Heroes – Paradise – Chapter 3

Chapter 2

“Gabriel!” Peter laughed and hugged his brother, the first one through the door as the Petrellis entered the house. “God, it’s been months!” Since Angela’s birthday, actually.

Gabriel laughed and squeezed Peter tightly, followed by Nathan, and finally Angela, giving his biological mother a lingering hug. “Hey, mom.” He called them both “mom.” It was too confusing to do anything else. And he loved them both, equally.

“Oh, Gabriel.”She hugged him, kissed his cheek, and smiled. “I love what the two of you have done with the house!”

Gabriel smiled. Two years since they’d purchased the old Bennet home in Costa Verde, California, and they really had made it their own. “Thanks, mom. Come on in! Relax! The parade’s on the TV.” He watched his family go into the living room and listened to them greeting Elle. He laughed quietly at an overheard joke, then turned to go into the kitchen to help his mom with the cooking – and froze the moment he entered the room.

“Gabriel…” Virginia Gray was standing in the center of the kitchen, the silver sewing scissors from the sewing kit in the living room sticking out of her chest. Her face was frozen in an expression of horror and shock, and when her lips moved, his name was the barest breath that came from them. He could smell the blood, see it, pouring from the wound, down her chest…

Gabriel’s mouth moved, but no sound came out. He tried to scream “mom!” but he could barely breathe. He stumbled back and nearly tripped over the cord to the smaller TV that Elle had been watching earlier. “I-I….” He stuttered, looking down to see what he tripped over, half expecting it to be a body. And when he looked back up…

Virginia – a perfectly normal, UN-INJURED, Virginia, was looking at him worriedly from where she stood in the center of the kitchen, a platter of stuffing in her hands, fresh out of the oven. “Gabriel? What’s wrong, dear?”

Gabriel’s heart was still pounding. He didn’t feel asleep, didn’t feel like he’d imagined that. It was DAMN real. Scarily real… But there she was, and she was fine. “Nothing… Nothing, mom. I’m alright.” What WAS that? His other… visions… whatever they were, weren’t that strong. That was unmistakable. He not only saw it, he smelled it, he heard it. It WAS real… But it also wasn’t.

Virginia looked at her son worriedly, putting down the pan of stuffing to hug him. “Sweetheart, are you feeling alright? Maybe you should go lie down until dinner.”

He hugged his mother tightly, his eyes closed, inhaling her scent, un-marred by the sickening scent of blood. “Yeah… I think that’s probably a good idea.” He kissed his mother’s cheek, went into the living room to excuse himself from the rest of the family, claiming a headache, then headed into the bedroom – in the doorway, though, he froze.

Laid out on the bed, flat on her back, was Elle. Her eyes were open and staring, her mouth open in an “O,”a silent scream. Across her forehead was an unmistakable Sylar-style slash, all the way across her forehead, and deep into the brain. The blood had dried, running down her lifeless face.

Gabriel gagged on his own bile and staggered back, bumping into the hall wall across from the bedroom door, one hand over his mouth and the other on his stomach. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be possible… But, again, he could smell the blood. The blood laced with that special tang that indicated brain tissue… Elle’s blood. Elle’s brain. No… He stumbled forward, grabbing the doorway – and the bed was empty, unmade, as he’d left it this morning. No Elle, alive or dead… Of course no Elle. He’d just left her in the living room. “What the hell is wrong with me…”

He slowly entered the bedroom, carefully looking around at everything, making sure there were no more grisly, nasty surprises lurking in chairs or on the floor. He crawled onto the bed and pressed his face into Elle’s pillow, breathing in her scent, before rolling onto his back on his own side of the bed. “What’s happening to me?” he whispered to the room itself. He felt exhausted, but his brain wouldn’t stop whirring. Why was he seeing these horrific things?! Not just the people he’d killed as Sylar. But people who were alive – who were in his life NOW, dead, and in Elle’s case, at least, obviously by HIS hand. He continued considering anything he could think of that might be causing this, until his exhausted body gave out, and he drifted into a deep sleep.

Their faces flashed before him. Brian Davis, his skull smashed in with a chunk of quartz. Trevor Zeitlan, James Walker, Charlie Andrews, Zane Taylor, Dale Smither, Isaac Mendez, Ted Sprague, Bob Bishop, Bridget Bailey, and Jesse Murphy, all with their skulls sliced open and their brains removed like opening a can of spaghettios. He could feel their brain tissue beneath his fingers, hear their dying screams, feel them struggling against his telekinesis, futilely as he killed them. As he took pleasure from it, along with their abilities. He was like a God, and these were his sacrifices. And with each sacrifice, he grew stronger, more formidable, more unstoppable…

“Gabriel?”

Elle’s face flashed into his mind. His angel. His precious girl, carrying their baby… and he felt sick as he sliced her skull open, listening to her scream. She trusted him, how could he…. How could she? She’d lied to him. She made it… it had to happen. It was the only way to save her from him, from monsters, the others, like him, who would hurt her. Had to save her – she wasn’t safe with him. She’d be safe in death, he had to do it. He felt sand beneath his knees and hand, felt the heat of a funeral pyre. Felt the tear slide down his cheek… Elle. His angel…

“Gabriel??!”

Something was shaking him. He snapped awake with a gasp, jerking back away from his wife and slamming his head into the headboard above their bed.

Elle winced. “Oh, baby!” She reached out and ran her hand over the back of his head, gently rubbing where she felt a bump forming. “You were making noises in your sleep.” She kissed his forehead gently. “Dinner’s ready. We’re all waiting for you.”

It was all a nightmare. Everything. A nightmare brought on by guilt over what he’d done as Sylar. And the halucinations were just his over exhaustion, after having spent the last six months sleeping as little as possible, to make sure his wife had everything she needed… Just a nightmare. Just a halucination. That was real. The family he could hear, laughing in the other room. The woman… the beautiful, wonderful woman in front of him who had fallen in love with him, and loved him in spite of his being a monster. In spite of his killing her father… SHE was real. This is reality. He earned his paradise.

Gabriel Gray smiled and kissed his wife. “It’s just a bump. I’ll be fine.” He got up, hugged her tightly, and grinned. “Let’s go have that big, family dinner we wanted.”

Elle smiled happily and kissed him, then slipped her arm around his waist as he put his around her shoulder. Together, they headed into the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner.

Chapter 4