A/N: Compliant with all Season 4 episodes up to "Tabula Rasa."
If you've read my fics before, you know that I love getting feedback from readers; I reply to each review, and if you have any suggestions for me, they might find their way in to the story. :)
This is going to be a challenge, since I haven't written fic for a television series before—I'm going to attempt to keep it compliant with future episodes. There are three volumes planned for this story arc.
Volume One: Transformation
Chapter One: Evolution
"When we embrace what lies within, our potential has no limit. The future is filled with promise; the present rife with expectation. When we deny our instinct, and struggle against our deepest urges,uncertainty begins. Where does this path lead? When will the changes end? Is this transformation a gift, or a curse? For those who fear what lies ahead, the most important question of all—can we ever really change what we are?"
"I think I'm evolving."
Peter Petrelli, clothed in his usual paramedic's uniform, sat across the table from his old friend Matt in a Brooklyn coffee shop. Slowly, he stirred sugar into his coffee.
"What do you mean, evolving?"
"Just like you did," Peter replied. "First, you could read minds. Then, you could control other people's thoughts."
Matt cleared his throat. "So, you could absorb other people's powers…"
"Now I can just take them." He stopped stirring. "I—it was an accident. I just gave my mom a hug. The next thing I knew, I was dreaming about the future, and she'd stopped doing it."
"You know," mused Matt, "it was like that with Kimiko, too. She inherited her father's power. Kaito could see the variables of any situation and accurately predict the outcome. It's the reason Yamagato's been so successful. Kimiko—when she was younger—it started out as just hunches that one course of action was better than the other. Now she's grown into her ability, and she's given Yamagato more success than her father did."
"You're still in contact with Hiro?"
"Yeah." He shuffled his feet. "Janice and I, we're really grateful for what he and Ando did for us and little Matt."
Peter nodded. "Of course."
"So, your mom," Matt continued. "Is she—is she angry?"
At this, Peter broke into a grin. "Nah. She said she's never been happier. It's given her peace."
"So what have you been dreaming about?"
Peter shrugged. "It's kind of fuzzy. Why don't you take a look for yourself? Maybe you can get me the answer I don't have."
"I, uh… I don't do that anymore."
Peter cocked his head. "You don't?"
"You don't have it anymore?"
"I still have it. I just don't use it." He stared down at his hands. "Not since Sylar was in my head."
Peter said nothing. Sylar had played a leading role in his first dream. They were in a small room together with Claire—the walls were made of cinder block, and there was no furniture. A silhouette of another man had been visible in the doorway; Peter hadn't been able to make out who he was, but upon waking up, he felt terrified.
The sound of Matt's radio jolted Peter from his thoughts.
"Sorry, I gotta run." Matt pushed his chair back and held out a hand. "It's been good seeing you."
Peter stared at Matt's extended hand. "You're not going to trick me."
"Worth a shot." Matt smiled. "Good luck, Peter."
As Matt headed back out into the city, Peter heaved a sigh. Inside his head, a little voice nagged at him.
Deep down, you knew you weren't ever going to be able to live a normal life. There's only one thing to do—find Claire.
Draining his glass, Peter threw a couple dollar bills on the table and pushed his chair back.
There was just enough money in his wallet for a ticket to Arlington.
Claire Bennet sat on a bench outside her residence hall, a slight chill in her bones. She was waiting for a date, wearing her favorite little black dress, but she'd forgotten that October in Virginia wasn't quite the same as October in Texas.
Just as she was about to turn and run back up to her dorm room, a beat-up sedan pulled up to the curb. "Hey!" called the driver.
Claire smiled. "Connor, I'm going to run up and get a sweater, okay?"
"You left your jacket last week," he called back. "It's in the back."
Deciding this was good enough, she slid in to the passenger seat.
"You look beautiful," Connor said.
She smiled. "Thanks."
Claire had met Connor in her Intro to Mass Comm class when they were assigned to do a group project together. The project had been somewhat of a bust—the other two members were lazy and did nothing. But since Connor and Claire had shouldered all the work, they spent a lot of time together, and really hit it off. Tonight's date at the seafood restaurant would be their fourth.
"So, you've never been to a football game here?" asked Connor, pulling into the parking lot of The Galley.
Claire shook her head. "No. First semester has been kind of overwhelming so far. Besides, I was a cheerleader in high school. I've kind of seen enough football to last me a lifetime."
Connor laughed, not catching the darker undertone to his date's statement. He held the door for her, and they headed to a table. "I'll have to bring you sometime."
Can't wait, Claire thought sarcastically, sliding into a booth. "So, have you ever been here before?" she asked breezily, grabbing a menu from the rack on the wall.
"A few times."
"What's good?" Claire stared at her menu for a moment before realizing that a man was standing at the edge of their table. A man with a familiar face and an urgent expression.
"Peter?" she gasped. "What are you doing here?"
"You have to come with me right away."
Connor immediately grew defensive. "I'm Connor, Claire's boyfriend. You would be…"
Suddenly, Peter seemed to realize that his niece was on a date with a very confused boy. But before he could introduce himself, Claire stepped in.
"This is my uncle, Peter," she explained briskly. "And since when did I officially become your girlfriend?"
"Claire, come on. We have to go. You're in danger."
"I had a dream, and—"
Connor chuckled. "You had a dream?" He turned back to Claire. "C'mon, you're not really going to listen to this, are you? He's obviously drunk, or high, or delusional."
Claire glared at him.
"My mother can't dream anymore, Claire," he said urgently, throwing discretion out the window. "I can. And I had a dream about you, me, and Sylar."
Claire grabbed her sweater and followed Peter without another word, leaving Connor spouting utterances of protest in her wake.
They hurried into the night. "So you have your mother's power? How did that happen?" Claire demanded.
"I've evolved," Peter explained, as they turned down an alleyway. "I have my dad's power—I can take away others' powers now."
"Life might be a little better if Sylar had that one," Claire mused.
"Theft is better than murder," Peter agreed. "But I don't feel like giving up my brain." He smiled. "So what's with your guy?"
Claire shrugged and wrapped her sweater around herself. "Connor? I don't know. We got along to begin with, but he's just—boring. And kind of an—"
"Asshole?" Peter provided.
Claire smiled, but never had the chance to confirm the label. From out of nowhere, something heavy hit her over the head, and she lost consciousness.
"Claire!" yelled Peter, then fell to the ground himself.
A tall, swarthy man stepped out of the shadows. "Two for the price of one," he whispered in a silky voice, and hefted Claire over his left shoulder.