Rating: Call it a hard T.
Standard disclaimers: All "Heroes" characters and properties are owned by NBC and related entities. Respect to Kring, Beeman, etc.
Notes: This started out as a pretty basic concept: "what if Peter was Robin?" and very quickly became something much bigger. Eventually, this one is going to feature everybody.
Outside Linderman Brothers Traveling Circus
When he woke up on the dirt floor, Peter Petrelli's first thought was sheer amazement that he had survived the fall. Then they told him he was the only one of the Flying Petrellis had could make that claim, and suddenly the fact he was walking away without so much as a broken bone in his body didn't to matter all that much.
His mother and father, his little brothers Simon and Monty... he was all that was left.
The tightrope had snapped in mid-air... but that didn't make sense. His father knew their equipment better than anyone else in the world and he examined thoroughly it before every show.
This was no accident, someone had done this to him.
"I imagine you're feeling rather directionless now," a voice called out of nowhere.
"Who?" Peter darted his head around in confusion.
"And I thought perhaps the thing for it might be revenge," the voice continued.
Then a figure began to appear before Peter; gradually as though his eyes were adjusting to the darkness. "I don't normally take an active hand in these things, you understand," the other man explained. "But I thought I might make an exception this time. They clearly don't want you alive, which is reason enough to make sure you stay that way."
Peter continued to stare at the other man in utter confusion. He was tall and gaunt, with a mess of blond hair that looked as though it hadn't seen a comb since the Market crashed. "Who... are... you?" Peter managed to cough out.
"I'm the one that's going to train you, to help you find the ones who did this to your family and make them pay." The older man laughed with real amusement. "I'm the god damn Invisible Man."
Peter stared hard at the other man. He honestly wished he had other options.
Ando had never felt more overwhelmed than he did at this moment. The Emperor himself was just beyond this wall. A man of Ando's standing should have never been allowed this far into the Imperial Residence, should have been never been permitted to gave upon the opulence of his surroundings, yet here he was. It was truly an epic moment for him.
He just wished it could have been under better circumstances.
The door swung open and Kaito Nakamura, a man who looked every bit like he belonged there, stepped out.
"Did you speak to the Emperor?" Ando asked eagerly.
Kaito nodded. His expression was unreadable, but that was always the case.
Ando was hovering around the older man like a hungry puppy. "And will he withdraw from Mancukuo? Will he severe ties with the Germans?"
After a long moment of silence, Kaito cast down his eyes. "He is unmovable. The War will not only continue, it will expand. It is only beginning."
"But, the paintings," Ando protested.
"The Emperor does not put much faith in the work of foreigners," Kaito replied almost sadly.
Ando cast his head down in utter defeat. "Then I have failed to save Japan."
As usual, Kaito Nakamura said nothing.
Hartsdale, New York
"Gee, Mr. Gray," Cub Reporter Jimmy West swooned, "how is it you're always there to get those great stories?"
"You know I can't tell you that, Jimmy, a reporter's only as good as his secrets," Sylar replied, looking straight ahead and giving a smile and a wink to no one in particular.
"Well, you're not going to scoop me this time, Gray, that's for darn sure," Plucky Girl Reporter Michelle Wilmer snapped.
Sylar smiled sincerely at Michelle. Maybe someday he'd settle down and tell her his secret.
Suddenly, Editor-in-Chief Bob Bishop burst into the room. "Good God, people, what are my two best reporters doing lounging around here when there's a train crash just outside town! Somebody get on it, who knows how many people could be injured or dying right now!"
Sylar snapped out of his chair, then searched desperately for an excuse to leave. "I, uh, have to wind my watch," he offered lamely as prepared to run off into action.
When he was safely out of range, Michelle let the illusion fade.
"'I have to wind my watch?'" Michelle winced. "His excuses keep getting worse and worse."
"We had a choice between dealing with clock obsession and curing him of his pathological need to murder," Bob cut back harshly. "I like to think we made the right decision."
"It would be easier just to blow his brains out," Michelle said ruefully.
"Unquestionably," Bob agreed, "but that's not what the Company wants."
For the first time, Michelle looked at him with real fear. "Bob, even I can't keep an illusion up forever."
"And you won't have to," Bob assured her. "Once we're sure that the Sylar personality has been completely replaced by this new... 'Watch-Man'... we make him believe this building has been destroyed and all of us with it." He shrugged. "All true heroes are born in tragedy."
Michelle was unconvinced, and Bob found himself noticing how tired she seemed. "This isn't going to end well."
Bob placed a paternal arm on her shoulder. "This War is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, Candice, and a man like Gray could make a world of difference in Europe." She was looking down, so Bob softly brought her eyes up to meet his. "Listen, I've been with you your whole life. You know I wouldn't put you in danger."
Michelle nodded. "You've been like a father to me," she agreed.
"...But I've seen what you've done to your daughter," she finished coldly, turning to walk away.
Office of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister stared out his window in rapt fascination. Logically he knew his eyes and ears weren't sharp enough, but he felt as though he could see and hear the impact of each bomb the German Luftwaffe mercilessly rained down on his homeland. But he couldn't possibly.
He could feel it though.
He could feel the course of history, history that he had already so easily changed, rushing through him. This was the nexus point; the time when he could correct all the past mistakes and finally change the world for the better.
He studied a report he had been given earlier that day. They had cracked the Nazi's codes and could determine where the next target would be; some of his aides even believed they'd be able to evacuate whole towns with little to no loss of life. But he had rejected the idea outright; they couldn't act without revealing their biggest advantage to the enemy, who would only adopt a new code and continue as before. As difficult as it was to accept, they would have to consider the people in those towns as acceptable losses in the long run.
"And if there's one thing I understand," the Prime Minister crooned after they had left him, "it 's acceptable losses. Right... Carp?"