A/N: Major spoilers for Powerless.
Elle ran up the flights of stairs leading up to Mohinder's lab. She winced as her heels clicked loudly against the concrete steps. She was regretting wearing high heels on her self-assigned mission. The extra few inches they added to her height was not worth this.
She almost smiled as she began to climb the last flight of stairs; she would have if she didn't know who was waiting up there. She didn't know much about Sylar; but what she did know was more than enough to make her weary. She had read bits and pieces of his file on her dad's computer. She had seen his list of victims and the tentative list of his acquired powers. She had seen the reports on his surgeries and his injection with the so-called safe strain of the virus. But even though Sylar was powerless, only a fool would underestimate him.
Elle climbed up the last step, slowing to a walk. She stepped lightly, making sure that her heels didn't attract the attention of the people inside. She reached for the lab's door handle, brushing a cockroach off the smooth metal.
He peered through the blinds before she opened the door. She immediately spotted both Mohinder and Sylar. They were leaning over a woman lying sprawled on the ground. Elle could see the woman's glistening blood on what little she could see of her body.
She pushed down on the door handle and walked quietly inside. Mohinder was lifting something from the woman's body. Elle didn't see what it was; her eyes were totally focused on the back of Sylar's head.
"I'm sure Maya will understand if I'm not here when she wakes up." Sylar said as he reached forward and grabbed a protective case from on top of a bag.
Elle stepped forward, holding her dazzling blue electricity in her unrestrained hand, "Sylar!"
Sylar spun around, raising the Company issue gun clutched tightly in his grasp. Elle thrust out with her hand, her electricity surging in her palm. She stumbled back as Sylar fired the gun, the bullet shattering the glass panel between them. Elle gasped in pain as her fall jarred her still aching gunshot wound.
Over the crash of glass and gunshots, Elle could hear a childish scream and Mohinder crying out someone's name. She ducked her head as two more gunshots echoed through the laboratory, shattering another pane of glass.
Elle staggered to her feet, holding onto the side of a cabinet to pull herself up. She glanced quickly around the lab. Sylar was scrambling away, heading towards the lab's back entrance. Elle raised her hand, sending a bolt of blue lightning in Sylar's direction. The bolt hit one of the labs computers, immediately shattering the screen and shorting out the computer's power.
Elle bit her lip in frustration and sent another bolt of lightning streaking towards Sylar. The bolt impacted against Sylar's back, making Sylar's body arch and spasm. Sylar staggered forward, falling through the glass panel on the back door.
Elle clutched her old gunshot and ran around the broken panels of glass. She climbed down a set of stairs and began to cross the lab, glancing at Mohinder and a girl she recognised as Molly Walker as she ran by.
She stepped through the broken doorway, looking for Sylar's fleeing form. The corridors were a grimy mess of abandoned building materials and smashed glass. Wet bloodstains were streaked along the right wall, marking Sylar's desperate attempt to escape. She saw the serial killer stagger around another corner, heading towards the building's fire escape.
Elle tore after him in her awkward high-heeled run. Her body was racing with adrenaline, fuelling her electrical charges. She could feel the lightning building up inside her body, waiting to be released. You're not getting away, she thought vehemently. Not again!
She rounded the blood-smeared corner, turning into a nearly identical passage, complete with abandoned building materials and Sylar's smeared bloodstains on the walls. She immediately caught sight of the injured Sylar by one of the corridor's small, square windows. Blue lightning burst from her palm, crossing the distance from her to Sylar in an instant.
Gotcha, Elle thought proudly. Nowhere left to run!
The bolt struck Sylar square in his back. Elle could hear his cry of pain as his body began to spasm under the strength of her electricity. Elle frowned in confusion as the now familiar sound of breaking glass reached her ears over the roar of her electricity.
She clenched her fist, cutting off her bolt of lightning. She stared down the corridor, looking for any sign of the serial killer.
"Oh, no," she said in a panicked voice, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!" Elle ran forward, this time not caring that her heels made her toes ache painfully; she didn't even give her footwear a thought. Sylar was gone, only leaving a shattered window and pieces of broken glass behind.
Elle poked her head through the broken window, looking down into the alleyway below. It was completely deserted; she couldn't see Sylar or anyone else in the dirty alley.
She sucked in a deep breath, trying to control the rush of panic and frustration threatening to consume her. "No!" she said aloud, her emotions present in every word. "He can't be gone! Oh, God, I'm so dead." This had been her chance to make her father proud and she had blown it.
She withdrew her head from the broken window and began to walk back towards the lab. She didn't know what went wrong. She knew that her dad wouldn't accept anymore excuses. The thought filled her with dread. It didn't matter what she said; it would always be her own fault.
She could almost imagine the lecture—well, more of a severe reprimand—that her father would give her. It would be a lot worse than the last lecture he gave her; he had said that she couldn't go on field assignments anymore. She had ignored him and gone after Sylar and had let the serial killer get away. The thought of meeting her father and explaining to him how she screwed up was enough to make her stomach twinge with anxiety. It would be better to just run away and never see her father again.
Elle rounded the last corner and emerged back into the lab. The woman who had been lying on the ground was now sitting up and speaking to Mohinder and Molly. They all turned to look at Elle as she trod her way back in.
"Sylar's gone!" she announced to the group, slamming her palm into the wood panel of the now glassless door. "My dad's gonna kill me!"
She hated how panicked she sounded. She clutched her itching gunshot and tried to steady her heavy breathing. She hated this feeling; she felt useless, like she couldn't do anything right. Maybe daddy was right about everything. She thought unhappily.
"I doubt that very much," Mohinder said, his words driving through Elle's shell of panic and despair. "If you hadn't arrived, Sylar would have slaughtered us all. We owe you our lives."
"Really?" Elle asked, looking up at Mohinder hopefully.
Mohinder smiled and nodded his head.
"Cool." Elle smiled. Maybe things wouldn't turn out so bad after all. Maybe her dad wouldn't be angry at her for failing to catch Sylar.
Maybe she could be a hero.
Maybe she already was.
"It's done." Noah stated in a shaky voice. He sucked in a deep breath, trying to compose himself before continuing. "You'll leave my family alone now?"
Bob nodded and started to walk back to the Company car waiting by the Bennet's household's driveway. "Yes, as long as Claire has stopped her plan to expose The Company; no harm will come to her or your family."
Noah stared at the back of Bob's head as he followed the man back to the car. He didn't realise how hard it was to say goodbye to the people he loved; it felt like he had just ripped his heart from his chest.
"However, there may be a small problem." Bob continued as he closed the distance to the car.
"What small problem?" Bennet asked angrily as he pushed his hand against the car door. "You promised that my family would be kept safe; that was the deal!"
"I'm well aware of that, Noah." Bob answered. "That's why I'm doing everything I can to rectify the problem before it becomes a major issue."
"What happened?" Noah hissed.
"Before we made our arrangement, I ordered an agent to make sure that Claire didn't expose The Company—"
"You sent an agent after my little girl?!" Noah shouted; grabbing Bob's shirt collar and forcing him back against the car.
"Calm down, Noah!" Bob said. "I'm trying to find the man so I can call him off. The agent was ordered to go dark and he hasn't checked in since he last called at Primatech."
Noah released Bob and stepped back, realising the seriousness of the situation. There was no way for Bob to contact the agent; the agent had to contact him. Going dark was one of the most basic security measures employed at The Company. "Then we're staying until your agent gets here. I'm not leaving until I'm sure she's safe."
Bob pushed himself off the side of the car and straightened his now rumpled suit collar. "I can promise you that Claire won't come under assault from our agent. I ordered him to check in when he arrived in Costa Verde. He'll be ordered to leave Claire alone, as I promised."
"Who'd you send?" Noah asked.
"Dean." Bob answered. "I'm sure you remember him."
Noah nodded and wiped a hand across his chin. He knew Dean from the five years he had spent at Primatech. Bob had said it was so Dean could get some training and experience with bagging and tagging assignments and information on the various abilities he might come into contact with. But word spread quickly around The Company. It wasn't long after when Noah had found out about Dean's short-lived relationship with Elle. Bob had done the easiest thing to separate the two of them.
Noah hadn't actually been surprised to hear that Dean and Elle had started sleeping together. He had been on the training assignment on Miami with them and had seen their relaxed friendship suddenly twist into strong sexual attraction. He didn't know what the trigger had been, but he and Claude had found it incredibly amusing to see how awkward it had turned between them in the middle of the trip.
"Yeah, I remember him." Noah replied, still visibly angry over Bob's actions. "Though, I am surprised that Dean agreed to kill Claire. He treated her like a little sister whenever he saw her at Primatech."
"Back when you were still a loyal employee." Bob said.
"Back when I was a still a loyal employee." Noah nodded. Back then, he was less anxious about keeping Claire away from The Company. He still avoided it whenever he could, but on the occasional times when it couldn't be helped, he mainly let Claire stay with Dean when he didn't want her to see something. Dean never seemed to mind it; he would just play card games with her. Noah was sure that Dean had taught her how to play poker as well as she could; Claire always seemed to win whenever she played; Noah also certain that Dean had taught her how to cheat at it too. Though if Noah had known then what he did now, Claire would never had been allowed anywhere near Primatech.
"There was another reason I sent Dean after Claire." Bob said as he opened the car door. "The issue of her blood—"
"It's always easier to kill then to protect," finished Noah as he climbed into the driver's seat. "I know. I followed the rule myself."
Bob nodded and watched as Noah stared the car and began to drive away from the Bennet household. "Something must have gone wrong," he stated, causing Noah to look at him curiously. "Dean should have been here hours ago. He called from Primatech before we even arrived in Costa Verde."
Noah turned his attention back to the road. He wasn't all that worried about Dean going after Claire. He would definitely call to check in before he even made a move on her. Dean was a Company dog, through and through. He followed orders; no matter how much he didn't like them. There were a few exceptions, but Noah didn't think that any of them applied in this case.
"What makes you think that something went wrong? He's capable. He always has been."
Bob shrugged, "Time. Its always time."
Noah nodded in understanding. Agents that went dark were required to check in before they moved location or acted on their assignments. Payphone calls or emails from public computers—things that couldn't be traced back to them. If an Agent failed to check in after several hours, they had either gone rogue or were killed; two scenarios which beckoned two responses.
If an agent went rogue, he had to be hunted down and exterminated. If the agent was killed, The Company needed to find out who killed him and hunt the man down. Being injured was never an excuse for not being able to check in.
Noah pushed down on the brakes slightly as he turned a corner. Things were only going to get more complicated from here on out. Noah found himself missing the days when everything was so simple in his life; when he followed orders and kept his family safe.
"Everything comes down to time," agreed Noah.
The man stood easily near the back of the crowd, not too far into the throng to be held back by the jostling reporters and not too far back to attract the attention of security or anyone else. It was just right for this kind of situation.
He didn't expect any trouble or difficulty in reaching his goal. He had been pleasantly surprised to discover that the psychic cop: Matt Parkman had used his ability to attract the total attention of everyone watching Nathan Petrelli speak, forcing them to hang onto his every word. The man almost chuckled; they were sheep, all of them. Maybe some of them weren't in their day-to-day lives, but right now, they were all the same.
The man forced his hands into his jacket pockets; his right encountering nothing but the soft, inner fabric; while his left encountered the smooth metal of a handgun.
He hadn't wanted to do this in the middle of a police station with a crowd full of reporters nearby. If he had gotten his way, he'd be on a rooftop somewhere with a long-range sniper rifle and scope. But orders were orders. They didn't want Nathan Petrelli dead unless absolutely necessary. If Nathan decided not to carry on with the plan he had conducted back in Primatech's vault, he'd be safe. If not, well, there'd be one less special in the world.
The man curled his fingers around the slightly warm handle of the gun. Despite his orders, he had been reluctant to agree to this assignment; it wasn't because of the risk. Matt Parkman had erased all his fears of being caught or discovered. No one had even noticed the odd-shaped bulge in his jacket pocket. The man shrugged; maybe I'm getting soft? He thought. He almost shook his head in denial. No, that's not it.
His head perked up as Nathan Petrelli began speaking what was obviously the final part of his speech. The entire air in the room seemed to shift with tension and anticipation.
The man listened intently to Nathan's words. If Nathan was going to expose the specials, it would be here. The man positioned the gun inside his pocket, making sure he was ready to pull it out and fire on the unsuspecting former congressman.
"…I'm here to tell you the truth." Nathan said from his position on the platform.
The man sighed in disappointment and carefully pulled the handgun out of his pocket. I'm sorry, Nathan, he thought apologetically, you've forced our hand.
"I have the ability to—" The man raised his gun and fired. Two hisses erupted out of the gun, the silencer dulling all notable noise from the shots. The bullets impacted against Nathan's chest, making him stagger back as two red stains began to leak across his shirt.
The assassin swore under his breath. The shots hadn't hit Nathan where he had meant them to. He didn't have time for another shot and even if he did, he didn't have a target to aim at. Nathan had fallen back and was now being held by his brother on the platforms floor.
The assassin turned and began to make his way through the panicking crowd. He didn't have much time to make his getaway. And it wasn't like he could run either. Running attracted attention, everyone with a little experience in this area knew that.
He didn't bother turning his head to have another look behind him. There was no way to know whether he had killed Nathan Petrelli, at least not by a quick glance back.
He sighed and rounded a corner, heading away from the scene and towards the police station's exit.
Dean immediately felt like he was being torn in half. He flinched in pain as the whirling vortex of the Space/Time Continuum sucked him in. It felt like he was being dragged away from where he really wanted to go; a game of tug-of-war he was steadily losing.
His insides twisted uncomfortably as his entire world seemed to spin; rapidly at first, then slowing down to a dizzying cycle. Dean wondered if Hiro experienced this every time he teleported. If he did, Dean would have been surprised if he teleported at all. The dizzying feelings were enough to make Dean feel like vomiting.
Dean slowly opened his eyes as the twisting sensations suddenly died. He was immediately startled by a world lacking colour. Everything was either tonal greys or pure white. Wherever he was, he knew it wasn't Costa Verde.
Good one, Dean! He thought sardonically. How many times have you told yourself never to use newly absorbed powers!
Dean shook his head and looked closer at his surroundings. The absence of colour was truly startling; Dean had never seen a blander place in his entire life, not even the cells back in Hartsdale compared to it. He could see a grey building right in front of him, along with lengths of barb-wired fences surrounding the building and the concrete pavement. The place looked like a prison. And he was inside it.
His head snapped around as a familiar accented voice reached his ears. He knew he had heard the voice not too long ago, but he just couldn't fit a face to the sound. He turned around to face the woman. Brown curls framed her face, the colour only matched by her deep brown eyes.
"You're new, aren't you?" the woman asked. "Did you just transfer here from up north? Come on, everyone else is inside, they think it's gonna rain."
Dean's eyebrows rose in surprise as he finally knew where he had seen the woman before. "Caitlin?" Dean asked, peering down at her face.
Caitlin frowned and looked at Dean curiously; it was obvious her mind was trying to make the same connections that his had. "Dean?" she said incredulously. "How'd you get here? Foreigners were deported straight away."
"Foreigners? What— where are we?"
"Dublin," replied Caitlin, "In one of the last quarantines left here."
"Quarantine?" Dean said sceptically.
"You don't know?" Caitlin sounded surprised. "How can you not? I thought everyone knew."
Caitlin looked at him sympathetically and pointed towards a board on the side of the building. Dean was surprised he missed the bold red lettering on his initial sweep of his surroundings.
He walked towards the board, aware of Caitlin walking at his side. He suddenly began to feel sick as read the board's contents aloud. "Quarantine. Report any suspicion of the Shanti Virus to your nearest HASMAT team…"
Dean broke off, not bothering to read the rest of the board. The stray thought that had been plaguing him ever since he had arrived in this bleak environment suddenly appearing in greater force. "Caitlin, what date is it?"
Caitlin looked at him in surprise, "June 10th, 2008."
Dean took a step back, looking at Caitlin in wide-eyed shock. "What? No! It was April! April, 2007."
"I'm sorry, Dean," Caitlin said unhappily. "A month ago I'd have agreed with you, but…"
Dean shook his head in denial, "No, no, no, no; this isn't happening."
Caitlin smiled sympathetically, "I know how you feel. I felt like that as well, but now..."
Dean didn't answer. He knew that he had practically no control over newly obtained abilities—but teleporting a year into the future?! "Oh, no."
Caitlin patted his shoulder comfortingly, "Welcome to hell."
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me this far. The sequel is now posted. The sequel is called 'The Tale Continues' and will pick off where this and Volume 2: Generations left off. So look out for that.
Anyway, thanks for reading this fic. I really hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Though writing chapters 13, 15 and 16 felt like I was pulling my teeth out…)