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AN: Well, here we are; the final chapter (Sorry it's not the best; my creative streak kind of ran out, but I think I still did OK)
Seeds of the Future
Peter Petrelli and Claire Bennet Two Weeks Later…
New York City
Two Weeks Later…
"Once and for all, are you sure you want to do this?" Peter asked, looking anxiously at Claire as the two of them stood outside a bar, looking anxiously up and down the street that lay before them. Over the last week, they'd spent most of their free time going over the plans for this upcoming confrontation- assuming that history played out as it should (And they had no reason to assume it wouldn't; nothing that might have affected these upcoming events had been altered as far as they could tell) it would certainly happen tonight-, but Peter still couldn't help but feel at least a little nervous, particularly given his own personal stake in the matter.
If this went wrong…
He wasn't sure he even wanted to spend too much time thinking about it; the plan was risky enough as it was.
But then, as he looked at Claire as she stood before him, dressed in that white shirt and dark trousers she'd worn when he'd first given her the gun that had left him thinking what he'd thought at the time were very inappropriate thoughts- he had never been more relieved to learn that he was wrong about something as he was when Hiro told them the truth about her father-, any old fears he might have had about the fight vanished.
After they'd overcome Sylar's future self, despite his own extra decade of experience, they could easily deal with what they had to face now.
"Sure about it? No," Claire replied, as she looked up at Peter. "Know that we have to do it? Yeah; I'd really rather not have to live with the idea of that guy showing up again some time."
"Yeah…" Peter commented, nodding in agreement. "That's definitely not something I'd like to think about."
Swallowing slightly, he reached over to take one last drink of the beer before him- attempting to recreate the events of the confrontation Hiro and Future Matt had seen almost exactly Peter and Claire had gone to a bar to have a couple of drinks in preparation for the inevitable confrontation that awaited them after this part of the night was over- before he stood up and looked over at Claire. "Let's go; he's waiting, and I'd like to get this over with as soon as possible."
Nodding in agreement, Claire swallowed the last of her own drink- only sparkling water, of course; even if Claire's power made it difficult for her to get drunk, nobody wanted to be accused of breaking the law like that, even when they were about to go off and try to kill somebody- and stood up to follow Peter out of the bar.
As soon as they were outside, the two of them put on overly-enthusiastic grins and, an arm around the other's shoulders, began to walk down the streets, giving the impression to all around them that the only thing they were currently concerned with was each other, totally ignorant to the world around them.
Of course, like all good lies, this one retained at least a small element of truth; after what they'd been through to get to this point, they felt they were entitled to enjoy at least a little time together before things had to get ugly.
"So, seriously, this invisible guy tried to teach you control by throwing you off a building?" Claire said in an almost-but-not-quite-too-loud voice, looking incredulously at Peter as though they were continuing a conversation from inside the bar; given Sylar's enhanced hearing, their vocal conversations had to give the impression that they didn't know he was there. "What was that all about?"
"I believe his exact words were that, if I didn't figure it out that way, I'd never get it, and he'd have still stopped the explosion thing from happening either way," Peter replied, chuckling slightly at the memory to add to the impression of being slightly intoxicated. "Well then, let's get home, shall we; I, for one, have plans for when we get back…"
"Oh, really…?" Claire replied, smiling slightly at the mischievous little grin on Peter's face as she leaned in closer. "And what kind of 'plans' would these be?"
"Oh, you know…" Peter said, continuing his slight laughter as he leaned towards her, the two of them continuing to give the impression that there was nothing else for them both but each other, "'plans' involving you, me, and maybe that whipped cream you picked up a while back…"
"Peter!" Claire said in a mockingly scandalised voice, stepping back to hit him lightly on the chest. "You wouldn't…"
"Nope," Peter replied, shaking his head as he grinned broadly at her. "But really, you should've seen the look on your face when you thought I would…"
"Ah, there you are," a voice suddenly said from off to one side, prompting Peter and Claire to jump apart as they attempted to appear surprised while looking in the direction of the voice.
Just as Hiro had said he would be, there, standing at the top of the street that they were currently walking along, was Sylar's present self, his arms spread in a casual manner as though waiting for his opponents to attack.
"What; you survived getting stabbed like that?" Peter asked, looking in frustration at Sylar; for the moment, they thought it best to try and make Sylar think his presence had been unexpected to better put him off-guard when their fight back began in earnest. "What does it take to kill you; do we have to rip you apart before you stop coming back?"
"Unfortunately, you're not going to have the chance to find out," Sylar stated grimly as he stared at Peter, even as the nurse instinctively reached out to freeze time for the street around him; with some help from Hiro, he'd mastered the ability to freeze time for his immediate vicinity while leaving some people still able to move, albeit with Hiro asking as a 'conduit' for his own time-bending ability to help him keep some people moving when the world around them froze rather than him doing it all himself. With this precaution in action, Peter could freely confront Sylar in public without needing to worry about innocent people being caught in the crossfire, while the rest of the 'team'- for lack of a better term- waited for their cue to join the fight in a nearby location.
"So, you stopped yourself going 'Boom', hmm?" Sylar continued, looking contemptuously at Peter as he spoke. "Too bad for you; at least that might have been relatively quick."
Raising his arms, Sylar chuckled slightly as his hands began to glow with the same kind of glow that Peter had generated when he first accidentally tapped into Ted's power.
"I can tell you something for nothing," the villain stated, as he stared at Peter. "You're not going to die quickly this time around."
"Really?" Peter retorted, raising his own hands in an almost mirror image of Sylar's current stance, the radioactive 'energy balls' appearing in his hands as well, his entire body language radiating the confidence and certainty in the use of his powers that Claire's love had unlocked within him over the course of the last week. "I'd like to see you try."
With that, the two men hurled the radioactive 'energy balls' at each other, the two attacks meeting each other almost mid-way between the two combatants. The resulting shockwave from the explosion sent Sylar staggering back slightly, the unexpectedness of Peter's retaliatory attack leaving him unprepared for the backlash. Even as Peter and Claire looked at Sylar, they could easily see the slight burns that appeared on his face and hands as a result of the strike; his accelerated metabolism limited the scale of the injuries, but it was still clear that he'd taken at least some damage while Peter's access to Claire's healing power was already helping him, repairing the admittedly slight damage he'd sustained from the backlash.
Peter didn't even give Sylar time to process what had happened; charging forward, he lashed out a punch at the former watchmaker's face, sending him staggering back even as he tried to raise his own fists to launch a retaliatory blow. Peter's use of Niki's enhanced strength increased the damage of his subsequent assault, but it was still clear that Sylar was managing to hold his own; most likely he was using his telekinesis to increase his durability by using his power to provide his blows with even more force than he would have possessed normally.
After the initial punches had been deflected, Peter and Sylar quickly shifted tactics, grasping each other's shoulders and beginning a mock wrestling confrontation each one attempting to force their adversary back. Sylar attempted to shift the odds by generating an ice blast, but Peter triggered his radioactive power to generate a low-level microwave energy that allowed him to melt Sylar's ice almost before it had been formed.
Once again realising that the current combat strategy wasn't going to work, Peter used his borrowed telekinesis to briefly shove Sylar back a few feet before turning invisible. As Sylar stared in surprise at the spot where his adversary had been only moments ago, the now-invisible ex-nurse kicked Sylar in the stomach- at least Sylar assumed it was a kick based on the width of the object that hit him-, turning visible once again as he launched a brief burst of radiation at Sylar. The killer only just managed to dodge the attack by diving to one side, but the attack still left a serious-looking burn on his left arm. Roaring in rage, Sylar thrust out one hand at Peter, forcing the empath to his feet as he screamed in pain, once again feeling as though his bones had suddenly lost all cohesion and he was going to fall apart at any moment…
Then a loud whoosh suddenly passed right over Peter, shortly before he looked up in time to see Nathan crash into Sylar and send him hurtling back into a nearby wall, the Congressman in question subsequently flying up to hover above Sylar with a resolute glare on his face.
"You're pretty good when you're going up against people who aren't prepared for you, Mr Gray," Nathan growled, his fists clenched as he stared at the man who'd come so close to ruining the life of his brother and the woman he loved. "How long do you think you'll last against a group who actually have a plan to fight you?"
"My name is SYLAR!" Sylar roared, thrusting out one hand to try and attack his opponent with a telekinetic burst. As though he was simply side-stepping a thrown ball, Nathan casually moved to one side in mid-air, flying backwards to land beside Claire and Peter as the mimic got to his feet, Claire's power repairing the bone damage caused by Sylar's last assault.
"Did we miss anything?" D.L. asked as he, Niki, and Matt walked up to stand beside their new allies, the group exchanging smiles; Micah and Molly were, as ever, remaining with Heidi and Mohinder respectively while their normal parents and guardians dealt with the current situation.
"I left him with a bit of a burn, he tried to make my bones collapse… about what we were expecting," Peter replied, shrugging slightly as he looked at where Sylar was currently struggling to get back to his feet. "Ready to quit yet, Gabriel?"
"Dude's got a point; you can't exactly take on all of us," D.L. added, trying to avoid showing his continued discomfort from the bullet wounds he'd acquired in Kirby Plaza. He and Matt were healing pretty well, but even with Nathan covering their hospital bills they still had a bit of a way to go before they were ready to actually go hand-to-hand with Sylar; their last fight alone had been pushing their luck. "Why don't you just stop now and get out while you can?"
"NEVER!" Sylar roared, thrust both hands forward to shoot a powerful burst of ice at his foes; almost instinctively, Peter and D.L. both acted to protect the others, Peter's telekinesis deflecting the ice from him, Nathan, Claire and Hiro while D.L. turned himself, Matt and Niki intangible and allowed the ice to pass through them.
"Give it up, Sylar," Peter stated coldly as he lowered his hand. "Don't make this any harder than it has to be…"
Sylar didn't even bother to reply to that comment; his gaze fixed on Peter, his eyes narrowed as he charged towards his foe, Peter only just managed to grab Sylar's outstretched fist and hurl him over his head to hit the ground. Seemingly tapping into the super-speed that granted him his limited healing ability, Sylar was back on his feet within mere seconds, only for Niki and D.L. to punch him practically simultaneously in the face and send him staggering back once again; even without superstrength, the occasionally intangible ex-convict could still pack a punch when he wanted to.
"Right then," Matt said, narrowing his eyes and glaring at Sylar. Before Sylar could retaliate, he suddenly thrust his head back and screamed, clutching at his head as though something had just struck him directly in the centre of his mind.
"GAGH!" Sylar screamed, clutching at his head as though he was trying to stop his brain from crawling out of his skull. "Wh… wha… ARGH!"
"Reliving memories of old pain," Matt said by way of explanation, looking over at his friends with a slight smile; he'd been practicing that aspect of his power over the last couple of weeks ever since Hiro had told him about what his future self had been capable of, but this was the only time he'd been able to confirm if he'd mastered it or not. "Definitely not the most pleasant thing to have to deal with, but it should keep him distracted at least."
"Right then," Peter said resolutely, as he stepped forward to better glare at the man before him. "If he's out of action, it's time to end this."
If it had been anyone else he'd been fighting, he would have tried to find another way; he wasn't a violent man by nature, even if his powers did make him a more competent combatant than he'd been before they'd manifested.
But this man had tried to kill Claire, he'd actually killed Ted and Isaac, and his future self had made Peter think that he was a sick pervert in love with his niece simply to ensure he'd remain free to continue his deranged murder sprees; Hiro's trip to the future had already confirmed that no prison could hold him for long, and there was no way that they knew of to deprive him of his powers so that he couldn't hurt anyone with them ever again.
As far as Peter was concerned, the sooner this bastard was dead, the better.
"Goodbye," he said grimly as Sylar looked up at him, hatred brimming in his eyes.
With that last image, Peter thrust his hand into Sylar's forehead, the whites of the man's eyes swiftly filling with blood in a manner that was almost identical to what had happened to his future self after the last battle. As Sylar stared in shock and horror at his adversary, the last faint vestiges of his personality faded away, leaving only a lifeless pile before him.
Once again, it was over.
And this time- unless Sylar's past self somehow managed to get into the present for some demented reason- it had finally been ended for good.
"So," Niki asked, looking curiously over at her new friends as she stood over the fallen body of Sylar, "what do we do now?"
"Huh?" Hiro said, looking over at the former Internet stripper in confusion.
"I mean, we just saved a city and took down two different versions of a super-powerful homicidal maniac within the space of a couple of weeks; where do we go from here?" Niki pointed out, looking uncertainly over at her allies. "You gotta admit, whatever happens after something like this, we're still going to not be exactly normal; what do we do with ourselves now?"
For a moment, the group simply stood in the street where they had so recently fought for their lives, looking for the second time at the body of the man who had brought them together as a result of his desire to be special turning him against the world, before Peter finally spoke.
"One thing I do know," he said, smiling down at Claire as he held her in his arms. "Whatever comes up in the future… whatever challenges we have to overcome… we'll face it together."
Looking around at each other once again, all of the group assembled there knew, in a manner that they'd never known anything before that moment, that the former nurse was right. They all knew that it would be hard to find a more random group of people to come together at any point in history- a congressional candidate whose victory had been rigged by outside forces, a former stripper, an ex-convict, a cheerleader, a nurse, a dsylexic cop and an office worker-, but, at the same time, they all knew that none of them would trade the bond they'd formed these last few days for anything.
Sylar's actions and Linderman's schemes had brought them together out of a mixture of necessity and coincidence.
It was their own actions that had created the bond that now existed between them.
"We a team!" Hiro added, a broad smile on his face as he looked at the group of assorted superhumans around him. "We kick ass!"
Despite themselves, none of the others could stop from smiling at the Japanese man's boyish enthusiasm; if Peter and Claire served as the heart of the team, Hiro was undoubtedly the team's 'inner child' (As Nathan had once described him) personified, retaining a certain innocence and wonder even when he was potentially the single most powerful member of their group (Peter's ability to draw on the powers of others didn't count as he was technically relying on others to achieve his power level).
Their lives from this point onwards would be difficult, challenging, and beyond anything they could have expected prior to the events of the last month or so…
And, to say the least, all of them were looking forward to it.