cereal for him on the table, and Sylar climbed into his chair and began silently eating while Peter was getting ready.

Peter was ready to go by the time Sylar finished eating, and soon they were in the car on their way to the first house. On the way Peter said, "We're going to see three different people today. The first is Robert Paulson. He's in his late sixties. He was in the military his whole life, and he started showing the first signs of Alzheimer's in his fifties. He lives with his son, daughter-in-law, and their two kids. He's friendly enough, but can get angry when he doesn't remember things."

Sylar raised an eyebrow remarking, "This is going to be an interesting day isn't it?" He wondered what he would be doing while they visited all of Peter's patients. He was sure to be finding out shortly he assumed.

"While we're at the Paulson's house, I'm sure the kids will want you to play with them, and if you can remember to act like your seven then I'm fine with that, but I somehow doubt you'd enjoy it. You can help me with Robert by just sitting and listening to him talk while I take his vitals and talk to his daughter in law about how he's been doing."

Sylar nodded responding, "Either is fine; I like kids… I think I can manage acting like I'm seven for a couple hours."

Peter smiled and said, "You like kids? You're an only child right? And I'm pretty sure you don't have any kids of your own, so what kids did you know in your old life that you liked?"

Sylar smirked thinking of his mom's neighbor's children that he'd taken to the park while his mother and theirs would have coffee together as he replied, "I've known a couple, and believe it or not, they even liked me."

Peter pulled up to the house and said, "I can believe it."

The two got out of the car, and walked up to the Paulson's house. Peter rang the bell and Katrina answered. "Hi Peter, come on in."

Peter indicated Sylar and said, "This is my nephew, Gabriel. He's staying with me for a little while."

Katrina smiled and said, "Nice to meet you." As she was talking two small children came running into the room. Both of them said with glee, "Peter!"

Peter smiled, "Hi guys. How are you?"

The girl said, "Good." While the boy said, "I got a new truck."

Katrina said, "Gabriel, these are the twins Mike and Maddie. They're five." She turned to Mike and Maddie and said, "This is Peter's nephew Gabriel."

Both kids said, "Hi." at the same time.

Sylar smiled and waved.

Katrina opened the door for them, and Peter and Sylar entered the house. It was a quaint dwelling that opened up into a small living room that branched off with a hallway on either side of the living room and a kitchen intersecting to the north of the right hallway.

The Disney movie, Cars, was playing on the TV, and Maddie grabbed Sylar's hand leading him to the couch as she said, "Come watch my movie! It just started!" Sylar let himself be led alongside her and followed her lead to climb on the couch and sit beside her.

While Sylar watched the movie, Peter spoke with Katrina for a few minutes about how Robert had been doing over the past week since he'd seen him. Then Peter went into the kitchen with Katrina where Robert was sitting at the table in a wheelchair looking out the window.

Talking to Robert while taking his vitals, Peter got a little eye contact, but no verbal response from Robert. Peter looked over some notes left by Robert's usual nurse, Teri, and then discussed Robert's current medications with Katrina.

Once that was done, Peter took a second to check on Sylar before continuing. He walked into the living room and said, "Are you doing alright? I'm going to be in the bathroom for a little while giving Mr. Paulson a shower."

Maddie had snagged Sylar's hand back as soon as he'd climbed back onto the couch snuggling up next to him to lay her head against his. Sylar smiled thinking her cute as he leaned back into her as well.

Mike had went into his own world after he'd found his truck proceeding to run it up and down an invisible highway that ran the course of the living room's coffee table, and when Peter had poked his head in, all three of them had glanced up smiling.

Sylar responded happily, "Yea; everything's good on this end."

Half an hour later Peter was done in bathroom, and was wheeling Mr. Paulson back to the kitchen. He was pleased to see that Sylar was still watching cartoons and seemed happy to be spending time with the kids. Peter talked a little more with Katrina, and then helped her get Robert to take some medications and eat an early lunch.

Once that was done, Peter went to Sylar and said, "Time to go. Ready for some lunch?"

Maddie frowned, "Aw! Peter, don't take Gabriel away! We're watching Cars!"

Sylar smirked at Peter adding, "See; I told you kids liked me." Sylar gave her a hug telling her, "Don't worry Maddie, I'll come back again sometime."

Soon Peter and Sylar were back in the car. Peter said, "Thank you for getting along with them while I worked, I appreciate it. What would you like to eat? We have about an hour before we need to be at our next appointment."

Sylar smiled from the welcomed praise, "It was actually pretty nice hanging out with those kids. As for food, I'm game for anything. What are you in the mood for?"

"There's a deli not too far from here that's pretty good. You can get sandwiches, soups, and salads. While we eat I'll tell you about the next person we're going to visit. She's my current regular, and we'll see her every day that I go to work."

Sylar responded, "Sounds like a plan."

The two drove on chatting about the Paulson visit and about Mr. Paulson's condition before they'd made it to the deli. The line wasn't long, and the two each had a roast beef sub and a coke within five minutes of stepping up to the counter. Peter carried their food on a tray, and they made their way over to one of the back tables to slide into a booth and eat their lunch.

While they were both eating Peter said, "Next we're going to go see Lacey Danforth. She's forty-eight and she's dying of lung cancer. She lives with her husband Joe, and their daughter, Hanna, who has been away at college but recently moved back in to stay with them for the next couple of months."

Sylar listened to Peter and thinking about what he had said about his next appointment, he thought, 'Forty-eight? Wow. I guess I thought Peter only worked with old people… nothing will make you feel your own mortality more than working with the dying.' He responded with, "I guess she's pretty far gone to be in Hospice care now. How do you do it Peter? I mean working with people dying all around you. Doesn't it depress you?"

Not needing any time to think about it, Peter said, "Sometimes it is depressing, but it's something I feel compelled to do. People may not want to talk about or think about death, especially in our society, but it's a part of everyone's life. It's something we all share. And I think to myself; what if it were my mom, my brother, or myself lying in bed dying. Wouldn't I want someone to be there for me? Wouldn't I want someone to help me not to be in constant pain while my body was shutting down? Does that make sense to you?"

Sylar nodded responding, "It makes sense. I guess it just takes a special person to be able to put themselves in the position to be there for someone in such a way. I respect you for that Peter."

Giving Sylar a big smile Peter said, "Well thank you. It's good to know that you can appreciate what I do. I'm pretty sure that both my mom and my brother think I'm a bit of a disappointment. Maybe if I'd been a doctor I'd be less of an embarrassment."

Sylar frowned responding, "I don't think we'll ever amount to what our parents really foresee us to be." Sylar thought of his own mother and felt a conflicted mix of anger and guilt before dropping his gaze to turn his attention back to his roast beef sandwich.

Peter nodded in agreement and concentrated on his own food. The rest of the meal was eaten in companionable silence, and when they were done eating, they headed towards Lacey's house.

Hanna answered the door wide enough to let them in and said, "Hi Peter. I'm glad you're here..." She looked down at Sylar and her sentence trailed off.

Peter said, "Hanna, this is my nephew Gabriel. He'll be staying with me for a while."

Hanna said, "Hi Gabriel. Nice to meet you."

Sylar gave her a large smile and a wave replying, "Hello Hanna."

"She's in more pain than usual."

Peter put a hand on Hanna's shoulder and said, "Let's see what we can do about that."

Hanna put her hand over Peter's for a second, and nodded. Peter let her go and turned to Sylar. "Come on; I'll introduce you."

The three walked through a large living room full of expensive furniture, up a flight of stairs, and down a hallway to the master bedroom. As they were walking Hanna said, "My dad went to work for a few hours today. Mom insisted she was feeling better than last week. Dad knew it was a lie, but Mom knew he needed to be there for a meeting today, so he went. She's coughed up quite a bit of blood over the past hour, but she was able to eat more lunch than usual."

The door to the master bedroom was open. The sun was shining through the window of the spacious room, and a frail looking woman was on the bed propped up into a sitting position with pillows behind her, and an oxygen tube running under her nose. She had a blue bandana tied around the top of her head, and she was wearing matching blue pajamas. Her breathing was audible from the doorway. She smiled at Peter and said, "Hello Pete." She looked at Sylar and said, "Hello there young man, who might you be?"

Sylar said nothing as he lingered in the doorway looking at the woman. He wasn't afraid of her, but her raspy breathing did send a shiver down his spine. He watched how the woman had regarded Peter with such admiration and warmth, and all of a sudden, he felt like he didn't belong here. It was as if his mere presence tainted the scene. What Peter was doing was a wholesome act, and with all the many things Sylar had done, he didn't feel he deserved to be a part of it.

Reading Sylar's mood more than his mind, Peter realized he wasn't going to answer. Looking at Lacey Peter said, "This is my nephew. He'll be staying with me for a little while, so you'll be seeing him pretty often."

Peter turned to Sylar and said gently, "It's okay Gabriel, come over here and say hi."

Lacey smiled and added, "I don't bite."

Sylar slowly moved into the room to the foot of her bed. He gave Lacey a small smile as he said an almost inaudible, "Hello."


"Very nice to meet you." Lacey said.

Peter asked Lacey, "How are you doing today?"

Her eyes darted over to Hanna and she said, "I'm feeling fine."

Nodding Peter turned to Hanna and said, "Hanna could you please get your mother's nebulizer ready?"

"Sure." Hanna walked out of the room and once she was gone Peter turned to Lacey and said, "How are you doing today?"

Lacey looked out the window and said quietly, "Feels like someone's tightening a vice grip on my entire chest. Every breath is more of a struggle."

Peter nodded and got his stethoscope out of his bag "How many breathing treatments have you had today?"

"Three."

Peter listened to her chest for a few seconds and then put the stethoscope away. He sat down on the edge of her bed, picked up her hand in his and said, "How about some morphine? I know we've talked about it, and I know you don't like it, but when you've had it before, it helped."

Lacey looked out the window thinking about it. She turned back to him and gave him a small nod. As she was nodding she went into a three minute coughing fit, and had to pull out some Kleenex to cover her mouth with while she coughed. The Kleenex came away red when the coughing was over. Peter took the tissue away from her and put it in the garbage by the bed, and got the morphine out of his bag. As he was getting the shot ready he turned to Sylar and said, "Could you please go distract Hanna for a few minutes? Ask her for a soda or something."

Sylar up until this point had been mesmerized watching the scene in front of him. Peter's question knocked him out of his daze and he nodded responding, "Huh? Oh yea, yea. No problem."

Sylar was more than happy to leave the room darting out and down the hall towards the kitchen. On his way to the kitchen he heard a humming sound coming from the living room. Sylar turned the corner to see Hanna sitting on her coffee table softly crying. Her palms covered her eyes so that all he could see of her face was the terrible grimace of pain as she sobbed.

Sylar frowned eyebrows arching in sympathy for the woman. He saw a box of tissues next to the recliner and picked them up bringing them to Hanna. He didn't interrupt her. She moved her hands to wipe the tears away only to be startled by Sylar's presence standing next to her. He lifted the box of tissues up towards her.

Hanna took a few from the box and wiped the tears away before giving him a sad smile and replying, "Thank you honey. Aren't you the sweetest thing? I guess the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree in your family does it?"

Sylar smiled responding, "I guess not. I'm sorry if I scared you."

Hanna brushed her fingertips through his hair replying, "Oh sweetie, you didn't scare me." She switched the nebulizer off and turned back to face Sylar asking, "How would you like a nice piece of pumpkin pie?"

Sylar's smile grew as he responded, "I'd love some, but you've got to have a slice with me."

Hanna arched an eyebrow giving him a crooked smile and remarked, "Oh yea? Is that so?"

Sylar nodded his agreement and grabbed her hand so that she would go to the kitchen with him. He knew it wasn't a permanent fix for Hanna's suffering, but he hoped it would at least be a welcome distraction for her.

It didn't take long for the shot to take effect, and a couple of minutes after Peter had given it to Lacey she murmured, "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Peter went and made some notes in her chart, and looked through the notes his weekend relief nurse had written. Once he was done with that he went and checked Lacey's heart rate and breathing. Then he said, "Why don't you take a little nap now that the pain isn't so bad."

"How long?"

She asked him this question at least once a week since they'd met, and Peter knew what she was talking about. He made his best guess, "Less than a month."

Lacey nodded in understanding. After a pause Peter said, "How about some music? What would you like to listen to?"

"The Bee Gees, Stayin Alive."

Laughing Peter said, "Well that seems appropriate."

Lacey smiled at him and said, "It played at my prom."

Peter walked over to a small entertainment center that was against the wall and looked through the CD's until he found the right one. He put it in the CD player, and once the music started he said, "I'm going to go check on Hanna."
'''''''''''''''''''

Peter walked downstairs and found Hanna and Sylar in the kitchen eating pie. As he walked in he said, "That looks pretty good."

Hanna immediately asked, "How is she?"

"I gave her a shot of morphine. She's resting."

Hanna looked back at her pie and pushed it away. Peter looked over at Gabriel for a second and then back to Hanna. "Gabriel's been stuck inside watching me work most of the day. Any chance I could talk you into showing him the pond out back while I get some of the laundry done?"

After a short pause Hanna tried to smile as she turned to Sylar and said, "We have some koi in there. Wanna see them?"

Sylar put on a smile and gave her a small nod before slipping off the chair. Hanna held out her hand to him and he took it as she led them towards the back door. Before walking out the door, she turned back motioning to the refrigerator and said, "Help yourself to some pie if you'd like Peter. There's plenty, and most of it ends up going bad without a little help eating it."

The two exited the house and walked down the back steps into the now red and browning garden. Hanna's mind was elsewhere as she stared off momentarily. As they walked, she refocused and looked down at Sylar with a smile as she stated, "You know, when I was your age, I used to love trying to catch the fish in our pond." She laughed continuing, "Mom would get so mad when I'd come in all covered in mud and smelling like the pond. She used to say she was going to get rid of the blasted thing just to make a lady out of me."

Sylar giggled and said, "I guess she made a lady out of you another way huh?"

Hanna let out a soft chuckle replying, "Yea, I guess she did."

She sat down on the swinging bench that sat a few meters away from the pond holding it still so Sylar could climb on. He did so, and Hanna wrapped an arm around his shoulders. The human contact felt good, and Sylar leaned into the embrace willingly. He stared off at the pond watching the waterbugs dance across the water's surface as he absently stated, "It's amazing how much peace can be found in nature."

Hanna gave him an odd look and said, "You're quite mature and insightful for your age Gabriel."

Sylar remembering that he was in a child's body blushed and covered with, "Well, that's what my dad always used to say when we'd go camping."

Hanna gave a slow nod before returning her gaze to the pond as well as she replied, "Your dad is a wise man then."

The two continued to sit in companionable silence.

Half an hour later Peter checked on Lacey who was asleep. He was listening to her breathing when Joe arrived home and came in to check on Lacey. Peter saw him and whispered, "She's sleeping."

Joe nodded, walked over to her side, and put a soft kiss on her forehead before leaving the room with Peter. Once they were walking down the stairs Peter said, "I gave her some morphine for the pain. I recommend putting her on a regular dose. We should talk to her about it when she wakes up, and then you should talk to her about it tonight, and let me know what you both decide. She doesn't like to admit she's in pain, but it's only going to get worse from here."

Looking unhappy, Joe nodded and said, "Okay."

Once they got downstairs Joe looked around and asked, "Where's Hanna?"

"I brought my nephew Gabriel with me today; he's going to be staying with me for a while. Hanna took him outside to see the pond."

"Probably good for her to get out for a while." Joe said to himself.

Peter said, "Same goes for you too. Why don't you go out and talk with Hanna for a while. I'll come get you when Lacey wakes up. Tell Gabriel to come in and see me for a minute."

Glancing towards the stairs for a second before nodding, Joe headed out towards the pond. He saw Hanna and Gabriel sitting by the pond. Hanna saw him and said, "Hi Dad. How did the meeting go?"

Without a smile Joe said, "It went really well."

Hanna said, "This is Pete's nephew, Gabriel."

Joe said with a small smile, "Nice to meet you Gabriel. Peter wanted to see you for a minute."

Sylar looked between the two briefly and nodded slipping off the bench swing to let Joe sit as he responded, "Okay."

He made his way up the back steps and into the house where he saw Peter waiting for him. He stated, "Joe said you wanted to see me. I'm guessing you more wanted to give those two a minute alone."

With a smile of approval Peter confirmed Sylar's suspicions. "Yeah, you're right. We'll be here for a couple more hours, so if you want to keep yourself busy, there are quite a few books in the living room, as well as a couple of shelves filled with DVD's."

Sylar's lip twitched as he thought about the selection of activities. He didn't find either very appealing at the moment as his mind was jumbled by all the conflicting emotions around him. He didn't want to just sit in the living room and pretend nothing here was wrong, but knowing Peter had work to do, he nodded his acquiescence saying "Okay." Before heading into the living room, he turned his eyes back up to Peter searching for what he wasn't quite sure, but he knew he wanted to know more about what made Peter who he was. He was starting to really admire the man and was happy that if he had to be in anyone's custody, it was Peter.

# # #

"Why hasn't he called us?" Mohinder spat irritably to Matt. It had been nearly a week since Peter, Mohinder, and Matt had taken Sylar's powers away. Mohinder shook his head as he paced back across the kitchen floor and into the living room where Matt was sitting. He handed the man a cup of tea as he continued, "Sylar is dangerous. I realize Peter means well, but he can't possibly think that he can manage a monster like him. I can't just sit idly by waiting for Sylar to make his escape and wreak more havoc on the world. We have to do something."

Matt took his tea, had a sip and then shrugged, "Do something? What do you suggest we do? Peter made it pretty clear that he thinks he can handle things, and I'm sure he'd call if he needed help. Anyway, I thought that shot got rid of Sylar's powers. Is he going to get them back?"

Mohinder frowned, "With a man like Sylar? I couldn't say that he wouldn't try to find a way to reverse the effects of the serum. Not to mention, this is new science; who knows if the serum's effects will last forever. Can we really take that chance? I just think Peter's out of his element. We would all be better off if Sylar was placed in a cell where he could be watched at all times. He's a killer, and the Company is the best place for him."

Matt took the tea and had a sip while he considered what Mohinder had said. He thought about Molly and hated the thought of Sylar ever being able to hurt her again. "If there's a chance that Sylar could get his powers back, then maybe we do have an obligation to make sure he's locked up. But Peter meant what he said, and he'll fight to keep him. I don't want to fight Peter, but even if we did try to fight him we couldn't win."

Mohinder took in a deep breath contemplating Matt's valid point before responding, "You're right, we can't take Peter on by our selves, but I think we both know someone who can help us." Mohinder walked over to the kitchen table where his cell phone had been placed. He flipped the phone open, found Noah's number, and dialed.

Noah looked at his cell phone to see who was calling and answered, "What can I do for you Mohinder?"

Mohinder responded, "We've got a mutual problem that I think you are more equipped to handle. It's Sylar, we need your help to take him down. If you can meet with Matt and I, I can explain everything."

Noah's mind raced. "Sylar? I'll be on the next flight to New York. Don't try to confront him before I arrive. I'll call you when I have my flight information."

Mohinder acknowledged, "We'll be waiting." He clicked the phone closed and turned a smile towards Matt and said, "Not to fear the cavalry is on the way."

Matt took another sip of his tea and mumbled to himself, "If Noah's the cavalry we better hide the women and children."

Noah turned off his phone and went to talk to his superiors in the company. Half an hour later he had phoned Mohinder back and given him the flight information; six hours later, he was stepping off the airplane in New York.

Noah hailed a cab and headed towards Mohinder and Matt's apartment.

Mohinder awoke with a start at hearing a loud pounding at his door. He slipped out of bed stumbling towards the door. Matt was still sleeping on the couch supposedly to be the one waiting up. Mohinder shook his head rolling his eyes as he peered through the peephole to confirm the late night visitor was in fact Noah. It was. He opened the door standing to the side to invite the man in. They weren't exactly on the best of terms now, but Sylar was a common enemy and worth working together to bring down.

Noah entered the apartment and got straight to the point, "Thanks. Are you awake enough to tell me what you know about Sylar's whereabouts?"

Mohinder glanced over at Matt who had stirred in his sleep as he closed the door behind Noah. He crossed the expanse of the living room and slapped Matt's calf to wake him up before turning back to Noah and responding, "About that… I think you might want to have a seat because what I'm about to tell you is… complicated."

Matt jerked awake and said, "What? What's wrong?"

He looked over at Noah and Mohinder and realized he'd fallen asleep. He rubbed a hand over his face and said, "Oh."

Noah looked over at the kitchen table and took a seat. "Okay, I'm sitting. Let's have it."

Matt stood up and started making some coffee for himself and whoever else wanted some. He said, "I don't know how complicated it is. Sylar's a kid with no powers, and in Peter's custody."

"What!" Noah's voice had gone up a notch.

Matt looked to Mohinder to explain.

Mohinder gave Matt a frown for throwing the facts out there so bluntly. He massaged his temples irritably as he padded into the kitchen pulling out a chair to sit next to Noah. The man was looking at Mohinder like he had three heads. Mohinder looked down at the table and sighed deeply gathering his thoughts before bringing his eyes back up to stare into Noah's as he replied, "Sylar went after another power, and by a turn of good fate, it blew up in his face. The particular power he ran into regressed him physically but not mentally, so make no mistake, he's just as dangerous. As for his powers, I'm sure you'll remember the last time we spoke that I had told you I'd been working on an inhibitor serum? Well, it worked… for now any way. We would have brought you Sylar after capturing him, but Peter insisted that the Company was a poor choice. I'm hoping that you can help change his mind."

Noah sat there dumbfounded for a few seconds, and then said with irritation, "And you only decided to call me now? How long has he been with Peter?!"

Mohinder responded to Noah, "A little over a week."

Noah shook his head thinking this was a bad situation. "You should have called me. Sylar is a killer, and needs to be locked up. Not to mention that this serum is experimental, and you don't know how long it will last! We need him contained. And now that Peter's had him for a week..."

Noah shook his head, knowing the things Angela had told him about her son. "The longer they are together the more attached Peter will get, and the more he'll try to fight to keep him. Sylar is a manipulative bastard and will use Peter's soft nature to his advantage."

Noah stood and paced around the room for a few seconds, wishing his friend the Haitian was available, but he wasn't. "I'll have to think about this. We'll need a plan to get Sylar away from Peter without anyone getting hurt. I'm going to go check into my hotel, and I'll be back here first thing in the morning to work out a plan."

Mohinder nodded, "How about nine? Matt will have dropped Molly off at school by then, and we should have plenty of time to devise some way to get Peter out of the way, so we can contain Sylar properly."

"I'll see you at nine then." Noah left the apartment and called to report the situation to his superiors. He worked into the night trying to devise a plan for getting Sylar away from Peter with no one getting hurt.

Once Noah had left the apartment, Matt turned the coffee back off and said, "I'm going back to bed."

Mohinder gave Matt a side long glance as the man shuffled off to bed. He looked at the time, it was one AM, and nine was going to come all too quickly. Mohinder sighed pushing himself up out of the kitchen chair and heading back to bed himself.

# # #

The week had been enlightening for Sylar as he followed Peter through his normal everyday life. He couldn't believe how selfless Peter was, and the longer he was around him, the more Sylar wanted to emulate him.

Now, it was the weekend, and Peter had told him he had a surprise in store; it was going to be a special day, and Sylar found himself waking to the smell of pancakes simmering on the stove and a big grin plastered across his face.

Peter had been true to his word; it had been a special day. It started off with a large homemade breakfast before the two had rode out of town. Peter took him up into the mountains where they did a little hiking, stopped for a nice lunch before hiking back down. What followed was a scenic drive down old country roads where all the changing leaves painted the backdrop for a menagerie of nicely built historic mansions. As they traveled they were able to relax and just talk one on one about nothing in particular other than getting to know each other. When they'd reached the bottom of the mountain, Peter pulled off down a dirt road that led to an out of the way dairy farm that made homemade ice cream; it was the most delicious ice cream Sylar had ever tasted, and by the time they were back in the city, the sun was setting and both were exhausted.

Sunday hadn't been as fun starting off with cleaning house and doing laundry, but by the time all that had been taken care of, the two had went to Central park and rented a canoe to row around in for a few hours followed by a trip past Strawberry Fields where a cover band was playing John Lennon for a small crowd of appreciative listeners. By late afternoon, both were sitting on the living room couch kicked back reading a book when the phone rang.

Peter answered the phone, "Hello?"

On the other line Nathan responded, "Hey there stranger; I was calling to find out if you were still coming over for dinner tonight since you canceled on me last Sunday."

Peter smiled, "Hey Nathan. Of course we're coming, and I already said I was sorry about last Sunday. We'll see you in about an hour."

Nathan chuckled replying, "I know, I know. I just have to give you a hard time. Dinner won't be ready until around seven, so take your time. I'll see you soon."

"See you soon." Peter hung up the phone. He knew Nathan was going to ask him how things were going with Sylar, and as he thought back over the week, he was happy that he could honestly say things were going very well. He turned to Sylar and said, "Ready to go meet the family?"

Sylar glanced up from his book and gave him a half smile as he responded, "No, but I don't see as I'll have much of a choice in that department will I?" he joked.

Smiling Peter said, "Well you're right about that."

# # #

Peter and Sylar arrived at Nathan's house about six thirty. After knocking on the door, Peter put a hand on Sylar's shoulder in an attempt to let him know that things would be fine no matter how the dinner went.

Nathan came to the door with a smile opening it wide enough for the two to come in. He gave Peter a welcoming hug and said, "Come on out to the backyard, I decided the weather was so nice today that we'd grill. The tables already set, and the kids are out on the lawn playing horseshoes."

Nathan let his eyes drift down to Sylar and gave him an uncomfortable practiced smile he'd perfected as a politician. He asked, "And how are you?"

Sylar deciding to stay cordial only stated a quick, "Fine."

Nathan nodded and looked back up to Peter and motioned to the study before saying, "After dinner, we can spend a little time going over some things I wanted to discuss with you," he looked back down at Sylar for a moment before asking, "Are we going to be able to leave him unattended?"

Sylar's eyes darkened at the insinuation, and he frowned but said nothing merely looking to Peter to see what he would respond.

Peter saw the look on Sylar's face when he heard Nathan's comment, and knew it had upset him. Wanting to get things straight with Nathan from the start, Peter said, "I know that you don't know him all that well, but Gabriel and I have spent a lot of time together over the past two weeks, and I think we've started to trust each other. I'm fine with him hanging out with Monty and Simon while we talk."

Peter turned to Sylar and thought to him, 'Give Nathan a break, and let him get to know you before you get defensive. He only knows what he's read about you.' And then Peter asked him out loud, "Do you mind entertaining the kids while we talk later on?"

Sylar's lip twitched in slight agitation, but he nodded is acquiescence responding, "I guess I can manage that."

Nathan gave Peter an apologetic look as he replied, "Sorry Pete, I guess I was a bit judgmental, but you can hardly blame me." He looked down at Sylar as he added and held out his hand to shake, "Let's try to wipe the slate clean shall we?"

Sylar looked at the hand in front of him with a frown for a moment before conceding and taking it in his own hand to complete the shake as he responded, "Deal."

Nathan smiled back up at Peter and said, "Well, now that that is settled, I hope you're hungry because I've got some prime beef to grill and a side of skewered shrimp to throw on next."

Pleased that they both seemed to be trying, Peter smiled and said, "Sounds good, thanks."

He turned to Sylar and said, "Come on, I'll introduce you to the kids."

Peter and Sylar walked out back and as soon as Simon saw Peter he called out, "Hi Uncle Peter!"

Monty followed and both ran over to give him a quick hug. Peter returned the hugs and then said, "Hey guys, I want to introduce you to someone. This here is Gabriel, and he's going to be staying with me for a while."

"Why?" Monty asked.

"Because his parents aren't available, and he's too small to live on his own."

This answer seemed to satisfy the kids for now, and Simon asked Sylar, "Wanna play horse shoes with us?"

Sylar grinned remarking, "Sure," as he followed Simon and Monty back to the area set up for playing. There was also a net set up for badminton with a few racquets not far off from the horseshoe area. The sun was starting to go down by now, but the back yard was well lit with iridescent poled lamps that surrounded the property.

When the kids had walked off, Nathan turned and walked over to the grill lifting up the lid to check the coals progress. Seeing the coals were ready, he began placing the steaks on the grill. When he'd finished the task, he turned back to Peter and said in a low rumble, "Now tell me honestly, are you really okay with this… this set up you've got going? You know I trust you Peter, I'm just worried you might be spreading yourself a little too thin here."

Peter gave Nathan a knowing smile and said, "You trust me, but you still think it's a really bad idea for me to let him live with me."

Nathan snorted, "I'd be lying if I said no. Like I said, I trust you, I just don't know if you can continue to handle such a responsibility by yourself. There's only one of you. That brings me to what I wanted to discuss with you, you remember that old cabin mom and dad bought out in Georgia?"

"Yeah; what about it?" Peter asked curiously.

Nathan flipped the steaks as he continued, "I've taken the liberty of digging the key up for you. I figured since I knew you'd be too stubborn to ask for my help, if things got a little bit overwhelming, you might take him out there to get your head straight. It's pretty well secluded, so you shouldn't have to worry about him causing any trouble since there isn't another soul around for miles."

Peter smiled at Nathan and thought about all the times his brother had been there for him throughout the years. He said with sincerity, "Thanks Nathan, it's good to know you've always got my back. I don't think I'll need it, but I'll take the key just in case. Gabriel and I are getting along better than I would have thought possible. Some of that is due to me having faith in his ability to change, but most of it is due to Gabriel wanting to change himself."

Peter's phone rang before Nathan had the chance to reply. Peter saw the number and said, "It's work. I've got to take this."

Peter answered, and after a short conversation he hung up. He saw Nathan looking at him questioningly and Peter said, "One of the other nurses called in sick. I've got to fill in for her tomorrow morning. How's the food coming? It smells great."

Nathan poked the steaks and their juices sizzled onto the coals below; satisfied, he lowered the lid on the grill as he answered, "About eight minutes should be good. Did you want a drink? There's some red wine already out on the kitchen counter, and there's some soda and juice in the fridge."

Peter said, "I'll grab myself a soda." He turned to Sylar and called out, "Gabriel, do you want something to drink?"

Sylar who had just taken his turn was standing on the sidelines watching Monty throw a horseshoe when he heard Peter call out to him. He turned shouting out, "Sure, an ice water would be great!"

Peter grabbed them both a couple of drinks and went back out to watch Nathan finish cooking. Soon they were all eating, and the kids kept the conversation going so there were no awkward moments between Nathan and Sylar. Nathan gave Peter the promised key as Peter and Sylar were walking out the door to go home.

# # #

Noah clicked his phone shut, turned to Matt and Mohinder, and said, "It's all set. You guys want to go over the plan once more, to make sure you know what's going on?"

"I think that's a good idea." Matt said.

Noah nodded and said, "Peter's already agreed to fill in for someone at a house that's new to him. I'll have my people undercover and ready to meet him at the front door. Sylar will be with him, but we're going with the assumption that Sylar's powers are still gone, so Peter is the only threat. As soon as Peter crosses the threshold of the bedroom, he'll trigger the automatic sprayers which will put him to sleep almost instantly. Then we can come in and take over custody of Sylar."

Matt said, "You have to make sure your people understand that Pete reads minds, the fewer people in the house the better. It would help if they sang a song in their head whenever they aren't talking to Peter. It's distracting while trying to read someone."

Noah nodded and said, "Thank you for the advice." He turned to Mohinder and said, "Do you have anything to add?"

Mohinder shook his head no, "I'm just ready to get Sylar off the streets once and for all."

# # #

Monday morning followed with a regular visit to the Paulson's where Maddie over excitedly hugged Sylar hauling him off to show him her new board game, and by mid afternoon Peter and Sylar had eaten lunch and were heading over to a Mrs. Akrin's where Peter had informed Sylar they were visiting as a favor for Karen a fellow Hospice nurse that was out sick for the day.

The apartment was located in one of the many ghettos of Brooklyn in a rundown building in need of some serious pressure washing. The two climbed out of the car and walked across the street towards the apartment's entrance. Sylar's eyes traveled up the length of the tall building as he remarked, "Thank gods this client is on the second floor; I somehow doubt this building has an elevator."

Peter laughed at that and teased, "I could always carry you if you get too tired." He held the door open for Sylar to go into the building.

Sylar scoffed lightly as he walked through the front door responding with a smile, "Aren't you just Mr. Funny man with all the jokes. Better be careful, I might take you up on that offer."

His smile faded as he took in their surroundings; the place looked like a crack head hideout with dingy yellowed walls and scuffed, chipped, stone floors leading to a zigzagging stairwell which was covered in office carpet that had several spots where the carpet had been worn so thin you could see the concrete slab beneath. From looking at the edges of the carpet, Sylar could tell the original color of the carpet was a sky blue, the rest of the carpet was stained a tar black from the traffic it had seen. The railing leaned slightly and looked as if someone had thrown a refrigerator down the stairs or something equally as heavy and the railing had somehow managed to survive the attack. The stairwell was too small for the two to travel side by side, so they made their way up the steps single file with Sylar in the lead.

Sylar's lip curled in disgust as he watched the roaches scurrying for cover. He put his hands in his pockets not wanting to touch any of the hallway's unpleasantness as he spat snidely, "No wonder this lady is dying; it's unhealthily gross in here. You'd think with the state of dilapidation this place is in, the fire marshal would have boarded it up as a hazard by now."

Peter was equally as disgusted by his surroundings, but didn't like Sylar's tone. He put a hand on Sylar's shoulder to stop his progression up the stairs, and when Sylar turned to look at him, Peter said, "I agree that it's gross in here, but that's not a good reason to make light of someone dying. We're here to make her last days better and easier than they would be without us. Understand?"

Sylar lost eye contact at Peter's words feeling slightly guilty as he responded, "I wasn't meaning it like that you know, but yeah, you're right, I should be a little more considerate."

"I know you didn't mean it like that. I just wanted to make sure you knew how it sounded." Peter patted Sylar's shoulder once and then said, "How about tonight we go out flying for a while? Help both of us forget that people actually live in a place like this."

Sylar gave Peter a half smile responding, "You know, all things can't be fixed by going flying… but, I guess it's a good start." His smile broadened into a cheesy grin as he thought absently, 'How do you always know how to make me feel better after pointing out I'm being a big jerk?' Sylar turned back to continue climbing up the stairs as he asked, "So, what apartment number is she in?"

Smiling to himself at Sylar's thoughts, Peter said, "224."

The two of them continued to climb the stairs to the second floor. Once they were in the dimly lit hallway, Peter commented with disgust, "Smells like cat pee mixed with rotting trash up here."

Walking side by side they went down to the end of the hallway and found the correct apartment. Peter knocked on the door, and a couple of seconds later a black man in his late twenties opened the door. Peter said, "Hi I'm here from Hospice care to see Mrs. Akrin."

The man opened the door wider and said, "My mom is in the first bedroom on the right."

Peter and Sylar walked into the apartment, and both were pleased to see it looked reasonably clean, and didn't smell nearly as bad as the hallway had. The man had a Kanye West CD playing, and Peter could hear him singing along in his head to the words. As soon as the man shut the door behind them, he went back to washing dishes and ignored them.

Peter thought this was strange, but shrugged and headed towards the bedroom with Sylar following closely behind. Peter knocked once on the bedroom door and called out, "Mrs. Akrin?"

Getting no response, Peter opened the door and stepped in, only to have a fine mist sprayed in his face. He was too startled and confused to react at first, but the instant the spray hit his face, he started to feel dizzy. He heard someone in the room thinking, 'We've got him now!'

Peter felt himself falling, and he turned to Sylar and slurred out, "Run!" before collapsing onto the floor unconscious.

Sylar stared at Peter as he fell; Peter's words did not really register as he shouted, "Peter!" Sylar had not noticed the mist that had sprayed Peter, and his first reaction was to race up to Peter's side in a panic as he thought, 'Oh God, oh God, Peter! What the heck?' It was then that Sylar noticed the faint mist and coughed feeling slightly lightheaded. He quickly placed the sleeve of his jacket over his mouth and nose as his eyes traveled up to the ceiling pinpointing where the toxins had leaked from.


Sylar looked back down at Peter worriedly as he thought, 'I can't leave him here! Maybe if I can get him away from this mist, he'll snap out of it!' Sylar grabbed a hold of Peter's leg and dragged with all his might to pull Peter away from the doorframe. It took all the strength he had to pull him a few feet away. He dropped down beside him shaking Peter in a desperate attempt to wake him as he shouted out, "Peter! You've got to wake up!"

Peter's head lulled limply to the side. About that time, Sylar spun around on his knees to face Noah, Mohinder, and Matt barreling into the room. Sylar's jaw dropped in shocked surprise.

Noah had a taser pulled and aimed on Sylar ready to fire it into either Sylar or Peter if they had presented a threat, Mohinder followed his lead into the room, and Matt followed to wrap around to cover the other side with a similar taser. Mohinder didn't stop in his stride as he reached Sylar roughly snagging him up off the ground by his bicep as he spat, "Say goodbye to your little friend; it's the last you'll ever see of him."

Matt looked back and forth between Sylar and Peter and realized that Sylar must have pulled Peter away from the mist in the doorway even though that would have been nearly impossible with his current body mass. Matt watched Mohinder grab Sylar and yell at him, but before Sylar could respond, Matt yelled at Mohinder, "Check Peter for Christ sake. Don't you care if he's okay?"

Noah rolled his eyes and said, "He heals, of course he's okay."

Noah knew that if Sylar had any powers he would have used them already, so he put his taser away, and got a bottle of chloroform and a clean rag out of his suit jacket. As he was pouring some of the chloroform on the rag he said, "Welcome back to the company Sylar."

Sylar pulled away viciously as he screamed out, "NO!"

Mohinder grinned down at him with great satisfaction as he held him fast by both arms as Noah wrapped the cloth around his mouth and he breathed the burning fumes in sputtering and jerking in a desperate attempt to get away. Within moments, Sylar's vision began to blur and the world went black.

Noah tossed the rag on the floor and said to both Matt and Mohinder. "Load him up in the back of the car while I debrief my agent."

Matt looked over at Peter and said, "What about Peter?"

Noah shrugged, "What about him. Leave him here, he'll be fine."

"Leave him here?" Matt didn't like the sound of that at all. In fact this whole thing just seemed less and less right as each moment went by.

Noah tried to be patient and spoke to Matt slowly, "He's more of a threat to us out in the open like this then the other way around."

Seeing that Matt probably wasn't going to be all that helpful Noah said to Mohinder, "Put Sylar in the car please. I'll meet you out there."

Mohinder scooped the limp form up and over his shoulder. As he turned to leave, he saw Matt still staring off worriedly at Peter. He grabbed a hold of his shoulder with his free hand and stated, "Snap out of it; this is for the best… besides, Peter never saw us coming. We got Sylar; it's over now."

Matt tried to shake himself out of it and nodded at Mohinder. Matt tried to think about all those months of searching for Sylar and looking at the bodies of the people he'd killed. "Yeah, I know you're right, Sylar needs to be locked away.... I just hated going behind Peter's back."

Matt followed Mohinder out to Noah's car, where Mohinder put Sylar in the back and sat next to him. Matt sat in the passenger seat and they waited for Noah.

Noah spoke with his fellow agents and gave them instructions for making sure there had been no witnesses, and to get out fast before Peter woke. A few minutes later he arrived at the car and headed them all to a holding facility that the company owned in upstate New York.

A very short time later Noah was carrying Sylar through the building with Matt and Mohinder in tow. Noah got Sylar into a cell and shut the door behind him. The three men looked at Sylar behind the glass. Matt said, "What now?"

Noah said, "I'd like both of you to stay here until he wakes up." Noah looked at Matt and said, "You can stay out of his line of sight and read his thoughts to make sure he's telling us the truth." He turned to Mohinder and said, "And you can take some blood samples to make sure your serum is working and his powers are gone for good."

Mohinder nodded moving into action to get the supplies he needed to extract some blood samples. It didn't take long for Mohinder to extract a few test tubes worth, and as he did so, he couldn't help feeling a small pang of guilt for going behind Peter's back, but he justified to himself that they really had done the right thing. Peter was better off, they all were better off. Mohinder took his samples and headed up to the lab facilities the Company had provided promising answers within a few hours' time.

When Sylar awoke, his head felt as if it were stuffed with cotton and from the dampness in the air and the cool chill given from the metal sheet he was laying on, it left him with no doubt that he had been locked away in some secured facility of the Company to rot. It wasn't until he let his eyes flutter open did he see Noah watching him. He was tied down to the gurney, so the only movement he could manage was to lift his head off the table and scowl at the man in front of him as he spat, "Congratulations the big bad Company took down a man in a seven year olds body with no powers; this must be a proud day for you."

Taking no notice of Sylar's comment, Noah started the questioning. "Tell me how your body changed from a twenty nine year old man, into a seven year old boy."

Sylar's mind traveled back to how this all came to be, and the first feeling that came over him was shame at what he had been. He let his head lower back down onto the table as he stared up at the ceiling thinking, 'It was an act of God…a leash to cage the demon I'd let loose upon the world. Maybe there still is a bit of mercy out there even for someone like me.' He didn't feel like explaining how it had happened, and he certainly didn't want to appease Noah of all people, so instead he elicited to say nothing at all.

Matt was standing just out of sight, listening in to Sylar's thoughts, and was amazed by what he heard.

Noah's cheek twitched in irritation when he heard nothing but silence from Sylar. He said calmly, "I'm sure if you're not up for a conversation, we can give you something to loosen up your tongue. Let's try again. We know you've been living with Peter Petrelli for the past two weeks. You hate him, so why did you stay with him that whole time?

Sylar's eyebrows knitted together in frustration at Noah's threat as he spat, "Why do you care? You've got me here now, what does it matter why I stayed?" He thought, 'Someone like Peter is a hard man to keep hating... he's one of the few people who actually wanted to believe I could be something better... not to mention he spanks pretty damn hard, so running away was just not a good option!'

Matt's jaw dropped open at that one, and he just had trouble believing it. It seemed so wrong. Sylar wasn't actually a kid; he was an adult. But the more Matt thought about Peter, and what he was trying to accomplish by keeping Sylar, the more it made sense. And it had obviously been working, because the last time he'd read Sylar's thoughts, they'd been murderous, and now he seemed to have some respect for Peter.

Noah smiled and said, "It matters because we keep tabs on all of you, not just those of you who cause chaos and destruction. Did Peter tell you how his ability works? Have you seen him use his powers?"

Noah thought, 'That's something the Haitian will need to remove. If we don't wipe out all of his memories that is.'

Matt felt kind of sick as he listened in on Noah's thoughts, and wished he hadn't agreed to this without checking in on Peter to see how things were going first.

Sylar growled in agitation, "Tabs? This what your definition of keeping tabs is? You've got some audacity! All of you people think you know what's right when you're just as bad as the people you lock away. I'm not answering any more of your questions, so you can just take a flying leap." He thought, 'This is what I really deserve; I'm a monster. I have no right to be happy, but I sure as hell am not going to drag Peter under the bus with me.'

Noah was calm as he said, "I didn't think you'd actually talk willingly. Lucky for me, you don't have to be willing. I'll be back."

Noah walked away, and Matt who was still hidden from Sylar's view followed. Once they were far enough away, Noah said, "What was he thinking?"

Matt wasn't sure he really wanted to give Noah any information, finding himself trusting the man less and less as he got to know him. He said, "When you asked him about how he got changed into a child, he didn't think about the woman who changed him. He thought that it was the work of God helping to stop a monster. When you asked him why he stayed with Peter he was thinking that he stayed because Peter was the only one who believed he could change. And he doesn't want to repay Peter by giving you information on him."

After a pause Matt said, "His thoughts are very different now than they were when we first found and captured him. He's changed for the better."

Noah sighed and said, "He must have known you were there."

"I don't think so."

Noah shook his head and ignored Matt. He said, "Well let's take a break and see what Mohinder comes up with. Then we'll see if we can get Sylar to talk."

# # #

Peter moaned as he woke up. He put his hand up to his head, feeling woozy. He pushed himself up to sitting and thought, 'Why am I on the floor?' He looked around, finally realizing where he was and called out, "Sylar?!"

After a short pause he yelled, "Gabriel are you here?!"

He used his mind to try and search for any nearby thoughts but found none. He got himself up and searched the tiny apartment, only to find it empty. "Damn it!"

The less foggy his brain got, the angrier Peter became. He yanked out his cell phone and dialed Mohinder's number.

Mohinder was examining a slide of Sylar's blood when his phone vibrated in his pocket. He sighed pulling his tired eyes away from the microscope and dug his phone out of his pocket. Peter's name flashed across the phone's message bar as both Noah and Matt rounded the corner.

Mohinder held up the phone for the two to see as he stated, "It's Peter. Should I answer it?"

Matt looked to Noah to see what he would say. Noah answered, "Yes. Don't tell him where we are, but try to reassure him this is for the best."

Mohinder gave Noah a quick nod in acknowledgment and flipped the phone open as he answered, "Peter, before you say anything, I want you to know we have Sylar, and he's safe, locked away where he can never hurt anyone ever again."

Peter shook his head with disbelief. "How dare you! Instead of coming to me, you went behind my back, drugged me, and stole him! I thought we were friends Mohinder."

Mohinder retorted angrily, "I stole him from you because I am your friend! The truth of the matter is you think that you can control him Peter, and for two weeks you have, but what about a month down the road? He's a killer, and I don't care how badly you think you've got a handle on him, you're not a one man army, and eventually, you will slip up, and he will escape. Do you want his future murders on your hands?"

"He wasn't trying to escape from me, and he wasn't going to kill anyone! I want him back. The company is only going to make him worse, and if he does end up killing again, it's going to be on your hands not mine!" Peter shouted, getting more upset the more he thought about it.

Mohinder growled into the phone, "You don't know what he's capable of Peter, and until you can calm down, this conversation is over." Mohinder clicked the phone shut shaking his head in frustration as he announced, "He's not going to see reason. His mind is already made up."

"Arrg!" Peter yelled in frustration as he heard Mohinder hang up on him. He stuck his phone in his pocket and ran his hand through his hair thinking about his next move. He was pretty sure that Mohinder knew where they were holding Sylar, and probably Matt as well. He also knew that Mohinder and Matt would eventually come home, so he decided to head to their apartment to wait for them. He wasn't sure if either of them would be willing to give him information, but he had to try.

Matt and Mohinder were headed home for the night, having helped out with Sylar as much as they could. Mohinder had verified that the serum was still working, and Sylar had no powers. Matt had stood in the background and read Sylar's mind when asked. When they were a few blocks away from their apartment Matt turned to Mohinder and said, "Did they ask you to go back tomorrow? I've got to go to work, but I can take Molly to school if you need to go back."

Mohinder was lost in thought and answered distractedly, "Huh? Oh… no, no they won't be needing me back tomorrow." He hadn't taken his eyes off the road as he thought about how strange he felt about the whole situation with Sylar now; he felt like he should be ecstatic and happy that they had done what they had set out to do. They had put Sylar away for good. And although he felt it was the right thing to do, he no longer relished the idea like he had.

Looking at Sylar lying in a ball with his knees scrunched up into his chest against the cold concrete wall and a distant far off stare dominating his face, it left little to feel accomplished about. Mohinder kept telling himself it was the child's body that made him doubt his actions and not the subdued and almost defeatist attitude Sylar had taken on leading him to believe that maybe Peter really had made a difference and Sylar was actually feeling guilt and remorse for what he'd done.

Peter paced around the apartment, wondering what horrible things the company was doing to Sylar, and trying to think of the best way to convince Matt and Mohinder to help him. He thought about being invisible when they arrived, but he knew Matt would be able to sense him, and he wasn't ready to go deceive them the way they had deceived him. But if he couldn't convince them to help, he might spend a day shadowing Mohinder and reading his thoughts to get Sylar's location.

Peter heard a key in the door and stood still waiting for his 'friends' to enter.

As Matt put his key in the door to their apartment he turned to Mohinder and said, "If you start on dinner, I'll go upstairs and pick up Molly..."

Matt turned away from Mohinder quickly and focused on the door. He said, "Peter's here." right before opening it.

When the door opened the three men regarded each other for a few seconds, and then Peter said, "Please help me get him back. He's not dangerous anymore, and he wants to change."

Mohinder sighed hating to see the look in Peter's eyes directed at him. They were accusatory and bewildered; he had known that look before reflected in his own eyes when he had questioned his father about coming to the states to follow his research. A misunderstanding turned into an argument, and it was the last he ever saw of his father before Sylar took his life.

Mohinder's eyes darkened as he responded, "Wanting to change isn't good enough for him Peter; he is a killer, and no matter how good of a therapist you think you are, it doesn't change that fact. He's in a safer place now, and you should just let him go. After all he's done, he's really not worth your care and devotion."

Knowing Mohinder wouldn't change his mind; Peter looked to Matt and said, "Matt, Please."

Shaking his head Matt looked down and said, "I'm sorry Peter." Then he thought to Peter, 'I'm sorry we took him. It was wrong. I can see that now. Pretend to go along with what Mohinder says, and I'll meet you in the hallway in a few minutes. I'll tell you where they're keeping Sylar.'

Feeling a glimmer of hope Peter thought to Matt, 'Thank you.' Then he turned back to Mohinder and said, "I know that he's done horrible things, but the thing you don't understand is by putting him in the company's care, you're doing a horrible thing. I'll find him, with or without your help. I was just.... I was just hoping you would have changed your mind after seeing him."

Peter headed towards the door and thought to Matt, 'I'll be invisible and waiting.'

Mohinder did feel conflicted about the decision he'd made, but still had enough anger not to let it waver his resolve as he responded, " I really wish I could give him back to you in good faith that you could and would prevent him from killing again Peter, but I can't, and I won't. I do hope that one day you can forgive us and look past this moment and see that what we did really is for the best for everyone involved."

He moved around Peter and into the house as he added; "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a little girl who's going to want dinner here shortly. I trust you can see your way out as you saw your way in."

Peter walked out of the apartment past Matt and walked down the hall. He opened the door to the stairs and walked through it. Once he was in the stairway and alone, he made himself invisible and phased back through the door to wait for Matt.

Matt looked over at Mohinder and said, "I'll go get Molly. Be right back."

Matt shut the apartment door behind him and started walking towards the elevator to go up two floors where Molly's babysitter lived. Matt thought about Molly and knew that if someone tried to take her away from him, he'd fight to keep her. And after hearing Sylar's thoughts and seeing his dejected form in the cell earlier that day, he knew he had to try and make things right. He couldn't tell where Peter was, but he knew he was close.

He thought, 'Sylar is in a company holding facility upstate. It's well guarded, but they won't be expecting you. I'm going to try and send you a mental image of the place. Get in the elevator with me.'

'Okay I'm in.' Peter thought back.

Matt concentrated on recalling the images of the facility, both inside and out, including the street name and address of the facility. The last image he sent was of Sylar in his cell. He heard Peter curse in his head at that image.

The elevator bell went off as they reached the babysitter's floor. Peter became visible before the door opened, and Matt turned to look at him.

"Thank you. I won't forget that you helped me." Peter said with honesty.

Matt gave him a short nod. "If you manage to get him out, the two of you better lay low for a while. Give me time to smooth things over with Noah and Mohinder. Try to make them understand."

Peter nodded and walked down the hall to the stairs. He headed to the roof and flew towards the facility.

# # #

Noah couldn't say if he was pleased with the work he had done today or not. He'd caught Sylar and put him away for good, which pleased him. And he'd confirmed that Sylar's powers were gone. But he wasn't finding the whole thing as satisfying as he'd hoped. He wanted Sylar to be angry, wanted him to put up more of a fight. They'd taken blood samples, done some testing, and asked him a multitude of questions even though Sylar hadn't been particularly responsive.

Holding a tray with some soup, Noah walked into Sylar's cell. They'd had him for hours and hadn't offered him any food. Noah knew that when his kids were younger, they'd want to eat something every few hours, and hoped Sylar was hungry. Closing the door behind him Noah said conversationally, "You know Gabriel, the company has been watching you for a long time now, and I have to say there's poetic justice to you ending up in a child's body. Not only have you been stripped of your powers, but you've been stripped of your manhood as well. Powerless both legally and physically, at the mercy of every adult you encounter. You do see the irony in that, don't you?"

Sylar was hungry, but he didn't feel like eating. He had been lying curled in the same spot since the Company had finished their poking and prodding. Noah's words had cut like knives, and would have otherwise gotten a rise out of him, but as of now, he accepted where he was as being the punishment he deserved. He brought his eyes up slowly to the piercing stare that met them responding, "I do see the irony… ultimate power corrupts, and I am no exception to that rule."

With a pleased smile Noah said, "Good. So why don't you stop trying to resist, and start answering my questions. Tell me about each of the powers you acquired, and then I'll let you have some dinner. It's chicken noodle soup, and it's hot."

Sylar scowled at Noah the anger beginning to well in him once more as he responded, "So that's how it's going to be? You're going to withhold food for answers? I'm not your puppet, and I'm not going to play this game with you; I'd rather starve." Feeling he'd said his peace, Sylar rolled over to face the wall scrunching up more tightly to shut out Noah and this horrible place.

Not put out by Sylar's refusal, Noah said, "Okay, I'll just take this back to the kitchen then. But starving isn't an option. We put a lot of time and energy into getting you; we're not going to let you starve yourself to death. If you refuse to eat tomorrow, we'll hook you up to an IV. You should think about that tonight. The more you fight us, the worse your living arrangements will be." Noah turned and left, taking the food with him.

Sylar's frown deepened as he contemplated how bad his situation could get. Noah clicked the light off covering him in darkness, and a single tear slid down his nose as he clutched his pillow his mind racing at the thought of what was to come in the morning and how long he could truly hold out from the Company. They had many resources and ways of making one talk, and Sylar knew it would only be a matter of time before one of their many tactics penetrated his armor. He would hold out as long as he could with all the fight he had left in him.

# # #

Peter was able to find the company's holding facility without much trouble. Once he was a few blocks away from the building, he turned himself invisible. Flying around the building a few times, close up, he took note of the location of exits, windows, and guards. Once he had an idea of how big the place was, he landed, and phased through the front door, keeping himself invisible.

Once he was in, Peter started walking through the facility to get the layout of the building. Again he kept track of guards, exits, and cameras. Soon he found the main surveillance room. There were two guard's playing cards, and keeping half an eye on the twenty monitors that were in the room. Sixteen of the monitors showed the sixteen cells that were in the building, and the other four monitors showed the hallways.

Peter looked closely at the monitors, and soon found the cell Sylar was in. He didn't like what he saw. Sylar was huddled up into a ball, and Noah was leaving Sylar's cell. Peter watched Noah take the ID badge off his shirt, and then swipe it on the panel next to the door. The door opened, and Noah walked out. Peter kept an eye on Sylar and could tell he was crying.

Peter was looking at the badges the guards had, trying to see if they were the same as Noah's, when Noah came into the room. He started talking to the guards while putting his jacket on. "No one is to have any interaction with him. If something goes wrong, you call me immediately. No one goes into the cell; no one comes out of the cell. No one talks to him on the intercom, no one takes him any food or blankets. Remember, he's not a child, he's an adult, and he's a murderer."

Clenching his fists while thinking about how satisfying it would be to punch the smile off Noah's face, Peter took a good look at his badge. Once Noah was gone and the guards were alone, Peter looked at their badges. They were the same, and one of the men had his badge on his jacket, which was on the back of his chair. Peter quietly took the badge, worrying that his powers might not work down in the cells. Badge in hand, he followed the electrical circuits from the monitors, and followed them through the walls. Once he found the main circuit, he used his radiation powers to fry it.

He heard the guard's surprised reaction, and knew he had to hurry. He stayed invisible, and ran through the halls, phasing through all the doors. As soon as he got to the lower level, he held up the badge to the door, and the cell door slid open. Letting himself become visible again, he made eye contact with Sylar and rushed over to his side. He said, "Are you okay? We need to get out of here fast."

Sylar's eyes widened in surprise as a big smile quickly formed on his face and he exclaimed, "Peter! You… you came for me!" He was surprised that Peter was able to find him so quickly and grateful that he did.

Smiling back, Peter walked over to Sylar and picked him up. "Of course I came for you. I'm going to try and make us both invisible, so we can get out of here without a fight."

Peter focused and within seconds the both of them were invisible. Peter said, "Hold onto me and keep quiet. I'm going to be phasing us through doors, so don't yell if you see a wall coming at you. Ready?"

Sylar whispered, "Yeah, I'm ready when you are." He put his arms around Peter's neck pulling him into a tight hug and feeling safe in Peter's hold as he thought, 'Thanks for not leaving me here.'

Peter held Sylar a little closer, hugging him back, and started to move through the building. The guards were in a panic trying to figure out what had damaged the monitors, and making sure the dangerous people were still in their cells, which gave Peter time to walk out without attracting anyone's attention. As soon as they were outside of the building, he flew the two of them up into the air, and then let the two of them become visible again.

As they were flying Peter said, "Did they hurt you? Are you okay?"

Sylar tried to keep his voice calm but it still wavered slightly as he acknowledged Peter's question, "I'm fine. They didn't hurt me… just took blood and made threats..."

Relived that he'd gotten Sylar out before they physically hurt him, Peter tried to sound reassuring as he said, "Threats that they won't be able to follow through on. I'll make sure they don't get you again."

As he finished his sentence, they arrived at Peter's apartment. He landed on the fire escape, and took them in through the window. He set Sylar down on his feet and said, "We need to pack some bags quickly, and get out of here. It won't be long before they figure out it was me, and come for us."


Sylar nodded and sped over to grab some clothes out of the drawer below and flopped them onto his bed before going over to the book shelf to grab the books he hadn't read and a couple of the ones he really liked. By the time he'd done that, Peter had placed a gym bag on the bed for him to put his things in as he went back to busily packing his own things along with towels, toothbrushes, and nonperishable groceries. Sylar had finished long before Peter had, and as he watched Peter bustle about trying to get everything they would need to get them by, he wondered out loud, "Where are we going to go that the Company can't find Peter?"

While packing Peter answered, "My parents own an old cabin in Georgia. It's out in the middle of nowhere, and pretty run down, but no one will be looking for us there. The only other person who knows that I have the key is Nathan."

Peter had three gym bags full of stuff and figured that was all he was going to be able to carry while flying and holding Sylar. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Nathan's number, hoping his brother was able to pick up.

Nathan had just settled into bed less than an hour ago when he heard his phone buzzing on the night stand. He let it buzz for a few rings before sighing tiredly and swiping it into his hand. He sat up straight seeing it was Peter and knowing from how late it was something was definitely amiss. He flipped the phone open answering groggily, "Peter, it's almost midnight; what's going on?"

"I'm going to be gone for a while, and I didn't want you to worry. The company took Sylar today with help from Matt and Mohinder, and tonight I took him back with some help from Matt. We're going to go hide out for a while at... the place you suggested."

Nathan listened worriedly as he tried to process everything in his still sleep addled brain. He responded, "Okay Peter; that sounds like a good idea to go to mom and dad's cabin. But you two are going to need food and supplies; how are you doing with money? Do you have enough to hide out for a couple of month's time?"

Rolling his eyes Peter thought to himself 'Way to be stealth Nathan, I hope no one is listening in or recording this conversation.' To Nathan he said, "I'm not too worried about supplies, we can fly to grocery stores that aren't close to where we're staying, but money... well money might be a problem since I don't want to use a credit card. Could you please call my work for me tomorrow and let them know I'm taking an emergency leave of absence, and I'm not sure when I'll be back?"

Nathan still a little out of it wiped at his eyes and responded, "Yeah, yeah sure. I can take care of that for you tomorrow morning. Give me twenty minutes and then come meet me, I think I can help you out a little. Can you do that?"

Knowing Nathan always had his back, Peter smiled and said, "Okay, and thanks. We'll be there in twenty."

Peter hung up the phone and looked at Sylar. "Nathan wants to see us before we go, so we have some time to wait. When was the last time you ate?"

Sylar looked down at the ground thinking about the soup Noah had offered before realizing that it had been quite awhile since he had eaten. His stomach gurgled in protest as he looked back up at Peter with a frown and said, "When we ate lunch last."

"Bastard!" Peter said while thinking of Noah. He put a hand on Sylar's shoulder and lead them to the kitchen as he said, "Let's get you fed. What do you want to eat?

Sylar smiled at Peter and said readily, "Anything you're cooking."

Smiling back, Peter went to the refrigerator, got out some ravioli that was leftover, and put it in the microwave. While it was warming up, he buttered a piece of bread and handed it to Sylar. As soon as the microwave buzzed, Peter got it and put it on the table in front of Sylar. Sitting down at the table next to Sylar, Peter waited for him to have a few bites and then said, "You sure you're okay? Do you want to talk about what happened?"

Sylar ate ravenously thinking that raviolis never tasted so good. He didn't want to discuss what had happened at the company as it was all decidedly unpleasant. He shook his head no and said, "There's nothing really to talk about; I'm okay now... really." He never let his gaze leave the bowl of food in fear that Peter might actually see just how much the experience had really bothered him.

Peter doubted things were okay, but he let it go for now. He put a hand gently on the back of Sylar's head and said, "If you change your mind about that, I'll be ready to listen."

Peter put his hand down and said, "I'm going to go through our bags once more and make sure I didn't forget anything. As soon as you're done eating, let me know and we'll head in Nathan's direction. I don't know how long the apartment will be safe."

Sylar nodded speeding up a tad to finish his meal a little more quickly to get out of the apartment as soon as possible.

# # #

As Nathan hung up the phone he made his way down into his study and opened his safe pulling out a couple grand thinking that should get Peter through a month and a half at least. He dug around until he found one of the promotional pre-paid phones he'd received for advertisement sake during his campaigning; it had 150 minutes on it, and even though not much, it was enough that Peter could contact him off the grid for emergency sake. He put both the cash and the phone into a belt pack and sat down in his leather backed chair to wait for Peter's arrival.

As soon as Sylar was done eating, Peter put the bags on his shoulders, picked up Sylar and flew over to Nathan's house. He'd been wondering if the weight of the bags along with Sylar would be a problem, but it didn't cause him any extra strain while flying, and was sure the flight to Georgia wouldn't be an issue. Once they got to Nathan's house, Peter put Sylar down and knocked on the door.

Nathan was quick to answer the door looking from side to side to make sure no one was watching them enter as he ushered them in and to the study. He grabbed the belt pack off the desk and placed it into Peter's hand as he assured, "There should be enough money in here to keep you afloat for a little while. I put a prepaid phone in the bag programmed with the number to another prepaid phone I just activated. The number is in your phone's memory so you'll have my number, and I'll have yours. When you guys get to the cabin, give me a call to let me know you made it."

Peter opened the belt pack and looked inside flipping through the bills quickly. A little overwhelmed with his brother's generosity Peter looked up at Nathan, and after a short pause while he tried to figure out what to say, he pulled Nathan into a tight hug. "Thank you. I promise I'll pay you back as soon as I can."

Nathan hugged him back responding, "I'm not worried about the money, I just want you to stay safe; now go on and get out of here." Nathan pulled out of the hug and gave Peter's shoulder a squeeze as he added, "I'll do what I can to keep them off your trail, and after a month or two I'm sure I can convince them to back off."

Throughout the embrace, Sylar watched on thinking, 'This is my fault; Peter's life is being flipped upside down because he wants to help me. No one has ever done anything like this for me.' Knowing that Peter might be reading his mind, Sylar moved his train of thought to taking in Nathan's study as the surface thoughts that started to follow Sylar was sure Peter wouldn't approve of, but sometimes Peter needed protecting as well.

Too emotional over what his brother had said to concentrate on Sylar's thoughts, Peter gave Nathan one more smile and then turned to Sylar. "Let's go."

Soon they were in the air, and thirty minutes of fast flying later, they were at the cabin in Georgia. While flying, Peter had been preoccupied with thoughts of how to make sure the two of them were safe at the cabin. Once they arrived, Peter set Sylar down, unlocked the door, and took a look around. It was better kept then Peter would have imagined, and he said, "Doesn't look like we'll need to do much in the way of clean up to get it livable. I'll start a fire, and you unpack some of the food."

Sylar was amazed at how fast they had flown from New York to the cabin in Georgia, and he was extremely glad Peter had made a point to have him bundle up. As Peter left to gather some wood, Sylar thought about how hard he was making Peter's life. It was then he made up his mind; he would wait until Peter was asleep, and then he would leave. He decided; it would be better for both of them if he just simply wasn't in Peter's life.

Peter went out to get some firewood. The roof on the right side of the cabin extended six feet off the side of the house to make a covered area, that was somewhat protected from the elements. There was a large stack of firewood there, which would last for days. He gathered up some wood and went back into the cabin to find Sylar standing in the same spot he'd left him in.

"What's wrong?" Peter asked, and tuned into Sylar's thoughts for the first time since calling Nathan.

Sylar saw Peter and smiled and responded, "Oh, nothing," as he shook his head to clear his thoughts focusing on the bag with the food in it as he thought, 'Oh yeah, unpacking, that's what he wanted me to do. Get your head out of the clouds Gabriel.' He grabbed up one of the gym bags Peter had laid on the sofa and began digging the contents out to purvey what foods Peter had brought. None were overly tasty selections. There were various cans of vegetables, some refried beans, and a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese. His lip curled as he thought, 'I'm glad I got raviolis before we left!' As soon as the thought crossed his mind he looked back at Peter apologetically knowing he'd probably read that thought.

Relaxing after hearing some normal thoughts from Sylar, Peter smiled reassuringly and said, "We'll get some better food in a couple of days once we get settled."

Using the hatchet by the fireplace, Peter cut some chips off the larger pieces of wood to make kindling, and within a few minutes had a fire going. Once he was sure it wasn't going to go back out, he focused on the cabin. It was small with the living room and kitchen combined into one large room. The only door in the cabin other then the front door was a door to the small but functional bathroom. There was a ladder next to the kitchen area which led to a loft with a large bed. The only other furniture in the cabin was a ratty couch that had seen better days, and a dusty kitchen table with three chairs. Peter muttered, "Home sweet home."

Sylar arched an eyebrow and tried to be reassuring, "Well, at least the weather is a little warmer down here than it was up North… and I did take the liberty of grabbing that book you'd been reading earlier since I knew you weren't thinking about it." He trailed off looking at the fireplace a moment before fetching it along with the book he had been currently reading as he handed it to Peter he said, "Why don't you relax and let me fix you some mac & cheese?"

Peter took the book, pulled Sylar into a hug, and said, "Thank you for trying to make the best of it." Letting him go he held up the book and added, "And it's very sweet of you to remember my book, and to want to make me some food."

Looking over at the food Peter realized he hadn't had any dinner. He'd been so caught up in trying to make sure the two of them were safe, that he hadn't noticed. Remembering the coffee incident, and not wanting to see Sylar get burned with a pot of boiling water that he might not be strong enough to actually get to the sink, Peter said, "I am hungry, but how about the can of minestrone soup instead."

Sylar blushed at the hug but still readily accepted it hugging back and beaming at the appreciation. His eyes followed Peter's to the stack of splayed out food easily picking out the can of soup. He walked over to it snatching it up as he turned to ask, "Are you sure that's all you want?"


"I'll have some crackers with it." Peter went and sat down on the couch, relaxing for the first time that day. He opened his book and quickly got lost in the story.

Sylar busied himself making the soup for Peter. He was glad that the stove was shorter than the one in the apartment, and he only had to stand on his tip toes to reach the knobs. It was a propane tank that powered the stove, and the tank was located in a cabinet under the stove. Sylar opened the cabinet and twisted the gas on. Realizing he needed a lighter or some form of fire to light the pilot light he sighed in agitation. Knowing Peter would likely be uneasy with him trying to light the pilot light without being able to really see it, he asked for help, "Hey Peter, I need a light to start up the gas; can you bring a lit twig or something to light this?"

"Sure." Peter got up found a smaller piece of wood next to the fireplace, and held the end of it in the flames for a few seconds. Once it was burning, he walked over to the stove and lit the pilot light for Sylar. Walking back to the fireplace to toss the wood into it Peter said, "I didn't realize how tired I was until I sat down for a second. It's been a stressful day for both of us. I think we should call it an early night tonight after I eat something."

Sylar agreed, "Yeah, I could use some sleep." The soup took about ten minutes, and while Peter ate, Sylar readied himself for bed digging out his toothbrush and Peter's and bringing them both along with the toothpaste over to the sink. The sink kicked from deep within as water that had not pushed its way out of the pipes for years sputtered forth evening out after a moment as Sylar remarked, "I guess it's been a long time since you guys have used this place huh?"

Peter swallowed a bite and thought back to the last time he'd been here. "Yes it has. I don't think anyone's been here for a couple of years."

As soon as Peter was done eating, he washed the dishes and put them on the rack next to the sink to dry. Then he walked up the ladder to the loft and checked the bed, pulling off the large clear plastic tarp that was covering it. He made sure the blankets that were on it were still clean and that no animals had decided to make a home in the bed. Once he'd checked it out, he went back down the ladder. Sylar was ready for bed and sitting on the couch by the fire reading his book. Peter said, "It's a big bed, I think we can share if you don't mind."

Sylar looked up towards the loft and agreed, "I don't see that being a problem." Sylar then let his eyes drift back over the paragraph he had just read to find his place once more and continued reading.

Peter got some pajamas out of his bag and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth and get ready for bed. Once he was done he went over to the fireplace and made sure the screen was secure. He turned to Sylar and thought about telling him to go to bed, but after everything they'd been through that day, he figured Sylar deserved some trust. Besides that, they were out in the middle of nowhere, and he felt relatively safe from the company here. Peter said, "I'm headed up to bed. Don't stay up too late okay?"

Sylar lifted his eyes up from his book to regard Peter as he responded, "Okay. Sleep well Peter." He thought, 'Everything is going to get better soon Peter, I promise.

Walking up the ladder again, Peter climbed into bed and fell asleep within minutes.

Sylar read his chapter, and when he had finished, he heard the gentle snores wafting down from the loft. Peter was definitely out. Sylar set his book down with a sigh; he knew what he had to do even if it really hurt Peter. He quietly sifted through the small desk in the corner by the fireplace and found a sheet of paper and a pen and began writing:

Peter,
Please don't think that I don't appreciate everything you've done for me, but I know that I'm messing up your life by merely being a part of it. So, I'm going to make it easier on you by taking myself out of the equation. Don't look for me; by the time you read this I'll be long gone.

Gabriel

Sylar looked over the letter once more, and satisfied with what it said, he folded it in three and placed it in Peter's book. He then quietly changed, slipped on his socks, shoes, jacket, and grabbed up his unfinished book slipping it into his pocket before easing out the front door.

His heart was pounding in his ears as the adrenaline pumped through his veins. He hadn't really gotten a good look at the layout of the land since it was so dark when the two had flown in, but he did know that walking straight down the dirt road would not likely be the best bet to get away from Peter without him being able to find him, so Sylar veered off down a visible wooded path hoping that it would lead him down to a town that he could disappear in by morning.

Peter woke up with the sun shining into the window of the loft. He felt well rested and turned to wake up Sylar only to find out he wasn't there. Frowning, Peter wondered how late is was, and how long he'd slept. He got up and climbed down the ladder to see if Sylar had made himself something to eat for breakfast. He looked around the empty cabin and started to panic. "Gabriel?"

He reached his mind out for Sylar's thoughts, and found nothing. Peter started to panic as he thought the company had found them. He checked the front door for signs of forced entry, but found it unlocked. He muttered to himself, "I know I locked it."

He looked around the cabin for any kind of clues as to what might have happened, and quickly noticed a piece of paper sticking out of his book like a bookmark. He grabbed it and read the letter Sylar had left him. Anger and irritation mingled with compassion and understanding as he read. "Damn it."

He shook his head thinking that Sylar was going to get himself killed while trying to protect Peter when he wasn't the one who needed protecting.

Grabbing some clothes and his watch, Peter got dressed quickly and tried to figure out how long Sylar had been gone. Once he was dressed, he grabbed his jacket and a few granola bars and headed out the door. He flew into the air, and started looking for Sylar, calling out his name when he got to dense areas of trees, and trying to listen for Sylar's thoughts at the same time.

Sylar had walked until the sun had come up which was at least five hours. It all looked the same, and he had hoped by the time the sun had illuminated his surroundings that he would be feeling more assured in the direction he was going. He didn't, and in fact he was getting increasingly more worried as the morning grew on. By mid day, Sylar had thought he'd passed by the same trees and must be traveling in circles.

He was utterly lost, and he was tired and hungry to boot. He had stopped and rested throughout his journey, but now he sat on a log motionless and staring off at nothing in particular as an utter despair began to settle in as he seriously contemplated never being able to find his way out of these woods again.

He sat for a good hour feeling sorry for himself for ending up in such a position, and in a mad plea of desperation he screamed out at the top of his lungs, "PETER!" He let the word echo through the woods a moment before rising off the log and calling out again and again until his voice began to grow hoarse and a panic began to take hold of him as he wandered aimlessly through the woods shouting out Peter's name.

As the morning progressed, Peter got more and more worried. He'd tried flying in large circles around the cabin with no luck. He'd tried tracking Sylar on foot with no luck. He'd flown low to the trees yelling Sylar's name with no luck. To make matters worse, as he'd strained to hear any kind of response from Sylar, he'd started to get a serious headache.

By early afternoon, Peter wasn't sure if his headache was effecting his hearing, or if his hearing was causing his headache, but he kept hearing odd noises, and his head pounded.

Half an hour later, Peter had almost decided to call Nathan and ask him to get together a search party, when he heard a very distant voice calling his name. He hovered in the air and looked all around on the ground. He was up high enough, that he thought he should be able to see someone who's voice had reached him, but he didn't see anyone. He strained to hear, and a few seconds later, he heard his name shouted out again. Looking in the direction the sound had come from, Peter still didn't see anyone. Then it dawned on him. He was using Sylar's hearing ability, which hadn't manifested itself until today.

Heading in the direction that the sound was coming from, Peter focused his new and improved hearing on the sounds of a small person walking through the woods and yelling his name. As he flew further and further while following the sound, Peter was amazed by, and grateful for his new power.

When Peter finally saw Sylar, relief rushed through him because Sylar was obviously unharmed, and looking for him too. Peter flew down and landed a few feet in front of Sylar.

Sylar was so happy to see Peter that he hugged him tightly and exclaimed, "Peter! Thank God you were able to find me! I thought I was never going to be able to find my way back to civilization!"

Hugging him back tightly for a few seconds Peter reassured him, "It's gonna be okay. I did find you, and you're safe now."

After a few minutes to calm down, Peter gently loosened Sylar's grip, and keeping a hand on each of Sylar's upper arms, he knelt down on one knee in front of him. Looking Sylar in the eye Peter said, "Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?"

Sylar still just happy to be found nodded his head and smiled gratefully as he responded, "I'm starving, but other than that, I couldn't be better."

With exasperation Peter gave Sylar a tiny shake and said, "What were you thinking running off into the wilderness like that?! What if I hadn't been able to find you?"

Sylar's brow creased as he frowned thinking, 'Well, I hadn't exactly expected to get lost in the woods. You weren't supposed to find me Peter; I was trying to do you a favor.' He responded with a shrug and a sarcastic, "Just because I'm in this body doesn't make me helpless; I would have survived."

Closing his eyes for a second, Peter took a deep breath and refrained from putting Sylar over his knee right then and there by talking himself out of it. 'We're both hungry, I still have a headache, and he's probably dead tired.'

Peter opened his eyes and after giving Sylar a disappointed frown, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the one granola bar he hadn't eaten yet. He handed it to Sylar and said, "This was a poorly thought out plan on your part Gabriel. I understand that your heart was in the right place, but it was the wrong thing to do. Did you bring any provisions for yourself in case you got lost?"

Sylar blinked as he processed what Peter had said. He hadn't really planned very well, and provisions would have been a good idea had he thought of them, but then he also hadn't figured he'd still be in the woods by mid afternoon. He dropped his gaze to the granola bar in his hand as he mumbled out a sheepish, "No."

He was very hungry and wanted to eat the granola bar Peter had given him, but now he was too embarrassed and proud to let himself be seen as needy, so he stuck both his hands and the granola bar into his jacket pockets before looking back up at Peter.

Peter's disappointment left him feeling ashamed of what he had done as he added, "I'm sorry Peter; I didn't mean to snap at you. It's been a long day... but I guess I don't need to tell you that."

Pulling Sylar into a strong hug Peter said, "It's okay. We've both had a bad day."

Letting Sylar go, Peter stood up. "I'll fly us back after you eat the granola bar. Don't pretend that you're not hungry, you just told me you were starving, and when we're flying I want both your hands free to hold on."

Sylar accepted the hug and although wanting to shy away, he found himself hugging back. When Peter had released him, he wordlessly pulled out the granola bar and ate it. No longer in a state of duress, Sylar was immediately exhausted as he turned his weary eyes up to Peter and acknowledged Peter's demands by loosely waving his emptied hands in the air and remarking, "Happy? No more granola bar."

Sylar didn't feel much like flying at the moment, but it sounded much better than walking. Getting back to the cabin, and more so a bed, was even more appealing now that he had something in his stomach.

"Ecstatic." Peter muttered as he picked Sylar up and flew them both into the air.

The flight back to the cabin only took a few minutes. Once they were back, Peter set Sylar down, opened the front door, and got Sylar moving over the threshold with a swat. "Go make us some soup while I make a fire. You can take a nap after we eat."

Without waiting for a reply, Peter turned to walk towards the side of the cabin to get some firewood.

Sylar stiffened at the swat spinning around in shock as Peter walked back outside. Sylar hadn't thought about those kind of consequences when he'd taken off, but with Peter's subtle reminder, Sylar wondered, 'He wouldn't spank me for this would he? I mean, I wasn't technically running away, but more just trying to help...' Sylar shook these thoughts out of his head thinking, 'No, he's just irate and wants me to get a move on making the soup, and he said after I eat, I can take a nap, so everything is going to be okay.' Sylar let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding relaxing a little at the thought that after his nap, the two would be able to sort this whole thing out with a long talk which Sylar was dreading since he wasn't much on discussing his feelings, but he owed Peter that much he presumed.

Sylar quickly moved to the couch where the food still sat splayed out in a display of sorts. He glanced through the cans and grabbed up two cans of clam chowder and hurriedly brought them into the kitchen to begin making.

Listening in to Sylar's thoughts, Peter had a hard time believing that Sylar wasn't expecting a spanking for running away. As he stacked wood in his arms he thought, 'Not only for running away, but for putting himself in danger too, good intentions or not.' Peter shook his head once and then thought, 'But first things first. I want us both to be feeling better before we talk about what happened.'

Peter got as much wood as he could carry at once and brought it in. He noted that Sylar was making the soup as requested, and then dumped the wood next to the fireplace. Before starting to make the fire, Peter went over to the bags, and rifled around until he found the aspirin. Walking to the kitchen Peter got a glass of water to take the aspirin with and saw what Sylar was cooking. After he swallowed the pills he said, "Smells good. I'm hungry too."

He went back to the fireplace and started building the fire.

Sylar felt awkward now unsure of how to act. He had betrayed Peter's trust, and he knew that it was going to take a long time to get it back. He frowned remembering Peter's disappointment in him and how it had made him feel. Silence was best Sylar thought as he tried to get lost in the monotony of stirring the chowder. He watched Peter as he built the fire up, got it going good, and adjusted the gate, and before Peter turned back to face him, Sylar looked away to the stove and said, "It should be ready in a couple minutes. I'm going to go wash up." He didn't wait for Peter to respond as he set the spoon across the pot and jetted into the bathroom closing the door behind him.

Once Sylar was in the bathroom, Peter got out a couple of bowls and spoons and set them on the table. He checked on the soup, and once it was boiling, he poured some into each bowl and turned the heat off on the stove. He started eating and noticed that his headache was getting better. The combination of knowing Sylar was safe, having less pain in his head, and getting warm food in his stomach, all made him feel much more like himself then he had since realizing Sylar was gone that morning. He called out to the closed bathroom door. "It's ready, you should come eat before it gets cold."

Sylar had washed up fairly quickly but left the water running as he stood in front of the sink splashing the cool water on his face to get his head straight. He heard Peter call out to him, and he shut the water off wiping the water off his face with the towel he'd brought in from the night before. He took his time folding the towel and placing it back across the tub where he'd gotten it. He was hoping that if he'd stalled long enough, Peter would be almost finished eating by the time he came out of the bathroom.

When Sylar didn't respond, Peter listened in on his thoughts, and realized Sylar was avoiding him. Peter understood why Sylar would want to avoid him, why he would probably want to forget about what he'd done entirely, but Peter wasn't going to let him. Peter raised his voice slightly and said, "Hiding in the bathroom isn't going to change what happened. Come eat."

Sylar growled to himself before wiping his face clear of emotion and stepping out of the bathroom. Peter was right, he had been avoiding him, but he hadn't planned on admitting that anytime soon. Peter was still sitting at the table where Sylar saw he had a place set. He moved up to his chair and quietly slid in. He looked up at Peter, and feeling he should say something he asked idly, "How's the soup?"

Taking the last bite of his soup Peter said, "I thought it was good."

Peter stood up and took his bowl to the sink. He washed his dishes and the pot, letting Sylar eat on his own. When he was done washing he turned and saw that Sylar was mostly done. He walked over and put a gentle hand on Sylar's shoulder. "What time did you sneak out of here last night?"

Sylar's shoulders slumped as Peter reminded him just how long it had been since he'd had a decent amount of sleep. He responded tiredly, "I don't know... an hour or so after you went to bed."

Peter rubbed Sylar's back in small circles and said, "Go upstairs and get some sleep. It's been a long and tiring couple of days for you."

Sylar couldn't think of any better suggestion as he responded, "Yeah, you're right, I'm exhausted." He finished off the last of his soup and went to take his bowl into the kitchen, but Peter grabbed it for him. Sylar didn't mind as he followed Peter's instructions and headed up the stairs passing out as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Peter washed the rest of the dishes and then went half way up the ladder to check on Sylar, who was fast asleep. Grabbing his book, Peter made himself comfortable on the couch and started to read. He'd decided to let Sylar sleep until he woke up on his own.

Sylar had passed out around three in the afternoon, and he didn't stir again until a little after ten. He stretched languidly out across the expanse of the king sized bed blinking his eyes to focus on the neon green clock. He noticed Peter wasn't next to him, and when he got off the bed and looked out across the loft he saw Peter had his book on his lap as he had nodded off on the couch sitting up. Sylar noted the door had been bolted shut this time and thought, 'He doesn't even trust that I won't try to take off again.' He frowned dejectedly as he descended the loft steps feeling rather guilty for putting Peter through such hell.


Peter jerked awake at the sound of the wood on the ladder creaking. He'd slept lightly, worrying about Sylar trying to run off again. He saw Sylar standing at the bottom of the ladder and then turned to look at his watch. Deciding Sylar had gotten a decent amount of sleep, Peter knew he shouldn't put off the talk they needed to have any longer. Smiling at Sylar, Peter stood up and said, "Did you sleep well?"

Seeing Peter smile made Sylar feel a little better as he smiled back and answered, "I feel much better now; thanks. I noticed you passed out yourself. You know, there's plenty of room on that king sized bed, you could have come up instead of sleeping down here in that incredibly uncomfortable looking position." As if sensing that Peter wanted to talk, Sylar wanted to be the first to address the incident now that he'd rested and his wits were fully about him. He hesitated a moment thinking what he wanted to say and trying to read Peter before adding, "I know you don't trust me now, but I want you to know I was only trying to make your life a little easier; that's why I took off. I know that isn't going to make you trust me any sooner, and it's not an excuse, it's an explanation."

Peter walked over to Sylar and put an arm around his shoulders. He started leading them over towards the kitchen table as he said, "It's kind of ironic that part of what made it possible for you to get away last night was the fact that I had started to trust you."

Peter sat in one of the kitchen chairs and pushed another one out slightly with his foot, indicating that Sylar should sit as well. "So why don't you explain to me how you thought things would be easier for me with you gone."

Peter's remark about his trust making it possible for Sylar to take off sent a pang of guilt through him as he let out an audible sigh. He knew this discussion was coming, but it didn't make it any easier to prepare for, rested or not.

Sylar was never one to like confrontation, and until he'd gotten his powers, most issues he either completely avoided or complied with as little arguing as could be had just to get the confrontation over with. But he wasn't that person anymore, he'd tasted power, he'd found the ability to stand up for himself and to make others quake in fear at his very presence, yet for some reason even though this conversation was on his list of things he most didn't want to do, he didn't resist being led to the table by Peter, and he wordlessly took the cue to sit in the chair Peter had pushed out for him.

As he got settled in the chair, he thought about the best way he could word how he felt so that Peter could understand his reasoning for leaving. As he did so, he couldn't help wondering why Peter had such sway over him when they had been staunch enemies less than a month ago, and he came to the assumption that he truly did feel Peter cared for him and wanted the best for him for Sylar's own sake verses for some imagined pedestal that he didn't feel he could ever live up to.

Peter was waiting for an answer, so Sylar responded, "You want to know why I left? It's because you're a good person Peter, you don't deserve to be cut off from society and your life just because you're having to watch out for someone like me. I figured without me around, you could go back to New York and pick up where you'd left off before I brought all this drama and hardship into your life."

Peter leaned forward with his forearms on the table and looked at Sylar intently. "You need to listen to me closely Gabriel. I'm the one who decided to have you live with me, not you. It's not your fault that we have to hide out here; it's the company's fault. I don't blame you, and I'm not angry with you for my life being turned around. If I had it to do again, I'd make the same choices. And if I hadn't been able to find you today, I would not have gone back to my old life, I would have kept looking."

Sylar lowered his eyes in shame; he had wanted Peter to be understanding and agreeable, and in turn seemed to make him more indignant for even suggesting such. He responded almost hesitantly, "I'm sorry Peter. I really don't know what else to say other than it was a misunderstanding, I thought I was doing what was best for both of us. Can you forgive me?"

Peter could tell Sylar already did feel bad about what he'd done, and wished the spanking wasn't necessary. But he'd made running away a clear cut, black and white rule with a pre-existing consequence for breaking it, and he didn't think it would help Sylar's rehabilitation to go back on that now. And he was worried that if he didn't go through with it now, Sylar would be more likely to run away again under other circumstances.

"I accept you apology, and I do forgive you, but that doesn't mean you get out of punishment. We've talked about running away, and I told you what to expect if you did it." Peter pushed his chair further away from the table and said, "So come here."

Sylar's eyebrows furrowed in both fear of what was to come and shock as he had really expected not to have to face a spanking again. Seeing Peter push away from the table to give Sylar a place across his lap only served to make him more nervous and regretful over his presumptuous choices as he pleaded, "But… I said I was sorry. I… I thought we could just talk this out since I didn't really mean any harm. I know what I did was wrong now, so you really don't have to go to such extremes... really!"

Feeling sympathetic, Peter said gently, "I won't change my mind about this. You need to understand that this rule is non-negotiable."

Sylar frowned irritably as he responded, "That's easy for you to say; you're not on the receiving end! I'll be good, and I promise I won't run away again." Sylar looked to the door wanting to run away again that instant. The thought of willingly going over to Peter to get spanked made his stomach lurch. His face flushed in embarrassment as the overwhelming want to cry washed over him. He kept thinking, 'How the hell did I land myself in this position again? There's got to be some way to convince Peter this isn't necessary."

With a frown Peter said, "I hope you won't run away again, but if you do, you'll know what to expect. Now you can come over here, or I can come get you. Either way you're getting spanked."

Sylar's throat tightened at Peter's words as he thought, 'He's not letting this go; I'm going to get it one way or another, but I can tell he feels bad about doing it, so maybe I can at least convince him not to be so harsh.' The act of giving in to letting himself get spanked left him feeling light headed as he slid off the chair and slinked over to Peter. Tears had already sprang to his eyes as he came to the conclusion there was no need to hide what was already to come and perhaps letting Peter see how upset the act of getting a spanking made him it would manipulate Peter be easier on him. He pouted and said pitifully, "Please don't do this Peter! I said I was sorry! Why can't that be good enough?"

Peter was pleased that Sylar was accepting enough about the spanking that he'd come to him, but he felt a twinge of guilt when he saw that Sylar already had tears in his eyes. Wanting it over quickly, Peter picked Sylar up and put him across his lap. He pulled the sweat pants Sylar was wearing down along with his underwear and said, "Being sorry isn't enough when you've deliberately disobeyed me, and gotten yourself into a potentially deadly situation in the process."

Peter started spanking hard and fast, as he thought about Sylar lost in the woods for hours, and the possibility of not having found him.

Sylar sucked in his breath as Peter placed him across his lap; he almost fought not wanting to give up so much control, but as quickly as the feeling came it was washed away in a wave of humiliation as his pants were tugged down and the cool night air reminded him that he was one step closer to the worst part of all this. A chill ran up his spine as he looked back just in time to see Peter's hand raise and the determined look in his eyes before his hand slammed down on his very vulnerable bared bottom. He cringed away in shocked pain as the first one made him realize no matter how prepared he thought he was; there really was no preparing for this.

It hurt! And after the first few swats, Sylar began to squirm as he owed out his growing discomfort. The slaps were hard, and at the speed they were coming, it made it difficult to think straight as Sylar yelled out, "Okay! Enough! I get it! Stop!"

Peter didn't stop, and instead made sure to cover every inch of Sylar's butt and upper thighs with heavy slaps while he lectured, "You could have died out there in the wilderness, and I'm not okay with that. You will not run away for any reason, and you will not put yourself in danger."

Sylar bucked as the pain became unbearable and the tears spilled unabated down his cheeks. Peter's words rang in his ears, and he knew that his running off was dangerous, and Peter was right to be angry with him. The pain grew to be too intense, and unable to not interfere any longer Sylar put both hands back to cover his now very heated and sore bottom as he squalled out desperately, "I'm sorry Peter! I… I won't! Ahh! It was stupid!"

Peter paused in the spanking long enough to grasp both of Sylar's wrists in his left hand and held them out of the way in the center of Sylar's lower back. Peter finished the spanking by giving Sylar a swat for each word as he said, "Every time you run away, I am going to spank you."

Sylar whimpered in dismay at the ease Peter removed his hands from blocking the now very tender area. His back arched as every stinging swat burned Peter's message both into Sylar's brain and his backside. Giving into the punishment Sylar collapsed limply across Peter's lap and sobbed as the last few swats were delivered letting go of all the pent up guilt, fear, and frustration he'd felt since he'd been kidnapped the day before.

A second after he'd given the last swat, Peter let go of Sylar's wrists and started rubbing his back. After giving Sylar a few seconds to calm down enough to realize the spanking was over, Peter leaned down and pulled up Sylar's underwear and sweats for him. Picking Sylar up and flipping him over so that he was sitting in his lap, Peter put his arms around Sylar and held him while he cried.

Sylar wanted to hate Peter for spanking him, but as Peter pulled him into his arms, all he wanted was solace for his pain both physically and emotionally. He buried his face into Peter's chest as he cried himself out. When his crying had finally settled, he mumbled a watery, "I'm sorry... I... I never meant to scare you Peter."

Peter rubbed Sylar's back in comfort and said, "I know, and I forgive you. No more running away okay? I really don't want to do this again."

Sylar wiped away the remaining tears on the back of his sleeve as he murmured, "I don't think you'll have to worry about that any time soon." He gave Peter a half hearted scowl as he grumbled, "I really wish you'd find some other way to make your point because this way really sucks!"

With a tolerant smile in place Peter changed the subject. "How about a late dinner? I'm sure some macaroni and cheese will make you feel better. That and some down time to read a book and get some more sleep."

Sylar thought, 'Nice avoidance there Peter.' He sighed and nodded feeling a bit hungry from only eating soup earlier. He responded, "Mac & Cheese sounds fine." When Peter set him down, Sylar wandered over to his jacket and pulled out his book bringing it over to the couch to sit and read while Peter cooked. His bottom was still smarting, and sitting on the couch served to remind him of this fact, so he rolled over onto his stomach. He didn't feel horrible like he had the last time Peter had spanked him, and he gathered that was because this time he really felt like he'd deserved it. Now that the whole ordeal was over, Peter wouldn't bring it up again, so Sylar knew deep down that the incident was squashed and he had been forgiven. That in itself left him with an inner calm.

As Peter was cooking he thought about the past few weeks that Sylar had been living with him. Sylar had changed for the better in a very short amount of time. Peter was ninety eight percent sure that by the time Sylar's body was back to its adult size, Peter could let him live on his own without fear that he'd go hurt someone. And if he couldn't... well he'd just have to make sure that he could.

Peter split the macaroni and cheese into two bowls, and took them over to the couch so Sylar wouldn't have to sit on a wooden chair to eat. He handed the food over and said with a smile, "You know, we left the apartment so fast that we forgot to bring any board games. Maybe we'll have to fly over a few states tomorrow and buy a chessboard so we don't go crazy while we're here."

Sylar scooted over to give Peter room to sit down and smiled up at his suggestion to get a chessboard as he remarked, "That sounds like a plan, and maybe we can pick up some cards and a few more books…" he trailed off thinking about living at the cabin as he asked, "How long do you think we'll have to stay here?"

Peter thought about it for a few seconds and said, "I'd say at least two weeks. I need to call Nathan and see if his connections in the government can give us any sway for getting the company off our backs. Or maybe my mom knows someone who can help."

Peter turned to Sylar and said, "Actually you've spent some time at the company before, and had more contact with Noah then me. Do you know of any way to assure him you're better off with me then at the company?"

Sylar grimaced as he responded, "He doesn't believe there's anything good about me. Can't your brother just get us new identities or something? I mean he is a part of the government right?" Sylar knew this was likely not possible as the government wasn't like what the movies made it out to be, but he really had no viable suggestion to make that could help the situation.

Peter put a hand on Sylar's knee and said, "Noah's wrong about you, and he doesn't run the company, he's just an employee. I think our best bet is to appeal to someone higher up then Noah, and hopefully Nathan can arrange that. I have no idea if Nathan could help get us new identities, but that would be a last resort. I don't want either one of us to have to pretend to be people we're not unless we have to."

Peter took his hand off Sylar and grabbed his own fork instead. "Eat up while it's still warm. We're both here together where it's safe for now, and we have plenty of money and supplies."

With a teasing smile Peter said, "Just think of a few weeks in the cabin as a vacation."

Sylar dug his fork into his food as he snorted replying derisively, "Yeah, this vacation's starting off with a real bang."

Peter chuckled and hoped the rest of the 'vacation' was more relaxing.

# # #

Four weeks later Peter was more than ready to go back to some kind of normal life. He was sitting on the couch on a Friday night looking over at Sylar who had fallen asleep reading his book. Peter checked his watch and saw that it was ten at night. Going to get a spare blanket, Peter covered Sylar up, and then stood there looking at him for a few minutes while his mind wandered over the past few weeks.

The company hadn't been able to find them, but the money had recently run out, and the boredom had started to get to both Peter and Sylar. They were still getting along, and had in fact grown quite close over the past four weeks, but they both missed electronic entertainment as well as contact with other people.

Thinking about what he needed to do, Peter got out one of the disposable cell phones he'd bought, and walked out the front door so his conversation wouldn't wake up Sylar. He didn't want to get Sylar's hopes up if the plan he'd been thinking about didn't work. He dialed Nathan's number and hoped it wasn't too late to call.

Nathan had just gotten home from a director's dinner party. There had been dancing and schmoozing with the big dogs, nothing more than to get people in his pockets later down the road. At times this life exhausted Nathan, but the parties were usually a small perk. He had settled back in his recliner to watch the evening news when he heard the phone. Knowing only a select few had this number and seeing the phone number wasn't recognized, he answered the phone cautiously, "Mr. Petrelli speaking, may I help you?"

Smiling at the sound of his brother's voice, Peter said, "Hi Nathan, how've you been?"

Nathan was both happy and surprised to hear from his brother as he responded, "Pete! It's good to hear from you. What has it been… two weeks? I was starting to worry about you."

"It's good to hear your voice too. It's been a really long two weeks, and that's why I'm calling. Gabriel and I need to come home. We've done fine here, and if we had to we could stay longer, but it's getting old. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a safe way for us to come home, and I have a plan. I was hoping you'd help me put it into motion."

Nathan's eyebrow raised in concern as he responded hesitantly, "I'm all ears… what kind of plan did you have in mind?"

"I need you to get in touch with Noah for me, and see if he'd be willing to compromise. He hasn't found us yet, and you know that has to be eating at him. Tell him I'd be willing to have a weekly check in with the company if they'd be willing to let me keep Sylar and leave us alone the rest of the time. See what he says."

Nathan knew that Peter was right, and he would eventually have to bring Sylar back and go back to work again. He responded, "Alright Pete; I'll see if I can get a hold of him in the morning. Let me talk to him in person and really get a feel for his true feelings on the subject. Call me back in a few days, and hopefully I'll have something worthwhile to report."

Relieved to have a plan of action going, Peter smiled and said, "Thanks for your help... again. Oh, and you might try talking to Matt first. He helped me get Sylar out, and he may be willing to help you with talking to Noah."

Nathan agreed, "I'll call Matt first to get the low down on what Noah and Mohinder have been up to. Hopefully we can get this sorted out before you call me back. Either way, we'll figure something more permanent out than the cabin."

"Okay sounds good. I'll call you in a couple days." After they said their goodbyes, Peter went back into the cabin, checked to make sure Sylar was still sleeping, and then went to bed himself.

# # #

Nathan awoke early that morning, arranged to have a personal day, and called Matt's cell phone. When Matt answered, he set up a 10AM meet at a Starbucks down town, so they could discuss Peter and Sylar's fate.

Matt had been in the area, and Nathan was pleased to see was already there sitting at a table when he arrived. Nathan smiled and extended his hand to Matt as he said, "Long time no see."

Matt half stood and shook Nathan's hand before they both sat down at the table. "It's good to see you Nathan. What did you want to talk about? You said it had to do with Peter and Sylar?"

Nathan shook Matt's hand and sat down across from him giving the room a quick glance before continuing the conversation, "I need you to find out Noah and Mohinder's feelings towards Peter bringing Sylar back home. They've been gone well over a month, and that should prove something in the fact that Peter can care for Sylar. He said he's willing to work out a compromise between them where he is Sylar's charge, but Noah can come by to check up on the situation. How do you think that will blow over with them?"

Matt personally thought it was a good compromise. "I just spoke with Noah yesterday. He called to ask if we'd heard from Peter or Sylar. I think he's running out of options for trying to find them. So my guess is that he'd be okay with it. I can't promise that Noah won't try anything underhanded once they come back to town, but now that Peter's proven he can stay under their radar, the chances are low. I doubt Mohinder will ever be okay with it since Sylar killed his father. But since he's not in charge of the company, I doubt his opinion is going to matter that much. You want me to call Noah right now? We could set up a meeting with all of us."

Nathan nodded his approval and replied, "Let's do it."

Within two hour's time, the four of them were joined at Matt and Mohinder's apartment.

Noah and Mohinder had arrived together as Mohinder had been at the company's lab all day, and Noah had picked him up on his way to meet up with Nathan and Matt. Mohinder had no beef with Nathan and was cordial greeting him with a hand shake and a small smile as he remarked, "Noah briefed me that Peter was going to bring Sylar back under some mutually agreed upon stipulation. So what do you purpose?"

Nathan was pleasantly surprised that no one in the room seemed hostile… yet. Noah hadn't voiced his opinion or said anything for that matter since the two had arrived.

Nathan responded, "I don't need to tell you about Peter's ability to keep Sylar hidden, that point has been proven, but what I am here to discuss is how everyone in this room can be satisfied with some sort of agreement on the custody and rehabilitation of Sylar. Obviously keeping him in the Company's custody is a no go, and having Sylar out there without any form of keeping tabs on him is a no go for you, so what can we do to meet somewhere in the middle so everyone can get on with their lives?"

Noah hated his job sometimes. If he'd been allowed to kill Sylar back when they had him in custody the first time, none of this would be happening. Just last week, his boss had clearly told him that if he couldn't locate Sylar within the next week, they'd have someone else assigned to the case, someone who wasn't afraid to go behind Mohinder's back to use Molly. So now he'd be forced to compromise. As a business man for the Company, Noah understood compromise, and often found it the only way to get any sort of resolution. But it still irked him that Peter had been able to keep Sylar hidden for so long, and that Peter was going to be allowed to keep him under his care.

Now he was here in this meeting, trying to be careful of his thoughts since Matt was in the room and setting up a compromise for a serial killer. Noah said, "The Company agrees to let Peter keep Sylar in his custody for the time being. We want 24 hour surveillance in the apartment. We want medical checkups for Sylar once a week to check his growth rate, and to assure us that his powers are still inactive. We also want an agreed upon list of who Sylar can be left with when Peter isn't available."

Nathan listened thoughtfully to Noah's demands before replying in kind, "24 hour surveillance at every entrance is doable, but in the house is too invasive. The checkups can be done as long as they are in home visits or off Company grounds. As for a list of people Sylar can be left with, I'm sure I'll be on that list, and Peter can decide on who else can help maintain a watchful eye on him. Does that sound agreeable?" Nathan held out his hand to shake on it.

Looking at the hand in front of him for a few seconds while thinking it over, Noah eventually took it and shook once before letting go. "Agreed, though I'd like to hear it from Peter himself, and I'd like to put our agreement in writing. I can have the cameras installed today. I can arrange the first checkup for Sylar as soon as they come home."

Nathan gave a small nod as he responded, "I have to wait until he calls me back, but as soon as he does, I'll get in touch with you on when is a good time to sort out all the details."

Noah handed Nathan a card with his phone number on it, and said, "I'll be waiting to hear from you."

# # #

A couple of days later Peter waited until Sylar was in the shower, and then called Nathan.

Nathan had been sitting in on a luncheon when the call came through. He excused himself from the table and walked towards the front entrance as he answered the phone, "Pete?"

"Hey Nathan. Were you able to meet with Noah? Do we have some kind of plan so we can come back?"

Nathan gave Peter the breakdown of what the four had negotiated about at Matt and Mohinder's apartment and waited for Peter to digest it before asking, "So what do you think? Do you want to meet up with Noah and discuss things further? I could keep Sylar safe while you decide the parameters of what's acceptable for your return."

Thinking it over for a few seconds, Peter decided it was the best they were going to get, and hoped that Sylar wouldn't be upset about it. "I can't say that I'm thrilled, but I can accept it for now. Maybe with some time, the company will back off. I'll tell Sylar the good news, and we'll be home in a few hours. If Noah wants to meet with us, he can do it tonight. I'd like to have you and Matt there for back up, just in case Noah tries something. Can you arrange that for me?"

Nathan responded, "I don't think that'll be a problem; I'll see you tonight then." Nathan hung up and went back to his luncheon. After his business was taken care of, he called Matt to have him contact Noah to let him know what he and Peter had discussed.

Peter was finished with his phone call by the time Sylar exited the restroom. Sylar looked at the phone curiously as he asked, "Talking to Nathan?"

Nodding Peter said, "Yes. I called him a few days ago and talked to him about making arrangements for us to go home. I didn't tell you about it, because I wasn't sure what kind of reception we'd get from Noah. Basically the company is going to let you stay with me, but we have to let them check up on you once a week, and they will be monitoring all of the exits so they know when we come and go." Giving Sylar a hopeful look Peter added, "What do you say to going home tonight?"
Sylar's eyebrow stitched in worry as he thought over Peter's proposal. He did want to go back to New York; the country was nice, but was getting old real fast. He thought about the stipulations the Company wanted with checkups and his mind returned to the uncomfortable memory of getting jabbed with needles and being held captive as he thought, 'I hope this isn't going to end badly...' He gave Peter a small smile and replied, "Now is as good a time as any I suppose."
Answering Sylar's worried thoughts, Peter said, "It won't end badly. I'm not going to let it." He smiled and said, "Now I don't know about you, but I personally can't wait to get back to civilization. Let's see how fast we can pack."

Sylar brightened and got to work packing; it took a good solid two hours to get all of their things together and clean up the cabin, turn off the gas, and all other preparatory chores for leaving the cabin. Somehow even though it hadn't seen like they'd gone to town that often, they had accumulated a lot of new things to carry back home, Sylar looked at the pile in amazement and asked, "I don't think you're going to be able to carry all this stuff and me. Do you want to just leave the bulk of this stuff here at the cabin and just fly back with the necessities tonight?"

Nodding, Peter said, "I think we're going to have to." Peter took one last look around, making sure they hadn't forgotten anything, and then put his overnight bag over his shoulder. He looked at Sylar who was holding a backpack and looked ready to go.

"Okay, let's go." Peter walked out the door, and Sylar followed. After locking the door, Peter picked Sylar up and they shot into the air. An hour later they landed in the alleyway behind Peter's apartment. Peter set Sylar down and as they were walking up to the apartment Peter said, "I'll call Nathan to let him know we're home while you unpack."

Sylar looked around cautiously for any traps. It felt odd to be back in the apartment, it was home for only about a month before the cabin. It was really hard to believe that he and Peter had been together going on three months now. Turning back the clock, it was strange to think they had come so far, but one thing Sylar was, was happy now. For so long he had felt alone and alienated from those around him, but Peter took those feelings away and replaced them with compassion and a willingness to change for nothing more than a positive role model.

It hadn't taken long to unpack the small amount of items in his bag, and once finished he sat on the couch and waited for Peter to finish speaking with Nathan.

Nathan had been anticipating his call and answered eagerly, "Hey Pete! I'm guessing you're at ground zero now? Let me know when you're ready for company, I've got Noah and Matt on standby."

Smiling at Nathan's enthusiasm, Peter said, "You're right, we're home. Give us about half an hour, and then bring them over. It'll be good to see you."

Smiling as well, Nathan responded, "Thirty minutes it is. I'll see you soon Pete." He hung up the phone and contacted Matt who was with Noah at the local diner waiting for his call. He told them he was on his way to the diner, and by the time he got there, they could head to Peter's to have their much needed discussion.

Sylar paced the apartment in anticipation trying to prepare himself for the soon to be encounter. He couldn't stop thinking of the last time he had had a run in with Noah. It was never an easy affair with him, and he assumed it would be no different this time.

Peter saw Sylar's pacing, and put a hand on his shoulder, which stopped him in mid stride. "It's going to be okay. I know you're nervous, and you're not looking forward to it, neither am I, but we'll get through it just fine."

Before Sylar had a chance to respond, there was a knock at their door. Peter answered and saw Matt, Noah, and Nathan on the other side. Peter gave Nathan a quick hug, and shook Matt's hand as they came in the door. Noah came in as well, and soon they were all sitting around the living room. Peter decided to start things off by turning to Noah and saying, "We see that you've installed the cameras outside the doors and windows. I trust there are none hidden in the apartment."

Listening in on Noah's thoughts as he answered, Peter was assured that the 'No.' Noah gave him was an honest one. Peter nodded and said, "How do you see the weekly visits going?"

Noah said, "They'll take about half an hour each time. We'll take a blood sample, check Sylar's growth, and...."

Cutting him off Peter said, "It's Gabriel. Not Sylar."

Noah sat up straighter in his chair, and after a slightly put upon look continued, "We'll check Gabriel's growth, and have an agent speak with the both of you about his week."

Peter looked over at Sylar to see what he had to say, if anything.

Sylar had chosen to sit beside Peter and had not been able to stop fidgeting with the pen that had been previously laid there. He had a frown plastered on his lips trying to hide the fear that silently crept through him. When Peter had looked to him as a signal to speak, he added, "How long do these routine checkups have to go on, and how do we know you're going to keep your word about not betraying us?"

Noah was quick to answer, "Indefinitely, and you don't. You'll just have to take my word for it." Turning his attention to Peter, Noah added, "The same way we're taking your word for it that you can keep him under control."

Getting angry, Peter raised his voice slightly and said, "If this is the way things are going to be, then we don't have a deal. Whoever comes to see us from the company, has to come in here with the understanding... no with the belief that Gabriel is trying to turn his life around. I won't have someone coming in here always expecting the worst from him. Is that something you can do, or should we disappear again?"

Knowing his supervisors wouldn't be happy to have Sylar off their radar again, Noah pursed his lips unhappily before saying, "I'll work with you on getting an agent you can work with, but it won't be someone who will look the other way if Sy... Gabriel gets his powers back or starts trying to hurt people."

Peter thought that sounded fair and nodded before turning to look at Sylar again.

Sylar took several deep breaths willing the aggravation he felt out of his voice before responding, "I know you don't trust me, and honestly, I can't blame you after everything I've done. But, I am trying to become a better person. I'm not saying I should be forgiven; I haven't earned or deserve that. All I am asking from you is that you give me the benefit of the doubt. Can you do that?"

Looking closely at Sylar as he spoke, Noah found himself unwillingly believing Sylar's sincerity. After a short pause to think things through, Noah answered. "I don't know if you even deserve that, but I'll try."

Matt interjected, "For what it's worth, I can tell you're both being honest."

Pleased that things were going as well as they were, and not wanting to let anyone's emotions get the better of them at this point, Peter said, "Good. Let's set up a regular day and time for you guys to come check on Gabriel, and then you guys can let us finish getting settled."

Noah said, "You name it, and I'll make sure someone is here."

After a second to think about what his schedule had been like before taking time off, Peter said, "How about Thursday nights around 6pm."

Noah nodded in agreement. Peter looked to Sylar and said, "Anything else you want to add?"

Sylar thought a moment to make sure there was nothing he wanted to add before Matt and Noah left before shaking his head and responding, "I'm good if you are."

"I'm good too." Peter said as he stood. Everyone took that as their cue to leave, and stood as well. Peter held the door for Noah, and shook Matt's hand as he walked out. As Nathan got to the door, Peter pulled Nathan into a hug and said, "Thanks for everything Nathan. It would have been a lot harder to do this without you."

Nathan hugged Peter back giving him his most charming smile as he responded, "You're my little brother; I can't let you down now can I?"

# # #

Two months later, The Company was pleased to note that Sylar was still without powers, and didn't appear to be at risk of developing any in the near future. He did however seem to be growing at quite a rate which fascinated the scientists to no end. In the course of the four months he'd been in Peter's custody, he had grown from around the age of seven to what the doctors predicted to be about nine. If Sylar continued to grow at the rate of a year for every two months, he'd be back to his normal age within a couple of years.