Title: Strange Condition
Author: Harikari
Pairing: Sylinder (Sylar/Mohinder)
Rating: Hard R
Disclaimer: Don't own em'. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm writing this for fun, not profit.
Warnings: Major spoilers for all of season 1, violence, some gore, strong language, eventual slash and sex(iness), possible dub-con, angst, etc.
AN: Starts up a month after the events of season one. No spoilers for season two, just AUness and speculation. My first Heroes fic. Feedback is appreciated.

Summary: A month after the events at Kirby Plaza Mohinder visits another special individual from his father's list. This leads to an unexpected meeting with a certain supposed-to-be-dead serial killer, a kidnaping, and a battle with a man out for revenge – a man whose powers happen to rival even Sylar's.

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"I'm the hero." - Sylar (Season 1, How to Stop an Exploding Man)

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Part One

Mohinder climbed the three splintered and creaky wooden steps that led up to 1614 Bloomfield Avenue's quaint wrap-around porch. He stopped at the front door, took a deep breath, then reached to press the button that was mounted close to the door's frame. He heard the doorbell ring out from somewhere within the bowels of the house – a dull, singsong tone. The wind picked up suddenly, sending a cool breeze rushing up the loose sleeves of his jacket. Mohinder shivered; wrapped his arms over his chest.

It was cold. December cold. Frowning, the geneticist realized it was the ninth of December. That meant it had been a little over a month since Kirby Plaza. A month since Peter Petrelli had lost control and Nathan Petrelli had sacrificed himself for the greater good, a month since Claire and Noah Bennet had left New York for Texas and their family, and a month since Hiro Nakamura had stabbed Sylar clean through the stomach with a sword.

Sylar. At the mere thought of the man – of the gruesome murderer of so many innocent people, the murderer of his father – Mohinder's muscles tightened and tensed. His mind flooded with the image of Molly, sweet little girl that she was, and with fear. Fear that somehow Sylar would get his hands on Molly, would get his hands on Claire or Micah or one of the other individuals with special abilities that Mohinder had had the pleasure to meet, fear that he would...

But. No.

Sylar was dead. Yes, the man had been missing in action that night after the explosion in the sky that was Peter, a smear of blood leading to a gaping sewer entrance the only proof that he had ever been to Kirby Plaza at all. But Mohinder had seen with his own eyes the way that Hiro's blade had gone through Sylar – into his stomach and out of his back. He had seen Sylar collapse, had seen all of the blood.

Sylar was dead, and Molly was safe with Niki Sanders and her family in Las Vegas. Nathan Petrelli was presumed dead and declared missing, Peter Petrelli hadn't been seen since the explosion. Hiro Nakamura had disappeared. And he was here – the New York suburbs, 1614 Bloomfield Avenue – waiting for Jake R. Harris to open his front door so that he could talk to the man about whatever special ability it was he had. So that he could offer his help.

I can't believe it's been a month already
.

Mohinder rang the doorbell again; shoved his gloved hands into his jacket's pockets. He heard a sudden shuffling, the sharp snap of a lock being undone. The door swung inwards with a horrible whine of its hinges and a tall, broad-shouldered man with a graying, close-cut head of hair was revealed. His eyes were narrowed.

"Mr. Harris?" asked Mohinder. He held out his hand before the man had a chance to answer. "I'm Mohinder Suresh. I-"

"Right," said Harris, cutting him off abruptly. "You. I know who you are." He stared at the offered hand like it was something foul. Mohinder let his arm drop to his side; shifted. A strange, icy feeling began to creep slowly up his spine. Jake Harris had agreed to meet with him when he'd talked to the man over the phone two days ago – he had sounded somewhat distrustful then, a little reluctant, but he'd agreed. He certainly hadn't sounded the way he sounded now – angry, dangerous.

There was silence for a moment. Harris looked beyond Mohinder, his dark eyes sweeping over his own quiet street, the still houses that made up his neighborhood. His eyes stopped on Mohinder's rental car – the silver Kia Rio he'd driven all the way from New York City. He'd parked the car next to the curb, in front of the mailbox. Feeling uneasy, Mohinder let his own gaze stray upwards. The sky was rapidly darkening with night. He had agreed to meet Jake Harris in the early evening because the man had insisted it was the only time, week or weekend, he wouldn't be otherwise occupied. However, standing in front of the glaring man, darkness quickly descending, Mohinder couldn't help but wish that he hadn't agreed so readily.

"Well," said Harris. "Are you coming in or not?" His eyes broke away from the rental car. He took a step back so that he was no longer blocking the doorway with his bulk. Forcing his lips into a friendly smile, Mohinder brushed past the man and entered the house.

He breathed and a dry, unpleasant feeling settled at the back of his throat. The house smelled of smoke. The house smelled strongly of smoke. He fought the urge to cough; took in his surroundings. The narrow entrance hall he was standing in, a small living room sprawled just ahead, a gaping doorway beyond the living room that served as entrance to a kitchen. It was a nice place. Smallish and comfortable. A space that was dominated by oranges, yellows and greens – dominated by colors that hadn't been popular in households for over thirty years.

The front door closed with a faint click. Without a word, Harris moved down the short hallway and into the living room. Mohinder followed.

"Sit." The man waved vaguely in the direction of a pea green couch that was situated in front of a television. The television's volume was low; what looked like an old action movie was flashing across its screen. Harris disappeared into the kitchen, and Mohinder sat.

There was the sound of glasses clinking, the groan of pipes working, and then Harris was back in the living room. He was gripping two tall glasses of ice water, one in each hand. He placed one on the coffee table in front of Mohinder before dropping down into the large, worn-looking recliner to the right of the couch.

Mohinder stared at the glass of water in front of him; moved so that he was sitting at the edge of the couch. "Mr. Harris," he started, "perhaps we should start with you telling me what exactly your...ability is."

The man didn't reply right away. Instead, he brought the edge of his own glass of water to his lips and drank. He drank until the glass was half empty, until the strange feeling of something cold moving up Mohinder's back had returned. And then he slammed the glass down hard on the coffee table, sat up straighter, and dug into his shirt pocket. He pulled out a packet of cigarettes. Mohinder watched silently as he pulled out a single cigarette, put it into his mouth, and then lit it with a neon blue lighter that had been sitting, precariously, on the arm of the recliner.

"Okay," said Harris. "You want to know what it is I can do?" He eyed the geneticist; eyed him in a way that suggested the younger man didn't really want to know, in a way that suggested wanting to know was a bad thing.

Mohinder placed his hands on his knees; dug his nails into the fabric of his slacks. He considered leaving. Jake Harris had not sounded disturbed, and ominous, and angry on the phone those two days ago. He sounded all of those things now.

Harris was making him rather nervous, to say the least. And he wasn't sure, considering that nervousness – that vague feeling of icy dread – that he wanted to sit and listen to what the man had to say.

Jake Harris took his cigarette out of his mouth; breathed out a small cloud of smoke that curled toward the television. Mohinder looked again at the glass of water the man had placed on the coffee table in front of him.

I'm being paranoid, he thought. And he was. He knew he was.

He turned away from the glass of water; stared instead at the television. He was being an idiot. There was nothing wrong, nothing threatening, about Jake Harris. Harris was just a bad-tempered man in his late fifties with a military haircut and a serious addiction to nicotine. Just –

What? A sudden, unnatural twist of light flashed across the television's screen. Not a fake explosion or fake gunfire; not something that was a part of the drama playing out across the screen. No. A reflection. Mohinder half-turned in his seat.

Directly behind him – behind the couch – was a large, square window. The window was covered with blinds. The blinds were open, gaping. The heavy gray of the early evening sky was slicing through the horizontal gaps, casting shadows in the living room's corners. Outside the night was still steadily descending; it wouldn't be long before the streetlights would start to glow. There was nothing beyond the window. No one beyond the window. And yet...Mohinder was sure he'd seen something. He was sure he had seen a tall and imposing figure streak by the window in the television screen's reflection, a flash of dark clothing and pale skin.

Paranoid, he thought again. I'm being ridiculous and paranoid.

Taking a deep breath and squaring his shoulders, Mohinder forced the strong sense of dread he was feeling to the back of his mind. The feeling – fueled by his realization just minutes before on Harris's doorstep that it had been over a month since the world had almost ended, fueled by his resulting thoughts of the cold-blooded monster who had killed his father, who had lied to him and who had used him so horribly – was false and unnecessary.

"Of course," he said just as Harris was taking another deep drag of his cigarette. "Please. That's why I'm here, Mr. Harris. To document your ability so that I might eventually be able to help you, and others like you."

The man stilled. Something dark seemed to flicker behind his eyes. And then, "What do you mean, Suresh?" He moved forward in his seat; bent closer to the geneticist. "What do you mean when you say help?"

Mohinder carefully ignored the use of his last name without a title. "Well," he explained, "sometimes those who have abilities are a danger – to themselves and to others. They can't control -"

"Fine," said Harris. It was as if he suddenly didn't want to listen to Mohinder any longer; didn't want to hear his voice. "You want to know what is I can do? I'll tell you."

Mohinder expected the man to move. He expected Harris to stand, to tell him to make room so that he could demonstrate whatever it was he was capable of, or even to just start talking. Start explaining what it was he could do. Instead, he stared. He looked at Mohinder with hard eyes. And for a long moment it seemed as though he was trying to be sure of something – trying to find an answer, to find some sort of conformation, in the depth of his guest's gaze, the curve of his jaw.

"I went to the grocery store the other day," Harris started, just as the geneticist was opening his mouth to break the uncomfortable silence. "I went to the grocery store the day you called me. It was a few hours after you talked to me." The man paused. He glanced at the cigarette he was holding; smashed it into the ash tray that was sitting at the edge of the coffee table. "I saw a girl there." He looked at Mohinder again – met him eye to eye. "It wasn't the first time something's happened. But it was...different." He paused. Narrowed his eyes. "It was more important. I saw a girl there and she-"

The knock startled them both. Mohinder, caught up in listening to his host and trying to decipher what going to a grocery store and seeing a girl might have to do with having a special ability, flinched. Harris jumped in his seat.

Mohinder stared at the man; noticed that he had moved to the very edge of the recliner, that both of his fists were tightly clenched, that his entire frame was taught and strained. He seemed ready for something, on the verge of doing something.

Harris bared his teeth in a grimace and stood. He shot his guest a look. "You didn't bring anyone with you?" he asked, glaring. "Didn't have anyone...follow you here?"

Caught off guard, Mohinder blinked. Shook his head. "What? No, of course not. I would've told you. I work alone, Mr. Harris."

Another knock. Without another word Harris turned and disappeared into the small entrance hallway. There was some quiet grumbling, the sound of a lock being undone, and then...silence.

The sudden silence filled the house; it felt unnatural, eerie. It felt wrong.

Mohinder strained his ears.

"I should've known," came Harris' voice, breaking the quiet as abruptly as it had fallen. "Son of a bitch!"

Startled, Mohinder stood. He stared blankly at the television and wondered at what he was hearing. Perhaps it was the result of some sort of long running family or neighborly spat – perhaps it was something else. He considered going to the front door, brushing by Harris and whoever was at the door with an excuse, and then marching down the walk to his car. Leaving.

"Holy shit," Harris said. "Son of a bitch!"

Yes, Mohinder thought. Leaving now would probably be wise. He took a step forward.

"I should've known," Harris went on, his voice picking up both volume and urgency and rushing its way down the hallway, bending into the living room. "I shouldn't have hesitated. I -"

"I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't care," came a low and steady voice that caused Mohinder's eyes to immediately widen, caused goose bumps to rise on his flesh, caused his muscles to tense in fear – and then Jake Harris came flying into the living room, as if thrown suddenly backward by a powerful force. His body hit the frame of the gaping doorway that led into the small kitchen, his head bounced, and he slid to the floor.

Mohinder breathed. A moment beat by. Another.

And then a tall and imposing figure sporting a long, black trench coat strode into the living room. Sylar stared at Harris' crumpled form for a brief second, then turned. As the man was turning toward him, Mohinder felt a strange pressure on his chest – a pressure that felt much like a hand getting ready to shove him. Sylar's gaze met his own, the man's eyes widened slightly, and then the pressure disappeared.

"You," Mohinder managed. His mind had abruptly clouded with fear, with shock.

Sylar's mouth twisted into a cruel-looking smile. "Me," he said. Purred. He stepped closer. "Hello, Mohind-"

But before the name had fully escaped his lips Harris rose from the floor in a flash of movement. Mohinder felt his feet leave the floor, felt his body rushing through air, felt a white hot pain in his neck, heard Sylar growl something – and then there was darkness.