Heroes/Supernatural XO: Blood Dreams
Fandom(s): Heroes, Supernatural
Written for: devilc
Prompt: Sylar meets Dean and Sam.
Summary: Sylar's in search of new powers, but he's going after the wrong target. Gen, PG-13 for violence and language.
Word Count: 3K-ish.
Notes: Thanks as usual to way2busymom for quickie beta and help with Sylar.
He is tied to the chair, the ropes cutting into arms and wrists, his ankles. The face that leans into his is thin, angular, dark eyes regarding him under heavy slashes of brow. The mouth curves into a smile.
"I'm not sure I need you." The words are careful, the tone amused. "There is another one I can take for this, for seeing the future." He strokes gentle fingers down the side of Sam's face. "I suppose it comes down to... do I want to paint it, or do I want to dream it?"
That was the dream, and the reality isn't much different. The slatback chair digs into his ribs as the ropes chafe his wrists, and he still doesn't know what this creepy fucker is talking about.
But there's one thing he does know.
"I'm not one of you. It won't work, you son of a bitch. I'm not one of you!"
Ash had started picking up on the stories not long after they'd asked him to start looking. They were different, though. People were exhibiting strange, sudden powers, but they were of varying ages, and the powers seemed to have come on them around the same time, several months after Sam's had begun to develop. Just rumors, Ash had warned. Nothing substantial. They'd followed up for a time, but hadn't found anything like what they were looking for, except the one girl who'd lost her mother in a fire, and even that hadn’t matched up. It hadn't taken them long to switch priorities and head out to Iowa to chase down a lamia. Or something. They hadn't ever quite figured out what it was, but it had been nasty, and they killed it.
Then Sam had the dream.
When Dean shook him out of it, Sam ran straight to the bathroom and threw up. Dean hovered at the bathroom door until Sam reached out and slammed it shut, telling his brother to mind his own damn business and let him heave in peace.
When he came out, he was clammy and shaking. Dean eyed him with concern but didn't rush over to check on him or anything, so Sam sat down on the bed, scrubbed his sweating face, and took a few seconds to gather himself before turning to Dean.
"We gotta go," he said.
Dean nodded. "What is it?"
"God, I don't even know." He couldn't bring back enough of the dream to work it out without his stomach wanting to flip over again. There was nothing left in there to come up, but is clenched anyway, gall rising to the back of his throat.
"Real bad." He took a slow breath. "Dean... I think this guy's eating people's brains."
Dean's sober concern fell away like it hadn't even been there in the first place, and he chortled. Of course he would chortle. Sam should have seen that one coming a mile away. "Dude. He's a zombie? You dreamed about a zombie? We're heading out into like Night of the Living Dead? You sure that was a real dream and not some side effect from that shitty Mexican food we had last night?"
Sam just massaged his forehead with a still-shaking hand, trying to remember just enough of the dream, but not too much. "Dean." He swallowed again. "Dean, this was real."
Dean sobered, though Sam could see the smirk lurking. "Okay, Sam. Tell me."
Sam explained as best he could. "The powers. He thinks he can absorb them if he takes their brains."
"I don't know. I don't know if he really can or not..." He trailed off, the images coming back to him. "Dean, I was there. I was inside this guy. He's sick. Sick. God..."
All he could taste was the thick, meaty, blood-soaked taste inside the man's mouth, all he could see was the blood. He ran back to the bathroom.
So they changed course again, trying to work out where Sam's vision had taken place, where they needed to go to stop the killer.
Sam never told Dean he'd been the victim.
A finger runs across Sam's forehead, temple to temple. Sam flinches. It doesn't hurt, but he can feel... something. Energy, a buzz like electricity, traces across the skin of his forehead.
"Not one of us?"
"No. I'm not--"
"Not a freak?" Sylar says the word in a hissing half-whisper, spittle hitting Sam's face.
"I didn't say that." Sam's stomach clenches. He remembers what it was like, in the dream, the thick, rich taste of blood. The need for it. Lust. He fights the nausea rising in his throat. "I'm not like you."
Suddenly pain rises in a line of fire across his forehead. He feels the hot blood slide down onto the bridge of his nose. "Then what exactly are you? I have to wonder…” He studies Sam’s face, mouth curved in a small smile. “I say it's worth a try. So much handier dreaming the future instead of having to bother with paints."
The pain flares. Sam clenches his teeth against his own need to scream.
They were too late for the first one. The young woman was dead by the time they got there, the top of her head sliced off, her brain missing. Blood everywhere. Sam had to leave the scene to Dean, and even Dean looked a little pale. But he clenched his teeth and did what had to be done, while Sam ran to the restroom and threw up his last three meals.
Dean said nothing to him on the way back to the motel, but when they were in the room, door shut behind them, he said, genuine concern in his voice, "What's going on, Sammy?"
Sam shook his head. He didn't want to talk about it. He just wanted it all to be over. "I just don't get it. These people--the ones he's killing--they don't fit our pattern."
"Your visions usually have something to do with the Yellow Eyed Demon."
"These don't. Or if they do, I can't figure out what it is."
Dean grabbed a beer from the six-pack in the mini fridge and stretched out on the bed. "Just haven't put the pieces together yet, maybe.”
"Maybe." He rubbed his head. An ache had lingered there since the first vision, prodding, never quite throbbing, but close. "I'm gonna take a nap."
Dean nodded. To Sam's surprise, he didn't throw in a quip about Sam's needing a nap. Which told Sam more than anything else could that his brother, too, was troubled.
When the next vision came, it hurt. Sam woke with his head on fire, as if it had already been unzipped and opened, his brain scooped out with red-hot tongs. He bolted awake, gripping his forehead.
Certain he had screamed, he looked across the room at Dean, but he lay sprawled on his back across the bed, blissfully unconscious. The scream must have been in his own head. Sam sat for a moment, gathering his breath, staring at his brother, at the moonlight falling across a face so painfully familiar, that suddenly he felt he didn't know at all.
The next thing he knew, he was outside. Not just outside the motel, either, but in the scrubby woods next to it, deep inside where he couldn't tell where he was. Fully dressed, shoes and all. His mouth tasted like raw meat.
"Shit," he muttered, fear flaring in his chest. "Shit. Shit."
He spun, looking all around at the surrounding trees and brush, but there was nothing. Wherever he was, he was deep enough into the woods that he had lost all sense of where the motel might be. How the hell had he gotten here? How the hell was he supposed to get back?
The voice came from behind him. Sam spun to face it. A man stood there, eerily quiet in the moonlight. He was, at first glance, about half Sam's size, but Sam could feel the malevolence oozing out of him. He smiled, eyes bright and wanting under heavy brows.
"You're him," Sam said, sensations of the dream flooding him. "You're the one in my dream."
"I very well might be," the man replied. The brows compressed a little, eyes scanning Sam’s face, his body.
"I can't let you do this," Sam said, his voice flat as he fought the emotions rattling through him, the memories of the dreams.
"I wouldn't expect you to," the other man said.
Sam lunged toward him, but suddenly found himself unable to. The strange, dark-eyed man just looked at him, smiling.
“Who are you?” Sam asked, fighting the power that held him still.
“I’m Sylar, Sam. It’s very good to meet you.” Still smiling, he made a brief gesture. The air itself seemed to smash into Sam’s face, snapping his head back. Sam stared for a long, woozy moment, then fell hard to the ground. Everything went black.
Dean drives. He has no idea if he's going the right way, but he thinks he has a fair chance. He remembers the landmarks Sam passed on after his latest vision, and a short chat with the clerk at the motel pointed him in this direction.
It's an abandoned lot, the house on it marked for demolition but not scheduled until next week. Dean wants to floor the accelerator, to get there as fast as he can, but he knows if he hurries, if he doesn’t pay attention, he'll drive right by and miss it, miss any chance he has of pulling Sam out alive.
He's not even sure it's not already too late. He doesn't want to entertain the thought, but it lurks, that Sam's gone, that whatever monster they've been sent after has overcome him.
Dean clenches his teeth. No. Sam's all right. Sam's all right and Dean will bring him back.
He sees the turnoff, almost too late. The Impala's tires squeal as he wrenches the steering wheel, then makes a loud "whump" rounding the corner--he's taken the swerve too tight, and one tire hits the ditch.
"Sorry," he says, meaning it. "Sorry, baby. But it's for Sam."
Sylar can almost taste the blood. But he's hesitant. The smell is wrong. He still hasn't figured out what that means, but the last one he took who smelled like this, the powers didn't take. That had been about three weeks ago, a girl with telepathic ability. He could get that elsewhere, though he'd hoped to grab it without having to take down the cop. But the experiment had failed.
The young man--Sam--had been easy enough to overpower, in spite of his size. Sylar had gathered enough power to take down just about anybody, even this monstrous tower of a boy. A monstrous tower of a boy who could see the future.
His fingers press into the young man's forehead, a trail of blood moving from his fingertip down the boy's cheek. Sam flinches, but only barely. This is a man used to pain. He'll hold out a long time. It might be fun, Sylar thinks, just to drag it out, regardless of whether the final transfer of power actually works.
But there's something. Something very, very wrong. A vague smell, like rotten eggs. Sylar leans forward to sniff the trail of blood. It smells hot and sweet, but different. He doesn’t understand.
And, for the first time since he discovered what he was, he is afraid.
Sam peers up into Sylar's face. Sam hasn't seen this kind of evil in a face in a long time. And the scariest part of it is that it isn't demon evil. It's pure human evil, regardless of the man's obvious powers. There's something here Sam has never seen before, and suddenly the pieces click into place.
"I know why I'm here," he says, the words firm and certain enough to make Sylar tip his head back in surprise.
"To die?" he asks.
Sam smiles. "No. To stop you."
Sylar's gaze traces over the ropes binding Sam to the slatback chair. "You don't seem to be in any position to do that."
"Maybe not at the moment."
"And why would you want to stop me?"
"I don't want to be here at all. I've been sent."
Sylar seems intrigued, but Sam remains wary. He's pretty sure he can't get himself free of the ropes, but he can stall until Dean gets here. Because he knows Dean will get here.
"Son of a bitch you don't want to tangle with. You can trust me on that one."
Sylar smirks. "Maybe I'm the one he doesn’t want to tangle with."
"Ever fought a demon?" Sam asks. He's pretty sure at this point that, whatever this man Sylar is, he has nothing to do with the Yellow Eyed Demon, or any other demon. Whatever he is, it's rooted in something human. Whether that makes him more or less dangerous, Sam isn't sure yet.
Sylar shakes his head, impatient, as if correcting a child. "No such thing. No need for such a thing, when you have me." Nobody’s crossed this man in a long time, Sam thinks, if ever. He’s far too slick, too confident. Certain he can take anything that might fall in his path.
Sam knows better. "There's where you're wrong. This thing is pure evil. Not half-assed like you. And he doesn't want you fucking with us."
"Us?" Sylar leans a little closer. The stall is working--Sam’s found his weak point. He wants to know.
"His special children. He has plans for us, for our powers. And you've killed at least one of us--he can't be happy about that."
Sylar pulls back, brows compressing. "You're lying. You just want to scare me.” He straightens quickly, and Sam knows right away the one thing Sylar doesn’t want him to. Sylar’s scared.
Sam shrugs nonchalantly. "Believe what you want. Won't change the facts." He thinks he hears something--the steady, familiar throb of the Impala's engine--but he isn't sure. It could be his own heartbeat.
Sylar seems to consider. Maybe he's putting the pieces together, too. Why he wasn't able to absorb the power from the other person he killed. Why he keeps drawing back just as he's about to take Sam apart. Because Sam has noticed that, noticed his hesitation. Were he more decisive, Sam would be more afraid. He's plenty afraid as it is, but there's enough room in Sylar's doubt to think he'll make it out alive.
Sylar's not meant to. Sam understands that. Sam has been sent here to stop this man permanently. The expectation of the demon is that Sam will kill him.
This time, the demon just might be right.
Dean practically flings himself out of the car, almost before he's shut her engine down. He runs full-tilt for the house's front door, but slows and stops several yards from the house as years of training kick in. Reconnoiter. See what you’re facing.
The only car he sees is his own. There’s a light inside, but only illuminating one room. Carefully, he eases to the window, gun ready. His heart slams in his chest, every molecule begging to kick down the door, to burst in and drag Sammy out. But he’s careful.
He doesn’t hear much from inside. A strange voice, then a calm drone he recognizes as Sam. He lets out a breath. Sam’s alive.
He pauses, gathers himself, then gently, so gently, eases open the unlocked front door.
Sylar clenches his teeth. Sam's attitude sets him on edge. Makes him afraid. He hates to be afraid. He barely knows Sam, but he's hating him more and more as the minutes pass.
This boy knows nothing about him. Knows nothing about the power, the rush of gathering more of it. Will never understand.
He bends close, his face close to Sam's. Sam doesn't flinch, doesn't quail, and this makes Sylar hate him even more. "You need to stop telling your stupid stories." This boy is defying him. He should be quavering, weeping, begging for his life. That’s the way it always is. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Sam shrugs again, reeking of disdain. "Whatever. But there's no point killing me. You'll get nothing from it, and I promise you, you'll piss off something so much bigger than anything you've ever seen before. Not gonna be pretty."
Anger rises in Sylar’s chest. He can feel it shredding the edges of his careful control. "How do you know what I've seen?"
Sam just smirks. And his eyes flicker.
Sylar stiffens. That flicker--Sam looked at the door. The door. Dammit--
Sylar turns just in time to catch the rifle butt in the face, instead of in the back of his head.
"Took you long enough." Sam grumps because he's still scared. The dribble of blood from his forehead has moved down to his upper lip, and he can taste how close he came to having his skull opened like a tin can.
"Not like you left a lot of clues." Dean slices through the ropes holding his brother's arms immobile. "You're lucky I figured out where you were at all." He pushes to his feet, pulling the cut ropes with him. Sam stands, as well, and is surprised to find his knees are wobbling. He stays steady, not wanting Dean to see his weakness. "What the hell happened, anyway?” Dean’s voice is edgy. “Why'd you leave?"
"I didn't leave." Sam stares down at Sylar's immobile form. Slumped on the ground, blood oozing from his nose, he looks small and harmless. Ridiculous, even. "He just... I don't know what the hell he did to me."
"That little runt?" Dean is taken aback, but not enough to keep him from mocking his brother. "You shoulda been able to take him with one hand tied behind your back." He pushes Sylar’s inert body with his foot. Sam can tell by the tension in him that Dean wants more than anything else to kick the man to death with his steel-toed boots. "He a demon?" His tone is almost eager.
"No. But he's... He's about the most evil thing we've ever seen."
Dean lifts the shotgun. "Your call."
Sam feels suddenly sick. He can't do it, can't even watch Dean do it, not like this. Not with the man helpless and unconscious on the floor. "Tie him up," he says, and now his voice shakes, now that it's all over. "Let the demon deal with him."
Dean looks at Sam, eyebrows rising. "Dude, that's harsh." But he sorts through the rope on the floor around the chair and salvages enough to bind Sylar’s wrists and ankles. Sylar, well and truly unconscious, doesn’t stir.
As Dean finishes the last knot, Sam turns and walks toward the door. Dean follows.
"Who is he, anyway?"
"I don't know. He said his name was Sylar--" He turns, to look back at Sylar, but the figure is gone. "What the fuck?"
Dean’s jaw bulges as his teeth clench. He looks around, but there’s nowhere really to look in the small, dirty room. "Son of a bitch. Should have killed him when we had the chance."
But the thought of it still makes Sam queasy. He shakes his head a little and pushes open the door.
Sylar awakens in the woods, head throbbing. He has no idea how he got there--the last thing he remembers is fiery green eyes glaring him down as a shotgun butt slammed into his head. Pulling the ropes free from wrists and ankles, he wonders if some power he’s gathered has worked on its own, transporting him here. He’ll need to work it all out, figure out what he can and can’t do after this last series of kills.
But for now he just needs to get away.
He makes his way back to the road that passes through the land behind the house, where he left his car. Or he hopes that's where he's going. His sense of direction is scrambled, his ability to hold onto consciousness uncertain at best. He stumbles through the trees. A root catches his feet and he falls.
"Need a hand?"
He looks up. A figure looms over him, a tall silhouette in the moonlight. The man stands with arms crossed over his chest, not lowering a hand to Sylar in spite of his words.
"Who are you?"
There's a light in the darkness, impossible, a glow from the man's eyes. It's enough to illuminate the smirk on his lips, and it's yellow.
"I'll thank you to leave my children alone, Gabriel," he says in a low, dark voice. "Stick to your own kind. We'll both be better off."
His eyes narrow, and pain tears through Sylar's chest like a knife. For a moment his vision goes black as he clutches at the ripping agony.
When his sight returns, the pain fading, the man is gone.