Dracula Disorder (page 1/2)
Title: Dracula Disorder
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Era: Post season 4
Genre: Action, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Peter Petrelli, Sylar (, Mohinder Suresh)
Summary: After briefly possessing a vampire-like ability, Peter and Sylar decide they have to find the man who originally gave Peter the bothersome power. Tracking him down won’t be that easy, however, and Sylar’s new heroic attitude will be put to the test.
Complete. Sequel to “Vampire Syndrome” and “Blood Spatter”.
Written for: Lauren (lornrocks @ LJ) because she requested/demanded/offered a great sum of money for a sequel to “Vampire Syndrome”. And as busy as I pretended to be, my brain decided this one was too good to pass up.
Warnings: Violence/gore/murder, language. Some mild, random spoilers for all seasons of Heroes.
Disclaimer: The show, its characters, its places, and everything else, belong to Tim Kring and the other respective creators and owners of ‘Heroes’. I have made no profit by writing this story, and make no claim over the show.
Feedback: The good, the bad, the ugly – as long as it’s fair, keep it coming.
About Dracula Disorder: The first part was more about humor and exploring the plot as lightly as I could. Humor just doesn’t agree with me, though, because my talents with English are not that advanced yet and I tend to avoid that particular genre. After all, in my opinion, humor is the toughest genre to write, for sure.
So, this story is a bit more action-driven, just like “Blood Spatter”. Not so much fun stuff in here, I guess… See how you like it.
I encourage everyone to read the two prequels, just so you know what’s going on and which events they are referring to.
Story and its status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Written upon Lauren’s (lornrocks at LiveJournal) request.
Sequel to “Vampire Syndrome” and “Blood Spatter”.
“What do you think happened to that guy?”
“What guy?” Peter asked, sorting his clothes from the laundry bag. He was going back to work after calling in sick in the aftermath of the whole vampire power mess. He had felt instantly better after he’d gotten rid of the power, but had wanted to make sure he would not attack some random stranger if the ability kicked in without warning. No such symptoms had occurred, though. Only a rather disturbing dream he’d had the night before…
Sylar momentarily stopped playing with a fancy paperweight Peter’s mother had gotten him for his birthday a few years ago; it dangled in the air by invisible strings, and just like always, Peter wasn’t sure which way it was actually supposed to be positioned on the shelf. Nathan had always thought it was a very stylish gift. Peter dared not disagree, deciding it was easier to keep it on display in case some member of his family happened to come by his place.
Not that such a thing occurred too often anymore.
“The guy,” Sylar went on, “who gave you that weird ability.”
“Oh,” Peter mused, “him.” He wasn’t sure if he wanted to know what had become of him. Then again… What if he had attacked someone in the hospital? He was a special. Maybe Peter should show some concern towards the man’s whereabouts and condition.
Sylar smiled, as if reading his thoughts. Peter wasn’t sure if he perhaps was; it was hard to tell what abilities he had or didn’t have these days.
“Maybe you should check on him when you go back to work today. You know, just in case,” the former serial killer suggested.
It was weird how responsible and hero-like he actually managed to sound. After spending years with him, though, it wasn’t that odd to Peter, because Sylar had wanted to change.
Accepting that fact was harder for everyone else who had not been locked inside Sylar’s mind for five years… although in the real world it had been less than a couple of days. Well, it didn’t really matter. Sylar had proved his good intentions, and Peter wasn’t about to let the past cloud his judgment; it weighed down on him enough as it was.
“I guess I could make a few inquiries about him…” Peter mused. It would not take long once he got to the hospital for his shift, and it would not even be odd for him to ask after a patient, because he did it quite often.
Sylar resumed bouncing the paperweight up and down, his eyes following it. Peter wondered if he was getting bored living like this. A man needed a hobby at least.
Peter returned to his bedroom to get dressed, and when he came out, Sylar had put down the paperweight and was filling in some Sudoku puzzles in the day’s paper instead. The speed with which his pen was flying over the squares, it was clear the puzzle was too easy for him.
“I’ll be heading off to work,” Peter told him. He sometimes wondered what Sylar did all day. Well, as long as he wasn’t up to anything bad…
Sylar just nodded, eyes still on the paper. His pen had stopped for now, hovering over the last, most difficult puzzle. As Peter watched, the pen suddenly lowered itself, and he started to fill in the blanks, from left to right, as if seeing the answer in front of his eyes. Peter shook his head and left. It would be time to immerse himself in the ‘normal’ world again.
When Peter arrived at the hospital, he decided to go by the nurses’ station and ask about the man. It wasn’t as if he had meant to give his power to Peter, so he couldn’t really hold a grudge against him. Hello, Susan,” he greeted the nurse on duty.
“Hello, Peter,” she smiled back at him. “Feeling any better?”
He went over and leaned against the counter, smiling at her. “Yeah, much. I was wondering, could you tell me where I can find the guy Hesam and I brought in near the end of my last shift? The guy with severe burns.”
“I’ll find out for you,” she said, smiling, and disappeared for a bit. When she returned a few minutes later, she was frowning. “That’s really odd, but I can’t find him anywhere. I remember him, though… Maybe ask Melissa when she comes on? I think she was in the shift after yours, so if they moved him, she should know.” She seemed baffled by the fact that the guy could not be found in their system, but Peter chose not to get too worried about it yet; it could be just a fluke of some kind. A human error of forgetting to update a patient’s file.
He went down to change, nodding at his partner when Hesam came in, and then they headed out. Before they left, Peter checked when Melissa was coming in for her shift so that he could ask her about the troublesome patient.
Their day was nothing out of the ordinary, and Peter found himself almost wishing for some great incident so that he could just forget about the vampire-man, as he was fondly calling him in his head. It seemed fate was against him, though, and by the time they finished their shift, Melissa was at work and Peter had no excuse not to go and ask her about the man.
So, before changing back to his own clothes and heading towards home, he approached the nurses’ station again. He spotted Melissa and smiled at her once she spotted him. “Hi,” he said.
“Hi, Petrelli,” she said back. They didn’t know each other very well, but working in the same hospital meant they weren’t total strangers either.
“I was asking Susan earlier about a John Doe we brought in yesterday. He didn’t have an ID on him, and he was in a pretty bad shape. The burn victim?”
“Oh, yeah, I remember him,” she said, frowning a bit. “A weird case. They couldn’t be sure what exactly had caused it. Looked like a really bad sunburn, and he didn’t look like the type to go to a solarium or anything. I think they ruled out a chemical reaction as well.” She stopped for a bit. “What was it that you needed to know?”
“I was going to check up on him, see how he’s doing,” Peter said. It wasn’t that uncommon. He did it often enough, everyone knew that. Well, whenever he didn’t have his sights set on the next person he could help. “Susan couldn’t find his files anywhere.”
“That’s strange,” Melissa frowned again, then turned to the nearest computer. “I actually checked on him about an hour after he was brought in, so I know he was in the system…” She typed for a bit, searching the system, but soon it was obvious she had no better luck than Susan had had earlier.
“I’ll ask around,” she promised. “If he’s not here, then he must have been transferred somewhere else for more specific care. I’ll let you know.”
“Thanks,” Peter said, feeling a bit weird. Patients didn’t just disappear. Well, they could just walk out, especially a special, but to leave no trace in the computer system? That wasn’t so usual.
He returned home, forcing himself not to think about it too much. Perhaps the same thing had happened to the guy as had happened to Peter; once he got away from the sun, he healed, and he could have just left when the sun wasn’t up. Just like a good little vampire. He shuddered to think what the man must have done once he got out, but refused to think about it. He had had plenty of that kind of thoughts himself while he was under the influence of that ability, and he had no desire to experience more nightmares of that sort.
As usual, Sylar was home when he stepped in. Peter wasn’t sure whether the man left the apartment at any point during the day or night, depending on which hours Peter worked, but he was always there when Peter came back from his shift, or even if he ran by his place for a quick lunch. It was almost like magic.
“How did it go?” Sylar asked, sitting up from where he had been lying on the couch, reading some magazine. It didn’t look like the ones Peter usually had lying around, so perhaps he had been outside after all.
“How did what go?” Peter replied, unsure whether he meant something specific or his day in general.
“The meeting with the vampire man,” Sylar specified.
“Oh. He’s gone,” Peter replied.
“Gone? As in dead, or…?”
“They can’t seem to find him, which is a bit troubling. Patients are not supposed to just disappear. And it would be much more comforting if they could have just shown me where he was, but it seems he’s disappeared from the entire computer system,” Peter supplied, sitting down with a sigh. So much for not thinking about it.
Sylar frowned thoughtfully. “Well, it is a bit troubling to think of him wandering the hospital hallways… You’re sure he wasn’t anywhere?”
“The hospital is a big place with a lot of people,” Peter told the other man as if he had never been to one. “It is possible they moved him to another building, unit, or even another hospital entirely. They’re trying to track him down. Now, do we have something to eat? I’m hungry, and I would rather not think about him.”
“We have tomato soup,” Sylar offered.
Peter gave him a glare. “I think I’m going to order pizza. Do you want one?”
“Sure,” Sylar shrugged, and when Peter went to get his phone and the brochure of a pizza place he liked, he was pretty sure he heard Sylar wondering to himself why tomato soup wasn’t good enough. Peter pondered whether he should get Sylar a pet that he could talk to. Maybe a fish. They were pretty low maintenance… And in case Sylar got annoyed, perhaps a fish wouldn’t be much of a temptation to perform open brain surgery on.
The next day when Peter went in for his shift, Melissa was just leaving hers, but obviously she had stopped to wait for Peter to arrive. “I did some checking,” she jumped right into it. “It’s as if the guy never existed. The data doesn’t exist. But,” she said when Peter’s expression began to change, “I managed to get one of the nurses talking. There’s a guy, Kristopher, who saw something. Only, he isn’t too forthcoming about what happened.”
Peter got a sudden ugly feeling in the pit of his stomach and forced himself to nod. “Thanks. I’ll be sure to talk to him.”
“Good luck. His shift just started, actually, so you might be able to catch him. It’s really weird, though; the woman I was talking to, who apparently heard Kristopher talking to someone about it, said that he seemed very tense.” She seemed worried, as if suspecting there was something really shady going on. Peter didn’t want to alarm her by telling her what Kristopher may or may have not witnessed in case the special had disappeared from the hospital on his own. Could it be that Kristopher had been the one to delete all the information about the patient, out of fear that someone might start investigating his sudden disappearance?
Melissa left, and deciding that he had just enough time, Peter decided to find Kristopher. He was more confident than ever that their vampire-man had just up and left after feeling better, and if someone had seen him do that, shortly after he looked like he was going to spend a lot of time in a burn bed…
He checked the staff board and found the ward Kristopher was working in, then headed out there. Peter really had no idea whom he was looking for, but once he spotted him, there was no mistake; the man looked absolutely skittish. Whenever he saw someone looking at him, he would almost bolt out of the room, as if frightened someone would ask him something he didn’t want to talk about. For some reason, Peter had the feeling that he might have to corner Kristopher in order to get his answers.
Peter managed to do just that in a supply closet; Kristopher was just reaching for some gloves and tissues when Peter reached the door. As soon as the other man noticed him, he jumped back and almost pushed down a shelf-ful of supplies.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” Peter said, although that wasn’t the entire truth. Sure, he hadn’t wanted to scare him, but to corner him required a certain element of surprise.
Kristopher let out a nervous kind of laugh. “Oh, sure. How you doin’?” It didn’t sound like he wanted to know, but he was just attempting to look like nothing weird was going on with him.
“Hey, I wanted to ask you,” Peter went on, tactically blocking the supply closet door with his body. “My partner and I brought a patient in a few days ago. A guy with severe burns, like sunburn? I was going to check on him but it seems we can’t find him, and I heard you may have seen him.”
Kristopher looked like he wanted to push Peter aside and escape the confined space – he must have realized he was trapped. “I don’t know who you’re talking about, sorry. I really need to go though –”
“Absolutely,” Peter smiled at him, “but I really would like to know if you saw him. Are you absolutely sure? The whole case seemed a bit weird, and it bugs me.”
“I don’t know anything, really. Now could you please move to the side?” Kristopher looked like a nerdy teenager cornered by a gang of jocks.
Peter took a deep breath. He had to find another way to approach this, to make the guy trust him. He wished he had Matt Parkman’s mind-reading ability, because that would have made this a lot easier. Even Sylar’s lie-detector would have worked nicely. “Look, I know something fishy’s going on with that patient,” he said, lowering his voice. “That guy wasn’t normal, you know what I mean?”
With the specials in the news lately, after Claire’s exposure, there was a big, fat chance Kristopher knew exactly what he meant. Of course, very few people knew Peter was a special too, but right now this was going to go much smoother if Kristopher found him a friend, not a foe.
It seemed to work. “You think so?” Kristopher said, forgetting for a bit that he needed to escape the situation.
Peter nodded in earnest. “It isn’t as if he could have just sat in the sun too long, and he was acting really weird too when we brought him in.” Like trying to sink his teeth into Peter’s arm, probably for a drink of his blood, but he preferred to stay away from that little detail.
Kristopher nodded finally, taking a look around – which was sort of pointless since he was still in the closet. “Look, I didn’t see much, but… Some people came in. They looked like the army, you know? I was doing the graveyard shift, they showed some badges or stuff at the doctor on duty, and then they took him, just like that. Wheeled him out. Guess someone erased all information about him as well, because after that, it was as if he had never been here. It was freaky.” He blinked, then leaned a bit closer to Peter. “Don’t tell anyone about this, okay? I’m not sure if I was even supposed to see that, and I don’t want to lose my job. Some things are better left alone, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely,” Peter said again, then clapped Kristopher’s shoulder. “Thanks for the info. Have a nice day.” He backed away and walked down the hallway fast, but not too fast for it to seem weird.
Kristopher could be wrong. It could have been CDS or something, although it still seemed very suspicious. At least now he knew that the man had been taken instead of walking out on his own. He decided to go and call Sylar and tell him about this, then go and join Hesam for their shift. Sure, he could sit on this information the whole day, but for some reason he thought it might make his day more bearable to tell someone about this now rather than later. After all, if someone was grabbing specials, it was a real danger.
He walked towards the changing room, running over his discussion with Kristopher again. There wasn’t much to go on, and he couldn’t just go around asking people about it, because that would seem really odd. He was bending a few rules as it was, asking about a patient. Peter knew there were some underground networks for specials these days, though, so perhaps he could put the word out to someone, see if anyone knew the guy…
Turning a corner, he nodded at a man in a cleaner’s outfit, pushing a cart of cleaning supplies. He hadn’t seen him before, but that wasn’t out of the ordinary. Frankly, he didn’t pay much attention to most people in the hospital because he was so focused on his mission to save as many people as possible. He didn’t socialize much. Come to think of it, the only people he saw outside work were Sylar, and occasionally his mother.
He was in the middle of debating how sad that was when he felt someone approach him from behind. Before he could turn and see who it was, someone pressed their hand over his mouth just as a sharp pain appeared at the back of his neck. He felt a heat rushing to his head on the inside, then everything blurred and went black really fast.
Peter woke up strapped to a hard examination table. It wasn’t the first time in his life that this had happened, and sadly none of those previous experiences had been pleasant.
He tried to pull himself free, but his head was still throbbing and made it hard to concentrate on one thing for more than a few seconds at a time. Plus, the more he struggled the worse he felt, a sickening feeling twisting his stomach, and he couldn’t manage to move his body more than half an inch at best. He heard a hissing sound coming from somewhere, and immediately after that footsteps approached him, so he guessed it was a door. Peter tried craning his neck to see, but a strap was tied across his forehead which kept him nice and still.
A man stepped over to him, shining a bright light in his eyes, making Peter wince. “He’s awake and stable. Pupils seem normal.” Next he pushed one glove-covered finger into Peter’s mouth, lifting his upper lip. “Teeth seem normal. Shall we proceed to a more thorough examination?” he asked, looking elsewhere. The man was smart to remove his hand from Peter’s mouth because he might have bitten him otherwise, not appreciating being handled like this.
“I don’t think that’s necessary just yet, doctor,” another man said as he came in. He was wearing a uniform that resembled the one of the army, although Peter couldn’t be sure if it was one since he couldn’t get a good look at it. The man was carrying something like a file, flipping through papers. “Peter Petrelli. It says here he is one of the ‘specials’. He has, apparently, an ability to replicate the abilities of others, currently by touching them.” The man stepped closer. “That explains his behavior a few days ago that we detected on the surveillance tapes; he is one of the paramedics who brought Subject Zero to the hospital, and he must have touched the man. Later, when he tried to leave, the ability prevented him from doing so. It would seem, though, that he no longer has the ability since he was able to come back to work while the sun was up.”
Peter listened carefully, his heart beating a bit faster. Surveillance tapes. So they had been reviewing the lobby tapes from the day when Peter first figured out he had the vampire man’s power? Great. Why would they do that, though? No one should have suspected he had that ability. Then again, they had captured him, so perhaps they had caught him trying to find out where the vampire man had disappeared to – he had a bad feeling that guy was the one they referred to as Subject Zero – and had tried to find out why exactly he was so interested in finding the man. Hence the finding of the tapes and digging up of files with his information…
It was amazing how many times Nathan’s mistakes could fuck him over.
“Do you think the power wore off on its own?” the doctor asked the other man.
The one with the file frowned. “Maybe he can just turn it off. Or maybe he switched it for another one; it says here the power stays with him until he takes another one.”
The doctor nodded. “Should we test the vaccine on him?”
“I think so. He’s a perfect candidate. We should see how he reacts to it. Besides… we can’t just let him go now that we’ve captured him.”
Peter was about to point out to them that they couldn’t just do this, but he found that his tongue was just as heavy as the rest of his body, and when the doctor came over with an IV bag and stuck a needle into his arm, Peter couldn’t do anything but lie there and slowly allow his mind to be tugged into unconsciousness again.
The next time Peter came to, all he felt was insane thirst. Well, there were other things, like nausea – probably from the thirst – and a throbbing in his head. When he opened his eyes, they hurt from the lights and it took him a moment to adjust and blink the bright dots out of his vision.
Someone else was in the room, he could tell. It was so sudden it almost took him by surprise, but he could hear them, walking, breathing, their heart… the rush of blood, so intoxicating and making him try to reach towards it. So close he could almost smell it through skin and veins and body fat…
A small pain in his arm jerked him out of it and he saw the shape of a man leaning over him. He tried reaching towards him, jaws open, but he could not move his head far enough and the man was already stepping back. He was moving and doing something, Peter could tell, and after a while there was the hiss of a door and heavier footsteps approached.
“How does it look, doctor?”
“Incredible,” the other replied. “From what I can see, and this is just a first look at the blood sample, it would seem his body is welcoming the virus instead of turning against it or even self-destructing as we’ve seen with other subjects. His genome seems to allow our virus to blend with his without problems or much resistance. We will have to see, though, whether there will be any complications later, and how long the effects will last. I am hopeful, though. The fact that he’s still alive and stable…”
The other man walked closer, looking down at Peter. “He looks different. His eyes…”
“The same as with Subject Zero. It remains to be seen, though, whether this is just his special ability acting out, or whether we have found a key… If the virus remains stable in his system, then we simply have to find out what sets him apart from the others.”
Peter didn’t care about any of that, whatever it was that they were talking about. The man standing beside him was so close he could hear the rush of his blood and as he watched, he could see the pulse beneath the skin of his neck, beating, beating…
Then the men left, leaving him alone with the churning thirst in the pit of his stomach that was steadily spreading.
The pulse was what awakened him next; his consciousness jumped through it, excited yet focused, intent on reaching it. The thirst could no longer lie dormant. There was no room for thoughts or other sensations.
He didn’t have to open his eyes to know there was someone right next to him. He could smell them, sense them, hear the delicious sound… He could practically taste the blood on his tongue, which made him yearn for it even more, and his body braced itself, struggling to get free. Slowly, steadily… The need was overpowering and relentless, and just like a will strong enough can move mountains, his finally managed to snap the bindings holding him down. First one hand, which shot out to grab at the doctor reaching over him for a test tube. His fingers closed around his thigh with bone-crushing force, making the man cry out in pain. His other arm was free soon after, releasing his head, and he shot up, his fingers sinking into a clothed body, wrenching the other closer, and the pulse was so close now he felt like he was drowning in it…
His bite was powerful enough to rip right through flesh and cartilage in one go, the warm rush of blood down his throat pushing him into a frenzy. So good… finally… He moaned, biting deeper, clutching at the jerking body which eventually just relaxed and became a limp weight on top of him. The flow of blood slowed down.
The pulse was gone.
The pain was gone, the thirst satiated for now. His mind was able to focus on the next thing he needed to do: escape.
First he shoved the cooling body off him, then released his legs and got off the table. He stepped over the body, feeling a fleeting pain as needles were torn from his body. They would heal, he knew they would.
He spotted the only door of the room without a problem. It didn’t have a handle, and it seemed one needed some sort of code to get in or out. He didn’t know the code, of course, so he would just have to wait for someone else to come in and open the door for him. The idea of being forced to wait didn’t sit very well with him, though, but perhaps fortune was finally on his side because he suddenly heard footsteps that stopped on the other side of the door. There was a beep and the door hissed softly as it slid out of the way.
On the other side stood the military man, who looked rather shocked when he saw him standing there. He wasn’t given a chance to make a move, or a sound; there was still thirst to be satisfied, and his deliciously rushing blood was an attraction he could not bypass.
Lunging at the man, he sank his teeth in his throat before the rest of his body even hit him, and they fell to the floor. The man’s feeble attempts to escape or call out for help were unsuccessful, and all too soon his movements ceased and his eyes turned distant, his heart coming to a sudden halt.
Feeling much stronger, the thirst momentarily contained, he got up from the floor and looked up and down the hallway. He could hear other people, and he knew he would have to be careful, although he wasn’t afraid; he could take them. He would kill them, every last one of them. He would feed on them because they had starved him, hurt him…
He set off down one hallway and managed to open the first door he found. On the other side of it stood an armed guard, who managed to give him one look and shift his weapon before he was on him. He broke the guard’s neck with one jerk of his arms, then followed his limp body to the floor, sinking his teeth in. The wonderful sensation that washed over him as he fed was something he had been longing for, and he hated to see it end. There would be others, though, before he was done.
Setting off down the hallway again, he went up one floor. Eventually he would want to get out of here and leave this place behind, so it made sense to search for an exit while he was at it.
He came to a lab of some kind, full of scientists. The ones closest to the door raised their eyes as he entered, and he could see their fear. He didn’t feel pity towards them, or mercy; the sound of their beating hearts, accelerating, was driving him into another kind of frenzy.
The first ones tried to run away but didn’t manage more than a few feet before he was upon them. He didn’t bother to feed on them at once; he would kill them and then enjoy whatever remained to devour of their bodies. He broken the first woman’s neck, shoved another man into a table, hearing something break. Jumping over the table, he reached a few more people who were trying to get away. The last ones who had more time to prepare were trying to find weapons to hold him off; scalpels and needles. He eyed them carefully, calculating the best way to reach them. The needles looked suspicious, and he didn’t want to test whatever was in them. The last time they injected him…
The smell of blood hanging in the air and the force of the memory pushed him forward. He attacked, allowing his instincts to move his body. Coherent thoughts disappeared. Only a predator remained. Effective, fast and ruthless.
In the end they all lay on the floor, and he picked a few to feed on. While he was doing that, an alarm bell started to ring, making him cringe. The loud sound made his ears ache, and he stood up, looking towards the door. He could barely hear anything over the alarm, but he was sure there were people moving on floors above him. It was only a matter of time before they would reach him.
He turned, looking for an exit other than the open door, and faced a mirror on the wall. He froze and blinked.
Peter snapped out of it. Staring at himself, covered in blood, dressed in white hospital clothes although very little of their original color remained visible… He shivered. He had been so… lost in it. Was it really him?
He looked down at the bodies on the floor, stepping away from them, accidentally lowering his foot on top of a dead woman’s hand. He jumped back from it, jumping up on top of a table. What had he done?! He could hardly even remember it… He sure as hell didn’t remember what kind of thinking had brought him here to massacre all these people. The thirst… he remembered that. And the pain. They had done something to him…
The alarm still continued, and he realized he had been crouching there on the lab table for too long. They would find him. They would take him back. They might even kill him. He had to get out.
Looking around, he tried to find another exit, something where they would not look. He looked up. Perhaps there was an air ventilation system he could use. It might make too much noise to climb up there, though. It also looked like there might not be enough room.
He looked down, trying to force down the feeling of nausea. Finally he spotted something: a manhole. It was smaller than those on the streets, but it looked just about big enough to fit him.
Jumping down, carefully avoiding the bodies, he moved over to it and with inhuman amount of force pulled the lid free. He looked down, sniffed, then decided it was his best option so far, next to fighting his way out of here.
One after another he shoved his feet inside, then lowered himself. He almost got stuck at the shoulders, but after a brief struggle his blood-soaked clothes allowed him to slide through and he fell into a horizontal pipe. The space was small, but he could crawl through it. He glanced up, and it briefly occurred to him if he maybe should have put the lid back on. It was too late now; he was not going to try and struggle his way up again.
Peter lowered his gaze and stared into the darkness, which after a moment didn’t seem so dark after all. He crawled forward, trying not to breathe too deeply. When he came to another junction, he chose the pipe going down. Maybe that way he could get out, plus all the other pipes were far too small for him to push through.
It felt like forever. Crawling, inching forward, forcing himself to continue.
Eventually he found an entrance to the main sewer system, but it took considerable effort to get there; there was a thick iron gate that was rusted into place and bound with a heavy lock. With adrenaline, determination and some kind of strength he hadn’t possessed until now, he finally managed to open the gate and slip through. He had no way of knowing where he was, and whether he was going in the right direction, but when he finally smelled fresh air, he went for it.
Peter came to the end of the pipe and was met with another barred entrance. From between the bars, he could see water outside, and lights in the distance. It looked like a river. He felt it; he was so close to freedom now.
Kicking and pushing at the bars, he finally managed to dislocate one and bend another, then squeezed through. At the mouth of the pipe, he stopped to listen. Above, he could hear sirens in the distance and dogs barking. Chances were it was because of him, and climbing back up and trying his luck there might be a waste of time. He eyed the river. Current or no current… it was his best shot, and he spotted something like a forest downstream. He could get out of the water there and find out where exactly he was.
Feeling no need to hesitate further, he went and jumped down into the water. It was cooler than the air, and the current pulled him a little at places, but Peter was focused on getting to the other side and he couldn’t really feel the cold after a while.
When Peter finally found himself back at home, it had been three days since his escape and almost a week since he disappeared from work. He had found himself in Connecticut, without clean clothes, money or ID. Plus he soon realized that traveling by day wasn’t going to happen. After breaking into a store for money and clean clothes, he had traveled towards home by any means available, whether it was stealing a ride in a truck or on a train.
It was raining when he reached home, but he preferred that; less people were around, and he could move without the danger of being seen. He still had no keys, so he decided to climb in through the window. When he reached his window, Peter halted, pondering whether he should break it or find some way to open it. First he tested to see whether it was bolted, and amazingly enough, it was not. Snorting softly, he slid the window open, climbed in – and found himself smashed up against the opposite wall.
He wouldn’t have stood a chance, really, had it been a real attack. As it was, Sylar stepped over from the doorway where he had been standing out of sight, then allowed Peter to fall down to the floor. If he was shocked to see him climb in through a window, he didn’t show it.
“You could have knocked,” Sylar suggested.
“It’s my home, and who told you you could leave the window unbolted?” Peter asked him, climbing to his feet. His apartment looked… strange. Like someone was living there, but wasn’t.
“What happened?” Sylar asked. “It’s been over six days. People have been coming in…”
“People?” Peter asked, his interest piqued. His senses tried to find a sign of an intruder trying to come in right now, but there was nothing.
Sylar sort of shrugged, shifting a mug on the table. “Yeah. They looked like… almost like the army, but not quite. I think they’ve been here five times in the last few days. They come in, check the whole place from top to bottom, then leave.”
“How come they didn’t find you?” Peter asked suspiciously.
Sylar shrugged again. “I either left the apartment to wait for them to leave, or… used another power to blend in.” Peter didn’t really want to guess which power he was talking about. “I think they noticed someone had been here, though,” Sylar mused. “They couldn’t be sure by the look of it, but I heard them talk about objects being moved. I think they thought it was a bit creepy,” he added with a grin, which faded pretty quickly. “You look terrible. What’s that smell?”
Peter guessed he still smelled like the sewer; people had been giving him looks whenever he chose a mode of public transportation. “Long story. I need to shower. Then I guess we need to leave.”
“Where?” Sylar asked. “This is your home.”
Peter could agree to that, but if they were coming here, several times a day, looking for him… eventually Sylar wouldn’t be quick enough to disappear, not to mention Peter.
Besides, there were other things Peter seriously had to consider…
He went to shower, taking off the clothes that weren’t his and had definitely been in better shape when he stole them from some random store. The clean, warm water felt like heaven and he closed his eyes, then jumped a bit as he could hear someone else in the room; at first he spotted the heartbeat, then the breathing… Blinking water from his eyes, he gazed past the shower curtain, noticing that Sylar had followed him into the bathroom.
“What?” Peter asked impatiently. He wanted to get clean and not be able to smell himself without even trying.
Sylar leaned against the wall and it didn’t seem like he had any intention of leaving. “What happened?” he asked again. “I’m not going away until you tell me, so you may as well spend the time usefully while you shower.”
Peter frowned, then sighed. He wanted to get clean more than he worried about Sylar spying on him while he was in the shower. “I went to check on that guy, the vampire man.” God, that felt like forever ago. “So, it seems someone took him, and… I talked to this one guy, and I was just going to go and call you when they snatched me.”
“How should I know?” Peter snapped. “We didn’t exactly introduce each other and shake hands.”
“Right,” Sylar mused. “I guess they’re the same people who have been coming here, then.” It was amazing how calmly he took it all, but then, most of their recent years had been spent dealing with half a dozen shady agencies and their questionable methods.
“That’s not such a wild guess,” Peter decided, spreading some soap over his hands before starting to rub it all over his body. The smell of it was terribly flowery, and he was amazed he hadn’t noticed it before. Why had he bought this one? “They took me to some… lab or base or something. They talked about a virus, or a vaccine… I think they injected me with something. They wanted to see what happened. Apparently there had been others… And they were talking about a Subject Zero. Almost as if they were trying to replicate something he had, only it kept going wrong.”
They had known he was a special.
They had known about his power.
They had considered the possibility that his ability was what kept the virus alive within him – and which made him withstand it as well.
“I think maybe the Subject Zero they were talking about was our vampire man,” he finally concluded.
“Why do you think that?” Sylar asked – not because he didn’t think so, but because he seemed curious.
Peter looked at his hands. Only foam showed from the soap that was making him a bit sick with its sweet smell. Just foam… not red and sticky. “Because I got another load of that vampire power while I was in there,” he finally confessed, closing his hands. He wished it was over, but while he had traveled home, it was clear that wasn’t the case; he still felt hungry, although not as much after he had fed on the staff of that lab or prison or whatever it had been. He also knew, without even trying, that he shouldn’t go out during the day.
Deciding enough was enough, he stepped out of the shower, reaching for a towel past Sylar who moved aside as if realizing for the first time that he was invading Peter’s privacy. Peter wrapped the towel around his waist then stepped up to the taller man. He held out his hand. “I need you to feed me another power,” he told him.
Sylar nodded. “We don’t want a repeat of that other time,” he said, taking his hand, and Peter focused, selecting an ability. He took flight because that was the first he spotted. It was ironic how that always seemed to be the case…
Peter waited for a while, then decided that he didn’t feel any different. He could still hear Sylar’s heart beat.
With a slight frown he opened his eyes, then tested the new ability. His body moved and his feet left the bathroom tiles. Setting himself back down, Peter decided maybe it just took time. Maybe it was like re-calibrating his body.
Only, that hadn’t happened the last time he had the vampire man’s ability; the moment he and Sylar touched and Peter switched powers, all the sensations and feelings connected to the vampire power were gone. Now, he didn’t feel any different from before; his senses still seemed sharper, and if he focused, he could hear Sylar’s blood rushing through his veins…
The moment he focused on that, he felt a thirst tingling in the back of his mind. It was like when you are full, yet craving something sweet. To snap out of it, he opened his eyes. “I don’t think it’s working,” he mused.
“How come? It seems like it did,” Sylar asked. He had probably seen him soar into the air a few inches.
“I don’t know,” Peter said, frustrated. “It just doesn’t feel different from before. I can still hear things and...” Now that he actually focused on listening, he could hear something else: “I think someone’s coming,” he said quickly.
Sylar cocked his head, looking out towards the door leading out to the hallway. He must have switched to the ability that enhanced his hearing because he nodded very quickly, then without warning grabbed Peter and pushed them towards the nearest wall. Peter prepared himself for the impact, but it never came. Instead he was engulfed by the wall and he recognized the familiar sensation of phasing through a solid obstacle.
He wasn’t entirely sure when Sylar had picked that particular power, but there were a lot of hours in the day when they weren’t together, and although Peter knew Sylar didn’t leave the safety of the apartment too often, it didn’t mean he couldn’t if he wanted to.
They came to a halt outside the building. For one fraction of a second Peter felt gravity take hold, Sylar’s hands tightening, one on his towel-covered hip, the other against his shower-wet side. Peter grabbed at him madly, and as Sylar switched powers in his head, so did Peter; as the maddening thought of stopping the fall filled his mind, he actually shot a few dozen feet upwards when the power to fly took over. Sylar stopped him, thought, still holding onto him. “Wait,” he told Peter.
“What?” Peter asked. A drizzle was still coming down from the sky, and it was dark. The air was cool on his skin.
Sylar pulled him back against the side of the building, then craned his neck to see inside through a gap in the curtains. Peter shifted impatiently; his previously shower-warm skin didn’t appreciate the hard, cool surface of the wall.
“They’re inside,” Sylar informed him.
“Fantastic,” Peter muttered, then suddenly his attention narrowed down on the pulse he could see on Sylar’s neck. So close to the other man, he didn’t even have to try very hard to become aware of it…
Sylar kept looking inside, then suddenly he jerked to the side, pulled them slightly off the wall and to a safer spot. The movement jerked Peter out of it, helping him to focus on the moment itself.
“What’s the plan?” Peter asked to distract himself from those dark thoughts that had begun to swirl around in his head. It was still so fresh, the experience of a kill, the sensation of blood flowing down his throat… As much as he hated himself for allowing it to take over, there was some animal part in him that cherished the thought of a repeat performance.
Sylar looked thoughtful. “They usually don’t take too long… maybe half an hour or less.”
“Half an hour?” Peter sputtered. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m half naked, and if anyone happens to walk by down there…”
Sylar gave him a look. “Stop squirming around so much, then, and wait it out.”
Peter felt like pointing out that it was easy for him to say; it was one thing to be spotted by someone, floating in the air, but floating in the air wearing only a towel? Then again, perhaps simply being seen floating in the air was going to be shocking enough for any passer-by…
They waited, and Peter started to get impatient. For all they knew, the people might actually be gone by now. Why would they hang around? Sure, they could see someone had just been there, but since the place was now empty…
“I want to go take a look,” Peter finally said, and started to push himself away.
Sylar grabbed his arm. “If they see you, we have to leave, and I’m sure you would prefer to do that fully clothed. So let’s allow them to search the place and we’ll have more time for ourselves.”
“They might be gone already!” Peter hissed, pulling away.
“Get back here,” Sylar growled back at him, and as they tugged and pulled and pushed, Peter felt the towel slip off him. Stunned, he watched it fall down to the alley below.
“Great,” he muttered, trying to cover himself a bit although he knew it was both pointless and pathetic.
Sylar had the decency not to say anything.
Nonetheless, Peter was pissed since he was feeling even colder than before, especially when a slight wind joined the rain.
“Your goddamn fault…” Peter swore beneath his breath.
“How is this my fault?” Sylar asked. They were so close that if Peter wanted to keep his thoughts to himself, he shouldn’t speak them aloud in any shape or form.
“It was your idea to hide here,” Peter told him, shivering a bit. He wanted to go down and retrieve his towel, which by now was probably soaked and dirty. Still, it would be better than nothing.
“I’m not the one those people are after,” Sylar told him pointedly. “Would you rather be in there than out here?”
“At least it would be dry and warm in there,” Peter complained. His mood was really getting worse by the minute.
Sylar shook his head, his expression telling what his lips didn’t; that he found Peter’s behavior bothersome.
“I’m going back,” Peter decided.
“And if they’re still in there, what are you going to do then?”
Peter was about to reply, glancing down to see if it would be worth it to fetch his towel, then froze. A man had just walked into the alley beneath them, and it was clear he wore some kind of uniform and a gun. The man looked around, stepping on Peter’s towel as he went, and both Peter and Sylar hovered several dozen feet above him, waiting in silence.
Chances were he wasn’t going to look up…
Peter wasn’t sure, but his own eyes would go pretty wide if he saw two men hovering in the air, one of them naked; even with his experience with the specials, someone taking flight naked was a new thing…
The man reached for his weapon in the same second that Peter decided he had had enough. He was wet, cold, uncomfortable and embarrassed; he didn’t want to be shot at on top of that. He was aware that Sylar tried to reach for him when he dropped down, diving towards the ground. The man had his gun out, but Peter was coming at him too fast, and the moment he landed, it was like some kind of override kicked in. He reached for the man, spun him around, and with his hands perfectly falling into place, he snapped his neck. It was over in about three and a half seconds.
As soon as the man fell down, Peter followed him, jaws wide open. He felt a brief twinge in his mouth, just behind his teeth, but ignored such a trivial little thing as all of his senses screamed with a mix of thirst and pleasure as he broke the skin of the soldier’s neck and felt wetness much stickier and warmer than the rain run down his throat and jaw.
He was almost finished when an electronic sound disturbed his feeding; at his feet lay the man’s radio, and clearly he was being missed. “B-15, come in. What is your status?”
Peter eyed the small device, then lifted his foot and stepped on it, hard. He felt it crack while pain shot through the bottom of his foot, and with an annoyed growl he lifted it, touching it gingerly, deciding that trying to break anything with your bare feet wasn’t worth the effort.
While he was nursing his foot, he felt Sylar join him on the ground. The other man’s breathing was hurried, and his heart was beating faster. “Peter…” he stammered after a bit. “What did you just do?”
Peter turned to look at him, hopping on one foot. “What does it look like?” he asked, but before Sylar could even think of a reply, Peter’s eyes were nailed on the mouth of the alley; more men had just appeared. They had their guns at the ready, but whatever they were prepared for, clearly this wasn’t it; they froze, staring at Peter, who didn’t waste a moment.
Reaching out, he touched Sylar’s neck. The other man cringed, moving to wipe off the bloody handprint as soon as Peter was done. Peter, on the other hand, was busy; he reached out with his borrowed telekinesis and pulled all of the men down to the alley. A few of them crashed against the nearest wall, the rest rolling on the ground. Peter went after them with quick, clean kills. They didn’t have time to make a sound. One of them landed further away and almost managed to raise his gun, but Peter used telekinesis to crush his skull. Then, to make sure he wasted nothing, he bared his fangs and ate.
While he did that, his attention narrowed down to the feast laid before him. The weather didn’t bother him, nor did the lack of clothing. It was just him, the bodies, the sweet iron-tinted nectar and –
“Peter! Stop it!”
Annoyed, he turned his head. Sylar stood there, looking almost horrified. For some reason it seemed comical to him, then he recalled that this same man had spent years opening people’s skulls and examining their brains at his leisure. So, why such a face?
He cocked his head, looked at him, then heard it; his heart. Strong, fast, pumping… Dropping the body he had been feeding from just seconds before, he moved forward. This was fresh, and strong. He was sure it would be different, somehow… More delicious, and… almost like a sports drink. Revitalizing.
“Peter?” Sylar sounded less certain now, taking a step back.
Why waste the opportunity? It was driving him nuts, listening to it, almost tasting it on his tongue.
He attacked in a flash, and either Sylar was getting slow or he wasn’t going to defend himself for some reason. All the better; he wasn’t looking for a challenging kill right now. Not with such a treat just a bite away. And bite he did. Burrowing deep, fingers clutching at skin and clothes, tugging him closer, keeping him still just enough to reach the jugular, and then it was ecstasy, just like he had thought.
This one’s blood was different, he could tell at once. Much more… nutritious.
He drank until there was nothing left, and with a sigh of satisfaction he sat back on the wet ground. The rain was pouring on him, mixing with the drops of blood on the ground, and the sound of traffic was far away. It was just about as quiet as it could be in New York City in such weather.
When he heard a groan, he snapped out of his pleasant stupor. Looking beside him, he saw Sylar twitch, then groan again before opening his eyes. It was so strange, to see one come back to life; they usually didn’t do that. Once their hearts stopped and they didn’t twitch anymore…
Peter finally snapped out of it completely. He felt the cold, suddenly, and the rain and the smell of blood actually made him a little sick. Sylar was slowly sitting up, feeling his throat that was patching itself back together.
To his credit, he didn’t ask Peter what the hell had happened. Nor did he shout, or scream. Perhaps he couldn’t even talk for the first few minutes.
When he eventually did say something, it was quite unexpected: “We need to get away from here. Right now.”
Peter recalled that Sylar had been the one to reasonably argue against leaving a little while ago, but perhaps looking at the blood-drained bodies littered across the alley made him change his mind. He stood up, then pulled Peter up to his feet and then he flew them up to their window. Sylar opened it with telekinesis with the kind of ease that told Peter he had done it many times before, and pushed them inside. After that he drew the curtains, shut the door, locked everything that could be locked and paced the room, obviously thinking.
“Take a shower,” he told Peter in the middle of it.
Looking down at himself, still naked, Peter understood why; rain water, dirt and blood were not an attractive mix. Numbly he went to the bathroom, the second time in the last hour, although it seemed like forever ago when he had come home… He stopped in front of the mirror. What had he become? When he went into that… animal mode… there were no coherent thoughts left. He had even attacked Sylar! To Peter – the vampire – it had been nothing but the next meal.
And what a meal…
He shuddered. Apparently he had eaten his fill because the thought of blood made him want to throw up. He didn’t want to do that, though, because he probably wouldn’t like what came up… Instead he leaned even closer to the mirror and opened his mouth, as wide as he could. Behind his front row of teeth, he could see something… It was like a second row, retracting. Like shark’s teeth. He touched them, feeling them slowly pulling back, and the roof of his mouth felt different against his tongue. How he hadn’t noticed this before, he wasn’t sure.
“Peter? I don’t hear the shower. Is something wrong?” Sylar called from the general direction of the living room. It was strange that he was suddenly so shy that he couldn’t come in and check on him, considering that for the last half an hour or so, Peter had been naked in his presence.
Spurred on by the other man’s words, Peter stepped into the shower, quickly washing himself again, then stepped out. His towel was gone, of course, so he used Sylar’s. It looked relatively clean anyway; sometimes Peter wondered if all Sylar did during his long days alone in the apartment was to re-order things and change clean towels everywhere.
If only he did the laundry as dutifully, too.
After drying himself, Peter went to his bedroom for some clean clothes. That was easier said than done; someone had apparently decided that every closet and dresser drawer was a potential place to hide something because they had all been thrown open and there were clothes everywhere. Peter picked some things up, put them on, then left the rest lying there. When he joined Sylar, the other man still looked thoughtful, but he had stopped pacing. There were two bags on the table, though, and he had collected some things in them, like dry food and clothes and stuff. Perhaps he had been the one to make the mess in Peter’s room.
“Where do you suggest we go?” Peter asked a bit skeptically. Sure, he saw they shouldn’t stay here, but with Peter’s vampire ability clinging to him, he knew he couldn’t move during the day. And the night was swiftly running out on them.
“India,” Sylar said after a while.
Peter wasn’t sure he had heard correctly. “Indiana?” he asked. “Why there?”
“India,” Sylar said again, clearer this time. “To find Suresh,” he concluded.
Why he wanted to see Mohinder at a time like this, Peter didn’t know. He also had the strong feeling that Mohinder would not want to see them; he had seemed quite satisfied staying there after the latest mess with the other specials. “Why do you want to go see Mohinder?” Peter finally asked. He would not even start thinking about how to get to India before he knew exactly why Sylar wanted to go there.
The other man looked up at him from beneath his thick eyebrows. “He is a scientist. Your power is… it’s not normal. He should be able to figure out how to get rid of it.”
“Oh.” That was about all that Peter had to say. He was almost touched. That Sylar had spent all this time thinking about how to help him… Well, having his throat ripped out by Peter just some minutes ago was probably a big motivator, and they had been through a lot recently. Sylar was swiftly becoming the hero he hoped to be.