2010-01-28: Pain of Loss (Phantasm)



Posting Date: January 28th, 2010


Cass gets a visit from Sylar.

"Pain of Loss"

Enlightenment Books

Enlightenment Books is finally empty. The owner, tired and as nervous as ever finally starts to shut things down and off. Shelves are straightened, books are put on the desk so they ca be filed back the next day. The life of a bookstore owner never seems to be done. Especially when her best employees had to go on the run because they were Evolved. Especially because she's been hiding runaways in a special section of her basement for as long as they have needed a place to hide. Normally, she'll go downstairs with a couple of boxes (or to bring up some boxes) in the pretense of checking on them. Tonight, luckily, she has food and enough that people's stomachs will stop rumbling for at least a night.

With everything finished up front, Cass shuts off the lights and picks up a few books to bring back to the employee room. She's done this walk a million times, but her heart still pounds in her chest as she moves to the back room and opens the door. Every time she wonders if she'll finally be caught and if they'll drag her off to be punished. Every time she wonders if Lachlan will be there waiting or if there will finally be news about him.

"Isn't she just precious?"

The voice rings off the walls of the basement, the only sound breaking the silence of the otherwise dead room. Quite dead, in fact, as the various runaways Cass has been sheltering lie scattered around, every one of them dead from some power. One whose skin has been turned to a sheet of ice, the dim lights of the basement reflecting weirdly off of the frozen water. Another whose face has been burned hideously, leaving their features nearly unrecognizable. Another whose neck has been broken, twisted savagely and bent at an odd angle, resting up against the bassient in the corner.

The baby normally inside the bassinet currently rests in Sylar's arms, sound asleep as he cradles her gently. "She has your eyes," he says, finally looking up from the infant to look at Cass. "Hello, Cassandra," he says, smirking slightly. "I like what you've done with the place."

Cass stands very very still. As she descends the stairs, she can tell that something is wrong, however she doesn't want to admit it to herself. It's too quiet. Even though all the runaways stay as silent as possible to avoid detection, there is normally the shift of body weight, breath inhaled and exhaled. She can tell when it feels like there are living bodies there. And now it does not feel like there are.

When Cass sees Sylar holding Abigail, she doesn't think, she doesn't even know what she's doing before she is reacting. Immediately, she lunges forward in an attempt to attack Sylar and take her baby back from him. It doesn't matter what happens to her as long as Abigail is safe. Tears are already starting to form down her cheeks for the people she was supposed to protect and have fallen. If she loses her daughter, as well, she might as well just cease to exist. A scream of rage echoes and bounces off of the bare cement walls as she makes her attack.

A casual wave of the hand, and Cass will find herself pinned up against the wall. "Now now, that's no way to greet a friend," Sylar says, looking down at Abby for a few moments. "Risking your daughter's safety, too. You're lucky she's alive. I was going to kill her, like the others, take her power… but I thought why not wait? Let her grow up, see what her power develops into. Who knows, she could one day become my partner in crime. A protege, one might say." The killer smirks, shaking his head slightly. "Not that I can die, anyway. She'll outlive her usefulness one day. Then her power will be mine." He looks back up to Cass, advancing on her a few steps. "Just like your powers, and just like Lachlan's. Once I find him."

With a slam, Cass' breath is knocked out of her lungs when she is pinned against the wall. She slumps, not that that matters with Sylar using his abilities to keep her right where she is pinned. For a couple of minutes after his threats all that she can do is wheeze and take shallow breaths in the attempts to get air back into her body to fight again. And fight she does, struggling against his powers and his ability in order to try and break free, to get to Abby. "L—Leave her alone," she gasps as she struggles. It's useless, a practice in futility, but she can't give up and she can't resign Abby to a fate worse than death. She has to hold onto hope. Sylar hasn't found Lachlan yet. He may still be alive. That is something. "Wh-why are you here?"

"… to kill you," Sylar says, brow furrowing with the slighest disbelief. "Didn't I make that clear?" He sweeps his arm in a wide gesture to the bodies behind him, every single one of them missing the top of their heads. "I came to find you, thinking I would gain a new power, but I found a buffet." Turning back to Cass, he shrugs, faking an empathic frown in her direction. "What could I do? Such a horrible world we lived in, and here they are hiding in a basement like rats. So I took their powers too. I'll make sure and put all of them to use."

Bobbing Abby up and down slightly, he taps the end of her nose. "And don't worry about your little bundle of joy here," he says, eyes snapping up to Cass'. "I'll make sure she's taken well care of. Might change her name, though. I never liked Abby much." Raising his hand, he points his fingers at Cass' forehead. "Anything else? Any messages I should give her on her eighteenth birthday?"

The ability that Gabriel speaks of, that has haunted Cass for months and years is not evident as she is trapped against a wall. Has he made a mistake? Does she not posses any such power? There is a sob as she struggles against the invisible power that traps her above the ground. He killed them; all the people she had attempted to keep safe. And no he had her daughter. She doesn't know where the power comes from, but the emotion is there. Suddenly and immediately, the room fills with the sensation - that same power that he sought her for. However, it is now used against him. It's the sense of loss. An intense, crippling bought of it. As Cass experiences it, so should Sylar - the feeling that anything and everything he ever loved was killed in front of him. Just like he has attempted to do to him.

"Abby," she gasps. She has to reach her daughter. If she can save anyone today, it must be her.

The sense of loss permeates the room, moving through Sylar and the child in his arms like waves. The infant begins to stir, scrunching her eyes with the first outbursts of crying. "It's useless, you're only making it worse for yourself," Sylar gasps through, the weight of all of Cass' emotion on him. Even if he's never truly loved anything, he can still feel her own loss for her life. For her daughter. For Lachlan. To end it for her, or perhaps just to end it for himself, Sylar begins slicing into her head, telekinesis sawing into flesh and bone with a jagged cracking noise popping throughout the basement in echoes.

The pain shrieks through the room as Cass screams. It's not just because of the physical pain that Sylar is inflicting upon her, but the emotional one as well. He's taking her baby and taunting her with the absence of Lachlan, her failure as a guardian and a mother. Things like this aren't supposed to happen. It's all she has left, but he will be cursed with the gift of emotion. With taking the power forced upon her, he will be forced to understand emotions. How what he is doing hurts others and himself. How others feel. It's a hypersensitive power that has repercussions. Not only can he inflect his feelings of power on others, but he has to understand how they feel when he takes their powers and inflects pain upon them. Never again will he be guiltless. He will feel everything - it would be impossible not to once he would gain the full understanding of emotions.

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