Title: Special
Pairings: Gabriel/Claire
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1164
Summary: Fate brought Gabriel into that bar four months ago, to her. And when it failed to take her away from him, he wasn't about to let her do it instead.
Disclaimer: I admit it! I made it up!
Notes: For freetheelves2, at Christmas. ♥

She was 21 years old, she had long, brown hair, and every night she wore her favorite green sweater. Her favorite smell was that of freshly cut roses, and her subtle southern accent set her apart in this tiny northern town.

Her name was Claire Forrester, and Gabriel was in love with her.

It had all started four months ago. Gabriel had never been into a bar before, but he was feeling restless and also, it was pouring outside. He didn’t actually intend to buy a drink, but when he stepped inside, there she was. Her smile lit up the room, and she spoke to him, “Welcome to Molly Maguire’s Pub. Have a seat and I’ll be right with you.”

As if he was in a trance, he did as she said.

Once he was halfway finished with his first drink, he realized it was pointless to subtly watch her from across the bar. He then surprised himself by engaging her in conversation. He asked her where she was from, she asked about his job, and soon he started to feel so comfortable that he forgot to be shy.

“Aren’t you a bit young to be bartending?”

“I’m 21 years old, thank you.” She leaned forward and added in a whisper, “Not to mention, I know the owner.” Her nose scrunched up as she laughed.

It was then that Gabriel decided to come back every night for the rest of his life.

A month passed before he worked up the nerve to ask her out. It had worked out better than he could have imagined. She was as sweet as ever, and teased him often about his shyness. He learned about her secret love for cheerleading, and he in turn shared his passion for figuring out how things worked.

As he headed to the bar for his nightly visit, he decided tonight was going to be special. Christmas was less than three weeks away, and he was going to ask her to spend it with him. He had found the perfect pair of earrings to give her.

“Gabriel!” she said pleasantly, leaning across the bar to greet him with a kiss. They talked about their days for a few minutes, until Gabriel decided to ask.

“So, Christmas is coming up,” he began. “I was wondering—“

The bell on the door chimed out as a customer entered the bar. “Hold that thought,” she said, giving him a quick peck on the lips.

“Hello sir, welcome to Molly Maguire’s Pub. How can I—“ Her voice died out as the man pulled out a gun and pointed it to her chest.

“I want all the money in the register,” he demanded in a low, gruff voice, throwing a bag at her.

“Sir, you don’t want to do this,” she insisted, not moving. Gabriel marveled at the lack of fear in her expression, though he could tell that she was holding back.

“Just put the money in the bag!” he screamed.

Still she didn’t move. The man held the gun closer to her chest. Gabriel, panicking, considered stepping in. After all this time, would he really blow his cover in front of all these people?

With a bang and a scream, he realized he had thought for too long. As if it was a dream, she seemed to fall in slow motion. The world suddenly disappeared, and Gabriel felt completely numb. The man ran to the register, grabbed fistfuls of money, and was out the door before Gabriel could process what had happened.

Coming to his senses, Gabriel clambered over the bar to her. “Claire!” he screamed. “NO!” He held her to his chest, not caring about the blood staining his shirt. “Someone call 911!” he yelled, but everyone had run out in fear once the burglar had escaped. It was all futile anyway, he could tell, she was dead. As the sobs racked his body, he held her limp form close. “Claire, I swear to you, that man will pay. I swear.”

Suddenly, Claire drew in a breath. Her whole body moved, and Gabriel almost dropped her in shock. “Claire?!” he exclaimed, his voice full of fear and hope. He watched in fascination as the bullet was pushed out from her body.

“Gabriel!” Her eyes were round with fear.

His sobbing continued, but this time from happiness. “You’re special,” he whispered, pulling her to him again. “You’re special.” He kept repeating the same phrase, holding her in his arms.

“Gabriel,” Claire finally whispered, pushing to be released from his grasp. “I’m sorry. I have to leave.”

Gabriel only looked at her in confusion. “Leave?”

The tears were flowing from her eyes now. “I can’t stay here. This… thing I can do, there are people that are looking for me because of it. I have to run away.”

“I’ll come with you!”

Claire sobbed quietly, though she was clearly trying to hold back her tears. “No, Gabriel. You can’t.” She struggled to stand up.

“Wait,” he said, standing to block her way.

“Don’t,” she pleaded, wiping tears from her face.

Gabriel reached out to cradle her face in his hands. “Just watch.”

Claire stared in awe as a towel floated across the room to Gabriel, who then used it to wipe her tears away. “You…”

“I’m special, just like you.”

Unable to hold back anymore, Claire threw her arms around him and cried openly. “I love you so much, Gabriel Sylar.”

“There’s something else I should tell you,” he told her after several minutes. “I’m on the run, too.” She nodded, indicating that he should continue. “Several years ago, there was a man… he tried to take my gift from me. He felt I didn’t deserve it. He would have murdered me. And in the struggle, I’m sorry to say,… there was an accident.”

“Oh, Gabriel. You did the right thing. He was a murderer.” She wrapped herself around him. “We’ll run away together.”

Gabriel smiled as he stroked her hair. “I should have known you would understand.”

They moved west, settling in a new obscure town. They were able to buy a house at a reasonable price and set up a Christmas tree three days before Christmas.

Claire loved the earrings. She climbed on top of Gabriel on their new couch in order to thank him properly. As he slid her favorite green sweater off of her shoulders, he decided to withhold from telling her the second half of her Christmas present. The police would no doubt find the burglar in the next couple of days, shut up in his freezer, with the top of his head removed, and they would marvel at the unorthodox method.

But they would never find the culprit. The only people that knew about his ability were dead, save for one. And given the way she was moaning at his slow, gentle touches, he had a feeling he could prevent Claire from telling anyone.

She was special. She would understand.


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