It took Mohinder a moment to process what was being shown on the television screen, although the newscaster was very helpfully playing and replaying the scene again and again in slow motion for all to see. Nathan, about to reveal his ability. Matt, pushing him away from the podium. Matt, tumbling to the ground with blood pouring out of his chest.
He and Molly had packed their things and were out on the next flight to Texas before he was conscious of even deciding to leave the lab. Molly came out of shock halfway through the flight and had a sobbing breakdown, much to the horror of the other passengers. Mohinder comforted her, thinking madly all the time "He's been shot before, he'll pull through, he did last time..."
The look on Nathan's face when they reach the baggage claim said otherwise.
Molly didn't want to return to the apartment after the funerary services were arranged, and Mohinder couldn't blame her. Not only were the memories too powerful there, but Sylar knew where they lived now. They had to leave.
The problem was, where to?
The answer presented itself in the form of Molly, who snuggled dejectedly into his arms one night with a quiet "Micah's mom died too."
After a less hurried and more thorough spate of packing, they found themselves on their way to New Orleans.
Monica looked more worn than she had when Mohinder had seen her last, but that was to be expected. He doubted he'd looked this bad when they'd before, even with Molly in a coma at the time.
"Hello," Mohinder greeted her tiredly. She smiled back.
"Hey Doc. What brings you to this part of town?" She turned to Molly. "And I know why you're here. He's in the living room, see if you can get him to start talking again, okay?"
Molly nodded, seemingly happy to have something to do.
"How are things on your end?"
He thought about how Molly had nightmares three times a night now- how she couldn't even sleep at all unless it was curled up next to him. He thought about the listless way she went about living these days, about the way she would sometimes come up beside him and cling to his waist for no apparent reason at all.
He thought about the simpering, false smile on Bob's face when he'd asked for his permission to take tissue samples from the body. He thought about the crack the other man's nose had made when it connected with his fist.
"About as well as to be expected," he replied. "You?"
"It hasn't really sunk in yet for me. It's Micah I'm worried about," she answered. "He won't speak to anyone, he'll eat what's put in front of him but not anything more, and he spends so much time in the bathtub I worry that he's going to drown himself, and-"
She stopped suddenly, than changed the subject. "How's Molly?"
"About the same. Matt-" he suddenly found himself unable to articulate the words. "Matt was-"
Matt was always the one closest to her.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she said. "I- this must be almost as hard on you as it is on her."
"It shouldn't be," he said. "I mean- we weren't together, or anything like that. But- we needed each other. And Molly needed both of us. And it was enough to overlook the fact that we couldn't actually get along at all."
Monica gave him an understanding look, and he continued. "We weren't even friends, really. But, I think we could have been, given time."
He shakes his head to clear it. That last sentence had surprised him; even more shocking was the fact that he suspected it was true.
Well, didn't that just add insult to injury.
"Micah heard from Molly that you cook?" Monica asked. Mohinder nodded. "Then you can help me make dinner."
They quickly fall into a routine: she chops the ingredients, he adds them to the pot. Molly and Micah slink in when they're called. There are tear tracks on both their faces, but no one mentions this fact as they sit down to eat in silence.
The funeral service was an absolute nightmare. He had almost forgotten, in the midst of the mess his life had become, that he was partially responsible for her death until he saw the closed casket. Micah didn't start crying until after the pastor had said his piece. The words had washed over him; the entirety of the platitudes passing over him until he heard the boy's sobbing. It set off Molly again- but before he could respond Monica was there, sweeping the children up and away. The rest of the Dawson family left shortly afterwards, leaving Mohinder alone with the empty coffin.
"I'm sorry" he whispered. "It- this never should have been allowed to happen."
"You know, I sort of hate Niki at times," Monica said to him, after much crying and remembering and the children had finally gone to sleep.
"What?" he asked, shocked.
"For leaving me with all this. I was already a single parent beforehand, and now I have another child to raise, and a younger one at that. Damon is having flashbacks to Mom's funeral, and I just am so angry at her for dumping all of this on me."
"I know what you mean," Mohinder said. And it was true. If Matt had walked in the door right then, he's first reaction would have been to throttle the man. "I wasn't ready to be a single parent when I first found Molly, and I feel even less qualified now."
"I'm pretty sure the qualifications for being a single parent include being able to split yourself into two or more people," Monica joked. "I wouldn't be able to manage at all if it weren't for Nana."
"I don't suppose you know where I can find one of those?" Mohinder asked, only half-joking.
"If you don't know, then I can't tell you," Monica replied, smiling slightly. Mohinder gave a bitter sort of half-snort.
"Seriously though, you don't have family that can help out with Molly?"
"Not really," Mohinder admitted. "My father's dead, my sister's dead, my mother is in India. Although I suppose if I really have to, I could move back there."
Monica raised an eyebrow. "Does the Company have facilities in India?"
"I'm sure they do," Mohinder mused. "I'm not too sure if I still work for the Company, however."
"Really?" Monica asked, sounding surprised.
"Yes well, the last conversation I had with Bob didn't end well," Mohinder replied evasively.
Monica quirked an eyebrow. "How so?"
"Well-I- somehow his face connected with my fist, and the impact broke his nose."
Monica gaped at him for a moment before breaking out into a peal of surprised laughter.
"He asking for it," Mohinder explained hastily. "Honestly, what was he thinking, asking for tissue samples from Matt's body before we'd even gotten it from the morgue? And right in front of Molly too!"
Monica's giggles subsided. "Wow I- you know what? I would have hit him too."
"I would have aimed a little lower though, if you know what I mean."
Mohinder felt his face contort. It took him a moment to realize that he was smiling.
It seemed natural that they stay in New Orleans for as long as they could. Micah and Molly seemed to be more themselves when they were around each other. His father's old apartment had been let out to a young couple and their son. The Company had yet to contact him about anything. Monica smiled at him gratefully when she saw him helping around the house. Mrs. Dawson and Damon were less affected by the tragedies the four of them are reeling from, but they didn't object to his presence and, to be completely honest, that simple toleration was more a blessing than sympathy would have been.
Time went by. The Petrelli brothers disappeared. The Bennets dropped off the face of the earth once more. Molly's smile came back from where ever it had been hiding, and Micah's grin followed shortly after.
And then one day Micah asked to borrow Monica's iPod.
"Am I going to be able to get it back later?" she asked.
"Define 'later'," he asked cheekily.
Monica smiled. "I want that thing up and running by dinner time."
"I can do that," Micah replied taking the proffered device. Once it was in his hands, however, he did nothing but stare at it, frowning.
"Micah?" Mohinder asked.
"There's something wrong with this," the boy said. "It's transmitting."
Debugging the house took hours, even with Micah triangulating the position of each bug with his cell phone, and Molly finding them one by one. Halfway through it occurred to Mohinder that the Company would know what they were doing, and would likely as not simply replace the bugs as soon as they got the opportunity.
Or they could decide that it wasn't worth the effort, and simply pack them all in one of their many nondescript vehicles and ship the back to New York or Odessa or any other number of places where they'd likely as not never see each other again.
The thought tortures him that night. Damon and Mrs. Dawson with memories of a cousin and sister and grandchildren erased from their minds. Micah and Molly, being manipulated into doing the Company's dirty work, bought up to be twisted and corrupt, like Elle had been. And Monica. What could they do with Monica? She'd fight, he knew that, and with her ability it was likely that she'd do some damage before they'd manage to bring her down.
They'd kill her. They'd kill and then they'd dissect her like they'd wanted to do to Matt's corpse.
Shortly before six, just as the sun began to peak through the blinds, Mohinder found himself in front of the computer, buying six tickets to Madras.
"You think we should run?" Monica had gotten up shortly after the ticket finished printing.
"Yes," Mohinder said without hesitation. "If we stay here, the Company would be watching our every move, at the very least. You could come with me to India, we-"
"You said the Company had facilities in India," Monica interrupted him.
"I'm sure they do," Mohinder repeated. "But I don't think the Company is as far reaching- or unified- as they want us to think. If we just got far enough away, they might decide to write us off as a loss and leave it at that."
Monica bit her lip. "What about everyone else?"
"I bought six tickets. We wouldn't be leaving anyone behind. We'd all-"
"I don't mean our families," Monica corrected. "I mean- what about the Petrelli brothers? What about the Bennets? What about Camille? What do I tell her? I met this Indian doctor and he wants to whisk me and my family away to his estate in Madras?"
"If that's what it takes not to arouse her suspicion, then yes!" Mohinder exclaimed. "It's not that I don't care about the others, but I can't afford to worry about them. They're not here. They can look after themselves."
"Please," he pleaded. "I don't want to lose anyone else."
Monica stepped closer, a beseeching look in her eyes. "Mohinder..."
"Please," he repeated, taking her hand.
"Mohinder," she said again, but this time there was resolve in her voice. "There's something you need to know."
Peter looked better than he had the last time Mohinde had seen him, but then again, the last time he'd seen him properly he'd been a corpse in the back seat of his cab. He vaguely remembered that he'd been at Matt's memorial service, but didn't remember much more than that. Nathan looked more or less the same as he ever was.
"Okay," he said slowly after the Petrelli brothers had filled awkwardly into the Dawson's kitchen. "I assume there's some sort of explanation for this?"
"We're trying to take down the Company," Peter replied immediately.
"Ah. That doesn't really work, I find," Mohinder responded.
"You were working for Bennet. He didn't really care about the Company so much as he cared about his daughter," Nathan began, but Mohinder cut him off.
"Neither do I. Molly's already lost three parents in her lifetime, I'm not subjecting her to that again."
"You do know that the Company is the reason she lost Matt, right?" Nathan asked.
"They were aiming for you," Mohinder retorted.
Nathan grimmaced. "You sure about that?"
Mohinder frowned. "What do you mean?"
"If you go into hiding, chances are they wouldn't come looking for you. They wouldn't come looking for Damon or Micah or Mrs. Dawson- but they'd come looking for Molly. She's their tracking system, Mohinder. She's what they need to keep control, more than anything else. More than anyone else."
"What are you implying?"
"They aimed for me- but the gunman had his weapon out for just a bit too long to be an accident. Matt saw it- and acted exactly like they expected him too."
Mohinder thought about it. It seemed like a crazy theory, like insanity. But then again...
"And what was supposed to happen after that? I deliver Molly back into the hands of the Company?"
"You did it before," Nathan pointed out.
"That was a completely different situation!" Mohinder exclaimed. "She was in a telepathically-induced coma! There weren't exactly a lot of options!"
"Well, what would your options be now that you don't have Matt to help you raise Molly? You couldn't continue with your work with a kid to raise. You don't have many other people you can rely on," Nathan continued. Monica raised an eyebrow deliberately. "Well, you didn't then."
Mohinder refused to consider it. "I wouldn't have simply handed her over to the Company."
"You wouldn't need to. You'd just have to give them access for a few hours each day between when she got out of school and when you left the lab. And every time they needed her for a more extended period of time, they could simply send you on a mission to the other side of the world."
"I wouldn't allow them to use Molly," he reiterated, but even as he thought about it, he knew that Molly could very well hide the fact that she was being used from him if she wanted to- or if she was coerced into keeping quiet. How long had it taken them to figure out what the Nightmare Man was doing to her, even with Matt reading her mind? "And I'm certainly not going to give her to them now."
"Obviously not," Peter soothed. "But they might not give you much of a choice."
Mohinder didn't have an answer to that. He knew it was true.
"What do you want from me?" he asked after a period of silence.
"We need to know everything you know about the Company. And after that," Monica shrugged. "Just be there."