We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. -Anais Nin
Slouched on a chair in the hospital waiting room, Peter jolted when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He relaxed when his bleary eyes met Nathan's. His older brother smiled weakly. "Thanks for staying, Pete. You should go home and get some rest."
"I don't mind-"
"I know. You've been great. The doctor says Heidi should be able to come home soon."
"That's great, Nathan."
"Yeah, so stop worrying about us and start taking care of yourself." Nathan ran the back of his hand over Peter's stubble. Peter ducked his head.
"You'll call me if you need anything?"
Nathan nodded. Peter wrapped his arms around Nathan's shoulders. "I love you, Nathan."
"I know." Peter felt Nathan's arms tighten for a second, before pushing him away. "Now go. I called you a cab."
Peter laughed and held up his hands in defeat. "I'm going." Reluctantly Peter left his brother. It was late and the night air chilled Peter as he stepped outside. It was strangely quiet and Peter looked at his watch. 3:07. The parking lot lights flickered and Peter felt a prickling along his neck. He got the feeling he wasn't alone. Peter turned and saw... himself. His hair was slicked back, the face was older, scarred, but it was him. "I'm dreaming."
"No, it's real," the man replied in his voice.
Peter rubbed his eyes, he hadn't slept in a week, but the vision was still there. "What?"
The other Peter stepped forward. His long black coat billowed dramatically as if he had his own personal wind machine. He moved differently from Peter. Like an animal, like a predator. Peter took a step back.
"I'm from the future. Your future, if you can't stop it from happening," he said grimly. "You have a destiny, Peter. You have a power that is only beginning to emerge."
Peter stared at his future self in confusion.
"Your dreams... of Nathan's accident, of flying. They're not just dreams. Now listen carefully, you have to stop Sylar. The future of the world depends on it."
"Sylar? What are you talking about? This is crazy."
"Just listen," the elder Peter snapped, "You must stop Sylar before he makes his first kill. He will be unstoppable after that."
"I don't understand."
"Sylar's real name is Gabriel Gray. He's a watchmaker. Find him. Kill him. Save the world."
"Kill? I'm not killing anyone!"
Future Peter grabbed a hold of his shirt and pulled him close. "You will or the future is lost." His voice changed, softened. "Everything will be lost."
"If it's so important to stop this Sylar, or Gabriel, whatever, why don't you do it yourself?"
"I can't affect the past directly. It's up to you now. Stop Sylar. Save the world." He turned, his black coat whipping behind him. "We're out of time. If I stay any longer, you might absorb my powers. That can't happen, not yet."
"Wait!" Peter reached for him, but in a blink of an eye he was gone. Peter was alone. Bright lights momentarily blinded him and Peter turned to see a yellow taxi cab pulling up beside him.
* * *
Peter returned to his apartment and flipped on the light. He squinted against the brightness. His keys jingled as they were tossed onto a table. He picked up a t-shirt he'd left lying on the floor and threw onto the back of his couch. The cab ride home had been so surreal Peter had almost convinced himself that he really was dreaming. But now that he was home, back to the familiar, reality was settling in. Peter collapsed onto the couch.
The strange visitor may have had his face, but he was nothing like Peter. Peter couldn't imagine a future where he would become that hardened, that... frightening.
But even if it had been a dream, Peter couldn't ignore the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, his dreams came true. So he picked up a phonebook, expecting to find nothing, and flipped it open to watch and clock repair. Peter stared at the pag e, his brow furrowed. In bold letters a small listing read, 'Gray & Sons.' Gray. Gabriel Gray. Still, it didn't have to mean anything. Peter could close the phonebook, write it off as a crazy dream (maybe he was going crazy), and forget all about it.
Then again, it could mean everything. Peter ripped the page from the phonebook.
* * *
The cab dropped Peter off in front of Gray & Sons. The building was old and the shop seemed out of place, like it belonged to another time. A bell chimed as he stepped inside. The store was cluttered, cases lined every wall.
"I'll be with you in just a moment."
Peter turned toward the voice. A man, with dark brown hair neatly parted and slicked back, sat hunched over a desk. His brow furrowed behind the magnifying lens clipped to his glasses as he deftly placed a tiny gear into place. Peter moved closer.
"Just one moment," he repeated, moving his tool to another gear.
Gabriel was young, about Peter's own age. There was a quiet innocence about him that was completely contrary to the picture of a monster that his future self had painted.
Gabriel nodded satisfactorily to himself and set the small stainless tweezers down next to his other tools. He pulled his glasses off as he turned his head to face Peter. His eyes narrowed on Peter's wrist.
"There's nothing wrong with your watch," he drew out the words slowly, thoughtfully. He finally looked up into Peter's eyes. "Did you have something for me to repair?"
"No," Peter shook his head, his eyes never straying from Gabriel's. "That's not why I'm here." Peter was overcome by a feeling of loneliness while staring into the dark depths of the other man's eyes.
Gabriel raised a brow expectantly. Peter realized that he'd been staring and took a quick step back, almost stumbling into a display case. Nervously he said, "Actually, I was interested in purchasing."
"Aw." Gabriel smiled. The chair squeaked as he pushed it back and stood. "What are you looking for?"
Peter glanced around the shop. "Um," he bit his lip, "I'm not really sure."
Gabriel led him over to a locked case. "Well, who's it for?"
Gabriel nodded and pulled out a tray of men's watches. He waited patiently while Peter pretended to look them over. Peter's heart beat wildly against his chest. He struggled to keep his hand steady as he lifted a watch and inspected it as if he had a clue to what he was doing.
What was he doing? Why had he come? He was about to put the watch down and bolt from the shop and forget this day ever happened when something silver caught his eye. He pointed inside the case. "Can I see that one?"
Gabriel reached into the case and pulled out a silver pocket watch. "Good eye." Their fingers brushed lightly as Peter took the watch from him.
"My grandfather had one just like it." Peter opened it and stared at the ticking hands, lost in thought to another time and place. He snapped it close. "I'll take it."
Gabriel nodded taking the pocket watch from Peter's hand. Peter followed him to the register. "Will that be everything?"
"No, I was also wandering if you plan on killing anyone in the immediate future," Peter did not say. Instead he shrugged and smiled lopsidedly. "Yeah, that'll be fine." Peter paid for the watch and Gabriel wrapped it in tissue and put it into a small box. "Please, come again."
"Thanks," Peter replied. Peter took one last look at the man, waiting, perhaps, for horns to sprout from his head or some other sign that this man was evil. But all he saw was a quiet watchmaker, with a shy smile and a curious look. "Thanks... again." Peter backed away awkwardly. Hastily he exited the store and hailed the nearest cab. Clutching the small box in a white-knuckled grip, Peter spent the cab ride home staring at the plain box. But it was the watchmaker, not the watch, who filled his thoughts.
* * *
"How are you feeling today, Mr. Deveaux?" Peter opened the curtains, letting the early afternoon sun shine in.
Charles Deveaux sat up in his bed, resting his back against the pillows piled there. "I've had better days."
Peter frowned as he checked his IV. "Think you feel up to eating outside today?"
"Perhaps later," Charles picked up his reading glasses from his bedside. "Would you mind handing me the paper?"
Peter walked over to the table. He noticed a gold watch next to the newspaper. It looked vintage, expensive. He picked it and the paper up, bringing both to Charles. "Your watch is off."
"Oh, that thing's never worked properly. My wife gave it to me on our anniversary. I always meant to get it repaired... I suppose there's no point now." Charles opened the paper to the crossword section. While he was distracted, Peter slipped the watch into his pocket.
* * *
"You again?" Gabriel frowned, a worried crease between his brows. "Was there something wrong with the watch?"
"No, no, the pocket watch works great... This one however..." Peter held out Charles' watch.
Gabriel appraised the watch. "Hmm." He opened the back.
"Can you fix it?"
Gabriel was already immersed in gears, springs, and pinions, Peter's voice washing over him like white noise. Peter watched over his shoulder, fascinated by his careful attention and skilled hands. It was like watching a surgeon at work. Something strange happened as Peter studied the inside machinery of the watch. He suddenly understood how every piece was meant to fit and work together and why it didn't. Then just as quickly as the realization came to him, the watch began ticking again. Gabriel had finished. He handed the watch back to Peter, his lips quirked in a small smile.
Peter stared at the watch in amazement. "What do I owe you?"
"Nothing, it's on the house."
"Thank you, that's very kind." Peter glanced down again at the watch, the hands ticked by in perfect time. Peter wondered how someone as kind and talented as Gabriel could turn into a killer. Peter then remembered the image of his future self, hardened, dangerous, not even a flinch at the suggestion of killing Sylar. Peter straightened, a grim determination settling on his shoulders. Peter would change the future, for them both. He lowered the watch, fixing his gaze on Gabriel. "Let me buy you lunch, as a thank you."
"That's... not necessary."
"Maybe, but I'd still like to buy you lunch."
"I don't know if I..." Gabriel stood up and looked around his empty shop as though he might at any moment be swamped with customers. Peter insisted and, after a moment's hesitation and a bit more prodding, Gabriel agreed.
Gabriel locked the shop up as they left. He flashed Peter a nervous smile as he slipped his hands into his pockets and started down the sidewalk.
"There's a diner a couple blocks from here, the food's not much to write home about, but its close."
"Yeah, that sounds fine." Peter gave him a reassuring smile.
Gabriel seemed uncomfortable and lost amongst the bustle of New York's streets. Peter moved instinctively closer. He ignored the awkwardness of their silence and stilled the fingers twitching nervously at his sides by shoving them in his pockets. Gabriel touched Peter's arm and pointed to the diner. They entered and took a seat near the window. Gabriel seemed more at ease with a glass barrier between him and the world outside.
A waitress approached them with two menus. "What can I get you to drink?"
"My usual," replied Gabriel.
The waitress stared at Gabriel like she'd never seen him before. Gabriel sighed. "A coffee. Cream, no sugar. And I'll take a club sandwich with that."
The waitress turned to Peter and smiled. "And you."
"I'll have the same, except with a bottled water. Thanks."
"Okay, I'll be right back with those waters." The waitress was scurrying off towards the kitchen before Gabriel could mutter, "And coffee."
"Sorry," Gabriel leaned over the table, "I hope I didn't rush you. It's just better to get your order in quick. Otherwise we might not see her again." The last part was uttered in a slight growl.
"Can I ask," Peter glanced around the diner, "If the food isn't that great and the service is lousy, why do you come here?"
"Habit, I suppose." Gabriel shrugged. "I'm afraid I lead a rather boring and predictable life."
"Boring and predictable are underappreciated qualities. It just means you're stable and dependable."
Gabriel looked unimpressed. The waitress arrived with the water and food (no coffee) a little too quickly, Peter thought, and the slapped together sandwich on his plate confirmed it.
"Sorry," Gabriel apologized as if he had been the one to prepare the meager meal, "You're probably used to classier places than this."
Peter sat back, his brows scrunched together. "Why would you say that?"
Gabriel replied as if the answer was obvious, "Your watch. Those don't come cheaply."
"Oh that," Peter shook his head, "The watch belongs to a patient of mine. I wanted to do something nice for him, so I," Peter ducked his head slightly, "borrowed it to get it repaired."
"I'm a hospice nurse."
Gabriel's eyes widened with surprise. He stared at Peter with something akin to wonder and admiration. "That's... I wouldn't have guessed." He cocked his head slightly to one side, studying Peter in a new light. "You're making a real difference, helping people. That's very admirable."
"Thank you." Peter was certain he was blushing. He wasn't used to praise or compliments and never knew what to do with them when he did get them. "I do what I can. It's not much..."
"No," Gabriel replied sharply, "It's a lot. It's more than any of them will likely ever do," he said while gazing out the window, "More than me."
"Are you kidding me? You have a talent, Gabriel, a real talent. Not everyone can say that. The watch you repaired for me today? It belongs to my patient, my friend, Charles Deveaux. His wife gave it to him for their anniversary. She passed away two years ago and now he's dying too. You have no idea how much having that watch fixed will mean to him. Because it was something he'd given up hope on and now he'll have that back."
Gabriel's expression was a mixture of disbelief and wonder, as if he wasn't sure what to make of Peter. It was a look Peter was used to. Peter's enthusiasm ebbed. He looked down at his plate and nibbled on a chip.
"You're a romanticist."
Elbow resting on the table, Peter shrugged, waving the chip in his hand, "My brother calls me naïve."
"Your brother, the one you bought the pocket watch for?"
"That's the one. And only. He's a lawyer, like my dad."
"But you became a nurse."
While taking a drink from his water, Peter raised his brows. He coughed setting the bottle down. "Yeah. I thought I could do more good, help people, like you said. Unfortunately my dad didn't... doesn't see it that way. I worked my way through nursing school, even waited tables for about three days."
Softly Gabriel said, "I'm sorry to hear that. Not the waiting tables thing," he added hastily, "I just... I know something about not living up to expectations."
Peter shrugged it off as if it was nothing. "I still have Nathan. He doesn't quite get the nurse thing, but he tries." Peter shook his head, remembering the women's size 10 1/2 shoes. "He does try."
"It's good, that you have someone. Your brother."
Peter was reminded of the loneliness he felt earlier. "Nathan is great," he paused, "Most of the time." His grin faded. "Still, it can be... lonely? Sometimes. It's difficult making friends in this town." He turned to look out the window. "Everybody is always in such a rush, moving on to the next thing, never stopping to see what they have..." Peter trailed off, lost in thought. He turned back to Gabriel. "Sorry."
"No, you are so right. It's like everyone has there eyes closed. Always looking in, but never out, never seeing the person next to them for who they really are."
Peter wasn't sure that was what he meant, but he nodded anyway.
"Would you," Gabriel tapped his fingers on the table nervously, "Would you have lunch with me again?"
"Yeah," Peter nodded more enthusiastically, "I'd like that."
Gabriel smiled and his shoulders relaxed. "Are you free tomorrow? Or is that too soon?" Gabriel looked nervous again, like he'd said something wrong. Like Peter might change his mind and run away like a skittish cat.
"Tomorrow is fine." Peter stood up. "Did you want to meet here?"
Gabriel stood. "No. I think I'll try someplace new tomorrow."
Peter flashed him a smile. "I'll meet you at your shop then. Oh-" Peter checked his pockets for a pen, and then spotted the one the waitress had left next to their tab. He picked it up and then looked for something to write on. He took Gabriel's hand and scribbled down his phone number. Gabriel stared at the number on his hand as if Peter had just given him the coordinates to his home planet. "Do you want my number?"
"Sure," Peter gave him the pen and held out his hand. Gabriel held it steady against his palm as he gingerly pressed the pen down. He bit his lip as he concentrated on printing the numbers neatly. It was the same expression he got when he was working on a watch. Peter grinned.
* * *
They met again and talked, about life, philosophy. Peter mostly listened. But that was okay, because it seemed to be what Gabriel needed.
"Do you want to come over to my place Friday night and watch a movie," asked Peter, apropos of nothing.
* * *
Peter dreamt that night of Gabriel. They were standing in Kirby Plaza.
"You can't fight destiny, Peter."
"I can try."
* * *
It turned out that they both liked old movies. So Peter rented some old classics, more than they could watch in a single night, but he wasn't sure what Gabriel would want to watch.
"How about this?" Gabriel held up a movie from the stack of DVD's piled on his coffee table.
"The Invisible Man? I haven't seen that one yet. Put it in." Peter ducked back into the kitchen and retrieved the popcorn from his microwave. He dumped it out into a bowl. The DVD was sliding into the machine as Peter slumped onto the couch. Gabriel sat next to him, leaning against the armrest.
"I always wanted to be able to turn invisible."
"Really? I always thought it would be cool to fly." Peter smiled wistfully. "I've actually been having a lot of flying dreams lately. You think it means anything?" Gabriel looked at him sideways. "What?"
"You do know what flying symbolizes, right?" Gabriel adjusted his glasses and looked a little embarrassed. Peter shook his head. "Well, from what I've read on dreams, it's largely interpreted to be... sexual."
Peter shifted his position on the couch. Most of those dreams involved his brother Nathan. He decided not to mention that part.
Kindly, Gabriel added, "But it could also mean that something has been holding you back and that you're ready for a change."
"Hmm." Change. Peter could feel that he was changing, had been since even before his visitor from the future.
* * *
They met again the next day to finish off Peter's movies and again the next. Peter found it strange how quickly and easily the two fell into a routine. The next time they met however was quite different.
A few days had passed with no word from Gabriel. Peter had called, but only got Gabriel's answering machine. He was contemplating looking up his home address and checking on him ( would that seem too stalker-like? I don't want to scare him off, but if he really does flip, I have to be there to stop him before he hurts anyone ), when a frantic rapping sounded against his door.
Gabriel burst into Peter's apartment, excitement radiating off of him. A book was clutched in his arms. "I had the strangest encounter the other day. A Dr. Suresh came to see me. He said that I could be the next step in human evolution and left me with this book." He held it up for Peter to see.
Gabriel thrust it into Peter's arms. "You have to read it." Gabriel chewed on a nail and paced as Peter leafed through the book. "I thought he was crazy at first of course, until I actually started reading it. Just imagine the possibilities if it were true!"
"Rapid tissue regeneration, teleportation, telepathy?"
"There's even a chapter on human flight."
Peter scanned the table of contents. He flipped the book open to the right page and skimmed over the article. "It sounds like an amazing theory."
"I'm meeting with him tomorrow."
Peter's eyes shot up from the book. Gabriel looked almost manic. Peter remembered, always remembered, the warning. Could this be the trigger that changed Gabriel into Sylar? "Would you mind if I came along?"
* * *
"Thank you for coming, Gabriel," Dr. Suresh greeted them at the door. He shook Gabriel's hand and invited them in.
"This is Peter. He's a..." The word hung between them. Friend? "...nurse. He's also very interested in your theories. I hope you don't mind that I brought him?"
"Of course, I am always eager to speak with any individual interested in my work, although I like to think of it as more than just theories."
Peter asked, "In your book, you say that you've identified a mutated sequence in certain people's DNA that may lead them to developing... special abilities?"
"That is the sum of it, yes."
"How were you able to find Gabriel?"
"Through the Human Genome Project." Dr. Suresh held up a hand, halting Peter's next question. "Please, have a seat. I was just preparing some tea. Can I offer either of you a cup?"
"Yes, thank you," said Gabriel.
"Sure," Peter nodded.
Dr. Suresh slipped off into the kitchen and Peter took a seat next to Gabriel. Suresh returned carrying a small teapot and matching cups. "Thanks," Peter said as Suresh poured him a cup. There was a copy of Activating Evolution and a medical textbook on the coffee table turned open to an illustration of a lung cross section.
Gabriel flipped the page over curiously. "So... what? You're going to cut me open?"
Dr. Suresh laughed. "I'd like to run some tests. An EEG, EKG, nothing invasive. A friend at Columbia has access to an MRI."
"Mapping the brain?"
Suresh nodded. "Measuring alpha waves, resting rates, neuron clusters. The brain controls every human action, voluntary or involuntary. Every breath, every heartbeat, every emotion. If the soul exists, scientifically speaking, it exists in the brain."
Gabriel shook his head chuckling. He set his teacup down and leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees. "When I was a kid I used to wish some stranger would come and tell me my family wasn't really my family. They weren't bad people, they were just... insignificant. And I wanted to be different. Special. I wanted to change. A new name, a new life." Sylar , whispered a voice in Peter's mind. "The watchmaker's son," Gabriel slapped a hand against his knee for emphasis, "became a watchmaker. It is so futile. And I wanted to be... important."
"You are important, Gabriel."
Gabriel asked eagerly, "What do you think my abilities might be?"
"Impossible to say just yet. Have there been any sudden changes in your life, a deviation from your normal routine, something out of the ordinary?"
Gabriel glanced at Peter. "Not as such."
"A heightened sense, perhaps? Or precognition, such as knowing when the phone is about ring before it happens?"
Gabriel shook his head.
"There are some simple tests we can begin with," Suresh motioned for Gabriel to follow him to his desk. While they talked, Peter got up from his seat to take a look around. He wandered over to the bulletin board behind Dr. Suresh's desk. On it was a large map with pushpins, connected by strings, and pictures. Peter's eyes widened. His fingers brushed over a clipped image from a newspaper, a photo of his brother. Peter whipped his head around and narrowed his eyes at the geneticist. "What is this," his voice was sharp, cutting through their conversation. Gabriel and Suresh turned to Peter as though they'd forgotten he was in the room.
"That," said Suresh, "is a map of the future, Peter. Each pushpin represents an individual who possesses the genetic mutation that is the focus of my research."
Peter turned back to stare at the photo of his brother. "I think you've made a mistake. My brother doesn't have any... special abilities."
Peter pointed to the photo of Nathan.
"Nathan Petrelli is your brother?" The excitement was evident in Dr. Suresh's voice. Peter nodded. Suresh glanced from Peter to Gabriel and back again. "Amazing, truly amazing. I would very much like to speak with your brother, Peter. I tried leaving a message at his office, but never got a call back."
Peter noticed Gabriel glower behind the geneticist. "I don't think that's a very good idea," said Peter, "His wife was just in a car accident. She's in a wheelchair now and they're still... adjusting."
Suresh's face fell and somberly he said, "I am very sorry to hear that." There was a moment of silence between them.
Peter could feel Gabriel's eyes burning into him. "So, what are these tests you were talking about?"
Suresh explained how he would like to proceed with Gabriel's testing and the two arranged to meet again. Suresh shook both their hands as they left and invited Peter back as well.
When the door closed behind them, Gabriel smiled at Peter. "This is so exciting. I can't wait to find out what my ability is." Gabriel got a sly look in his eye and grinned. "Maybe I really will be able to turn invisible."
"As long as you can turn back," joked Peter.
"Oh god, I hadn't thought of that," replied Gabriel worriedly. They walked down the hall together, towards the stairs. "You seem... unsettled. I would have thought you'd be more excited by the prospect of having a special ability." Gabriel prodded, "Like flying?"
"It's great. It's amazing. I guess I'm just a little distracted. I have to give a deposition next week for the DA."
"We're talking about the evolution of humankind and you're thinking about depositions?"
"I'm testifying against my father."
Gabriel stopped suddenly and stared at Peter with more attention. Peter slowed to a stop a few feet away and turned to face him. "I'm not really supposed to talk about the case, but it's big. Really big." Peter rubbed a hand against his temple. "We don't like to talk about it. It's the family's dirty little secret that everyone knows. My dad represents Linderman, whom you'll know if you read the papers is suspected of having deep mob ties. Well..."
"Wow. Why didn't you say anything?"
Peter brushed the hair away from his face. "It's not something I'm proud of. And we only just met. I didn't want to scare you off before we even had a chance to get to know each other. Because I like you and I think we could be friends."
Gabriel was staring at him again with that mixed look of wonder and disbelief. His eyes softened and a sweet smile graced his lips. "We are... friends."
Peter smiled back. He really did like Gabriel. And it frightened him.
Peter picked up the box holding the pocket watch and slipped it into his pocket. He was going to give it to Nathan as a good luck gift. In the mirror he adjusted his tie. There was a knock at the door and Peter answered it knowing who he'd find.
"Hey. I'm ready to give the deposition."
"There isn't going to be one."
Peter put on his jacket. "What are you talking about? Can't back out now, we gotta tell the DA everything. About Linderman, about dad, all of it."
"He died of a heart attack this morning."
Peter's breath shuddered as he exhaled.
"Take comfort in the fact that he didn't know his sons were about to stab him in the back."
* * *
Peter heard the phone pick up. "Gabriel?"
"Peter?" Peter took a deep breath, swiping a sleeve across his face. "Is something wrong?"
"Can you come over?"
"I have an appointment with Dr. Suresh today, but... I'll cancel it."
"Thanks." Peter hung up the phone. He was sitting on the floor in his apartment with his back to the wall. Knowing Gabriel was coming over gave him the strength to get up and clean himself up.
* * *
If Gabriel had been concerned by Peter's odd phone call, he was definitely worried now. Peter stood in the doorway, his eyes red, his hair disheveled, and his feet bare. "Hey." Peter left the door open as he turned and padded across the room. Gabriel shut the door and flipped the lock as he stepped inside. Peter hovered outside of his kitchen. He looked lost. Broken.
"Do you want anything? I was just thinking about putting on some tea?"
Peter blinked. He took a deep breath. Gabriel thought he might crumble into a million pieces. "My dad..." Peter didn't have to say any more. Gabriel knew that look, knew it too well.
"I'm so sorry, Peter." He took a step closer. "How did it-"
Gabriel felt as if the wind had been knocked from him. "Heart attack," his mother had told him one day after coming home from school. He hadn't even been there, hadn't been able to say goodbye.
"I'm going to fix some tea," Peter nodded to himself as though perhaps he had been debating whether or not to in his head. Gabriel followed him into the kitchen. Peter grabbed a teapot off the stove and took it over to the sink.
"I can do that for you," Gabriel offered.
"No," Peter replied, "Thank you, but I feel better doing something... anything, just so long as I'm moving."
Gabriel watched quietly, patiently as Peter rifled through cupboards, taking down boxes of tea. When there was nothing left to do, but wait for the water to boil, Peter returned to looking lost.
"Do you want to sit?"
"Yes," Peter said tiredly, "But I'm not sure I have the strength to get up again if I do."
"I'll help you."
"Promise?" Gabriel's nod seemed to be enough to convince Peter and he crumbled onto the kitchen floor. He sat with his back to the cupboard and his knees pulled up to his chest. Gabriel knelt down in front of him. Tentatively he placed a hand on Peter's knee. "My dad died of a heart attack too." Peter lifted his head and met Gabriel's eyes for the first time since he arrived. "I was barely eighteen. He didn't even live long enough to see me graduate."
"He didn't come to mine. He never... I had to give up hope of ever having a relationship with my dad a long time ago. I thought I was okay with that, but now..."
"Now you have to say goodbye all over again, with things left unsaid."
"How do I do that?"
Gabriel shrugged. "I was so angry after my father died. All the plans I had for my future died with him. My mom fell apart and I was the only one left to take care of her, to take over the shop. His burdens became mine. I had to give up my dreams so early. But one day I just... forgave him." Gabriel ran his hand across Peter's leg. "One day, you'll find a way to forgive him too."
Peter covered Gabriel's hand with his own. He gave a pained smile. The teapot began to rattle on the stove. With Gabriel's help, Peter got up and finished making the tea. They moved into the living room. Peter set his mug down without taking a sip. "The funeral is on Sunday. Nathan's helping our mom with the plans." He bit his lip. "I really don't want to go. Is that horrible?" There was something pleading in Peter's eyes.
"No, of course not." Gabriel set his mug down and placed his hand on Peter's shoulder. "Burying my father was the most difficult moment of my life. You're a good person, Peter. You're kind and sensitive. You're the kind of person who feels everything, truly. This has to be... overwhelming."
It happened so suddenly Gabriel had no time to brace himself as Peter collided with him. He buried his face against Gabriel's shoulder and slid his arms tightly around his waist. Gabriel stood frozen, awkwardly for a moment before he regained movement and wrapped his own arms around Peter. He lifted one hand to pet Peter's hair. Gabriel couldn't recall the last time he'd been this close to anyone. Peter was so warm. Gabriel titled his head, breathing in the sweet smell of shampoo and hair gel.
"I know it's a lot to ask, but would you go to the funeral with me?"
At that moment Gabriel would have done anything for Peter.
* * *
The morning was chilly. It had rained the night before. The sky was gray and the smell of wet grass was pungent. Like a guardian angel Gabriel stayed close to Peter through the entire burial. Peter only left his side after the casket had been lowered into the grave. He joined his brother by the grave's edge. They each took a handful of dirt and sprinkled it over their father's casket. The dirt was cool, damp, and broke apart in clumps in Peter's hand. A light flashed and Peter turned his head in annoyance. Nathan glared at the reporter. What was supposed to be a private moment of mourning had turned into a circus. Peter only recognized a handful of faces in the crowded cemetery. Nathan squeezed the back of his neck and pressed a comforting kiss against his temple, before returning to their mother's side and taking her hand. Peter took his spot by Gabriel. Their shoulders brushed and Peter glanced down at Gabriel's hand. Discreetly he slipped his fingers through Gabriel's. His leather glove felt soft against Peter's skin and creaked as Gabriel squeezed his hand.
More lights flashed.
* * *
The wake was held at Nathan's. Heidi and Nathan greeted family and friends at the door. Peter leaned down and kissed her. She patted his cheek. "I'm sorry I couldn't be at the burial."
"Oh," Peter shook his head, "Don't even worry about it. Dad would understand. How are you feeling?"
"Still getting used to this," Heidi patted the wheels of her wheelchair, "But I'm recovering." Her gaze shifted from Peter to Gabriel, who was hovering quietly a step behind Peter. "I don't think we've met."
Peter placed a hand against Gabriel's back, nudging him forward. "This is my friend, Gabriel."
Gabriel shook Heidi's hand. Nathan didn't offer his.
"Funny, I don't remember you ever mentioning a Gabriel before, Pete," Nathan said sharply. Heidi glared at her husband.
"Well, I haven't seen much of you lately, Nathan," Peter shot back. Gabriel adjusted his glasses uncomfortably.
"Please, let me take your jackets." Heidi handed them off to her eldest, who dashed off to whatever room they were using as a coatroom.
Past the entranceway, Peter saw a few relatives already gathered.
"Mom's in the kitchen," Nathan said tersely, "She hasn't come out since we got home."
Peter nodded. "I'll talk to her." He turned to Gabriel, "Will you be okay on your own for a minute?"
"Yeah," Gabriel glanced around the house nervously, "Um, where is the..."
"Up the stairs and to the right."
Peter left towards the kitchen. He found his mother arranging hors d'oeurves on a tray, a wine glass in one hand.
"Peter," she smiled, embracing her son. As Angela pulled away, she raised her free hand to grab her son's chin. "How are you holding up?"
"How am I...?" Peter shook his head.
"I worry about you."
"I'm fine." His mother stared. "Okay. I'm not fine, but I will be. What about you?" Peter hazarded a glance at her drink. Angela rolled her eyes.
"Don't worry. It's only my first glass."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know. I'm coping. Badly. But coping. I think your brother's mad at me again. But I don't feel up to facing all of them," she jutted her chin towards the door, "Not just yet." She took a drink. "The service today was a disaster. I think the clergy was drunk, I thought they only did that at weddings. And that photographer," Angela bristled, "Although your father would probably have been pleased by the turn out."
Peter reached for a hors d'oeurve, but his mother slapped his hand away. "Ow."
"Those are for the guests." Angela looked at Peter slyly, "Speaking of, who was that handsome young man I saw you with at the service?"
Peter ducked his head. "Gabriel. He's a friend."
"Uh huh. And when were you going to introduce me to this... friend?"
"He's here. I think you'll like him. He's been great."
Peter ignored her comment. "It's not everyone who would go to a funeral, for someone they've never met, just to hold your hand... so to speak."
His mother smiled. "Anyone willing to meet our family under these circumstances, let alone on a good day, for you, I am bound to like. At least something good might come from this tragedy." Angela set her glass down and straightened her shoulders. "I think I'm ready to go out there now," she said as if she were a gladiator about to face the lions. But then, with their family anything was possible. Peter took her arm and led her out. He spotted Gabriel, leaning against a wall, doing his best to be invisible.
"Mom," Peter walked them over, "I'd like you to meet Gabriel."
Gabriel looked like a deer caught in the headlights, but he shook Angela's hand gently. "I am very sorry for your loss, Mrs. Petrelli."
Angela nodded. "Thank you, dear." There was an awkward moment of silence. Angela glanced sideways at Peter and smiled. "My son seems quite taken with you, Gabriel."
"Mom," hissed Peter.
"I'm glad Peter has someone looking out for him. I only wish we were meeting under better circumstances."
"I do too," said Gabriel.
"I hope everyone's been personable so far."
Peter spotted Nathan staring at them from across the room.
"The Petrelli's can be an intimidating bunch, but don't let them scare you off."
Gabriel grinned. "I won't." He looked at Peter. "You've raised an extraordinary son, Mrs. Petrelli."
Angela tucked a strand of Peter's hair behind his ear. "Peter's always been a special one," Peter blushed, "But I'm not sure how much credit I can take for that."
Angela turned back to Gabriel. "So what is it that you do, Gabriel?"
"I'm a watchmaker."
"I have a shop in Brooklyn."
Angela raised an eyebrow. "So you run your own business?" She left Peter's side and hooked her arm around Gabriel's. "There is an antique grandfather clock in the other room. Perhaps you could take a look at it?" Angela was already leading Gabriel away.
Confident Gabriel would be in his element and that his mother wouldn't eat him alive, Peter wandered over to his brother.
Nathan sighed. "She was tired. I helped her back into bed. She won't show it, but she's still in a lot of pain." Nathan rubbed the bridge of his nose. "It's been a long month."
"I know." Peter slung his arm over Nathan's shoulder.
Nathan tilted his head and stared. "I've missed you, Pete." He said it like an accusation.
Peter frowned. "I'm sorry if I haven't been around as much as I should have. Between work and... Other things," Peter thought of Dr. Suresh, Gabriel, his crazy message from the future, "You know that if you need me... for anything, you just have to call."
"I know, but I shouldn't have had to. You're supposed to be the sensitive one, remember?" There was something in Nathan's voice that reassured Peter that he wasn't really upset with him. "So what's with the new puppy you brought home?"
"Gabriel?" Peter scratched his head. "I told you, he's a friend."
"Why does everyone keep saying that?"
Nathan gave him a look. "You haven't answered my question."
"I met him at a watch store... Which reminds me," Peter dug into his pocket, eager to change the subject, and pulled out a small box. He handed it to Nathan who stared at it quizzically.
"You can open it later."
Angela reemerged with Gabriel at her side. She seemed very pleased about something. "Do you know what this charming young man just did," asked Angela.
Nathan narrowed his eyes. "What?"
"That old grandfather clock that's been in the family for ages? Gabriel just fixed it."
"But that thing hasn't worked since, well, ever."
Angela nodded. "Exactly."
"It was nothing really," said Gabriel.
"Handsome, sweet, and modest. I always knew you were a good judge of character Peter."
Gabriel was ducking his head, but Peter could tell he was practically glowing under the praise. Peter hoped that his mother was right, that he was a good judge of character. Angela handed Gabriel off to Peter.
"I can feel the wolves circling. Time to mingle, let everyone say their condolences." She said it like it was a particularly unpleasant chore. Peter glanced around the room. More guests had trickled in. All of their faces were grim and dour and very proper. Appropriate under the circumstances and yet Peter preferred Gabriel's shy smile.
"I'm going to check on Heidi." Nathan excused himself, leaving Peter to the wolves.
From the corner of his eye, Peter could see them encroaching. "Come on." Peter grabbed Gabriel's wrist and they made a hasty escape upstairs. He peeked inside one door. "Found the coatroom." He passed it up for the next room, one of the boys'. It was empty and Peter pulled Gabriel inside. He sat down on the Superman bedspread covering a twin bed. He picked up a stuffed bear off the bed and played with it in his hands. The bed dipped as Gabriel sat next to him.
"Tell me about your family, Gabriel."
"My family? There's not much to tell. My father was a watchmaker, like his father before him. He never missed a day of work, right until the day he died. He never asked much of life and never got much in return. My mother is... religious. A bit naïve. She still says I could be president if I wanted to." Gabriel shook his head. "She had bigger dreams, for herself, for me, but settled on being a homemaker. I don't think she's ever really been happy."
Peter stared at Gabriel like a puzzle, whose pieces were only just beginning click together.
"Your mom seems nice."
Peter looked at Gabriel like he'd grown a second head.
"I notice you left someone off that list."
"I don't think your brother likes me."
"He doesn't know you. He's not a bad guy. Nathan's just a little mistrustful of new people. He'll warm up." Maybe , thought Peter silently, with Nathan you never knew.
Gabriel looked around the room. "Are we hiding?"
"Maybe," Peter grinned.
"From anyone in particular?"
The days after the funeral seemed to drag on. Peter preoccupied himself with work and going with Gabriel to his meetings with Dr. Suresh. So far the testing had been inconclusive and Peter could tell Gabriel was growing more frustrated everyday that passed without revealing his ability.
Dr. Suresh sighed and lowered the deck of Zener cards. "This is getting us nowhere. At least we can rule out clairvoyance as your ability."
Gabriel slammed his hand against the table, startling Peter and Dr. Suresh.
"Whoa easy there, tiger," Peter rubbed his shoulder.
"Sorry," Gabriel said contritely, "Sorry."
"I think I'll go make some tea," Dr. Suresh left them.
Peter took his vacated seat. He picked up the cards, shuffling them. Smiling, he handed them to Gabriel. "Here, try testing me."
Gabriel looked like that was the last thing he wanted to do, but he sighed and took the cards. "Fine." He shuffled them himself and lifted one card from the top. Peter concentrated on the card, trying to visualize it. He got nothing. "Um, square?"
Gabriel rolled his eyes. It was then that Peter spotted it, the reflection in his glasses. Peter tried to hide his grin. He was feeling a bit mischievous. He pretended to think the next card over. "Star."
Gabriel narrowed his eyes. He held up another card.
He slapped the card down and lifted a new one, while staring at Peter with skeptical interest.
Gabriel's eyes widened.
Gabriel slammed the deck down. "Okay, how are you doing that?"
Peter put on his most innocent look. "What? Did I get some of them right?"
Gabriel scowled. "I hate you."
Peter couldn't help himself, he laughed. "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist."
"So you were cheating," Gabriel said accusingly. "How?"
Still laughing Peter waved a finger in front of his eyes. "The reflection in your glasses."
Gabriel's hands shot up to his glasses and pulled them off. He glared at Peter. "I'm never wearing them again."
Peter laughed some more. He held out his hand. "Here let me wear them," Peter took the glasses from Gabriel and put them on. "How do I look?" Peter flashed him a grin.
"Cute, like always." Gabriel was still scowling.
"Really? Aww," Peter got up from his seat and walked behind it. "I have an idea," he whispered, "I'll stand behind Suresh and you can read the cards off the reflection."
Gabriel actually appeared to consider it for moment, but eventually he shook his head. "Cheating kind of defeats the purpose."
Peter took off the glasses, looking cross-eyed for a second, and handed them back to Gabriel. He sat on the edge of the table in front of him. "Why don't we call it a day and go do something fun?"
"This isn't fun?"
"Not today." Peter softened his expression and gave him what Nathan liked to call the 'puppy look'. "Come on."
Peter jumped off the table.
* * *
"This is what you do for fun?"
"Wander aimlessly through the streets of New York, eating ice-cream?"
"Great isn't it?" Peter smirked. Absently he swiped his tongue along the cone, capturing the melting ice-cream before it dripped onto his hand.
Peter glanced up at Gabriel, mid-lick, who was staring at his vanilla ice-cream cone rather heatedly. Gabriel lifted his gaze suddenly and smiled around his spoon. He shrugged, pulling the red spoon out with a smack. "Good ice-cream," he said quickly, looking away innocently.
"Yeah." Peter peered jealously over at Gabriel's ice-cream. "Say, how come you got sprinkles and I didn't?"
"Because I'm special."
"That or the ice-cream girl was flirting with you."
"Really?" Gabriel looked dumbstruck. He whipped his head around, even though they were a couple blocks away already.
Peter nodded. "You want to try and get her number? We can go back."
Gabriel shook his head. "I'm not... She's not my type."
"What is your type," Peter asked conversationally. Or so he hoped. He ran his tongue over the tip of his cone and Gabriel's eyes strayed again.
"My type," Gabriel repeated distractedly, "I suppose... someone with a good heart, who looks for the best in people. A dreamer, who's not afraid to go after what they want." He was about to say something else, but was interrupted by the high pitch squeal of a saxophone.
An old jazz song drifted across the street where a street performer had set up on the sidewalk. Excitedly, Peter grabbed Gabriel's sleeve and pulled him across the street. Gabriel watched Peter with a look of amusement as Peter bounced along with the music. They stayed and listened long enough to finish off their ice-cream. Peter dug out his wallet. He frowned, staring into the empty billfold. "Looks like I spent the last of my cash on the ice-cream."
Gabriel took a twenty from his own wallet and dropped it into the open saxophone case by the musician's feet.
"Thanks, man," the saxophone player smiled and nodded as they passed.
"You didn't have to do that." Peter felt guilty and made a mental note to pay Gabriel back.
Gabriel shrugged. "You were enjoying it. It was worth it." He smiled shyly.
It was Peter's turn to look dumbstruck. And then Peter was struck quite literally as someone slammed into his shoulder. Peter stumbled back. "Hey!"
Gabriel grabbed his arm, steadying Peter. "What's wrong, did you trip?"
"No, that guy just walked right into me." Peter rubbed his shoulder.
Gabriel followed Peter's gaze. "What guy?"
Peter pointed. "That guy, with the long jacket."
"It's 90 degrees out." Gabriel looked at Peter like he was the crazy one.
"Yeah, I know. I think he might've been homeless."
Gabriel was still giving him a weird look.
"Nothing. It's kind of hot out today. Maybe we should cut our... outing short?"
Peter couldn't help it if he looked disappointed, he was. They were having fun... He didn't understand what had just happened.
Gabriel smiled. "Another time?"
It wasn't until after Peter got home that he realized that his wallet was gone.
* * *
Peter heard a knock at his door. He put his book down and looked at the doorway curiously. He wasn't expecting anyone. So, Nathan or Gabriel then . Peter opened the door. "Hey, Nathan."
Nathan glanced inside the apartment, saw that Peter was alone, and invited himself in. He turned and smiled at Peter. "I have some good news."
"Good news?" Peter didn't get that often these days.
"Yeah, well, I think so anyway. I'm holding a press conference tomorrow to make an official announcement, but I wanted you to be the first to know."
"You've got my attention."
"I'm throwing my hat into the political ring. I'm running for congress."
"Wow," Peter moved away from the door towards his brother, "That's great."
Nathan smiled proudly.
"So you're not going to work for the DA anymore?"
Nathan's smile fell. "Well, I haven't exactly been getting a lot of work thrown my way since... Anyway this will be good. It was time for a change."
"Totally behind it. Mom too. The only one left..." Nathan watched Peter expectantly.
Peter blinked. "Yeah, totally." He nodded seriously. "You've got my support." He grinned and added, "I'll even wear a button."
Nathan shook his head and looked at Peter like he was an idiot, but he was smiling. "Thanks. That means a lot." He paused for a moment, then added carefully, "It does mean that our family is going to be in the spotlight for a while..."
"I'll try not to embarrass you."
Nathan gave him that look again, only he wasn't smiling this time. "I wanted to make sure you're going to be okay with that?"
Peter crossed his arms. "Guess I'll have to be." Nathan nodded, apparently satisfied. "Do you want something to drink?"
"I can't stick around, I've got a meeting, preparations to make for tomorrow." Nathan looked at his watch. "Say, do you have the time? My watch has been running slow."
Peter grabbed Nathan's wrist and studied the watch. "Hmm." He undid the clasp, pulled it off his brother's wrist, and walked it over to the counter. Gabriel had occasionally taken a watch over to work on while they watched movies and had left a small toolkit. Peter unscrewed the back of the watch and studied the gears inside. Somehow he knew exactly what was wrong and without thinking picked up one of the tools and began fixing it. Peter wasn't sure how much time had passed, but when he had finished and looked up again, Nathan was staring at Peter like he'd never seen him before.
Peter handed Nathan his watch back. "It should work now."
"When did you learn to do that?"
Peter was just as shocked as Nathan. "I... don't know."
Pieces of a puzzle clicked together in Peter's mind and he felt a sudden rush of adrenaline when he realized what it meant. "Can you drop me off someplace? I have something important to take care of."
* * *
Peter banged on Dr. Suresh's door. He tried the door handle and it was open. He practically flew into the room. His face was flushed from running up several flights of stairs and his breath was ragged.
Dr. Suresh and Gabriel turned their heads and stared. They were seated opposite of each other, separated by some kind of monitoring equipment. Gabriel stood suddenly, pulling the wires free from his temples. "Peter, what's wrong?"
It took Peter a second to catch his breath. "I know what your ability is!" Gabriel took a step closer, his attention entirely on Peter. Peter smiled. "You know how things work."
Gabriel looked entirely unimpressed. "Yeah. How is that a super power?"
Suresh stood up, looking at Peter with great interest. "Could you expand on that, Peter?"
"I'm not sure if I can." Peter felt as bewildered as the other two men looked.
"Then how do you know?"
Peter explained, "Because I can do it too." He paused, feeling a revelation of that magnitude needed a pause to sink in. He recounted what had happened with his brother's watch.
Suresh was skeptical. "And you're certain that it's not just something you picked up by watching Gabriel?"
Gabriel looked offended. "Watch repair may not be brain surgery, but it's not something you can learn overnight."
Suresh looked thoughtful. "Interesting."
"So wait, if my ability is to know how things work," Gabriel winced slightly as he said it, "Then what's yours? Mimicry? How does that work?"
"I don't know. People are always telling me that I'm empathic. That it's what makes me a great nurse. Maybe that has something to do with my ability?" Peter remembered something his future self had said. "Maybe, somehow, I can absorb other people's abilities?"
"If true, that would be a fantastic discovery, Peter. Do you have any other conclusive evidence for this?"
Peter shook his head. "As far as I know I haven't met anyone else like," he looked at Gabriel, "us."
Suresh nodded. "This will require further study. Are you willing to submit to a few tests?"
Peter looked at Gabriel, uncertainly. "I suppose."
"I have another promising candidate. I believe he may telekinetic. After I have examined him, perhaps we'll try a field test to see if your theory holds up."
* * *
Peter was flying. Beneath him, New York sped by as he darted between its towering buildings. He'd never felt so free, so alive. It was exhilarating. A distant noise, rising above the city sounds below, caught his attention. He strained to make it out. His concentration lost, he fell, the ground racing too quickly towards him.
Peter's eyes shot open. He felt a sudden sensation of falling and his back connected with the bed. His heart pounded against his chest. It took him a moment to realize that he'd just been dreaming and that the ringing in his ears was his phone. He reached out and grabbed the receiver groggily. "Hello?"
"Peter," it was Gabriel. "Can you come over? I have something important to show you."
Peter rubbed the sleep from his eyes and turned to his clock. "It's six in the morning, Gabriel."
"It's important ," he repeated in case Peter hadn't heard him the first time.
Peter sat up reluctantly. "Yeah, okay. Can I take a shower first?" There was a slight pause on the other side. "Never mind, I'm coming over."
* * *
Peter had never been to Gabriel's apartment before. He wasn't sure what he expected. The walls lined with bookshelves made sense. It was the plastic covered furniture that threw him for a loop. The place was too... sterile. Like a museum, complete with locked cases. Look, but don't get too close, don't touch. Peter always thought that a home should look lived in, that it should reflect who you are as a person. Gabriel's place didn't reveal anything about who he really was.
Gabriel locked the door and turned to face Peter. Peter could see that he was barely containing his excitement. There was a certain manic look in his eye that unnerved Peter. His clothes were uncharacteristically wrinkled and his hair was disheveled.
"Did you sleep at all?"
Gabriel shook his head. "I've been up all night practicing."
Peter watched with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension as Gabriel's large stride took him quickly across the room to a small table. He waved Peter over.
Gabriel was staring at a pen on the table. It was a nice looking pen, but Peter had a feeling that wasn't why Gabriel had called him at six in the morning. If it was, Peter was about to be very very concerned.
Gabriel held out his hand, fingers splayed. "Watch."
The pen began to rattle and for a second Peter wondered if they were having an earthquake, except his feet were still planted steadily on floor. Then the pen started spinning. Peter jumped back, startled. The spinning stopped and Gabriel turned, eyebrows raised and an expectant smile on his lips.
Peter brushed back his hair. His heart was pounding much like it had earlier. "How-?"
"My power, it's just like you said. Suresh was showing me an MRI scan from that telekinetic. Brian Davis, I think he was called. I couldn't stop staring at it. There was something there... And suddenly it all became clear. How it all works. Pieces fitting together... Dr. Suresh was right. It's all in the brain." Gabriel waved his hand over the pen.
"And you were able to mimic it? Like with me and your ability?"
Gabriel gripped Peter's shoulders and leaned in close. "We're the same, you and I." Peter felt a chill. "It's fate that we met, Peter. I truly believe that."
Not so much fate, Peter thought, as it was Peter's leap of faith in the impossible that had led him to Gabriel's door. But there was something there. Peter could feel it. Whatever future lie ahead of them, their destinies were intertwined. "We're connected."
Gabriel glanced quickly at the pen and flashed Peter an impish grin. "Wanna try?"
* * *
Peter stood behind Gabriel as he proceeded to demonstrate his new ability for Dr. Suresh. They had practiced well into the afternoon and while Peter couldn't so much as nudge a penny yet, Gabriel had made remarkable, unbelievable, progress. Not quite perfected though, as the glass he was demonstrating on flew across the room and shattered against a wall.
"Sorry about the glass," Gabriel apologized, though he could not hide his delight.
"It's just glass," Suresh stared in amazement. "Incredible," he said after a moment, "You both appear to have the ability to re-sequence your very DNA to mimic those of other's with the mutated gene. That you both found each other, here in New York, it's (at the risk of using an unscientific term) a miracle."
Gabriel smiled at Peter. "Its fate," he corrected.
* * *
Peter tried to keep the discovery to himself, but it was too big. So he went to Nathan.
"That's a cute story, Pete. Plan on publishing it?"
"It's not a story, Nathan."
"You can move things with your mind."
"Well, no, not yet. But Gabriel's helping me work on it."
"Gabriel," said Nathan disapprovingly.
"You should see what he can do!"
Nathan sighed. "When are you going to grow up, Peter? He does some magic trick and suddenly you think pigs can fly." He rolled his eyes.
"It's not a trick. It's real."
"I really can't deal with this right now," Nathan dropped down into the chair behind his office desk. "I have a lot going on with the campaign . I can't be expected to hold your hand too."
"No one asked you to. I'm not some naïve little kid, Nathan."
"Then stop acting like one."
Peter crossed his arms petulantly.
"I don't think you should be spending so much time with this Gabriel guy."
Peter dropped his arms. His mouth gaped. "You can't tell me who I can and can't see."
Nathan placed his hands on the desk and stood. "Fine, just try to keep the crazy fantasies to a minimum okay? Our family doesn't need another scandal."
* * *
"I can't believe it. My own brother!" Peter finished venting. He was lying on his back, his feet dangling over the arm of his couch. He turned his head towards Gabriel, who was watching him thoughtfully.
"Some people can't handle the concept of something... bigger than they are."
"I just wish I could have shown him what I can do, something he couldn't deny." Peter looked at Gabriel enviously. "It comes so naturally to you."
"You'll get there."
Peter swung his feet around, sitting up. "But when?"
Gabriel knelt down in front of him. "Give it time. These powers are just emerging. I'm not giving up on you, don't give up on yourself."
"I'm not." Peter suddenly felt embarrassed. He was acting like a little kid. Filled with new determination, Peter sat up straight. "Let's try it again."
* * *
"I think I can fly," Peter spoke into his cell phone, as he hailed a cab.
"Hmm," responded Gabriel, "I wonder... If I concentrated hard enough, maybe I could lift myself off the ground using my telekinesis?"
"That's not what I meant."
"What did you mean?"
"I'm not sure, but those dreams I have? I'm having them every night now. And I swear, this morning, when I got out of bed, my foot hovered, just for a split-second, before it hit the ground. It was like I was floating."
* * *
Nathan's response was much the same as when Peter had told him about the telekinesis. And without proof, Peter knew his brother was never going to believe him.
During the drive back to his apartment, Peter tilted his head back, so he could watch the eclipse through the rear window of the cab. "Wow." He wondered if Gabriel was watching it too. His thoughts drifted as he stared off dreamily. "Do you ever get the feeling that you were meant to do something extraordinary?"
"All the time."
Peter sat up with interest. "Really?"
The cab driver nodded glancing at Peter through the rear view mirror. "Yeah, I've been trying to break into acting for nearly ten years now."
"That's not what I... never mind." Peter slouched back in his seat, frowning. At least Gabriel understood, even if no one else did.
Peter's cell phone rang. Peter smiled as he answered it. "Gabriel?"
"No," the voice sounded confused, "It's Simone." Peter winced. Oops. "Are you busy?"
"No. I was, uh, just heading home."
"Listen, I need you to meet me at my dad's."
"Yeah, no. I can be there in ten minutes."
"Okay. Just hurry, okay?" She sounded really upset.
"Okay, I'll see you there. Bye." Peter flipped his phone shut and told the cab driver to drop him off. He'd walk, run if he had to.
* * *
Peter used his key to get in. He found Simone rummaging frantically through drawers and cupboards. "What happened? Has your dad-"
"It's not my dad."
Peter followed her into Charles' bedroom. His condition appeared not to have changed. It wasn't like Simone to mislead him into thinking there was an emergency. Peter watched bewilderedly as she continued her frantic search. "What are you looking for?"
"I need you to come with me someplace."
* * *
"You really think he can predict the future?"
"I saw it with my own eyes, Peter." They entered the darkened art studio. "Isaac? I brought someone to help. He's a nurse." She tried flipping the light switch, but the lights didn't come on. Hesitantly Peter followed her inside. "Isaac?" Peter reached into his messenger bag and pulled out a small flashlight. "Isaac?"
Something crunched under Peter's foot and he aimed his flashlight down. Lying on the floor was a syringe. Peter walked down the small steps, flashing his light across the ground. A man, Isaac, was lying prone on the floor. "Simone," Peter called for her as he rushed over.
"Oh god. Oh my god. Isaac?"
Peter checked his heartbeat. "He's alive. Call 911."
Peter started to pull his medical supplies out, to do whatever he could until the ambulance got there. But a painting drew his attention away. Simone had said that Isaac could paint the future. Despite everything, Peter had been skeptical. After all she'd just gotten done telling him Isaac was going through withdrawal. But here it was, his dream painted in vivid color by a man he'd never met. Only it wasn't just a dream or a painting. It was the future. It was Peter, flying.
* * *
Peter watched from the rooftop's edge as a yellow taxi pulled in and out of the alleyway, dropping his brother off.
"Alright, I'm here. Now what do you want?" The annoyance in Nathan's voice was evident.
Peter let the cell phone slip from his hand, knowing it would catch his brother's attention.
It crashed and broke on the hard cement below. Nathan looked up.
Peter shouted so he could be heard. "I've been up here all night, thinking about this, thinking about my destiny."
"Watcha doin', Pete?"
"It's my time to be somebody now, Nathan."
"Come on, Peter, stop screwing around!" Nathan yelled, like Peter was a kid again, after climbing onto the highest branches of the old tree in their backyard.
But Peter wasn't a child anymore. And he wasn't going to fall and break his arm like he did that time. He was going to finally prove himself to Nathan. To himself. He was going to fly.
Peter held out his arms. The wind whipped past him as he imagined himself soaring through the air. Gathering all of his courage, and thinking of Gabriel, Peter took one more leap of faith.
For a second, as his feet left the ledge, time stood still. Like he was floating. And then he was falling. The wind stung his face as gravity pulled him down. The world sped by too quickly for Peter to see. Nathan!
Suddenly a hand was grabbing hold of his and he was spinning, spinning like the pen on Gabriel's table.
"Peter," it was Nathan's voice. Peter looked up with wonder. "You're flying, Nathan. You're flying." I was wrong , Peter thought, it was Nathan all along. He could feel his hand slipping and tried for a better grip, but it was too late. Nathan couldn't hold him. And suddenly Peter was falling again. He heard his brother cry out as the world went black.
* * *
Gabriel was having a coffee when a news report on the diner's TV caught his eye. "Congressional candidate Nathan Petrelli's brother was rushed into emergency care in midtown Manhattan today after what is said to have been a lengthy fall..." Gabriel didn't wait for the rest of the report. He was out the door and hailing a cab before the waitress could stop him. He couldn't be certain, panic that he was in, but he may or may not have used his telekinesis to stop a cab as it tried to zip by him.
* * *
Peter woke, disoriented. The last thing he remembered was falling. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at his older brother. "Where am I?"
"You're in a hospital."
"You don't remember? You jumped Pete."
"Jumped?" He tried to sit up.
"Off the roof of a fifteen story building. You tried to kill yourself."
Peter was still getting his bearings, but he was certain Nathan had just said that he'd tried to kill himself. And that couldn't possibly be right.
"You were a little wound up yesterday, but then you were just being you."
How could Nathan get it so wrong? "What are you talking about? I didn't try to kill myself." The memory came back to him, like walking through a dream. "You were in the alley below. I jumped and you... You flew."
Nathan laughed, like Peter had just said the punch line to a joke. "I what?"
"You flew up and you caught me."
"You jumped, Peter. Twenty-five feet to a fire-escape. I climbed up and carried you down. That's what happened." Nathan lied so smoothly. "The rest is just crazy talk. You understand?"
Why was Nathan lying to him? He understood if Nathan didn't want other people knowing, but Peter was his brother.
There was a commotion outside and they both turned their heads towards the noise.
"You don't understand. I have to see him."
"I'm sorry, but I can't let you in."
Peter tried to see out through the doorway. "Is that Gabriel?"
Nathan stormed out into the hall. Worried, Peter pulled himself out of bed. His body protested as his bare feet hit the cold floor. He stumbled across the room, grabbing onto the doorway for support.
"You need to leave now."
"Its okay, Nathan."
Nathan snapped, "No, it's not. You never would have been on that roof if it hadn't been for him filling your head with all that nonsense."
Gabriel looked hurt and confused. Peter sighed. "Gabriel didn't have anything to do with it. I made it all up. The telekinesis, the flying, everything." Peter could tell a good lie too when needed.
Nathan leaned in close to Peter and whispered, "Why would you do that?"
Peter shrugged. "I wanted to be special." Nathan's look of pity was almost unbearable. "Can you, can you just give us minute?" Peter nodded towards Gabriel.
Nathan was reluctant, but agreed, "Fine." He turned to Gabriel. "A minute."
Gabriel pushed past Nathan and enveloped Peter in his arms. Peter winced. The fall must have left some bruising. "Thank god... I thought... They said on the news..."
"The news?" Over Gabriel's shoulder he spotted Nathan glaring at them from the nurses' station. Peter patted Gabriel's back. "Come on, help me back in?" Gabriel left an arm around Peter and half carried him back to his hospital bed.
"Are you okay?"
"I think so."
"What happened?" Gabriel leaned against the side of his bed, facing Peter.
"I jumped off a fifteen story building."
Gabriel's voice was soft, bewildered. "Why would you do that?"
"I thought I could fly. I guess I was wrong." The look Gabriel gave him, reminded Peter of the time when that pickpocket had slammed into him. Like maybe he thought Peter was a little bit crazy too. It hurt more than anything Nathan had done.
"I wish... I wish you would have called me. I could have helped. Maybe talked you into starting with something a little closer to the ground."
The corner of Peter's mouth turned up slightly. If he was crazy, at least he had company.
* * *
Gabriel couldn't sleep, so he occupied himself with a book, though he found it difficult to concentrate. His apartment was dim, lit only by the lamp near his chair. He looked up, startled, when a banging sounded on his door. He thought for a moment it might be the kids from down the hall again, but it was much too late for them. Curiously he set his book down next to the lamp and walked over to the door.
"Gabriel," Peter's muffled voice drifted through the door.
Gabriel quickly undid the locks and opened the door. "Peter?"
"Hey, can I come in?"
Gabriel stepped aside. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you still be in the hospital?" He closed the door.
"I'm fine. Great, actually." Peter's face was alight with excitement.
Gabriel titled his head slightly, examining Peter. He was trembling, almost imperceptibly, but whether that was from the adrenaline or the pain... maybe both. "You should sit."
Peter shook his head. "I have to show you something first."
Gabriel wondered what could be important enough to make him leave his hospital bed and travel all the way to Gabriel's apartment in the middle of night.
"Close your eyes."
"Go on. Trust me."
It was strange, but Gabriel did trust Peter, completely. So he closed his eyes. Gabriel sensed, more than heard Peter slink towards him. His heart began to beat quickly and he wasn't certain why. Then he felt a hot breath against his face.
"Okay, open them."
Gabriel did, finding hazel brown eyes staring directly back at him. Confused, Gabriel glanced down at their feet. Peter was hovering several inches off the ground. He lifted his gaze to meet Peter's. "How-?" Gabriel's question was crushed under Peter's lips.
Gabriel froze for a moment, caught off guard. But Peter's mouth persisted and Gabriel quickly gave in to the kiss. He gripped one hand onto Peter's waist and the other in his hair. Peter began to drop, but Gabriel caught him with his telekinesis and boosted him back up. Peter's arms snaked over his shoulders and crossed behind his neck, pulling Gabriel even closer. His body felt warm and right, pressed against Gabriel's. The kiss was eager, messy, and desperate all at once. It didn't matter though, because Peter was willing to give everything Gabriel took.
Gabriel must have handled him too roughly though, as Peter broke away, hissing through his teeth. Concentration lost, Peter dropped onto the floor.
"Did I hurt you?"
"It's okay. I'm still a bit sore from the fall." Peter clutched his side.
"Do you... do you want me to take you home?"
Their eyes met and Peter bit his lip nervously. He shook his head. "No."
Gabriel ran his hand across Peter's cheek. He leaned down, gently pressing his lips against Peter's. Peter smiled.
A bell dinged and Peter stepped out of the elevator onto the lobby floor of the Deveaux building. He stopped short when he ran into Simone walking towards the elevators. "Simone."
"Oh, hey. I was just coming up to check on my dad. Where are you going? Aren't you supposed to be on your shift?"
"I was just filling in my replacement and saying goodbye to your dad."
Peter pulled her to the side. "Listen... I'm quitting."
"Why?" Simone looked upset and Peter felt a pang of guilt for springing this on her without warning. But it had to be done. He didn't want to give anyone a chance to talk him out of it.
"I called the agency and told them this morning."
"But my father-"
"Caroline's gonna take really great care-"
"But she's not you."
As much as Peter might have grown fond of Charles and Simone, there was really nothing left he could do to help them. "This is not where I'm supposed to be. It's not what I'm supposed to do. I... I can't really explain it." He sighed, wishing he could.
"Look, the truth is, I've been trying to save the world, one person at a time. But I'm meant for something bigger. Something important. I know it now. That's... that's really all I can tell you." How could he possibly explain? Everything was so new, the abilities, Gabriel, Peter was still trying to understand it all himself. He put a hand on her arm, wishing her well, and headed for the door.
Simone called after him, "I'll miss you."
"It's New York. Everyone runs into each other sooner or later."
Simone nodded. "Maybe it'll be sooner."
Peter headed for the door. His cell phone started to ring as he stepped out onto the sidewalk.
"There you are, I was beginning to worry you might have tried to jump off the Empire State Building this time."
"Ha-ha," Peter replied humorlessly, "What's up?"
"I stopped by your place last night, but you weren't there."
"I was with Gabriel." There was silence on the other end, but Peter could imagine Nathan's expression. "What's going on?"
"I left an invite for you, but I guess you haven't been home yet to find it."
"I'm having a little campaign rally tonight. I'd like you to be there."
"Of course. I'll wear my button."
"A suit will do."
"Can I bring a guest?"
"The invite is for plus one- Wait, who exactly did you have in mind?"
"Taxi's here. Gotta go. Bye, Nathan." Peter quickly ended the call. He sped dialed Gabriel.
"Hey, it's me. Better get your suit dry-cleaned."
* * *
Peter knocked on Gabriel's door. He straightened his tie as he waited. It took a little prodding and cajoling to get Gabriel to go with him. He was still convinced Nathan hated him and Peter was afraid he might be right. But Nathan would have to deal.
The door opened and Peter was certain his heart skipped a beat. "Wow."
Gabriel frowned and glanced down at his clothes. He was wearing a dark gray three piece suit with a pinstriped shirt and black tie. Cautiously he asked, "What?"
"Nothing. Is that a new suit?"
"Yeah, I didn't think my old one would be appropriate. Is it... okay?"
Peter nodded. "More than." He finally tore his eyes away. Looking up, he gasped, "You cut your hair!"
Gabriel shrugged, running a hand through his shorter, spikier hair. "Time for a change."
The changes hadn't stopped there. His dark brown eyes were no longer hidden behind glasses and he stood taller, his shoulders back, wider. Peter wasn't quite sure what to make of the sudden change, but the butterflies in his stomach indicated that he liked it.
* * *
Thunder clouds rolled over the city, blackening the sky. But you wouldn't know it from the bright lights and cheerful people inside. A sign covering the far wall read, 'VOTE PETRELLI', just in case anyone didn't know why they were there. The room was crowded and conversations overlapped one another. Peter took a sip of his drink. He was surprised to see Simone. Smiling, he walked over to her.
"So I guess sooner rather than later." Past her shoulder, across the room, Peter spotted Gabriel. Angela seemed to have trapped him in her web. As if sensing Peter, Gabriel turned and their eyes met. Peter raised his glass. He smiled, still watching Gabriel. "To destiny. May we recognize it when we see it."
Simone added, "To love. May we stay away from it when it's no good for us."
Peter's eyes darted back to Simone. It took him a second to realize she was referring to Isaac. Somehow though, it still felt like a warning and Peter frowned as they clinked glasses.
"You know earlier today, when you were telling me how you'd changed?"
"I noticed it. There's just something different. It's like a look in your eye. A confidence."
Peter glanced over to where he'd seen Gabriel, but he was no longer there. Peter sensed that he should tell Simone about Gabriel. "There's something I should tell you. Something, uh..." It was too late. Peter felt a kiss pressed against his neck as Gabriel slid up behind him. The gesture surprised Peter in its possessiveness.
"Simone, this is Gabriel. My... boyfriend." The word felt strange in Peter's mouth, but there wasn't a word in the dictionary that could describe a man like Gabriel Gray or what he meant to Peter.
"Oh." Simone looked surprised, maybe even a little startled, and definitely embarrassed, as she bit her lip and tried to hide behind her Champaign glass.
"Excuse me. Everyone, excuse me," Nathan's voice boomed over the speakers.
Simone looked beyond Peter, over at the stage where Nathan was. Peter and Gabriel turned to watch.
"I'd like to apologize about the rain. If you elect me, I promise I'll try and do something about it." The audience laughed. Peter barely smiled. He was used to his brother's lame jokes. Nathan continued with his announcement, "I'd like to welcome you all here, on behalf of my family, my entire campaign staff. I'm sure that you know my brave wife would be here by my side, were she able. The life altering event of my father's death is really what prompted me to run for Congress. My father hid a deep depression, an illness, really... up until the day he died."
A bad feeling grew inside Peter as his brother talked.
"His loving wife, his attentive children, his loyal friends- we all knew about it, and yet he suffered alone."
Gabriel whispered in his ear, "Did you know about this?" Peter shook his head. He had no clue what his brother was doing.
Nathan went on, "As many of you might have read, my brother Peter had an accident. But what I have kept from the press thus far is that Peter barely survived a suicide attempt." He settled his gaze on Peter.
Peter's bad feeling went nuclear as the crowd turned to look and began murmuring. What had Nathan done? Peter felt like he was in a waking nightmare. He couldn't move as Nathan continued to speak.
"My first instinct was to keep his illness hidden. But no one should suffer alone. Because we're all connected somehow."
It was the word connected that snapped Peter out of his shock. He couldn't leave fast enough. He heard his brother's voice still speaking as he left, but Peter wasn't listening anymore. So he missed Gabriel calling after him.
"Everyone in this room. You, me, everyone in this city. And we need to look out for each other."
Gabriel fixed his gaze on Nathan and flung a hand out towards the stage. The lights flickered suddenly and the cameras stopped working. Sparks flew as the lights above cracked and shattered. The crowd exclaimed as the room went dark. Gabriel sneered as they scattered like animals. Forcing a path through them, he made his way towards the doors.
Later they would blame the blackout on the lightening.
Peter waited outside the hotel's garage for Nathan. It was pouring rain. He caught Nathan on his way to his car, surrounded by his entourage.
He was smiling like he hadn't just betrayed his own brother for a few lousy votes. Peter felt angrier than he ever had in his life. They were supposed to be connected. They were supposed to look out for each other. His brother was laughing and something inside of Peter broke. Stepping out, he punched Nathan.
"You son of a bitch!"
The security around Nathan was quick to push Peter up against the garage column. He winced as his face smacked into a sign. The bruises on his chest and ribs throbbed painfully, but Peter was too angry to care.
Nathan rubbed his cheek. "Let him go." Like obedient guard dogs they released Peter. "Easy, Pete, that's our mother you're talking about."
"There was no reporter on my story!"
"Yeah, there would have been, eventually. I had to take control of things before something happened. Do you under-"
Peter punched Nathan again. The smack his knuckles made against Nathan's chin wasn't nearly as satisfying as it should have been.
The security grabbed Peter again, pulling him away from Nathan.
"Ow." Nathan looked at Peter. "You get it, right?"
Peter backed away from him. "Yeah, I get it."
Peter turned his back on Nathan and left without a look back. He stormed out of the garage onto the sidewalk. The rain soaked him to the bone as he headed back to the hotel's entrance. Thunder rumbled. Peter felt like screaming.
A hand squeezed his shoulder and Peter turned. It was Gabriel.
"You're bleeding." Gabriel gently touched his cheek.
Peter swiped the rain from his eyes. "Am I?"
"Did he do that?" Gabriel turned angrily towards the garage.
Peter caught his arm and they stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. Gabriel was still as stone as he looked at Peter. There was anger there, bubbling just under the surface. Peter felt his need to release that anger, to hurt someone. Peter flexed his hand. It would be bruised tomorrow. The rain continued to pour over them. It stung as it washed away the blood from the cut on his cheekbone. Peter could feel his clothes clinging to his skin. Water dripped down Gabriel's face and it struck Peter as beautiful, breathtakingly so. Gabriel's eyes softened as they looked at each other. Their tempers cooled under the persistent rain. Peter leaned forward and kissed Gabriel. Lightening flashed.
* * *
They stumbled into Peter's bedroom, leaving a trail of wet clothes behind. Peter shivered as water dripped from his still soaking hair onto his back. Gabriel embraced him and Peter wrapped his arms around his neck, pressing their chilled bodies close together. He welcomed the warmth of Gabriel's mouth eagerly. Peter didn't struggle as Gabriel lifted him slightly off the ground and moved them to the bed.
He fell back onto the bed and winced. Peter pulled a belt out from under his back and threw it onto the ground. He groaned remembering the mess he'd left after dressing for the party. If he'd known what was going to happen he wouldn't have bothered. Hell, he wouldn't have gone. He would've stayed home with Gabriel doing... this. He moved to shove the rest of the discarded clothing when Gabriel stopped him. Peter looked at him curiously. Gabriel picked up a silk tie from the pile. He had a devilish look in his eye. Peter raised a brow. Gabriel's grin widened.
Peter felt like one of Gabriel's timepieces as the watchmaker gazed down at him thoughtfully. He ran his hands over Peter's arms until they came to his wrists. He grabbed them and lifted them up over Peter's head until they touched the headboard.
Peter was beginning to get an inkling of what Gabriel was about to do. He thought about protesting, but quickly realized he didn't want to stop Gabriel. It surprised and exhilarated him. So Peter stayed still, his heart pounding, his breath heavy, as Gabriel leaned over him to bind his wrists. When it was done, Peter tugged on the tie, experimentally. It didn't give. As Gabriel moved back Peter lifted his head off the pillow and captured his mouth. The kiss was rough and demanding.
Gabriel bit his lip, then nibbled his way down Peter's jaw and neck. His hands stroked up and down Peter's sides and arms. The touch was too light, too teasing. Peter needed more.
Arms restricted, he locked his legs around Gabriel, pulling him closer. Caught by surprise, Gabriel whimpered at the contact. He quickly regained control though and gave Peter a look that sent shivers down his spine. He growled and Peter felt an unseen force pry his legs apart, planting them firmly back onto the bed. It was Peter's turn to whimper. "Not fair," he pouted.
Gabriel only smirked as he slid back to kneel between Peter's spread-eagled legs. Peter tried to pull out of his bonds, but it was useless as Gabriel used his telekinesis to keep him still. Peter's heart raced from a mixture fear and arousal as he realized he really had lost all control to Gabriel. Gabriel... Sylar, replied a voice harshly in his mind, conjuring a picture of his future self. A shiver ran down his spine. Peter waited anxiously for Gabriel to move.
Gabriel was so still, so patient, as he watched Peter. Peter just wanted to scream, ' Kiss me, hurt me, heal me, anything, just touch me!' But his voice wouldn't come.
Peter shivered as a draft washed over his bare skin. Then it happened again, only it was warmer, stronger, like an invisible hand pressing gently against his body. Peter suddenly understood that it was Gabriel doing this, his power. Peter gasped as the pressure moved, caressing him. The weight on him lessened as Gabriel's concentration shifted, and Peter found that he could move again. He arched up into the invisible touch. It moved quickly, across his chest, stomach, sometimes everywhere at once. It was like nothing Peter had ever felt before.
A scream of pleasure was ripped from Peter's chest when the pressure shifted lower. "Oh, god. Oh, Gabriel."
Gabriel stroked himself as he watched Peter writhe. Peter couldn't take it anymore. The room rattled and the bed creaked as the headboard bended unnaturally. Peter's arms broke free as the tie ripped apart and flew across the room. Peter growled as he sat up, grabbed Gabriel, and flipped him onto his back. Gabriel could only stare in wide-eyed shock as Peter devoured him like a ravenous animal. He tilted his head back and screamed Peter's name as he came. Peter soon followed, shaking and gasping.
When the shock wore off Gabriel laughed into Peter's kiss. Peter pulled back scowling.
Gabriel raised a brow, glancing up at the headboard.
When the realization finally caught up with him, Peter grinned too.
* * *
Peter glided his fingertips over Gabriel's bare back. He stirred and lifted his head sleepily. Gabriel smiled up at him and Peter smiled back. Unbidden, Simone's words came back to haunt him. To love. May we stay away from it when it's no good for us.
As if sensing his thoughts, Gabriel frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Peter leaned down and kissed him. The door buzzed. Peter ignored it, but the buzz was insistent. Peter broke away and sighed. "There's coffee in the kitchen." Peter reluctantly got out of bed as the door continued to buzz.
Peter threw on a shirt as he passed through the living room. He peered through the peephole. Nathan. He opened the door.
Nathan looked at Peter. "I want to talk to you about that stunt your boyfriend pulled at the party last night. The little Carrie routine."
Peter stepped out of his apartment and joined Nathan out in the hallway. He closed the door, hoping Gabriel wouldn't overhear. "What are you talking about?"
"That whole hand wave, blowing out the lights trick."
"I don't know how he did it, I don't care."
From behind the door Peter heard Gabriel call out, "Hey, you like sugar in your coffee, right? Where do you keep it?"
Nathan pushed the door open. Gabriel was in his boxers and a borrowed shirt, peering into the cabinets.
"Hey, it's, uh... It's next to the cabinet with the water stain that looks like Abraham Lincoln.
"Oh yeah, it really does look like Lincoln."
If looks could kill, Gabriel was in grave danger. Peter closed the door.
Nathan took an envelope out of his jacket pocket. "Look... here's some money, all right? Take it. I need you and your boyfriend to disappear for a while, okay? You're becoming a liability."
Peter looked at the envelope, disgustedly. Ignoring it, he went back inside and closed the door on Nathan. He heard Nathan's footsteps retreat down the hall.
Gabriel handed him a mug. "Was that your brother?"
Peter nodded and took a sip of his coffee. "What exactly did you do last night after I left?"
Gabriel looked at him innocently. "Nothing. Looked for you. Why?"
Peter narrowed his eyes over the top of his mug as he took another sip.
"So what did Nathan want?"
"He's afraid I'm going to mess up his chances of getting elected."
"After what he did? The way he used you?" Gabriel's eyes flashed red. "Maybe I should have a... talk with him."
"No. No, just leave him to his election. He can have it." Peter placed his hand on Gabriel's cheek. "I have you." Peter leaned up and kissed him. "Hungry?"
Gabriel smiled wolfishly. "Very." He moved in for another kiss.
Peter ducked playfully. "Not what I meant." Gabriel followed him into the kitchen, nibbling on his neck. Peter opened his fridge and picked up a carton of eggs. He checked the expiration date and made a face. "Wanna go out?"
* * *
After devouring his scrambled eggs, Peter stretched his legs out under the small table, bumping them into Gabriel's. Quietly, he watched Gabriel check his phone messages.
"No, maybe, I don't know." Gabriel pursed his lips. "Have you heard anything from Dr. Suresh lately?" Peter shook his head. "He wasn't home the last time I dropped by. I left a couple messages on his answering machine, but he hasn't called me back."
"Maybe he's out of town?"
"He would have said something, wouldn't he?"
Peter shrugged. "We can stop by today, if you want. I've been meaning to talk to him about Isaac."
"Yeah, Simone's boyfriend... the artist. He can paint the future."
Gabriel sat up with attention. "Really?"
Peter nodded. "He's not... He doesn't really understand his ability. I think Dr. Suresh could help him."
* * *
Peter knocked on Suresh's door. "Dr. Suresh? It's Peter Petrelli. Are you home?" There was no answer. Peter was also beginning to worry. "Maybe we should try the super, see if he can let us in?"
Gabriel stepped up to the door. He lifted his hand just above the door handle. Peter heard a click and the door opened.
"I really have to learn how to do that."
Gabriel smirked. The door creaked as it opened slowly. Cautiously they stepped inside.
"Dr. Suresh? Chandra?"
"Gabriel." Peter grabbed Gabriel's arm. The room was trashed, like someone had broken in and ransacked it. His map, equipment, and files, anything that had been of importance to his research, were gone.
Peter reached for his cell phone. "We should call the police."
Gabriel was moving again, searching the other rooms in the apartment. He came back shaking his head. "All of his clothes, personal things, are still here. They only took his research."
"Hi, yes, my name is Peter Petrelli. I want to report a break in and a possible missing person." Peter gave them the address and flipped his phone shut. "They're going to send someone over."
"We should call Mohinder."
Peter's eyes shot over to the glass tank by the wall. "His lizard?"
"No, Mohinder is his son."
"Dr. Suresh has a son?"
"Yeah, in India. He's a geneticist too. Chandra's mentioned him before. Many times."
"I thought he was talking about his lizard!" Peter had just thought he was a bit eccentric. Gabriel stared. "So how do we get in touch with him?"
Gabriel searched through Suresh's desk drawers. He came up empty handed. "They must have taken his address book as well."
"Do you know where he keeps his bills?"
"His... Oh, you mean like a phone bill?"
Peter shrugged, "It's worth a try."
Gabriel rushed into the kitchen and came back with a stack of letters. He flipped through them quickly. "Here we go." He ripped the letter open and scanned over the bill. "Does this look like an area code for India?"
Peter flipped his cell open again and dialed the number.
It rang twice, before a voice on the other line answered, "Hello?"
"Is this Mohinder Suresh? My name is Peter Petrelli. I'm calling about your father."
* * *
"Peter Petrelli?" A handsome young man, with black curls and deep brown eyes, waited nervously outside Peter's apartment door.
"No, I'm Gabriel."
Peter joined him at the door. "Mohinder?"
Peter nodded and Mohinder smiled in relief. "I was afraid I might have gotten the wrong address."
"Please, come in."
Mohinder came inside. He hefted the strap of his bag over his shoulder and set it against the wall near the door. "I've been to my father's apartment already. It was unsettling. And the police have no leads?"
Peter shook his head. "Would you like to sit down? Can I get you anything?"
Mohinder shook his head. "Forgive my manners. It's been a very long trip." He shook hands with Peter. "Thank you for calling me. I am glad to know that my father has friends here looking out for him." Peter smiled. Mohinder took Gabriel's hand next.
"I'm Gabriel Gray. Your father has spoken so often of you, I feel as if I already know you."
Mohinder looked dumbstruck. "Did he?"
Their handshake lingered a little too long. Peter coughed quietly and asked, "Are you sure I can't get you anything?"
"No, thank you."
There was a moment of silence.
"You're probably tired from the long flight. Do you have a place to stay," asked Gabriel.
"You're welcome to stay here," added Peter. "The couch pulls out, it's not much, but..."
"I have already arranged to stay in my father's apartment."
"Is that safe?"
Mohinder shrugged. "I think that whoever broke in got what they came for. I don't see any reason why they would come back." Mohinder sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I think I will take something to drink after all. Something caffeinated, preferably."
Peter left them for the kitchen. He already had coffee brewing. He poured three mugs and carried them carefully back out. Mohinder was seated on the couch. Gabriel was showing him his spinning pen trick. Peter came round the couch and set down the mugs.
Mohinder's eyes were wide as saucers. "Amazing." He turned his gaze to Peter. "And you can do this too?"
Gabriel smiled proudly. "Peter can do one better. He can fly."
Peter tucked his hair behind his ear. "Yeah, but I haven't been able to do it again since... that night."
"You just need more practice," said Gabriel.
"How many times have you flown?"
"Three, although the last two times I'd say I hovered more than flew."
"Three times?" Mohinder nearly choked on his coffee. "I'd like to see that very much."
"I'd love to show you, but I haven't learned to control my abilities just yet."
"Another time, perhaps," said Mohinder wistfully. Gabriel, however, did not look pleased by this idea. Mohinder stared into his mug thoughtfully. "My father was right. So many people doubted his theories, including myself at times, and here you both are. Vindication. And now my father is missing and I..." Mohinder swallowed hard, his voice having left him. Peter stepped forward, but it was Gabriel who got there first, sitting next to Mohinder, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"We'll find him."
Mohinder smiled sadly at Gabriel. "Thank you."
"Did your father have any enemies? Someone who might have wanted to stop his research?"
"None that I am aware of, but the last time I talked to him he confided in me that he thought he was being watched. And then..." Mohinder tapped his fingers against the mug.
"After your call, when I went to retrieve my father's research from his apartment in Madras, there was someone already there."
"I didn't see his face, but I heard him talking to someone over the phone. He said... 'Let's get a team in here to bag and tag everything.' He was American. I grabbed what I could and got out of there quickly."
Peter and Gabriel exchanged puzzled glances. Gabriel was the first to speak, "'Let's get a team in here to bag and tag everything.' Those were his exact words?"
Mohinder nodded. "Exactly." He shivered slightly at the memory.
Gabriel looked thoughtful. "Do you think- Did he sound like he could be a government agent?"
Peter walked over and leaned against the armrest next to the watchmaker. "What are you thinking?"
"A government conspiracy? Maybe they know about us, people with abilities, and want to keep it covered up."
Mohinder looked horrified by the prospect. "But why?" Gabriel shrugged. "You don't think they could have-"
"We don't know anything for certain yet," interjected Peter. "I was thinking we should go see Isaac. He's painted the future before, maybe he can help."
"You know someone who can paint the future?"
Peter nodded. "It's a little bit complicated though."
"How so," asked Mohinder.
"He's sort of a cocaine addict."
"And yet you think he can help us find my father," Mohinder was skeptical. Peter couldn't blame him.
"He painted me flying, before we had ever met." Mohinder didn't seem convinced. Peter said, "It's worth trying isn't it?"
"Absolutely," said Gabriel, standing. He glanced down at Mohinder. "You don't have anything to lose by just checking him out, right?"
Mohinder shook his head. "I guess not." He set his mug down and stood. "Let us meet this Isaac then."
* * *
It had been a dark cloudy day and was an even darker cloudy night. The rain had just started to fall as they arrived at Isaac's studio. Peter knocked on the door.
"Hello?" The door was open and he stepped inside. "Isaac?"
Isaac was near the window, a blanket wrapped around him. Peter walked over to him. Gabriel and Mohinder stayed back.
Isaac looked pale, sickly. "You doing okay?"
"Go away, man."
"Isaac, we need your help."
"I can't help anyone. I can't even help myself."
"You painted me. A picture of me flying. Okay, it happened. It was real. I flew."
"I'm telling you that I believe you. That you can paint the future." Isaac held up a finger as he turned around and headed back to the painting table. Peter had to find a way to convince Isaac that he could help. That he had to help. "Listen, whatever is happening to you, it's happening to me too."
"And me," Gabriel stepped forward.
Isaac jerked as if just noticing the others. He glared at Mohinder. "What about you? You have some magical power?"
"I'm just a geneticist."
"Too bad. One more and we could have formed a league." Isaac busied himself with cleaning up his supplies.
"My father, Dr. Chandra Suresh was abducted."
"I'm sorry, man, but what does that have to do with me?"
Peter said, "We were hoping you could paint something that could help us find him."
"It doesn't work that way," said Isaac, "I don't choose what I paint. It just happens." He gestured towards his paintings with a shaky hand. He quickly returned to fiddling with his supplies, unable to keep still. Peter turned to look at the paintings. There was one of the solar eclipse, another of two Japanese men, and, of course, the one of Peter flying. Peter wandered over to look through the rest.
Gabriel had not seen the painting of Peter flying before. His pulse quickened as he touched the painting. It felt cool to the touch as his fingers glided across the textures and contours of canvas and paint. He closed his eyes and imagined what it would be like to fly. The sensation of wind whipping past your face, that wonderful queasy feeling you get on a roller coaster ride when it dips down suddenly. But imagining wasn't the same as doing. He opened his eyes, glancing over at his lover. Peter knew, really knew what it was like to fly. Gabriel wished he could see into that beautiful mind of his. His ability was amazing. Peter was amazing. And he was Gabriel's.
Peter was kneeling in front of a painting and glanced up at Gabriel. He smiled and tucked his hair back behind his ear, which just made Gabriel want to tug it loose again. Peter turned back to the paintings. Gabriel paid little attention to them. They were of people and places he did not recognize. They were unimportant. He turned around and saw the mural on the floor. Curious, Gabriel drifted away from Peter to get a better view. It was of a nuclear explosion devast ating New York. His eyes were then drawn to that of a burning man. An exploding man. The center of it all. But who was he?
Peter noticed what had caught Gabriel's eye and slid up next to him. He folded his arms as he studied the painting. 'Stop Sylar, save the world.' Could the explosion have something to do with his message from the future? Would he really have to save the world? And what did that have to do with Gabriel? Peter looked at the painting of the exploding man. Then he looked at Gabriel. No. No it had to be something else. Gabriel wouldn't... couldn't... It wasn't possible.
"My god," gasped Mohinder. "Is that New York?"
Eyes still transfixed by the explosion, Gabriel asked, "Do you know how this happens? When?"
"I don't know," replied Isaac.
"But you painted these."
"I was high, dog."
Gabriel stepped closer. "You must know something?"
Isaac snapped, "I was high!" He coughed as he got up from the table. "I could have been clean. I tore myself apart to try and find an answer. How to stop it. All I got was this garbage." He scoffed, "Some cheerleader."
Peter followed his gaze to the painting on Isaac's easel. It was of a girl, a cheerleader. There was someone standing near her, but the painting was incomplete.
"It's nothing. I've ruined my life for nothing."
"It's not nothing," said Peter, "Look, don't you get it? Everything is connected. We are all connected. If this thing that you painted, this bomb, is true, we're all dead. These are the key to saving us. If this girl has something to do with it, we need to know what. You have to finish this. You- you have to finish the painting."
"Even if I wanted to, I can't. I'm out of drugs. I'm out of money to buy drugs."
"Can't you just finish it without shooting up?"
"If you got some cash on you, man. That's another story. We can call it a commission."
Peter sighed. There was something important about the person next to the cheerleader. He was certain of it. As he stared the blank canvas morphed into an image. Peter felt his heart race. Is this- Is this what Isaac sees when he paints? This is his power. I absorbed his power. Just like with Gabriel and Nathan. "I saw it."
I can do this. I think I can do this. Peter walked over to the supply table. " I saw something in the, uh, in the canvas. A picture. This painting... I can finish it."
"You can paint?"
Peter had a feeling he was about to get messy, so he took his shirt off, leaving the dark t-shirt underneath on. He picked up a can of paint and a brush. "No. No, I can't. But... I drew the future after I saw you the other day. It was only stick figures, but... It came true."
Isaac, Gabriel, and Mohinder gathered around Peter and watched as he studied the painting, seeing what they could not. He closed his eyes and concentrated. When Peter opened his eyes the world exploded around him in a kaleidoscope of vivid colors. They spun and bled together until Peter was no longer in Isaac's studio. He was in the painting, watching the scene unfold around him. He lifted his brush and began to paint.
The next thing Peter was aware of was an ache in his arm. He blinked as the real world shifted back into focus. He stumbled back, dropping his brush, and strong arms wrapped around him, steadying him. He turned his head looking up into Gabriel's wide brown eyes. "Did I do it?" His voice felt hoarse. How long had he been painting?
"Look for yourself."
Peter turned back to the canvas. Fresh wet paint dripped off the edge of the painting onto the floor. Peter stepped forward to study the painting closer, Gabriel right behind him.
"How'd you do that," Isaac asked in disbelief.
"Peter collects abilities," replied Gabriel, "Like me."
Isaac asks, "Who is she?"
"More importantly," said Peter, "Who is he?" He pointed to the man wearing horn-rimmed glasses.
The phone rang and Peter turned to glance at it.
Ignore it," said Isaac, "It's a wrong number. Some Japanese guy keeps calling, leaving messages."
Peter shrugged, ignoring the ring, and turned back to the painting.
"That's him," said Mohinder suddenly.
"The man in my father's office."
"But you didn't see his face, right? Only heard him? How could you know what he looks like," asked Gabriel.
Mohinder pointed. "His glasses, they were on my father's desk. I remember picking them up. It's him. It has to be. Why else would you paint this?"
"So what? He goes around abducting genetics professors and high school cheerleaders?"
"She doesn't exactly look frightened," said Peter, "I think she knows him." There was a homecoming banner hanging on the building behind them. Peter squinted as he stepped closer. "What does that say? Union Wells High?" He took out his cell and snapped a photo. "If we find that school, we find him."
"But we still don't know who he is," said Mohinder, "Or who he works for."
* * *
Peter folded his arms on top of the backrest of his couch as he leaned forward, looking over Mohinder's shoulder. The geneticist tapped at the keys on his laptop. "Find anything?"
Mohinder nodded. "Union Wells High School, Odessa, Texas. Homecoming is the day after tomorrow."
Peter smiled and clapped Mohinder on the shoulder. "Good work. We better book the next flight to Texas."
Peter held up a photo of the painting, comparing it to the building. They stood outside the Union Wells High School Physical Education Center. "Well, this is it." There was shouting and music in the distance. Cars rumbled into the parking lot as students arrived for the big homecoming game.
"I don't see them," said Mohinder, "Do you think we might be late?"
I don't know. I'm gonna take a look inside. Can you keep an eye out here?"
Gabriel nodded and Peter went inside. As the doors clanked shut an echo reverberated across the school yard, quickly drowned out by the noise from the nearby game. Gabriel stood back in the shadows and scanned the area around them. He spotted two figures heading towards them. He glanced nervously back at the doors where Peter had gone. No time. He placed a hand on Mohinder's shoulder and led him away, deeper into the shadows. "Walk with me," he whispered. Mohinder's shoulders tensed under his touch.
"What is it?"
"Don't react. They're coming this way."
Mohinder craned his neck to look. "Why are we walking away then? We need him to find my father."
If they confronted him now, the girl might scream, bring attention they didn't need. And Gabriel had no idea if the man was armed. Better to wait until Peter was there and the man was alone. "He's with the girl. We'll wait until he's alone. Look they're saying goodbye now."
The girl hugged the older man, her father, Gabriel guessed.
"Good luck, Claire-bear."
"Dad," the girl blushed at the nickname.
"I know, my little girl is all grown up and about to be crowned Homecoming Queen. We couldn't be prouder. Your mom and I will be cheering you on from the bleachers."
"Thanks, Dad. I better get inside before Jackie gets any ideas about that crown."
"After that black-eye you gave her, she wouldn't dare," he replied, a tiny smile tugging the corners of his mouth.
Claire grinned, shaking her head. She ran off towards the doors. She turned slightly just before entering and gave a small wave over her shoulder. The man adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses and waited until she was out of sight, then headed to the field.
Gabriel turned to Mohinder. "Get Peter, I'll follow. Hurry."
Mohinder nodded and ran off towards the doors. Gabriel followed the man, staying several yards behind and sticking to the shadows as much as he could. When they reached the throng of cheering students, bright lights flooded the field and bleachers. Gabriel had no choice but to walk out in the open. He snatched a small flag from a passerby and did his best to blend. The man stopped to scan the bleachers, looking for someone.
A hand tugged on the sleeve of his black coat and Gabriel turned to find Peter flushed and breathless. Mohinder was right behind him. "We ran as fast as we could. Is he...?"
"Over there," Gabriel gestured.
Peter straightened and narrowed his eyes. Peter looked ready to attack. So did Mohinder. "There's too many people around. How are we going to get him alone?"
Gabriel smirked. "Leave that to me." He stalked forward, pushing his way through the students. The man was waving at someone in the bleachers, when the crowd suddenly stood erupting in cheers, whistles, and applause. He turned to face the field and smiled proudly. Gabriel nonchalantly stepped beside him, pretending to watch the cheerleaders as they bounded out onto the field. He leaned closer to the man so he could be heard, "We need to talk." Gabriel reached out with his telekinesis, holding him in place.
The man struggled against his invisible bonds. Through gritted teeth he asked, "Do I know you?"
"No, but I believe we have a mutual acquaintance. Dr. Chandra Suresh." Gabriel saw a flash of recognition in the man's eyes and knew that they had the right guy. "Let's take this someplace more... private."
"I'm not going anywhere with you."
Gabriel tightened his grip, just quickly enough to wind the man, to let him know he was in no position to barter. "That's your daughter on the field isn't it? Cute girl, shame if something were to happen to her."
Gabriel felt Peter grab his shoulder. "Gabe," he hissed in his ear. A plead. A warning.
"Don't- I'll go," the man said. Gabriel gave him a push with his telekinesis and led him to a secluded spot behind the bleachers.
As soon as they were out of sight, Mohinder rushed the man, ramming him into the metal support bars beneath the bleachers. "What have you done with my father? Where's Chandra Suresh?"
In a placating gesture, the man held up his hands. "I don't know any Dr. Suresh. You've got the wrong guy. I'm just a paper salesman."
"Wrong answer," said Gabriel. He tightened an invisible grip around the man's throat.
Peter grabbed his arm, throwing off his concentration. His eyes were all fire and fury. "He can't talk if you're choking him!"
The man coughed, rubbing his throat. "Maybe you should listen to the kid."
Just the tiniest flicker of fear passed his eyes as Gabriel pushed Mohinder aside and stepped closer. He reached into the man's jacket searching his pockets. He pulled out a wallet, stepped back, and opened it. "Noah Bennet." Gabriel cocked his head bemusedly. "Wouldn't have figured you for a Noah." He flipped the wallet shut and tossed it to Mohinder. "So, Noah, we're going to try this again. Is Dr. Suresh still alive?"
Bennet remained silent. Mohinder watched intently, every fear and emotion clearly written on his face. Gabriel glanced at Peter, a question. Peter crossed his arms, his thoughts closely guarded. A heavy sigh and his eyes closed as he turned his back. Permission.
Bennet's toes scraped along the dirt as he was lifted. He clutched his throat and struggled to breathe. Finally the answer they'd been hoping for, "Yes."
Mohinder's cry of relief was audible. Gabriel set Bennet back down, but held him in place just enough to keep him from running. Peter suddenly grabbed the collar of Bennet's jacket, startling all three of them. His face was cold, unreadable... dangerous. A chill ran down Gabriel's spine and something deep inside of him growled hungrily.
"Where is he," demanded Peter.
"He's safe. Dr. Suresh has been doing some... research for us."
"That wasn't my question."
Gabriel gave him a little encouraging nudge.
"He's close," Bennet gasped.
"Take us to him."
Bennet nodded, giving in.
They escorted Bennet back to their rental car. Mohinder drove while Peter sat in the passenger seat nervously watching Gabriel and Bennet through the rearview mirror. They pulled into the parking lot of Primatech. Peter looked at the building skeptically.
It was after hours, the building was locked up for the night. Bennet got them inside and past the lone security guard. If the company was only a facade, it was a very good one. From the outside in it looked like any ordinary office building. Peter expected a shady organization to be more... shady. Bennet delivered when he used his pass key to reveal their secret offices.
"What is this place?"
Bennet answered Peter with a sideways glance. A door opened ahead of them and a man stepped out. He stood unmoving, blocking their path, his dark gaze sharp and penetrating. Defensively, Gabriel directed a burst of telekinetic energy at the man, but he remained unaffected. Gabriel tried again, concentrating harder, but still nothing. Bennet stepped away from them, joining the Haitian man's side. He smirked. "Your powers won't work here."
Peter whipped around, but an armed guard had arrived blocking their retreat.
"Take care of them." Peter heard Bennet's voice order. He was keenly aware of the footsteps approaching behind them and the gun trained on Gabriel. They were trapped. Peter stepped protectively in front of Gabriel. He didn't see the dark hands clutch Gabriel's head, until it was too late. Peter caught him as he fell. From the floor, he glared up at the Haitian and Bennet. Peter had no time to react before the Haitian placed a hand on his face too. Peter felt a strange sort static in his mind. The Haitian's eyes widened before he yanked his hand away. Silently he exchanged a confused glance with Bennet. Bennet shrugged and nodded to someone behind them. Peter yelped as something painfully pricked his neck. He only caught a brief glance of a petite woman with a pixie haircut holding a tranquilizer gun, before the world went blurry and he slumped onto the hard floor with Gabriel.
* * *
Gabriel was the first to claw his way back to consciousness. Cold concrete pressed against his back. A draft tickled his bare feet. He opened his eyes and squinted against the lights shining overhead. He turned his head and found Peter asleep nearby. He rolled over and crawled toward Peter. He was still breathing, still alive. He looked unharmed, apart from being unconscious. He gently caressed Peter's cheek and whispered his name. When he didn't stir, Gabriel tried a slightly firmer slap.
A light came on from the large window separating their cell from the room beyond. Gabriel looked up to find Bennet watching over them. "You might as well save your energy, you're friend won't be waking up for a few hours. I'm afraid we had to tranq him."
Gabriel sneered and tried lashing out with his powers, but found they were still incapacitated. Instead, he growled, "When I get out of here-"
"You'll what? Fix my watch? I've read your file, Gabriel. Gabriel Gray the Watchmaker."
Gabriel stood up and approached the window slowly. "I restore timepieces. Do you know why I'm so good at it?
"No, why don't you tell me."
"Because I can see how things work. What makes things... tick. Like you."
"We're interested in how things work as well. Everyone else we've... met has had only one ability. The two of you have the ability to take on several."
Gabriel wondered which Suresh had betrayed them. "I guess that's what makes us special."
"Hmm," replied Bennet, "We'll soon see." The door to their cell opened and a man in a white lab coat raised a tranquilizer gun and fired. Gabriel pulled the needle out and let it drop to the floor. The room spun as he fought to stay conscious. He stumbled towards the man, but a second shot did him in. He fell hard onto his knees and the world went black.
* * *
Peter woke, alone, in the dark. He sat up, rubbing his sore neck. A ray of light trickled in through a small grate. Peter blinked as his eyes adjusted to the dim light. Drab concrete walls surrounded him on all sides. He was in cell of some kind, bare except for a single bed and sink. He reached up to the bed and pulled himself up. The concrete was cold against his feet and Peter noticed that his clothes had been changed. The floor swayed as if he was at sea and Peter gripped the edge of the bed for support. He jumped as the lights suddenly clicked on and a door banged open. Two men gripped Gabriel by the arms. He was dressed in white like Peter. His feet dragged limply across the floor as the two men carried him inside. They were followed by Bennet, who kept a tranquilizer gun aimed at Peter. Peter scrambled back as they deposited the watchmaker onto the bed. Bennet stayed as the men walked out. Peter rushed to Gabriel's side. His eyes were blood shot and dilated, staring out unseeing. They'd shaved his head. Peter cradled his face with shaky hands. He glared at Bennet. "What did you do to him?"
"Oh, you'll find out soon enough." Bennet smiled as he backed out. The door closed, locking them in, and Peter turned back to Gabriel.
He ran a hand through Gabriel's freshly cropped hair and stared into eyes that should never be so vacant. "I'm so sorry, Gabriel." If he hadn't taken them to see Isaac... or if he'd at least taken more time to plan... or called the police, instead of rushing in trying to save the day like some kind of hero... Peter closed his eyes, fighting back the tears and guilt. He had to stay strong, for Gabriel and Mohinder. He wondered where the geneticist was, if he was being held in a cell nearby, if he was even alive. He pushed that thought away. They were going to get out alive, all of them.
Peter walked around the bed and slipped behind Gabriel. He wrapped an arm across his chest and pulled him close. He lay there, face pressed against his lover's neck, and waited.
An hour... maybe more, maybe less, Peter couldn't be certain... had passed before he felt Gabriel stir in his arms. Peter scooted back, letting Gabriel shift onto his back so he could see his face. Gabriel blinked at him groggily. "Peter?" His voice was hoarse.
Peter nodded. "I'm here." He placed a hand over Gabriel's heart and smiled as comfortingly as he could. Gabriel lifted his arm weakly and brushed his fingers across Peter's cheek.
"Don't..." Gabriel shook his head. "Don't let them-"
Peter's heart ached as Gabriel tried to choke out his plea. Peter shook his head determinedly. "I won't let them take you again. I promise."
"No." Gabriel tugged on a strand of hair that hand fallen over Peter's face. "Don't let them cut your hair."
Peter stared at him in disbelief. He was torn between laughing and crying. He settled on kissing him. "Are you okay?"
Gabriel nodded. "Can't feel a thing, like I'm floating on air."
"They really pumped you full of drugs didn't they? Can you sit up?" Gabriel looked thoughtful for a moment, then shook his head. Peter settled back down onto the bed. He whispered, "We need a plan."
* * *
"Well, isn't that touching?" Bennet adjusted his glasses and a sliver of light reflected off the lenses. Eden said nothing. The observatory was darkened, so they could not be seen. The two prisoners held each other close, exchanging hushed words. Eden averted her gaze. It seemed accessively cruel to her, what they were doing. She wasn't sure how much more of this life she could take. This life that wasn't hers. This life that she'd been forced into. She smirked, thinking it ironic. A new life was what she had always dreamed of and that's exactly what they had given her... a chance to start again, to re-write the past, to do better. It might not have been so bad, if it weren't for all the kidnapping and forced human experimentation. Erasing their memories of the whole thing, that was probably the worst part of it. Control was very important to her and the thought that she could be so easily manipulated, that the same could be done to her, made Eden shudder. It was also what kept her in line.
Bennet sighed and turned away. "Why don't you see how our new guest is settling in?"
Eden nodded and gladly left the room. Her shoes clicked noisily across the linoleum floor as she made her way down the hall to the office Mohinder was being held in. It was locked, of course, and she used her pass key to get in.
Mohinder was peering over his father's shoulder at something on the computer in front of them. When Mohinder glanced up at the door, for a second, he almost looked happy to see Eden. It was fleeting though and his expression quickly changed to a scowl.
"Eden," he greeted curtly.
"Hi, Mohinder," Eden replied softly. She smiled at Chandra. "Papa Suresh."
Chandra sat back, pinching the bridge of his nose, tiredly. "If Mr. Bennet has sent you here for my research, I don't have anything new for him yet."
"I'm just here to see how Mohinder is settling in, if you need anything?"
"Oh, how very kind of you," Mohinder replied sarcastically.
Eden folded her arms. "It wasn't my choice to hold you here."
"Then let us go," said Mohinder.
Eden bit her lip. What if she did? What if she just let them go? What if she went with them? She could start over... again. The idea was a bit thrilling.
Mohinder was taken aback. "What?"
"I'll get you out of here."
Mohinder stepped closer, studying her skeptically. "And why would you do that?"
"I have my reasons. There is a condition."
Mohinder narrowed his eyes. "And that would be?"
Eden smiled. "You take me with you."
* * *
Peter helped Gabriel up into a sitting position. Gabriel clutched his head. "How are you feeling?"
Gabriel gave him a look. "Like I've been pumped full of tranquilizers and tested on."
"What did they do to you?"
Gabriel shook his head, then instantly regretted it. "It's kind of fuzzy. They had me on a table, like they use in surgery, it was cold. There was a bright light overhead and they had me hooked to a machine."
Peter spotted a bruise on gabriel's arm. He carefully lifted the arm to get a better look. He brushed his fingers gently around the small bruise. "Looks like they took blood." Peter kissed the arm before giving it back to Gabriel. "What do they want from us?"
"He said... they want to know how we work, how our abilities work."
"That explains why they took Suresh." Peter hopped off the bed and walked over to the sink.
"You think he's still alive."
"They're keeping us alive, that's got to be a good sign." He turned the water on and splashed it onto his face. He slicked back his hair and turned to face Gabriel. He leaned back against the hard porcelain.
Gabriel looked around the cell. "So... what do we do now?"
Peter replied grimly, "We wait."
"Right. But until then…"
"There's not a whole lot in here."
"There's a bed."
Peter walked back towards Gabriel shaking his head. "You can't even stand up straight."
"Who said anything about standing?" Gabriel got a thoughtful look. "Although, that might be something to explore another time..."
Peter's legs bumped into the bed, as he stepped between Gabriel's parted knees. He placed his hands on the watchmaker's hips. "They're probably watching us."
"Then let's give them something to watch." Gabriel pulled him in for a kiss.
Peter let himself get lost in the kiss for awhile. It was nice, comforting. He could close his eyes and pretend they were home, just them, no one else, and that everything was okay. It felt so good, he didn't want to stop.
But he had to. He pulled back. "We can't."
Gabriel sighed. "I know."
Peter rested his forehead against Gabriel's and closed his eyes. Gabriel's hand grasped his neck.
"We're going to get out of this. I promise."
Peter believed him.
* * *
Eden knocked on the door. There was no answer, but that was to be expected. It was unlocked, so she let herself in. The Haitian was sitting in the middle of the room on the floor. His eyes were shut and his arms lay limply in his lap. He looked asleep, but Eden knew better. She stepped closer and he opened his eyes. He raised a questioning brow. Eden held up the blue mug in her hand. "Thought you could use some coffee to help keep you awake?" They used the Haitian to block the prisoners' from using their powers. But he had to be conscious for it to work. The Haitian stretched as he stood and took the mug from her gratefully. Eden smiled as he took a sip. "Just the way you like it."
It happened quickly. The Haitian stumbled back. The mug fell from his hands and shattered on the floor. He gripped the side of a desk as his knees buckled. He stared at Eden accusingly, before dropping into unconsciousness.
Eden prodded his side gently with the toe of her shoe. He didn't stir. "Sorry, but it was the only way." She turned to leave, but paused to glance over her shoulder. "It's been fun." She closed the door and headed to the cell. "Not."
* * *
They had formulated a plan. It was a rather flimsy plan, as far as plans go, but it was the only one they had. The drugs had worn off enough that Gabriel could stand without falling over. They waited near the door and the next time it opened Peter was ready. He rushed at the person entering, slamming them against the concrete wall. The young woman gasped as she hit the wall. Peter looked at the girl in surprise, but didn't loosen his grip. She tried to raise her gun, but it was ripped from her hand and flew through the air.
Gabriel studied the gun. "Interesting. Guess I can use my powers now." He flashed a predatory smile. He looked no less threatening as he staggered closer. Gabriel narrowed his eyes. "Say, I know you, don't I?"
"Eden," she spat, "I was Suresh's neighbor."
"That's right. So you were spying on him."
Peter glanced at the empty hallway. "You're alone?"
"What does it look like?"
Gabriel aimed the gun at her. Peter released her, knowing she couldn't run.
"You're not going to use that. You're going to hand it over to me." Eden actually looked surprised when Gabriel didn't comply.
"No, you're going to help us escape."
Eden rolled her eyes. "Idiots. That's what I'm trying to do."
Peter and Gabriel exchanged glances.
"I like Papa Suresh and Mohinder. I don't like seeing them held against their will. You two... I don't care about so much, but Mohinder won't leave without you." Reluctantly she added, "And we might need your powers."
"Good to be needed, I guess."
Eden tugged on Peter's arm. "Are we escaping or not?" They followed her out into the hall. It was empty, but Eden's nervous glances told him it wouldn't stay that way for long. She led them to another door and used a pass key to open it. Mohinder and Chandra were waiting inside, arms filled with folders and loose papers, Suresh's missing research.
Chandra smiled, "Gabriel. It is very good to see you. Both of you."
"You can catch up over tea later, guys, right now we gotta go."
They were almost to the door that led out of the secret offices when the alarm sounded.
"Crap," Eden exclaimed. She tried her pass key, but the building had gone into lockdown. Gabriel pushed her aside. Sparks flew from the security panel as the door was blown off its hinges.
Footsteps sounded behind them as a guard barreled down on them, gun drawn. He fired. Gabriel waved his hand and the man was thrown against the wall.
Gabriel turned. Peter was looking down at his stomach. A bright red stain was spreading across his white shirt. Peter touched the blood, then looked up at Gabriel with wide watery eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but choked on the words. He fell to his knees.
Gabriel ran to him. He gripped Peter's arms, keeping him upright.
"I'm sorry." The words were barely audible. Sorry for what? Making me care about you, love you, and then leaving me? Alone. Again.
No, no, no, no! Gabriel had made a promise. This couldn't happen. If he'd been faster, he could have stopped the bullets. Why hadn't he stopped the bullets? There was so much blood. Gabriel concentrated on the wound, using his telekinesis to stop the blood flow. Peter gasped and passed out.
Eden ran a hand through her hair. "Shit. We have to go, I'm sorry, but we have to go. Now."
"We're not leaving him," Gabriel snarled.
Mohinder leaned down next to them. "We're not." Gabriel nodded, took a deep breath, and lifted Peter up into his arms. Mohinder held his arm, bracing him as they stood.
Eden led them through the building and out a back way where a car waited for them. Mohinder helped Gabriel get Peter into the car. Chandra sat up front with Eden. The tires squealed as Eden peeled away from Primatech.
"We need to get him to a hospital," exclaimed Mohinder. Peter was slumped in the seat, his head lolling to one side. He was deathly pale. Gabriel ripped his shirt open. Blood was still spilling out despite his efforts to keep the wound close.
"What are you doing," gasped Mohinder.
Gabriel held his hand just above the wound. "I have to get the bullet out, it's in the way." If he could get the bullet out, maybe, if was careful, if he concentrated hard enough, he could put things back the way they were suppose be. Long enough, at least, to keep Peter from bleeding to death until they could get him help.
"What? No, you can't-"
"There's no time." Gabriel focused on the bullet, willing it to his hand. Peter's eyes shot open and he screamed. The bullet came free. Gabriel caught it in his hand. Peter panted, his eyes darting wildly around the car.
Gabriel looked down to inspect the wound. He blinked. The flesh was knitting itself back together. Within seconds it was completely healed. Gabriel ran his fingers over the smooth skin. He looked up at Peter, who looked just as shocked as Gabriel.
"How did you-?"
"I don't know."
Gabriel shook his head. "Well, whoever you picked up that power from? Remind me to send them a thank you note."
"Yeah, me too." Peter coughed.
Gabriel pocketed the bullet, then slipped his hand behind Peter to rub his back as he coughed. Peter wiped his mouth and smiled gratefully up at him. Gabriel leaned over, brushing back Peter's hair and kissed him gently. He didn't think Peter would ever stop amazing him. He prayed so.
Stunned, Mohinder said, "I guess we won't need that hospital after all."
They did however stop long enough to get Peter and Gabriel something less conspicuous and bloodstained, after which Eden drove them to the airport, at about 90 miles per hour. With Eden behind the wheel, Gabriel wasn't sure their lives were in any less danger. They left the car in the loading zone and rushed inside. Peter was still a bit wobbly, so Gabriel kept an arm around his waist. He watched enviously as Eden used her powers of persuasion to get them onto the next flight out.
Peter glanced at Mohinder and his father. He smiled. "We did it."
Gabriel smiled back. "We did."
Peter sighed, leaning into Gabriel. "Let's go home."
* * *
Peter tucked his feet under him on Suresh's couch, leaning his head tiredly on Gabriel's shoulder. Mohinder and Eden stood off to the side, while Chandra poured them each a cup of tea.
Eden smiled as she took a sip. "You always make the best chai, Papa Suresh."
Chandra smiled kindly. "Thank you, Eden." The words expressed gratitude for so much more.
"They'll come after us, won't they," Gabriel voiced all of their fears.
"I don't think they'll bother with you two. You're not important to them."
Eden turned to Chandra. "You on the other hand..."
Chandra nodded. "I must leave New York."
"Where will you go?"
"I think I'll travel. There are many more people with abilities yet to be found." Chandra looked at his son, questioningly.
"I'm going to stay. Finish what you started here. There are still people to be helped... An entire city." Mohinder looked at Peter and Gabriel meaningfully.
Peter nodded. He had a feeling they were going to need all the help they could get to stop the impending explosion.
"And you two," asked Eden.
Peter and Gabriel exchanged a look. Peter replied, "We're going to save the world."