The Death of Thought

He is numb at first.

That thing on the tip of his tongue, under the edge of his wakeful conscience, dancing around in his peripheral vision; it chooses the moment when Zane enters the gas station to blink into view and then flare brightly until he can't believe he'd missed it before. He can't believe he didn't realize... but it can't... it is. Oh god, it is.

Oh god.

Mohinder closes his eyes when realization hits- and truly, it hits. It does nothing less than slam into him with the force of a transport truck smashing into a brick wall, the rest of his mundane thoughts scattering like so many bricks, useless and meaningless when put into context. He is stunned speechless and glad as all hell that Zane (Sylar... oh god, Sylar) had requested a bathroom break, because if he were driving right now...

If he were driving right now they'd probably be at their destination already. He'd be able to add another corpse to his rap sheet.

No. No, no, no.

YES.

He can believe it, and that's the problem.

He wishes that he couldn't, wishes that none of this was making sense because if it wasn't making sense then he could pretend it wasn't true. That none of this was true. The problem is that everything fits perfectly now, the pieces revealing a message of guilt and horror and oh god-

What have you done?

Those people.

All those hopeful, scared, excited people; their new powers overwhelming them into so many emotions and he'd killed them all. He'd killed them. Whether the 'he' in question was him or Za... Sylar (Sylar!) didn't even matter because they were dead. They were dead.

They were dead because of him.

He'd just assisted in the death of all those people, assisted his father's murderer.

The curry from his amiable lunch with the other man rests at the top of his stomach, threatening. They'd discussed his past, his father; the conversation had been all about him. Mohinder had mentioned Peter, Nathan, had spoken of all the madness as he ate his curry with enthusiasm. The other man had seemed too intrigued to eat; Mohinder had thought little of it.

He'd thought very little at all.

There's your problem.

He feels pale and shaken, as if he'd just watched a series of bombs exploding all around him and knew he was sitting on top of the very last one.

He is numb at first, for a long while, and he clings to that numbness as he lies straight to Sylar's face and insists he's too tired to keep driving tonight. Insists he needs sleep even though it's barely 6pm and they've been driving for a little under seven hours. The sun is still glaringly bright above the black asphalt and it seems to scream you're a terrible liar as he drums his fingers on the steering wheel and looks away from those eerie eyes, those murderous eyes.

What were those other people thinking when he looked into those eyes just before-

They pull into a motel in under twenty minutes, but Mohinder feels every one of those minutes as if they were days; as if they were that specific day when he learned about his father's death, that day when he learned about his sister, that day when he realized everything he'd given up to be doing this.

Sylar looks through him and Mohinder can't help but wonder how many powers could act against his plight for an honest lie so that he can fall apart and put himself together somewhere safe (relatively) before figuring out what the hell he was going to do now.

You're not going to get that much time.

The discoveries came in quick succession after that initial realization and he understands nowand damn if he doesn't hate himself all the more for that. If he could hate himself more, that is.

Sylar's eyes aren't fooled, but Mohinder mentally gives a grateful sigh when he smiles hesitantly (it makes him want to be sick, how couldn't he have seen?) and shrugs a little. Mohinder fumbles slightly for the car door handle, suddenly overwhelmed with feelings of claustrophobia and desperate to get out of the car (to run. Run and run and never stop running away from this monster) but he forces it down viciously and takes a moment to give what he hopes is a reassuring smile before going for the room keys.

Leaving Sylar's line of vision is at once both relieving and unnerving. Its worse not to be able to see the monster, worse knowing he's out there somewhere, maybe right behind you. Mohinder risks a glance over his shoulder and when he turns back, the woman at the front desk shoots a curious look over his shoulder as well before offering him an amused but wary smile.

Mohinder pays in cash, hand trembling when he goes for the change.

Returning to Sylar takes an incredible amount of will, and for a long moment Mohinder doesn't think he has enough will in him to do this. He breaks it down into small tasks (walk to the car, hand Sylar his key, say goodnight, slide my key into the door, open my door, close the door behind me) and goes about each step with studious concentration.

Sylar is sensing something, it's obvious. As obvious as Mohinder's lie, as obvious as Sylar's true nature now that Mohinder knows what to look for.

"I'll see you later, then."

It's not a question, and Mohinder knows (I should've known...) that he will be seeing Sylar later today rather than tomorrow. He tastes curry in the back of his mouth and blames his particularly loud swallow on lunch as he smiles with effort and locks himself in his room.

So many emotions- he can't sort them all out. Guilt overwhelms most of them, guilt and horror and utter self-loathing, followed closely by dread, an incredible sense of panic (how am I going to get out of this?) and a healthy dose of mortification.

Sylar's going to kill them.

He's going to kill them all.

He's going to kill you.

The knock isn't unexpected, but it still startles Mohinder into taking the first few steps towards the door before pausing, hesitating. The panic settles bone deep, the constant need to fight or flee and being unable to do either has worn itself down into a constant thrum of energy that can neither be ignored or acted upon.

He doesn't answer the door.

Sylar doesn't knock again.

Mohinder isn't surprised when Sylar enters without any foreseeable damage done to the door. He feels as though he's watching everything through binoculars, close up and present but separate somehow, inappropriate, malapropos.

Sylar is dark, dangerous, and undeniably frustrated. He sheds Zane's persona as easily as he sliced open those people's heads and divvied up their brains. He stalks as he speaks- closer and closer until Mohinder is against a wall and the panic rises in shrill desperation for him to leave, leave, get out-

NOW.

"I guess I don't need you anymore. I thought you'd have figured it out sooner, but that's ok. I liked having someone around for a while."

His voice is smooth liquor over perfect ice cubes, hypnotizing, faux regret leaking into the low tones. His eyes smirk as his lips pout. The kiss, when it comes, does not deserve to be called a kiss. It is brutal, a vicious show of disrespect and ownership.

Sylar is a natural disaster, unstoppable and leaving nothing but utter destruction in his wake.

He takes Mohinder like he wants a reminder of him, like he'd take a sun catcher from a store just because he can- because it's pretty.

There is nothing slow and gentle, nothing that hints of a soul, nothing that hints of a human. Mohinder pants and twitches underneath him, whimpers as he pushes, pulls, doesn't know what's happening. It's too much and he turns his face away as Sylar bites at his jaw and scrapes his teeth down the side of his neck, smirking against his collarbone as his hands keep Mohinder firmly pressed against the matted carpet.

He's scared. Scared and in pain and not sure he wants it to end, because if it ends... what happens then? So he forces his arms to cradle around Sylar's shoulders, rub against the nape of his neck. Sylar falters briefly, eyes him even as he thrusts harder and Mohinder can't help but whimper as his head falls back.

He'll do what he needs to, because if he doesn't... what happens then?

You die, that's what.

Exactly.

That's what he thought.