2007-08-28: Tick-Tock

Starring:

DFKate_icon.gif DFPeter2_icon.gif DFJack_icon.gif DFSylar_icon.gif

Summary: Say my name.

Dark Future Date: August 28, 2009

Tick-Tock


Oval Office

"Fuck. Shit. Damnit. Damnit. Damnit." Each 'damnit' is punctuated by a tiny rocking motion that wobbles Jack's wheelchair and sends metallic squeaking noises bouncing off the walls. "Peter…" Jack's voice is quieter now. Events are moving faster than he can comprehend. Confusion and grief are warring with his anger. Still, when he continues, his eyes smolder and he speaks through gritted teeth. "Whoever you are, you're a sorry, gormless prat. Nathan is— was— twice the man you could ever hope to be. AND YOU!" he turns his attention back to Kate. "You heard him! This is your fault, you doltish, despicable whore! YOUR FAULT!" Desperate for someone to blame or something to do, he strains harder against the compulsion that binds him. His fingers tighten around the casing of his camera until it creaks ominously, then the plastic cracks.

—-

Unless you want me to send the bullet into your other past lover in the room. Kate swallows back a wave of nausea. Even as Peter speaks to her, so harsh, she tips her head to the side suddenly, as if listening for something else there.

Or rather, something else that isn't there. The man who held you while you cried your eyes— well— your eye— out yesterday. "…The ticking's stopped," she whispers in the space between his cruel words. Of all the episodes to trigger that particular psychotic tick she has? Yeah, this would be a good candidate. When she hears that voice, she almost doesn't believe she's truly hearing it. The ticking has stopped, dammit! It can't be! But it all makes sense now. There's an odd sort of calm that settles over her. Jack's words fall on deaf ears. The gun lowered, safety turned on before she slips it behind her back, tucking it into the waistband of her pants. "Oh, good. At least there's one man in this room that I haven't fucked." She brings her left hand up to wipe away her tears. The weaker of her two arms, the fingers tremble in their movements. "Hello, Gabriel. You did say you would find me - and you didn't disappoint. You are a man of your word." The fear is there. The air is thick with it. But she's trying so very hard to stay brave for what's to come.

—-

"You're wrong, actually," Peter says, stepping over towards the other man in the room, who's in suspicously similar clothes. Much taller, hairier— but similarly dressed. "The ticking hasn't stopped— not yet." And to punctuate that sentance, she'll even hear it again, a tick-tock. Jack will hear it too. "Playing husband has been a pain…"

"Do you want to finish her off?" the other man asks, eyebrow raising.

"No— I think we can do this together, as it should be." They move within arms reach of each other, the taller man reaches out to touch his arm, and then— there's only one man standing there. Just one.

Sylar.

There's a smirk. His arms spread. "It's a good thing he died before he realized what you really are."

A voice rocks in Jack's head, different from the one previous, the one from before. Now you know— Tell your friends. But— I can't have you interupt. Sleep.

—-

Jack struggles mightily to keep his lids open, despite having long since passed the point where he really needed to see what was happening. It's force of habit. He is stubborn. The last thing he sees before consciousness slides away is Nathan's dead, vacant eyes.

The camera slides from his grip and falls into his lap, but the viewer remains akwardly pointed at the carnage, despite being at a crazily tilted angle.

—-

"Jack! Stay with me, Jack! I need you to deliver something to Peter! The real Peter! So he can bring it back with him and give it to me!" She only hopes he hears her shouting before consciousness leaves him. Kate's hand slaps over her mouth in vain. She doubles over and turns her head to vomit quickly onto the floor of the Oval Office when the two men become one. "How long? How- Oh my-" No. Not God. Kaydence Lee Damaris gave up on God the day she discovered the Devil came to dwell among the mortals and calls himself Sylar. "No! You can't- This can't be! I made love to you! You made love to me!" How could that man have played the role so convincingly? She closes her hands around the jagged mirror shard hanging at her chest so tightly her palms begin to bleed. "Kaydence Lee. Don't trust Peter Petrelli." She yanks the mirror hard away from her body, snapping the cord around her neck. She throws the makeshift pendant to Jack, letting it land in his lap. She backs away from the monster - more terrifying than the Bad Wolf ever was. She shakes her head, lips quivering. "I won't scream," she promises. Then, the rest of her begins to tremble.

—-

There's a slight raise of a thick eyebrow. Sylar makes a gesture as the mirror flies towards the other man— and it actually goes to his hand. It liquifies, melting down, but it doesn't fall to the floor, it floats there, forming into a long spike— which he then sends flying right at her. Not a vital area, just somewhere that will hurt. A sweet spot. "Now, now, Detective… You don't waste your last moments on that." Moving closer, he smiles, smiles wide. "The men you loved are gone. And you can not kill yourself." That second part is an order, and suddenly an unseen force wraps around her, pushing her arms close to her body, holding her up in the air— and pushing the piece of melted glass deeper. "You begged me once— to make the ticking go away— forever." The ticking gets louder— until it's like she got thrust into that early scene in Back to the Future, the room full of clocks. "You know what you have to do— for me to make it stop."

—-

Kate cries out as the spike pierces her body and she stumbles back. It's nothing compared to when she had her knee blown out. That's what she tells herself, at least. She whimpers as she finds herself immobilized and lifted off the ground. She writhes and grits her teeth to keep from screaming as the wound deepens. "Never, Gabriel." The nightmares were always worse than this. Were they his doing? Playing out the many ways he wanted to kill her? She hopes not. In her nightmares, she screams. The ticking in her ears - in her mind - is painful. "How long?" How long did he have her fooled?

—-

Still holding her tight, Sylar approaches her until he's standing right in front of her, his superior height allowing him to look her in the face while she dangles a few inches over the floor. "Say. My. Name." His voice is thick. "The man you thought you were married to— died because he was weak. Pathetic. He couldn't kill me. He couldn't stand the way people would look at him when he came back. He couldn't even stop me from stealing every— single— one— of his pathetic memories before I finished him off." Reaching under his shirt, he pulls something out— something on a strap. It's a ring. Her husband's wedding ring. "Would you like to see what I did to him? The true version?" Resting the ring in his palm, he reaches out to touch her cheek, allow her to touch it— to see it. The murder of Peter Petrelli. Who had been unable to kill Sylar, when he fought him all alone. Fought him for everyone. And hesitated. Hesitation that killed him. And it wasn't a slow death. When the person can regenerate, it never is.

—-

Kate tries to draw away from the ring. The instant it touches her skin, she sags and falls limp. She watches the vision play out, helpless and trapped in her own mind. And she hopes this is the vision she doesn't wake up from. The one that puts her in a coma permanently. But she finds herself dragged back to that sick semi-consciousness. Unable to see anything but her vision, but conscious enough to know that the world is still turning around her. And that he is still there. When it finally ends, dropping her abruptly into full awareness again, she begins to sob. And still, she thinks, at least Peter is the one she married. She unsuccessfully attempts to swallow back her tears. She doesn't want to let him have this. To have her anguish. But he can have her anguish. She experienced his rush. The thrill. The joy in killing his rival. Killing her husband. Taking his life in more ways than one. It makes her ill. "Why?" she wails miserably, "Why did you drag it out so fucking long? For almost two years, we shared a bed. Why did you wait?!"

—-

"We didn't, actually," Sylar responds, moving to place the ring around her neck, where she kept the mirror before. "Illusion is an intersting thing— you never knew, and you never would have." What she thought she'd been doing, she often wasn't. She never got a vision off the ring he wore, because she never actually touched it, just like half the time she was never actually touching him. "Do you think I could stand sharing my bed with someone like you?" So she was right. There's one man in here she'd never had sex with. She only thought she had. "I was waiting— I'm a patient man, Detective…" Patience is a virtue.

There's a glance across the room, where the former President is staked up. "I killed him, too."

~~~ A few minutes ago ~~~

Peter leans in, and whispers something to the man he's about to kill, a harsh voice, the same voice that's speaking now. "Say hello to your brother for me."

~~~ Now ~~~

"The man you said you couldn't stand losing. Now you will. Say my name." There's a pause, and then the invisible hold squeezes, tighter. "SAY IT."

—-

Kate is relieved to find out at least that much was an illusion. It's sick. The whole thing is sick, but at least she never slept with that man. She squirms uncomfortably as the hold constricts. "You killed them both," she whispers. She turns her head to stare at Nathan through her good eye. "I couldn't save you. I'm so sorry." Slowly, she tears her gaze away and settles it back on the monster. It's a dance they both know well by now. She spits in his face, expression cold and sad. "I loved you," she laments, "Even when I saw you had killed Nathan, I loved you." She closes her eyes against the tide of tears. "There's no one left for me now. You win." She meets his gaze, "Kill me." And she waits.

—-

There'd been yelling a few moments before. Sylar takes in a slow breath. She still hasn't said his name, but she did claim that he won. That's not enough, though, victory comes in many forms. Reaching forward, he touches the ring he placed around her neck, and his fist lights up, molten fire, radioactive, and he presses his fist against her skin. The ring starts to melt, her skin will burn, but it won't kill her. Killing her is not the point right now. He could have done that any time— any day— for a while now. His voice is calmer again, even as there's sizzling. "I will not finish it until you do what I told you. Say. My. Name." Voice thick, emphasizing each of those words. And then he leans forward and yells in her face, "SCREAM IT."

—-

There are many things she thought she could endure. She could just bite her lip or grind her teeth down. But this… She screamed the night he all but destroyed her arm and tonight is no exception. Kate screams. She screams and she begs for mercy. She begs for it to stop. "No! NO!" Whether it means 'no, don't hurt me,' or 'no, I won't say your name,' the outcome is still the same. But in the end, she breaks her one rule. She quiets herself only long enough to take in a deep breath and scream back into his face.

"SYLAR!"

—-

The burning stops. When his name is said, Sylar smiles, victoriously. Viciously. "It's over now." The ticking continues, each sound exaggerated, but now reduced to just one, a single clock. The hand that melted her husband's ring lifts up, no longer burning her flesh, no longer red. He points a finger at her forehead, just one, and says, "Now I'll make the ticking go away— forever. Good night. Detective."

In comparison to the pain of having her chest burned, the line of blood that he saws through her forehead might actually be merciful. Death will follow soon, as promised. And the last thing she'll hear… is the soft ticking of the that single clock.

—-

Kate shudders when the burning stops and her eyes follow his fingers up to point at her forehead. At least she'll be with Peter and Nathan soon. Merciful, indeed. The blood draws a river down her face and across her blinded eye. With only a shuddered gasp, death finally gets the last say.

—-

Only when once he's found what he wanted, does Sylar release her, allowing her to die on the floor. Striding across the room, he kneels down in front of the wheelchair, the man slumped in it. The camera in his lap. Somehow spared from the EMP that he started out with. Must have been a special camera made by his gadgetman side kick. Lifting it up, he smiles into it. "I'm back."

The recording is shut off.

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