Title: It would be nice to have company.

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.

Pairing: Sort of Peter/Elle, but it's got very little to do with the plot. (I'm just not that kind of writer.)

Epilogue: Passengers

"You can only keep this up so long," Sylar taunted, telekinetically pulling shards of glass from the city far below and lobbing them back at Peter. "The longer you try to keep up with me, the sooner you lose control."

But Peter wasn't about to slow down; using his own powers to harmless deflected as much the attack as he could, he closed the distance between the two of them and steeled himself for the final assault. "You've got the same problem," Peter shot back. "The more power you try to use at once, the sloppier you get."

Peter paused for a moment to twist the knife a little deeper. "I heard what happened to your mother."

Peter's words had the desired effect. Sylar stumbled for just a moment, and in that moment Peter grasped a fairly decent sized chunk of glass that found purchase in his shoulder and sent it flying through the air to cut a slash across Sylar's face.

The wound healed instantly.

And now it was Peter's turn to falter. Sylar smiled his wicked insane switchblade smile as Peter felt his insides melt away and pull towards his feet.

"You were supposed to protect her, weren't you?" Sylar taunted. "She was the last little piece of your brother you had to cling to... the end of the family line, but somehow you weren't there when it matter."

"Nathan..." Peter mumbled, feeling himself slipping as the weight of his failure washed over him.

"And now I can heal any injury," Sylar finished, his smile growing exponentially.

And just like that, something in Peter switched off. "Not any injury."

Sylar raised an eyebrow in confusion and Peter took that split second to fire off a crippling bolt of blue lighting his way. At Sylar's current power level, it wouldn't keep him in place for very long, but Peter only needed a few seconds.

Flying up to Sylar's level, Peter clasped his hands on either side of the homicidal maniac's head. His mind flashed back to his last confrontation with Sylar, when a woman he later learned was named Niki had come to his aid. Summoning as much of her power as he could bring forth, Peter slammed his hands together, crushing Sylar's head and all the powers he had stolen in the process.

"You forgot the 'sweet spot,'" Peter muttered, in a daze.

Then, utterly exhausted, Peter Petrelli lost his grip on consciousness and fell from the sky like a stone.

Three Weeks Later...

"So, this is how it is with you, huh?" Elle asked. "You mess everything up and then you go into exile."

"This is different," Peter muttered simply.

Elle nodded as she stared done the backroad at the ever-expanding American nowhere stretching out before them. "At least this time you're not going back to Daddy."

Peter remained silent and kept on driving.

Elle naturally decided the thing for it was further prodding. "I still haven't decided if this is more honest, though."

She could see Peter twitch.

"I mean, at least then you could convince yourself that you were doing this for someone else and you might have even believed it on some level," Elle said, her tone playfully mocking. "Now I think you're at least willing to admit this is all about you punishing yourself."

"I didn't ask you to come along," Peter said tersely, not even looking at her.

Elle gave a flirty shrug. "Maybe not with your words."

Again, Peter said nothing.

"I know you think that whole 'brooding intensity' thing is cute," Elle teased. "But you're really starting to bring this road trip down. Now, I want you to make a list in your head of simple things you can do along the trip to make things a little more fun for me. I'm not going to give you any hints because I think this should be your project, but I think you know where to start."

And, with that, Elle let her hand hover just above his, raining teasing sparks down on him. "You're going to make us crash the car," Peter cautioned flatly.

Elle gave a pout she hoped qualified as "adorable" and slumped back in her seat.

Peter sighed. He knew that on some level Elle was putting on a show for his benefit, but it was a lost cause. His whole life, he believed in family above all else... and now he'd gotten his entire family killed.

He'd gotten some level of revenge on the Company, of course, and he'd put Sylar down like a sick dog; but it all left him feeling more empty and useless.

It just made him realize what a failure he actually was.

"We're coming up on a town," Peter observed.

Elle looked over the dashboard. She was a woman of aggressive petiteness, and she still felt like she could have closed her fist around the entire town. "I suppose we've both been through worse."

"So... do you think this is it?" Peter asked, still not sure what they had been looking for.

"At least a thousand miles from anything, probably less than twenty years with electricity?" Elle sighed in despair. "Yeah, that seems about right."

Looking at it from a distance, though, a small, less sarcastic part of Elle Bishop couldn't help but find the town was actually possessed of its own quaint charm, which she would, of course, never admit to.

This same part of Elle couldn't help but think that maybe it was the kind of place where she could do the Elle equivalent of settling down and perhaps without other distractions (besides the usual guilt and shame) one Peter Petrelli would finally be able to make peace with who he was and start to appreciate what was right in front of him.

When she got a little closer, however, her primary reaction was one of profound shock that some of the houses might still have inhabitants living in them.

--

Elle had no way of realizing at the time that that was a half-truth at best.

For while the houses were immaculately-kept and possessed the required level of doilies and inspirational cross-stitch patterns for quaint little homes in this part of the country, the beings living in the homes had lost their most basic humanity many years before, with the arrival of one of her kind.

They lived now as manikins, their minds the red mutant eyes of the invader; all of their actions mere extensions of the Central Nervous System, the sole living inhabitant of the Town.

As Peter and Elle's car began its slow approach into the Town, the first of them caught sight of them from the shadows and sent the message back to its master.

The System digested the information and gave a thoughtful grimace.

"Hmm," he reflected. "I don't think this is going to turn out at all well for Sylvester and Porky."