The nation was torn apart at the seams. People sick of the government, people sick of the resistance, and most of all, people sick of the fighting between the two. People were becoming desperate, either clinging to the shattered fragments of their homes and lives or cringing away from the horrifying spectacle their less fortunate counterparts made. Everyone (everyone except for the extremists, the people who craved conflict, who thrived on it, needed it to live, that is) was clamoring for peace, for progress, for an end.
People needed a leader. They needed a hero.
Unfortunately for everyone, the only person he saw stepping up was himself. And he had left behind the hero's path long ago.
He wandered around the streets of New York- and was it really almost two decades ago now that he had come here to heal Nathan Petrelli? Was it really just a few short years less that his brother exploded, causing a catastrophe more potent than even he himself could have dreamed up? Was it really only a few years after that when Hiro Nakamura had died?
Well. He was in an unusually sentimental mood today, he thought wryly. He stopped to admire the cherry trees, which were just starting to bloom.
He had to admit, that when he heard the news about his death, paraded across television screens and headlines with more fanfare than was really warranted, his first reaction was shock. He knew, on some shallow superficial level that he would die one day, of course, in the same way he knew that one day he would be born. But just as four hundred years seemed like such a short time to prepare for what was to be the crowning moment of a eternal lifetime, thirty-three years of life in which to torment him seemed…lacking. Hiro had been a focal point of his life for so long, it seemed wrong that his story should be such a short one.
A hollow victory. He could almost convince himself that the bitter taste Hiro's death left in his mouth was that, rather than grief. Almost, just as he could almost convince himself that Hiro's betrayal had justified the revenge he exacted upon him.
But then again, things weren't as they used to be. Not when he can watch men flying overhead without the aid of any machine. Not when he's found people with the same ability as him, some younger, some very much older.
So much had changed. So much, too much. He can no longer get properly angry at him, at poor little trodden-upon Carp, who lived as the hero he strove to be and was hated and feared by more people who even knew that Takezo Kensei walked the earth still. His sword had passed from Linderman's hands to Hiro's to a girl who called herself Martha Laplace.
He contemplated trying to get it from her for a moment, but what use would that be? It was a sword, albeit a sword shrouded in mystery and power, just as underneath all that bluster and nobility Hiro Nakamura had been purely human. Flawed. Imperfect. Capable of making mistakes. Prone to fits of passion and easily distracted by the things such as swords and scrolls and falling stars.
He could forgive him now. For all the good it would do either of them, he thought that he could let go of his hatred.
And maybe, just maybe, Adam could try being a hero again.
His cell is exactly twelve steps long, and three steps wide. The toilet is a kind of off white, but in the poor lighting he can't tell if it's leaning towards a grayish white or a yellowish one. The cot is hard, but serviceable and clean. The door is solid and immovable- his guards phase through the walls to give him his food twice a day, and he's been informed that when his trial comes, he'll be moved in a similar manner. It's as much to keep him safe as it is to keep him secure; he's likely the most hated man in existence, after Matt and Sylar.
He doesn't expect visitors; even the guards don't interact with him very much, so it comes as a surprise when a woman, dressed in a business suit and very obviously not a guard, is phased through the metal before being left alone with him.
He regards her for a moment, wondering who she is, what her purpose is being here. Is she his lawyer perhaps?
"Hello," she says.
"Hello," he replies. The he catches sight of her nametag; the label reads MARTHA LAPLACE.
Oh. Well, then…
"Having trouble with the new government?" he asks. He knows what she's after now. He's survived five out of the last six administrations this ways, cutting deals with the new guys. The last administration he suspects he lived through mostly because it turned out that it was Sylar who was at the helm again. "Need a little advice? Some inside tips?"
She blinks. Then smiles. Then laughs.
Full on laughs, shoulders shaking, eyes scrunched up and tearing, clutching her side and leaning back against the wall as she gasps for breath. Mohinder gapes.
"I'm sorry," she manages in between gulps of air. "It's just, I've imagined this meeting a hundred times, and out of all the scenarios I've come up with, you not recognizing me was never in the cards."
Mohinder tilts his head to one side, studying her. "You're Martha Laplace, are you not?"
"Yeah, but-" she stops suddenly. "Huh. You really have know idea who I am, do you Appa?"
Mohinder sits shaking down on the cot, suddenly dizzy. Or maybe that's just the rest of the world moving as he stands still, frozen by the weight of this revelation.
He'd imagined this meeting too. He'd never seen Martha's face, but everyone knew her, knew of her; the woman who smuggled over a quarter of a million refugees across the Mexican border. The one who had established a safe zone for metahumans right in the middle of New York City. The one who had taken over for Hiro Nakamura, the terrorist, the vigilante, the sadist, the murderer so good at covering her tracks they never got anyone to even give a description.
In his mind's eye, he'd pictured her as having dark hair, dark eyes, and prominent eyebrows. A female version of Sylar. He'd never once envisioned the blue eyes that had met his from the soccer field as he sat in the bleachers and beamed with pride, never once dreamed up the red hair that he had learned how to French braid for.
Appa, she called him. Tamil for father.
"Hello," she repeats, and comes to sit next to him on the cot. It creaks under their combined weight, but holds. "They treating you okay?"
"Yeah, I-" His voice is raspy. He coughs. "I'm fine, all things considered. How-"
The rest of his question dies on his lips. He knows how she's been. She's been growing up. She's been learning. She's been fighting him, all this time, almost two decades worth of it, since, since-
"He told us you were dead, you know," he chokes out. "Sylar, I mean. As Nathan. After the break-in at Moab. Well, break-out. He said you died."
"I know," she shrugs sadly. "It kind of worked out to my advantage. I thought about trying to get in touch, but, well, I was angry you let me stay in there, and then as time passed and Hiro and I began working together…well, we weren't on the same side then, were we? And, it wasn't like I could tell anyone in the resistance who I was either. Everyone knew Molly was the daughter of Darth Vader and Dr. Mengele, and it was just easier to let myself become Martha. Sometimes I even forgot Molly ever existed."
He nods numbly. Missed opportunities swirl between them; could've dug deeper, could've made the leap of faith, could've, should've tried harder…
"Have you told Matt yet?" he asks. "He'd want to know."
"Appa," she says, cautiously. "Dad's dead. He went down with the last administration."
He takes a sharp intake of breath, and lets it out slowly. He'd suspected as much, when the guards refused to say anything to him, but it was one thing to have it be a niggling fear he tried his best to push to the back of his mind and to have it be a cold, harsh reality.
"It was quick," she tells him. "A suicide. One bullet through the side of his head."
He nods, processing the information.
"He's dead too," she smiles, no smirks. "He was shot through the eye. The bullet ricocheted, doing enough damage to his brain to nullify his regenerative ability. It was quick too, I suppose." Her smile quirks upwards again. "I was a bit pressed for time."
She killed him. He can't decide if he's proud or horrified.
"What happens now?" he asks. The thought suddenly hits him; now he really is the most hated man in existence.
"I've got you a good lawyer," she assures him. "The same who defended me, as a matter of fact. But, it doesn't look so good for you. We're sort of shooting for life imprisonment."
"Oh joy and happiness," he sneers. There's a rap on the door.
"I've got to go," she says, standing up. "It- it was nice seeing you again Appa."
She is half way to the door when he stands up. "Wait."
She stops, and he throws his arms around her. They hug, and suddenly he can tell just how much he's missing. When did she grow from a gangly teen to a woman almost as tall as he was? When did she learn about tampons and bras and all the other female stuff he and Matt had agonized over? Had she gone to college? Where? When did she get her first boyfriend? Did she have a husband? Did she even like men?
When did she take her first life? When did she learn to enjoy it? And how much of that was his, her father's, fault?
"I'll see you at the trial," she murmurs, and pulls back. The guard has entered; he takes her by the arm and they walk through the door together, leaving Mohinder alone with the echoes of his belated goodbye.
He places his hands on the TV, and it springs to life. CSPAN2 airs; it's day three of Dr. Suresh's trial, and Monty Petrelli, esquire, is cataloguing his relationship with Sylar. He changes the channel hurriedly. Adam Monroe is making a speech about imperfection being omnipresent, and the need for forgiveness. He keeps his hands on the remote, watching as the channels flip by. Maya Herrera pushing to make repatriation of the American refugees voluntary rather than mandatory. The opening of Elle's memorial in Odessa. A cartoon about samurai. A cartoon about sharpshooters. A cartoon about crazy kids in love. He settles on that one.
He looks down at the files Monica gave him. She'll want to help people, once she's out of prison. She has only a slightly smaller change of acquittal than Mol-Martha did, and that was mostly because she wasn't being tried as Monica, but as St. Joan. Martha's kills had been more numerous, but clean and mostly in what had been termed 'combat situations'. Apparently the tribunal had found it more acceptable to kill while being shot at, regardless of whether or not you instigated the firefight.
It probably wouldn't help that the prosecution had some truly stunning visuals on their side as well. Bob Bishop, with his throat ripped out by the arrowhead of her crossbow bolt. Angela Petrelli, with a distinctive stab wound in her chest from her kris.
He must be focusing on the trial too much, because the channel changes back to CSPAN2. Lyle Bennet is at the stand, testifying about the day Molly had been left with him and his mother. He changes the channel back to the romtoon. Huh. Now the crazy kids in love are fighting bad guys. There's no way that will work out.
He turns the TV off is disgust, and flicks on the radio. Something techno and electronically generated fills the room; he finds the blips soothing, so he leaves it on.
It's security stuff, mostly from HomeSec, some from the resistance, although the later was notorious for not keeping records. Interrogation footage saved on read/write CDs, and the corresponding transcripts. The same for executions, vivisections, mercy killings, and all the other refuse of war both sides maintained they were too pure of heart to have committed. And then there were the ordinary citizens, and the horrors they committed. Those will be the most damaging.
But he's not here to cause damage. He's here to fix it.
The children they abandoned will want to find their wayward parents.
"Hi," Her hair was greasy and wet from rain, and her clothes were in no better shape. He later learned that she had walked to New Orleans all the way from Odessa "My parents are morons and I don't want to get the Bennets in trouble, so I ran away from home. Can I crash here?"
The families of the deceased will want to know what happened to their loved ones.
She took the sword from Hiro's body numbly. Her parents were less than ten feet away, paying them no attention, because who cared about a couple of teenagers and a young woman hanging around a corpse when the President had turned out to be Sylar, when it turned out that they had been on the wrong side after all?
"We're done here," she muttered in his ear, as Monica gathered up Hiro's body in her arms. "Let's go."
All the partnerships and strange alliances that formed during the war years will have to be recognized.
Hiro and Monica have disappeared, but Micah couldn't really bring himself to care. Not when Molly was practically on top of him, not when he could be kissing her. Not when they were touching like this.
"Micah," she murmured.
He later learned that Hiro and Monica had been doing more or less the same thing.
And all the crimes. They will be seen- they had to be seen for what they really are. Heinous. All of them.
The machines spoke to him. What sounded like a blip to other people was a scream to his ears "Intruder alert! Dispatching guards!"
He cursed, and took off down the hallway. He'd told her to be careful, to not trip the alarm, and now she was going to be completely overwhelmed…
The guards- about a dozen of them- were already dead when found her. There was a shot in the middle of each of their foreheads.
"What are you, River Tam?" he cried.
She grinned smugly, re-holstering her gun. "No force in the 'verse can stop me."
There will be no excuses. No lies.
"You killed them. All of them," he said flatly. Molly's smile was wide and false, even over the grainy picture of the webcam. It hurt that this was how they had to communicate these days, if you could even call it that any more. He'd had to find out about those deaths through one of Monica's contacts.
"I didn't have choice, Micah, you know that," she crooned. "You know I'd never-"
"I know Molly'd never. I'm not too sure about Martha," he snarled.
Monica wants a memorial. A place where people can find catharsis after all the death and destruction of the past twenty years.
It's his job to build it, and these files are his tools.
"They're in love, you know," Molly said quietly. Micah looked over to where Hiro stood behind Monica, whispering in her ear while she snickered quietly.
"You don't sound too happy about that," he observed.
"I've watched heroes fall in love before. It doesn't end well."
He threaded his fingers through her own and gave her hand a slight squeeze. "What about us?" he asked.
There has to be something in these ashes that he can use.
Simon poured the amber liquid into the tumbler with the practiced air of a former bartender and a current politician. Lyle nodded his thanks and tossed the drink back.
"Well, at least today was your last day," he said, trying to be cheerful.
"And thank God for it. If I had to testify for the defense one more time…" The glass thumped back down on the table. Simon filled it quickly.
"It's not fair, I know," he moaned. "But I suppose it's better in the long-run if the tribunal is more of a show trial than a witch hunt. More forgiveness, less vengeance, and all that."
"You sound like Monroe," Lyle snorted. "You know, he's joined St- Ms. Dawson's push to have another memorial in New York dedicated to Nakamura? Something technological, with footage from the war playing for everyone to see."
Simon laughed. "Why not? Everyone's doing it these days. You know they're opening the Parkman memorial in DC next week?"
"For Parkman? Jeez, they might as well memorialize Sylar."
"Yeah, it sort of makes you wonder who's next. The Claude Raines memorial- may the tears of all the recruits he beat carry him into the special hell."
Lyle grinned. "In memory of Audrey Hanson, she never took the easy way out and that was hard on her, so I sure hope she's having a time of it now."
Simon smiled sadly. "To Nathan Petrelli, you were a sucky father, but you tried your best to do the right thing. Mostly."
Lyle raised his glass. "To Noah Bennet, much the same."
They drank in silence, sharing the sort of knowing, but slightly awkward look that two men can share only when they aren't really brothers, for all that they share a sibling.
"So, what sort of people do we have to look after today?" Simon asked.
"We've got another pair of potential employees to interview," Lyle began. Simon rolled his eyes. Equal partnership was the tagline of the new interim government, but in another life it would have been called 'one of us, one of them'.
"Please tell me this won't end up as another West-and-Damon fiasco?" Simon pleaded.
"Hell to the no," Lyle said emphatically. "The normal's name is Zach, and I've known him for years. He's a good guy. He and my sister were friends for years before any of this even happened, and he stood by her through it all."
Simon brightened. "Oh, hey, she told me about him once. He sounded alright."
"He is. It's his partner I'm worried about."
"What's his ability?"
"Telepathy. And, you'll never believe this, his name is Matthew," Lyle grinned, a slid the relevant files over.
"You're kidding me," Simon said, jaw dropping. He open Matthew's file. "Janice O'Connor?"
"That's his mother, right?"
"That's Parkman's ex-wife."
"No, you're kidding me. There's no way-"
"That two telepaths names Matthew could be related?"
"I suppose stranger things have happened," Lyle admitted grudgingly.
"Said the man with the immortal sister."
"Said the man with the exploding uncle."
Simon grinned. "You think he knows?"
"I don't know, let's find out."