A Note From Lara: Alright, by overwhelming majority (so far, anyway) from the poll on my profile, this is the next fic I'm going to work on. It's not the one I'm most excited about, but we'll see how it goes. I don't know how long this is going to be, but I'm going to try to keep it succinct, since when I don't know a definite ending to a fic, if I go more than about fifteen chapters I tend to lose inspiration and it just fizzles (see Green Arrow AKA Clark Kent if you want to see what I mean). So just bear with me and remember- you asked for it!

Also- I'm disregarding most of Volume 3 and 4. Some important events will be brought up, but a lot of this is serious AU stuff. For example, Future!Peter goes BACK to the future after shooting Nathan. The rest will be explained in flashbacks.

Odessa, TX

Eight Years Ago

Matt ran a hand through his hair, staring through the window at the prone form of Nathan Petrelli lying in a blood-soaked hospital bed. "Is he gonna be okay?" Peter asked, leaning against the glass and watching his brother with an expression like a man on fire.

He shrugged, and even though he knew what Peter needed to hear, he couldn't bring himself to say it, knowing it might not be true. "I don't know," he said. "I don't know."

Peter's arms dropped to his sides and he rushed out of the ICU.

Matt briefly debated going after him, but instinct told him that Peter needed to be alone right now. "How is he?" a voice asked. Startled, he glanced down at the woman standing beside him he was sure hadn't been there just moments before. Her white-blonde hair was spiked out as if she'd stuck her finger in an electric socket, and her pixie face was highlighted by a pair of huge brown eyes. She was beautiful.

"Who are you?" he asked, a little taken aback.

"Just somebody who used to work for him," she said. "When he was campaigning last fall, see. I was in town and I heard he'd been shot, and I thought I'd come see how he is. Bring him flowers or balloons or something."

I work for his father.

Matt stared at her as the thought dropped into his mind. "You don't have any flowers," he pointed out suspiciously.

She shrugged. "I wanted to see how he was first. No point wasting the money on a guy who's about to kick it anyway." Mentally, she was berating herself for the slip, and Matt listened intently. She was a very good liar, he had to admit. Her face didn't give anything away.

"You didn't work for him," he said after a moment.

Her jaw dropped. "How did you guess?" she demanded, stunned.

"I'm a mind-reader... Daphne."

She crossed her arms and cocked her hip. "Alright then," she said irritably, "you know my name but I don't know yours. Who are you?"

"I'm Parkman. Matt Parkman," he said, only realizing after he'd said it how hokey the words sounded out loud.

"Riiiight. Bond reference aside, who are you? I mean really."

He shrugged. "I've been working with him, trying to figure out some... stuff. I'm a cop, his mother was involved in a murder investigation, what more do you want from me?"

Daphne studied him, head cocked thoughtfully to one side. Before she could speak, however, he interrupted, "What's Pinehearst?" She disappeared with a whoosh. He stared at the place she had just vacated, realizing that he might have just stumbled upon something very, very big...

"Nathan!" a woman's voice screamed, interrupting his train of thought. Matt whirled around and spotted a stunning brunette woman running through the pair of doors that lead to the ICU ward.

Another one? he thought vaguely as she dashed up to him, out of breath and with two young boys in tow. "Um, can I help you?" he asked as she skidded to a halt next to him.

She took several deep breaths, trying to regain her equilibrium. "I-- I came to see--" She pointed through the window at the barely-conscious Nathan.

Suddenly, the doors swung open yet again, and Peter came through, looking amazed. "Heidi?" he asked, hurrying up to them.

Her jaw didn't hit the floor, but it came close. "Peter?" she managed to whisper. "How is this...? How are you...? But... but you've been missing for months!"

Peter shrugged. "I'm not missing anymore." He turned to Matt. "How's Nathan?"

Matt shook his head. "Why does everybody keep asking me? I'm not a doctor, I don't know. What do you want me to do, get inside his head and make sure he stays alive?"

"Well, that would be nice," the empath said.

He sighed. "The doctor just walked through here two minutes ago. He went off that way; you might be able to find him." Immediately, Peter and the woman took off, leaving the two boys to stand awkwardly next to him. Matt stared at their retreating forms. "What just happened?" he asked himself.

New Orleans

Eight Years Ago

Fire billowed through the air and the sound of cracking mortar and shattering glass followed it. Micah landed on his stomach, palms scraping against the blacktop and forehead slamming into the ground. Monica fell next to him and cried out in pain and fear. He struggled to flip over onto his back, staring into the burning wreckage of what had once been a rundown apartment building. "Mom!" he yelled, trying to get to his feet.

But Monica grabbed his arm, kept him from running headlong into the burning building. "No Micah!" she said in a voice fraught with terror. "It's too dangerous. I... we... there might have been another way out. The doorway got blocked after I got out, so she might've found another way..."

Micah knew she was lying. She was lying to protect him from the horrible truth that was staring him in the face: he was an orphan.

Tears ran down his face, but he didn't wail and cry the way other children would have. He had seen too much in his young life. He had seen pain and passion and death and fire and glory and sacrifice last November, and deep down inside he knew this was the same, on a smaller scale. He knew that things would never be the same again, and he knew that this was the ending of his childhood- if it hadn't ended long before. But he knew that he could also make this a new beginning for himself.

He would grieve, he knew that. He was going to be grieving for his mother for a very long time. But he'd make it. He'd survive. And he'd use his powers to be a hero, like his cousin. Like his dad. Like his mom.

But for now, he was going to cry, and sit on the curb while the fire crew came to put out the fire and search for survivors, and listen to Monica give the police a statement on what had happened and be what he was in this instant- a boy who had just lost his mother.

New York

Eight Years Ago

The three people who walked into the shabby apartment were very shaken indeed. The dark-haired woman kept glancing down at the bloodstain in the center of her chest and murmuring prayers in Spanish. The professor behind her was staring about him as if he couldn't quite believe that his most hated enemy, the murderer of his father, had managed to defeat death to come back and haunt him once more. Behind them, unnoticed for the moment, was a little girl, maybe nine years old, who was the calmest of the three.

Mohinder directed Maya to a seat at the kitchen table and set about making some tea to help them recover from their close encounter. But his hands were shaking, and he dropped the kettle on the floor with a splash and a thunk. He moved to clean it up, but a smaller set of hands beat him to it. "I'll do it Mohinder," Molly said quietly. "Sit down."

She cleaned up the puddle of water on the carpet and refilled the kettle. When it whistled, she poured it into the tea pot and added a handful of Mohinder's favorite chai blend. She climbed up on a chair and got three cups down from the high cupboard, and filled them once the tea had finished brewing. She balanced the three cups in her delicate hands and brought them over to the table where the two adults were avoiding making eye contact.

"Here you go," she said. She wasn't actually cheerful, but she managed to sound bright and happy even despite her recent ordeal.

They drank in silence. Finally, Mohinder said, "Molly, with Sylar back, it's not safe for you here. I think we ought to get you away." She didn't respond. "My mother lives in India. Perhaps she'd be willing to take care of you for awhile until we can get rid of him."

She shook her head. "I don't want to go to India," she said firmly.

"But you'd be so much safer there--"

"No. If he wants me, there's nowhere I can hide from him. I'd be safer here. You and Matt can keep me safe. And so can Peter, if he's back from Ireland."

Mohinder started. "Peter?" he asked. "Peter Petrelli?" Molly nodded. "What are you talking about? Ireland--?"

She shrugged. "He was in New Jersey for a few months, and then he went to Ireland. I think he went to Canada after that, but I wasn't paying a lot of attention."

"Molly... Peter's dead."

"No he's not. I've been watching him. He was in New Jersey, at that place where you work now."

His jaw dropped in shock. "The Company?" he asked. "Peter's been with the Company?"

She shrugged. "I guess."

"Molly," he said angrily, "Why didn't you tell this to anyone?"

"They didn't want to know," she replied matter-of-factly. "They weren't ready to know. Telling them would just have made it harder. He wanted to be there. I could tell, when I saw him. He wouldn't have left even if they had been able to find him."

Mohinder shook his head, clearing away some errant thought. "This doesn't change the fact that you need to get away from here."

She fiddled with her tea cup, avoiding his eyes. After a moment she said, "I don't want to go to India. But we could still leave. I think I know a place where I could be safe."

"And where is that?" Mohinder said indulgently.

Molly looked up and met his eyes squarely. "New Orleans," she said firmly.

Alright, I meant to wait until I'd finished Rebel's Angels to post this, but I just couldn't. I had it finished, and I never leave a finished document just sitting there, so... well... yeah. Reviews, please. You voted, so I'd like some feedback.