Mohinder had a vague notion that he ought to save Peter Petrelli.
He needed to be saved because a psychopathic serial killer was opening his head up like a can of Sunkist peaches. The notion was vague because Mohinder was dying.
He watched his blood drip onto them from the ceiling (where he was currently pinned by a large ugly piece of metal, pinned, literally—he imagined his headstone inscription would be fairly amusing, Here lies Mohinder Suresh, loving son, killed by a bunch of forks), a horrifying thick rain that dripped down the back of Sylar's neck to pool with Peter's on the floor.
He was losing it—his vision was striping over with black, or maybe that was just the pain. Either way, he started counting down his life in seconds.
There was no tunnel of light; instead there was a sucking black-hole nothingness, a thoroughly uncomforting void. He went to it anyway. Whatever lay ahead, it had to be better than a world where murderers stabbed you to the ceiling.
Mohinder was no superhero. Let Peter Petrelli save himself.
Peter had discovered a small problem with his powers. He'd thought he had everything figured when he realized that, to call up people's powers, he only had to call up the emotions he associated with them. Easy, he'd thought, he was good with emotions. However, he'd hit an unexpected roadblock.
In retrospect, he should have known that something was wrong the minute he walked into the apartment. The whole place had been wrecked, torn apart in a way he hadn't seen since some of Nathan's old college parties. Considering that Mohinder Suresh didn't seem much of a partying type, he should have done the smart thing: call the police—or better, call Nathan. Instead, he'd wandered in to the place like a particularly stupid sacrificial lamb, and gotten jumped for it.
Now he was in trouble. Sylar had him pinned to the back wall with crushing force that felt like it would cave his ribs at any moment, and he was having a hard time thinking of anything, much less specific emotional responses. The pain of Sylar slicing into his head snapped him into focus, but given the situation, at first all he could manage to pull up were powers from stressful situations. His hands began to fade from view, going invisible grain by grain—no good, Sylar could still hold him even if he couldn't see him. Mind reading was equally useless, and not a little scary, and he discarded it just as fast, thoughts already going blurry-skittery from pain. He figured he had about ten seconds until he was dead. Telekinesis—now that could actually be helpful.
Peter shoved out from himself, flinging a surprised Sylar into a desk at the other end of the room. The pressure on his chest released immediately, and he fell unsteadily onto the floor. The pain in his head was brutal, screaming-white-hot, and he wondered dizzily how close he'd come to dying. Claire, he thought hysterically, forcing himself to call up images of the sweet, savable cheerleader. He snatched her 'file card' out of his mind, fumbled it, felt himself healing awkwardly. Not so good, Peter, he told himself, that's probably going to leave a scar.
But he had more important things to worry about—for example, the fact that Sylar had quite recovered from the collision with the desk and was coming after him with that look in his eyes like he was terribly hungry and Peter was the last chocolate éclair in the box. As he closed on Peter, shards of twisted metal flew up behind him, hovering alarmingly at shoulder-level for a few moments before flying at him like demented, oddly-shaped bullets. No longer off-guard and no longer being sliced open, Peter was able to bat them away with little difficulty, sending them clattering harmlessly into the walls. Sylar's eyes flew open with astonishment, then shuttered down to narrow slits, bright with prying interest.
"So that's what it is," he breathed. "I couldn't see it…it all makes sense now." He took a step closer, avarice coming off him in waves.
Peter backed away, eyeing the distance to the door. "You're crazy," he said uncertainly.
Sylar smiled to himself, raising a particularly wicked piece of metal with a flick of his finger. "I'm not," he said. "It's an evolutionary imperative. No hard feelings, but I'm going to need what you can do." He sent the shrapnel slicing at Peter's chest with such vicious force that he only just stopped it in time, inches away from his heart. Sylar bent his head and glowered at his impromptu spear with a vengeance, forcing it, edging it millimeter by millimeter forward. Peter's eyes widened as the point drove nearer, realizing that he couldn't stop it, couldn't even hold it still—Sylar was simply better, more practiced. He was going to win.
Not having any desire to end up like Mohinder, he swiftly decided on a new course of action. He dropped his resistance without warning, and then ducked as the piece of metal snapped over his head as if flung by a slingshot, burying half its length into the wall behind him. At the same time, he grabbed the nearest object, a sad, broken two-legged stool, and threw it at Sylar—who, not expecting a physical attack, took it ungracefully upside the head and dropped, leaving Peter free to sprint for the nearest door.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the door to outside—Sylar still stood between him and the exit, and he didn't think much of his chances of getting past before the man recovered. A smart move, as it turned out—just as he pulled open the door, he felt something slice down his shoulder blade—Sylar was already back up and implacably determined not to let him get away.
He managed to get into the room—the bathroom, as it turned out—and get the door locked behind him before Sylar caught up, jumping back as the door shuddered dangerously under Sylar's weight.
"Come out!" he screamed, voice flecked with rabid madness. "You think this will stop me?"
Peter slid down the door, touching his badly-healed cut with one hand, trying to stop himself thinking about how close he'd come to being very dead. There's no time for that, he told himself sharply. If you go to pieces, you will be dead. He fumbled his cell phone out of his pocket (unbroken, remarkably), dialing the number that had always meant 'emergency' to him.
He pressed it tensely to his ear as it rang, forcing himself to ignore the shredding sounds of the door being cut away. There was a click as the line connected, and then his brother's voice came across. "Hello?"
Nathan's voice went sharp with concern, immediately picking up on Peter's panic. "Peter? What's wrong? Where are you?"
"Nathan, I went to see Suresh, but he's dead—the guy who wanted to kill Claire, he's here, Nathan, he killed Mohinder and he tried to kill me—he's right outside the door and I can't get away—"
Peter could hear Nathan scrambling on the other end, a sharp series of steps as he ran down the stairs. "Stay calm, man, I'll be right there," he assured Peter, protective worry making his words tight, clipped. "Tell me exactly where you are. How long have you got?"
The wood of the door broke under the strain of Sylar's attacks, opening a splintered hole above Peter's head. "I don't know, Nathan. I'm in Mohinder's apartment—I think I can hold him for a while, but you know I don't really know what I'm doing."
"Just hang in there, Peter. I'm coming."
"Hurry." As Peter shut his phone, Sylar's hand reached through the hole, groping blindly for purchase on his side of the door. Peter backpedaled quickly, standing and moving as far away as the small room would allow. The hand pulled out of view, and there was a disquieting silence from the other room. Then, to his horror, the doorknob began bubbling, melting out of shape to drip down the door in coppery globules. Worse, the hinges followed suit, the door swaying perilously in its frame as they liquefied.
Peter pulled in a deep, meditation-calming breath, forcing himself to stand straight up, hands flexing convulsively as he waited for Sylar to come at him. His mind ran through the list of his acquired abilities like a filmstrip, searching for some way to get out of this situation with the top of his head still attached. Healing, mind-reading, invisibility, painting—why didn't he have anything offensive, something he could use that Sylar didn't have, something he wouldn't be expecting?
The door fell away, and Sylar pressed in close behind it, nearly frothing with frustrated power-lust. He flung a hand towards Peter, and blue-white mist raced sprang out of it, racing towards Peter with fanatic intention that nearly matched its creator. Peter had only a split second to be nervous and puzzled before it hit him, freeze-fusing his arm to the wall from the elbow down. As Sylar advanced on him, he tried to pull away, but the encasing ice was surprisingly strong. He made a flash decision based on this discovery, and turned it against its wielder—concentrating with a focus born of impending danger, he built an ice-wall up from the floor, closing himself off from Sylar quickly enough that the man could only snarl with murderous pique and smash his hand against the barrier.
Peter immediately turned to his arm, trying to figure how to release it before Sylar thought of some new way to get at him. Too late—he only had time to see the walls teeter dangerously on either side before they came down altogether, breaking apart and slamming in on him with all the force of Sylar's homicidal intent. He threw his free arm over his head, but it wasn't enough to protect against the thousands of bricks coming down. He felt something sharp strike his temple, and that was it—he blacked out.