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If You Weren't Real, I Would Make You Up

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Peter spends his first month in Sylar's head trying to avoid him. Though Peter knows, rationally, that's he's only been there for a few minutes, time passes like it's been days, weeks, and then a month. He reads some, finds the skateboard he had as a kid in an empty apartment and dicks around on it in the street, but mostly he thinks. Peter finds a rooftop with a nice place to sit and he stares out into the distance, day after day, thinking.

Then Sylar finds him (and damn if Peter didn't enjoy taking his fist to Sylar's face), the wall appears, and everything changes. Even though he'd like to avoid him, Peter knows that he needs Sylar's help to break through the wall.

They spend the first couple days (seconds, Peter tries to remind himself) repeatedly trying to beat the wall down, and when that fails Peter takes up the task alone. Still, he spends more and more time with Sylar. Peter's own apartment is well beyond of the bounds of their wall, so he takes up the apartment next to Sylar's.

Over time (minutes), they begin to develop their own routine. Peter wakes up, makes himself breakfast before heading out to try to tear down the wall. Then, if Sylar doesn't help him, he'll bring out something for lunch and force Peter to eat it. Peter objected at first, resenting the idea of the guy that killed his brother worrying about him, but working all day is hard and he starts to grudgingly accept Sylar's offerings. Then, Sylar makes dinner and they share it, at first silently, at Sylar's kitchen table. Sometimes, before bed, he'll have another go at the wall. It's not life as Peter would have it, not by any means at all, but they make do with what they have.

"I think we should celebrate Christmas," Sylar announces at dinner one night. It's been almost a year (hour) and though now they at least share clipped conversations, the statement is random.

"We didn't celebrate Thanksgiving," Peter says, raising an eyebrow. "Or Halloween, or the Fourth of July, or anything."

Sylar puts his fork down and looks at Peter like he did when he brought Peter a comic, hopeful and eager. "Come on, it's not like we're ever going to have another real Christmas anyway. Just humor me, Peter."

Even though Peter tries to refuse, he somehow gets roped into the idea anyway. "I'll see if I can find a tree or something. A wreath, maybe?" Sylar says, later, as he rinses the dishes. "Or some lights." Peter rolls his eyes and excuses himself to his apartment.

The problem then is what to find for Sylar. He doesn't know much about him, other than the whole cold-blooded killer with a talent for clocks, that is. "Maybe A Clockwork Orange," Peter thinks, chuckling to himself as he settles down in his bed. It'll come to him, he finally decides.

Except the thing is, a week (a second) passes and Peter forgets. He's busy with the wall and trying to sort out his own thoughts and then, suddenly, Christmas is a day away and Peter has nothing to show for it. After Sylar brings him lunch, Peter leaves his sledgehammer leaned against the wall and goes off in search of a present.

Peter finds something he's satisfied with and wraps it, though not very well, in some newspaper. At dinner that night, Sylar's actually smiling and for a second, it feels nice.

The next day, after a long day of useless labor, Peter stops by his apartment to pick up his present before knocking on Sylar's door.

"Who is it?" Sylar calls through the door, laughing as he swings the door open. "Peter, what a big surprise. Now sit down, I made turkey."

It's nothing like the elaborate, catered meals the Petrelli family shared on Christmas, but it's comforting all the same. When they're done eating, Sylar stacks the plates in the sink and then says, "You go first."

Peter feels almost bashful as he pulls his haphazardly wrapped present from under his chair and hands it over to Sylar.

"Hail to the chef," Sylar reads. "Clever." He holds the apron up to himself and smiles.

"When I visited you in the future, a while ago," Peter says, feeling the need to explain, "you were good, and you had a son, and you were making breakfast. Wearing that. Since you liked to cook, it seemed like a good idea." Peter lets his voice trail off. He'd found the apron in an apartment that looked suspiciously like Bennet's old kitchen (he could thank his subconscious for that) and he'd grabbed it, satisfied that this present was good enough. Now he wasn't so sure.

Sylar folds the apron, neatly, then sets it gently on his counter. "No, it's really nice, Peter. It is."

He brings Peter's present out from the study and just by the shape alone, Peter can guess what it is. The flat, wide expanse, covered with actual wrapping paper (Peter's not sure where Sylar managed to find that) gives it away, but Peter still takes his time peeling back the paper. There he is, jumping from the roof, his hands outstretched and the tails of his trench coat flying up behind him, a defiant smile on his face. He traces Isaac's lines, his fingers moving over the raised paint.

"Sylar," Peter begins, but he can't think of anything to say.

"Before you say anything, Peter, hear me out," Sylar says, moving to sit across the table from Peter. "I know you hold a grudge against me and that's fine, because I did a bad thing- no, a bunch of bad things- but I wanted to change. You can hate me for my past, Peter, but please don't hate me now, when I want to redeem myself."

Peter looks up from the painting and he blinks, taking in Sylar's earnest eyes. "Okay," he says.

He can't make any promises, not when the wound of Nathan's death seems so fresh in his mind, but he can at least try. After all, it was Nathan that told him he could do anything.

The next day, Peter helps Sylar wash the blood stains off of his door and maybe that's when things truly start to change.