:: Author's Note 1 :: Be forewarned, I took poetic license with this story. I tried to stay faithful to the canon, though. I'm PRETTY sure I didn't deviate, but this is how I envision things.


3 Am. It was the absolute, godforsaken, heart of darkness. No matter what town you lived in, big or small, nary a soul was out at this hour- unless they had the misfortune of having to work a graveyard shift.

Or, unless they were congressman-hopeful Nathan Petrelli.

Petrelli was a classically handsome man with sharp features, and perpetually sad eyes; which he always covered up with a bullshit grin and endless political jargon.

He was also a man of infinite secrets. The biggest of all?

He, as well as a surprising number of other people, had developed an unusual Ability more akin to the X-men than to actual real life. It tended to boggle his mind, and he actually had the Ability.

There was also another secret he had. Bigger than that. One that he kept from everyone; even those who knew about how… different… he was.

He loved his Ability. Absolutely, positively, loved it.

Which is how he came to be standing in the middle of nowhere, on a riverbank, at three in the freakin' morning.

Once he had figured out how to tap into his 'gift', he just couldn't resist using it. How could he not? He thought his power was… cool.

Nathan Petrelli could fly.

Taking one last glance around to ensure he was truly alone, he closed his eyes. Taking deep, even breaths, he focused on that part of him that was different. Sure enough, he a sudden spurt of exhilarated joy as his feet left the ground. This was Nathan's time, his freedom. For a long time, he railed against it, but eventually he realized that this was the only time in his life that he felt… real.

Drifting higher and higher, Nathan began to wonder if there was anyone that he could talk to about this… at all.

Mother? God no, that was wrong on about twelve different levels.

Peter? No. Peter was likely to latch onto the fact that Nathan truly believed that this was happening, and then try to recruit him to his cause.

That doctor… Mohinder Suresh? No. Suresh was a decent enough person, but he remembered the look on the young man's face when he told Nathan that he was on "The List". He looked at Nathan like he was wondering what pieces of Nathan would look like under a microscope. It had unsettled him.

A flock of seagulls drifted past him. Ah, how the mighty have fallen… or rather, rose. Thought Nathan, laughing quietly to himself. The bird's didn't seem to know what to make of him. They all looked at him, and then continued on their merry way.

He considered telling his wife, but quickly vetoed that idea.

Hey, honey! Remember that accident that left you in a wheelchair? Remember how I got away seemingly unscathed? Well, guess what? In that moment, I discovered that I can fly. Yup, you heard me, fly. As of right now, while you're in that chair, I'm floating lazily through a cloud. And I think it's just fine.

Shame speared through him. His wife was crippled, and he was beyond mobile. He felt guilty for loving his Ability.

Then his mind wandered back to Texas. Words echoed through Nathan's mind.

"She's blond. Like me."

His daughter…his daughter. That damned cell phone photo burned through him.

Meredith was right. She was blond, like her mother. But beyond her coloring, that was where the similarities ended. That girl was nothing like Meredith. He saw it clearly in the cell phone picture. The picture of a beautiful teenager. Someone who would be more exquisite as time passed. But it had been the girl's eyes that got to him; made him wonder who she was, worry about her well-being.

Those damn eyes. Those old eyes. They screamed at him. She had clearly been through a hell of a lot, seen God-knew-what. He had seen those eyes every time he looked in the mirror. She may have had blue eyes instead of brown, but they were definitely his eyes he saw in her. Every protective, fatherly instinct he had raged inside him. Find her! They roared. Protect her! They commanded.

When he had arrived and Meredith offered to introduce the two of them, he damned near accepted, but…

Hey, honey! I'm Nathan Petrelli, your biological father. When you were a baby, I was a complete asshole, and ran away from you and Meredith. Nowadays, I'm a candidate for congress, and I can't really have a bastard child over for tea. By the way, did I mention that I have connections to a very scary man who would break my back if I crossed him? Gotta love that Linderman! Not only that, but see, there's this thing… I can… I can… fly.

Oh God, what if it's hereditary? What if she had it too?

He thought about it. How… tired her gaze was. How old. What if she was different too? What if he had given that to her?

He renewed his vow to stay away from her. He hoped Meredith wouldn't tell her his name. He thought of what could happen if both of them were different. If both of them had Abilities, and what Linderman would do to her… he shuddered at the idea of that freak getting his hands on his child.

Almost randomly, he thought of something he heard on the news. The brutal murder of a cheerleader in Texas.

Save the cheerleader, save the world.

Those were Peter and Isaac's words. Isaac, the precognitive artist.

Nathan took a lap around the top of the bridge.

Save the cheerleader, save the world.

Peter had gone to Texas to do just that. Peter had nearly died saving a blond cheerleader from a serial killer who decapitated his victims.

In his mind, he saw jaded blue eyes. Eyes that were too old for the teenage face.

Save the cheerleader, save the world… Oh, sweet Jesus…

Nathan suddenly realized that his face was soaking wet. He blamed it on the wind chill.

:: Author's Note 2 :: Well, how'd I score? I hope I did okay and didn't break the rules too badly! PLEASE, Read and Review!