Gabriel jumped – when had he fallen asleep? The doorbell rang again, the same sound that had startled him out of his football-induced sleep.
“Gabriel, please get that?! My hands are covered in turkey!”
“I’ve got it!” He got up, quickly, so quick he almost tripped over the scissors that were on the – didn’t he put those away? No time to fix it now. He went to the door and smiled when his mom, Virginia Gray, was standing in the doorway. “Mom! You made it!”
“Of course I did, dear.”She smiled and hugged her son. She was so incredibly proud of him – he’d taken a bad situation and created something wonderful out of it. She didn’t blame him for anything he’d done when he had called himself “Sylar.” That was, after all, a person created by the Hunger. He’d explained it to her. She’d forgive him anything, of course, though. He was her son, even though not by birth.
Gabriel inhaled deeply, drawing in the scent that was so specific to his mom – something as familiar to him as an old teddy bear or a familiar childhood movie. She could always make him feel ok, and that everything was alright. This new life wouldn’t be perfect if she wasn’t in it. And it really was perfect. Sometimes almost too perfect. “Come on in, mom. Did you have a nice trip?”
Virginia laughed softly. “Planes don’t really agree with me, Gabriel. You know that. I suppose it was as nice as possible.” She wagged a finger at him, following him into the living room and watching him pick up a pair of scissors and put them in the sewing basket. “You must be more careful about leaving sharp things out like that, Gabriel. What with the pitter patter of little feet not too far down the road!” She smiled. She loved the idea of being a grandmother, just the thought of it made her eyes light up.
Gabriel smiled. “I know.” He looked down at the sewing kit again – the lid was closed, the scissors safely put away… And now he was CERTAIN that they were put away. If they were out again later, he’d know for sure that something strange was going on.
Virginia was heading for the kitchen. “Elle, dear, do you need a bit of help?”
“No! No… No, mom. Really. I’m ok.. OW!”
“Elle!” Gabriel went around the back way, entering the kitchen through the dining room instead of from the living room. “Sweetie, are you alright?”
Elle had a sour look on her face and had the tip of her index finger in her mouth. “I’m fine,” she mumbled around the digit. “Knife slipped.”
Virginia made a soft sound. “Oh, dear! Where is your first aid kit, Gabriel? You’re a monster!”
Gabriel started to respond with the location of the first aid kit, then froze and stared at his mother. “What did you say?”
Virginia gave him an exasperated expression. “Where is your first aid kit?”
Gabriel blinked at her for a moment, then quickly turned and grabbed the kit out from under the sink. “Here, mom.” He put it on the counter and opened it while Virginia guided Elle over to the sink and helped her wash the cut. It was deep, but not deep enough to be dangerous or need stitches. As he got out the bandages, he couldn’t help furrowing his brow in thought. Why would he hear his mom suddenly call him a monster? He didn’t have anything to do with Elle’s cut, and hesitating in finding the first aid kit certainly wasn’t a reason to call a person a monster. Not to mention the tone that had been in her voice when she SAID it – as if he was something disgusting and horrible that she couldn’t bear to lay eyes on – it sent chills up his spine. Yet she obviously didn’t actually say it. Elle hadn’t reacted, and she was so close there was no way she wouldn’t have heard it. So why was his subconscious pulling these kinds of disturbing imagry and sounds today? Thanksgiving, of all days!
As he helped his mom convince Elle to sit down and rest for a little while, and to let Virginia deal with cutting up the veggies (and further convincing Elle that accepting help didn’t count as having not MADE the Thanksgiving dinner), he decided that his mind was doing something to prompt him to take the holiday a little more seriously. Alright, he thought to himself as he followed his mother back into the kitchen to help her cook, after putting the parade on the living room TV for Elle. What am I really thankful for?
It was actually a pretty straight-forward answer, despite the question’s confusing nature. He was thankful for every aspect of his life. He was thankful for his wife, their incredible relationship against all odds was the thing of romance novels. As Sylar, he’d killed her father – and she had been the reason he’d BECOME Sylar, so it eventually came full circle. But he had fallen in love with her before he realized that she was working for someone who was trying to make him a monster, and she with him – she’d since told him that she hated herself over what she’d done to him. She had thought it would’ve been better if she’d just let him hang himself and be done with it. But he was certain they both preferred the situation the way it had ended up.
He was thankful for his mother – the woman who’d raised him, loved him, nurtured him to become the man that he became… Before he became the monster. And now, after. She’d even forgiven him for that day when he’d… when he’d… he couldn’t quite remember what it was that he’d done, but it had been horrible, it had been to his mother. And the important thing was that she forgave him.
He was thankful for his extended family, the Petrellis and the Bennets.. Angela was a second mom to him, and though she had come into the game late, having let him go when they believed he didn’t have an ability, and therefore were trying to keep him safe, he loved her almost as much as Virginia. And Nathan and Peter – if he’d known this was what it was like to have brothers, he would’ve begged Virginia Gray to adopt some other boys for him when he was growing up. Touch football in the back yard (the only form in which he could tollerate the sport), arguing over who’s favorite baseball team was the best, even just sitting around discussing action movies with Peter, who had rapidly become something closer to a best friend and a brother. And his niece, Claire, freed from the obligations and issues of her own ability, had become a normal teenager. She’d taken up cheerleading again, though had to be much more careful – any fatal wound now, and she wouldn’t simply regenerate. And Gabriel enjoyed being the doting uncle. You’d hardly know that her adopted father, Noah Bennet, had been trying to kill him and Elle on the day of the eclipse that changed their lives – again – and for the better. Now he and Gabriel got along fairly well, given their past. So yes, he was very thankful for his extended family. Without any of them, this new life wouldn’t be as perfect as it was, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Speaking of his extended family, it sounded as if some of it was here. He excused himself from helping his mom in the kitchen and went to answer the door. A quick glance into the living room told him that the sewing kit was still sitting there, innocuous and closed. Perhaps he’d exorcised whatever subconscious ghosts were haunting him by realizing how lucky he was to have what he had now. Smiling, he answered the door.