2007-03-10: Cat and Mouse

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Sylar_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif Noah_icon.gif Angela_icon.gif

Special Guest: The Haitian

Date It Happened: March 10, 2007

Summary: Newly released from prison, Sylar has a date to keep with a cheerleader.

Chapter Two: Betrayals - Cat and Mouse


Petrelli Mansion

Late evening at the Petrelli household finds Claire Bennet in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on a batch of cupcakes that she had set on a cooling rack half an hour prior. The house is full of the sweet smell of baked goods. Dressed in a simple pair of jeans, a green sweater that brings out the colour of her eyes, and her hair left down to fall around her shoulders, Claire leans over the counter, icing the cupcakes with bright blue frosting. She does not look to be as happy as one generally is when making cupcakes. In fact, she looks downright worried. She's one of THOSE people: the kind of person that bakes when they're nervous.

The matriarch of the Petrelli clan is nervous too, but unlike Claire, she's doing an admirable job of hiding it. She sits on the other side of the counter, watching her granddaughter with a solemn but matronly expression that makes her look even older than she is. For the past few hours, she has said nothing of Peter, Nathan or Noah Bennet, instead making small talk about the latest fashions and what the weather must be like in Montreal this time of year. She can't stay quiet for forever, however, and she eventually reaches across to place her cold, vein-laced hand atop the teen's smooth pink one. "Claire," she says simply.

Once released from the police station, Sylar immediately headed back to his current hideout. He took a quick shower (after all, this is an important event, if he's lucky tonight), dressed, collected his sword, and head out on his way. It didn't take long to hail a cab, and it wasn't too horribly long of a ride over to the Hyde Park, where the killer is currently exiting the cab. He pays the fare, wanting to avoid suspicion at all costs, and sends the cabbie on his way. He turns around, eyes falling on the Petrelli mansion, and he smirks. He has a date with a cheerleader tonight.

The touch causes Claire to freeze mid-task, the cupcake only halfway covered in the blue frosting. She doesn't immediately turn to look to Angela, however. It takes several seconds, and it's only once she's drawn in a deep breath that she turns her head slightly, glancing sidelong to her would-be grandmother. "What?" she asks, only able to keep some of the bitterness out of her tone. If there's a sudden chill wandering down her spine, it's almost certainly from Angela's hand on hers, and not from the man outside.

If Claire is looking closely, she might detect the faintest hint of pain in Angela's eyes, but then she blinks — and it's gone. She gives that hand a tight squeeze. "I know that this is difficult for you," she murmurs, her voice as gentle as she can make it without a sinister tone creeping in, "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't difficult for me, too." She lets out a slow breath and releases Claire's hand, as if finally sensing her discomfort. "Both of my sons could be dead, and my only granddaughter is loath to look at me."

The serial killer withdraws the sword, hilt and all, from under his jacket as he walks up the pathway to the front door of the mansion. He places it in his left hand, looking at the Godsend symbol for a moment before he glances back up at the mansion, very close now. He pauses, deciding whether he should kick the door down, ring the doorbell, or perhaps stalk around the house for a little bit, trying to gather more information. Doorbell. Why not? It's the simplest way in. So, the killer makes the last few steps, raising a finger and barely touching the doorbell, preparing himself. He's going to enjoy this.

The doorbell rings.

The sympathy card. It's Claire's weakness, even when it's Angela playing it on her, and a frown flashes across her face at the woman's words. "… I know," she says in an exhale, pulling her hand away so that she can set the bag of icing down. There's even a hint of apology in her expression as she looks back to Angela, the corner of her mouth twitching as if it might become a nervous smile. "I'm sorry. I just…" She's interrupted by the doorbell. It certainly wasn't a sound she was expecting. Casting a perplexed look to Angela, she asks in a low tone, "Company?"

The sound of the doorbell surprises Angela as much as it surprises Claire. That much is clear by the troubled frown on the older woman's face. "They wouldn't dare." There's a steely edge to her voice that wasn't there before, and when she rises from her seat, her eyes are dark with what can only be fury. "Stay here," she says without raising her voice, "I'll be right back." That's a promise. Her heels clicking against the kitchen's marble floor, Angela makes her way out into the hall, and toward the door. She isn't armed with a weapon, but she has a stony gaze and some firm words — and those are usually enough.

The moment he rings the doorbell, Sylar takes his finger off of it and slowly moves the sword behind his back. He still holds it in his left hand, but he makes sure that it isn't easily seen. For now. After all, you never know who is going to be in there. His nervous anticipation grows by the second as he waits for the doorbell to ring, and he's having a hard time from forcing the door open right here and right now. Patience is a virtue.

Stay here, she says. Like any command has ever gone over well with Claire, especially when that command came from someone other than either of her parents. This isn't to say that she bounds carelessly behind Angela towards the door, but she does appear in the doorway of the kitchen, licking some stray frosting from one hand in a very classy way. The rest of the cupcakes will just have to go unfrosted for the time being. Intrigue is afoot!

The front door swings open, revealing the tall, hawkish figure of Angela Petrelli, dressed in a stylish black pantsuit with only a splash of red on her blouse for colour. She narrows her eyes at Sylar, and her grip on the door visibly tightens. "I was wondering how long it would be before you showed up here," she says in a tone that's maybe not as baleful as it should be, all things considered. Angela does not, however, step aside to allow him entry into the mansion. Not yet. "You're looking for our little Claire, I take it." It isn't a question.

Sylar lowers his head a bit when the door begins to open, but when he realizes it's just an old woman (as far as /he/ knows), his eyes widen a bit. This is quite the pleasant surprise. "Oh, yes," he responds to Angela's last statement, slowly moving the sword from behind his back. He doesn't spot Claire back towards the kitchen, and remains completely focused on Angela. "You see, she has something I need. Something I'm taking for myself." He throws caution to the wind at this point, and moves the sword down to his side, unsheathing the blade fully with his right hand, so he can point the tip in Angela's direction. "I wouldn't get in my way."

From her vantage point in the kitchen, Claire's eyes go wide, her hand slowly moving away from her face as her jaw falls. She knew he was alive, but he was supposed to be in jail, wasn't he? Somewhere in the back of her mind, there's a memory nagging at her: by all accounts, he's currently powerless. That's what she was told. All she can see, however, is the same second-long flashback of their first encounter, when Jackie met her unfortunate demise, playing over and over again. She should stay and help this woman who took her into her home, this woman who is related to her by blood, but she's… paralyzed. That's a good way to put it. Sucking in a breath, she flattens herself against the wall, out of sight from the door, her heart racing.

"There's no need for violence," Angela assures the killer, and even though there's an ancient Japanese sword aimed at her chest, her gaze does not leave Sylar's face. "In fact, I think we might even be able to help one another out." She lets this hang for a moment, gauging his reaction before she quietly (yet no less sternly) adds, "But first, put that horrible thing away." A snort. "It hardly suits you, and I won't have grown men waving silly Japanese swords around my home. You're much too old for toys." With this, Angela raises both her dark eyebrows, as if daring him to disagree.

"Oh, really," Sylar says with no real conviction. In fact, he doesn't really seem to care at all. Instead of lowering the sword, he raises it, pointing it directly at the woman's throat, and leaving about a half an inch worth's of space between the tip of the blade and Angela's throat. "Perhaps you should tell me how we can help each other before I make any decisions," the killer says, staring right back at Angela, "after all, I've come a long way to get here. I'm not taking any chances on account of you."

The conversation is doing absolutely nothing to settle her nerves, and Claire should consider herself lucky that she can't see the knife poised at Angela's throat. With her head slanted back against the wall behind her, she gives in to an expression of helplessness. One singular bright idea streaks through her mind, but it's dismissed just as quickly because, of course, her cell phone is in her bag, which is by the front door. She bites her lower lip, still flattened against the wall, eavesdropping and entirely uncertain what she ought to be doing.

"I understand." Rather than sound resigned, there's a hint of a genuine sympathy in Angela's voice, but it isn't likely to be heard unless Sylar is listening for it. "I know what it feels like to be powerless, to stand by, helpless, when everything you've ever wanted is just out of reach. It hurts, it aches. No, you don't have to take any chances on account of me, Sylar — I want to help you. I want to see you reach your full potential, because I believe that you can be the one we need." She frowns now, the neutral expression on her face darkening into a much somber one. "That's why it pains me to tell you, Claire isn't the one you want. You've been fooled, by the Company, by Suresh. I'd tell you more, but—" There's always a but. At last, Angela's eyes drop to the point of the sword. Her meaning should be clear.

"No!" Sylar says, advancing forward the final half-inch so the blade is barely touching Angela's throat, but not enough to cause any damage. "She /is/ the one I want. Her power. It can heal me. I /know/ it can." Of course, this isn't necessarily true, but the psychopath is so desperate at this point for his powers, he'll believe almost anything. "You can't keep her from me forever. I will find her no matter where you take her. Give her to me now, and save everyone the trouble."

For one fleeting moment, Claire considers giving herself up. She could walk out into the hallway now and hand herself over to Sylar, saving them, like he said, from the trouble. Her selfish side wins out; she remains hidden, her breathing slow and deliberate. She's listening to every word, an obvious frown descending upon her features as she fails to make sense of Angela's words. Pushing away from the wall, Claire casts a glance to the other exit from the kitchen, leading into the dining room.

"Claire is a child," Angela hisses. "You want her no more than you want to pick an apple before it's ripe. There is another like her, another who has been around for hundreds of years, another whose gift has had time to mature. /He/ is the one you want." Her eyes dart back to Sylar's face, and she scowls. "You could slit my throat," she says, "but you'd be killing the only one who's ever appreciated you for what you truly are. You could kill Claire, too, but that would mean settling for second place, and we both know you're better than that, don't we?"

Sylar's breathing becomes deeper as his agitation increases, and it takes everything in his willpower to not slice this woman's throat right here, right now, and then take Claire. "It's all the same. She can regenerate, can she not? She's more than ripe enough for /me/." Still, Sylar hesitates to take any action. Angela could be working an angle to take him down… but at the same time, she could be genuine. Sylar decides, for the time being anyway, to hear Angela out. He lowers the sword to his side, so the tip is just above the ground, but there is no way he's putting it away. "Talk."

Angela might be lobbying for her safety, but Claire's heart is still racing, and there's a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach like this is all about to get really, really bad. She hasn't even seen the sword yet. She waits for the right moment, holding her breath again as she stares across the kitchen at the entrance to the dining room. This is stupid, she thinks. Really, really stupid. But she can't just sit here in the kitchen while Angela goes toe to toe with Sylar, so she ducks down as far as she can and makes a break for the dining room.

"She can regenerate," Angela agrees, "but only from so much, and only so quickly. I don't suppose the Company told you that your ability will change and evolve over time, just as you have." She seems to relax now that there's no longer a blade pressed against her jugular, but there's a kind of tenseness in her body that never seems to completely go away. "Of course, with as many gifts as you've gathered, you won't have time to master them all. It is to your benefit to let the others do all the work, and then take their abilities from them when they've reached their full potential." She might be stalling for time, or she might not; the only thing that's certain is something has gone horribly wrong at the Kirby Plaza facility. Nathan should have been back by now — and with Peter. Alone, Angela can't stall for time forever. "You would be a fool not to." Run, Claire!

"I don't care how much she can regenerate from," Sylar responds, the hand with the sword shaking. Not from fear, but from the desire to stab Angela right through the heart and end this now. "The fact is, she can /regenerate/. I can use that to get my abilities back. You can't keep them from me forev— " Just then, Claire decides to run across the hall, and Sylar spots her, his eyes zoning in on her like a hawk's. His eyes snap back to Angela, the hunger in them already shining through. "I have a new agenda. This talk is over." With his left arm, he pushes the old lady to the left and out of the way, and advances into the house—the sword, so low to the ground, scrapes against the ground with a loud metallic noise as he drags it behind him, which ends suddenly as he whips the sword up and points it at Claire's back. "Hello, Claire," he calls out, "did you miss me?"

She is rummaging through a drawer in the dining room buffet when Sylar speaks her name, and instantly, Claire jerks her head around to fix Sylar with a wide-eyed stare. She was really, really hoping he wouldn't notice her. Of course, some part of her knew that was just wishful thinking, but it's too late for that now. Her heart alternates between feeling as though it's stopped and beating so fast that she thinks it might explode. "Stay away from me," she says, her voice breaking, as she backpedals away from him quickly. Whatever she was searching for in the drawer is forgotten.

Angela should consider herself lucky that shoving her is all Sylar decided to do, but she finds it difficult to feel anything but fear now that she's no longer in control of the situation. Clinging to the doorframe to keep her footing, she calls out sharply to her granddaughter, over her shoulder, "You can do more to him that he can do to you, Claire!" This might not be as reassuring as Angela hoped it would be; her voice wavers and then cracks right in the middle of it. "Don't be afraid!"

"I don't think so," Sylar says, advancing further on Claire. "I've waiting a /long/ time for this." In fact, just to prove his point, he walks right up to the girl and stops the blade inches from her throat. "No sudden moves, now," he says, smiling, "we wouldn't want that pretty throat of yours to get hurt." At Angela's voice, Sylar turns his head back, glaring at the older woman. "Hush. I won't hear anymore from you."

Don't be afraid? What kind of advice is that? Her face is pale, her eyes possessed of a wild and frantic kind of fear. It's the kind of fear that drives people to do completely ridiculous things. Sylar has her backed against a wall, the tip of the blade hovering so near to her throat that Claire can imagine how it would feel piercing her skin. A sane person would tell them that they would have anything they wanted, so long as their life was spared. Claire Bennet is occasionally the kind of person who would think to say something like that.

Tonight, however, Claire is the kind of person to lash out with a hand to snatch a decorative plate off the wall from behind her and whip it hard at Sylar's head. She has had brighter ideas. (If she actually hits him, though, she is going to run. Fast.)

Sylar glares at Angela, and Angela glares right back. Her entire body quakes with furious energy, though she's very little she can do about what's happening in the dining room. Unlike certain blonde hussies that her eldest has a history of cavorting with, she does not possess super strength or the ability to throw flame.

Sylar is too busy glaring at Angela to notice the incoming plate, and when Claire's weapon hits home, it hits home hard. Sylar stumbles to the right, the sword nearly falling out of his hand, but he manages to keep a grip on it. He shakes his head, clearing the cobwebs, and a fire mixes with the hunger in his eyes as he turns towards the direction Claire is running. "You can't run forever, Claire," he says, already on the move after her. The chase seems to be on, but he stops. He turns back towards Angela, and begins to advance on the older woman. "Oh, Claire!" he calls out, his voice echoing off the walls, "surely you don't you want to see your dear old friend murdered? Or can you handle the blood of another one of my victims on your hands?"

The benefit of old mansions likes these is that there are multiple entrances and exits to each room, making it very difficult to follow someone with any measure of accuracy - and very easy to sneak up on them. It's in this way that Claire creeps up behind him, stopping around ten feet back. "Don't touch her," comes Claire's resentful voice, spoken coldly.

*CLICK*

Claire's command is also accompanied by the hollow sound of the safety being flipped off a gun. She holds a handgun in one hand, supported by the opposite, with the barrel of the pistol trained on Sylar. If it weren't for the tremble in her hands, she might even look convincing.

It wouldn't be accurate to say that Angela Petrelli is ready to die, but she's more prepared for it tonight than she was yesterday, just as she was more prepared yesterday than the day before that. She lifts her chin, staring past Sylar and the sword to where Claire is standing, and though the expression she now wears on her face is as grim as it is wrinkled, there's no mistaking the pride in her eyes. Let it never be said that her granddaughter doesn't have the courage of her father or her uncle. "What are you waiting for, Claire? Shoot him!"

At the sound of the safety being clicked off, all Sylar does is smile. He doesn't turn around, and he doesn't move. Looking down at his sword, he speaks to Claire. "Can do you it?" he asks of her, his voice low. "Can you really shoot me? Can you murder someone? Do it. Go on, shoot. Do as she tells you. .. But." Sylar swiftly moves the sword forward, so it's directly against Angela's throat, the tip of the blade just ready to pierce her jugular. "Shoot me, and she dies. Can you live with that, Claire?"

It isn't clear what, exactly, is stopping Claire from pulling the trigger as she stands facing Sylar, her gun wavering a tiny bit with each shake of her hands. "I'm not a murderer," she spits out, her voice bearing more resentment and disdain than she ever thought possible. Her nose wrinkles just slightly, and she asks, "What do you want from me?" Other than her death. That much, she can deduce.

"Well, that's good," Sylar says to Claire, slowly turning around so he can face her as he speaks. The sword, however, still stays against Angela's throat. It's about the only bargaining chip he has right now. "I wouldn't want you to be like me. You're far too precious for /that/." The killer pauses for a moment, staring at Claire, and he takes a deep breath before he speaks, the hunger in his eyes growing. "All I want from you, Claire, is blood. I don't even want to kill you." Yet. "Can you do that for me, Claire?" he continues, smiling at the girl. "Can you give me what I want? I'll spare the life of your friend here if you can."

That certainly wouldn't be the most effective way to make her father proud, would it? If she were to put down the gun right now and hold out her wrist, give him what he wants, she couldn't live with that. "Why? So you can go kill more people?" is Claire's instant reply, her grip on the gun tightening. Her eyes narrow, her weight shifting between her feet. It's clear that she's nervous, and she's terrified, but her tone is firm as she says, "No." The word is barely out of her mouth before she swings the gun down and squeezes the trigger, aiming for his leg. "Run, Angela!"

Sylar tilts his head to the side and closes his eyes briefly (probably not the best of ideas) before shrugging slightly at Claire. "Basically? Yes. Your blood will prove quite useful to me. If it helps me kill more people? Then so be it. So, why don't you put the gun down and we'll have a nice little chat?" That doesn't seem to be Claire's agenda, as the ex-cheerleader aims the gun down. Fortunately for Sylar it gives him the split second notice he needs, and he moves to the right, quickly sliding his leg out of the way, and the bullet misses. Narrowly. So close, in fact, it tears the side of his jeans. At least he wasn't actually hit. The sword is no longer pressed against Angela neck, either, with Sylar moving out of the way.

Angela doesn't need to be told twice, much as she loathes to be taking orders from her sixteen-year-old granddaughter. She jerks away and stumbles backwards, down the front steps and onto the pavement below. Apart from a few bruises and scrapes, the elderly woman is unharmed and — within a matter of moments — back on her feet again. Just because she's in her sixties doesn't make her a brittle old thing.

It's enough of a distraction for Claire that she takes off running, the gun still in hand. She can only hope that Sylar is more interested in her than in Angela as she grabs the banister, racing up the stairs to the second floor. It isn't that she thinks she can hide, or that this is even the best place for her to be headed right now for her own safety, really. It's that she kind of does assume that Angela needs the help of misdirection to help her get away. Poor Angela.

"That was a mistake," Sylar growls, not caring if Claire hears it or not. He snaps his eyes back in Angela's direction for a total of three seconds as the older woman runs down the front walk, and then he's looking back towards the stairs as Claire runs up them. He's no longer worried about Angela at this point. He breaks into a semi-run, crossing the hall quickly and arriving at the bottom of the stairs, calling up them as he begins his ascent. "Claaaire! Don't run from me, you're only making it worse for yourself! Come out and be a nice little girl, won't you?"

Claire has already turned down a hallway by the time Sylar is calling her name, ascending the stairs in his own right. She may be baiting him, but that doesn't mean she's eager to feel his hand on her shoulder any time soon. The first few rooms are passed by without so much as a glance. The doors are open, but stopping to close them all would slow her down too much. The door to the room she enters is open, too, but she doesn't throw it closed as she dashes inside. That would give it away a bit. It's a bedroom, though not hers, and she flattens herself against the wall beside the door, out of sight from the hallway.

Sylar ascends the stairs quickly, stopping at the top to take a look around. Many doors, many rooms, but no Claire. Does he get to stalk her throughout the house? Perfect. "Claaaire…" he calls out softly, advancing forward slowly towards the first door on his right. He pauses outside of it, waiting- and then he suddenly turns into the room, his sword held out in front of him as he does a quick scan with his eyes. No Claire. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Sylar calls out, using the classic line, but when he says it, it's that much worse. "Let me see that innocent smile of yours, before I cut you down!"

With the prospect of a warm house and warmer clothes, Peter moves around the house quickly, heading towards the front door. While they'd landed in the back to be more discrete, going around to the front would be more likely to gain admittance to the house. Little does he know what's going on inside. It isn't until he rounds the corner and sees an easily recognized woman, no matter the lessened light, standing out in front of her house, instead of inside it. "Mom?" he calls out immediately, glancing back towards the blonde young woman to make sure she's still with him, before approaching her. Dressed in light grays and blues, he's certainly not clothed for the late winter-early spring night air, and the fact that he's shaking a little where he stands gives that away more than not. The hair that used to hang in his face has been cropped short, and recently maintained.

Following after Peter and not so sure about the reception she may receive in this particular household, Elle freezes in place when the man calls for his mother. Taking the last few steps, she comes to stand just behind and to his side, eyeing Angela for herself. "Mrs. Petrelli." Then, noting the front door being open and doing the quick math in her head with the woman's current appearance factored in says, "What's happening?" She breaks from the empathic mimic then and heads for that same door.

At the sound of her youngest son's voice, Angela whirls, her eyes wide and bright with an emotion that isn't often seen in them. Surprise. "Peter!" She lowers a cellular phone from her ear, using one pale hand to cover the mouthpiece as she hurries to meet him halfway, the staccato snap of her heels brisk against the pavement. Her gaze darts briefly to Elle, but whether or not she recognizes her as the daughter of her old friend Bob Bishop is not only uncertain — it's unimportant as well. The situation inside must be very dire indeed, because embracing Peter isn't the first thing she does when she reaches him. As to what's happening, her one word answer is breathed rather than spoken: "Sylar."

Down the hallway from Sylar, entirely too close for comfort, Claire is second-guessing this brave plan of hers. What if he has his powers back? She flicks a glance to the window, questioning whether she ought to risk jumping through it. Something makes her decide not to, at least not yet. Her breath is held for as long as possible, her hands trembling. The handgun is still held in one hand, lowered to her side. She closes her eyes, sliding between the door and the wall, hidden in its shadow, her shoulder turned as if she might be preparing to push it closed.

Completely oblivious to the fact more help has arrived, dangerous help, Sylar continues his slow pace through the mansion's upper hallways. Exiting the room he was just in, he turns to the right, proceeding down the hallway further. "I love a game of Cat and Mouse," he calls out, hoping Claire can hear him. "It's so exciting, isn't it?" He sticks his head into the next room, quickly, but doesn't spot Claire in there, either. "The thrill of the hunt, the ripe little mouse being toyed with.. is that all you are Claire? Just a mouse? A mouse for slaughtering?"

It's fairly obvious that Peter's prepping for a hug that never happens, and one he can not initiate either. As soon as that name is spoke, he blinks. There's certainly an expression of 'isn't he supposed to be dead?' across his face, but that doesn't last long. Surely people thought the same of him. A shaky inhale later and he glances once over his shoulder, half expecting the man to be standing right there. Not the case right now, but he as he's glancing, he notices the blonde woman moving inside. "Elle," he calls out in worry, before looking back towards his mom. "Where is he?" Chances are he's in the house, but if he has a basic idea of where in the house, it would be easier.

Elle slows when she hears Angela speak the name of Sylar. "Why is he here?" She asks with more than just a hint of suspicion in her voice. Clearly she doesn't think the mass murderer is here for tea and crumpets. Forcing herself not to ask twenty questions (it wouldn't do with Sylar nearby), she moves up to the door, pausing there to peer inside.

The phone snaps shut, and Angela places it back in the front pocket of her pantsuit. "Upstairs," she tells Peter, turning her head to look up at the mansion's second story windows as though she might be able to catch of glimpse of what's going on inside. No such luck. "He's after Claire."

Were this a movie, Claire would stand in front of the window and slice her hand open with a letter opener, waiting for Sylar to charge her like a shark who'd just smelled blood. In a movie, he'd go flying out the window and land on his own sword. Except this isn't a movie, this is her life, and nothing ever goes that smoothly for Claire Bennet. So she waits, tucked behind the door, until she sees the shadow of feet beneath the door. And with every bit of strength she has, she tries to ram Sylar with the door as she plants her shoulder against it and swings it shut.

Sylar takes a step into the room Claire is currently occupying, and takes a look around. He doesn't see the cheerleader, but that doesn't mean she isn't in here. Granted, she could be in a different room, but he's growing tired of Cat and Mouse. Suddenly, the door comes swinging at him, and while he's surprised, he brings an arm up in retaliation against the door, stopping the force of it swinging shut and pushing back as hard as he can.

That's really all Peter needed to hear. "Wait here," he calls out before taking off. If Elle hasn't already ran in the door, he's making a good attempt at running right past her, making for the stairs, taking as many of them as he can to get to the second floor quickly. Hopefully, he'll even beat her up them, if he's fast enough. Don't think that 'wait here' hadn't technically been meant for her as well, but since he doubts she'll listen, he'd like to at least make it up there first. "Claire!" he calls out for her rather than yelling out the name of the man going after her, worried about her well-being first and foremost. As well as hoping to draw attention to him.

Amazing as it might seem, Elle has ears. And they work. So when she hears Peter coming up behind her and not really seeing Sylar looming right by the front door, she rushes inside and up the stairs, just ahead of the man. She stops at the top, however, unsure of which way to go. She looks to Peter, blue arcs of electricity in her hands forming into balls of crispy death waiting to be thrown. Putting her back to a wall, she looks down the hallway and then to her impromptu combat partner. "SYLAR!" Maybe it'll draw him out. Maybe.

Claire had somewhat naively thought her plan would work out much better than it actually does; not only does Sylar stop her from knocking him out cold with the door, he shoves back. She stumbles backwards, her foot catching on the edge of a rug, and loses her footing. Landing hard on her back, the gun falls from her hand and skitters across the floor away from her. Of course. "PETER!" she yells, too distracted by fighting for, oh, her life to think about what it means to be hearing Peter calling her name. He was rescued! She'll freak out about that later. She scrambles to try and get to her feet, using both hands to push herself up.

At the sound of Peter and Elle's voices, Sylar's head snaps back towards the direction of the stairs. He smiles, a small chuckle escaping his throat, and he proceeds into the room, closing the door quietly behind him. Click. He locks it, even if it won't hold for more than two seconds— but two seconds may be all he needs. "Oh, Claire," Sylar says, his head tilting to the side as he looks down at her, "quite the predicament, isn't it?" He advances on the girl, turning the sword in his hand so that it's held backwards, and he raises it over his head. "It would have been so much easier if you had just done as you were told." He brings the sword down, aiming straight for her lower back.

Yes, she's hearing her uncle, and as soon as she responds, Peter takes down the hallway. Elle might be fully charged and ready to go, but he's not really thinking that far ahead. He's more worried about getting there as quickly as possible. The hallway is long, and he's out of sight by the time he looks the right way, but he heard her voice, and that's enough. All he needs to know is what side to run down. And, oh yeah. Mom, get a smaller house. It'll take a few moments to run down the hall.

Once Peter gets a bead, Elle is after him down the hall, electricity crackling in her hands. "We find him, we kill him," she states firmly. "He's too dangerous to be left alive and if he gets away, more people are going to die." She's frowning pretty intensely right now, even moreso when she thinks of Claire's power in Sylar's hands.

His aim is true: the sword slices into Claire's back, tearing straight through her belly. It might not be lethal, but it still hurts, and the sound that comes out of her mouth then isn't just a yelp or a whimper. No, Claire screams. It's loud, it's pained, it's terrified. She hadn't even gotten to her feet yet, and she certainly isn't going to make it now that there's a sword right through her midriff. She'd like to do something heroic - reach for the gun, trip Sylar and take the sword - but the only thing she can think to do, right about now, is yell three words: "PETER! HELP ME!" She's beginning to doubt she even heard her uncle's voice.

When the cheerleader screams, Sylar's eyes widen for a moment in joy, reveling in the sound. After all, he couldn't get Mara to scream, so hearing Claire screaming for her life is most delicious. "They're coming for me, so it's time for us to go," he says to her, kneeling down onto the floor so he can get an arm around her legs. He begins to drag her towards the nearest window, leaving a trail of her blood on the floor, and when he's close enough, he slides the sword out of Claire and uses it to bash the glass out of its frame with the hilt. He sticks his head out, avoiding the glass, and spies some bushes down below which are big enough to protect either he or Claire from the fall.

Kill him. If Peter'd even been capable of that, it's really not going to be much of an issue, because the cries of his niece drive him forward, uncaring as to the danger that he might be facing. Stick close to Elle might have been a good plan, and hopefully she'll be beside him, or behind him, but he's not much caring when he hears those cries. That's pain. She may not die from it, but for all he knows he's slicing her skull open right this moment. Considering the emotions called up in him right now are very much related to the man holding his niece, it should be no surprise when he rounds the corner and sees him holding a bloodied Claire by the window. Though it's not his best idea in the world, he reaches out and grasps at his niece with his mind, and tries to wrench her away, hoping desperately not to hurt her too badly. Getting her out of his hands is top priority to him.

Apparently fearless in addition to being a diagnosed sociopath, Elle is right behind Peter, so when he finds the right door she comes to a screeching halt and with a one-two motion lets fly with her electrical balls of doom. Unlike the girl's uncle, she's not as concerned about Claire getting hurt or not. She can heal afterall. Lucky bitch.

One moment, Claire is being dragged across the floor towards the window, feeling shattered glass raining down as Sylar breaks the window. The next, she's being pulled away again, in the opposite direction. Right back through that trail of blood. She's looking a bit rough right about now, with blood staining her torn sweater, but the key thing is that she's not in Sylar's hands any more. Once she's free, she coughs once, scrunching her nose, and scrambles back to her feet. Behind Peter and Elle, it should be noted. Even if Elle's getting a very perplexed and wary look from Claire.

Once Sylar is satisfied that the bushes are enough to break his and Claire's fall, he begins to pull his head back through the window, just in time to hear the door crash open. He snaps his attention towards the commotion, and spots Peter and Elle. His eyes instantly have a fire in them, and he raises the sword to stab Claire again, and pin her to the ground— only she's being dragged away from him. His prize. His trophy. His cure. He opens his mouth to scream at Peter, demanding Claire's return, but he doesn't have time.. because Elle just fried him. The balls of lightning slam into his chest, set his jacket on fire, and send him reeling backward— right through the window in fact. There's a crash as more glass breaks, and then Sylar is gone, falling towards the bushes.

Considering how blood covered she happens to be, Peter can't help but look towards her for signs that she's completely intact. The limits of her ability, which he happens to have mimicked aspects of, are not completely known— but the top of her skull appears to be intact, and she's standing and looking at them. That's going to have to be good enough for him. Especially since when he looks back, fire and falling Sylar are about all he sees. It doesn't even cross his mind to reach out and grab for him as he had Claire, but he does start to move towards the window.

Elle watches as her lightning projectiles strike their target. When he tumbles through the window, though, she frowns. Looking aside to Claire, she looks to Peter and says, "I'm going outside to finish him off." Then she's off back down the hallway, heading for the stairs.

Though watching Sylar fall through a second storey window is faintly reassuring, Claire can't quite get her heart to stop racing. She's breathing hard, clutching the door frame from where she stands, half-hidden, in the hallway. When Elle moves past her, she tracks the girl with her eyes, but doesn't say anything to question why she's present. "Peter," she says breathlessly, stepping back into the room to take him into a sudden and fierce hug. By now, she's crying. She's not even sure when the tears started.

The moment Sylar hits the bushes below, he takes all of three seconds to gather his thoughts and immediately rolls to his right, hopping up from the ground. He drops the sword and tears off his jacket, flailing a bit as he tries to get the burning material off of him. Once it's finally off, he tosses it to the side into the grass, and kneels down to pick up the sword. He takes a deep breath, looks up at the window he just feel through, and with a look of murderous rage, begins to dash through the backyard (limping somewhat with his right leg), heading away from the mansion.

While he'd fully intended to look out of the window and hope to see Sylar laying in a pile of bent bones — okay, maybe he didn't really /want/ to see it, but at this point it would be a relief — Peter happens to be distracted, first by Elle's decision, which makes him step back towards the door, and then by his name. The biggest distraction of all would be his niece's arms around him. "Claire," he says lightly, the adrenaline of the moment slowing down, thought his voice doesn't soften from the tight raspy sound. Really, all this stress it's no wonder that he's having a difficult time. "It's okay— it's okay, Claire." With his arms moving around her small form protectively, he adds in a more whispered tone, "He's gone. He doesn't have you." Yes, for the moment he thinks her tears are about the apparent attempt on her well-being.

Elle is to the staircase and taking them as quickly as is safe. Once she hits the ground floor, she glances around just in case Sylar came back inside and then heads for the back of the house, searching for a door that'll take her outside. Shoving the door open, she glances left and right, trying to spot where the killer fell and maybe the killer himself.

If anything, Claire's embrace only grows tighter as Peter speaks to her, and she begins to sob, burying her face into his chest. But when she speaks, it isn't her near-death experience that turns out to be the topic of conversation. "I thought you were dead," she laments between sobs, her voice partly muffled. She doesn't seem to be prepared to let him go just yet. "I'm so glad you're here. I missed you." And, you know, thanks for saving my life with your crazy girlfriend from hell. Maybe she'll get to that later.

Sylar breathes heavily as he reaches the end of the backyard, hopping over whatever might be in his way there, and landing on the other side. He falls on his injured leg, and there's a sickening snap as it breaks. There's a sharp intake of breath, and a choking sound, but he immediately silences himself. If anyone is chasing him, he doesn't want to give away his position. Making sure he still has his sword, he half-limps, half crawls away from the Petrelli mansion towards the nearest alley he can find.

Though the embrace is tight— Peter starts to pull back just a bit, glancing down at her better. At first he'd thought the hair might have been covered in blood, or something— it had been the second time he'd seen her, but— now that he's trying to move back, he sees differently. Reaching up to rub the back of a finger under one of her eyes, wiping the tears, he smiles faintly, "I'm fine, really." The fingers that wiped at tears linger against her hair for a moment, touching the darkened locks. She really looks more like a Petrelli now that he has a chance to look down at her. "I thought that it would be safer if…" There's so much to explain, why he's been gone so long, why no one knew he'd been alive… but there's another worry that draws him back, glancing towards the window. "I'll explain later," he says as he begins to pull back even more. "Elle…" Worried about "crazy girlfriend from hell" it would seem.

Elle steps out into the backyard proper, but of course doesn't quite catch any sign of Sylar. "Freaking cockroach from hell," she mutters, running a hand through her hair before walking down the hedge towards where the remnants of the window and Sylar's jacket are. Taking care not to cut herself on the glass, she checks the pockets to see if there's anything in them.

Claire returns the smile in kind, her own just as fleeting and faint as his, as she takes a step back. "I know," she says, ducking her head as she casts an anxious look back to the broken window. Another step away from Peter, and her arms cross, both hands rubbing the opposite arm in a kind of self-comfort. She looks back to her uncle then, motioning to the door with her head. "Go be a hero."

Though the embrace as more or less ended, Peter still reaches up to touch her face, gently running a finger under her eyes again. Going to be a hero doesn't mean he can't pause for another minute. "It's good to see you again, Claire. You should go downstairs with Mom until we're completely sure he's gone." Because it's safer, right? He doesn't know Sylar has no abilities right now, so he's just going to hope that Elle's keeping him busy if he's still alive. A really smart move would have been not to leave her alone at all, but hey… It might be faster for him to go to the window and attempt to jump down, but he goes in the direction that she motioned and takes the hallway, making it for the stairs, and moving towards the back door.

Meanwhile, Claire has to take a few seconds to compose herself. 'A few seconds,' in this case, translates to at least a full minute as she leans against the wall behind her. Being alone again does very little to calm her nerves, and she hadn't quite gotten her tears under control by the time Peter left her to go chase down Sylar. Only once she's fought back her sobs does she push away from the wall, headed for the staircase, using the sleeve of her sweater to brush away any lingering tear tracks on her face.

Elle doesn't find anything in the jacket. Wrinkling her nose up in disgust, she straightens up and glances around before rubbing her arms in the cool NYC weather. Shaking her head, she heads back for the door, coming to it just about the same time Peter's reaching it. She pauses abruptly, more than a little tense, but not enough to go shocking the guy. "Hey there stud. All I found was his jacket. The guy's a serious cockroach."

A car slides around the corner of the street leading to the Petrelli mansion, and barely slows down as the driver fights to get the vehicle under control. The vehicle screeches to a halt in the driveway and Noah and the Haitian are out of the car a moment later, the doors open and the engine running. Both sprint towards the front door, Noah with his gun in hand.

Sitting on the bottommost step of the Petrelli mansion is Angela, though she doesn't remain sitting for long. The moment she hears the squeal of tires and the sound of car doors popping open, she's on her feet to greet the newest arrivals. "She's inside," she tells Noah, not wasting any time in getting straight to the point, "Peter and Bishop's girl are here, too."

"That doesn't really surprise me," Peter says at the back door, glancing at the jacket. As long as he doesn't hear any screams from upstairs, he's not too terribly worried. "Last I saw him, he had a sword shoved through him. You got him pretty good, though, he probably won't be…" It's here that he hears the sounds of vehicles screeching to a halt, and shifts to get a look towards the front door. If it'd just been Noah, he might not be worried, even talking to his mom, he wouldn't be worried, but there's a certain face that causes a sharp inhale. Namely, the Haitian.

"We're just lucky he didn't take Claire's power or we'd be screwed," Elle states, looking over her shoulder. "He was kind of a tool, really. A tool with a dumb sword." She hears screeching of tires, too, and looks to Peter, "We staying or going? Because if we're going? We need to make like a Sylar and leave."

Noah nods but doesn't speak or slow down except to turn the handle and shoulder the door open. He knows the door's too thick to kick down. "CLAIRE!" Noah bellows out her name once he's inside, stopping in the foyer and looking around. The house is so damn big.

"Dad?" Her voice is calmer, at least, as Claire calls down the staircase to her father. Her shirt is torn through the middle, and there's a considerable blood stain on both the front and back. Her hair is mussed, too, and her expression makes it clear that she was very recently crying. (What else is new?) She races down the staircase, one hand barely trailing along the banister for balance, and all but launches herself at her father when she sees him.

There's a pause, before Peter slips back out of sight of the front of the house and goes to a desk in the back of the house and opens up a drawer. Whatever he's searching for takes a few moments, and a few extra drawers. Finally he lifts up some papers and finds what he's looking for, an envelope. "We're going to go. Until I can figure out what's going on." He might trust Noah still, but the Haitian fired live rounds at him. If it'd just been him he was firing at, he might not have cared as much, but he'd been carrying Elle. With the envelope in hand, he reaches into a closet near the back door and pulls out two coats, a ladies coat, and a gentleman's coat, and starts to shrug one on, and pass the ladies on to Elle. "We'll get a hotel tonight."

Elle looks a little confused as Peter ducks inside again and kind of lingers in the back door, watching the door to the next room carefully. The last thing she wants is another tasering today. Or any more bruises. When Peter comes back and announces the new plan, she grins. The ladies coat is taken and slipped on as she says, "You sure know how to sweet talk a woman."

"Where is he?" Noah says. One arm holds his daughter in a tight embrace, the other holds his gun. Both his and his partners eyes are scanning around the house, not knowing the danger is over.

"He fell out the window," Claire explains, gesturing with one hand in the direction of the backyard. Nothing can be seen from here, of course, but there's the distinct sound of someone rummaging in the kitchen that can be heard from here. Her voice catches in her throat for a moment, but being near her father is enough to grant her the courage to call out, "Peter?" One has to assume that if it was Sylar, he would be storming back in to cut her open again, and not sifting through a drawer in the back of the house.

The 'sweet talking' earns a tense hint of a smile, before Peter reaches to pull the book out of his pants pocket finally and put it in a larger, more secure interior pocket on the coat, along with the envelope. Yes, he'd carried that book the whole time. Once those are both safe and secure, he reaches out to take her hand, much as she'd done to him the first time they'd met. With his fingers entwining with hers, he hears his name called out and glances back towards the front of the house. Tension lines his jaw, and his eyebrows lower. He would love to trust Noah, but— He's visibly torn. The grip on her hand tightens before he calls back, "I'll see you again soon, Claire." That's all he can really risk taking the time to say, before he heads out the back door, intending to bring the blonde ex-agent with him. Don't be mad, there's a reason he's worried.

In contrast to Peter, Elle doesn't call anything out that would give away her presence more than she already has. Holding on to Peter's hand tightly, she moves after him out the door and into the back yard. "What do you think? Some more Superman action or do we hop the fence and pull a Richard Simmons to the nearest Four Seasons?" And hey, she has shocked him at all in like… hours.

"Stay with her," Noah orders, pulling himself away from Claire and heading towards the kitchen. He puts the gun away as he goes. The Haitian simply nods and keeps up his watchful guard, though he does spare a glance, and the hint of a smile for Claire. "Peter?" Noah calls out, not sure if he's going to get attacked when he steps into the kitch.

Right, okay. Stay with the creepy silent man. Granted, Claire doesn't so much as glance to him, so it's almost as if he isn't there. Her attention is fixated on her father as he heads for the kitchen. She hugs her arms around herself again, a frown set deep on her face. She doesn't call out again, at least, seeming to take Peter's words without argument, at least for the time being.

See, this is why he's so easily torn. Peter gets that expression again, even worse than before, and he pulls up short. If the man hadn't called out to him— Elle gets an extremely apologetic glance, though he keeps a hold on her hand, "Noah?" Some of the last time they talked, he'd agreed to shoot him. Wasn't able to, but at the time it'd been important. And he'd also told him to call him by his first name, otherwise there'd be a title or last name attached. He wants to trust the man…

"Okay, Pete? You were earning serious cool points with the macho decisiveness there… don't ruin it," Elle begs Peter, giving his hand a firm squeeze. She hears Noah too, it would seem. "Is that… Bennet?" Shaking her head in frustration, she stays where she is, but that free hand of hers? She oh-so-stealthily starts to gather a charge in it, for hurling at the (to her knowledge) ex-Company Agent.

Noah remains in the kitchen doorway, framed by the light coming from the room behind him. "I should probably take you in," Noah says, his tone light. He is silent a moment, then draws a breath. "My daughter would probably like it very much if you said goodbye to her before you left." He turns to look back the way he came, and nods at the Haitian. The dark skinned man nods back, and steps away.

It's all Claire needs as permission before she's stepping away from the Haitian man, with only a glance cast over her shoulder to ascertain his expression. She's quick in getting to the kitchen, in fact; she'd been listening all along, as best she could. As she appears in the doorway, there's a questioning look on her face, one that's very faintly injured. "Do you have to go?"

That he earned any points that might resemble macho gains a brief glance, but— What the man says draws his eyes, and continues to pull on the trust he wants to place in the man. Peter glances in the direction of the Haitian, who'd shot in his direction. Bennet gets a nod, and as Claire approaches he untangled his hand again, taking a slow breath as he moves closer and wraps his arms around her again. His company hospital-prison clothes already had blood on them, and now the coat gets some too. Not that he much cares, cause he's pressing his face into her hair for a long moment. "Sorry," he says, voice a lot softer than before. A hint of broken tone, even. "Promise we'll see each other again soon." It sounds like he means it, even if his voice is almost breaking. Really, it's not— except it is. When he pulls back, he reaches up as if to push his bangs out of the way, only he doesn't have any, so instead the gesture looks more like what it really is. "Sylar's still out there," he adds to Noah, regaining some of his composure, before he pulls back and returns to Elle. "Let's go." He wasn't just teary eyed, honest.

Elle stands perfectly still when Peter leaves her side to say goodbye to Claire. There really isn't any love lost here for anyone present, save the P-man himself. That doesn't mean she takes her eyes off that door. Bennet. The electricity in her hand hisses and crackles until finally Peter comes back and she relaxes enough that it dissipates. It's only then that she speaks and its to Claire: "I'm sorry he isn't dead. If I find him again, I'll kill him." It's sort of friendly in a sociopathic sort of way. Reclaiming Peter's hand, she turns to go with him. "Invisible man, sweet cheeks."

"Elle," Noah says with a faint smirk directed at Bishop's little girl. He looks at Peter and Claire's goodbye only briefly, keeping his eyes on the dangerous blonde by the door. "You know your father might even forgive you if you manage to bring him in alive," Noah says in answer to her promise to kill Sylar. "Come on Claire, we have to go now," he says, reaching to put an arm around her shoulders and lead her away.

Claire's eyes flutter closed as she laces her arms around Peter's waist and hugs him tightly, reluctant to let him go even when he starts to pull away. "Thank you," she murmurs, her voice barely above a whisper, and there's no question that it's only meant for him. She steps away then as Noah puts his arm around her shoulders, casting a glance back to Elle. It's strange not to look at the blonde without disdain. It's even stranger to realize that she just might be grateful to this woman for having a part in saving her life tonight. She smiles, quick and anxious. Her attention slides to Peter for another half second, and she adds, "Be careful." Then, finally, she turns away from them, heading back to the front hallway with her father.

The inhale that sounds suspiciously like a sniff, and the additional rubbing of a hand across his eyes and Peter nods towards Elle, turning towards her a bit more fully and wrapping his arms around her again. "Ready?" Can she ever really be ready for this part? Possibly not— but she might be more prepared this time… After a few seconds of concentration, they're flying away, leaving the Petrelli house in Bennet's hands.

"Invisi-*hurk*" Elle doesn't manage to get more out. It's cling and fly or get left with Noah, the Haitian, Claire and lonely lonely Angela. The hell with that noise. Clinging tightly to Peter, she endeavours not to yarf on him.

"We're going," Noah says to the waiting Haitian as they head to the front door. Hopefully no one has stolen the car. He draws his gun again, just in case Sylar is hiding in the bushes somewhere, possibly crying. He opens the front door again, much more gently than he did when entering.

Breaking away from Noah briefly, Claire grabs a few important things from the closet: a coat, a pair of shoes, and her bag. "What about Angela?" she asks of Noah as she slips the coat on, looking back to her father with a frown. "And Nathan? We can't just leave them here by themselves." Not that Nathan is anywhere to be found. Once she has both boots on and zipped up, she moves towards the front door.

"They're both fine at the moment," Noah says, still trying to lead Claire outside. He is good at controlling his impatience in this moment. "And more than capable of taking care of themselves if they want to leave." Noah really isn't worried about Angela Petrelli, and not just because he doesn't care at all what happens to her. "And I know your mother would love to get a phone call from you right about now."

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