Quote Fic #1

Title: afraid to run away
Author: DebC
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Heroes
Characters: Matt Parkman, Mohinder Suresh, Molly Walker, Sylar

Pairings: Matt/Mohinder
Warnings: slash, character death (implied)
Quote Used: Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away. -- Thomas Fuller

In retrospect, Matt probably should have run. Any sane man would have. Because that's what you do when a homicidal maniac is coming to kill everyone you hold dear.

Wasn't it?

Especially when that maniac was Gabriel Gray, aka Sylar, and even more especially when he held a huge ass grudge against both your daughter and your lover. Molly was the 'one who got away' from Sylar, a special little girl who'd lost her equally special father to Sylar earlier that year but had survived herself. And Mohinder, the son of the man who'd inadvertently set Sylar on his bloody path.

Matt, who was only just now coming to terms with the fact that he could do more than just hear the thoughts of those around him, had spent weeks 'listening' to Molly's fearful nightmares and Mohinder's yearnings for vengeance and justice. And both their fears that he, Matthew Parkman, would be the next to contribute to Sylar's cache of stolen abilities.

Thanks to Molly, they'd managed to stay a few steps ahead of Sylar for well over two months, living in motels and moving every week or two. But when the money they really hadn't had to begin with started to run out, Sylar began to catch up. For the last three days, they'd been playing a nerve-wracking waiting game in which Sylar grew closer and closer while Molly cried and Mohinder finally stopped pretending that everything was going to be okay. You didn't have to be a mind reader to understand the panic visible in Mohinder's eyes.

"He's here," Molly whispered late one night as she lay curled between Matt and Mohinder's fully clothed bodies on the tiny full-sized bed in the center of an even smaller motel room. They were supposed to vacate tomorrow, but it was starting to look like they'd be leaving sooner than expected.

Matt smoothed her hair away from her face. "It'll be okay," he told her, looking past her to Mohinder. Mohinder's eyes burned with intense hatred for the monster who hunted them. It was a feeling Matt easily shared. "It'll be okay," he repeated softly, tenderly speaking to the daughter of his heart, if not his blood.

Seconds later an explosion and the sound of breaking glass from somewhere down the hall announced that Sylar was in the building. The next explosion was even closer and Molly screamed, clutching Mohinder tightly. Mohinder's had gripped Matt's arm and from his mind escaped one errant thought – my god, he's gotten more powerful since the last time.

That grim, horrifying thought was tinged with all of Mohinder's fears for their little patch-work family . Everything they'd built together could soon come to an end.

"He's coming down the hall," Molly told them. It was scary how attuned she'd become to Sylar lately.

"There's a window in the bathroom," Matt said, and Mohinder nodded his head. It opened out into the parking lot, where their van was currently --

"Take Molly and go!" They each said to the other, and then stopped and stared when they realized what they'd said.

"Sylar knows me," Mohinder said simply. "We have a rapport; he might --" go easier on me, but Matt didn't let Mohinder do more than think those words.

"He wants you dead, Mohinder. Dead." Matt's voice held the seriousness of one who knew all too well what the sociopath wanted from each of them. "I might be able to slow him down. You and Molly need to go, now."

"I will not leave you behind, Matthew." Please don't ask this of me, he begged mentally.

We can't keep running forever, Mohinder. For one thing, the money's gone. And another... it's no way to live. Molly deserves the chance to live a normal life. We all do, Matt argued back at him.

Can you defeat him?

The unvoiced question sounded hopeful in Matt's mind. Could he? Damn it, he swore privately before answering. I don't know. Maury was one thing... then Peter Petrelli... but I don't think Peter would have really killed me, you know?

I agree. Peter Petrelli is not a murderer, but Sylar is. Be careful, Matthew, Mohinder thought, and it sounded like saying farewell. Then he bundled Molly into his arms and raced to the bathroom, slamming the door behind them. Matt could hear Molly crying while Mohinder broke open the window.

When the front door blew open, it was Matt alone who stood in the middle of the motel room, waiting for the monster he wasn't sure he could vanquish. Any one else would have run and no one would have blamed him. No one but himself, that is.

When Sylar pinned him to the wall, Matt wondered, briefly, if he hand made the right decision, and then he unleashed all of his mental abilities, letting himself pick through Sylar's mind, seeing what would happen. He found the image – a mental representation of Sylar slicing through his own skull – and held onto it tightly, even as he felt his own, all too real blood, begin to trickle down his forehead. Despite the pain, he pushed onwards, using his mind to turn it back on Sylar the same way he'd turned Maury's powers around. Attempting to use Sylar's own weapons against him.

It wasn't as easy by any stretch of the word, and Matt soon found himself locked in a seemingly endless duel of strengths. His own naturally inherited ability pitted against everything Sylar had stolen from others. All the while, Sylar making both verbal and mental attacks – snide, arrogant, cruel remarks out loud and twisted, gruesome thoughts fed straight to Matt's brain – letting him know what he would do to 'Dr. Suresh and the brat' once he'd finished offing Matt. These taunts were meant to throw Matt guard and weaken his resolve. Break him.

Instead, they only made him push harder, exert more force as he forced his way into the inner workings of Sylar's mind, until at last, he could feel Sylar slipping and feel himself gaining control. Then, slowly, a slice mirroring his own appeared on his adversary's brow, followed by a slow trickle of blood.

When Sylar lost finally consciousness, it broke the mental link between them, and Matt fell to the floor in an exhausted heap. Struggling, he pulled himself up and stared, aghast, at the sight before him. Sylar was dying, undone by his own actions. He'd never bother their family, or anyone else, again.

Heaving a deep breath of relief, Matt turned and fled the room, and didn't stop running until he reached the edge of the parking lot... where the van was waiting, engine running.

"I thought I told you to leave," he breathlessly accused Mohinder as he all but collapsed by the vehicle. Mohinder was by his side in an instant, helping him up, while Molly pushed open the door.

"And I thought I told you – I wasn't leaving you behind, Matthew Parkman." I love you.

I love you, too. Matt thought back at him and let them situate him in the van.

"Oh, Matt! You were so brave!" Molly exclaimed, throwing her arms around him. "I was so afraid to lose you, too. I love you!"

Matt and Mohinder exchanged glances and both of them smiled. "I love you, too, kiddo."

When a man loves his family, he'll do anything to protect them. Even if that meant laying down his own life, if need be. They were a family still, and damn it, nothing was going to threaten that ever again.